A lot has come through the digitization pipeline in the last six months or so. Here are some highlights.
Martha Jane Coleman Banks commonplace book
Contains diary entries, miscellaneous writings (some appear to be school related), newspaper clippings, recipes, and poems. There is also a typed transcription of the book, which was perhaps provided by the donor.
Martha Jane Coleman Banks was born in Eutaw, Alabama, on April 23, 1833, to John Coleman and Rhoda Cobb. She graduated from the Mesopotamia Female Seminary in 1848. She married James Oliver Banks in 1852. James Banks was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on September 6, 1829, to Willis Banks and Mary Gray. After their wedding, John and Martha Jane lived on a plantation in Columbus, Mississippi, and according to the commonplace book, they had at least seventy-eight slaves. Martha Jane and James had four children together: Mary Gray; Willis Alston; John Coleman; and James Oliver.
John and Mary Wellborn Cochran Diaries, Letterbook, and Photographs
Consists of three bound volumes of this Alabama attorney and politician and his wife: John Cochran’s diary; Mary Wellborn Cochran’s journal; and a miscellany of copies of some of John Cochran’s outgoing correspondence, journal entries of his, and copies of some freedman contracts to which he was party. Also includes two unidentified photographs that appear to be from the early twentieth century.
Cochran moved from Tennessee to Jacksonville, Alabama, in 1835 and began a law practice. He served as state representative from Calhoun County, 1839-42. He then moved to Barbour County in 1843 and served as state representative from Barbour County, 1853-57. He was also a representative to the state Secession Convention, 1861, and was circuit court judge, 1861-1865. He married three times: Caroline; Mary Wellborn of Eufaula, Alabama, October 8, 1845; and Miss Toney of Eufaula.
Antebellum South / Civil War
William and Crawford L. Brown family papers
Consists of over one hundred documents relating to the Mississippi and Alabama plantations of brothers William and Crawford L. Brown. The documents include bills of sale for slaves; receipts for clothing, dry goods, and tool repair; tax receipts listing the number of slaves; bills of lading for cotton bales; and business letters.
William and Crawford L. Brown were brothers and wealthy plantation owners in Mississippi and Alabama in the early part of the nineteenth century. William, the wealthier of the two, settled in Hinds County, Mississippi, while Crawford settled in Columbia, Alabama, where he served as postmaster. Both brothers died in the late 1840s.
Holliman and Stewart families letters
Contains Civil War letters and miscellaneous documents of James Franklin Holliman and William Stewart, to and from their families between 1862-1911, and relating to Fayette County, Alabama, history. The majority of the letters are from the Civil War era.
James Franklin Holliman, oldest son of Uriah H. and Mary Lucas Holliman, was born on 28 January 1839, in Alabama. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Holliman was a First Lieutenant in Company “B” 58th Alabama Infantry Regiment. He was captured, with a large part of his Company, by Federal forces on 25 November 1863, at the Battle of Missionary Ridge. At the end of the war, he was released from prison on Johnson’s Island, Ohio, and returned home. William M. Stewart was the son of John Stewart and the brother of Rebecca Utley Stewart Holliman.
George Doherty Johnston papers
Contains the personal letters and war-related correspondence of Brigadier General George Doherty Johnston of the Twenty-fifth Alabama Infantry, C.S.A. The majority of the letters are from his first wife, Euphradia, and his mother.
George Doherty Johnston was born on May 30, 1832, in Hillsborough, North Carolina, to George Mulholland and Eliza Mary Bond Johnston. When George was two, his father moved the family to Greensboro, Alabama. When his father died less than a year later, his mother moved the family to Marion, Alabama. Johnston studied law at Cumberland School of Law at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. When he graduated he returned home and began his practice. In 1856, Johnston was elected mayor of Marion, and then to the state legislature in 1857. After the war, Johnston served as the commandant of cadets at the University of Alabama. He moved to South Carolina to serve as superintendent of the South Carolina Military Academy, and later was appointed by President Grover Cleveland to be the United States Civil Service Commissioner. He returned to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he was elected a state senator.
WWI / WWII
Contains Friedman’s personal and official correspondence, photographs of a camp in the Alps, his lieutenant’s commission, his Croce al Merito di Guerra and other military pins and ribbons, and various items issued to him by the military. Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author’s surname, and outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically.
Victor Hugo Friedman was a prominent Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native and former University of Alabama football player. The founder of the Red Cross chapter in Tuscaloosa, he also served as an ambulance driver in the military for six months in Italy during World War I. He was stationed at the highest base in the Alps in August 1918. For his service to Italian soldiers in the mountains, the Italian government awarded him the Croce al Merito di Guerra (War Merit Cross).
The collection contains letters and postcards of Hans Höchersteiger, a technical sergeant of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Höchersteiger was captured in May 1941 and was held first in England and then in Ottawa, Canada. All the letters and postcards from Höchersteiger are to his family in Stuttgart, Germany, and are written in German. There is no translation for them at this time.
There are also letters from the German Red Cross to Höchersteiger’s family (probably his father) concerning his whereabouts after being captured. These letters are also in German and only a cursory translation was made to determine their subject matter. One letter to Höchersteiger from his father, toward the end of the war, discusses some vocational training and night school. There is a diary, also in German (no translation available), covering the period from 1 April to 20 July 1938.