Research Mystery — I Need Your Help!
A key part of my examination of John Bingham’s life involves his relationship with Titus Basfield, an African-American college classmate who later became a minister. In a study of Bingham written twenty years ago, Erving Beauregard claimed that Bingham and Basfield were lifelong friends and corresponded about political and legal issues. Beauregard also quoted from some of those letters, which contained some interesting insights into Bingham’s thinking about the Fourteenth Amendment.
Here’s the problem–nobody knows where these letters are. Beauregard (who is deceased) did not make copies of those documents and no other scholar has seen them. They are cited as belonging to “Lloyd Martin, Portsmouth, Ohio,” but there is no other information. Some suspect that these sources were fabricated, but I’m going to treat that as a last-resort explanation. My working assumption is that this collection is privately held and that the trick is to track down what has happened to them and then make sure that they are made available to researchers.
If anyone has any insights about this, I’d be much obliged to hear them.