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Patrick Henry Papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.2 H41

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Includes letters, 1778-1792, of Patrick Henry while living in Prince Edward County, Virginia and including letter, 28 May 1778, to Richard Henry Lee. Also includes copies of letters received by William Wirt from persons to whom he had written seeking biographical and anecdotal material concerning Henry (including one letter from George Wythe); prints and engravings of Henry; and an article concerning Patrick Henry's mother, Sarah Henry from the "Journal of American History".

Mss. Acc. 2006.59 Addition: Agreement, July 3, 1780, stating Habersham, of Georgia, will loan Patrick Henry twenty slaves, thirteen men and seven women, at a monthly rate of 24 schillings for the men and 16 schillings for the women. Agreement has further conditions for use and treatment of slaves.


  • Creation: 1778-1792, 1923-1927


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 publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical / Historical

Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia in 1736. He was largely self-educated, becoming a prominent trial lawyer and great orator. The most famous phrase attributed to him is "Give me liberty or give me death." He was delegate to the House of Burgesses, 1765-1774; the Continential Congress, 1774-1776; and the Virginia provincial convention, 1775. He also served as governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786. Patrick Henry died in 1799.


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Immediate Source of Acquisition

29 items, in the possession of Swem Library before 1939. 1980.12: 6/3/1980. Purchase. 1 item. 2006.59: 9/1/2006. Purchase. 1 item.

Guide to the Patrick Henry Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository