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Robert William Hughes Papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.2 H87

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Scope and Contents

Papers, mainly 1865-1900, of Robert William Hughes (1821-1901), journalist, Republican politician, and United States District Judge, of Abingdon and Norfolk, Va. Included are family momentoes relating to Hughes' foster father, General Edward C. Carrington (1790-1855), and to Mrs. Hughes' father and brother, Charles C. (1795-1832) and John Preston Johnston (1821?-l847), articles written by Hughes on Virginia politics, newspapers, and horses, a few letters to Mrs. Hughes, and a scrapbook containing pamphlets and newspaper clippings of articles by Hughes or on subjects that interested Hughes, as well as a letter from J.H. Platt, Jr., Secretary, Union Congressional Republican Executive Committee, Washington, D.C., to Hughes, 17 Sept. 1870, concerning Virginia Republican politics. Prominent correspondents include Louis Agassiz, Chester A. Arthur, George Bancroft, Benjamin F. Butler, Lewis Cass, Claudius Crozet, J.M.L. Curry, John Moncure Daniel, John Warwick Daniel, J.D.B. DeBow, Benjamin S. Ewell, Ulysses S. Grant, James Barron Hope, G.P.R. James, Joseph E. Johnston, W.H.F. Lee, James Longstreet, John S. Mosby, Bishop Alfred Magill Randolph, and William Fanning Wickham (concerning his father John Wickham and members of the Richmond Bar including John Marshall.)


  • Creation: 1818-1900


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:

Robert William Hughes was born at Muddy Creek Plantation, Powhatan County, Va. in 1821. His parents died in 1822 and he was raised by Edward C. Carrington and Eliza Preston Carrington. He attended Caldwell Institute, Greensboro, N. C. and studied law in Fincastle, Va. He married Eliza M. Johnston, niece of Joseph E. Johnston and the adopted daughter and niece of John B. Floyd. Hughes' son was Robert Morton Hughes. Robert William Hughes was a newspaper editor and federal district attorney. Involved in post Civil War Republican Party politics, he was nominated for governor of Virginia and for Congress but did not win. He was appointed judge of the federal court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki:


103.00 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Organization: This collection is organized into 2 Series: 1. Correspondence, and 2. Printed Material and Manuscript Volumes. Arrangement: This collection is arranged by date with those items without dates located at the end of the series. Series 1 is divided into subseries mostly by ten year increments.

Acquisition Information:

Gift: 103 items, 10/14/1937.

Related Materials:

The John B. Floyd Papers, Robert Morton Hughes Papers, and Joseph E. Johnston Papers, are collections that relate to this collection, Robert William Hughes, which are located in Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

John B. Floyd Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. John Buchanan Floyd Papers, 1831-1863, 1850- 1863. 72 items. Collection number: Mss. 65 F59

Robert Morton Hughes Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. Robert Morton Hughes Collection, 1715-1933, 1871- 1933. 238 items. Collection number: Mss. 65 H88

Joseph E. Johnston Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary. Joseph E. Johnston Papers, 1825-1891. 264 items. Collection number: Mss. 39.1 J63

Another related collection is the Robert Morton Hughes Papers, located in Special Collections, Perry Library, Old Dominion University. This collection in significant because of the correspondence and other papers originally belonging to several of Hughes' relatives including Judge Robert W. Hughes, Governor John B. Floyd, and General Joseph E. Johnston. The collection also contains personal and political correspondence regarding Robert Morton Hughes' legal practice, involvement in Virginia politics, activities in support of education, longtime association with the College of William and Mary, and service on the State Board of Education and the Board of Directors of the Norfolk Public Library.

Papers of Robert Morton Hughes, Special Collections, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. Papers of Robert Morton Hughes, 1767-1959.39 Hollinger Flat Boxes; 5 Hollinger Oversized Boxes and Additional Bound Volumes. Collection number: MG-7


Other Information:

Additional information may be found at

Processing Information:

Box and folder list compiled by Meredith Ramey in October 2011.

Guide to the Robert William Hughes Papers
Special Collections Staff.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository