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Collection Number: 03838

Collection Title: Anne Cameron Collins Papers, 1849-1909

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 section for more information.


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Size 12.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 10000 items)
Abstract Anne Cameron Collins, daughter of Paul Carrington Cameron (1808-1891) and Anne (Ruffin) Cameron (d. 1897), of Hillsborough, N.C.; wife of George Pumpelly Collins (1835-1903), plantation manager in Tunica County, Miss. Personal and family letters received by Anne (Cameron) Collins of Hillsborough, N.C., especially from her husband, George P. Collins, while he was away from home managing plantations in Tunica County, Miss., and as a businessman in Durham, N.C., from the late 1870s through the late 1890s. There are also many letters from the Collins's seven children, including Annie Cameron (Collins) Wall (1862-1942), Rebecca Anderson (Collins) Wood (1864-1921), George William Kent Collins (1869-1946), Henrietta Page Collins (1870-1955), Mary Arthur (Collins) Woods (1872-1952), Alice Ruffin (Collins) Mebane (1874-1958), and Paul Cameron Collins (1877-1961); and correspondence with Cameron and Collins relatives, including Bennehan Cameron (1854-1925), Mildred Coles Cameron (1820-1881), and Arthur Collins. Also included are letters from friends, including Carrie Sargent of Bryn Mawr, Pa. There are only two items prior to 1865. The correspondence deals primarily with family concerns and includes letters from children attending St. Mary's School, 1870-1882 and late 1880s, and the Raleigh Male Academy, 1883-1884, both in Raleigh, N.C., and the University of North Carolina, 1897, and also provides information concerning George P. Collins's business affairs and economic and social conditions in Mississippi during Reconstruction.
Creator Collins, Anne Cameron, 1842-1915.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
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 Anne Cameron Collins papers #3838, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Elizabeth H. Collins, of Hillsborough, N.C., in March 1973, and from John Sykes III of Baton Rouge, La., in May 1997.
Gift of John Sykes III, cousin of original donor Elizabeth H. Collins, of Baton Rouge, La., on 28 May 1997.
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

Anne Ruffin Cameron (1842-1915) was the daughter of Paul Carrington Cameron (1808-1891) and Anne (Ruffin) Cameron (d. 1897). Her maternal grandfather was Thomas Ruffin, chief justice of North Carolina, and her paternal grandfather was Duncan Cameron (1777-1853). Born 16 July 1842, she married George Pumpelly Collins (1835-1903), Major, CSA, on 20 December 1860. George P. Collins came from the Chowan and Washington County area of North Carolina. He had business and property interests in Tunica County, Miss., for a decade or two after the Civil War, and spent considerable time in Mississippi from 1865 to the late 1870s. Later, he became engaged in various business enterprises in Durham, N.C. George and Anne Collins made their home in Hillsborough, N.C., and seven of their children lived to maturity:

Annie Cameron Collins (1862-1942) married William Lewis Wall of Durham, N.C., on 16 November 1892, and had three children: George Collins Wall, Sarah Wallace Wall, and Rebecca Bennehan Wall.

Rebecca Anderson Collins (1864-1921) married Frank Wood of Edenton, N.C., on 11 November 1886, and had three children: Frank, Jr. (died as a child), George C. Wood (b. 1890), and Rebecca (Wood) Drane.

Mary Arthur Collins (1866-1871).

George William Kent Collins (1869-1946), unmarried, was a University of North Carolina alumnus and became a civil engineer.

Henrietta Page Collins (1870-1955), unmarried.

Mary Arthur Collins (1872-1952) married Frank Wood after the death of her sister Rebecca, and had no children.

Alice Ruffin Collins (1874-1958) married Frank Carter Mebane on 20 December 1900, and was mother of Frank Mebane Jr., and Alice Mebane.

Paul Cameron Collins (1877-1961) married Mary McNeill on 12 January 1910, and was the father of Elizabeth Hyman Collins and Mary Strange Collins.

The above information about the children is mainly from Alice R. R. Rouse, The Reads and Their Relatives. Biographical sketches, including family data of Duncan Cameron and Paul C. Cameron are in Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas, 19th Century, Vol. II (1892). Birth and death dates were added by the earlier donor, Elizabeth H. Collins.

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Family letters and other papers, mostly letters received by Anne Cameron Collins of Hillsborough, N.C., from her daughters and her sisters between 1876 and 1900. Also included are a few letters to or from George P. Collins and others and a few financial papers. The papers are arranged chronologically.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1849-1895.

The only items dated earlier than 1865, are a letter dated 20 July 1849, from George P. Collins at Somerset Place to his cousin, and a poem copied for Anne Cameron on the day before her wedding on 19 December 1860, by A.K.R. (her grandmother Ruffin).

Beginning in April 1865, a large portion of this collection consists of letters to Anne Collins from her husband at times when he was away on business or for other reasons. The various locations of Major Collins include: Greensboro, N.C., April 1865, while he was serving in the Confederate Army at Gen. Johnston's headquarters following the end of hostilities; several locations in northeastern North Carolina, later in 1865, when Collins was trying to redeem family property in the Edenton area; Tunica County, Miss., at or near Othello (with mail addressed to the care of cotton factors or merchants at Memphis). Collins went to Mississippi in late 1865, apparently to manage the plantation holdings of his father-in-law Paul C. Cameron (see letters of 30 December 1871, and 6 January 1872), although Collins's continued concern with Mississippi affairs indicates that he, too, may have had interests there. Anne and some of the children joined George Collins from time to time in Mississippi, but apparently conditions there were not good and the family spent much of each year in Hillsborough, while George Collins remained in Mississippi. Collins's letters to his wife from Mississippi are filled with enlightening information about conditions there during Reconstruction (see letter of 6 January 1872).

In the late 1870s, George Collins gave up permanent residence at the Mississippi plantation and returned to North Carolina. Correspondence suggests that he may have helped to manage the Cameron plantation at Fairntosh (presently Durham County), and that he later became engaged in business ventures in Durham. His wife remained in Hillsborough much of this time, and George returned to Mississippi on plantation business as late as 1888.

Other correspondence includes occasional letters from George P. Collins to Paul C. Cameron in regard to Mississippi affairs; letters to George P. and Anne Collins from their children, and members of Anne's family, especially Duncan Cameron, and Paul C. Cameron and his wife.

Correspondence from the children begins in the early 1870s, when their parents are in Mississippi, and continues as they leave home to attend school. The children's earlier school years seem to have been in Hillsborough at the school of the Misses Nash and Kollock, or at Miss Alice Heartt's school. Rebecca and Anne Collins started at St. Mary's School in Raleigh, N.C., beginning in 1878, apparently living at the home of Mrs. George W. Mordecai (their mother's aunt Margaret). Rebecca and possibly Anne continued at St. Mary's until 1882. According to the report cards included with these papers, Paul and George Collins attended Raleigh Male Academy, 1883-1884. George Collins began studying at the University of North Carolina in 1886. Henrietta Collins attended St. Mary's in 1887. The only one of the girls not to go directly to St. Mary's was Alice R. Collins, who attended St. Hilda's School in Morristown, N. J. in 1892. Letters from the children continue as they marry and resettle. There are a few letters to the children from friends and relatives.

Other letters, scattered throughout the collection, are from Carrie B. Sargent (wife of Dr. Gorham P. Sargent) at Bryn Mawr, Pa.-the first letter being written from Philadelphia, 3 August 1865. There is also correspondence from Mrs. Josiah (Sally) Collins and other Collins in-laws including Mary Collins, Arthur Collins, and George Collins's mother; various Cameron cousins and relatives; and from Anne Collins to her children and husband.

Although the correspondence in this group of papers deals mainly with family concerns, it also includes some business letters and offers information on contemporary events such as Reconstruction in Mississippi, and the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston (3 letters written from Johnston's headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., 22-30 April 1865).

The papers also include report cards showing the grades of the Collins children, receipts for merchandise sales, and various clippings.

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1849-June 1872 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 1-15

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July 1872-June 1877 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 16-30

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July 1877-1879 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 31-45

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1880-June 1883 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 46-60

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July 1883-April 1886 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 61-75

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May 1886-June 1887 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 76-90

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July 1887-August 1888 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 91-105

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September 1888-November 1889 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 106-120

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December 1889-1890 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 121-135

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1891-January 1892 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 136-150

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February-December 1892 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 151-166

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January-July 1893 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 167-180

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August 1893-June 1894 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 181-195

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July 1894-December 1995 #03838, Series: "1849-1895." Folder 196-206

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1896-1909.

After 1895, Anne Cameron Collins continued to live in Hillsborough, but visited in Edenton, Raleigh, and Durham, N.C.; New Brighton, Staten Island, and New York City; Savannah, Ga.; and Alabama.

The letters written during this time period are mostly to Anne Collins from her seven scattered children, and concern family matters, particularly illnesses, travels, marriages, births, and deaths. Her daughter, Alice, married Frank C. Mebane in 1900, and moved to New York. Paul was a student at the University of North Carolina during 1897-1898. Letters from George, another son, reveal his trying out different jobs in Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and California. Children were born during this period to daughters, Annie Wall, Rebecca Wood, and Alice Mebane. Anne Collins's mother, Anne Ruffin Cameron, died in May 1897, and her husband, George P. Collins, died in August 1903. There are also letters from relatives, namely her brother Bennehan Cameron and his wife Sallie, sister Mildred Cameron, and brother-in-law Arthur Collins. Letters from friends and a few business letters concerning the farm property of the Collins and Cameron families are scattered throughout.

There is an unexplained gap in the papers from September 1904 through 1906.

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January 1996-January 1897 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 207-210

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February 1897-January 1898 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 211-225

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February 1898-July 1899 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 226-240

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August 1899-October 1900 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 241-255

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November 1900-1901 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 256-271

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1901-November 1902 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 272-286

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December 1902-May 1903 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 287-301

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June-November 1903 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 302-316

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December 1903-May 1904 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 317-331

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June 1904-June 1909 #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 332-345

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July-October 1909 and miscellaneous #03838, Series: "1896-1909." Folder 346-357

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse ADDITION OF MAY 1997 (Acc. 97071)

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff, 1997

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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