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A.S. Williams III Americana Collection: Women's History

Family and Personal Papers

Alice J. Norton Letters (W.0166): The collection contains the correspondence, outgoing and incoming, of botanist and author Alice J. Norton of Bristol, Connecticut. Besides the usual subjects of health and family, the letters cover a much wider range of topics, including plants, drawing, photography, and travel.

Howard Weeden Papers (W.0008): This collection includes three handwritten journals and one published devotional. The journals are collections of quotes and illustrations. The first journal includes several illustrations related to the short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The published devotional, entitled Devout Exercises of the Heart and written by Elizabeth Rowe, contains a note which says the volume was published in 1735.

Virginia J. Hanson Papers (W.0018): This collection contains a high school memory book, correspondence, research notes, and manuscripts written by Birmingham teacher Virginia J. Hanson. The research notes are related to Hanson's master's thesis, completed in 1937. Correspondence written in 1935 documents Hanson's attempts to collect African American and Native American stories for inclusion in her thesis. 

“Mammy” Stories (W.0026): This handwritten, twenty-four page manuscript by Birmingham author Julia Neely Finch describes "an old-time Southern Mammy," which Finch writes is "a picture drawn from real life." Finch provides a vivid yet lyrical description of the unnamed mammy's physical appearance, speech, and daily life.

Letters to Elizabeth J. Coman (W.0047): This collection consists of a series of letters to Elizabeth J. Coman of Athens, Alabama, from her husband and sisters and dated between 1834 and 1843. Letters from Coman's husband, James Coman, describe his trips to Florence and Bellefonte, Alabama, and Louisville, Kentucky. A letter from Coman's sister, S. A. Martin, describes college entrance examinations, while letters from Coman's sister Rebecca Mason describe daily life in Nashville, Tennessee.

Alice Alison Lide and Margaret Alison Johansen Papers (W.0058): This collection contains correspondence related to the books of Alabama authors Alice Alison Lide and Margaret Alison Johansen. The bulk of the correspondence is dated from 1938 to 1959 and reference a number of Lide and Johansen's books. The collection also contains research notes, including a church registry of St. Paul's Parish in Carlowville, Alabama, and correspondence concerning Reverend Francis Robert Goulding, a Georgian who invented an early sewing machine. It also includes manuscripts of the novels The Wooden Locket, and The Outsider

Jennie C. Lee Papers (W.0113): The Jennie C. Lee papers contain photographs; letters; telegrams; newspaper clippings; programs for assorted musical performances and dedications; pamphlets; publications; and circulars. Two scrapbooks contain numerous photographs, loose and attached to scrapbook pages. There are several photographs of persons who are clearly Tuskegee Institute faculty members. Many have brief descriptions or names written on them. For example, one very small photograph has the inscription "choir & visitors - Roosevelt's visit '06." Correspondence of significance includes a telegram from Booker T. Washington in 1903 inviting her to Tuskegee and a letter Booker T. Washington wrote to her in 1906. 

Harriet Anna Kennedy Papers (W.0117): This ninety-six page notebook contains a collection of poems written by Harriet Anna Kennedy, the wife of plantation owner Warren Eason Kennedy. Writing under the pseudonyms "Crazy Carrie" and "Carrie Carlton," Kennedy describes her daily life in Greensboro, Alabama, in a series of satirical poems. Written between April 1863 and March 1864, the poems provide insight into Kennedy's views on marriage, family, and her medical treatment. The collection also includes a letter and three pages of poetry that are not bound in the notebook. The poems are addressed to Kennedy's daughter, Bettie Eborn and includes poems written by Kennedy and others. 

Joseph B. Graham Speeches and Letter (W.0095): This collection contains four speeches written by Talladega educator Joseph B. Graham. The earliest speech is dated 1884, while later speeches are undated. Most of Graham's speeches address the role of education and the commemoration of the Civil War. The collection contains two copies of a particularly interesting speech on the education of women; while Graham argues that both men and woman should receive an equal level of physical, intellectual, and moral training, he argues that women should avoid political activism and denounces the "petticoat government" of states such as Kansas, which had granted women suffrage.

Henry Tutwiler Papers (W.0081): This collection contains two account books and one commonplace book compiled by Henry Tutwiler. The slim, black-and-green account book records the tuition payments and expenditures of students at Greensboro Academy in Hale County, Alabama. Entries are recorded from October 1868 to July 1869, a period when Henry Tutwiler's daughter, Julia Strudwick Tutwiler, served as the school's principal. A 200-page yellow account book records Henry Tutwiler's personal expenditures in entries dated from 1865 to 1873. Notable entries include payments to three women identified as doctors who may have been faculty members at Greensboro Academy: Nora Nugent, Annie Lamb, and Ann Feeney. 

Garner Family Letters (W.0030): This collection consists of typed transcripts of correspondence written by the extended Garner family between 1832 and 1886. Notable features include a sizable collection of letters written by W.W. Garner to his wife, Henrietta Humphry Garner and sister, Elvira Ellington. These letters, written between 1861 and 1864, document Garner's experiences serving in the Tenth Regiment, a home guard unit stationed in Arkansas. Garner's letters also provide insight into the worsening economic conditions in the Confederacy during the war. A smaller collection of letters documents the family's life after the war. This collection also contains a small collection of poems written by Henrietta Garner between 1851 and 1859.

Photograph Collections

Jennie C. Lee Scrapbooks (W.0113): The Jennie C. Lee papers contain photographs; letters; telegrams; newspaper clippings; programs for assorted musical performances and dedications; pamphlets; publications; and circulars. Volume one, 1891-1934, contains numerous photographs, loose and attached to scrapbook pages. There are several photographs of persons who are clearly Tuskegee Institute faculty members. Many have brief descriptions or names written on them. Volume two, 1905-1938, is smaller than volume one, and it contains the same types of material. 

Lincoln Normal School Albums: This collection consists of two photograph albums from the Lincoln Normal School in Marion, Alabama, among the first schools established for the education of freed slaves after the Civil War. Taken 1909 to 1924, they include images of students, teachers, facilities, and activities. [Digitized versions]

Southern Cartes de Visite Collection: This collection includes over three thousand small photographs known as cartes de visite. The small images, mounted on cardstock, were the most popular and inexpensive form of portrait photography.The people depicted in this collection hailed from southern cities and towns in the second half of the nineteenth century. While many of the identities of these people are unknown, the cartes de visite reveal the individual character of towns and accurately capture the development of fashion over this time. [Digitized versions]

Collection on Women in Alabama

The Collection on Women in Alabama (W.0005) includes letters, diaries, and one speech related to individual Alabama women. Several of the letters relate to the life of Mrs. Robert Douglas Johnston, the founder of the Alabama Boys Industrial School. There are also two letters written by Dixie B. Graves, the wife of Alabama governor Bibb Graves. Other notable items include the notebook of a Blocton woman documenting the actions of her abusive husband; a letter from Sue S. White of the National Women's Party discussing the failed suffrage ratification attempts in Alabama; a letter written by Angeline M. Krecker in 1853 describing life in Mobile; and the transcript of a speech delivered by B. F. Eborn in the late nineteenth-century, debating the question, "Is woman really better than man?"

  • Elizabeth Johnson Materials: Includes two biographical sketches, an undated letter, two postcards dated 1915 and 1925, and newspaper clippings dated 1937-1957.
  • Dixie Graves Letters: Two letters, dated 1927 and 1928, written by Dixie Graves, wife of Alabama governor Bibb Graves and the first woman U.S. Senator from Alabama.
  • Notebook of Blocton, Alabama Woman: Contains 1891 notebook detailing the actions of her abusive husband, including names of witnesses to the abuse.
  • Sue S. White Suffrage Letter: Contains a letter from the National Organizer of the National Woman's Party, Sue S. White, to the Alabama branch after Alabama failed to ratify the suffrage amendment in 1919.
  • Angeline M. Krecker Letter: Contains a letter from Angeline M. Krecker to her brother in Columbus, Mississippi, describing her visit to Mobile, Alabama. She states that, "in almost every store I go into there are woman clerks."
  • B.F. Eborn Speech: Manuscript of a debate speech delivered at Southern University in Greensboro, Alabama, entitled "Is Woman Really Better Than Man?" There is a note on the folder that states "Mr. Eborn spoke on the affirmative."

Commonplace Books

These 19th century scrapbooks contain things their compilers wanted to keep or remember. Sometimes handwritten, sometimes featuring interleaved or pasted-in ephemera, their contents may include poems and quotations; journal entries; correspondence from friends and family; sketches and drawings; and recipes.

Follow the link to the Finding Aid for details about each collection.

Memory Books and Graduate Books

These keepsake albums were kept by young Alabama women in the early twentieth century as they graduated high school and entered into adulthood. The books were designed to be specialized scrapbooks for keeping autographs, photographs, invitations and programs.

Follow the link to the Finding Aid, where available, for details about each collection. Otherwise, inquire with Williams Collection staff for more information.