Smith, Celestia Essie Wade Butler, papers Celestia "Essie" Wade Butler Smith papers MSS 12947

Celestia "Essie" Wade Butler Smith papers MSS 12947


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Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110
URL: https://small.library.virginia.edu/

Ellen Welch

Repository
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
Identification
MSS 12947
Title
Celestia "Essie" Wade Butler Smith papers1793-2002
URL:
https://archives.lib.virginia.edu/ark:/59853/572
Quantity
2 Cubic Feet, 6 legal document boxes and one oversize folder., correspondence, genealogy, southern history, organizations, personal, writings and programs
Language
English .

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was a gift from Caroline Epperson Mansur to the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia on February 12, 2004.


Biographical / Historical

Celestia "Essie" Wade Butler Smith (Mrs. Cabell Smith) was born on November 18, 1872 to Zachary Taylor Wade and Catherine (Kitty) Bailey Greer of Rockymount, Virginia and died on January 23, 1963, after a lifetime of service to the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She was a teacher, librarian, genealogist, writer, and president of the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Colonists, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, the New York Southern Society, the Society of Pocahontas, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the League of American PenWomen, the League of Women Voters and women's clubs, and the Democratic National Committee. She wrote many articles for the United Daughters of Confederacy, including "Forty Years with the Virginia Division, U. D. C." and an unfinished history of Franklin County, Virginia.

In her work with the United Daughters of the Confederacy, she formulated a plan to build a replica of the Mississippi home of President Jefferson Davis, "Beauvoir", served on a committee to establish the custodianship of the Lee Chapel and Mausoleum at Lexington, Va., collaborated with Frances Parkinson Keyes for the restoration of General Robert E. Lee's home, petitioned for a memorial building for the Confederacy in Richmond, Va. and chaired a committee to procure a commemorative stamp honoring General Lee. She was appointed Matron of Honor by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and participated in their ceremonies.

She was also interested in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Colonial Dames of America, the Lee Memorial Foundation at Stratford, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, the National Woman's Party, the Women's Universal Alliance, The National American Women's Suffrage Association, The Women's National Radio Committee, and the Network Guild of America. She received a citation for her contributions to the cause of Woman Suffrage.

Mrs. Cabell Smith tracked her genealogy back to a descendant of Pocahontas. In addition to her work for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, she wrote many fictional and autobiographical stories and poems. She was married to Benjamin Waldo Butler, a construction engineer with the Roanoke and Southern railroad, and city engineer in Charlotte, N. C. where he died after only a few years of marriage. She then married Cabell Smith and had a daughter from each marriage, Laura Butler Moore, and Mary Cabell Smith. She also had a devoted sister Josephine Epperson, a niece Caroline Mansur, three grandchildren and nine great- grandchildren.

Scope and Contents

Celestia "Essie" Wade Butler Smith papers, 1793-2002, 2 cubic feet, consisting of correspondence about her work with the United Daughters of the Confederacy and many other Southern organizations to preserve the Confederacy. She was also involved with the Democratic Party, Womens' rights and genealogy. There are narratives of family histories and eighteen and nineteenth century papers including slave documents. There are also personal papers, correspondence with other writers and publishers, and drafts of stories and poems by Mrs. Essie Smith. Included are programs from many of the plays and concerts that she attended. Also of interest are letters with her daughter, Mary Cabell Smith, who was working for General Motors Continental in Europe in the 1920's and 1930's.

Arrangement

Container List

Archival Resource Key
Correspondence
0.44 Cubic FeetOne legal document box (11 folders). Box 1.
1902-1962English.
Scope and Contents

Celestia Essie Wade Butler Smith personal and business correspondence about her work with the United Daughters of the Confederacy, honoring Southern Confederates, particularly Robert E. Lee, invitations from Governor and Mrs. Westmoreland Davis, and letters with other writers and publishers about her manuscripts and poems. Correspondents include Frances Parkinson Keyes, Sophie Carter Richardson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Richard Wightman. There are also letters from her daughter Mary Cabell Smith who was working in Europe for General Motors as a stenographer and model in Europe in the 1920's. There is a miscellaneous account of a friend's (Frank Harrold, Jr.) meeting with the Duke of Windsor when he was a young man at a party in America.

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Archival Resource Key
Genealogy
0.44 Cubic FeetOne legal document box and 3 folders.(11 folders) Box 2-3
1793-1965English.
Scope and Contents

There are letters and research about the genealogy of the Wade, Greer and related families including Butler, Holland, Patterson, Coleman, Claiborne, Carter, Pugh, Saunders, Epperson, Callaway, Arnold, and Hopkins from 1793 to 1965 in Rocky Mount, Virginia. There are slave documents including a list of slave names, court documents, and marriage proposals. Individuals mentioned are John Wilkes Booth, Owen Henry Price, Giles Carter, and Pocahontas. There are also descriptions of Franklin County families and their homes. Included are applications for the United Daughters (and Sons) of the Confederacy, and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Colonists.

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Archival Resource Key
Organizations
0.56 Cubic Feet14 legal size folders. Box 3-4
1914-1973English.
Scope and Contents

Correspondence, articles, programs, invitations, speeches, and newspaper clippings related to organizations such as Camp Meade, Martinsville Literary Club, National Society United States Daughters of 1812, Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association (and Gutzon Borglum proposal to create a sculpture), the United Daughters of the Confederacy (including Jubal Anderson Early Chapter), the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Virginia League of Women Voters, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Historical Pageant Association, Stratford Hall, Confederate Memorial Literary Society, Pocahontas Memorial Association, Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, William and Mary College, Bull Run Battlefield, Virginia Historical Society, and the Women's Democratic Organization of Virginia. This list is not exclusive.

There are also speeches by Celestia Essie Wade Butler Smith, letters from Sophie Carter Richardson about Robert E. Lee and his family (see also Celestia Essie Wade Butler Smith business correspondence), articles by Mrs. A. J. Ellis, and correspondence from Edwin Anderson Alderman, Woodrow Wilson (copies), J. Hoge Tyler, George C. Peery, and Westmoreland Davis about speaking engagements. John Wilkes Booth is also mentioned.

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Archival Resource Key
Personal
0.020 Cubic Feet5 folders in legal document box. Box 5.
1880-1979English.
Scope and Contents

Personal papers of Celestia Essie Wade Butler Smith including address books, biographical information, miscellaneous newspaper clippings, photographs, school papers, legal papers, political pins, railroad tickets, and war ration books.

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Archival Resource Key
Writings and printed
0.44 Cubic Feet11 folders in legal document box. Box 5-6
1904-1961English.
Scope and Contents

Autobiographical and fictional stories, notes, poems, and drafts of speeches by Celestia Essie Wade Butler Smith from 1904 to 1961. Included is a printed copy of a book, "Roses in December" by Frances Keyes Parkinson and "Forty Years with the Virginia Division United Daughters of the Confederacy" by Essie Smith. There are also many printed programs and playbills from concerts and plays that Mrs. Smith attended on the East Coast. Of interest is an original program from the first release of "Gone With The Wind" in 1939.

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Archival Resource Key
Oversize items
0.06 Cubic FeetCertificates and World War II Buy Bonds poster
1923-1964English.
Scope and Contents

United Daughters of the Confederacy certificate for Caroline Epperson Mansur, Sons of Confederate Veterans certificates for Peter Saunders, Commonwealth of Virginia certificate delegating Peter Saunder to represent the Commonwealth at the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia (1932), and Commonwealth of Virginia certificate appointing Peter Saunders Secretary to the Commonwealth (1930). ALso included is a World War II Buy Bonds poster.

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