Digitized Archival Material

Elizabeth Johnson Harris memoir, 1867-1923

Elizabeth Johnson Harris was born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1867 to parents who had been slaves. Her 85 page handwritten memoir provides glimpses of her early childhood, of race relations, of her own ambivalence about her place as an African-American in society and of the importance of religion and education in her life. This online collection includes full text of her memoirs as well as several of her poems and vignettes that were published in various newspapers during her lifetime.

Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson letters

Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson were enslaved at Montcalm, the family home of David and Mary Campbell, located in Abingdon, Virginia. During the years David Campbell served as Governor of Virginia (1847-1850), he and his family moved into the Governor's mansion in Richmond, taking several of their slaves with them but leaving Hannah and Lethe to care for the homestead. These letters were written by Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson to the family members they were separated from and Mary Campbell. The original letters are part of the Campbell Family Papers.

Violet Lester letter

This online collection consists of a single letter from the Joseph Allred Papers written by Violet Lester, an enslaved woman, to her former playmate and owner, Patsey Patterson (born Martha Ann "Patsy" Allred), on 29 August 1857. Violet traces the history of her sale by the Patterson family, noting that she is now owned by James B. Lester. She states her strong desire to see her family members and former owners again, and struggles with a strong, yet acknowledged as unlikely, hope that they will buy her back. She sends greetings to all, and asks her family members to write to her "So I may here from them if I cannot See them..." However, her main intent is to discover the whereabouts of her daughter, who was to be delivered or sold to the Walker family. She indicates that Lester is interested in buying the girl if she is for sale, and requests Patsey to write to her with an update and news.