A Guide to the Page Family Papers, 1819-1976 Page Family Papers, 1819-1976 Mss1 P1456 a FA2

A Guide to the Page Family Papers, 1819-1976

A Collection in
the Virginia Historical Society
Collection Number Mss1 P1456 a FA2


Virginia Historical Society

Virginia Historical Society
P.O. Box 7311
Richmond, Virginia 23221-0311
Phone: (804) 342-9677
Fax: (804) 355-2399
Email: reference@virginiahistory.org
URL: http://www.virginiahistory.org/

© 2002 By Virginia Historical Society. All rights reserved.

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Virginia Historical Society Staff

Virginia Historical Society
Collection number
Mss1 P1456 a FA2
A Guide to the Page Family Papers, 1819-1876
2,050 (ca.)items (18 manuscipt boxes)

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Page Family Papers, 1819-1976 (Mss1 P1465 a FA2), Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. William Maury Hill, Richmond, Va., in 1989. Accessioned June 26, 1996.

Biographical/Historical Information

Records of four generations of the Page family of Hanover County and Richmond, Va., and related families. Represented are Francis Page (1780-1849); his son John Page (1821-1901) of "Oakland," Hanover County, a graduate of the University of Virginia, lawyer, and for four years an attorney for the Commonwealth in Hanover County; Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page (1821-1912), wife of John Page and mother of Francis Page, Thomas Nelson Page, and Rosewell Page; Robert Nelson (1819-1886), Episcopal missionary to China and brother of Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page; Robert's wife, Rose (Points) Nelson (1827-1885); Francis Page (1849- 1918), better known as "Frank," an Episcopal priest who served parishes in Virginia, Texas, and Brooklyn, N.Y.; Thomas Nelson Page (1853-1922) of Richmond, Va., Washington, D.C., and York Harbor, Me., lawyer, lecturer and writer, and U.S. Ambassador to Italy from 1912-1918; Anne Seddon (Bruce) Page (1867-1888), first wife of Thomas Nelson Page and originally from "Staunton Hill," Charlotte County, Va.; Florence (Lathrop) Field Page (1858-1921), first married to Henry Field (brother of Marshall Field) and then married in 1893 to Thomas Nelson Page; Rosewell Page (1858-1939) of "Oakland," Hanover County, lawyer in Richmond, writer, member of the General Assembly of Virginia, and second auditor of Virginia from 1912-1928; Ruth (Nelson) Page (1871-1975?), second wife of Rosewell Page; Anne (Page) Johns (b. 1899) of Richmond, daughter of Rosewell and Ruth (Nelson) Page; Frank Stoddert Johns (1884-1971), Anne (Page) Johns' husband; and Julien Harrison Hill (1877-1943), banker in Richmond and father-in-law of Ruth Nelson (Johns) Hill, daughter of Anne (Page) Johns and Frank Stoddert Johns; and Lucy Colder De Lancey (Kearny) Hill (b. 1881), wife of Julien Harrison Hill. Also included are scattered correspondence of the Bruce, Field, Johns, Lathrop, Nelson, and Points families, and Page cousins.

Scope and Content Information

Series 1 of the collection begins with the papers of Francis Page (1780-1849), consisting of two receipts, one for the digging of a well (1819) and one for his subscription to the National Vaccine Institution (1825).

Series 2 contains the papers of John Page (1821-1901) of "Oakland," Hanover County, Va., and consist of correspondence, 1877-1898. Principal correspondents are his wife, Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page, and his sons, Rosewell Page and Thomas Nelson Page. One of the few letters in the collection written by Rosewell as he practiced law in Danville, Va., is in this series. Letters by John Page to his son Thomas discuss family activity, political and business tasks that the father wants the son to handle in Richmond, Va., business and personal advice, and news of the crops at "Oakland."

Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page (1821-1912) materials follow in Series 3. Page, of "Oakland," Hanover County, Va., kept a diary, 1905, recording activities for each day. Entries describe the farm activities at "Oakland," the servants and their roles, local epidemics of smallpox, and the lives of her son, Rosewell Page, and his wife, Ruth (Nelson) Page, who lived at "Oakland," including frequent reference to Rosewell's role as a layman in the Episcopal Church, news of her other two sons, Francis (better known as Frank) Page, an Episcopal priest, and Thomas Nelson Page who occasionally visits "Oakland" and checks on his land holdings and mill operations in Hanover County, Va. Two pages of accounts are at the end of the diary and include references to servants' wages and farm expenses. Scattered accounts appear throughout the diary.

Also present are letters of Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page, chiefly written to her middle son, Thomas Nelson Page, from 1876 to 1912. Elizabeth wrote primarily from "Oakland," Hanover County, Va., but also while visiting her sister, Virginia Lafayette (Nelson) Nelson, in Charlottesville. Her letters to Thomas are addressed to numerous locations around the United States, especially New York and York, Maine, and in Europe. In them, Elizabeth discusses her daily activities on the farm at "Oakland" and the activities of other family members such as her brother, William Nelson, who ran the farming operations at "Oakland." With the help of servants, she tended chickens, hogs, ducks, and turkeys, preserves food, and handled other household tasks. Some of Elizabeth's letters to Thomas include attached letters from other relatives to Elizabeth such as Frank Page, her oldest son.

In addition to her correspondence with Thomas Nelson Page, Elizabeth's papers include letters from her school days at Long Branch written to her father, Thomas Nelson; letters from her son, Frank Page and his wife, Letitia Rives (Morris) Page, writing from Waco, Texas, where he served as an Episcopal priest in 1890 and in 1911 as a priest in Brooklyn, N. Y.; a 1877 letter from her brother, Robert Nelson, while serving as a missionary in China; an 1865 letter from Anne Wickham, a niece of Elizabeth, concerning the Civil War and her feeling that Jefferson Davis had no role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; and several letters to Elizabeth in 1888 expressing sympathy over the death of Anne Seddon (Bruce) Page, Thomas Nelson Page's first wife.

Series 4 begins with the diary of Robert Nelson (1819-1886) kept initially while serving as an Episcopal missionary in Shanghai, China, in 1878, as an account book for a children's school; then kept in Woodbury, Conn., during the last years of his life and that of his wife, Rose (Points) Nelson, whose picture and obituary appear on p. 108 of the volume. Robert Nelson was a brother of Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page.

Diary entries from 1885 to 1886 note Robert's church-related activities, including the number of baptisms, illnesses of church members, attendance at Episcopal conferences, and descriptions of his sermons. On page 90, Robert talks about his participation as a minister in Ulysses Simpson Grant's funeral, and on page 59, Robert laments the low nature of his annual salary of $600.00 in 1885. He gives much information about his family's daily life, travels, illnesses, and birthdays. His children's attendance at school and careers are also mentioned. A trip to Virginia, including to "Oakland," and Charlottesville, are discussed on pages 109-111.

Robert Nelson's correspondence, 1851-1886, was mostly written from or addressed to Shanghai, China, where Nelson served as a missionary. Included are interesting and detailed descriptions of Chinese customs, his family's activities, the burning of his chapel and people stealing all the chapel furnishings, baptism of Chinese people, and the children's school Nelson ran. One letter from Nelson to his sister, Virginia Lafayette (Nelson) Nelson of Charlottesville, concerns a female student whose family threatens to break her legs because she is a Christian.

Robert Nelson's miscellaneous papers include a resolution, 1881, by the Committee for the Shanghai Temperance Society. It honors Nelson for his service on the eve of his departure from China to live the remainder of his life in Connecticut.

Series 5 contains the papers of Rose (Points) Nelson (1827-1885), including correspondence, undated-1870, containing a partial letter (n.d.) from Rose's daughter, Mary C. Nelson, while Mary was traveling by ship towards Yokohama, Japan; and a letter (1870) of Rose's to Mary C. Nelson giving general advice on life as Mary left their home in Shanghai, China, to go to the United States.

Rose Nelson's papers also include parts of a diary written probably in 1865 while she was at "Oakland," Hanover County, Va. In the diary she discusses her children and family activities, the death of Mr. Lincoln, whom she compared to Herod, her glowing opinion of the slaves, and how people are avoiding taking the oath of allegiance; and a narrative, 1865, concerning the death of her son, William Nelson.

Series 6 includes papers of Francis Page (1848-1918). His correspondence, 1877-1910, includes a 1903(?) letter to his brother, Rosewell Page, concerning the beginning of his ministry at St. John's Church, Brooklyn, N.Y., and letters to his other brother, Thomas Nelson Page, congratulating Tom and Anne Seddon (Bruce) Page, Tom's first wife, on their first anniversary and congratulating Tom in 1893 on his second marriage to Florence (Lathrop) Field Page, telling Tom of his call to St. John's Church, asking Tom if he knows anything about the church, and discussing family news, including in 1911 how Frank is coping with the loss of his first wife, Letitia Rives (Morris) Page (better known as Lettie).

Francis Page's legal papers, 1961, include incomplete affidavits related to Frank Page and J. Packard Laird, Jr., concerning property in Hanover County, Va. Frank's heirs are listed.

Thomas Nelson Page (1853-1922) materials appear in Series 7. Correspondence, 1861-1922 (1,305 items) is arranged in chronological order, with undated materials appearing first. Fans of Page's works wrote letters commenting on his writing and his lectures and asking for autographs, biographical sketches of Page, new articles to print in their magazines, or permission to reprint portions of his work. Friends wrote to arrange meetings and trips, and some wrote their condolences at the death of his first wife, Anne Seddon (Bruce) Page, in 1888. For charitable causes people ask Page to donate money or to autograph copies of his books. Notable correspondents include William Gillette, an actor and playwright, Joseph Forney Johnston, a governor of Alabama and a U.S. Senator, Herbert Putnam, Librarian of Congress from 1899-1939, and his second wife, Florence (Lathrop) Field Page.

Most letters from 1861-1887 are written to Tom in Hanover County, Va., Richmond, or Charlottesville. From 1861-1877 most of the correspondence is business-related as Tom was a practicing lawyer in his early adult years, but there is scattered correspondence from family and friends, including his first wife, Annie. One business letter concerns Tom's efforts to buy a farm in Hanover County, Va. In the 1880s his correspondence becomes more numerous as he continues to reside in Hanover County and Richmond practicing law and beginning to receive fan letters for "Marse Chan," one of his early stories first appearing in 1884 in the Century Magazine and published in a collection in 1887. In 1886 Tom and Annie are married and some letters to Tom are written to him aboard ship headed for England where they spent their honeymoon. Also, in 1886, Rosewell Page, Tom's younger brother, writes to him about his law practice in Danville, Va. Thomas Nelson Carter, Tom's law partner in the firm of Page and Carter, Richmond, Va., writes Tom in 1887 while Tom is on a trip to Brussels. Carter congratulates him on his writing and discusses a Richmond group of writers called The Skaerl. Tom writes Carter from St. Paul, Minn., talking about his travel and investments. Over the years that Tom travels or lives away from Virginia, Carter helps to keep the law practice going in Richmond and helps Tom with his financial concerns. (After Tom marries the second time to Florence (Lathrop) Field Page, the partnership is dissolved and Tom devotes the rest of his life to writing, donating time and money to charitable causes, and serving as U.S. Ambassador to Italy during World War I.)

