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Collection Number: 00398

Collection Title: John Kimberly Papers, 1821-1938

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 3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 500 items)
Abstract John Kimberly was professor of chemistry and agriculture at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., 1857-1864 and 1875-1876, and farmer in Buncombe County, N.C., 1866-1874. The collection incldues personal correspondence, lecture notes, laboratory notebooks, and accounts of John Kimberly. The bulk of the collection is the family correspondence of Kimberly's second wife, Bettie Maney of Nashville, Tenn., and other members of the Maney, Southall, and Kimberly families. Included are young girls' letters, 1850s, from Saint Mary's School at Raleigh, N.C.; soldiers' letters from the Mexican War; letters from American travelers and students in Europe, 1851-1852 and 1859-1860; and Civil War letters, mainly from civilians at Chapel Hill, Nashville, and Atlanta, Ga., discussing life on the homefront. Correspondents include James H. Otey, Charles Phillips, and James Woodrow. Antebellum letters are mainly concerned with daily life and family news, but also discuss current events, such as the slave market, runaway slaves, crop conditions prior to the Civil War, and life in Chapel Hill. Some wartime letters relate to the occupation of Chapel Hill. Most of the letters prior to 1930 are transcribed. Letters after 1930 (not transcribed) are primarily the correspondence of Rebecca Kimberly of Columbia, S.C., concerning genealogy. Also in the collection are notebooks containing financial records, class plans, and research materials of John Kimberly. Most of these notebooks combine various types of materials and several have overlapping dates. There are a few pictures, including prints of engraved portraits and scenes.
Creator Kimberly, John, 1817-1882.
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 John Kimberly Papers #398, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Rebecca Kimberly in 1940, Mary Kimberly in 1943 and 1948, and Marguerite Kimberly Carter of Asheville, N.C., on 21 August 1997 (Acc. 97111).
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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John Kimberly was a native of New Jersey and a descendent of Huguenots who settled in Long Island in the seventeenth century. He spent his adult life in North Carolina and was a staunch advocate of the Confederate cause. He received a degree in chemistry from Harvard University and taught chemistry in Hertford County, N.C., where he was married to Caroline Capehart of Hertford County. He later married Bettie Maney of Nashville, Tenn., and became a professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 1857-1864. He was the chair of the agriculture department at the University, 1875-1876.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Personal correspondence, lecture notes, laboratory notebooks, and accounts of farmer and University of North Carolina professor John Kimberly. The personal correspondence was mostly written by and pertains to members of the Maney and Kimberly families in North Carolina and Tennessee. These letters are predominately concerned with daily life and family news, but also discuss current events such as the slave market, runaway slaves, and crop conditions prior to the Civil War, as well as the quality of life in antebellum Chapel Hill, N.C. Most of these letters are not overtly political in nature except for those written in 1861 by Bettie Maney Kimberly's sister, Annie Maney, of Nashville to her friends in the North discussing sectional differences and the potential effects of the Civil War.

Folder 47 contains several letters describing the occupation of Chapel Hill. A 12 March 1865 letter from Kimberly to his wife states, 'All communication . . . has been stopped at least for the present - we can only communicate by Flag of Truce.' Kimberly's 17 April 1865 letter talks of houses being plundered and his fear that a 'reign of terror will begin after the U.S. Troops are withdrawn.' Several lengthy letters to his wife document other aspects of the war, such as the condition of the University and the arrest of Governor Vance.

Most of the letters dated prior to 1930 are transcribed (see folders 57-59). Letters after 1930, which are not transcribed, are primarily the correspondence of Rebecca Kimberly of Columbia, S.C. concerning family genealogy.

Also included are calendars, commencement invitations, and other documents. There are newspaper clippings from North Carolina papers regarding University and Civil War news and from European newspapers and other southern newspapers regarding the Civil War. There are a few pictures, including prints of engraved portraits and scenes, and notebooks containing financial records, class plans, and research materials of John Kimberly. Most of these notebooks combine various types of materials and several overlap in dates.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880.

About 400 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Folder 1

1821-1829 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 1

Folder 2

1831-1839 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 2

Folder 3

1840-1846 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 3

Folder 4

1847-1849 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 4

Folder 5

1850-1852 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 5

Folder 6

1853-1856 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 6

Folder 7-11

Folder 7

Folder 8

Folder 9

Folder 10

Folder 11

1857 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 7-11

Folder 12-19

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Folder 18

Folder 19

1858 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 12-19

Folder 20-25

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

1859 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 20-25

Folder 26-31

Folder 26

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

Folder 30

Folder 31

1860 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 26-31

Folder 32-36

Folder 32

Folder 33

Folder 34

Folder 35

Folder 36

1861 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 32-36

Folder 37-39

Folder 37

Folder 38

Folder 39

1862 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 37-39

Folder 40-43

Folder 40

Folder 41

Folder 42

Folder 43

1863 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 40-43

Folder 44-46

Folder 44

Folder 45

Folder 46

1864 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 44-46

Folder 47

1865 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 47

Folder 48-49

Folder 48

Folder 49

1866 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 48-49

Folder 50

1867 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 50

Folder 51

1868 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 51

Folder 52

1869 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 52

Folder 53

1870 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 53

Folder 54

1871-1872 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 54

Folder 55

1873-1880 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 55

Folder 56

Undated #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 56

Folder 57-59

Folder 57

Folder 58

Folder 59

Transcripts #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 57-59

Folder 60

Genealogical letters, 1930-1938 #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 60

Folder 61

Miscellaneous documents #00398, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Materials, 1821-1880." Folder 61

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Newspaper Clippings.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Notebooks, 1843-1880.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Pictures, circa 1820-1880.

10 items.
Image Folder P-398/1-10

P-398/1

P-398/2

P-398/3

P-398/4

P-398/5

P-398/6

P-398/7

P-398/8

P-398/9

P-398/10

Pictures #00398, Series: "4. Pictures, circa 1820-1880." P-398/1-10

Included are engraved portrait prints, some signed, of James G. Bennett, Charles F. Deems, J. C. Dobbin, David L. Swain(?), John(?) Hall, and scenic prints of the French Broad River, a mill in the mountains, and the Washington Monument.

Image Folder OP-P-398/1

Portraits #00398, Series: "4. Pictures, circa 1820-1880." OP-P-398/1

Included are photographs of portraits of John Kimberly and Caroline Capehart Kimberly.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Adera Scheinker, October 1997

Encoded by: Bari Helms, February 2005

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