Menu

Guide to the Jacob Mordecai Papers, 1784-1936

Abstract

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.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Mordecai, Jacob, 1762-1838.
Title
Jacob Mordecai papers 1784-1936
Language of Material
English
Extent
4.0 Linear Feet, 2558 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

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.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

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 society and customs in the 19th century, including the Richmond theater, which burned in 1811; 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.

Correspondence and papers, 1784-1817
Box 1
Correspondence and papers, 1818-1821
Box 2
Correspondence and papers, 1822-1824
Box 3
Correspondence and papers, 1825-1832
Box 4
Correspondence and papers, 1833-1855
Box 5
Correspondence and papers, 1856-1936 and undated
Box 6
Papers, notes and fragments
Box 6
Financial papers
Box 6
Miscellaneous papers
Box 6
Oversize items
Oversize Box 5
Isabel R. Mordecai Journal (Charleston, SC), 1858-1859
Volume M-3002
Isabel Mordecai Journal (Charleston, SC), 1859-1861
Volume M-3003
Samuel Mordecai & Company Ledger (Petersburg, VA), 1839-1865
Volume F-3006

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.

Correspondence, 1805-1881
Box 1
Miscellany
Box 1

Historical Note

Educator, of Warrenton, N.C., and Richmond, Va.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Jacob Mordecai Papers, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Jacob Mordecai Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1940-1960.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library Staff

Encoded by Noah Huffman, January 2010

Accessions were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.