Celebrated diarist, Mary Boykin Chesnut (1823-1886)
Carte-de-visite, ca. 1862.
|In 1998, through the generosity of the University South Caroliniana Society, the South Caroliniana Library acquired over 1,800 manuscripts of the Williams-Chesnut-Manning families, of Camden, and Kershaw, Sumter, and Clarendon districts. The papers, which have been on deposit at the library since 1962, were appraised and purchased from the owners with funds from the University South Caroliniana Society's endowment. In addition to|
| more than 3,500 letters and other papers, the library's holdings now include the diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut and her unpublished writings including "Two Years of my life," "The Captain and the Colonel," "A boarding school of fifty years ago," and "The Bright Side of Richmond winter of 1864-Scraps from a diary."|
|Members of the Williams, Chesnut, and Manning families were prominent in South Carolina's political, social, economic, and military history throughout the 19th century. Among the earliest documents in the collection are papers of John and James Chesnut and Richard and Richard I. Manning. Papers of Richard I. Manning include his military papers as colonel and deputy adjutant general of the 3rd Division, South Carolina Militia and accounts and correspondence with Charleston cotton factor, Duke Goodman.|
Letters in the Williams-Chesnut-Manning Papers include those of Richard I. Manning (1789-1836)
Governor of South Carolina, 1824-1826.
There is also correspondence between James Chesnut and his son John, Jr., and estate papers of James's father John Chesnut. A large group of papers for the period from April 1825 through April 1826 are personal and official correspondence of Governor Richard I. Manning. Another significant group of papers covering the period of the Civil War through Reconstruction contains correspondence of James Chesnut and John L. Manning and includes letters received by Chesnut while serving in the United States Senate in 1860 and by Manning while attending the Secession Convention in Charleston from 1860 to 1862.
Throughout the collection there is correspondence of notable South Carolinians and persons from other southern states. Their letters discuss a variety of topics from the politics of nullification and slavery to agricultural interests in South Carolina and Louisiana as well as family and domestic affairs.