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Collection Jedediah Hotchkiss Papers

About this Collection

The papers of educator, Confederate cartographer and topographical engineer Jedediah Hotchkiss (1828-1899) span the years 1835-1908, with the bulk of the material dating from 1875 to 1898. They consist of approximately 20,000 items, most digitally scanned from 61 microfilm reels, although some account books and other financial records of Sara Anne Comfort Hotchkiss, which had never been microfilmed, were digitized from the originals. The papers reflect Jedediah Hotchkiss’s varied activities as a student, geologist, lecturer, school teacher, engineer, soldier, and historian.

Description of Series

The collection is arranged in seven series:

Diaries, 1845-1899

Hotchkiss's Civil War diaries, notebooks, and journals describe troop movements and battles and reveal a topographer's keen eye for the physical lay of the land. In addition to the original diaries, there are handwritten and typewritten copies or extracts which either vary somewhat from the originals or contain additional information.

Notebooks, 1866-1893

Hotchkiss’s postwar mining field notes, work logs, and coal analyses are the focus of this series.

Family Correspondence, 1853-1903

Some of Hotchkiss's most informative letters are to his wife, Sara Anne Comfort Hotchkiss, and his brother, Nelson Hotchkiss, during his military duty, 1861-1865. These letters, with variant copies, are in this Family Correspondence series. Other significant family correspondence includes Hotchkiss's letters to his wife and children, 1872-1875, while he was touring England, and correspondence of Sara Hotchkiss, 1853-1903.

General Correspondence, 1846-1899

This series, the largest in the collection, includes personal and business letters, many of which relate to Hotchkiss’s involvement with various land and mining ventures in West Virginia, particularly with the Gauley Coal Company, the Guyandot Coal Land Association, and the North Flat-Top Land Association. Between 1875 and 1899, much of the correspondence is concerned with details of Civil War engagements and the publication of Hotchkiss’s books. He corresponded frequently with former staff officers of Stonewall Jackson, such as William Allan and Hunter McGuire. There is also correspondence with Jubal Anderson Early, John Brown Gordon, and Fitzhugh Lee. Other correspondents include James Gillespie Blaine, William E. Chandler, Robert Lewis Dabney, John W. Daniel, Stephen B. Elkins, Stonewall Jackson, Joseph LeConte, Robert E. Lee, William Mahone, S. S. McClure, Dwight Lyman Moody, John Pelham, Jeb Stuart, Henry St. George Tucker, and Henry A. Wise.

Subject File, circa 1835-1899

This series contains correspondence, maps, tracings, sketches, printed matter, and legal documents reflecting Hotchkiss’s entrepreneurial and scholarly interests and includes drafts and notes of his writings and newspaper clipping files on diverse subjects. The Subject File also includes copies of William Barton Rogers’s notebooks concerning his geological survey of Virginia, 1835-1841. There is no material in this collection associated with Hotchkiss's political activities as an independent Congressional candidate in 1884.

Writings File, circa 1846-1899

A prolific writer and lecturer, Hotchkiss’s books, articles, essays, speeches, lectures, book reviews, and notes are gathered in this series together with writings by others.

Miscellany, circa 1846-1908

Scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and genealogical records and legal papers of the Hotchkiss and Beecher families along with financial records in the form of account books, canceled checks, bank notes, and bills and receipts, comprise this final series of the collection.