Also, in 1887, most of the correspondence comes from fans wanting Tom to lecture in their towns, thanking him for assisting them in critiquing their writing, asking for help in getting their works published, wanting copies of his work, wanting articles written by Tom to publish in university publications, newspapers, and magazines, and asking for autographs. One publisher expresses his disappointment that Tom goes to another publisher. Unrelated to his writing there are occasional business letters, including a telegram in which a gentleman wants to invest in Page's iron works.

Beginning in 1888, Tom and Annie write frequently while she spends time with her parents at "Staunton Hill," Charlotte County, Va., or while Tom travels frequently on speaking tours. Tom shares some news of his legal schedule, Richmond news, and how he misses her. On September 4, 1888, Tom writes "Law is dull. Indeed, I do not know what I should do without my Literary side-shows from time to time." While traveling in Georgia on August 2, 1888, Tom talks about his meeting and impressions of Joel Chandler Harris. On August 31, 1888, Tom writes Annie that he is trying to get Two Little Confederates ready to return to Charles Scribner. Fans continue to correspond with Tom praising In Ole Virginia in which appears "Marse Chan," and asking him to lecture in locations such as Charlottesville, Staunton, and Richmond, all in Va., Louisville, Ky., Washington, D. C., Baltimore, Md., New York, N.Y., and Tennessee. Henry Woodfin Grady, a friend of Tom's, requests that Tom come to do readings in Atlanta, and Charles Scribner communicates with Tom about publishing his writings.

Annie died in December 1888, and thus much of the extant correspondence for this year includes sympathy letters to Tom. Family and friends extend their sympathies at his loss, but also, complete strangers write from around the United States.

From January through March, 1889, numerous people continue to send their sympathies from the United States and abroad. Richard Malcolm Johnston, a Georgia lawyer, author, and educator who idealized the South as Tom did, offers his condolences and talks about his readings on the lecture circuit with Mark Twain. In this January 23rd letter, Richard writes, "We had an excellent audience. I never saw Mark so fine. It was most generous in [sic] him to volunteer to come to my help." Tom was to have been Richard's lecture partner but Clemens filled in for Tom who canceled due to the death of Annie. James Burton Pond, in February and March, corresponds with Tom during this sad time. He served as a general agent and manager for numerous writers and musicians. In February, an artist from Washington, D.C., A. G. Keaton, is arranging the details for a portrait he is doing of Annie. (In July and August, F. R. Pustet and Co., New York, N.Y., converses with Tom about a stained glass window being made as a memorial for Annie.)

By April, 1889, Tom began to receive more business-related correspondence. Johnston wrote more often, encouraging Tom to enter a new lecture arrangement with Pond. Hilgard Tyndale of Charles Scribner's Sons discussed the play he was writing based on "Marse Chan" (3/10/89 and 4/4/89). Several colleges invited him to visit. J. M. Stoddart with Lippincott's Monthly Magazine notified Tom on April 2nd that he would receive $400.00 for two articles he had written, while D. Lothrop Company of Boston wanted Tom to write a short serial. Molly Elliott Seawell, a fellow author, seemed to see Tom as a mentor and asked for advice on her writing.

To help assuage Tom's sorrow, Rosewell and Tom traveled in Europe in July and August of 1889. Thomas Nelson Carter, Tom's law partner, kept them abreast of Richmond news and mentioned possible investments (7/24/89 and 8/19/89). Fans continued to write asking questions about his writings, requesting copies of his works, and asking for writing advice. In August, Sally Page (Nelson) Hughes, daughter of William Nelson of "Midway," Mecklenburg County, Va., gave Tom her personal reminiscences of Michel Ney, also known as Peter Stuart Ney.

Tom lived with Rosewell in Richmond during 1890-1891 except for when he has away on business, especially in Kentucky. He traveled briefly in England during this time also. Family letters include letters from Annie's mother, Sarah Alexander (Seddon) Bruce (5/7/91 and 11/4/91), Thomas Jefferson Page, a Southern expatriate living in Florence, Italy, (1/12/90 and 2/26/90), his aunt, Anne Rose Page, who lived much of her life at "Oakland," Hanover County, Va., and his uncle, William Nelson, who was the manager of "Oakland," asking for financial assistance (3/18/91). (There is much correspondence between Tom and his mother, Elizabeth; it appears in Series 3. Likewise, correspondence with his father, John, appears in Series 2; there is much less of this correspondence.)Publishers continued to write Tom, including Warwick House, an English publisher writing about royalties; Ward, Lock, Boyden and Co., London, trying to defend their handling of the sales of In Ole Virginia; and The Christian Union, New York, concerning revising a paper Tom has written. Much of the correspondence in these years, however, came from fans and friends who praised Tom and his works asking again for biographical sketches of him, thanking him for speaking to their group, encouraging Tom to write a history of the South, wanting autographs, and inviting him to visit their homes while he is on the lecture circuit. Almost all of Tom's fan mail is positive except for two negative letters (one dated 10/31/91) from a fundamentalist concerning how Tom rendered a verse from the Bible. William G. Eggleston of The Chicago Herald wanted help with using black dialect (5/31/90). A few letters illustrate Tom's philanthropic nature, as in November 1890, someone wrote to ask him to become a member of the Maury Memorial Commission. He raised money for the Richmond Public Library; Joseph Reid Anderson sent Tom a contribution for the library on March 2, 1891.

A baroness in France and Tom began corresponding in 1891. There are six letters starting on March 11 concerning Alexandre Marie Quesnay de Beaurepaire, who wanted to establish an academy of arts and sciences in Richmond after the American Revolution. Baroness Yetta Blaze de Bury asked for Tom's assistance in finding more information about Quesnay de Beaurepaire. She also commented on another of Tom's works, On Newfound River.

In 1892 Tom continued to live in Richmond, Va., as a bachelor in-between frequent travels for speaking engagements. Friends invited Tom to visit with them when he spoke in places such as New York, Alabama, and Texas, while fans wrote to ask him to speak at schools in Louisville, Ky., Winchester, Ky., and Roanoke, Va. or to speak at clubs like the Southern Club of Harvard, to provide complimentary passes at clubs like the Union League Club of Chicago when he visited in that city, to help them with their writing aspirations, and to praise On Newfound River and The Old South.

Tom's life changed when he married Florence (Lathrop) Field Page on June 6, 1893. After that time, his visits Washington, D.C., New York City, and York Harbor, Maine, but throughout his marriage Florence and Tom traveled every year overseas. Frequent letters from Rosewell kept Tom abreast of matters at "Oakland," including comments on how Tom's works were in demand in Richmond bookstores, news of neighbors and friends, and family activity such as their mother's giving Christmas presents to white and black workers at "Oakland" or their father's discussion about where he was on Christmas Eve during each year of the Civil War (12/24/94). Rosewell discussed investments, selling family land in Hanover County, Va., Tom's tenant, Edmund T. Taylor, at "Mont Air," Hanover County, Va., the status of crops, horses, and livestock, and Tom's opinion of Uncle Tom's Cabin as discussed in The Atlanta Evening News (1/16/01). Edmund T. Taylor, Tom's tenant farmer in Bandana, Va., wrote Tom in August and September of 1901 about the corn, potato, and wheat crop and the livestock, sent a drawing of a barn that he wanted Tom to approve, and discussed rebuilding bridges in Hanover County, Va., washed out by high water. Tom's letters to his family in Virginia are rarely found in Mss1P1465aFA2 but his letter of May 17, 1893 to Rosewell was written prior to going on his honeymoon aboard a steamer to London. Tom enclosed a check to provide for contingencies at "Oakland" and urged Rosewell, if necessary, to contact Thomas Nelson Carter, Tom's power-of-attorney and law partner, for stocks to be sold to provide emergency monies for the homestead.

Business letters came from a lawyer in Charlottesville, Va., concerning land Tom wished to buy (7/28/93), Ward, Lock and Bowden, a publisher in London, with an attached agreement concerning publishing of Tom's works in England (7/14/94), Charles Scribner discussing publishing schedules, royalties, and a contract for Polly (10/31/94 and 2/11/95) actually published earlier in In Ole Virginia in 1887, J. Cabell Brockenbrough concerning translating Tom's work into French (8/23/95), Sol Smith Russell concerning critiquing Tom's plays (7/17/96), and Elizabeth Marbury of New York who was trying to submit Red Rock to playwrights and managers but is not having any luck (1/29/01). Tom received correspondence from the various clubs he was a member of in Washington, D.C., such as the Chevy Chase Club (9/13/00). Over the years he served as an officer in these clubs and helped with renovations and fund-raising. John Stewart Bryan, writing for his father Joseph Bryan who was ill, wrote several letters in 1900 concerning stock in the Lake Superior Co. Occasionally Tom received mundane letters about his Washington, D.C., home at No. 1759 R Street. Some refer to repairs needed on his property. In October 1900, his insurance agent sent a list with evaluations of the contents of this home. Like most folks with ample financial means, Tom frequently received fund-raising letters. For example, a feeder school to the University of Virginia located at Morrisville, Va., requested money in December 1902.

Friends and fans continued to write with high praises for one of Tom's latest works, Red Rock, wanting to know if his fiction was based on actual events, or writing to share similar stories of black slaves. Ellen Shields of Natchez, Miss., inspired by Tom's viewpoint, discussed a sketch of a black carpenter who worked for her father on their plantations and who liked to preach (7/2/00). The editor of The Philadelphia Item asked Tom's opinion about British and American reviewers (8/18/00).

Distant family members and sometimes unrelated folks wrote Tom for political influence and financial assistance. B. M. Fontaine did not want to become further indebted to Tom, and Joseph Reid Anderson Bruce, a nephew by marriage, wanted some help in getting a job (9/17/00). In June 1900, A. L. Nelson wished Tom could help finance a distant relative's education at the University of Virginia. A cousin in Naples, Florida, requested Tom's aid in getting someone into the U.S. Naval Academy (2/12/03), while Frank Nelson, Jr., thanked Tom for money loaned to him at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

From 1904-1908, Tom's correspondence again was an even mix of fan letters and business letters. Fund-raising letters abound with several requests for complete sets of his printed works to be donated to various libraries in Virginia, for money to renovate an Episcopal church, or for money to pay for medical treatment of indigent persons. Marie von Unschuld at the University of Music and Dramatic Art in D.C. wrote for Tom's financial assistance in establishing scholarships for her students (7/18/04). Tom received mail from agricultural researchers about alfalfa experiments and inoculating leguminous plants and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture concerning the building of a road near Beaverdam in Hanover County, Va.

