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Collection Number: 00243

Collection Title: Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872.

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.


This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 6 items)
Abstract The collection includes an intermittent diary of Miss Elmore of Columbia, S.C., containing primarily personal and introspective entries except for a detailed account of life and events in the city, September 1864-January 1865, during Union army occupation. Also, small notebooks containing drafts of a novel and other literary materials.
Creator Elmore, Grace Brown, 1839-1912.
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 Grace Brown Elmore Papers #243, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of Southern women and their families in the 19th century, Series A.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Thomas T. Elmore of Jacksonville, Fla., before 1940.
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

Grace Brown Elmore (1839-1912), of Columbia, S.C., was the daughter of Franklin Harper Elmore (1799-1850), South Carolina banker, senator, and supporter of John C. Calhoun, and Harriet Chestnut Elmore, daughter of Governor John Taylor of South Carolina. For most of her life she lived with her family in Columbia, S.C., in her mother's house and on the family plantation. After the Civil War, she moved briefly to Charlotte, N.C., to teach music at a boarding school, but soon returned to Columbia.

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Manuscript volumes, dated 1861-1890, of diary entries and memoirs; a typed copy of reminiscences, 1860-1866, loosely based on diary entries ; and drafts of a novel.

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Contents list

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Folder 1

Volume 1: Diary, 1861-1867, 143 p., with enclosures, including drafts of letters, notes, and clippings. #00243, Series: "Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872." Folder 1

Volume 1 primarily consists of a record of Grace B. Elmore's personal thoughts and feelings regarding herself, her family, and the progress of the Civil War in South Carolina. The predominant topic is her depression over her confinement in her mother's home - "A man can seek the outer world, and in the duties belonging to that world restrain that irritability and restless longing that fills the spirit, when without a vocation." Other personal topics include memories of her father and her childhood nurse, "Mamma"; her conflicts with her mother, sisters, and brothers; family quarrels and disagreements; and, extensively, her religious thoughts and feelings. There are also religious poems scattered throughout the volume. Entries about the Civil War include her prayers for the Confederate cause, description of the progress of the war along the South Carolina coast and of her brother Albert's life in camp, a discussion of the role of slaves in Southern society, and a detailed description of the occupation of Columbia by Sherman's army. Some of the pages are cut out or glued together, and sections are crossed out. Undated enclosures include several pages of drafts of letters and notes on philosophy, and newspaper clippings on Southern higher education, the temperance movement, and a poem.

Folder 2

Volume 1 enclosures #00243, Series: "Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872." Folder 2

Folder 3

Volume 2: Diary, with poems and fictionalized autobiography, 1864-1872; 185 p. #00243, Series: "Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872." Folder 3

Volume 2 contains fewer of Grace B. Elmore's personal thoughts and more entries concerning the Elmore family's everyday life. Topics include family life and intrigues, social and household activities, the family's troubled financial condition during and after the war, and a visit by General Leonidas Polk's family. Many of the entries are concerned with the approach of Sherman's army and the occupation and burning of Columbia. After the war, Grace B. Elmore wrote concerning her thoughts on slavery and freedom for blacks; the death of her mother, Harriet Chestnut Elmore; and a description of her life as a music teacher in a Charlotte, N.C., boarding school. She was invited to join the faculty of an academy founded by Catharine Esther Beecher (1800-1878), and she wrote of her unpleasant impressions of that lady, her hatred of "Yankees," and her views on the behavior of Northerners after the war and the associations of ex-Confederate leaders with Northerners. The volume also includes poetry and pieces of a fictionalized autobiography.

Folder 4

Volume 3: Rewritten diary entries, 1860-1866; 104 p. Diary entries (typed), loosely based on entries in volumes 1 and 2. #00243, Series: "Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872." Folder 4

Entries are rearranged and embellished in a conscious literary style, probably by Grace B. Elmore herself in anticipation of publication. The beginning of this volume, not found in other volumes, includes a description of a trip north and Grace B. Elmore's feelings about the North, Lincoln, the election of 1860, the secession of South Carolina, and war fever in the South. There is also a copy of the constitution of the "Minute Men for the Defense of Southern Rights" and descriptions of everyday life of the Elmore family and their family slaves. After 1861, the volume is essentially a paraphrase of volumes 1 and 2. Pages 26-52 of this volume are missing.

Folder 5

Volume 4: Reminiscences, 1890 and undated; 60 p. #00243, Series: "Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872." Folder 5

Grace B. Elmore's reminiscences of her early childhood, including her family's everyday life and her relationship with her nurse "Mamma" and other family slaves. There are also descriptions of family slaves telling Brer Rabbit and Ole Harry Scratch stories and other "negro tales." Also included is a narrative purported to be by her brother Albert's former slave Billy about his Civil War experiences, entitled "Billy's Account of Himself," and Grace B. Elmore's description of Billy's visit to the Elmore home in 1890.

Folder 6

Volume 5: Fiction, undated; 78 p. #00243, Series: "Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872." Folder 6

Part 1 of a novel written by Grace B. Elmore entitled Light and Shadows, a romance about a Confederate soldier returning from the Civil War.

Folder 7

Volume 6: Fiction and reminiscences, undated; 64 p. #00243, Series: "Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872." Folder 7

Copy of Volume 5, Part 1 of Light and Shadows, with additional material, including undated reminiscences of Grace B. Elmore about her father Franklin Harper Elmore, his association with John C. Calhoun, and Elmore family life.

Folder 8

Volume 7: Fiction and other items, undated and 1897; 80 p. #00243, Series: "Grace Brown Elmore Papers, 1861-1872." Folder 8

Part 2 of Light and Shadows. There are also miscellaneous notes in the back of the volume and a newspaper clipping, dated 1897, about South Carolina.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Elizabeth Pauk, December 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

A copy of volume 3 is in the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina.

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