Baber-Blackshear family papers

Baber-Blackshear family papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Baber family
Creator: Baber, Ambrose, 1792-1846
Creator: Baber, Mary Eliza Sweet, 1810-1894
Creator: Baber-Blackshear family
Creator: Baber-Blackshear, Birdie, 1875-1951
Creator: Baber-Blackshear, Minnie, 1870-1940
Creator: Blackshear family
Creator: Blackshear, J. William, (Joseph William), 1833-1906
Creator: Blackshear, Lucy Marion Baber, 1837-1894
Title: Baber-Blackshear family papers
Dates: 1796-1939
Quantity: 4.9 Linear feet (12 document boxes, 1 oversize folder A)
Coll. Number: ms11

Biographical/Historical Note

Edward Ambrose Baber (1793-1846), physician of Buckingham County, Virginia and later Bibb County, Georgia. Married Mary Eliza Sweet (1810-1894) in 1829. Children include George Francis Burleigh (1833-1854), Navel officer; Lucy Marion (1836-1894); and Ella Hunter (1839-1930). Lucy Marion married Joseph William Blackshear (1833-1906), teacher, accountant, and Civil War soldier of Macon, Georgia. Their children Ella, Paul, Birdie, Mary (Minnie) took as their surname Baber-Blackshear.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of the Baber, Blackshear, and Baber-Blackshear families from 1796-1939. Includes correspondence, journals, ledgers, news clippings, invitations, programs, speeches, and newspapers. The early part of the collection relates to Dr. Ambrose Baber. Contains information on the 1802 William Hunter-David Mitchell duel (Savannah, Ga.); Baber's term as Charge'd Affaires to Sardinia, including correspondence from John MacPherson Berrien (1842-1844); and the establishment of the Montpelier Institute in Monroe County, Georgia. Includes correspondence between Mary and Marion Baber during Marion's attendance at the Montpelier Institute. The correspondence describes the school along with topics of interest or concern during the period.

The bulk of the collection falls after 1846. It contains correspondence and journals of George Francis Burleigh Baber during his naval service on the John Adams, Germantown, Dale, and Porpoise. The journals describe life at sea and various locales abroad (1852-1855). Includes Civil War correspondence consisting of a few letters from Joseph William Blackshear of Jackson's Artillery from Camp Brown, St. Simons Island, Georgia (1861) with the bulk from George Dunbar Sweet Smith (nephew of Mary Baber) who served in South Carolina and Virginia. The remainder of the collection consists of personal correspondence between Marion and William Blackshear; their children Ella, Paul, Birdie, and Minnie Baber-Blackshear; relatives; and friends including Fannie and George Atkinson, Charles Blackshear, Valine Berrien Burroughs, John McIntosh Keel, Callie and Sophie Sosnowski, and Lizzie B. Thompson. Some of the materials discuss Birdie and Minnie's activities as dance and drama teachers.

The collection consists of family papers, letters, journals, clippings, invitations, newspapers, ledgers, documents pertaining to this Macon, Georgia family. The early part of the collection relates to Dr. Ambrose Baber [1792 Buckingham Co, Virginia - 1846 Bibb County, Ga] physician and early resident of Macon, and his wife, Mary Eliza Sweet [1810 Bryan Co, Ga. - ], daughter of George Dunbar and Rachel Ross Porcher Sweet of Savannah. Dr. Baber was involved with the William Hunter - David Mitchell duel in 1802, Savannah; as a mason, he gave the welcome to Macon speech when General LaFayette visited in 1825 and he served briefly [1842-44] as Charge'd Affaires to Sardinia and state senator in Georgia. From the Sardinia period, there are letters from John MacPherson Berrien, a letter of introduction signed by Daniel Webster, a passport, social invitations. A number of his speeches are present in the collection. He was part of a group of men who established the Episcopal girl's school, Montpelier Institute in Monroe County, which existed under this name ca. 1840-55. Dr. Baber's daughter, Lucy Marion , attended the school and there are many letters between Marion and Mary Baber which show interests and concerns of the period.

A son, George Frances Burleigh Baber, called Burleigh, [1833-1854/5] attended the United States Navy School at Annapolis, 1850-2. He kept an official ship's log during his service on the John Adams, the Germantown and the Dale. His correspondence during this period was descriptive of life as the ships traveled to various locations. His last letter from China stated that he was being transferred to the brig Porpoise. Nothing was ever heard from the ship or crew after it left China. Family friend, John McIntosh Kell [later executive office on the Confederate ship Alabama] offered information and assistance.

Following Dr. Baber's untimely and controversial death, documented in the collection, his daughter, Marion Baber Blackshear [1836-1894], along with her husband, mother and children, take over the correspondence and the bulk lies in this period. She was the wife of Joseph William Blackshear [1833-1906], son of Joseph and Elizabeth C. Paul Blackshear, and their children were Ella, Paul, Birdie and Mary (Minnie), all of whom added Baber-Blackshear to their names. J. W., just prior to his marriage to Marion, served with the Jackson Artillery at Camp Ft. Brown on St. Simons Island, Ga. [1861] and wrote of his experiences. During their married life, work often kept J. W. away from his home, but there is frequent correspondence between husband, wife, children and other Blackshear siblings - Henry W., J. Emmett and Lizzie B. Thompson. J. W. signs letters to his wife 'old blessed'. Marion's frequent correspondents, in addition to the family, are Callie and Sophie Sosnowski of Athens, cousin Fannie Atkinson, also of Athens, and Valina Berrien Burroughs.

Confederate correspondence was principally from George Dunbar Sweet Smith, nephew of Mary Baber. He wrote from several locations including Ft. Screven, Isle of Hope, S. C., Camp Morgan, Ft. Jackson on James Island, S. C. and Chaffin's Farm, Va. He died at Farmville, Va. in 1865.

Birdie and Minnie Blackshear, dance and drama teachers, continued the correspondence following their mother Marion's death. Correspondents include their father, cousin George Atkinson and Charles Blackshear from Java. There is a lot of dance related material - articles, programs, newsclippings and account books. The sisters lived in the ancestral house on Walnut Street in Macon.

The materials were originally organized chronologically and that same order was basically maintained although a better finding aid was prepared. There are separate sections for letters from John MacPherson Berrien and Burleigh Baber.


Arranged by record type; in chronological order where possible.

Index Terms

Account books
Acting teachers--Georgia.
Ambassadors--Sardinia (Italy).
Atkinson, Fannie
Atkinson, George Baber, 1843-1923
Berrien, John MacPherson, 1781-1856
Boarding schools--Georgia.
Confederate States of America. Army.
Dance teachers--Georgia.
Georgia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Georgia--Social life and customs--19th century.
Georgia--Social life and customs--20th century.
Journals (accounts).
Montpelier Institute (Monroe County, Ga.).
Sardinia (Italy)--Description and travel.
Smith, George Dunbar Sweet, 1839-1865
South Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States. Navy. -- Sea life
Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

