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John Marshall Papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.1 M34

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Original letters and copies of letters from other repositories, chiefly 1788-1835, of John Marshall's correspondence with his wife, Mary Willis (Ambler) Marshall, other family members, James Monroe, Joseph Story, Bushrod Washington, and others. The correspondence reflects Marshall's wide range in interests including law, Virginia and U. S. politics, international affairs, agriculture and social events. Also included are letters by family members and descendants; a charcoal sketch and copies of visual representations of John Marshall; and places and events associated with him.

All papers in this collection have been published in the Papers of John Marshall.


  • Creation: 1755-1835


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:

John Marshall (1755-1835) was born near Germantown, Prince William (currently Fauquier) County, Virginia on 24 September 1755 to parents Thomas Marshall and Mary Randolph Keith. From 1775-1781, Marshall served in the Continental Army and fought in the Revolutionary War. During the spring and summer of 1780, Marshall attended classes at the College of William and Mary and received his license to practice law. After the war, he moved to Richmond, Virginia and began his practice. Marshall married Mary Willis Ambler in 1783. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki:


434.00 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Organization: This collection is organized into 4 series. Series 1 contains correspondence and papers of John Marshall, family members and other individuals; Series 2 contains printed material, poems and charts; Series 3 contains prints, engravings, and artifacts; and Series 4 contains manuscript volumes. Arrangement: This collection is primarily arranged chronologically by date.

Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements:

When available, photocopies, digital surrogates, or other reproductions must be used in place of original documents. All of the papers in this collection have been published in the Papers of John Marshall. The originals may not be photocopied, but users may capture images using personal cameras.

Acquisition Information:

This collection is comprised of materials obtained in numerous batches between 1935 and 1984 by donation and purchase. Acc. 1986.02 was purchased and received on 1/17/1986. Acc. 1986.30 was received on 6/30/1986. Acc. 1987.16 was purchased and received on 3/6/1987.

Related Materials:

The majority of the copies, comprising approximately 50% of this collection, are from the Marshall House in Richmond, Virginia; the Library of Congress; or the Massachusetts Historical Society, but other depositories are also represented. For information concerning the location of original materials please see the components listing below.

See also John Marshall file in the University Archives Faculty/Alumni File.

Some manuscript volumes located at the end of the collection are also available in microform in the Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. [Reels M-104, M-105(a-c), and M-106]

DVDs from this collection have been moved to the Manuscripts Audiovisual Collection.

Separated Materials:

Books owned by John Marshall have been removed from this collection. For more detailed information about the books please see the Library's Catalog as well as the Association Collection in the Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library.

Newspapers have been transferred from this collection to the rare books collection in the Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library.

All audiovisual material from this collection has been moved to the Manuscripts Audiovisual Collection.


Other Information:

Additional information may be found at

Guide to the John Marshall Papers
Special Collections Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository