John Kimberly papers, 1821-1938.

Creator: Kimberly, John, 1817-1882.
Collection number: 398
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Abstract: John Kimberly was professor of chemistry and agriculture at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., 1857-1864 and 1875-1876, and farmer in Buncombe County, N.C., 1866-1874. Personal correspondence, lecture notes, laboratory notebooks, and accounts of John Kimberly. The bulk of the collection is the family correspondence of Kimberly’s second wife, Bettie Maney of Nashville, Tenn., and other members of the Maney, Southall, and Kimberly families. Included are young girls’ letters, 1850s, from Saint Mary’s School at Raleigh, N.C.; soldiers’ letters from the Mexican War; letters from American travelers and students in Europe, 1851-1852 and 1859-1860; and Civil War letters, mainly from civilians at Chapel Hill, Nashville, and Atlanta, Ga., discussing life on the homefront. Correspondents include James H. Otey, Charles Phillips, and James Woodrow. Antebellum letters are mainly concerned with daily life and family news, but also discuss current events, such as the slave market, runaway slaves, crop conditions prior to the Civil War, and life in Chapel Hill. Some wartime letters relate to the occupation of Chapel Hill. Most of the letters prior to 1930 are transcribed. Letters after 1930 (not transcribed) are primarily the correspondence of Rebecca Kimberly of Columbia, S.C., concerning genealogy. Also in the collection are notebooks containing financial records, class plans, and research materials of John Kimberly. Most of these notebooks combine various types of materials and several have overlapping dates. There are a few pictures, including prints of engraved portraits and scenes.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights:Correspondence includes discussion of plantation slavesĀ  in 1835 (Folder 2); the sale of slaves in 1837 and 1864 (Folders 2, 44-46); and the difficulties of living under Reconstruction’s land policies. The collection also contains a letter from a former slave written from Africa giving news of her family and asking about her former owners and friends in North Carolina in 1859 (Folders 20-25).