James Taylor Graves Papers

Institution: Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312-255-3506
Date: 1850-1891
Extent: .2 Linear Feet
Finding Aid: None

Biographical/Historical Note:
Civil War soldier and Congregational minister. The son of Rev. Horatio Nelson Graves and Martha (Arms) Graves, James Taylor Graves was born in 1841. He entered Yale with the Class of 1865, but left after his freshman year to join the Union army. Graves served for a year as a corporal in the 52nd Massachusetts Infantry, mainly in Louisiana, before reentering college as a sophomore with the Class of 1866. In 1870 he graduated from the Andover Theological Seminary and was a Congregational minister in Austin, Minn., and Marshall, Ill., before moving to Chicago in 1876. There he was actively associated with the South Central Improvement Association.

Scope and Content Note:
Mainly Civil War (1862-1863) and European trip (1867) letters of James Taylor Graves addressed to his widowed mother, his sister Martha Louise Graves, and his brother John Morrison Graves. Graves’ Civil War letters, written from Camp Miller at Greenfield, Mass., en route to Louisiana via New York City, and from various places in Louisiana, discuss camp life, ship transport, the treatment of Negroes, Southern guerrillas, skirmishes with Confederate forces, the siege of Port Hudson, and other topics. Written during a summer tour of London, Paris, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, Graves’ 1867 letters provide a detailed description of his travels to his family at home. There is also one undated letter to Graves from his father written prior to his 1852 death regarding the importance of faith and education, an 1891 University of Chicago diploma received by daughter Mary Louise Graves, a calling card and account relating to Graves’ European trip, and some genealogical material.

Related Material: None