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Collection Number: 01840

Collection Title: John M. Bright Papers, 1854-1911 (bulk 1871-1881).

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 400 items)
Abstract John Morgan Bright (1817-1911) was a lawyer, Confederate officer, and Democratic United States representative from Tennessee, of Fayetteville, Tenn. This collection contains letters, legal documents, speeches, newspaper clippings, pictures, and account books. The correspondence chiefly consists of letters received by Bright while he was in Congress (1871-1881). The letters concern politics, interests of constituents, and the business of the Committee on Claims of which he was chairman. Most letters relate to pensions and Civil War damages. Other papers include family correspondence, manuscript speeches, articles written for the Fayetteville (Tenn.) Observer on Biblical topics, and account books of domestic expenses and of the law firms of Bright and Bright and Bright and Sons.
Creator Bright, John M. (John Morgan), 1817-1911.
Language English
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the John M. Bright Papers, #1840, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Mrs. M. M. Bright, 1951
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
Sensitive Materials Statement
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, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

John Morgan Bright (1817-1911) of Fayetteville, Tenn. began his career as a lawyer. He was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1847-1848. During the Civil War, he served as a Confederate general for Governor Isham G. Harris. From 1871-1881 he served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat from Tennessee, after which he returned to his law practice.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection contains letters, legal documents, speeches, newspaper clippings, pictures, and account books. The correspondence chiefly consists of letters received by Bright while he was in Congress (1871-1881). The letters concern politics, interests of constituents, and the business of the Committee on Claims of which he was chairman. Most letters relate to pensions and Civil War damages. Other papers include family correspondence, manuscript speeches, articles written for the Fayetteville (Tenn.) Observer on Biblical topics, and account books of domestic expenses and of the law firms of Bright and Bright and Bright and Sons.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated.

Arrangement: chronological.

This series series contains correspondence, letters, and documents, with the bulk relating to Bright's career in Congress (1871-1881). The material from 1854-1871 primarily concerns Bright's law firm accounts and legal affairs, and tuition payment for Bright's daughters at W. E. Ward's Seminary for Young Ladies, Nashville, Tenn. The material from 1871-1881 is chiefly related to Bright's career in Congress. Included are letters from his constitutuents regarding claims for damages done by Federal solders and other claims against the Federal government; claims (14 April-19 May 1976) by cotton buying firm Southworth and Sample of St. Louis, Mo., which declared that a large tax on cotton had been illegally collected from it during the Reconstruction era; requests for pensions for services done by relatives in the War of 1812, Seminole War of 1831, and the Mexican War; requests for packages of seeds and agricultural reports; requests for copies of bills and information on a Supreme Court case; inquiries regarding the Fourteenth Amendment; support and opposition to bills; petitions regarding the establishment of local post offices and national banks in several towns; railroad legislation; appoitments to the Army, Navy, and West Point; and Bright's political career. There are also several letters written by members of Bright's family regarding personal and financial matters. Letters from 1882-1910 concern family affairs and finances. There are eight undated items, including an abstract of a petition on a whiskey tax; brief notes on government, political rights, and the Constitution; the indictment of Bright by the Federal government for participation in the Civil War; memorandums concerning claims against the Federal goverment for damages done by Federal troops during the Civil War; and a memorandum concerning mail delivery in McMinnville, Tenn.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1854-1871 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

January 1872 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

February 1872 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

March-April 1872 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

May 1872-November 1873 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

February 1874-August 1876 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

January 1877-November 1878 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

January 1879-February 1879 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

March 1879-April 1880 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 9

Folder 10

May 1880-1910 #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

Undated #01840, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1854-1910 and undated." Folder 11

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Speeches, 1875-1879 and undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Other Materials, 1857-1911 and undated.

This series contains newspaper articles, engraved images of John Morgan Bright, and five volumes. The newspapers, 1884-1911, are primarily of clippings regarding speeches by Bright as well as his career. Also included are 20 clippings of articles by Bright on religious topics. The three engraved images of Bright are of the same image of him when he was a congressman from Tennessee. The volumes chiefly consist of account books for Bright's law firms and other financial transactions, but also include notebooks on family history and the study of law.

Folder 19

Newspaper articles 1884-1911 #01840, Series: "3. Other Materials, 1857-1911 and undated." Folder 19

Folder 20

Three engraved images of John Morgan Bright #01840, Series: "3. Other Materials, 1857-1911 and undated." Folder 20

Folder 21

Volume 1: Account book #01840, Series: "3. Other Materials, 1857-1911 and undated." Folder 21

The first portion is entitled "Hon. J. M. Bright in acc. with Bryan Brothers" and covers grocery purchases for 14 December 1871-18 April 1872. The remainder of the book appears to be in a different handwriting, and is an undated list of purchases of food from a number of persons.

Folder 22

Volume 2: Account book #01840, Series: "3. Other Materials, 1857-1911 and undated." Folder 22

The first portion regards Bright's family history dating from his great-grandfather, John Morgan; the second section is an account for Bright and Woodward with John M. Bright, 4 November 1889-January 1895, covering travel and hotel expenses; the third section gives accounts of payments of rent and miscellaneous items to Bright by various persons, 1890-26 April 1906, with the bulk of entries being for the 1890s.

Folder 23

Volume 3: Notebook #01840, Series: "3. Other Materials, 1857-1911 and undated." Folder 23

The first section contains notes on William Blackstone, the study of law, and the laws of England; the second section contains accounts of money loaned by Bright to various members of his family from 1870-1880.

Folder 24

Volume 4: Account book #01840, Series: "3. Other Materials, 1857-1911 and undated." Folder 24

Accounts of the law firm Bright and Bright, covering January 1857-November 1871

Folder 25

Volume 5: Account book #01840, Series: "3. Other Materials, 1857-1911 and undated." Folder 25

Accounts of the law firm Bright and Bright, 22 February 1861-29 September 1879. The firm seems to have become Bright and Sons following the death of James R. Bright.

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Adam Fielding, Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, September 2010

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.

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