Letters from friends and family are scattered through 1904-1908; most family letters are from Rosewell, especially in 1905, sharing news from the mill and news of the corn, wheat, millet, and pea crops, cutting of timber, installing of a phone line, selling of lambs and wool, building of a dam on one of the Hanover County properties, and changes in tenants. Rosewell sent a six-month statement concerning all farm costs and asked Tom to pay various debts. Other family letters to Tom discuss his financing of schooling for Rosewell's daughter, Anne, and for a distant relative, Randolph Rosewell Page, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. A cousin from Clifton Forge, Va., Lizzie R. Taylor, asked Tom for money to build a rectory. Strangers as well as friends wanted Tom to help them get jobs such as J. L. Hall, a professor at William and Mary College, who wanted a job at the University of North Carolina (7/7/04), or a law professor at Wake Forest College wanting Tom to go to the White House and ask the President to appoint him to a district court judgeship (12/16/08). Several letters in 1904 indicate that Tom was trying to influence the Library of Congress to hire Alexander Welbourne Weddell.

Notable letters to Tom in this time period came from Samuel Langhorne Clemens, thanking Florence and Tom for their kindness to his wife, who died in June 1904; from Thomas Nelson Carter about a land auction; and Teddy Roosevelt, who Carter would not vote for "on account of his putting forward the Negroes in the platform..." (6/24/04); from John Singleton Mosby concerning the Gettysburg campaign (10/26/08); from Ernest Thompson Seton, an animal painter, lecturer, and adventurer (12/8/08); and from Victor Howard Metcalf, lawyer and Secretary of the Navy, thanking Tom for a copy of his work on Robert E. Lee.

The last box of Thomas Nelson Page correspondence dates from 1909 to 1922. The usual pattern of letters prevails here but noteworthy letters follow. Leonard Gunnell, a cousin by marriage, worked at the Smithsonian Institution and sent Tom a picture of the old home at Oakland (1/09). (Oakland burned in 1899 and was rebuilt in six months.) Also, in January 1909, Tom received letters about horses he can buy in Vermont and Virginia. Cyrus Hall McCormick, son of the inventor, sends Tom a book about the Southern black; "...I send it herewith, knowing that you, who understand so thoroly [sic] the old-time life of the Southern negro...(2/3/09)." From Lexington, Ky., Foxhall A. Daingerfield writes Tom his impressions of Robert E. Lee, who he knew personally during the Civil War (2/8/09). In September 1909, Charles Scribner's Sons enclosed a contract for publication of John Marvel, Assistant.

In 1912 there were many letters from Ruth (Nelson) Page to Tom. It appears Ruth was helping Rosewell with the management of Oakland and other properties owned or subsidized by Tom. Rosewell campaigned and won the election to become the second auditor of Virginia. He served in that post until 1928; thus, much of his time was spent in Richmond. Ruth's letters describe family and farm news, especially the health and death of her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page. Rosewell still wrote Tom on a few occasions, but the remainder of the 1912 letters are sympathy letters from strangers, friends, and family concerning Elizabeth's death. A few thank-you notes from distant cousins discuss Tom's kindness in paying their school tuition.

From 1913 to 1917 there are only twenty items, mainly letters from Ruth and Rosewell. Ruth praised Tom upon becoming the U.S. Ambassador to Italy. Ruth and Rosewell's daughter, Anne (Page) Johns, wrote her uncle from Stuart Hall School, Staunton, Va.; Tom financed this niece's education. For a number of years, there was a school run at "Oakland," and Ruth mentioned "our academy" in her February 20, 1916 letter. Also, in 1916, Jonathan Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, wrote Tom about the Federal Reserve Act (5/12/16). Walter Hines Page, a cousin and an editor at Doubleday, Page and Co., Long Island, N.Y., informed Tom of changes in their personnel, resulting in delays dealing with his book (unidentified) (1/19/13). From 1918 until Tom's death in 1922, correspondence is slim, numbering thirty-two items. The effects of World War I are quite evident in letters to Tom in 1918. H. Rozier Dulany, a real estate agent in Washington, D.C., wrote Tom about a tenant's rent, travels to Tom's farms in Virginia, selling Tom's cattle, and the "scarcity of farm labor in Virginia" (1/1/18). Several of Ruth's letters discussed the effects of the war, especially her letter of June 23, 1918. Her April 1918 letters dwell on the death of Frank Page, Tom's older brother. In September, Ruth explained her move to Richmond where her daughter Anne is working for the war effort, postponing her education until after the war. In October, Ruth discussed the Spanish flu epidemic in Richmond, and in November, Ruth described the impact on Richmond of returning soldiers. Anne wrote her uncle on October 20 explaining the nature of her war job at the bag-loading plant, mentioning measuring black powder for ammunition. Rosewell wrote Tom in Italy in February 1919, "You have filled one of the most difficult posts in the world with dignity and honor...." In one of Tom's last letters, he wrote to "Lil Gals," probably his step-daughters, mentioning he had to borrow money to carry on at York Harbor, Maine (9/18/21).

Thomas Nelson Page materials also include financial records consisting of receipts or bills for office supplies, crops such as oats and hay, farm equipment, lumber, hardware, freight charges from Europe, but mainly, royalty payments from Charles Scribner's Sons.

Among Page's miscellaneous materials are three certificates, 1874-1877, from the University of Virginia for Tom's having passed courses in law, and there is a commission for Page having attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues.

Scattered papers refer to cases Tom handled when he practiced law in Richmond, Va. Other notable papers give Rosewell the power-of-attorney (1913) for Tom and include a copy of Tom's will (1922).

