While the bulk of the collection is made up of correspondence, the papers also include Abbot's addresses to schools and the Virginia Educational Society; printed bulletins detailing courses of study and formal statements of the teaching philosophy at Bellevue; and an official letter-book, receipts, financial and legal documents relating to the purchase, expansion and daily administration of the school. Other materials relating to the children of the William and Lucy Abbot include educational addresses by their son, Charles Minor Abbot, who administered Bellevue until it closed (1901-1909), as well as biographical material on Virginia Henderson's authoritative influence on professional nursing.
The Abbot Family papers provide the researcher with numerous vantage points onto public, professional and private life in nineteenth-century Virginia, most particularly through personalized accounts of men and women of the time. While the papers follow the families' colonial past from the early eighteenth century into the mid-twentieth century, the collection is noteworthy for its emphasis on military and private life in the Confederacy and in the Reconstruction South. The collection illuminates the experience of the Civil War through numerous windows onto the private lives of individuals; the professionalization of secondary education during the Reconstruction; the social and epistolary conventions of nineteenth century courtship; and the construction of an inter-generational identity, based on extended familial affections and ties to the institutions of Bellevue and the University of Virginia.
The collection includes a small account book that A. B. (Abel Beach) Nichols used to record financial transactions that occurred in Alabama from 1835 to 1836. Nine pages contain handwriting and several pages near the front and back of the book have been removed. Of particular interest are two pages with the heading, "A list of the sales of negroes in the State of Alabama in 1835 & 1836," followed by a tabular listing of the number of slaves, their names, from whom purchased, cost, date, to whom sold, time, and amount. In all, Nichols bought and sold 42 slaves for a profit of $21,430.58. Headings such as "A list of bonds bought in Alabama ..." and "Bond on ... in Alabama for articles sold" are found on subsequent pages. Also included in the collection are two letters addressed to A. B. Nichols. The 1846 letter, from Pollard Hopkins & Co., describes efforts regarding the sell or hire of Nichols' slave, Henry, and the "writer's" intention to buy Henry a horse and dray, thereby giving him the means to eventually buy his freedom. The 1850 letter, from Henry, respectfully explains arrangements for acquiring the title to himself.
Papers of Adeline E. (Burr) Davis Green (1843-1931) include letters, 1851-1853, from James M. Burr, brother of Adeline (Burr) Davis Green, to his wife describing his life in California searching for gold; James Burr's journal entitled "Journal of a Cruise to California and the Diggins" ; Civil War letters from her second husband and cousin, Wharton Jackson Green (1831-1910), later agriculturist and U.S. congressman, while a prisoner-of-war at Johnson's Island, Ohio; letters, 1882-1885, from her first husband, David Davis (1815-1886), jurist and U. S. senator, describing daily proceedings in the senate, social functions in Washington, D.C., and notable persons; letters from friends of Davis concerning personal and political matters; letters, 1906-1928, from Jessica Randolph Smith and others pertaining to the Daughters of the Confederacy; and letters, 1911-1931, from James Henry Rice, Jr. (1868-1935), ornithologist, naturalist, editor, and literary figure, discussing politics, conservation, South Carolina culture, world affairs, especially relative to Germany and Russia, his rice plantations, and the League of Nations.
The collection consists primarily of family papers in which some naval correspondence is intermingled. The letters of Sir Robert and Lady Julia Barrie are numerous. There are letters by Admiral Gardner, Dorothy (Gardner) Clayton, and various naval officers and members of the family. There are groups of legal papers, biographical sketches, genealogy, financial accounts, and photographs.
Family relationships and associations are extensive and are represented by comment, legal documents, and genealogies. The families include: Clayton, Cornwall, Cracraft, Cririe, Dixon, Fothergill, Gardner, Humphrys, Ingilby, Lyon, Shuttleworth, and Uppleby. A small group of photographs includes Sir Robert Barrie, William Barrie, John and Olivia (Page) Fothergill, John and Kitty (Leadbetter) Uppleby, Leadbetter and Eliza (Barrie) Uppleby, Charles Clotworthy Wood, Swarthdale House, and others.
