A Guide to the Vivian Coleman Bear Papers, 1844-1960 Bear, Vivian Coleman Papers Ms2009-086

A Guide to the Vivian Coleman Bear Papers, 1844-1960

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2009-086


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2009 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Vivian Coleman Bear Papers 1844-1960
Physical Characteristics
1 container; 0.2 cu. ft.
Papers of Roanoke, Virginia resident Vivian Coleman Bear, including correspondence from E. Ferd Weigand and other suitors; family correspondence and financial documents relating to the Clemens and Staley families; Bible with genealogical notes and clippings; photographs; and ephemera.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Vivian Coleman Bear Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Vivian Coleman Bear Papers, Ms2009-086 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The Vivian Coleman Bear Papers were purchased by Special Collections in 1994. The collection was purchased under the title of "Clemmons / Coleman Family Papers."

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Vivian Coleman Bear Papers commenced in May 2009 and was completed in June 2009.

Biographical Information

Vivian Clemens Coleman, the daughter of Harriet "Hattie" Staley and Lee Coleman, was born January 7, 1888. The family seems to have been living in Kentucky when Coleman was born, but by 1900, she was living with her aunt, Alma Staley Crouch, in Roanoke, Virginia. Coleman, continued to live in Roanoke after marrying Charles Edgar Bear (1883-1968), the son of John Henry and Lizzie Stephens Bear. Bear, who attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Roanoke College, and the University of North Carolina, later worked in both the lumber and automobile business. The couple had no children. Vivian Coleman Bear died in Roanoke on October 17, 1984.

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of Vivian Coleman Bear, a resident of Roanoke, Virginia in the early twentieth century. The collection contains such materials as correspondence, financial documents, photos and ephemera relating to Bear and her ancestors.

The correspondence within the collection largely consists of letters written by H. Ferd Weigand, a Baltimore attorney and a suitor of Vivian Coleman. Weigand's letters, written between 1912 and 1914, relate mostly to personal matters. He seems to have overstepped the bounds of propriety while expressing his desires in a letter dated March 12, 1912; in his next letter, dated March 28, Weigand apologizes for the transgression. Another letter is accompanied by a poem and illustration. Weigand makes frequent promises to visit Roanoke but complains of an increasingly heavy workload. Other correspondents and apparent would-be suitors are C. O. Pugh of Newport News and Harry G. Holbrook. The collection also contains a few letters between other family members, including a letter from John Marshall Clemens to his aunt, Elizabeth Pollard, regarding Clemens family genealogy.

Included among the small set of financial documents are an 1844 receipt issued by E. Jackson to D. Staley for the payment of tuition for three students and an 1859 receipt for goods purchased by Captain Jack Pollard of Jones & Steptoe (Lynchburg, Virginia); as well as other receipts.

An 1882 New Testament Bible in the collection includes several genealogical notes and newspaper clippings. Several of these items relate to Mark Twain, Bear's cousin. Removed from the Bible and now housed in a separate folder are notes from various Bible lessons.

The collection also contains a few family photographs and a small set of ephemera, which includes business cards for H. Ferd Wiegand, a calling card for L. W. Coleman, an ink blotter for the Lumbermen's Credit Association, and an unidentified lock of hair.


The collection is arranged by document type, then chronologically.

Contents List

Box-folder 1-1-2
Correpondence to Vivian Coleman 1909-1914, n.d.
Box-folder 1-3
Other family correspondence 1884-1892, n.d.
Box-folder 1-4
Financial documents 1844-1916
Box-folder 1-5
The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Translated Out of the Original Greek... (New York: American Bible Society) 1882
Box-folder 1-6
Bible lesson notes n.d.
Box-folder 1-7
  • T. G. Lavinder, Norma Price, M. G. Lavinder, and Vivian Coleman at Virginia Beach 1907
  • "Mammy Coleman," Vivian Coleman's paternal grandmother (A. H. Plecker studio, Lynchburg, Virginia) n.d.
  • Unidentified woman (R. F. Adams studio, St. Louis, Missouri) n.d.
  • Unidentified young woman (Smith studio, Liberty, Virginia) n.d.
  • Unidentified man n.d.
Box-folder 1-8
  • H. Ferd Wiegand business card n.d.
    [2 items]
  • L. W. Coleman calling card n.d.
  • Lumbermen's Credit Association ink blotter n.d.
  • Prank arrest warrant for Martha Ann Staley 1909?
  • Unidentified lock of hair, accompanied by poem "Despair" n.d.