Charles William Dabney papers, 1715-1945.

Creator: Dabney, Charles William, 1855-1945.
Collection number: 1412
View finding aid.

Abstract: Charles William Dabney was a scientist, educator, and author. Also represented in the collection are four generations of his ancestors, including William Dabney (ca. 1707-1772?); Charles Dabney (1745-1829); Charles William Dabney (1786-1833); Charles William Dabney (1809-1895); Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898); Lavinia (Morrison) Dabney (1823-1905); and James Morrison (fl. 1817-1865). Papers from 1716 to about 1833 consist of business and personal correspondence and other papers of William Dabney, Charles Dabney, and Charles William Dabney (1786-1833), and their relatives, chiefly in Hanover, King William, and Louisa counties, Va. These items concern tobacco planting and shipping and the purchase of merchandise, and post-Revolutionary War land acquisitions in Kentucky; plantation management; current events; and family activities. Papers of Robert Lewis Dabney, clergyman, teacher, Confederate staff officer and chaplain, concern Presbyterian church matters, Hampden-Sidney College, Union Theological Seminary of Virginia, the Civil War, a biography of Stonewall Jackson, and Dabney and Morrison family news from Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas. Other Civil War material includes original and photocopied correspondence from Robert E. Lee, and reports and casualty lists of the battle of Kernstown, 1862. There are also several letters from clergyman Benjamin Mosby Smith (1811-1893). Correspondence of Charles William Dabney (1855-1945) concerns projects of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; the development of mineral resources; the advancement of scientific, technical, agricultural, and general education; his education in Virginia and Germany; scientific work in state agencies in North Carolina, 1880-1887; his presidency of the University of Tennessee, 1887-1904, and of the University of Cincinnati, 1904-1920; conflict with German-Americans in Cincinnati; family matters as reflected in correspondence with his wife and other family members, 1877-1925; and the writing of his memoirs and works on educational history. Dabney’s materials also include writings, addresses, scrapbook materials, and pictures. Volumes in the collection include ten 18th-century Virginia account books; James Morrison’s sermon notes; and copies of family histories by William McPheeters, 1842, and John Blair Dabney, 1850.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Includes a report from a slave of the cruelty of an overseer, requests for baby clothes for slaves, and a certificate of reward for the return of a runaway slave (1772). In a letter dated 14 November 1852, Charles William Dabney wrote to Robert Lewis Dabney, justifying slavery.┬áThe collection also contains an undated letter from R. L. Dabney to the Head of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Also included are three images of African American agricultural workers and domestic servants (Images P-1412/120, 123, and 138).