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Guide to the Washington M. Smith Papers, 1830-1916 and undated

Abstract

Planter, banker, and lawyer, of Selma, Alabama

Business and personal correspondence and other papers of Washington M. Smith and the Smith family, containing information on Smith's interests in banking, law, and agriculture, on economic conditions in Alabama after 1840, public schools and their establishment in Alabama, tax collection in the Confederate States, social life and customs in Selma, economic conditions during Reconstruction, Smith's successful efforts to reestablish in New York and England his former affluency, and family affairs. Includes a series of letters of Smith's daughter, Ella, and her husband, Hilary A. Herbert. Most of the items before 1850 and after 1869 are family letters and papers.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Smith, Washington M., ca. 1820-1869
Title
Washington M. Smith papers, 1830-1916 and undated
Language of Material
English
Extent
11.4 Linear Feet, 8,578 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Personal, legal and financial papers of Washington M. Smith, lawyer, planter, and president of the Bank of Selma, relating to his law practice; his appointment as legal advisor for the Bank of Alabama in Tuscaloosa; his presidency of the Bank of Selma; the development of his plantation in Dallas County; exports of cotton and naval stores through brokers in Mobile; his real estate ventures in Selma and in Minnesota, and the inheritance by his wife, Susan (Parker) Smith, of property in Texas; the movement in the 1850s for public schools; his service on the school board of Selma, 1865-1868; his service as state representative in 1844 and in 1861-1863; his struggle after the Civil War to rebuild his estate; his efforts to establish a private banking house in Selma his partnership with John McGinnis in a general banking and stock and gold brokerage business in New York; attempts to restore the prosperity of his plantation, including contracts with many of his former slaves; his journey to England to establish cotton markets; his despondency over economic conditions in Alabama; and his consideration of migration to California. Arranged in the following series: Correspondence, Legal Papers, Financial Papers, Printed Material, and Volumes.

Included are personal correspondence between Smith and his wife while on his travels; records of slave purchases and sales; correspondence, bills, and receipts relating to the running of the plantation; scattered price current bulletins for Mobile, Alabama, 1848-1866, and for Liverpool, England, 1865-1869; Smith's petition for pardon to Andrew Johnson explaining his feelings about secession and his activities during the war, and other miscellaneous items pertaining to Smith's activities. After Smith's death in 1869, the papers chiefly relate to the education of their seven children at various schools and academies, including Virginia Military Institute (Lexington, Virginia), Moore's Business College (Atlanta, Georgia), the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), and Shorter College (Rome, Georgia); to the settlement and administration of the Smith estate; to a family quarrel between Susan (Parker) Smith and her children over disposal of the property in Minnesota; and to the children's efforts at various occupations. Also included are letters of Colonel Hilary A. Herbert (1834-1919), U.S. congressman from Alabama, 1877-1893, and secretary of the navy, 1893-1897, and husband of Smith's daughter, Ella, chiefly concerning family matters; letters from Leila Herbert, daughter of Hilary A. Herbert and Ella (Smith) Herbert, Washington hostess, and author of The First American, His Homes and Households (1900), discussing family matters and Washington social activities; numerous account books of Susan (Parker) Smith containing records of household expenses; course of study of the Selma Study Club, 1907-1908; catalog of the San Souci girls' school near Greenville, South Carolina, 1902-1903; the annual report of Beta Theta Pi for 1896; and other miscellaneous items.

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

1841-1863
Box 1
1864-1869 Feb.
Box 2
1869 Mar.-1872 May
Box 3
1872 June-1875
Box 4
1876-1879
Box 5
1880-1883
Box 6
1884-1887
Box 7
1888-1889
Box 8
1890-1893 June
Box 9
1893 July-1894
Box 10
1895-1896 Mar.
Box 11
1896 Apr.-1897 Mar.
Box 12
1897 Apr.-1898
Box 13
1899-1902 June
Box 14
1902 July-1916
Box 15
1833-1869
Box 15
1870-1904
Box 16
1830-1850s
Box 17
1850s-1860s
Box 18
1860s-1870s
Box 19
1870s
Box 20
1870s-1880s
Box 21
1890s
Box 22
1890s-1913 and undated
Box 23
Miscellany, Printed material
Box 24
Printed material
Box 25

Volumes Series

(2 boxes)
Volumes
Box 25-26

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Washington M. Smith Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The Washington M. Smith Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 1957.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff

Encoded by Ted Holt and Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, August 2008

Accession 56-376 is 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.