The collection consist of papers relating to the Yancey family, B. F. Yancey, and the Esmont Colored School, Scottsville, Va., which he founded. These papers include letters, photographs, school records, clippings, greeting cards and invitations, memoranda books and financial and legal papers. Browse Collection by date.

Two boxes filled with letters and other materials written by Kate Coles from as early as 1894 up to her death around 1943 are owned by the University of Virginia and housed in Alderman Library’s Special Collections Department. The letters indicate that she was born on January 7, 1857 as a slave at Gale Hill plantation in Albemarle County. There her mistress, Mary Terrell Minor, taught her to read and write.

At some point, presumably after emancipation, Kate Coles and her husband Jeff, moved to Proffitt where they spent the rest of their lives. The letters included in the collection were written mostly to members of the local planters with whom Coles had apparently developed on-going friendships. One exception to these (not provided below) is a letter dated 1938 with no recipient indicated.

Kate Coles, then 80, wrote a meditation about her life and about her family and recounts some of the accomplishments and regrets she had experienced. There are no indications whether this letter was intended for a specific recipient or if it was ever sent. Other specific recipient or if it was ever sent. Other documents include an 1894 grocery list, and a 1936 memoir entitled “The Generations of Gale Hill” (the library version is a typed copy created in 1937 by E. C. Williston rather than the original hand-written document)."


© Copyright 2002, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia