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David Berdan, Jr. studied law, but only after his father threatened to cut him off monetarily if he didn't settle on a career. David Jr. befriended William Henry Seward while they were both working as apprentices in the New York City law offices of John Anthon. David Jr. died of consumption while on a sailing trip with Pierre Irving, the nephew of Washington Irving. From the Berdan Family Papers biography: "David Berdan, Jr., attended Union College in Schenectady, New York and graduated in 1821. Shortly thereafter, his father died, stipulating in his will that David receive only a minimal allowance, with a larger sum to be distributed upon his entrance into a profession. David's own inclination was to pursue the life of the intellect -- he was a voracious reader of literature -- but he was forced to dedicate himself to the study of the law, or endure a life of penury. He loathed the idea of a legal career. "I do not feel much repugnance at the study of the theory but I look forward with horror to the certainty of being obliged to rack my brains for legal quibbles and for arguments against the most undeniable positions." (David Berdan, Jr. to James Marshall, 30 May 1823). After graduation David Jr. studied law in New York City in the offices of John Anthon. There he met and befriended a fellow apprentice, William Henry Seward. He also became acquainted with Pierre Irving, the nephew of Washington Irving, with whom he planned to travel Europe on foot. Pierre Irving and David Berdan spent many months studying in preparation for the trip. After David received his license to practice law, they finally sailed for Gibraltar in September 1825. David's failing health forced them to limit their travels, and he died of consumption on July 20, 1827, during the voyage home. Pierre Irving continued his association with the Berdan family, marrying David's sister Margaret on September 19, 1829. Margaret died of consumption in New York City on October 4, 1832. The four remaining Berdan children journeyed west to the frontier states of Ohio and Illinois. John became a successful merchant and was elected the first mayor of Toledo, Ohio, in 1839. James started a law practice in Jacksonville, Illinois, eventually becoming a judge. Peter Berdan and Rachel Berdan (later Mrs. Frederick Root) settled in Brunswick, Ohio."

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Biography and Citation Information:
Biography: 

David Berdan, Jr. studied law, but only after his father threatened to cut him off monetarily if he didn't settle on a career. David Jr. befriended William Henry Seward while they were both working as apprentices in the New York City law offices of John Anthon. David Jr. died of consumption while on a sailing trip with Pierre Irving, the nephew of Washington Irving. From the Berdan Family Papers biography: "David Berdan, Jr., attended Union College in Schenectady, New York and graduated in 1821. Shortly thereafter, his father died, stipulating in his will that David receive only a minimal allowance, with a larger sum to be distributed upon his entrance into a profession. David's own inclination was to pursue the life of the intellect -- he was a voracious reader of literature -- but he was forced to dedicate himself to the study of the law, or endure a life of penury. He loathed the idea of a legal career. "I do not feel much repugnance at the study of the theory but I look forward with horror to the certainty of being obliged to rack my brains for legal quibbles and for arguments against the most undeniable positions." (David Berdan, Jr. to James Marshall, 30 May 1823). After graduation David Jr. studied law in New York City in the offices of John Anthon. There he met and befriended a fellow apprentice, William Henry Seward. He also became acquainted with Pierre Irving, the nephew of Washington Irving, with whom he planned to travel Europe on foot. Pierre Irving and David Berdan spent many months studying in preparation for the trip. After David received his license to practice law, they finally sailed for Gibraltar in September 1825. David's failing health forced them to limit their travels, and he died of consumption on July 20, 1827, during the voyage home. Pierre Irving continued his association with the Berdan family, marrying David's sister Margaret on September 19, 1829. Margaret died of consumption in New York City on October 4, 1832. The four remaining Berdan children journeyed west to the frontier states of Ohio and Illinois. John became a successful merchant and was elected the first mayor of Toledo, Ohio, in 1839. James started a law practice in Jacksonville, Illinois, eventually becoming a judge. Peter Berdan and Rachel Berdan (later Mrs. Frederick Root) settled in Brunswick, Ohio."

Citation Type: 
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http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/clementsmss/umich-wcl-M-1720ber?view=text
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William L. Clements Library
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http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/clementsmss/umich-wcl-M-1720ber?view=text
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William L. Clements Library
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Citation Notes: 
Page 117-127 of Volume III of the Works of WIlliam Henry Seward lists an eulogy to Berdan: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015059457146;view=1up;seq=125