Scope and Content of Collection
The bulk of the Weems-Reynolds Family papers consists of correspondence, and the majority of this material is associated with two women, Rachel Thomason Reynolds and her daughter, Hattie. The correspondence, both to friends and family members, provides considerable insight into the world view of American women of the Victorian era. The importance of family roots, in both a genealogical and spatial sense, is a common theme throughout the correspondence. The correspondence documents the concerns of women of their time and class.
The collection also contains material that illuminates the businesses in which members of the Weems and Reynolds families were involved in the nineteenth century. The shift in the roles they played from slave-holding farmers, to mercantilist store and ship owners, and finally to professionals not directly associated with the land had a profound effect on the Weems and Reynolds family. Nostalgia for the land expressed in the families' correspondence was one of the results of the rise of the American middle class during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The Weems-Reynolds family collection covers the period from 1713 to 1971, with the bulk of the material from the period 1880 to 1900. The earliest manuscript material in the collection consists of a land grant from Queen Anne dated 1713, and the latest of these materials are documents related to the estate of Helen Dunnington Reynolds Brewer dated 1940. Newspaper clippings related to marriages and deaths within the family date from the middle of the nineteenth century through 1971.