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Jacob Mordecai papers, 1784-1936 4 Linear Feet — 2558 Items

Educator, of Warrenton, N.C., and Richmond, Va. Collection (2474 items; dated 1784-1936, bulk 1784-1904) comprises correspondence, ledgers, personal and school accounts (1811-1818), personal journals (1858-1861), and other papers of Mordecai and of his family. The material concerns schools and teaching in Warrenton, N.C., Mobile, Ala., and New York; life in Mobile (1823-1860), and at the U. S. Military Academy (1819-1823); literature of the day and social life and customs; Samuel Mordecai's book, Richmond in by-gone days; and personal matters. Correspondents include Rachel Mordecai Lazarus, Alfred Mordecai, Ellen Mordecai, Isabel R. Mordecai, Samuel Mordecai, Samuel Fox Mordecai, Achille Plunkett, and Carolina Mordecai Plunkett.

Collection contains personal correspondence and papers of Jacob Mordecai (1762-1838), educator and progenitor of a family long prominent in North Carolina and Virginia; and of his children and grandchildren. The majority of the letters are of a personal nature, but they include several important series of letters, as follows: copies of letters from Rachel (Mordecai) Lazarus (1788-1838) to Maria Edgeworth, beginning in 1816; of Ellen Mordecai (1790-1884) to her brother, Solomon Mordecai (1792-1869), while he was a medical student at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and later as a physician in Mobile, Alabama; of Ellen Mordecai, regarding her long tenure as a teacher in her father's school at Warrenton, North Carolina, and later as a governess in New York City, 1848-1852; of Caroline (Mordecai) Plunkett (1794-1862) and her husband, Achilles Plunkett (d. 1824), while they conducted a school at Warrenton, North Carolina, and of her later life as a teacher in Mobile; and of Alfred Mordecai (1804-1887) to members of his family while a student at the U. S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, 1819-1823. The correspondence contains frequent comment on literature of the day, information on social life and customs in general, and especially in Warrenton and Richmond, and life in Mobile, 1823-1860.

Letters of Samuel Mordecai (1786-1865) refer in part to his writing of Richmond in By-Gone Days (Richmond: 1856), and to land in Wisconsin sold for taxes. There are letters from 1810-1812 describing the Richmond theater, its actors, performances, and scenery, both the old theater, which burned down in a famous conflagration in 1811, and the new theater that replaced it. Included also are Jacob Mordecai's ledger containing personal and school accounts, 1811-1818; Samuel Mordecai and Company's ledger, 1839-1865, Petersburg, Virginia; and Isabel R. Mordecai's journals, 1858-1861, Charleston, S.C. There is also a secretary's report of the Sick Soldiers Relief Society, Raleigh, North Carolina, October 1, 1861; a description by Marshall De Lancey Haywood of the Mordecai residence in Raleigh with related correspondence of Pattie Mordecai, 1936; correspondence of Emma Mordecai, daughter of Jacob, with relatives and friends, including Solomon Cohen, an attorney of Savannah, describing European travel, and with Sally Vaughn Norral, a former slave; and bills, receipts, and bank statements of various family members.

Addition (1986) (84 items, dated 1805-1881) contains correspondence (1805-1838 and 1869-1875), most of which is personal, to and from various family members. Some of the letters provide insight into Mordecai's life as a boarding school student in Oxford, N.C., and later as a student at the University of Virginia. Also includes essays by Samuel F. Mordecai and two manuscripts by Moses Mordecai.

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Working-class New England family that was involved with both the Union and the Confederacy during the American Civil War. The mother, Lois Wright was born in Northfield, Massachusetts and died in Lowell, Massachusetts. She had at least seven children with her first husband Luther Richardson. The bulk of the collection is made up of letters between Davis and her children during the Civil War. In the late 1850s two of Lois Davis' daughters moved to Mobile, Alabama and their husbands served in the Confederate Army. Two of Lois Davis' sons fought with Massachusetts regiments, Charles Henry at first with the 6th Massachusetts Infantry, and then both Charles Henry and Luther with the 26th Massachusetts Infantry. Includes letters written from Ship Island, MS (1861-1862) and New Orleans, LA (1862-1864); and material on the riots in Baltimore, MD, and battles at Manassas, Malvern Hill, Petersburg, Winchester, VA, and the Shenandoah Valley, Baton Rouge and Port Hudson, LA, Sabine Pass, TX, and along the Mississippi and Red Rivers. The letters include descriptions of living and working conditions; illnesses; deaths; and thoughts on politics, race, and religion. Also includes letters about life after the Civil War. Daughter Eunice, whose husband died while serving the Confederacy, remarried to William Smiley Connolly, an Afro-Caribbean and mixed-race ship captain. They married in Dracut, Massachusetts, and she moved with him to Grand Cayman Island. Her letters, 1870-1875, describe their life in Grand Cayman. There are additional papers relating to Charles Henry Richardson's life in Lowell, Massachusetts where he worked in a textile mill and served as an Alderman.

The bulk of the collection consists of letters written between family members during the American Civil War. These letters discuss the family's concerns about being split by the war, illnesses, deaths, politics, race, religion, and employment. There are also letters after the Civil War up until 1912. Some of these letters relate to Davis' daughter, Eunice, who married an Afro-Caribbean sea merchant and moved with him to Grand Cayman Island. There are also papers relating to Charles Henry, the only son to survive the war. Several of these letters are letters of recommendation in support of specific veterans receiving their pensions, including a letter that describes a possibly gender-fluid, gender nonconforming, and/or transgender soldier nicknamed "Lucy."