This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.
|Abstract||Laura Beecher Comer (1817-1900) was a native of Connecticut and niece of prominent clergyman Henry Ward Beecher. In 1848 she married James Comer (1797-1864), a cotton planter in Alabama. They moved in 1853 to Columbus, Ga., where she lived until her death in 1900. The collection includes diaries, 1862-1863, 1864-1866, 1866-1868, and 1872-1873, of Laura Beecher Comer, documenting her daily life in Columbus, Ga., and her thoughts and emotions on a variety of topics, including religion and family relationships, her unhappy marriage and distrust of humanity, and her problems with family servants, both slaves and freedmen. There are also six letters, 1896-1899, from Laura Beecher Comer to a cousin in Savannah, Ga., discussing the activities of Comer family members in Alabama.|
|Creator||Comer, Laura Beecher, 1817-1900.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
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Laura Beecher Comer was born in New Haven, Conn., in 1817, the daughter of Lysias Beecher and Lucy Tolles Beecher, and the niece of prominent clergyman Henry Ward Beecher. Following her first marriage to a Mr. Hayes, she moved south to open a school for girls. In 1848, she married James Comer (1797-1864), a cotton planter in Alabama. She and her husband purchased a house in Columbus, Ga., in 1853, where Laura lived until her death on 5 January 1900.Back to Top
Four diaries of Laura Beecher Comer; six letters from Laura to her Comer relatives in Alabama; and a newspaper clipping about Windsor Castle in England. The diaries document Laura's everyday activities in Columbus, Ga., and her thoughts and emotions on a variety of topics, including religion and family relationships, her unhappy marriage and distrust of humanity, and her problems with family servants, both slaves and freedmen. Other diary entries describe Laura's travels in Alabama, the northeast United States and Europe, and the death settlement of her husband's estate and the sale of his cotton plantations. The letters are chiefly concerned with news about the activities of Comer family members in Alabama.Back to Top
Laura Beecher Comer's diary, with almost daily entries recording her everyday life, household management, and finances; her thoughts on a variety of topics, including religious sentiments; her often cantankerous comments on human nature; complaints about her unhappy marriage and her relationships with various friends and relatives; and her troubles with family slaves. There are also a few scattered entries on national politics and the Civil War and descriptions of travel in Alabama. 133 p.
Laura Beecher Comer's diary at the end of the Civil War, with almost daily entries recording similar themes from the first volume, including the weather, health and illness, religion, social engagements, and continued difficulties with servants and freedmen. The diary documents the sudden death of her husband in 1864, and his funeral, the reading of his will, and the division of his estate. It also contains scattered descriptions of soldiers and the Civil War, including the capture of Montgomery, Ala. Entries also describe the difficulties of running the plantations on her own, and her feelings on the abolition of slavery. 129 p.
Laura Beecher Comer's diary after the Civil War and her husband's death in 1864. Many of the themes of the first volume are continued in the diary entries, including her thoughts on religion and family relationships and activities, her general depression and mistrust of humanity, and her continuing problems with servants--now freedmen. The diary also contains descriptions of Laura's travels in Virginia, Washington, D.C., New York, and Connecticut, and of her visits to her husband's cotton plantations in Alabama, as she attempted to settle his estate and sell the plantations. 134 p.
Laura Beecher Comer's diary entries for 1872 to 1873. As in the previous volumes, topics include news of friends and family, descriptions of daily life, and comments on religion. A great portion of the volume consists of accounts of Laura's travels to visit her family in New York and Connecticut and a voyage by ship to Europe, including detailed descriptions of her encounters with natives and her visits to tourist attractions in London, Paris, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Edinburgh. 145 p.
Six letters, 1896-1899, from Laura Beecher Comer to her "Cousin Lilla," wife of Hugh Moss Comer, in Alabama, on social news and family concerns, and a newspaper clipping, 11 September 1892, about Windsor Castle in Windsor, England.
Processed by: Elizabeth Pauk, September 1991; Amanda Loeb, February 2015
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.Back to Top