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Collection Number: 01546

Collection Title: John Y. Mason Papers, 1843-1898.

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 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1,500 items)
Abstract John Young Mason, from Greensville County, Va., graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1816. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia, 1831-1837; served as secretary of the Navy, 1844-1845 and 1846-1849; was attorney general of the United States, March 1845-September 1846; and served as United States minister plenipotentiary to France, 1854-1859. Personal and professional correspondence of John Young Mason and of members of his family. Original items are chiefly letters addressed to Mason, secretary of the Navy, 1844-1849, mostly about such matters as gaining government employment and routine naval operations. There are also letters about various political matters, and letters from managers of Virginia plantations that Mason owned, Day's Neck and Fortsville; from Simon Fraser Blunt describing San Francisco and other places in California; and to Mason's daughter Emily and her husband, Robert Jones Barksdale, about finances and family matters. Typed transcriptions on microfilm consist chiefly of family correspondence of Mason, his wife, Mary Ann Fort Mason, their children, members of the families of the spouses of their children, and cousins. These letters relate primarily to family news and activities on Mason's plantations. There also are scattered professional letters to Mason and letters from John Y. Mason Junior, a purser in the Navy, from China, Europe, California, and Hawaii, 1845-1851; from Lewis E. Mason, managing a plantation in Coahoma County, Miss., 1840s; and from St. George Tucker Mason, with the French Army after the Civil War.
Creator Mason, John Y. (John Young), 1799-1859.
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 Y. Mason Papers, #1546, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Additional Descriptive Resources
Original finding aid 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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John Young Mason, from Greensville County, Va., graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1816. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia, 1831-1837; served as secretary of the Navy, 1844-1845 and 1846-1849; was attorney general of the United States, March 1845-September 1846; and served as United States minister plenipotentiary to France, 1854-1859.

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Personal and professional correspondence of John Young Mason and of members of his family. Original items are chiefly letters addressed to Mason, secretary of the Navy, 1844-1849, mostly about such matters as gaining government employment and routine naval operations. There are also letters about various political matters, and letters from managers of Virginia plantations that Mason owned, Day's Neck and Fortsville; from Simon Fraser Blunt describing San Francisco and other places in California; and to Mason's daughter Emily and her husband, Robert Jones Barksdale, about finances and family matters. Typed transcriptions on microfilm consist chiefly of family correspondence of Mason, his wife, Mary Ann Fort Mason, their children, members of the families of the spouses of their children, and cousins. These letters relate primarily to family news and activities on Mason's plantations. There also are scattered professional letters to Mason and letters from John Y. Mason Junior, a purser in the Navy, from China, Europe, California, and Hawaii, 1845-1851; from Lewis E. Mason, managing a plantation in Coahoma County, Miss., 1840s; and from St. George Tucker Mason, with the French Army after the Civil War. Also included is an undated volume of notes on world geography and English history from 827 to the reign of Elizabeth I, apparently written by Mary Ann Fort before her marriage to John Mason.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated.

About 1,500 items.
Folder 1a

Original finding aid #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

January-July 1844 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

August-September 1844 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

October-December 1844 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

January-March 1845 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

April-December 1845 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

January-June 1846 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

July-December 1846 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

January-April 1847 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

May-December 1847 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 9

Folder 10

January-September 1848 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

October-December 1848 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 11

Folder 12

January-April 1849 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

May-June 1849 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

July-September 1849 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 14

Folder 15

October-December 1849 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 15

Folder 16

1850-1852 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 16

Folder 17

1853-1868 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 17

Folder 18

1869-1870 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 18

Folder 19

1871-1898 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 19

Folder 20

Undated and miscellaneous #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 20

Folder 21

Volume 1: Manuscript book, undated #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Folder 21

Apparently written by Mary Ann Fort. Pages 1-28 contain geographical and topographical notes on various countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Pages 29-88 are blank. Page 89 (the last numbered page) and the 25 subsequent pages contain notes on the monarchs of England. Inside the front cover of the volume are a small photograph of an unidentified woman, a fragment of a hand-drawn map, and a certificate discharging "Adolphus H. Alexander" from the U.S. Army.

Image P-1546/1

Photograph of Ellna C. Smith and an unidentified man, undated #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." P-1546/1

An accompanying envelope reads: "Ellna C. Smith--died Tuesday, Sept 14th, 1869 in Lowndesboro, Alabama. 'Asleep in Jesus'!"

Reel 1-2

Reel 1

Reel 2

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1813-1889 #01546, Series: "Papers, 1843-1898 and Undated." Reel 1-2

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, February 2010

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

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