Angelica Singleton Van Buren, daughter-in-law of President Martin Van Buren and mistress of the White House from 1837 to 1841
This collection was donated in early 1997, from the family library remaining in the home of Miss Malinda Barnwell of Florence, South Carolina. It comprises two distinct groups of books.
Group One: Books from the library of the Revd. Robert Woodward Barnwell (1831-1863), Professor and Chaplain of South Carolina College, and of his son the Revd. Robert Woodward Barnwell (1860-1952), Miss Barnwell's father. While these books cover general belles-lettres, they also have a strong theological (high Episcopalian) element. Notable among them is a first edition of 'George Eliot's' first book, The Life of Jesus, by David Friedrich Strauss, 3 vols. (London: 1846), in original boards, and many volumes of the Tractarian series Lives of the Fathers.
Group Two: Books from the library of Angelica Singleton Van Buren (1816-1877), the South Carolina-born daughter-in-law who was President Martin Van Buren's hostess at the White House. It includes the literary annuals and album poems of her schooldays in Philadelphia, books bought during her European honeymoon tour in 1839, and books reflecting her later interest in social conditions. Additional items with the collection include books from her niece Mary C. Singleton (a group with many volumes by or about women, from the 1840s and early 1850s), and books from her three sons, Singleton, Travis and Martin.
The Angelica Singleton books have been listed and annotated in an MA-MLIS thesis by Jennifer Talley (University of South Carolina, 1997), and were exhibited in July 1997. The collection is still being catalogued; inquiries about use to Rare Books & Special Collections.