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Antonia Ford letters

Identifier: SC 01907

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Content Description

Four letters written by future Confederate Spy Antonia Ford. The letters were written to Ford's school friend Frances "Frankie" Carper. Two were written during Ford's terms at the Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute and two were written from her home in Fairfax, VA. The letters include details of her social life as well as her view on her boarding school experiences.


  • Creation: 1855 May 24 - 1859 February 20
  • Creation: August 7


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

Antonia Ford (1838-1871) was born in Fairfax, VA. She attended the Buckingham Female Collegiate Institue as a young woman. During the Civil War, she became a spy for the Confederacy. Her espionage work contributed to the Confederate victory at the first Battle of Bull Run in 1861 and she is also credited with helping John Singleton Mosby capture Union General Edwin H. Stoughton from his headquarters in 1863. Her work as a spy was soon after discovered and she was arrested and jailed by the Union for six months. However, Major Joseph Willard, who Antonia had met some time previously and fallen in love with, gained her release and she gave an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. They married soon after. Only one of their three children survived infancy and Antonia died in 1871 as a result of health complications of being in jail.


.01 Linear Feet (One legal size folder)




Collection is arranged by file.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Antonia Ford Letters were purchased with the assistance of the Presson fund.

Guide to the Antonia Ford letters
Anna Lawrence
2024 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository