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Adrian Sebastian Van de Graaff Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-1493

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains the plantation ledgers, law notes, and personal and business correspondence of Judge Adrian Sebastian Van de Graaff (also spelled: Vandegraaff, Vandegraf or Vandegraff) of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, between 1882 and 1917. The correspondence includes letterbooks of outgoing correspondence from 1899 to 1901, covering personal and business related areas. There are two other separate documents; one is a letter and the other is an affidavit witnessed by A.S. Van de Graaff. The ledgers, dating from 1898 to 1917, cover virtually all aspects of the running of the Jemison/Hargrove/Van de Graaff plantation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the plantation on Gee's Bend in Wilcox County, Alabama. The miscellaneous items are mainly concerning W.J. Van de Graaff (A.S. Van de Graaff's father) and Robert Jemison Van de Graaff (his son). The book of Miscellaneous Mathematical Excercises is inscribed by W. J. Van de Graaff, "This Book is for Sebastian to be given to him when he is old enough to use it. It was his Father's wish." There is no date on the book. There is also a notebook labeled "M.V. Lacy - Law Notebook - University of Virginia - 1851" with A.S. Van de Graaff's name on the fly leaf. It also includes a scrapbook on Robert Van de Graaff's accelerator made in 1966 by Mrs. Rebecca Welch's Fourth Grade class at Northington Elementary School, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Dates

  • 1832 - 1967
  • Majority of material found within 1898 - 1917

Creator

Biographical/Historical note

Adrian Sebastian Van de Graaff was born on May 12, 1859, in Gainesville, Sumter County, Alabama. He was the son of Abram Sebastian and Mary Coleman (Travis) Van de Graaff. At some point in the 1860s (prior to 1868) the family moved to Los Angeles, California, where Adrian attended the public schools. He spent one year at the California Military Academy of Oakland, California, and then two years at Hopkins Grammar School in New Haven, Connecticut, prior to attending Yale University. He graduated from Yale with his A.B. in 1881 and attended the law school at Yale for one term of his senior year. He returned to Alabama, graduating from the University of Alabama School of Law with an LL.B. in 1884. He practiced law in Tuscaloosa, Alabama from 1884 until he retired in 1917. He was appointed Circuit Judge and served from November 1, 1915 until January 15, 1917. He served as a representative in the state legislature for Tuscaloosa County in 1919. For ten consecutive years, Van de Graaff served as a member of the Tuscaloosa Board of Trade and was its president for two years. He was also a professor off and on for a total of ten years, in the School of Law at the University of Alabama between 1890 and 1914. On July 17, 1890 he married Minnie Cherokee Hargrove, daughter of Andrew Coleman and Cherokee Mims (Jemison) Hargrove. They had five children: 1) Adrian Van Vinceler Van de Graaff (1891-1936); 2) Coleman Hargrove Van de Graaff (1893-1938); 3) William Travis Van de Graaff (1895-1977); 4) Cherokee Van de Graaff (1898-1934); and Robert Jemison Van de Graaff (1901-1967), the inventor of the Van de Graaff electrostatic generator. Adrian S. Van de Graaff died on 18 May 1922 in Birmingham, Alabama and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Source: "Van de Graaff, Adrian Sebastian," History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, by Thomas McAdory Owen. Chicago, IL : The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1921. vol. 4, p. 1703.

Extent

2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection contains plantation ledgers, law notes, and personal and business correspondence of Adrian Sebastian Van de Graaff between 1882 and 1917. It also includes a scrapbook on Robert Van de Graaff's accelerator made in 1966 by Mrs. Welch's Fourth Grade class at Northington Elementary School, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Custodial History

The Robert Jemison Papers, acquired by the University of Alabama in 19??, consisted of the papers of Robert Jemison, Jr., his son-in-law, Andrew Coleman Hargrove, and Hargrove’s son-in-law, Adrian S. Van de Graaff, all of whom occupied the house built by Robert Jemison, Jr. At an early date, some of Hargrove’s ledgers, a scrapbook and his letterbooks were separated from the original donation of the papers and designated as the Andrew Coleman Hargrove Papers, though most of his business records remained with the Jemison papers. In 1996, the remaining Hargrove material was removed from the Jemison Papers and was consolidated with the Hargrove Papers. The letterbooks and other papers of Adrian S. Van de Graaff were also separated from the Jemison papers and designated as the Adrian Sebastian Van de Graaff Papers.

Provenance

Gift of the Van de Graaff family after the death of Minnie Cherokee Van de Graaff.

General

To provide faster access to our materials, this finding aid was published without formal and final review. Email us at archives@ua.edu if you find mistakes or have suggestions to make this finding aid more useful for your research.
Title
Guide to the Adrian Sebastian Van de Graaff Papers, 1851-1967
Status
Coll Lvl Complete
Author
Martha Bace
Date
2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266
205.348.0500