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William Booth Taliaferro Papers

Identifier: Mss. 65 T15

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Papers, 1811-1954, of William Booth Taliaferro and his family of Gloucester County, Va. Taliaferro's papers consist of diaries, letterbook (while at Harpers Ferry), correspondence, speeches, memoirs and accounts. The collection also includes papers of his wife, Sally Nivison Lyons Taliaferro (including diaries), his ancestors, siblings and descendants, as well as photographs, genealogical notes and artifacts of the Taliaferro family.

There are papers of other people who are not related to the Taliaferro family including Julian Alvin Carroll Chandler. William Booth Taliaferro's papers concern his military service in the Mexican War and the Civil War and his career as a lawyer, judge and politician during Reconstruction; and reflect his service on the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary.

Collection includes a rough draft of a September 20, 1892 letter from Benjamin S. Ewell, possibly a response to an editorial, where he gives a short history of the transformation of The College of William & Mary from a private to a public school.

For Sally Nivison Lyons Taliaferro,  see  Southern Women and their Families in the 19th Century Papers and Diaries Series C Reel # 10-14. Typescripts of diaries 1859-1899 and undated on Reel 14. Located in Swem Library’s microforms area, call number HQ1438 .V5 S68


  • Creation: 1811-1954


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 / Historical

William Booth Taliaferro was a graduate of the College of William and Mary who studied law at Harvard. He fought in the Mexican War. Taliaferro served in the Virginia House of Delegates. During the Civil War, he served under Jackson in the Valley in early 1862. He commanded Jackson's division at Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas and Fredericksburg. He served at Fort Wagner, James Island and in Florida and Georgia. After the Civil War, he again served in the legislature; was a judge; and was on the Board of Visitors of William and Mary (1870-1898), serving as Rector (1890-1892) and board president (1892-1898).


61.10 Linear Feet


The collection is arranged by groups. Group I are the papers of William Booth Taliaferro. Group II are his wife's papers. Group III are his ancestors' papers. Group IV are his siblings' papers. Group V are his descendants' papers. Group VI is printed material, genealogical notes and photographs. Group VII is material not relating to the Taliaferro family and oversize material is in Group VIII.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

When available, microfilm, photocopies, digital surrogates, or other reproductions must be used in place of original documents.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the collection was donated by Mrs. H. O. Sanders between 1947 and 1961, and additional donations were made by Wellford Marshall, John Dann, Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Field, Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. Robert R. Hunter, Jr. Acc. 1991.17 was purchased from Mark R. Wenger; Acc. 1991.54 was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. C.T. Field; Acc. 1994.19  was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert R. Hunter, Jr.; Acc. 2003.15, Acc. 2004.58, and Acc. 2006.34  were purchased.

Related Materials

Sally Nivison Lyons Taliaferro's Papers Available in microfilm University Publications of America.

Physical Description

Over 7700 items.


Other Information:

Inventory available at Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

Processing Information

Processed by Tom Scott in 1990. Box and folder inventory added by Zoe Weinstein, SCRC Staff, in February 2011.

Guide to the William Booth Taliaferro Papers
Tom Scott, SCRC Staff, Anne Johnson, Special Collections Assistant.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • May 24th, 2018: Additions (1991 to 2006) physically and intellectually combined by Anne Johnson, Special Collections Assistant, in 2009.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository