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John Hamilton Cornish Diaries

Filing title: 
Cornish (John Hamilton) Diaries

Inventory to the John Hamilton Cornish diaries
MS0371

Summary Information

Repository
J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte
Creator
Cornish, John Hamilton, 1815-1878
Title
John Hamilton Cornish diaries
ID
MS0371
Date [inclusive]
1833-1877
Extent
22.0 Linear inches
Language
English
Abstract
Typed transcriptions of the diaries of John Hamilton Cornish, an Episcopal minister in Aiken, South Carolina, from 1833 to 1877. The original diaries are located in Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Preferred Citation note

John Hamilton Cornish Diaries. J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Biographical/Historical note

John Hamilton Cornish was born on March 6, 1815 in Lanesborough, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, to Andrew Hiram and Rhoda Bradley Cornish. When John was still a child the family moved to the Michigan Territory, and it was from there that John left home in 1833 to attend Washington College in Hartford, Connecticut (Washington College changed its name to Trinity College in 1845). It was from there that he graduated in 1839 and later enrolled at the General Theological Seminary, though he never graduated from that institution. He moved to Edisto Island, off the South Carolina coast in January of 1840 and began tutoring the children of E. Mikell Seabrook. By 1843 he became a minister, ordained in the Episcopal Church, serving a number of different churches in the Sea Island and Carolina Low-country. By 1846, he had settled down at the St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church in Aiken, South Carolina. He married Martha Jenkins and with her had six children—Rhoda, Mattie, Mary, Sadie, Ernest, and Joseph Cornish. John Cornish died in 1878. [Sources: The Inventory of the John Hamilton Cornish Papers (Mss 01461), Wilson Library, at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.]

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Scope and Contents note

The diaries that John H. Cornish kept from 1833 to 1877 provide a revealing look, not only at his own life, but of society (both secular and spiritual) in the areas where he lived. This is particularly true for the region of the Carolina Low country and the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina from the 1840s to 1877. Among his observations and writings are those concerning church activities, plantation life, local society and slavery. Some of his writings in 1843 include records of African-American members of an Episcopal church in the North Santee River. Concerning the usage of the term “volume” in this collection, the researcher should note that the original collection consists of bound volumes in which Cornish recorded his diaries. One of John’s descendants—Joseph Jenkins Cornish donated the diaries to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1948, and staff at the Wilson Library made typed transcriptions from the originals. The usage of the term “volume” in the container list below refers to the volumes of the typed transcripts, rather than Cornish’s original diaries. The first bound, typed volume in this collection is comprised of typescripts of diaries four and five of Cornish’s original writings. Also, this collection contains not only typed transcriptions, but also of photocopies of the originals, which are also bound in hard covers.

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Arrangement note

This collection is divided into three series. Series one contains photocopies of John Hamilton Cornish’s original diaries, dating from 1833 to 1877, bound into four hard-cover volumes. Series two contains ten volumes of typed transcriptions of the original Cornish diaries. There is also a folder containing a transcription (made by Nancy Peeples in 1997) of the Cornish diaries, dated January 1860 and February 1866 through April of 1877. Series three consists of a single item: John Hamilton Cornish’s diploma from Washington College, dated 1839.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte April, 2010

9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC, 28223
704-687-1170
spec-coll@uncc.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Acquired from Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston, of Charlotte, NC in 2006.

Processing Information note

Processed by Robert A. McInnes

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

The original John Hamilton Cornish Papers, 1833-1966 (Coll. 01461), are located at Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Episcopal Church. Diocese of South Carolina.

Personal Name(s)

  • Cornish, John Hamilton, 1815-1878

Subject(s)

  • Family life--South Carolina
  • Plantation life--South Carolina

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Diaries (Photocopies)

Box Volume

Diaries 1859-1877 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries 1859 to 1860, 1873 to 1877

1 1

Diaries 1865-1870 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries March 6, 1865 to May 19, 1870

1 2

Diaries 1870-1872 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries May 20, 1870 to December 31, 1872

1 3

Diaries 1874-1877 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries May 1874 to April 1877

1 4

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Series II: Diaries (Typed transcriptions)

Box Volume

Diaries 1833-1838 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries September 9, 1833 to November 1838

2 1

Diaries 1838-1841 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries August 1838 to November 1839 and December 1841

2 2

Diaries 1842-1844 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries January 1, 1842 to December 31, 1844

2 3

Diaries 1845-1847 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries January 1845 to December 1847

2 4

Diaries 1848-1850 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries January 1848 to June 21, 1850

2 5

Diaries 1853-1854 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries September 1853 to December 1854

2 6

Diaries 1855-1857 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries January 1855 to December 1857

2 7

Diaries 1858-1860 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries January 1, 1858 to December 31, 1860

2 8

Diaries 1861-1863 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries January 1, 1861 to December 31, 1863

2 9

Diaries 1864-1865 1.0 Albums

Scope and Contents note

Diaries January 1, 1864 to December 31, 1865

2 10
Box Folder

Diaries 1860-1877 1.0 Items

Scope and Contents note

Diaries (folder) Jan. 1860, Feb. 1866 to April 1877

2

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Series III: Diploma from Washington College 1839 1.0 Items