Robert Barnwell Rhett papers, 1835-1880.

Creator: Rhett, Robert Barnwell, 1800-1876.
Collection number: 3204
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Abstract: Robert Barnwell Rhett (1800-1876) was a congressman and senator from South Carolina, 1837-1852, and a member of the Nashville Convention, 1850; the secession convention, 1861; and the Confederate Congress at Montgomery, 1861. Papers relating to Robert Barnwell Rhett and his sons Alfred M. Rhett, Edmund Rhett Jr., and Herbert Rhett. Papers, 1835-1853, are of Robert Barnwell Rhett and chiefly concern national and sectional politics, including controversies over the federal tariff; nullification; bank organization; the annexation of Texas; Democratic Party organization, factions, candidates, campaigns, and elections; the political fortunes of Martin Van Buren, John C. Calhoun, and James K. Polk; slavery; secession; and political appointments and favors. Other topics include property matters and Rhett’s personal financial arrangements; family activities; the education of some of his children; negotiations and mission to England to recover duties wrongly imposed on rough rice; and a physician’s account, 1836-1840, for family and servants at Rhett’s Blue House in Colleton County, S.C. Papers, 1853-1863, are of Alfred M. Rhett and Edmund Rhett Jr., and include several items pertaining to duels, others related to the running of the Charleston (S.C.) Mercury, and to Edmund’s Confederate service commanding Brook’s Guard. Papers of Herbert Rhett, 1868-1870 and 1879-1880, are chiefly family letters. Undated items include many family and personal letters, a manuscript article on the Civil War, invitations to public rallies, bills, and letter fragments.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: The collection includes a physician’s account for Rhett “family and servants” (1840) and some letters discussing slavery (1840-1849). Microfilm available.