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Collection Number: 01543

Collection Title: Margaret Junkin Preston Papers (#1543) 1812-1892, 1938, 1997

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 About 150 items (0.5 linear feet)
Abstract Margaret Junkin Preston of Lexington, Va., was a poet and author. This collection chiefly consists of letters written by editors, authors, and Confederate leaders, and received or collected by Margaret Junkin Preston. Among these are letters from Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, John C. Calhoun, and Benjamin Rush. Other letter writers include Paul Hamilton Hayne, Jean Ingelow, Frances Eliza Grenfell Kingsley (Mrs. Charles Kingsley), Rose Kingsley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, P. B. Marston, Thomas Nelson Page, Margaret Elizabeth Munson Sangster, Alexander Stephens, Mary Terhune (who wrote as Marion Harland), and John Greenleaf Whittier. Most of the letters are from the period, 1875-1892; only a few items are dated earlier than 1855. The collection also contains a manuscript copy of "Beechenbrook, a Rhyme of the War"; poems by Preston; and a poetry notebook, 1865-1869, with works by Preston and showing her many revisions. Occasional diary entries, interspersed in the poetry notebook, indicate that many of the poems were written during summer visits to Rockbridge Baths, near Lexington, Va., or the Hot Springs in Bath County, Va. Added to the collection in 1998 is a cumulative index, compiled by Mary P. Coulling, of Preston's published and unpublished poetry.
Creator Preston, Margaret Junkin, 1820-1897.
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.
Provenance
Received from Margaret Preston of Baltimore, Md., in October 1948; from Louise Price of Richmond, Va., in June 1955; from Mrs. William Allan of Charlotte, N.C., in 1971 and 1974; and from Mary P. Coulling of Lexington, Va., in August 1998.
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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Margaret Junkin Preston (1820-1897) was a poet and author. Preston was the oldest child of the Reverend George Junkin and Julia Rush Junkin. At the time of Margaret's birth, her father was a minister of the Associate Reformed Church in Milton, Pa. Margaret was educated at home, chiefly by her father, who taught her Greek and Latin and encouraged her reading. When she was ten years old, the family moved to Germantown, Pa., where for two years Junkin was head of a manual labor school. In 1832, he went to Easton, Pa., to be president of the newly founded Lafayette College. He resigned in 1841 to become president of Miami University at Oxford, Ohio; in 1844, he was recalled to Lafayette. He left Easton in 1848 to accept a call to the presidency of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) at Lexington, Va.

By the time she was 21, Margaret had a serious visual disability. She continued her interest in literature, however, and wrote prose narratives, some of which won prizes. She lived for nine years in her father's house at Lexington. In 1853, her sister Eleanor married Major Thomas Jonathan Jackson, professor of mathematics at the Virginia Military Institute, who later was famous as Stonewall Jackson. Eleanor died only 14 months after her marriage. In 1857, Margaret became the wife of another member of the Virginia Military Institute faculty, Major John Thomas Lewis Preston (1811-1890). Major Preston, a widower with several young children, was professor of Latin in the Institute. Two sons were born of this marriage.

The Civil War divided Margaret Preston's family. Her father and sister sympathized with the North and left Lexington. Her husband and her brother-in-law became officers in the Confederate army. Major Preston was commissioned lieutenant-colonel and became adjutant-general on the staff of General Jackson.

Margaret's first published book, a prose tale entitled Silverwood, a Book of Memories, appeared anonymously in 1856. During the Civil War, she wrote a verse narrative of the war years under the title "Beechenbrook, a Rhyme of the War." This was printed in Richmond in 1865 and nearly the whole edition was burned when the city was evacuated. It was reprinted in Baltimore in 1866. In 1870, J. B. Lippincott published her Old Song and New, and in 1875 a volume of verse entitled Cartoons, containing her most successful poetry was issued in Boston.

At the end of the Civil War, John Preston returned to his professorship at Virginia Military Institute, which he held until 1882, when at the age of 70, he retired. From 1874 to 1888, the Prestons spent their summers at the home of Colonel William Allan, principal of the McDonogh School near Baltimore and husband of Margaret Junkin Preston's step-daughter. In 1884, with her husband and other family members, Preston made an extensive trip abroad. Her husband died in 1890, and, from 1892 until her death in 1897, Preston lived in Baltimore at the home of her son, Dr. George J. Preston. She was buried in Lexington, Va.