Among the last items in this series are newspaper articles about Tom, including a description of his funeral service in 1922. Also present are pictures, 1919-1921, including one that is undated but identified a dress that belonged to Elizabeth (Burwell) Nelson. The caption on this picture says the dress was kept at "Oakland" and, thus, was lost when the house burned in 1899. Photographs taken in 1919 document Italian troops guarding the American Embassy and concern Italian Premier Vittorio Orlando's return from the Paris peace conference. Another photograph shows Tom and Rosewell in Denver, Colo. Finishing the series are two undated addresses concerning the history of the settlement of Jamestown and the commemoration of the Virginia Convention of 1776. A speech, probably written by Tom, dated 1906, was given in Lisbon for the American Legation, and concerns the medical profession. Miscellaneous papers include the wedding announcement (1886) for Tom's first marriage to Anne Seddon (Bruce) Page, a sonnet (undated) to Amelie Louise (Rives) Chandler Troubetzkoy written on reading her "Grief and Faith", recent news (1919) about Yugoslavia as reported in the Italian press, an essay (undated) about Page and "Marse Chan," an invitation list (undated) for a dinner, probably given in honor of Jonathan Daniels at the American Embassy in Italy, and notes (undated) about On Newfound River, written in memory of Annie.

Series Eight contains the papers of Anne Seddon (Bruce) Page (1867-1888), known as "Annie," Thomas Nelson Page's first wife. Her correspondence is mainly from family and friends, including her parents, brothers, and sisters, who share family happenings and alwayed praise Tom and his writing. William Cabell Bruce, a brother, described his life as a lawyer in Baltimore, Md., in November 1882, while Charles Bruce, her father, wrote about his daily routine at "Staunton Hill, Charlotte County, Va., in March 1887. From 1885 to 1888, James Douglas Bruce, another of her brothers, wrote Annie while he lived abroad in Germany and France. Family included Thomas Nelson Carter, who was a cousin of Annie's and the law partner of her husband, and Tom's aunt, Anne Rose Page. In December 1886, she wrote Annie a story about a black child brought up by a white woman in Goochland County, Va. He murdered the woman when he turned eighteen because she would not buy him a certain pair of shoes. Anne Rose also commented on Tom's writings. Friends such as Lelia Augusta (Myers) Morgan wrote in August 1886, about the earthquake in Richmond, Va., while Annie and Tom are on their European honeymoon. In February 1887, an unidentified correspondent wrote from England mentioning a dinner she attended where several artists were present including James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

Series Nine includes correspondence exists between Florence (Lathrop) Field Page (1858-1921), Thomas Nelson Page's second wife, and Rosewell Page, Ruth (Nelson) Page, Anne (Page) Johns, all relatives of Tom, and Florence's grandson by her daughter Minna (Field) Gibson Burnaby, Henry Field (originally named Henry Gibson). Henry wrote from England and described the Christmas activities around him in 1908. A few letters to Florence relate to financial transactions or obtaining a tutor for one of Flo's daughters. Also included are accounts, 1897-1900, in part pertaining to paying a tutor and to a purchase at a home furnishings store in Washington, D.C.

Series 10 begins with the correspondence, 1888-1938, of Rosewell Page (1858-1939). Half of Rosewell's correspondence comes from family or friends and half from business acquaintances. Aunt Anne Rose Page, along with Rosewell's mother, write him about the death in 1893 of Frank's baby, Rose, and affairs at Oakland. Ruth, his wife, gives him news of their children and Rosewell's parents and requests various things for Rosewell to bring from Richmond. Elizabeth Hope Stewart of "Brook Hill" sends him congratulations for his marriage to Ruth in 1898. Other folks compliment him on becoming a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and express sympathy in the loss of Tom's two wives. While Anne (Page) Johns attends Stuart Hall School, Staunton, Va., Rosewell writes his daughter about family news.

As a member of the law firm of Rutherfoord and Page, Richmond, Va., Rosewell received legal letters related to cases he handled, but much of his business correspondence related to either his biography of his brother Tom or Tom's publications. From 1922-1937, Charles Scribner's Sons corresponded with Rosewell about publishing his biography of Tom, royalty payments for at least 28 of Tom's publications, renewing copyright on one of Tom's stories, asking Rosewell's permission to publish a new edition of Two Little Confederates, arranging a special educational edition of Red Rock, and concerning movie rights for Tom's works. In 1934, Lola D. Moore, a representative for authors and artists in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Calif., corresponded with Rosewell wanting to market Red Rock in the movie industry. Another agent, Grace Morse of New York, also wrote Rosewell about trying to sell movie rights. Other business letters refer to "Oakland" and the surrounding area in Hanover County, Va., including building of a bridge across the South Anna River and placement of telephone lines through Page property.

The remainder of the series includes accounts, 1897-1927, including five notes (1905) on the school account for Hall's Free School run by Miss Orr and, probably, sponsored by the Page family; notes on logging expenses (no date); accounts between Tom and Rosewell concerning farm expenses in 1907-1908; and a royalty report for Tom's publication for 1927. Also included are undated manuscripts, including a draft of Rosewell's Hanover County: Its History and Legends and Thomas Nelson Page: A Memoir of a Virginia Gentleman. A draft of a speech about Jamestown filed in Series 7.7 possibly was by Rosewell also. Lastly, miscellaneous materials, 1868-1916, include an undated newspaper picture of Rosewell, his wife and daughter, and others attending a memorial observance of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, and a biographical sketch and picture of Rosewell.

