The collection includes two manuscript volumes two and three of "A Rational Grammar of the French Language," written by Taliaferro, circa 1860 (the whereabouts of volume one are unknown), letters, Taliaferro's obituary, and photocopies of manuscripts written by Taliaferro but in private ownership.
The first letter is written by Edwin in Williamsburg to his brother, William Booth in Gloucester, and dated January 14, 1866. Edwin is disappointed he wasn't able to visit at Christmas but hopes to see everyone by spring. He is anxious to know William's prospects and fears his (William) not being able to get labor for his farm or tenants for his vacant houses. Edwin states, "In this neighborhood the farmers are doing little, many having yet not succeeded in getting clear of the dark population forcued on them by the war and some having failed even to obtain possession of the land itself." He mentions that woodcutting is an enterprising business and several steam sawmills have been put into operation. Edwin writes that he is employed in a "dull quiet and monotonous round of teaching" and says that William & Mary, including the Grammar School, has "fifty-three or four pupils and we hear of several others who will arrive shortly." He comments that some students cannot pay and hopes the College will receive assistance from the Federal Government. Edwin was in Richmond for that purpose and at the time of the letter, President Ewell was there for the same. Edwin then talks about the military occupation of Williamsburg by U. S. troops. He says, "These men are quite a terror to evil doers and the negroes have them in especial dread, as they are by no means backwards in punishing their misdemeanors with great severity."
The second letter is dated July 14, 1866 and written by Edwin at William & Mary College to Hon. Peter D. Vroom. He acknowledges the kindness shown to him by Vroom and family while Edwin was in Berlin and asks for a favor of "considerable importance in my professional aims." He states he is a candidate for a professorship at the University of Virginia and asks Vroom to send a letter of reference.
The photocopies are of original manuscripts held in private ownership but show Taliaferro's poetry writing during the Civil War and his miscellaneous writings and experiments.
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.
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.
Edwin Taliaferro was appointed to the faculty of William & Mary as professor of Languages and Literature in 1858. He served in that post until his death in 1867.
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