The Records are arranged into 25 series. Series 1: The Bryant Bennett Papers, 1767-1902, document the life and work of Bryant Bennett, a Martin County, North Carolina merchant and planter. Includes mercantile accounts, plantation account books (1848-1883), slave records, deeds, promissory notes, property tax receipts, and letters sent to Bennett in the later years of his life concerning business and personal matters.
Series 2: The Samuel Simpson Biddle Papers, 1764-1895, consist of business and personal correspondence of four generations of the Simpson and Biddle families of Craven County, North Carolina, principally those of John Simpson, his son Samuel, and his great-grandson Samuel Simpson Biddle. The early correspondence primarily concerns the Simpson and Biddle families mercantile and agricultural business interests and land dealings, but there is also correspondence related to the education of Biddle family members at various universities in North Carolina. Also some Civil War letters contain descriptions of campaigns, troop movements, camp life, epidemics, naval battles, Union prisoners, deserters, and various generals and politicians. This series also holds letters from ministers concerning the Baptist Church in east central North Carolina as well as some Baptist Church records. There also are notes, deeds, leases, wills, slave records, and invoices and receipts concerned with the business interests of the Simpson and Biddle families.
Series 3: The Devereux Family Papers, 1776-1936, chiefly include the personal letters of Thomas Pollock Devereux, Sarah Elizabeth Devereux, John Devereux, and Margaret Mordecai Devereux, all of Wake County, North Carolina, and Robert L. Maitland of New York. Topics include: family matters, Civil War camp life, and the military careers of Devereux family members. Within this series there are also financial and legal papers concerning land disputes, surveys, and estate settlements. Also contained in these papers are a business ledger (1821-1839) of Thomas Pollock Devereux and a plantation account book (1842-1863) of John Devereux relating to the management of the Barrow, Montrose, and Runiroi plantations. These account books also contain extensive slave lists including names and birth, death, and purchase dates.
Series 4: The William T. Bain Papers, 1850-1865, principally contain the family letters of William T. Bain, his wife and children sent to his daughter Mollie Bain Bitting, all of Wake County, North Carolina.The letters concern the plantation business, slaves and slave punishments, and national and regional politics.
Series 5: The Major Bell Papers, 1853-1864, comprise the personal and business letters of Major Bell of Pasquotank County, North Carolina including letters from his daughter Christian Bell at Chowan Female College in North Carolina.
Series 6: The E. A. Crudup Papers, 1857-1872, consist of two extremely detailed plantation diaries of Edward Alston Crudup of Franklin County, North Carolina. Information contained in the diaries includes accounts of slave expenses, slave names and other slave records, and accounts concerning crop conditions.
Series 7: The John Buxton Williams Papers, 1804-1870, contain the personal correspondence of John Buxton Williams, a Warren County, North Carolina planter, and Henry G. Williams, a North Carolina General Assembly member, chiefly concerning agricultural affairs, the hiring and treatment of slaves.
Series 8: The Lucy Cole Burwell Papers, 1751-1905, comprise the personal correspondence and letters of Lucy Cole Burwell and the Burwell family of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and Warren County, North Carolina. These papers document the social life of an agrarian family over four generations. The series also includes a ledger (1807-1807) for Lewis A. Burwell of Mecklenburg County, and an account book (1866-1868) for the Mecklenburg County mercantile firm White and Burwell.
Series 9: The William Massie Papers, 1766-1882, include the papers of William Massie, his brother Thomas and their father Thomas, all plantation owners in Nelson County, Virginia. The collection contains letters exchanged between family members concerning family matters and business letters between the family and mercantile firms in Lynchburg and Richmond, Virginia; and Maryland. There are also a less amount of letters concerning William Massie's political career and the Civil War. This series also has indentures, deeds, genealogies, the estate records of William and Thomas Massie, an architect's drawings of the plantation buildings and landscape (1847-1862), plantation account ledgers (1817-1857), surveys, and a weather notebook (1858-1860).
Series 10: The Hugh Minor and Peter Carr Minor Papers, 1812-1870, principally consist of the plantation records of Peter Carr Minor, agricultural reformer and owner of Ridgeway Plantation in Albemarle County,Virginia, and his son Hugh Minor. Includes plantation account books and agricultural notebooks concerning plantation operations and production, and the weather. Also contains the agricultural notebooks of Hugh Minor, including a rather full description of Ridgeway Plantation. The estate accounts (1816-1835) of Peter Carr Minor are also within this series.
Series 11: The Isaac Butler Papers, 1816-1907, contain the personal correspondence and business records of Isaac Butler and the Butler family of Caroline County, Virginia; and Florida, Illinois, New York and Ohio. Includes letters exchanged between Butler family members concerning family matters, business activities in relation to their tobacco plantation, and general social and economic conditions. The letters post-dating Isaac Butler's death principally consist of a long correspondence between Isaac's son Thomas Butler and his uncle Leland W. Butler. Also in this series are the estate records of Isaac Butler and an undated plantation account book.
Series 12: The Sterling Neblett Papers, 1821-1871, are the business and personal letters of Sterling Neblett, physician and planter of Lunenburg County, Virginia, and Mississippi. Topics include: the purchase and sale of land in Virginia, legal difficulties selling slaves in Mississippi and Louisiana, and his plantation and business affairs.
Series 13: The Green W. Penn Papers, 1764-1894, consist of the personal and business correspondence of the Green W. Penn and the Penn family of Henry and Patrick Counties, Virginia. Principal topics include: the tobacco culture, westward migration, life in the South, Virginia politics, religious life, Civil War battle campaigns, camp life and sickness, the economic conditions during Reconstruction, presidential elections, and manumission.
Series 14: William H. E. Merritt Papers, 1834-1889, contain the family and business correspondence of William H. E. Merritt, Brunswick County, Virginia legislator and plantation owner. The correspondence principally concerns the purchase and sale of slaves, slave manumissions, camp life in the Confederate States of America Army, Civil War battle campaigns, and conditions of African-Americans after manumission. Also includes plantation accounts, invoices, and receipts.
Series 15: The Henry Clark Papers, 1806-1845, comprise the business and personal letters, invoices, receipts, legal papers, and checks of Henry Clark, a Campbell County, Virginia tobacco planter.
Series 16: George Dromgoole and Richard B. Robinson Papers, 1767-1974, are composed of the papers of George Coke Dromgoole, Edward Dromgoole, and other members of the Dromgoole family of Brunswick County, Virginia, including Richard B. Robinson, George Dromgoole's nephew. The papers of George Coke Dromgoole include a large number of letters concerning plantation operations and production, Virginia politics, and Dromgoole family matters. The papers of Richard B. Robinson include correspondence, business records, and a daybook (1848-1868). The papers of Edward Dromgoole largely comprise plantation business records including receipts, sales accounts, and business letters concerning farm management. This series also contains daybooks, plantation account books including an account book of slaves (1843-1865) with slave birth dates, estate records of Thomas Dromgoole, and Dromgoole family genealogical notes.
Series 17: The William C. Adams Papers, 1817-1897, consist of the business records and diary (1829-1897) of William C. Adams, a prosperous Albemarle County, Virginia planter. Items include a plantation account book (1817-1824) and a plantation ledger (1838-1865) both containing information concerning farm operations and production. Diary topics include: plantation operations, crop production, slaves, legal matters, travel, Adams family matters, camp life in the Confederate States of America Army, and activities in the slave patrol.
Series 18: The John Woodall Papers, 1837-1905, are the family letters exchanged between John Woodall, a Prince Edward County, Virginia, plantation overseer, and his brother William Woodall, a poor farmer in Halifax County, Virginia. The letters concern social and agricultural conditions of poorer tobacco farmers and the general migration westward of small farmers following the Civil War. There are also some letters from Thomas T. Treadway, owner of the plantation John Woodall managed, regarding plantation operations and treatment of slaves.
Series 19: The Philip Ludwell Lee Papers, 1743-1783, consist of a plantation account ledger containing lists of items purchased for the plantation. The accounts were kept by Philip Ludwell Lee, tobacco planter of Stratford plantation, Westmoreland County, Virginia; although, some accounts pertain to the estate of his father, Thomas Lee.
Series 20: The Nathaniel Price Papers, 1789-1861, principally are the correspondence, financial papers, and account books chiefly related to the management of the plantation owned by Nathaniel Price of Prince Edward County, Virginia. Also contained in the account books are the estate papers of James Price, Sr. and William Price for whom Nathaniel Price was the executor.
Series 21: The James M. Wilcox Papers, 1831-1871, chiefly contain the letters of the Wilcox and Lamb families of Charles City County, Virginia, united by the marriage of James M. Wilcox, a planter and member of the House of Delegates, and Mary Ann S. Lamb. These letters afford an excellent record of operations at Wilcox's plantations, Peace Hill and Buckland, and Wilcox family relations during the late antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods. Other topics include: social life in Charles City County, horse racing, Nat Turner's Rebellion, slave activities, the condition of Monticello, epidemics, effects of the Civil War on planting, and Civil War campaigns and camp life.
Series 22: The B. J. Dalby Account Books, 1855-1858, contain the plantation records of Wilsonia, the plantation estate of William E. Taylor of Northampton County, Virginia, as kept by Benjamin J. Dalby, the manager and overseer. These account books include inventories of slaves and livestock, records of crop production, and records of slave holidays and work days.
Series 23: The Frederick A. Harris Papers, 1817-1844, consist of the family and business correspondence of Frederick A. Harris, a Campbell County, Virginia farmer. Principal correspondents include his brothers William Harris and Hannibal Harris. Topics include: farm management, effects of the Panic of 1819 on Virginia farmers, crop production, slaves, and westward migration.
Series 24: The Lewis Family Papers, 1802-1852, comprise letters from Alexander Wood, overseer of Audley Farm in Clarke County, Virginia, to the owner Lawrence Lewis (1767-1839). The letters give details of plantation production and crop and slave sales. Other letters in this series are from Wood to Lorenzo Lewis, Lawrence Lewis' son. Also contains a Lewis family genealogy.
Series 25: The Samuel Bryarly Papers, 1787-1884, principally are the letters of Samuel Bryarly (d. 1850), a Clarke County, Virginia planter, relating to agricultural conditions in Virginia, and in Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee, where several Bryarly family members had relocated. There also are plantation account books, a scrapbook of Richard and Rowland Bryarly, the estate records of Samuel Bryarly, and the letters of Richard Bryarly.