Guide to the Thomas Nelson Page Papers, 1739-1927 and undated, bulk 1885-1920
Virginia lawyer and writer; ambassador to Italy from 1913-1919. The Thomas Nelson Page Papers span the years 1739-1927. Personal and professional correspondence, legal and business papers, writings, diplomatic dispatches, clippings and other items (chiefly 1885-1920) relate to Page's legal and literary career; his activities as a lyceum lecturer; his marriages and family relations; and his interest in civic affairs, plantation life, social reform and race relations in the United States, particularly during and after Reconstruction; American politics and diplomacy, especially during World War I; and European travel. Many of his papers directly relate to his term as ambassador to Italy during World War I, from 1913 to 1919.
- Collection Number
- Thomas Nelson Page papers
- 1739-1927 and undated, bulk 1885-1920
- Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922
- 12.4 Linear Feet, 9329 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English and Italian
- Correspondence Series, 1739-1927 and undated
- Legal and Financial Papers Series, 1875-1923
- Writings and Speeches Series, 1863-1920 and undated
- Diplomacy Series, 1915-1919 and undated
- Visual Materials Series, circa 1915-undated
- Personal Papers Series, 1863-1917 and undated
- Clippings Series, 1882-1919
- Oversize Material, 1898-1912
The Thomas Nelson Page Papers span the years 1739-1927, with the majority of the materials dating from the 1880s to 1920. The papers include personal and professional correspondence, legal and business papers, writings, diplomatic dispatches, clippings and other items, all relating to Page's legal and literary career. Topics include his activities as a lyceum lecturer; his marriages and family relations; his role in and perspective on American politics and foreign relations, particularly during World War II; travels in Europe; and his interest in civic affairs, social reform and race relationsin the United States, particularly during and following Reconstruction. Collection is arranged in the following series: Correspondence, Legal and Financial Papers, Writings and Speeches, Diplomacy, Visual Materials, Personal Papers, and Clippings Two oversize newspapers are described in a series at the end of the finding aid.
In the Correspondence Series, the largest in the collection, letters prior to 1880 include personal correspondence from various members of the Page family, especially between Thomas Nelson Page, his mother, Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page, and brother, Rosewell Page, who lived at the ancestral estate, "Oakland," in Hanover County, Virginia. Page describes his political activities in letters concerning the presidential campaigns of 1912 and 1916. Correspondence from this period also includes personal letters to members of the family describing new experiences in diplomatic life, and routine business correspondence. Significant correspondents in the series include C. F. Adams, Grover Cleveland, Josephus Daniels, J. C. Harris, William D. Howells, Robert Lansing, Robert T. Lincoln, Henry C. Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt, E. Root, J. M. Stoddart, and William H. Taft. For some of these individuals only one or two pieces of correspondence exist. Another set of correspondence, dated 1883-1912 and interfiled at the end of the correspondence series, comprises photocopies of letters (and a few other items, including a telegram, Christmas greeting, and obituary clipping on Henry Hobson) chiefly from Page to close friend Henry Wise Hobson (1858-1898), originally of Virginia, and to his wife Katherine. Notes: Originals for photocopies are in the donor's possession. The collection also includes two scrapbooks, found in the Personal Papers Series, containing cards and envelopes from distinguished persons. This series also houses documents related to Page's ties with the University of Virginia, personal reminiscences, various fragmentary notes, and a journal from 1863. Four folders of carbon copies of diplomatic dispatches from Page to the U.S. State Department and to President Woodrow Wilson, along with other papers related to his diplomatic activities, can be found in the Diplomacy Series. Another small group, the Legal and Financial Series, houses documents relating to Page's properties and other business affairs. The Writings and Speeches Series contains many manuscripts and drafts of political and literary speeches, memoirs, essays, and articles, but none of Page's major literary works. Several folders of materials in this series contain Page's detailed journalistic notes describing his trips in 1916 to the war fronts in Italy and France. Extensive folders of cuttings in the Clippings Series were taken from both American and Italian newspapers, and comprise a significant portion of the collection. The clippings refer to events in Page's career such as lyceum appearances, political appointments, and political speeches, both in the United States and in Italy. In addition, Page clipped articles referring to race relations in the United States, particularly in the South. The clippings also document national and global events during Page's years as an ambassador to Italy from 1913 to 1919, and provide rich background material for a study of United States foreign relations with Italy and other countries during World War I. There are also a few photographs in the Visual Materials Series, some of which depict scenes from wartime Italy.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Thomas Nelson Page Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Arranged in chronological order.
Consists of records dealing with royalties due to Thomas Nelson Page and property owned by Page. Arranged in alphabetical order.
Consists primarily of literary manuscripts, addresses and speeches written by Thomas Nelson Page. Also included are various other writers on Southern history. Arranged in chronological order.
Various official missives and documents arising from Page's activities diplomatic activies in Europe. Arranged in chronological order.
Photographs include family trips, the campus of the University of Virginia, and the effects of World War I on Italy.
Of note are the materials on the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. Another section is dedicated to the rebuilding efforts at the University of Virginia. Arranged in alphabetical order.
Extensive collection of clippings taken from major American and Italian newspapers, chiefly from the period when Page was writing about race relations and other social issues in the United States, and during his politically active period from 1910 to the 1920s. Most of the American clippings have been photocopied from the originals. Other clippings may be fragile; handle with care. Photocopies may be necessary to access material. Arranged within geographical categories chronologically by date.
[Extremely fragile. Consult with a Reference Archivist to use this item.]
|1853 Apr. 23||
Page born on Oakland Plantation, Hanover County, Va.
Attended Washington College
Graduated from University of Virginia Law School
Published "Marse Chan"
|1886 July 28||
Married Anne Seddon Bruce
Published "Unc' Edingburgh's Drowndin'" and "No Haid Pawn"
|1888 Dec. 22||
Death of Anne Seddon Bruce Page
Toured on lyceum circuit
Married Florence Field
Headed alumni campaign to raise funds for rebuilding of University of Virginia rotunda
Oakland Plantation burned
Chairman of Reception Committe for Wilson's Inauguration
|1913 July 6||
Appointed ambassador to Italy
Returned home on leave
Resumed post in Italy
|1919 July 5||
Resigned post of ambassador
Wrote volume on Italy and the World War
Florence Page died
|1922 Nov. 1||
Died at Oakland Plantation
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Hobson, Henry Wise, 1858-1898
- Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922
- Page, Elizabeth Burwell Nelson
- Page, Rosewell, 1858-1939
- Page family
- Wilson, Woodrow
- African Americans -- Southern States -- 1865-1951
- Ambassadors -- United States
- Authors, American -- Virginia
- Lyceums -- United States
- Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1912
- Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1916
- Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Southern States
- World War, 1914-1918 -- United States
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Italy
- France -- Description and travel
- Italy -- History -- 1914-1922
- Italy -- Foreign relations -- United States
- Italy -- Description and travel
- Southern States -- Race relations -- History -- 1865-1951
- United States -- Foreign relations -- Italy
- United States. Foreign Service -- History
The Thomas Nelson Page Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1937.
Processed by Ted Holt and David Hershey, Dec. 2006
Encoded by Ted Holt and Paula Jeannet
Completed Dec. 2006
Accessions 1037 and 03-163 were merged into one collection and described in this finding aid.