Coles Family Papers
This collection (1760-1921) holds papers from several members of the Coles family, including Edward Coles, Sr.; Edward Coles, Jr.; John Coles; Mary Coles; and Rebecca Coles. The majority of the collection is made up of Edward Coles, Sr.'s correspondence, which ranges from 1805 to 1868. In his...
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1.6 Linear feet ; 3 Boxes, 5 Volumes, 4 Flat Files
This collection is open to researchers.
This collection (1760-1921) holds papers from several members of the Coles family, including Edward Coles, Sr.; Edward Coles, Jr.; John Coles; Mary Coles; and Rebecca Coles.
The majority of the collection is made up of Edward Coles, Sr.'s correspondence, which ranges from 1805 to 1868. In his correspondence, he discusses family and personal matters, abolition, and some political topics from his time as governor of Illinois. Also included in his materials are documents relating to Russian trade, from his time as a special envoy there. There are several folders containing speech notes and two volumes that record his numerous land purchases and holdings. There are also two volumes that hold newspaper clippings from Coles's time as governor, mainly relating to his fight for abolition and authored by him. Box 3, Folder 22 holds a partial inventory of the Edward Coles, Sr. material.
The Edward Coles, Jr. material is also mainly correspondence, ranging from 1867 to 1887. There is also one folder containing the correspondence of John Coles and one folder containing almanac pages from Rebecca Coles.
The collection also contains miscellaneous family materials, primarily legal papers and deeds relating to land owned by various members of the Coles family in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. There are also military commissions; travel documents, particularly for Edward Coles, Jr. and Mary Coles; stock certificates; Confederate currency; almanac pages; and loose newspaper clippings. A single volume records trustee action for the Coles estate.
This collection was processed using the More Product, Less Process model, and is not arranged into series. Materials are arranged alphabetically by title.
Edward Coles was the governor of Illinois from 1822 to 1826. Prior to that position, he was private secretary to President James Madison and special envoy to Russia. Coles was a staunch abolitionist and worked against the legalization of slavery in Illinois. The Coles family papers provide insight into the private and political life of Edward Coles, as well as glimpses of the lives of several other family members, including his son Edward Coles Jr. and brother John Coles. The collection provides information about planter family life, politics in Illinois, and the politics of abolition in general, as well as the personal activities of Edward Coles throughout his life. This collection contains correspondence, land deeds, ledger books, newspapers, scrapbooks, speech notes, tax forms, tariff papers, government appointment papers, certificates, and various miscellaneous material.