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Charles Melville Pepper papers

Identifier: MS2377

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence, publications, photographs, genealogical documents, and miscellaneous souvenirs. The material dates between 1800-1945. These are the records of Charles Melville Pepper from throughout his life, including many documents from his wife Kitty Rose Pepper. In 1901, Pepper was asked to serve on the Pan-American Congress. The bulk of this collection relates to Pepper’s travels in Latin America.


  • Creation: 1800-1945


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that he/she owns copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright in her works to The George Washington University; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For activities that the researcher determines fall under fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Please contact Special Collections if the copyright status of the materials you wish to reuse is unclear. Staff will provide additional information.

For re-use of materials in the collection not created by the donor, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights, determining if the intended re-use falls under fair use, and obtaining approval from the copyright holder if the intended use does not fall under fair use. For such materials, researchers do not need anything further from The George Washington University’s Special Collections Research Center.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Melville Pepper (1859-1930) was a writer who focused his work on Latin America. Pepper was born in Morrow County, Ohio on November 11, 1859. In 1881, Pepper graduated from Wooster College in Ohio. Pepper married Kitty Rose on May 4, 1884. They had one daughter.

Charles Melville Pepper was a newspaper correspondent, commissioner for the Pan-American Railway, commissioner for the Department of Commerce and and advisor to the Department of State. He spent most of his life traveling. Pepper was a staff correspondent for the New York Herald in 1896, reporting on the election. After the election, Pepper covered President McKinley’s activities. Soon after this, Pepper went to Cuba to write for several newspapers about the insurrection and the following American occupation.

In 1901, President McKinley appointed Pepper to be one of the five delegates to the Second Pan-American Conference. In 1903, President Roosevelt made pepper the Pan-American Railway Commissioner.

In addition to his work on Latin America, Pepper was also made a special trade commissioner for the Department of Commerce in 1906 and later a foreign-trade advisor to the Department of State in 1909. During these year he negotiated the Canadian reciprocity agreement under President Taft. In 1913 he resigned from these positions and spent many years as a news correspondent in Central and South America. In 1918, after becoming a representative of American firms engaged in Chilean trade, Pepper became the director of the Chile-American Association.

Pepper published many books in addition to his news articles and government reports including: To-Morrow in Cuba, Everyday Life in Washington and Panama to Patagonia.

Pepper died on November 4, 1930 in New York, NY at the age of 70.


6.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence, publications, photographs, genealogical documents and miscellaneous souvenirs from the collection of Charles Melville Pepper. The bulk of the material pertains to his travels and research in Latin America. The material dates between 1800-1945.


Organized into two series: Paper records and Books.

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Nancy Wall, March 7, 2017 (2017.006)

Guide to the Charles Melville Pepper collection, 1800-1945
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America