Ruth (Nelson) Page's papers make up Series 11. Most of Ruth's correspondence is found in earlier series of her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page, her brother-in-law, Thomas Nelson Page, and her husband, Rosewell Page. Other family letters found here include those from Minna (Field) Gibson Burnaby, Thomas Nelson Page's step-daughter, about a visit to "Rock Ledge," York Harbor, Maine, and of Ruth's son, Robert Nelson Page. One letter by this son was written in August 1921, from "Rock Ledge." In October 1918, Mary C. Nelson, Ruth's sister who served as a Red Cross nurse during World War I, wrote from Paris. John Cook Wyllie, Director of Libraries at the University of Virginia, addressed Ruth in July 1967, discussing the acquisition of Thomas Nelson Page papers.

Series 12 contains materials of Anne Page. In 1914, Anne Page, daughter of Rosewell and Ruth Page, attended Stuart Hall School in Staunton, Va., and she wrote her brother, Robert Nelson Page. During World War I, Anne was back in the Richmond area working for the war effort at DuPont Engineering Co.; this company sent congratulations to its workers, including Anne, on November 14, 1918. Anne wrote Karl E. Johnson at the Red Cross headquarters in Petersburg, also in 1918, asking if she and the Hall's Free School, probably run under the auspices of the Page family at "Oakland," could open a canteen on the Richmond-Washington Highway to serve soldiers. (Then, during World War II, Anne received a letter from Richmond Filter Center thanking its workers for their help in wartime.) From 1929-1941, Anne received letters from the national Junior League Magazine concerning articles that she wrote for this publication. William B. Thalhimer, Jr., wrote in April 1951, about wanting to honor her as one of Richmond's noted authors. From 1967-1969, Anne received letters from various persons associated with the University of Virginia concerning the sale of Thomas Nelson Page manuscripts to the college.

Anne (Page) Johns's materials also include an annual report for 1930-1931, an undated constitution, copies of The Leaguer from May 1929-June 1931, and drafts of historical articles on the Junior League of Richmond; and war ration books from World War II.

One of two letters to Frank Stoddert Johns (1884-1971), husband of Anne (Page) Johns, arrived in April 1953, from an assistant to the Ambassador of Italy, thanking Dr. Johns for his courtesies when the assistant visited Virginia at the centennial celebration of the birth of Thomas Nelson Page. Other Frank Johns materials include a war ration book from World War II, an undated news article concerning the receipt of a portrait of Dr. Johns at Hampden-Sydney College, and a 1950 article about the college naming an auditorium for him. Johns had served as chairman of the Board of Trustees since 1938.

Section 14 concerns Julien Harrison Hill (1877-1943), father-in-law of Ruth Nelson (Johns) Hill, daughter of Anne (Page) Johns and Frank Stoddert Johns. Four scrapbooks trace Hill's life, beginning as a student in Petersburg, and following him throughout his career. The first volume, dated 1896-1942, includes a catalogue for the 1895-1896 session of the University School in Richmond, Va., the school first started in Petersburg, Va., by William Gordon McCabe. Hill is listed as a student. Hill participated in sports activities at the University School, as well as in college at the University of Virginia, which he entered in 1897. The baseball team schedule for 1898 includes a picture of the team. After Hill's college years, he continued to enjoy sports as noted in this scrapbook. One article dated April 11, 1942, concerns Hill's son, William M. Hill, captain of the University of Virginia football team.

The second volume of Hill's scrapbooks, dated 1904-1943, focuses on Hill's adult civic and social activities such as his membership in the Commonwealth Club and the Richmond German, efforts to get more playgrounds across Virginia, service as a member of the Civilian Examining Committee for the U.S. War Department in 1918 and a member of the Board of Managers of the Richmond Male Orphan Society in 1919. In the nineteen twenties he served on the Medical College of Virginia Board of Visitors, and in 1936, he was a director of the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. On December 17, 1940, Lady Nancy Witcher (Langhorne) Shaw Astor wrote Hill after he sent a group contribution to relieve the Air Raid distress. Personal asides include information about the death of his mother, Frances Cadwallader (Harrison) Hill, in 1916, and the death of his father, William Maury Hill, in 1918, about the wedding of his daughter, Diana Kearny (Hill) Patterson, in 1940, and about the death of Hill, himself, in 1943.

In the scrapbook for 1904-1943 Hill documented the progress of his adult career. In his young adult years, he served as assistant cashier at the National State Bank in Richmond and then, in 1915, he became a director of the National State and City Bank, later known as the State-Planters Bank and Trust Company. In 1917 he was still cashier but was elected to be a vice-president, and in 1920, he became president of the bank. A 1920 article by Hill appeared in the Journal of Accountancy. Hill became president of Old Dominion Trust Co. in 1922. Other news articles highlight his membership in professional groups such as the American Bankers Association, his service on the Advisory Committee of the Richmond Loan Agency of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932, and his appointment by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to his Advisory Committee on Works Allotment in 1935. Enclosures are dated 1939 and concern Hill's wife, Lucy, and the birth of their seventh child, Diana Kearny (Hill) Patterson. There are photographs and negatives of Diana and other siblings.

The last volume of the scrapbooks, dated 1914-1917, concerns Hill's appointment and service as the chief of staff of the Governor of Virginia, Henry Carter Stuart. The letter from Stuart offering the position to Hill is in the scrapbook as well as articles about Stuart. Also included are other newspaper articles about Hill's professional and civic activities.

Among Hill's miscellany are the certificate signed by Governor Stuart, making Hill his chief of staff, along with a memorial editorial of December 2, 1943, celebrating the life of Hill.