The papers were still owned by the family as late as the 1950s. On Feb. 28, 1951, Charles John Ormond Barrie wrote about them to James S. Matthews of the Vancouver City Archives. Ten years earlier (Aug. 19, 1941) he listed several series of letters, some of which are no longer in the collection--correspondence from Lord Aylmer, Sir George Cockburn, Sir John Franklin, and George Vancouver. The covers for a few of these letters remain in the collection. The covers for letters by Admiral Gardner and copies of letters by Barrie indicate other absent manuscripts. Some papers may have been destroyed during Barrie's lifetime.
.Admittance, matriculation, and "Order of Lecture" cards are from a number of medical students from 1811-1880 in the University of Pennsylvania, Jefferson Medical College, Long Island College Hospital (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Harvard University Medical School, Philadelphia School of Anatomy, New Hampshire Medical Institution, Berkshire Medical Institution, and St. Bartholomew's Hospital (London, England). They contain the autographs of the most eminent professors of the day: i.e., Samuel Gross, Franklin Bache, Benjamin Rush, Austin Flint, Samuel Jackson, S. Weir Mitchell, J. K. Mitchell, Charles D. and James A Meigs, John Barclay Biddle, et al. The St. Bartholomew's Hospital card is signed by Ludford Harvey, John P. Vicent, and John Abernethy, the latter (1764-1831) being an eminent English surgeon and founder of the Medical School of St Bartholomew's. The "Order of Lecture" cards from Jefferson Medical College and the University of Pennsylvania list curricula, faculty and their residences, schedules of lectures and texts.
Admittance cards, 1850-1853, are for courses at the Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia. They include two matriculation cards for William D. Watson of Chatham County, N. C., dated Nov., 1850, and Oct., 1852, and an examination card Oct., 1852-1853, which is signed by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell as professor of Anatomy, Surgery and Physiology. Dr. Watson returned to Chatham County after his graduation. His house was destroyed during the Civil War. The portion of his medical library saved and stored in a neighboring attic eventually was placed in the historical Collection of the library of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
Business records and some personal correspondence of four generations of the Cuningham family, including Robert Cuningham; Alexander Cuningham, and his brother, Richard M. Cuningham; the latter's son, John Wilson Cuningham; and grandson, John Somerville Cuningham, all merchants and planters. The early papers center around Alexander and Richard's success as commission merchants for cotton and tobacco in Petersburg, Va., and the firm's planting interests in Person County, N.C. The collection also contains a few family letters, including some from Alexander Jr. while a student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and from another son at Leasburg Academy, Caswell County, N.C. The papers of John Somerville Cuningham concern his work as a field agent for the Bureau of Crop Estimates, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, local politics, and family matters.
The collection includes correspondence, bills and receipts, financial papers, legal papers, political papers, clippings and printed material and ranges in date from 1823-1954, with the bulk dated 1823-1883. Due to preservation concerns, some items were copied onto acid-free paper and stamped as preservation copies. The originals were placed in mylar and are located in Box 7. Patrons should consult with Rubenstein Library staff before handling these materials.
The vast majority of the collection is comprised of correspondence, covering the years 1823-1883. Many of the letters in the collection were written to Stephens, although there are letters written in his own hand. Throughout the correspondence are letters written to Stephens by various family members, most notably his brothers John and Linton. The bulk of the correspondence pertains to Stephens' law work, regarding issues such as the settling of estates and the collection of debts. The most prominent topics include family matters, business and legal matters and Stephens' health. Given the expansive amount of correspondence, below is a breakdown by decade of other topics which appear, in an effort to assist the researcher in locating materials of interest:
Correspondence 1823-1839: Topics include States' Rights, slavery, and an Indian war in Florida [possibly the Creek War]. There is a letter from Herschel V. Johnson who sought advice from Stephens in 1839 regarding negotiations with a railroad company.