For additional biographical information, see the Dictionary of American Biography; E. P. Allan, Life and Letters of Margaret Junkin Preston (1903); and Mary P. Coulling, Margaret Junkin Preston: A Biography (1993).

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Letters written by various persons, including editors, authors, and Confederate leaders, and received or collected by Margaret Junkin Preston. Among these are letters from Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson to Margaret Junkin, 1855-1861, and to Lieutenant Colonel John Thomas Lewis Preston, 1863; a letter from John C. Calhoun to the Reverend George Junkin, 1846; and a 19th-century copy of a letter from Dr. Benjamin Rush to John Adams, in 1812 or 1814. Other correspondents include Paul Hamilton Hayne, Jean Ingelow, Frances Eliza Grenfell Kingsley (Mrs. Charles Kingsley), Rose Kingsley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, P. B. Marston, Thomas Nelson Page, Margaret Sangster, Alexander Stephens, Mary Terhune (who wrote as Marion Harland), and John Greenleaf Whittier. Most of the letters are from the period, 1875-1892; only a few items are dated earlier than 1855. The collection also contains a manuscript copy of "Beechenbrook, A Rhyme of the War," by Margaret Junkin Preston; other poems by Preston; and a poetry notebook, 1865-1869, with works by Margaret Junkin Preston and showing her many revisions. Occasional diary entries, interspersed in the poetry notebook, indicate that many of the poems were written during summer visits to Rockbridge Baths, near Lexington, Va., or the Hot Springs in Bath County, Va. Added to the collection in 1998 is a cumulative index, compiled by Mary P. Coulling, of Preston's published and unpublished poetry.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997

Letters written by various persons, including editors, authors, and Confederate leaders, received or collected by Margaret Junkin Preston. Among these are letters from Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson to Margaret Junkin in 1855-1861 and to Lt. Col. John Thomas Lewis Preston in 1863; a letter from John C. Calhoun to the Reverend George Junkin, 1846; and a 19th-century copy of a letter from Dr. Benjamin Rush to John Adams in 1812 or 1814.

Most of the letters in the collection are from literary friends of Margaret Junkin Preston. They date chiefly from 1872 until 1892. Most of them were pasted in a scrapbook by Preston. When they were received at the Southern Historical Collection, they were removed from the scrapbook and placed in chronological order. Correspondents include Paul Hamilton Hayne, Jean Ingelow, Frances Eliza Grenfell Kingsley (Mrs. Charles Kingsley), Rose Kingsley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, P. B. Marston, Thomas Nelson Page, Margaret Sangster, Alexander Stephens, Mary Terhune (who wrote as Marion Harland), and John Greenleaf Whittier.

The collection also contains several poems, published and unpublished, by Margaret Junkin Preston; a handwritten manuscript of "Beenchenbrook, A Rhyme of the War"; a recipe and commonplace book, which contains poems by Preston among other entries; and a poetry notebook, 1865-1869, with works by Margaret Junkin Preston and showing her many revisions. Occasional diary entries interspersed in the poetry notebook indicate that many of the poems were written during summer visits to Rockbridge Baths, near Lexington, Va., or the Hot Springs in Bath County, Va. Added to the collection in 1998 is a cumulative index, compiled by Mary P. Coulling, of Margaret Junkin Preston's published and unpublished poetry.

Folder 1

1812 or 1814, 1842-1879 #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 1

Folder 2

1880-1886 #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 2

Folder 3

1887-1892, 1938 #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 3

Folder 4

Undated papers #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 4

Folder 5

Miscellaneous #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 5

Folder 6

Manuscript of "Beechenbrook" #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 6

Folder 7

Poetry notebook #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 7

Folder 8

Recipe and commonplace book #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 8

Folder 9

"Cumulative Index of the Poetry of Margaret Junkin Preston" #01543, Series: "Papers, 1812-1892, 1938, 1997 " Folder 9

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