Waller Family Papers

Institution: Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312-255-3506
Date: 1803-1938
Extent: 1.9 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
The materials in this collection are primarily related to James B. Waller, lawyer and businessman from Frankfort, Kentucky and later Chicago; his wife Lucy Alexander Waller; their children, and extended families. James B. Waller was born in Frankfort, Kentucky in 1817, to William S. Waller and Catherine Breckinridge Waller. He attended Center College in Danville, Kentucky, and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and received a law degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky in 1838. He practiced law in Kentucky for the next 20 years, but also began investing in real estate after an 1849 visit to Chicago. Around 1860, Waller relocated permanently to Chicago and established a real estate business with his brothers William, Edward, and Henry.

Scope and Content Note:
Correspondence and other materials related to the Waller family of Chicago and Frankfort, Kentucky, and the Alexander family of Frankfort, Kentucky.

The papers consist primarily of correspondence between Waller and Alexander family members, with a few related items. The bulk of the letters belong to James B. Waller, his wife Lucy Alexander Waller, and their children Mary (Minnie) Waller Osborne, Catherine Waller Peete, Lucy Waller Young, and Robert Alexander Waller. Also included are school compositions written by James B. Waller during his student days at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a diary kept by Lucy Alexander Waller chronicling a 1848 trip to Italy, and a photograph of Lucy Alexander Waller and her daughters. Robert Alexander Waller studied at Washington College during Robert E. Lee's tenure as president of the school, and his letters home describe Lee's death and funeral, as well as the college's name change to Washington & Lee.

The collection also contains correspondence to and from other members of the Waller and Alexander families, primarily Eliza Weisiger Alexander and Robert Alexander, parents of Lucy Alexander; and William S. Waller, father of James B. Waller. Eliza Weisiger Alexander's correspondants include her father Daniel Weisiger, brother Joseph Weisiger, and nephew Daniel Weisiger Adams. There are also many letters to Lucy Alexander Waller from her brother, Robert S.C. Aitchison Alexander, and sister, Mary Alexander Deeds, and correspondence to William S. Waller from his children, particularly James B. Waller, Susanna Waller Lees and Edward Waller. A few items related to William S. Waller's postions in Kentucky government, with related correspondence from Henry Clay and other Kentucky officials are also in the collection, as well as a few family obituaries and clippings. Two slave bills of sale are also among the papers.

Related Material: None