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Bailey Family Papers

Identifier: MSS-4297

Scope and Contents

The Bailey Family Papers include letters created and received by multiple generations of family members. The bulk of the letters contains Reconstruction-era content, but there are also other later letters of interest written from Texas and Japan. Samuel Bailey wrote ten letters to his son George from 1865-1869. Although Samuel wrote most of the letters while in Macon, Georgia, he was in South Charlestown, New Hampshire, when he wrote the earliest one on June 10, 1865. The letters were addressed to George in various locations: Chicago; Portageville, New York; and South Charlestown, New Hampshire. The letters convey the typical economic gloom found in Reconstruction-era letters written by Southerners. Samuel’s letters to George discuss farming, with Samuel encouraging George to pursue this avenue to earn a living. In his June 10, 1865, letter he mentions Union army destruction at a friend's or family member’s land near Chattanooga.

In addition to these ten letters written from Samuel Bailey to George Bailey, there are letters written by other Bailey and Phelps family members, including a few from George to his wife Mary. In 1880 George lived in Nopal, Texas, where he managed a ranch. In a lengthy letter to Eli Adams, George describes the two Mexican ranch hands in unpleasant and disparaging words and tones. He also offers a vivid and extensive snapshot of the ranch with its rattlesnakes, centipedes, tarantulas, and scorpions and recounts a trip to San Antonio. The collection includes a few letters written by H. M. Phelps and his wife to the Baileys, particularly to their grandson, Fred, around 1900; the date is illegible. Mr. and Mrs. Phelps were Mary Bailey’s parents and lived in Battle Creek, Michigan. Another Phelps family member, Frances, who was perhaps Mary’s sibling or cousin, wrote two letters in the collection. Frances was a missionary in Japan. The collection also contains a few odds and ends such as a letter written about Samuel Bailey (1859), an envelope, and New England temperatures in 1905.


  • 1859-1905

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections.

For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Samuel T. Bailey was born September 11, 1796, in Vermont. At some point this attorney and farm owner moved to Macon, Georgia, where he married Martha Degraffenried Strong on April 29, 1829. They had six children, including George W., born on January 5, 1844, before Martha died in 1847. Samuel died in 1870 in Macon.

George married Mary Phelps (1856-?) in 1883 and had two children, Frederick F. and Henry C. During their marriage they moved to various cities, presumably in search of employment. They seemed to live in South Charlestown, New Hampshire, for a significant period of time longest. His father owned property in South Charlestown. George died there on August 26, 1907.


0.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections acquired the materials in 2020.

Processing Information

Processed by Donnelly Walton, 2021
Guide to the Bailey Family Papers
Donnelly Walton
March 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266