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Early American History Resources in the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center has extensive holdings of manuscripts and rare books dealing with early American history. This guide describes the bulk of those holdings, although it is not a comprehensive list.


Consult the Special Collections Research Center Access Tools to see further descriptions of many of these collections.

Allan, John, Papers; includes typescripts and photocopies of correspondence, 1795-1800, of Franklin, John C. Allan, Nancy Hunter, R. Crawford, and James Garland; Allan, of Richmond, was the stepfather of Edgar Allan Poe, 25 items, Mss Acc 1992.61

Armistead-Cocke Family Papers, includes correspondence, 1756-1764, of Maria Carter Armistead and business papers, 1782-1828, of William Cocke of “Bremo” in Henrico County and “Oakland” in Cumberland County, 733 items, Mss 65 Ar6

Austin-Twyman Papers, a major collection relating to the Austin, Twyman, Spiller, and Horsley famlies of Amherst and Buckingham Counties, including the papers of Archibald Austin (1772-1837), member of Congress and the Virginia House of Delegates. Other topics include the War of 1812, slavery, the study and practice of medicine, and education, 1765-1939, 10,706 items, Mss 69 Au7

Baker Family Papers, correspondence, bonds, and accounts of Jacob Baker of County (later WV) and Nelson and Jonathan Baker of County, Maryland; 1805-1911, 481 items, Mss 39.1 B17

Barnes Family Papers, primarily correspondence of Newman Williamson Barnes and his wife Margaret Tomlin Barnes of Richmond and “Greenfield” in County, 1797-1926, 1818-1875, 247 items, Mss 39.1 B26

Beverley Papers, chiefly letters to Robert Beverley of “Blandfield” in Essex County and Georgetown (DC) from his sister Lucy Beverley Randolph, her husband Brett Randolph, and their son Richard Randolph, Jr., 1796-1834, 76 items, Mss 39.2 B46

Blair-Banister-Braxton-Horner-Whiting Papers, chiefly letters, 1765-1817, 107 items, Mss 39.1 B58

Blow Family Papers, huge collection of the Blows of “Tower Hill” in Sussex County, Virginia, and the Waller family, including family correspondence, some financial records; other topics include the military and farming., 1770-1875, 15,429 items, Mss 65 B63

Bolling, Lenaeus; diary, Buckingham County, 1820, MS 00015

Britt Family Papers, County (NC), 1801-1860, 38 items, Mss Sm Britt

Brown-Coalter-Tucker Papers (II), 1791-1920, 941 items, Mss 65 B855

Brown-Coalter-Tucker Papers (I), Group C, primarily papers of John Thompson Brown (1802-1836), a student at Princeton and later a Virginia legislator; 1816-1839, 6 boxes, Mss 65 B85 Group C

Brown, Charles, Papers; includes letters about patients (including slaves), accounts, and legal papers of Brown, a physician in Charlottesville and sheriff of Albemarle County, 296 items, 1792-1888, Mss 39.1 B84

Burwell-Catlett Papers, correspondence of family members in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi; 1794-1887, 105 items, Mss 69 B95

Cabaniss Family Papers, correspondence and accounts of George Cabannis, Dr. John Cabaniss, and James Cabaniss; 1800-1837, Mss 39.1 C11

Cabell Family Papers, accounts and correspondence of of Albemarle and Amherst Counties, 1693-1913, 3,192 items, Mss 65 C12

Carter Family Papers, of four generations, starting with Robert “King” Carter (1663-1732), his sons Robert Carter (1704-1731) and Landon Carter (1710-1778) of Sabine Hall, and his grandsons Robert Carter (1728-1804) of Nomini Hall and especially Robert Carter (1734-1797) of Sabine Hall, 1667-1862, 8,604 items, Mss 39.1 C24

Dew Family Papers, mostly correspondence of Thomas R. Dew, president of William and Mary, and his brother Benjamin F. Dew, a lawyer of Newtown, King and Queen County, 1794-1895, 161 items, Mss 65 D51

Dunmore Family Papers (II), relating to John Murray, 4th Earl of and last royal governor of Virginia, 1768-1804, Mss 74s D92

Garrett Family Papers, mostly correspondence of Dr. Robert M. Garrett and his brothers Alexander C. Garrett and B. F. Garrett, includes 1832 certificate of services of a black Revolutionary War soldier, Williamsburg, 1786-1928, ca. 200 items, Mss 69 G19

Garth Family Papers, primarily correspondence of Jesse Garth, his wife, children, and various family members; includes an 1835 suicide note, Albemarle County, 1798-1872, Mss 65 G19

Glenn Papers, letters received by George Glenn, iron founder at Isabella Furnace near Luray, Page County, from family in West Virginia, Ohio, and Oregon, 1821-1858, Mss 39.2 G48

Gravely Papers, mostly accounts, promissory notes, bonds, and some correspondence of Jabez Gravely and his Joseph Gravely at , Henry County, 1797-1861, Mss 39.2 G78

Harrison, Francis Burton, Papers; includes typescripts of letters of members of the Harrison Family, 1786-1840, Mss 65 H26

Homassel, Caroline, Papers; correspondence of Caroline of Richmond with daughter Caroline, 1796-1811, 5 items, Mss 39.2 H75

Howerton Papers, blacksmith and Philip and his family, Halifax County, 1812-1870, 148 items, Mss 65 H84

Jefferson, Thomas, Papers; 160 original manuscripts, mostly letters to William Short, plus 107 items relating to Jefferson, 1785-1826, Mss 39.1 J35

