The Resource Home for Needy Confederate Women (Richmond, Va.) records

Home for Needy Confederate Women (Richmond, Va.) records

Home for Needy Confederate Women (Richmond, Va.) records, 1862-1997
Home for Needy Confederate Women (Richmond, Va.) records
Inclusive dates
  • Records, 1862-1997, of the Home for Needy Confederate Women of Richmond, Virginia, include correspondence; Board meeting minutes; the Home charter, by-laws, rules and regulations; estate files consisting mainly of wills and court documents; guest registers; Home histories; various documents pertaining to state oversight of the Home; fundraising literature; individual files and collective notebooks containing information on residents and applicants; bills and receipts; ledgers; audit reports; endowment fund and investment statements; copies of relevant state legislation; documents pertaining to various properties owned by the Home; general infirmary records and individual patient files; newspaper clippings; photographs and drawings; and miscellaneous other files including a small group of letters written by Confederate President Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) and a reproduction of the controversial "Dahlgren Papers."
  • SERIES I: CORRESPONDENCE. Most of the correspondence in this series is of a routine nature, often brief letters accompanying donations or responding to fund solicitations, expressing interest in the Home's welfare, or giving updates on work done by Board members. While the Home's relationship with the U.D.C. was often contentious, that group's constituency was also one of the Home's steadiest sources of donations. Most of the letters from U.D.C. contacts relate to contributions and friendly visits, with only occasional references to any disputes. Other correspondence can be found scattered among relevant files in other series, including letters about the 1989 relocation of the Home's last residents to Brandermill Woods, Series II; letters requesting admission to the Home, Series III; and communications regarding the Home's stock and bond holdings, Series IV. Correspondents include members of the Home's leadership, such as Presidents Mary Custis Lee, Elizabeth (Mrs. A.J.) Montague, Janet Montague Nunnally, and Janet Burhans; treasurers Alice (Mrs. A.J.) Pyle, Rosabelle (Mrs. Emanuel) Raab, B. Randolph Wellford, Mary Parker Steinlein, and Charles E. A. Knight; and superintendants Eloise Lipscomb (b. 1906) and Holly DeJarnette
  • SERIES II: ADMINISTRATIVE FILES. A good portion of the Home's administrative history is covered by means of Board meeting minutes, some in finalized drafts, others in note form. Other items include the Home's charter, by-laws, rules and regulations; some general histories of the institution; files on the settlement of various estates in which the Home had some interest; guest registers; dealings with various state agencies; and documentation of the Home's 1989 closing and relocation of residents to Brandermill Woods
  • SERIES III: RESIDENT AND APPLICATION FILES. Individual resident files typically include the woman's application, limited correspondence, and papers pertaining to any assets she may have had. The Home also kept several notebooks with basic information about the various residents, such as dates of birth and entrance to the Home, Confederate lineage, and next-of-kin. Similar files and notebooks, along with waiting lists and letters inquiring about admission to the Home offer additional information about applicants to the Home. Medical files for a number of the residents can be found in Series VI
  • SERIES IV: FINANCIAL RECORDS. Financial papers include yearly audit reports, 1916-1950 and 1964-1983 (some gaps), and annual and quarterly reports from the financial institutions handling the Home's endowment fund and investments, 1943-1990. Other items pertaining to stocks and bonds include Board resolutions ordering purchases or sales. Various ledgers, bills, receipts, statements, and reports to state agencies shed light on the fluctuating and often precarious financial situation of the Home. Also included are files on a handful of prominent donors
  • SERIES V: PROPERTY FILES. Deeds, tax bills, ledgers, and communications with property managers document the various real estate holdings of the Home for Needy Confederate Women, including the buildings housing the Home itself and others acquired through residents. As-built drawings for a major 1986 roof renovation are among the papers relating to the construction and maintenance of the Sheppard Street residence. Many of the individual resident files in Series III also contain papers relating to properties turned over to the Home by the women. Also of note are the General Assembly's deed, 1926, and revised deed, 1977, controlling the Home's occupancy of the Sheppard Street site
  • SERIES VI: MEDICAL FILES. Medical files include general infirmary records, summarizing routine bed-checks, medication dosages, monitoring of vital signs, and other daily concerns, as well as individual patient files
  • SERIES VII: OTHER FILES. A varied collection of papers, many having to do with Confederate memorial organizations and causes. Of note are three letters, 1871 and 1880, from former C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) concerning a painting he left in the care of some Richmond friends. Also included are newspaper clippings; some personal effects belonging to Elizabeth (Mrs. A.J.) Montague; a reproduction of the "Dahlgren Papers," which may have revealed a Union officer's 1864 plan to sack Richmond and execute President Davis; genealogies of the Gascoigne, Lytle, and Moncure families; and the minutes book, 1911-1913, of the Richmond, Va., Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
  • SERIES VIII: PHOTOGRAPHS AND DRAWINGS. Photographs and drawings of the 3 East Grace Street and 301 North Sheppard Street residences, scattered Home events, A. J. and Elizabeth Montague, and various residents, as well as a small number of photographs belonging to residents Mamie Moon and Mary Powell. Also included are several loose photographs and photograph and postcard albums belonging to C. Dunbar Roy (ca. 1874-ca. 1937), a cousin of Mrs. Montague. Drawings include a very basic plan of the Home's basement level, 1970
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Biographical or historical data
  • The Home for Needy Confederate Women originated with a small group of impoverished war widows setting up house together in Richmond, Virginia. Hearing of their plight, the General Assembly in 1898 issued a charter to "provide a home for needy wives, widows, sisters, and daughters of Confederate Sailors, Soldiers, and Marines." This paved the way for an initial appropriation of $1,000 from the Commonwealth.
  • The Home opened at 1726 Grove Avenue on 15 October 1900, then moved to 3 E. Grace Street in 1904. Mary Custis Lee (1835-1918), daughter of General Robert E. Lee, served as its first president, with Elizabeth L.H. Montague (1868-1951) as acting president. With the help of a $250,000 bequest from local doctor Alexander Spiers George (d. 1929) and the tireless fundraising efforts of Montague (by then the Home's president), an impressive new residence was built on the grounds of the R.E. Lee Camp No. 1 of United Confederate Veterans soldier home. Opening in 1931 at 301 N. Sheppard Street, the building was modeled after the north facade of the White House.
  • Montague, the wife of former Virginia Governor Andrew Jackson Montague (1862-1937), served the Home for some fifty-two years, persevering against occasional criticism and near-constant financial difficulties. After her death in 1951, daughter Janet Montague Nunnally (1895-1977) succeeded her as president. Nunnally's daughter Janet Roy Burhans took the reins in 1976, heading up the Home through its final years.
  • Aside from the construction of the Sheppard Street building, one of Elizabeth Montague's most important successes was her 1915 plea to the General Assembly for annual appropriations to the Home. This crucial source of funding continued into the 1980's, but was applicable only to "wives, widows, sisters, and daughters" of Confederate veterans. As the Home's financial situation reached dire straits and the number of eligible applicants fell sharply, the Board in 1977 altered its constitution to allow granddaughters and other lineal descendants. This prompted the General Assembly to discontinue the Home's annual funding after the 1982 fiscal year. Home representatives continued to plead for assistance and were rewarded with appropriations by the 1986 General Assembly. However, the money was not renewed in the next legislative session.
  • With little prospect of keeping the sprawling, sparsely occupied Sheppard Street building open, the Home's Board closed it in 1989, opting to support the residents in a private nursing home. That summer, the seven remaining women were moved to the Brandermill Woods Health Care Center in nearby Chesterfield County. The General Assembly resumed its financial involvement, agreeing to cover that portion of the residents' costs that could not be met by the interest on the Home's struggling endowment fund.
  • Osa Lee Yates, daughter of a Confederate soldier and the last surviving resident of the former Home for Needy Confederate Women, died on 30 April 1997, just short of her 99th birthday.
Cataloging source
Home for Needy Confederate Women (Richmond, Va.) records
  • For a more detailed historical background note and a container listing please refer to the online finding aid
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
Governing access note
There are no access restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
  • Department of General Services
  • Cross, Mary R.
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Virginia Department for the Aging
Organization method
Organized into the following series: Series I. Correspondence; Series II. Administrative files; Series III. Resident and application files; Series IV. Financial records; Series V. Property files; Series VI. Medical files; Series VII. Other files; Series VIII. Photographs and drawings.
Type of unit
cu. ft. (56 boxes)



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Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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