Collection includes correspondence, notes, diaries, and literary works of George Frederick Holmes (1820-1897), scholar, educator, author; and correspondence of William Howard Perkinson (1861-1898), educator and son-in-law of Holmes; and of Joseph Henry Herndon Holmes (1794-1831) and Mary Ann (Pemberton) Holmes (1790-ca. 1862), father and mother of George Frederick Holmes. The papers of Joseph Henry Herndon Holmes, barrister of Demerara, British Guiana, consist of treatises on contracts and exchange of money, fragments of poetry, poems, his will, and pictures. Among the papers of Mary Ann (Pemberton) Holmes are the following: a brief record of her life in Demerara with interesting comments on the people and the country, family history and genealogy, personal letters, epitaphs, and verses of Stephen Pemberton written while attending Oriel College, Oxford, England.
The papers of George Frederick Holmes are chiefly concerned with family affairs, including financial troubles, and accounts from his wife, Eliza Lavalette (Floyd) Holmes, of the unsatisfactory performance of Negro servants; accounts of Holmes's connection with educational institutions, notably Richmond College, Virginia, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, the University of Mississippi, Oxford, and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. The correspondence throws considerable light on dissensions in the Board of Visitors at the College of William and Mary in 1848. The collection consists of Holmes's correspondence with leading literary figures and educators of the South; notes and works on almost every phase of philology, grammar, history, political science, and economics; notes for lectures; articles and manuscripts for books and periodicals; lists of students; examination questions; and diaries which cover a great part of the period from 1856 to 1891. The collection includes a letter book, 1834-1874, containing contemporary copies of letters, in Holmes's hand, of many notable figures, among whom are E. E. Bellinger, Auguste Comte, J. D. B. DeBow, Thos. R. Dew, R. T. W. Duke, Wm. H. Ellet, Geo. Fitzhugh, John B. Floyd, Wm. Harper, R. R. Howison, R. W. Hughes, D. F. Jamison, Wm. S. Lewis, Francis Lieber, P. N. Lynch, Jno. McClintock, Cornelius Mathews, W. E. Martin, B. B. Minor, W. G. Minor, T. V. Moore, J. D. Munford, Edw. Nicholson, Wm. Ogilby, Cotesworth Pinckney, J. D. Pope, Wm. C. Preston, Jas. Ryder, W. G. Simms, R. W. Singleton, A. G. Summer, Jno. R. Thompson, Jas. H. Thornwell, Samuel Tyler, and D. K. Whitaker.
Papers of William Howard Perkinson are confined to a few records of his work as professor of Latin and Greek at the University of Virginia, a few business papers, and records of the administration of the estate of George Frederick Holmes. Some of Perkinson's letters to his wife give glimpses of the management of the university and of his work. M. Schele De Vere and W. Gordon McCabe, as well as a number of scholars in England, were among Perkinson's correspondents.
[Description taken from the Guide to the Cataloged Collections in the Manuscript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University (1980)]