The Resource Wyndham Robertson collection, (microform)

Wyndham Robertson collection, (microform)

Wyndham Robertson collection, 1740-1925
Wyndham Robertson collection
Inclusive dates
  • This collection contains the papers of Wyndham Robertson (1803-1888) and his family, including correspondence, business records, financial records, and legal documents
  • The pre-1815 family papers primarily consist of the correspondence of Wyndham Robertson's grandfather, Archibald Robertson, a factor on the James River, to his family in Glasgow, Scotland. The main subject of the correspondence, which was continued by Wyndham's father, William, is family affairs. Also includes an eighteenth century commonplace book and two travel diaries dated 1776 and July 1797, presumably of Wyndham's father
  • In 1815, the correspondence of Wyndham, himself, commences. His early letters are principally to his father and three of his brothers: John Robertson, member of the state legislature, attorney general of the state in 1823, and United State congressman; Thomas Bolling Robertson, governor of Louisiana; and Powhatan Robertson. After his sojourn at the College of William and Mary from 1819 to 1821, he wrote to many of the friends he made there. From the time of his marriage to Mary F. Trigg Smith in 1831 until the Civil War, which includes the period of his governorship (1836-1837), there is surprisingly little in the collection dealing with his political career. The letters, largely from his family, are addressed to Wyndham and concern family affairs, although in the years before 1838 Wyndham was immersed in law and politics and after that date was concerned with several business ventures. The correspondence, however, provides numerous descriptions and insights into Southern antebellum society. Particularly interesting in this respect are the letters of Wydham's nephew, Henry Skipwith, and his niece, Gay Bernard, during the latter's stay in the Washington society ruled by the Calhouns. Also includes some letters and accounts concerning Wyndham's estate at Abingdon, part of his wife's dowry, his plantation of Bayou Black in Louisiana, and his land speculations in Arkansas. Although there is little of sustained correspondence on political matters, the following individual letters are of interest: the original letter of resignation of Governor Tazewell to Wyndham Robertson, 30 March 1836; over a dozen letters written by Nicholas P. Trist to Wyndham between 1830-1860; and a letter from Nicholas Siddle to Wyndham, 21 February 1839
  • Beginning with the convention of 1856 and continuing through the year 1870, the correspondence is rich in political matter of the Civil War, both for the state of Virginia and, especially in 1860, at the national level. The tribulations of the family during the years of battle and the struggle to retrieve the family's shattered fortunes after the war are fully recorded in their papers and letters. Noteworthy are letters from Edward Bates and General Winfield Scott during the election crisis of 1860, and from Generals Custis Lee, Robert E. Lee, and J. E. B. Stuart, and Samuel J. Tilden during the war
  • The papers of Wyndham Robertson from the end of the Civil War until his death in 1888 are principally concerned with three matters: his business interest in the Buena Vista Plaster Company managed by himself and his two sons, Frank and Wyndham; his antiquarian studies in the history of Virginia, particularly work on his book, POCAHONTAS, ALIAS MATOAKA, AND HER DESCENDANTS THROUGH HER MARRIAGE AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA, IN APRIL, 1614, WITH JOHN ROLFE, which was undertaken even before the outbreak of the Civil War; and scattered political correspondence. During the last years of his life, Wyndham had an active correspondence with other famous Virginia historians of his day such as William Wirt Henry, Alexander Brown, Hugh B. Grigsby, Conway Robinson, and Phillip S. Slaughter. The papers from 1888 to 1925, the date of the sale of the Buena Vista Plaster Company, record the growth of the Company and its problems under Wyndham's son, Frank and Wyndham. Some reminiscences of the younger Robertsons are also contained in this part of the collection. Because of its unique political interest, the correspondence between Wyndham's elder brother, John, and himself, extending from 1813 to 1872, has been separated from the rest of the collection and occupies its own box. John Robertson sent lengthy reports of the current Washington scene after his election to Congress in 1834
  • The records of the Loyal Company of Virginia, previously dispersed by date through the collection, have been assembled in a separate chronological series. This arrangement was done because it bore no relationship to the rest of the Robertson papers. Captain Francis Smith, Wyndham's father-in-law, was a leading member of the Loyal Company during its last years, and Wyndham apparently only acquired the papers upon the death of Smith in 1840 when he became executor of the latter's estate. The papers date from the mid-eighteenth century and contain land surveys, receipts, land grants, accounts, and records of court litigations. Of note are fourteen land grants on parchment dated between 1785 and 1834 signed by the following governors of Virginia: Patrick Henry, Edmund Randolph, Beverly Randolph, Robert Brooke, James Wood, James Monroe, John Page, James Barbour, and Littleton W. Tazewell
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
Born on 26 June 1803, Wyndham Robertson (1803-1888) of Richmond, Virginia served as governor of Virginia (1836-1837) and also was member of the House of Delegates (1838-1841, 1859-1865). He owned and operated the Buena Vista Plaster Company and was a student of Virginia history. His book, POCAHONTAS, ALIAS MATOAKA, AND HER DESCENDANTS THROUGH HER MARRIAGE AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA, IN APRIL, 1614, WITH JOHN ROLFE, was published in 1887. He died on 11 February 1888.
Cataloging source
Location of originals duplicates
Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library;
Wyndham Robertson collection, (microform)
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
Reel inventory
Immediate source of acquisition
University of Chicago Library
Organization method
Organized into the following series: I. Correspondence of Wyndham Robertson and his family, 1740-1925, n.d. (Reels 1-6); II. Loyal Company Papers, 1752-1844 (Reels 6-7); III. Miscellaneous Papers, 1776-1889 (Reels 7-8).
Reproduction note
Terms governing use
Type of unit

Library Locations

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