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William Lamb Papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.1 L16

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Diaries, 1855, 1859-1861, 1864-1909, (52 volumes) of Col. William Lamb (1835-1909), written while a student at the College of William and Mary, newspaper editor, Civil War commander of Fort Fisher, N.C. (1862-1865), coal merchant, Norfolk businessman and mayor (1880-1886), and member of the Board of Visitors and Rector of William and Mary.

Collection also includes diary, 1861, and some letters of his wife Sarah Annie Chaffee Lamb as well as page proofs and other material relating to the publication of "Letters from the Colonel's Lady." (Winnabow, N.C., 1965).

Two additions to the collection (1993.49 and Sm. Coll. Add. 13) include photographs of Mrs. William Lamb and daughter Sally Lamb, William Lamb, Jr. and Frances [?], speeches, pamphlets and illustrations as well as a scrapbook of newspaper clippings relating to the Battle of Fort Fisher and William Lamb. Diaries, 1855-1903 available in typescript.


  • Creation: 1835-1909


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. 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, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

William Lamb was born on 7 September 1835 and lived in Norfolk, Va. for most of his life. He was educated at the College of William and Mary and edited the Southern Argus. During the Civil War, he commanded Fort Fisher, N.C. After the war, he was a coal dealer, an advocate of direct trade with Europe, mayor of Norfolk and a member of the Republican Party. Lamb was Rector of the College of William and Mary. He died 23 March 1909. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .


4.01 Linear Feet

Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements:

Photocopying is only allowed from the diary typescripts.

Acquisition Information:

The materials in this collection were donated in various batches between 1938 and 1993 by W. H. Lamb (1938, 1939, 1945), Mrs. A. A. Bilisoly and Miss Ella Waddy Lamb (1939), Mrs. Ralph Magraw (1960 and 1967), and Larry Walker (Acc. 1993-49 received 7/19/1993). Acc. 1989-23 received 5/25/1989.

Physical Description

79 items


Other Information:

A PDF document of this inventory is available online.

Additional information may be found at

Guide to the William Lamb Papers
Finding Aid Authors: Special Collections Staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Revision Statements

  • May 12th, 2017: Parts of the collection combined in 2009.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository