Benson John Lossing, an American author, born at Beekman, N. Y., Feb. 12, 1813. After receiving a common school education he was apprenticed to a watchmaker in Poughkeepsie, with whom he afterward entered into partnership. In 1835 he became editor and part proprietor of a newspaper, the " Poughkeepsie Telegraph," and soon after began the publication of a literary monthly, "The Poughkeepsie Casket." With a view to illustrate this he studied drawing and engraving in New York, where he established himself as a draughtsman and engraver on wood, at the same time editing and illustrating the "Family Magazine," and in 1848-'9 the "Young People's Mirror." His attention being turned to the study of American history, he resumed his residence in Poughkeepsie, although for some years he retained his connection as draughtsman with the engraving establishment in New York. He repeatedly travelled through the United States, for the purpose of making drawings of his-torical scenes, visiting historical characters, and consulting historical documents. He furnished to periodicals many illustrated papers, chiefly relating to American history and biography, in respect to which he also collected a vast amount of original material.
In 1872 he became editor of the " American Historical Record and Repertory of Notes and Queries," published in Philadelphia. Among his numerous works, mostly illustrated by himself, are: "Outline History of the Fine Arts" (1841); " Seventeen Hundred and Seventy-Six " (1847); " Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence" (1848); "Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution " (2 vols., 1850-'52, originally issued in numbers); " Lives of Eminent Americans" (1855); "Pictorial History of the United States " (1854; enlargeded., 1856); " The Statesman's Manual," in conjunction with Edwin Williams (4 vols., 1856); "Mount Vernon and its Associations " (1859); " Life and Times of Philip Schuyler" (2 vols., 1860; enlarged ed., 1872); "Life of Washington" (3 vols., 1860); "The Hudson, from the Wilderness to the Sea" (1866); "Pictorial History of the Civil War in the United States " (3 vols., 1866-'9); "Vassar College and its Founder " (1867); "Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812" (1869); and a graded series of histories of the United States. He is a member of various historical and kindred societies, and in 1872 the honorary degree of LL. D. was conferred upon him by the university of Michigan. He now (1874) resides at Chestnut Ridge, Dover, N. Y., and is engaged in the preparation of a history of the United States for youth.