Fitzgerald family papers, 1864-1954.

Creator: Fitzgerald family.
Collection number: 4177
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Abstract: Diaries, 1864 and 1867-1871, and a sketchbook of Robert G. Fitzgerald (1840-1919); copies of his pension record and marriage certificate and of the manumission certificate of Thomas Fitzgerald (father of Robert G.); two letters; and articles about members of the Fitzgerald family, including Fitzgerald’s granddaughter, Pauli Murray. Fitzgerald’s diary, 1864, describes his trip from Boston to Virginia; life in the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment; war news, especially the activities of other black regiments; and his feelings about the war and the future of blacks. His later diary describes his work in freedmen’s schools in Amelia County, Va., and in Hillsborough, Orange County, N.C.; church affairs and social life; and his political activities, including a description, 31 July-2 August 1867, of the Virginia state Republican convention, to which he was a delegate. Some entries in 1867 describe Fitzgerald’s studies at Lincoln University (originally Ashmun Institute), life at the college, and church and social life. Entries, 1868-1871, describe in detail Fizgerald’s school in North Carolina; the Ku-Klux Klan; Republican politics; the Union League; Fitzgerald’s tanning business; a brick kiln established with his brother; building his house; and his farm and family life, including his new wife, Cornelia Smith. Fitzgerald’s undated sketchbook includes portraits of soldiers, a sketch of Ashmun Institute (later Lincoln University), and other scenes.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Microfilm Only. The collection includes copies of Fitzgerald’s pension record, his marriage certificate, and his father’s manumission certificate. Fitzgerald’s diary entries record the activities of black regiments and personal thoughts on the future for blacks in America; employment at a freedman’s school in Amelia Court House, Virginia; views of the local African-American community; political activities; attendance at Lincoln University; and personal and professional affairs as well as those of the African-American community in Hillsborough, Orange County, North Carolina.