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Confederate Memorial Association

A Guide to the Confederate Memorial Association Records, 1896–1947
Call Number Mss3 C7602 a FA1

Title

Records, 1896–1947

Size

Ca. 1,600 items (14 manuscript boxes)

Historical Note

The idea of a Confederate Memorial Association was raised at the Confederate Veterans Reunion in Houston, Texas, in 1895. Charles Broadway Rouss, a native Virginian and wealthy New York businessman, offered a large sum toward the erection of a memorial building to maintain records and relics of the Confederate cause, if matching funds could be raised across the South. In the fall of that year, the designated Board of Trustees first met and the movement to fund a "Battle Abbey of the South" began in earnest.

Scope Note

Include minute books, correspondence, reports, accounts, and miscellany of the board of trustees, president, executive committee, secretary and treasurer of the Confederate Memorial Association. Also, include materials concerning the Confederate Memorial Institute, Richmond, Va., and its board of lady managers. Chiefly concerns the construction of a permanent memorial to the Confederate cause, to be located in the city of Richmond, and the subsequent design and building of "Battle Abbey."

Provenance

The records of the Confederate Memorial Association were acquired by the Virginia Historical Society when the two organizations merged in 1946. For a time they were maintained as a part of the archives of the Society, but are now catalogued as a separate manuscript collection open to researchers.

Restrictions:

None.

Collection Description

Series I. Corporate Body

The collection begins with records concerning the Confederate Memorial Association as a corporation. These include original and amended charters and bylaws; records of a suit in the U. S. District Court by Lucinda V. Bodenheimer concerning a personal injury sustained at the Confederate Memorial Institute in Richmond; and essays, pamphlets and other writings on the history of the organization.

Series II. Board of Trustees

Dated 1896–1901, the first minute book of the board of trustees is a typed transcript of the original. Volume II, 1902–1921, contains minutes of meetings of the Trustees and executive committee, as well as a letter of Governor William Hodges Mann offering a part of the Lee Camp Soldiers' Home grounds as a site for the Institute (pp. 185–186), and numerous reports and other documents tipped in. Loose minutes of the board are sporadic through the period 1909–1934, while the miscellaneous materials consist primarily of lists of board members.

Series III. Presidents

Records of five presidents of the Association are contained in the collection: James Taylor Ellyson (1906–1919), George Llewellyn Christian (1919–1923), Eppa Hunton (1924–1931), John Stewart Bryan (1933) and Douglas Southall Freeman (1934–1946). Much of their correspondence is with executive committee members concerning a site for the Institute and competition for architectural plans (1909–1911), the flag display at Battle Abbey (early 1940s) and the merger with the Virginia Historical Society (1946). Little correspondence exists for 1914–1919, and none for 1912–1913, 1915–1917, 1920–1921. Among the prominent correspondents are New York architect John Stewart Barney (1909–1911); Harry Flood Byrd (1929); William McKendree Evans, commander of the R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans (1936); Virginia governors William Hodges Mann (1910), George C. Peery (1935, 1937), John Garland Pollard (1930–1931), and James Hubert Price (1940); Norfolk architect Russell Edward Mitchell (1910); John Cox Underwood (1906); and West Virginia lawyer and judge Robert White, chairman of the executive committee (1909–1911). The presidents made reports to the United Confederate Veterans annually, and several of these are included for the period 1915–1925 (Box 6).

Series IV. Executive Committee

The executive committee for many years managed the Association's affairs most actively. Along with some sporadic minutes (see also Board of Trustees minute books), the collection includes correspondence, 1919–1924. This was primarily generated by George Llewellyn Christian, who during this period served as chairman of the committee and acting president as the result of deaths of several chief officers.

Series V-VI. Secretary and Treasurer

Correspondence of the Association's secretary was maintained by John William Jones (1899, 1904), Alvin M. Smith (1924) and Douglas Southall Freeman (1927–1935). Among the correspondents are Senator Carter Glass (1932) and William McKendree Evans, representing R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1 (1933). The treasurer's records are composed primarily of loose accounts, most of which summarize income and disbursements.

Series VII. Confederate Memorial Institute

The stated goal of the Confederate Memorial Association, to erect a Confederate Memorial Institute, was achieved after long years of debate and discussion. Richmond became the favored site, and negotiations over several parcels of land took place. The commonwealth of Virginia and R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans deeded a tract at the Boulevard and Kensington Avenue, part of the Lee Camp Soldiers' Home grounds, in 1910. The executive committee soon announced a competition for architectural plans for "Battle Abbey," which was won by Bissell and Sinkler of Philadelphia. Construction began in 1912.

Along with title records, the Institute materials include records of the architectural competition in 1910–1911. These consist of notices, the president's correspondence with architects and architectural firms (arranged alphabetically), jury awards, specifications and the resulting contract.

Series VIII. Board of Lady Managers

The Board of Trustees created a board of lady managers in 1919 to oversee the Institute's operations. All members and officers were Richmond residents. Their minute books (two volumes) were maintained by Dorothea Lee Antrim and Elizabeth Strother Bocock, secretaries. Presidents Elizabeth Carter (Minor) Funsten and Katherine Douglas (White) Ferrell and "Battle Abbey" custodian Irene Christian Harris generated most of the correspondence. The remaining account books primarily cover admissions and disbursements. Visitors registers exist for the entire period of the board's management, and the last volume includes one year when management had transferred to the Virginia Historical Society (1947).

Among the miscellaneous materials relating to "Battle Abbey" is a scrapbook kept by Lora Effie (Hotchkiss) Ellyson, which includes clippings, photographs, and correspondence of James Taylor Ellyson, an Association president (especially with Charles Hoffbauer). Other files concern the Robert E. Lee Headquarters papers, the murals painted by Charles Hoffbauer (including an agreement), and the collection pf paintings donated to Virginia by John Barton Payne. In 1919 the Association reached an agreement with the R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans mutually to fund and maintain an annex to the original building (later the central gallery and reading room). The Annex housed the portrait gallery and "archives" of the Lee Camp. Records include a general file, as well as sketches, correspondence, speeches and reminiscences of selected subjects of portraiture presented to the Camp in the 1920s and hung in "Battle Abbey" (see separate index). The last files contain essays and articles on the Institute; a speech of Robert White on the laying of the Institute's cornerstone in 1912 and a reminiscence by the same author; clippings and a scrapbook concerning the T. J. Jackson Monument Association; general miscellany and news clippings.

Guide

Series I. Corporate Body

Box 1: charter and by-laws; materials, 1932–1934, concerning Lucinda Y. Bodenheimer v. C. M. A.; essays, pamphlets, etc.

Series II. Board of Trustees

Box 1: minute book, 1896–1901 (transcript)

Box 2: minute book, 1902–1921; loose minutes, 1909–1934; miscellany

Series III. President

Boxes 3–6: correspondence, 1906–1946

Box 6: reports

Series IV. Executive Committee

Box 7: minutes, 1909–1910; 1920–1921; 1923–1924; 1931–1932; 1934–1935; 1937; correspondence, 1919–1924

Series V. Secretary

Box 8: correspondence, 1899; 1904; 1924–1925; 1927–1928; 1930–1935

Series VI. Treasurer

Boxes 8–9: reports, 1915, 1917; account book, 1921–1946; loose accounts, 1896, 1909–1946

Series VII. Confederate Memorial Institute, Richmond ("Battle Abbey")

Box 9: title records

Box 10: architectural competition, 1910–1911

Box 11: blueprints

Series VIII. Board of Lady Managers (Boxes 11–12)

Box 11: minute books, 1920–1923, 1924–1939; loose minutes, 1926–1937; reports, 1922, 1926, 1935–1940; governing rules and regulations

Box 12: correspondence, 1921–1940; account books, 1940–1942, 1945–1946; miscellany; visitors registers (15 vols.), 1921–1947 (filed on the open shelves following Box 12)

Box 13: scrapbook, 1896–1925; miscellaneous files: Lee Headquarters papers, Hoffbauer murals, Payne collection of paintings

Boxes 13–14: Lee Camp Portrait Gallery essays, articles, etc.; speech and reminiscence of Robert White; T. J. Jackson Monument Assoc.; general miscellany; newspaper clippings

Index to Lee Camp Portraits (Boxes 13–14)

Subject

Authority

Date

George Munford Betts

J. T. Betts

1926

Joseph Virginius Bidgood

Williams McK. Evans
Charles J. Anderson

n.d.

Henry Coalter Cabell

James Alston Cabell

1928

Elijah Lewis Clarke

Nell Roy Clarke

1926

Giles Buckner Cooke

John K. White
John Skelton Williams

1924

John Jeter Crutchfield

Rosewell Page

1924

Joseph Coleman Dickerson

Henry G. Dickerson

1926

Richard Thomas Walker Duke

W. R. Duke

1926

Edgar S. Gay

Robert Gilliam
George Percy Hawes

1924

Robert Hobson Gilliam

J. S. Munce

1924

John Wooton Gordon

J. J. Gravatt
Rosewell Page

1924

James T. Gray

Carlton McCarthy

1926

Don Peters Halsey

Robert D. Yancey

1924

Robert Daniel Johnston

J. A. Hodges

1925

Joseph Brevard Kershaw

W. A. Clark
George Bryan

1924

John Landstreet

John Landstreet

1925

George Washington Custis Lee

Henry St. George Tucker

1925

William Henry Fitzhugh Lee

Henry T. Wickham

1925

Edward Stephen McCarthy

Carlton McCarthy

1923

Hunter Holmes McGuire

Don Peters Halsey

1924

Joseph Benjamin McKenney

James Taylor Stratton

n.d.

John Bowie Magruder

W. R. Freeman
E. M. Magruder

1924

Randy White Martin

Stuart McGuire

1924

William Lewis Moody

K. M. Van Zandt

1924

Robert Ould

Jo Lane Stern

1924

William Watts Parker

Jo Lane Stern

1926

Elisha Franklin Paxton

Jedediah Hotchkiss

n.d.

William Dorsey Pender

F. S. Spruill

n.d.

Alonzo Lafayette Phillips

[?]

1926

John Luke Porter

Martha B. Porter

1924

David Crockett Richardson

Andrew Jackson Montague

1924

Frederic Robert Scott

Charles J. Anderson
A. S. Buford

1924

Charles Goodall Snead

N. J. Perkins

n.d.

Thomas Mann Randolph Talcott

Mary G. Talcott

1928

Charles James Terrell

Thomas G. Faulkner

1925

Lewis Frank Terrell

Thomas G. Faulkner

1925

David Algernon Timberlake

J. William Jones

1905

Richard Peyton Walton

Paulus A. Irving

1924

William Augustine Webb

John Rutherford

1925

Elijah Veirs White

M. S. Thompson

1925

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Last updated: August 11, 2004