Jerdone Family Papers, includes correspondence and business records of several generations of the family, starting with Scots immigrant Francis Jerdone, merchant of Yorktown and Hanover County; topics include trade, farm management, slavery, daily routines, 1771-1845, 2,663 items, Mss 39.1 J47

Joynes, Thomas R.; memoranda (bound volume) kept on a journey from Virginia and Ohio to Kentucky, 1810, Mss MsV Tr2

Lewis, Dangerfield, Papers; includes accounts of George Lewis, 1816-1846, and letters, accounts, and legal papers of his son Lewis of “Marmion” and “Chatterton” in King George County, 1799-1854; also includes a letter written by a slave to John Lomax, 1801; 1,173 items, Mss 39.1 L58

Marshall, John, Papers; original letters and copies from other repositories of personal and professional correspondence of longtime chief justice of the Supreme Court, 434 items, Mss 39.1 M34

Massie, William, Papers; letters and accounts of farmer and miller of “Pharsalia” and Tye River Mills, Nelson County, 1814-1870, Mss 39.1 M39

Monroe Family Papers, primarily correspondence of members of the family while in London, Paris, and Virginia, 1803-1839, 34 items, Mss 82 M75

Monroe, James, Family Papers; correspondence, primarily 1823-1845, 35 items, Mss 83 M75

Myers-Burrage-Graham Papers (Group A, Group B, Group C), includes papers of six generations of a prominent Jewish merchant family in Norfolk, beginning with Moses Myers (1752-1835), 33 boxes, Mss 98 M99

Overton Family Papers; through 1797, the papers of John and Samuel Ragland of Louisa County, Virginia, and their children, and after 1797, the papers of the of Louisa County and the related of Haywood County, Tennessee, 1785-1871, 3,282 items, Mss 65 Ov2

Page-Saunders Papers, includes correspondence of Margaret Page of “Rosewell,” Gloucester County and Williamsburg, with her daughter Lucy Page Saunders and her son-in-law Robert Saunders; a diary of Robert Saunders’ while on a trip from New York to Le ; and other items, 1790-1932, 190 items, Mss 39.1 P15

Preston, Robert, Papers; family correspondence, including letters from Irish relatives, 1785-1831, Washington County, Mss 39.1 P92

Randolph, Nancy, Papers; letters from Ann Cary Randolph [Nancy Randolph] of “Bizarre” in Cumberland County to her sister Judith Randolph, and typescripts of correspondence, 1814-1815, between Ann Cary Randolph and her cousin John Randolph, 18 items, Mss 39.2 R16

Robb-Bernard Papers, includes legal and financial papers of the Hipkins and Bernard families of “Rose Hill” (“Gay Mont” in 1816) in Caroline County, 1800-1901, 14 boxes, Mss 65 R54

Schultz, Christian; letter copybook relating to land speculation, family problems, and natural history; Schultz, author of a well-regarded travel book, lived in Wood County [now WV] and Marietta, Ohio; 1819-1829; Mss 91 Sch 8

Selden, William, Papers; mostly financial records of Anglican clergyman in Elizabeth City County and his widow, including extensive records of renting out slaves, 1772-1799, Mss 2007.46

Skipwith Family Papers, papers of several generations of the of “Prestwould” in Mecklenburg County, with much material on farming, gardening, Lady Skipwith’s library (which is in the ), and education, 1760-1977, 6,496 items, Mss 65 Sk3

Smith-Walker Papers, of the Smith family of Smith’s Crossroads, Mecklenburg County, and the Walker family of Brunswick County, 1764-1916, 3,098 items, Mss 39.1 Sm8

Somerville, William C.; diary, describing journey from Baltimore to Saratoga, 1817, Mss MsV Tr3

Strother, Enoch, Papers; correspondence and accounts of lawyer/farmer, County, and the Chapman family of , Missouri, 1800-1910, 1,273 items, Mss 39.1 St6

Tazewell, Littleton Waller; autobiography entitled “An Account and History of the Family,” 1823, Mss MsV Ad1

Thomson, Matthew; journal of sheriff and justice of the peace of Clark County, Kentucky, and his son Sanford Thomson, with much information on births, marriages, and deaths in the county, weather reports, land surveys, and other matters, 1820-1858, Mss MsV Ap38 Oversize

Tucker-Coleman Papers, of the Tucker and Coleman families of Williamsburg, Winchester, Lexington, Staunton, and Richmond, including the papers of the jurist St. George Tucker and the politician John Randolph of Roanoke,1770-1907, ca. 30,000 items, Mss 40 T79

Tyler Family Papers; of the of “Sherwood Forest” in Charles City County, including President John Tyler, 165 boxes, Mss 65 T97

Watts, Sarah C., Papers; letters received from her parents while she was in school in Williamsburg and from friends in Williamsburg after she returned home to New London and Lynchburg, 1807-1809, Mss 65 W34

West, Bettie Ann Woodson; journal, Planters Town, Buckingham County, 1802-1803, Mss. MsV Ap41

Woods, Archibald, Papers; of Ohio County (now WV), on pioneer life, the Cumberland Road, Indians, the Whiskey Rebellion, and frontier family life, 1783-1846, 2,775 items, Mss 65 W87

Wilson, James Riddick; diary, Smithfield, 1819-1846, Mss MsV D14

Zimmerman, George; travel account of trip from Switzerland to America, 1744, Mss MsV Tr1

Access Tools

Special Collections Research Center Access Tools: There are a variety of tools available to guide you in finding materials in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). Don't forget that you also may come into the SCRC in person and consult with the staff member on duty for guidance.