Guide to the John McIntosh Kell papers, 1785-1921 and undated


The collection includes papers and volumes created by John McIntosh Kell (1823-1900) of the U.S. Navy and his family. Family correspondence includes letters from John McIntosh Kell's period of service in the U.S. Navy, family and buisness papers from the Kell, Nathan Campbell Munroe, and Tabitha Easter (Napier) Munroe families discussing Georgia policitcs and other local events. Volumes in the collection include logs of the U.S. frigate Savannah, the U.S.S. Falmouth, and Shark. There is also an unpublished manuscript by Kell's wife and a scrapbook of clippings about noted Confederate leaders.

Collection Details

Collection Number
John McIntosh Kell papers
1785-1921 and undated
Kell, John McIntosh
9 Linear Feet
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Collection includes family correspondence consisting of letters from Kell to his mother, Marjory Spalding (Baillie) Kell; his wife , Julia Blanche (Munroe) Kell; and his sisters. Beginning in 1841, Kell's letters cover the period of his service in the U.S. Navy. Topics include accounts of cruises; social activities aboard ship and on land; Commodore Matthew C. Perry; the funeral of Commodore Alexander James Dallas; the countryside in the vicinity of Cape Town, South Africa; descriptions of Montevideo and Uraguay; and references to President Carlos Antonio Lopez of Paraguay. After 1860, Kell's letters concern his duties with the Confederate Navy, including running the blockade on the C.S.S. SUMTER and the subsequent abandonment of the ship.

The collection also includes family and business papers of Nathan Campbell Munroe of Macon, Ga., his wife Tabitha Easter (Napier) Munroe, their daughter Julia Blanche (Munroe) Kell, and other members of the Munroe, McIntosh, and Napier families. Topics include Ga. and national politics, Henry Clay and the Bank of the United States; railroad construction in Ga.; Christ Church Episcopal Parish in Macon; Montpelier Institute, Salem Female Academy, and other educational institutions; temperance; the duel between Thomas Butler King, U.S. Rep. from Ga., and Charles Spalding; town-gown relations at the University of Ala. in Tuscaloosa; riverboat transportation in Ala.; and the fight between the MONITOR and VIRGINIA as described by a Confederate naval officer.

Volumes in the collection include general orders and general watch and quarter bills of the U.S. frigate SAVANNAH, 1843-1847; and logs kept by Kell as midshipman on the U.S.S. FALMOUTH, 1841-1843, and on the SAVANNAH and SHARK, 1843-1847. There is also an unpublished manuscript by Kell's wife, entitled "The Life and Letters of John McIntosh Kell," ca. 1908, and a scrapbook of clippings about noted Confederate leaders pasted in the journal of an unidentified commission merchant.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], John McIntosh Kell papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Letters, 1810-1851
Box 1
Letters, 1852-1859
Box 2
Letters, 1860-1864
Box 3
Letters, 1865-1869
Box 4
Letters, 1860s - 1879
Box 5
Letters, 1880-1944
Box 6
Letters, 1862-1917 and undated
Box 7
Bills and receipts, 1785-1860s
Box 8
Bills and receipts from educational institutions; printed material and clippings; legal papers
Box 9
Writings and Notes; miscellaneous and genealogy; Civil War Scrapbook; logbook, 1841-1843
Box 10
"Life and Letters of J.M. Kell," chapters 1-6 and logbooks, 1843-1847
Box 11
"Life and Letters of J.M. Kell," chapters 7-40
Box 12
Oversize materials
Box 13
Scrapbook, 1863
Volume F:2103
Scrapbook, 1904
Volume ff:2104
Genealogy of the Kell and Nisbet families
Tube 1

Historical Note

John McIntosh Kell (1823-1900) was a naval officer from Darien (McIntosh Co.), Ga.; he served as executive officer of the C.S.S. SUMTER and ALABAMA, and captain of the Confederate ironclad RICHMOND.

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The John McIntosh Kell papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in several accessions from 1960-1974.

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