Guide to the Virginia historical documents collection, 16th century-1964

Virginia historical documents C0034

Published by George Mason University Libraries

Contact Information:

Fenwick Library (2FL)

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444


Phone: (703) 993-2220

Fax: (703) 993-8911



Descriptive Summary

Repository George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections and Archives.
Creator George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections and Archives.
Title Virginia historical documents collection
Date 16th century-1964
Physical Characteristics 2.25 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract This collection contains historical documents relating to Virginia families and citizens.
Collection number C0034
Language English

Historical Information

Special Collections and Archives staff created this collection from small donations and purchases of historical documents.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains historical documents relating to Virginia families and citizens. Box one contains a one-page letter signed by George Washington and written by Major Tallmadge of General Washington's staff to the officer commanding the militia in the County of Monmouth, Springfield, New Jersey, June 14, 1780. The letter requests information regarding General Henry Clinton and the British Army prior to the Battle of Monmouth.

Other materials include seven original handwritten letters from the 18th and 19th centuries and facsimilies of dozens of Fairfax/Ayres family letters dating from the late 19th century. The letters mostly deal with official legal and contractual obligations and appear to have derived from an old Fairfax court house. One name appearing on some of the earlier letters is John Wagener (or Wagonor) who was probably the chief magistrate of the Fairfax County Court.

The documents include a warrant issued by John Minor calling for the seizing of property from William Hall, found "justly indebted" to John Park in the amount of four pounds sterling; an official 1754 jury summons from John Wagener (or Wagonor) addressed to the Sheriff of Fairfax County, requesting the presence of William Gladin, John Gunston, and Mary Bradford to testify "on Behalf of Mary Tarbuck" against the defendant, John Doones; a long-winded letter by Thomas Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron, claiming ownership of a "tract of waste and ungranted land" and granting it to his heir, Bryan Fairfax; an 1853 deed-of-gift from Maynadier Mason, grandson of George Mason, granting his "negro slave woman named Lucy and aged about 26 years" to his late wife's maternal aunt, Mary Ann Clark.

Other Mason family documents include two letters authored and signed by James Murray Mason, the grandson of George Mason. One of the letters concerns James M. Mason's involvement in the Trent Affair in 1861. The other letter from 1860 is a letter to President James Buchanan from James M. Mason.

There is also one letter signed by Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd answering a question about how to obtain an invitation to the 1945 Presidential Inauguration.

A single signed letter from an unknown Confederate soldier. The location is listed as "Camp Burton's Farm," which probably refers to an area controlled by the Confederates during the U.S. Civil War at the time the letter was written on January 29, 1863. Around the time this letter was written, command of the U.S. Army changed over to Joseph Hooker, and he began to head towards Richmond. This activity would eventually lead to the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863.

There are also 9 letters of correspondence that date from circa 1539-1595 between members of the Raleigh family and others, including Carew Raleigh, the son of Sir Walter Raleigh.

A land lease document for a parcel of land in Hardy County Virginia, as recorded in a partly printed document, completed in manuscript, signed "Denny Fairfax," by his attorney in Virginia, Thomas Bryan Martin, December 4, 1790, leasing the land, 100 acres in Hardy County. When Lord Thomas Fairfax died childless in 1781, his vast holding in Virginia were devised to a nephew Denny Martin (who later took the name Denny Fairfax).

An envelope with a commemorative stamp celebrating the 200th anniversary of Gunston Hall.

Two Jamestowne, Virginia, postcards from 1907. One features an aerial view of the Jamestowne Exposition and the other features portraits of John Smith and Pocahontas.

A letter signed from Frank (surname unknown), a soldier of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment, Camp Clarke, Washington, D.C., to his brother, Henry, discussing their orders to march, the presence of President Abraham Lincoln at their dress parade, begin photographed by Matthew Brady, and his visit to the Smithsonian Institution. The letter is dated July 15, 1861.

One oversize box contains a 1964 commemorative issue of the Fairfax County Sun Echo about the opening of the George Mason College campus in Fairfax, Virginia.

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Organized by subject.

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Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

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Related Material

Special Collections and Archives also holds the Northern Virginia Civil War images collection.

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Index Terms

Geographical Names:

Virginia--History--18th century.
Virginia--History--19th century.
Virginia--History--20th century.

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Administrative Information

Alternative Form Available

Digital versions are available from boxes 1 and 2.

Preferred Citation

Virginia historical documents collection, Collection #C0034, Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Susan J. Brennan in 1985 and Dartmouth College Library in 1993. Collection also includes items acquired through purchase.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections and Archives staff. EAD markup completed by Eron Ackerman and Jordan Patty in August 2009.

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Contents List

An electronic box inventory is unavailable. Please contact for more information.
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