Lucy Colder De Lancey (Kearny) Hill materials include letters congratulating Lucy, wife of Julien Harrison Hill, on the birth of Diana Kearny (Hill) Patterson.

Series Sixteen includes correspondence of extended family members in the Bruce, Field, Johns, Lathrop, Nelson, Points, and Page families. Notable letters include an undated Civil War letter from a hospital at Warm Springs, Va. from a preacher who writes about how hard it is to console the sick soldiers and a January 3, 1864 letter from Stevenson Points to Lizzie Stevenson when he was a prisoner at Fort Delaware, Del. At the death of Anne Seddon (Bruce) Page in December 1888, members of the Bruce family receive sympathy letters. In January 1891, George Washington Points corresponded with Mary C. Nelson about the genealogy of the Points (also known as Poyntz) family. Bryan Lathrop, brother of Florence (Lathrop) Field Page, admonished Minna (Field) Gibson Burnaby about the status of her finances in 1912. Mary C. Nelson, sister of Ruth (Nelson) Page and Red Cross nurse during World War I, wrote an interesting letter in November 1918, about the ending of the war and the reactions in Paris. A last notable letter (undated) was written from Scotland to Miss Bessie (otherwise unidentified) and is from Johannes Wolf, a musicologist specializing in medieval music.


Collection is arranged in sixteen sections by main entry and further subdivided by subject or record type where necessary.

Index Terms

  • Authors, American -- Virginia -- History.
  • China -- Social life and customs -- 1644- 1912.
  • Diaries -- China -- Shanghai -- History -- 19th century.
  • Diaries -- Connecticut -- Woodbury -- History -- 19th century.
  • Diaries -- Virginia -- Hanover County -- History -- 20th century.
  • Education -- China -- History -- 19th century.
  • Episcopal Church -- Connecticut -- Clergy -- History -- 19th century.
  • Episcopal Church -- Virginia -- History.
  • Family -- Virginia -- Social life and customs.
  • Farm management -- Virginia -- History..
  • Hanover County (Va.) - - Social life and customs.
  • Laity -- Eipscopal Church -- Virginia.
  • Missionaries -- China -- History -- 19th century.
  • Mothers and sons -- Virginia -- History.
  • Nelson, Robert, 1819-1886.
  • Oakland (Hanover County, Va.)
  • Page family.
  • Page, Elizabeth Burwell Nelson, 1821-1912.
  • Page, Rosewell, 1858-1939.
  • Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922.
  • Virginia -- Social life and customs.
  • Women -- Virginia -- Family relationships.
  • Women -- Virginia -- Social life and customs.

Contents List

Series 1: Francis Page (1780-1849) loose accounts
Box 1
Series 1: Francis Page (1780-1849) loose accounts
Box 1
Series 2: John Page (1821-1901) correspondence
Box 1 (cont.)
Series 3: Elizabeth Burwell (Nelson) Page (1821-1912) papers
  • Box 1 (cont.)
    Subseries 3.1: Diary
  • Box 2-3
    Subseries 3.2: Correspondence
Series 4: Robert Nelson (1819-1886) papers
Box 4
Series 5: Rose (Points) Nelson (1827-1885) papers
Box 4 (cont.)
Series 6: Francis Page (1849-1918) papers
Folder Box: 4 (cont.)
Series 7: Thomas Nelson Page (1853-1922) papers
  • Box 5-11
    Subseries 7.1: Correspondence (undated, 1861-1887)
  • Series 7.2: Accounts
  • Box 12 (cont.)
    Series 7.3: Certificates
  • Box 12 (cont.)
    Series 7.4: Legal papers
  • Box 12 (cont.)
    Series 7.5: Newspaper articles
  • Box 12 (cont.)
    Series 7.6: Pictures
  • Box 12 (cont.)
    Series 7.7: Speeches
  • Box 12 (cont.)
    Series 7.8: Miscellany
Series 8: Anne Seddon (Bruce) Page (1867-1888) correspondence
Box 13
Series 9: Florence (Lathrop) Field Page (1858-1921) papers
Box 13 (cont.)
  • Box 13 (cont.)
    Series 9.1: Correspondence
  • Box 13 (cont.)
    Series 9.2: Accounts
Series 10: Rosewell Page (1858-1939) papers
Box 13 (cont.)
  • Box 13 (cont.)
    Series 10.1: Correspondence
  • Box 14
    Series 10.2: Accounts
  • Box 14 (cont.)
    Series 10.3: Manuscripts
  • Series 10.4: Miscellany
Series 11: Ruth (Nelson) Page (1871-1975?) correspondence
Box 14 (cont.)
Series 12: Anne (Page) Johns (b. 1899) papers
  • Box 15
    Series 12.1: Correspondence
  • Box 15 (cont.)
    Series 12.2: Junior League papers
  • Series 12.3: Miscellany
Series 13: Frank Stoddert Johns (1884-1971) papers
  • Box 15 (cont.)
    Series 13.1: Correspondence
  • Box 15 (cont.)
    Series 13.2: Miscellany
Series 14: Julien Harrison Hill (1877-1943) papers
  • Box 16 (cont.)
    Series 14.1: Corresopondence
  • Box 16 (cont.)
    Series 14.2: Scrapbook
  • Series 14.3: Scrapbook
  • Series 14.4: Scrapbook
Series 15: Lucy Colder De Lancey (Kearny) Hill (b. 1881) portions of scrapbook
Box 18 (cont.)
Series 16: Miscellaneous correspondence
Box 18 (cont.)