General Notes

Cataloged as part of the Georgia Archives and Manuscripts Automated Access Project: A Special Collections Gateway Program of the University Center in Georgia.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Baber/Blackshear family papers. MS 11. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Baber Family Material
2Correspondence, 1773 - 1820
3Correspondence, 1820 - 1829
4Correspondence, 1830 - 1832
5Correspondence, 1833 - 1835
6Correspondence, 1836 - 1837
7Correspondence, 1838 - 1839
8Correspondence, 1840 - 1841
9Correspondence, 1842 - 1843
includes letter of introduction signed by Daniel Webster for Dr. Baber's appointment to Sardinia.
10Correspondence, 1844 - 1845
Dr. Baber's appointment to 3d congressional district seat
11Correspondence, 1846 - 1847
Dr. Baber's estate papers
12Correspondence, 1840's
13Correspondence, 1848- 1849
14Correspondence, 1850 - 1857
21Correspondence, 1853 - 55
2Correspondence, 1856-7
3Correspondence, 1858-9
4Correspondence, 1860-62
5Correspondence, 1863-65
includes Alexander Stephens letter
6Correspondence, 1866
7Correspondence, 1867
8Correspondence, 1868
9Correspondence, 1869
31Correspondence, 1870
2Correspondence, 1871
3Correspondence, 1872
4Correspondence, 1873
5Correspondence, 1874
6Correspondence, 1875
7Correspondence, 1876
8Correspondence, 1877
9Correspondence, 1878
10Correspondence, 1879
11Correspondence, 1870's
41Correspondence, 1880's
2Correspondence, 1880
3Correspondence, January - September 1881
4Correspondence, October - December 1881
5Correspondence, January - June 1882
6Correspondence, July - September 1882
7Correspondence, January - June 1883
8Correspondence, July - December 1883
9Correspondence, 1884
51Correspondence, 1885
2Correspondence, 1886
3Correspondence, January - June 1887
4Correspondence, July - September 1887
5Correspondence, October - December 1887
6Correspondence, 1888
7Correspondence, 1889
8Correspondence, January - August 1890
9Correspondence, September - December 1890
61Correspondence, 1891
2Correspondence, 1892
3Correspondence, 1893
4Correspondence, 1894
5Correspondence, 1895 - 1899
6Correspondence, 1900 - 1901
7Correspondence, 1902 - 1905
8Correspondence, 1906 - 1909
9Correspondence, 1910 - 1915
10Correspondence, 1916 - 1919
71Correspondence, 1920 - 1925
includes letter from Gov Clifford Walker
2Correspondence, 1926 - 1929
3Correspondence, 1930 - 1935
4Correspondence, 1936 - 1939
5Correspondence, undated
Ella Baber-Blackshear
6Correspondence, undated
Fannie & George Atkinson
7Correspondence, undated
Mary Baber
8Correspondence, undated
Birdie, Minnie & Paul Blackshear
9Correspondence, undated
Marion & J. W. Blackshear
10Correspondence, undated
'Eya', 'Daisy' and 'E & C'
11Correspondence, undated
A - Z
81Letters, no identity, undated
2Ambrose Baber - address: Agricultural Chemistry - Mechanical Society, 1838
3Ambrose Baber - address: Agricultural Society, no date
4Ambrose Baber - address: Banking Privileges, Legislature, no date
5Ambrose Baber - address: Desultory...Memoranda...Influences American Revolution, Georgia Hist. Soc., 1845
6Ambrose Baber - address: Education, Legislature, 1832
7Ambrose Baber - address: Friendship, Masons [?], no date
8Ambrose Baber - address: The Mexican Question, Georgia Hist. Soc, ca 1846
9Ambrose Baber - address: Moderation, no date
10Ambrose Baber - address: Truth - Masons[?], no date
11Ambrose Baber - obituaries, account of death
12Burleigh Baber, 1839 - 1849
13Burleigh Baber, 1850
14Burleigh Baber, 1851-1852
15Burleigh Baber, 1853 - 1857 1890 & undated (see box 12 for journal)
includes a photograph, account of death A. Stephens letter
91Baber family genealogy, biography, Telamon Cuyler letter
2Baber & Porcher family genealogy - J. W. Blackshear's Memoranda (see also box 11)
3Baber, Blackshear, Sweet & Pettigru genealogy
4Mrs. Mary Baber - writings
5John MacPherson Berrien letters, 1836 - 1845
6W. T. Bartlett diary, 1876 - 1873
7Macon, Ga and Macon France
8Masonry in Macon; LaFayette visit
9Miscellaneous; 'tour' of Macon by Baber-Blackshear women
101Miscellaneous material including In Memoriam - Julia Parkman Jones - d 1886
1Huguenot Soc Transactions with list of members
1DAR magazines
1Newspaper Clippings
1Macon History
1UDC material on Blackshears
1Dance Articles
1Nellie Peters Black article
2'Coat hanger' from Baber-Blackshears to WWI soldiers; Dance information, Clippings, Tickets to events
3Mary Baber obituary; post cards; news articles, no date
3Re troops, 1862
3Arithmetical tables, 1856
3Dr Baber & Oliver Hillhouse Prince - Romance of Medicine in Bibb Co, Ga
4Montpelier Institute, Monroe County, Ga - letters Marion Baber/Mary Baber
5Montpelier Institute - letters, 1846 - 54 1862, undated
11Account and Roll Books
Account book, 1862 - 82 (brown leather)
House book, 1842 - 44 (black)
1840 Baber account with C. A. Ellis (brown marble paper)
contains various items dispensed
Book with some addresses in Paris, and Italy (small black)
Names, Numbers, 1924 (ready reference)
J. W. Blackshear's Memoranda, 1860 (brown leather case)
re trip
Account book, 1847 (small brown leather case)
Account book, 1927 (long thin 'order book')
Birdie B Blackshear account book, 1920's (rust paper)
Dance accounts - 'order book' (grey)
Dance accounts - 'ledger'
Dance accounts - 'Nat'l 1910 diary'
Dr. Baber & Mrs. Baber account book, then Mrs. Baber, 1839 - 46 1863
Studies on scripture
12Ledgers, scrapbooks
Album of intellectural instructions & religious extracts - Dr. & Mr.s Baber, Marion Baber
Arithmetic book
Quotations (blue hard cover)
Dr's astronomy book, 1817 (printed plate book)
Visiting/business cards - mostly European
Burleigh Baber (dried plants & gold leaf)
USN, journal, 1851 - November 1852
for ships John Adams Germantown and Dale - photo inside front cover
Scrapbook of newsclips [Marion's marriage, Ella Blackshear Curtis' wedding]
account book in back, loose clippings

News broadsheets, 1836-1850

OS Folder
1APublic Ledger - Philadelphia, March 25, 1836
Civil, Military, & Naval Gazette - Annapolis, Oct. 24, 1850
Gazette Piemontese - Turin [?] Italy, Dec. 21, 28, 29, 30, 1843
L'Estafette - Paris, France, Apr. 8 and May 6, 22, 1842