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Collection Number: 04285

Collection Title: Edith M. Dabbs Collection of Papers Relating to Saint Helena Island, S.C., 1791; 1860-1963

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.


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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 18 items)
Abstract Edith Mitchell Dabbs was born in 1906 in Dalzell, Sumter County, S.C. She married James McBride Dabbs in 1935, and, in 1937, settled at Rip Raps Plantation, the Dabbs family home just outside Sumter. She was active in documenting the history of Saint Helena Island, S.C., an interest stemming from her knowledge of Penn School, a school for African Americans that functioned on the Island between 1862 and 1948, with which both she and her husband were involved. The collection includes a handwritten transcription of a letter, 1791, from Abigail Capers. Saint Helena Island, S.C., describing her life at Laurell Hill, an indigo plantation; a photocopy of a transcription of parts of a diary, 1862-1864, of Penn School founder Laura M. Towne (1825-1901), with discussions of African Americans on Saint Helena Island, the work of members of the Port Royal Experiment there, Union troops in the area, and other matters; photographs of drawings, probably 1860s, of buildings on Saint Helena Island; and other items relating to Penn School and to life on Saint Helena Island.
Creator Dabbs, Edith M.
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 Edith M. Dabbs Collection of Papers Relating to Saint Helena Island, S.C. #4285, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Photocopy of transcription of Laura M. Towne diary available on microfilm.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Edith M. Dabbs of Mayesville, S.C., in 1963, 1965, 1967, and 1975.
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

Edith Mitchell Dabbs was born in 1906 in Dalzell, Sumter County, S.C. She married James McBride Dabbs in 1935, and, in 1937, settled at Rip Raps Plantation, the Dabbs family home just outside Sumter. She was active in documenting the history of Saint Helena Island, S.C., an interest stemming from her knowledge of Penn School, a school for African Americans that functioned on the Island between 1862 and 1948, with which both she and her husband were involved.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection assembled by Edith M. Dabbs includes a handwritten transcription of a letter, 1791, from Abigail Capers, Saint Helena Island, S.C., describing her life at Laurell Hill, an indigo plantation; a photocopy of a transcription of parts of a diary, 1862-1864, of Penn School founder Laura M. Towne (1825-1901), with discussions of African Americans on Saint Helena Island, the work of members of the Port Royal Experiment there, Union troops in the area during the Civil War, and other matters; photographs of drawings, probably 1860s, of buildings on Saint Helena Island; and other items relating to Penn School and to life on Saint Helena Island.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Miscellaneous Items, 1791; 1860-1963.

4 items.

Folder 1

Abigail Capers letter, 25 March 1781 #04285, Series: "1. Miscellaneous Items, 1791; 1860-1963." Folder 1

Letter written from Laurell Hill Plantation, Saint Helena Island, 25 March 1791, describing activities of an indigo plantation owner's wife.

Folder 2

"African Music," circa 1867 #04285, Series: "1. Miscellaneous Items, 1791; 1860-1963." Folder 2

Carbon typescript of an article or speech found in the copy of Slave Songs of the United States (1867) that was owned by Rossa Cooley, principal of Penn School, 1908-1944.

Folder 3

"Walking Tall," Edith M. Dabbs, 1963 #04285, Series: "1. Miscellaneous Items, 1791; 1860-1963." Folder 3

Typescript of a short history of the Penn School.

Folder 4

Laura M. Towne diary, 8 April 1862-30 May 1864 #04285, Series: "1. Miscellaneous Items, 1791; 1860-1963." Folder 4

Photocopy of a transcription of the diary of Laura M. Towne, covering 8 April 1862 to 30 May 1864 (also available on microfilm). Towne founded Penn School with Ellen Murray (1834-1908). The original of the diary is in the Penn School Papers.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Pictures, 1860s.

14 items.

Photographs of sketches of buildings on Saint Helena Island (except P-4285/4). The drawings are attributed to Edith M. Dabbs's mother, who produced them in the 1860s. Most of the pictures were labeled by Edith M. Dabbs.

Image Folder PF-4285/1

Fourteen sketches: #04285, Series: "2. Pictures, 1860s." PF-4285/1

P-4285/1: Chapel of Ease, Land's End Road #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/2: Oaks Plantation House #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/3: Frogmore House (Frogmore Manor) #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/4: Beaufort waterfront viewed from Ladies Island #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/5: Praise House #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/6: Cotton House #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/7: Central Baptist Church ("Brick Church" #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/8: Brick Church (rear view) #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/9: Frogmore Street #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/10: First Penn Building #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/11: First Penn Building #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/12: Episcopal Chapel at the Village #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/13: Edgar Fripp Home at the Village #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
P-4285/14: Fort Freemont Marine Base at Land's End #04285, Series 2. Pictures, 1860s., Imagefolder PF-4285/1
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Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, February 1988

Encoded by: Roslyn Holdzkom, July 2007

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, October 2009

Material in this collection was removed from the James McBride Dabbs Papers (#3816) in July 1981.

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