Correspondence 1840-1849: Topics include local and national politics/views, opinions about President Martin Van Buren, "agricultural politics," Thomas Dorr and the People's Party, the purchasing of slaves, the 1843 Boston visit of President John Tyler and Vice President Daniel Webster, Stephens' nomination to serve in the U. S. Congress, Whigs and Democrats (Stephens was invited to attend several Whig-sponsored barbeques), and the death of Stephens' brother Aaron. There is a letter from United States Representative Marshall Johnson Wellborn which discusses the Judiciary Act (1841). There are also a substantial number of letters written by and to John Bird and letters written to him and Stephens (they were likely law partners). Of note are two letters written in 1844 by [Sarvis] Pearson (presumably a client of Stephens or his firm) to his estranged wife Mary S. Pearson which offer insight into the subject of divorce and marital discord of the time period.
Correspondence 1850-1859: Letters written by Stephens start to appear more frequently. Topics include largely family and legal matters.
Correspondence 1860-1869: Topics include employment inquiries both pre- and post-Civil War, autograph requests, Stephens' book about the Civil War, and the social history of a post-Civil War Georgia. Items of note: There are petitions (1860) by Stephens' district constituents asking him to address them about the presidential election. There are letters asking him for permission to travel into the Union. There are a couple of letters written by Stephens to Jefferson Davis. There is a letter from March 1860 to Pearce Stevons [Stephens] by Rody Jordan, both of whom were not only brothers but slaves as well. The letter is likely written by someone other than Jordan. A letter to Stephens in October 1866 states that his former slave Pearce was charged with murder and asks for Stephens' legal counsel at Pearce's request (he apparently complied based on a letter from 1869).
Correspondence 1870-1879: Topics include requests for employment and financial help, requests for letters of recommendation, Linton Stephens' death, Stephens' paper the Daily and Weekly Sun, the federal government, autograph requests, and Stephens' work with the Committee on Standard Weights and Measures. Item of note: There are documents from 1873 concerning an illegal distilling and corruption case in Georgia.
Correspondence 1880-1883: Topics includes Stephens' opinion of President James A. Garfield, his bid for Governor, requests for financial help and letters of recommendation for men interested in state posts appointed by the Governor, such as Physician of the Georgia Penitentiary. Items of note: There is a letter dated 1883 signed by Secretary of War, Robert Todd Lincoln. There are two letters from 1882 which offer some insight into African-American involvement in Georgia politics.
This collection consists of family letters of Alexander R. Boteler (1815-1892), Virginia political leader, congressman, and Civil War soldier, with sidelights on his career at Princeton College, Princeton, New Jersey, his courtship of Helen Macomb Stockton, whom he later married, his altercations with Charles J. Faulkner, and "Yankee" depredations at his home, "Fountain Rock," during the Civil War; political correspondence, 1855-1870, relating to the election of 1860 and the Constitutional Union Party; letters concerning Boteler's travels about the country in 1882-1884 while a member of the U.S. Tariff Commission; correspondence concerning claims of James Rumsey as inventor of the first steamboat; and legal and personal papers of Helen (Stockton) Boteler's father, Ebenezer S. Stockton, and grandfather, Robert Stockton. Volumes include Boteler's diary, 1845, relative to his farming activities; a scrapbook on the election of 1848; a scrapbook containing clippings, letters, and pictures devoted principally to the activities and interests of Boteler; and a scrapbook containing clippings, letters, and pictures concerning the Pendleton, Digges, and Pope families, especially the life of Dudley Digges Pendleton who married Helen Stockton Boteler.
The collection also contains the correspondence of Alexander R. Boteler's father, Dr. Henry Boteler, for 1776-1837. Among other correspondents are A. R. Boteler, Lewis Cass, Samuel Cooper, John B. Floyd, S. B. French, Wade Hampton, T. J. Jackson, Andrew Johnson, R. E. Lee, John Letcher, W. P. Miles, John Page, Thomas N. Page, Rembrandt Peale, W. N. Pendleton, W. C. Rives, Alexander Robinson, W. H. Seward, J. E. B. Stuart, Jacob Thompson, J. R. Thompson, Dabney C. Wirt.