Finding aid prepared by Eli Riveire
James Blythe Anderson papers
University of Kentucky Special Collections
Collection is arranged by subject. Within subjects, materials are arranged chronologically.
Housed with multiple collections.
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
47M2: [identification of item], James Blythe Anderson papers, 1751-1946, University of Kentucky Special Collections.
4.7 Cubic feet
4 boxes, 6 items
James Blythe Anderson was born on December 25, 1868 in Madison County, Kentucky, to parents Joseph Caldwell Anderson and Dovie Blythe. The family lived on a farm estate owned by the Blythe family near Richmond, Kentucky, called Blythewood until purchasing their own farm estate near Lexington, Kentucky, called Glengarry, in the early 1880s. Located three miles north of town on Newtown Pike, James Blythe Anderson would call Glengarry his home for the remainder of his life. After studying at Kentucky’s State College, Anderson began the law program at the University of Virginia in 1892. Anderson married Alice B. Simms (1868-1947) in 1898 and the couple had two children: Joseph Caldwell Anderson (1899-1943) and Elizabeth Blythe Anderson (1903-1924).
Choosing to forego his studies in law, Anderson became a farmer, with brief stints in the local thoroughbred breeding and racing industry and gold and oil prospecting throughout the Western United States. Anderson’s significant passions, however, were writing, poetry, and genealogy. Particularly interested in the history of his own and his wife’s family lineages, Anderson kept considerable correspondence with his distant relatives both in America and the United Kingdom for details on their respective parts of the family tree. Anderson’s research is especially rich in the study of the Taylor family (which included President Zachary Taylor), connected through the Anderson side; and the McCue family, connected through the Simms side. Of particular interest to Anderson was John Marshall McCue (1816-1890), a Confederate Major who served for Virginia’s Augusta Raid Guard during the Civil War.
Like McCue, Anderson served in the military at a later age in life, enlisting in the United States Army in 1918 to serve in World War I. At the age of 50, Anderson was made a Captain and was honorably discharged in 1919. After the war, Anderson’s focus returned to genealogy and writing. Having already published one book in the early 1900s, The Nameless Hero, and Other Poems, Anderson began work on another book on the Anderson family history and lineage as well as various songs and poems. Anderson was also quite active in a number of organizations, especially the Sons of the American Revolution, the Society of the War of 1812, the American Legion, and the Author’s League of America. James Blythe Anderson died in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 25, 1945.
Stewart, Charlotte Blair. Biographies of Members of the First Blair Society. Blair family magazine 27.3 (2009): 48. Web. 1 March 2012.
The James Blythe Anderson papers (1751-1946) contain materials collected and created by Kentucky poet, author, and farmer James Blythe Anderson. Most of these materials relate to Anderson's work in researching and reconstructing his own family lineage and genealogy. The first series consists of Anderson's own materials, including extensive correspondence kept with distant relatives for genealogical information; Anderson's notes from his own genealogical research, mostly on the various prominent Southern families related to the Anderson line (Taylor, Tyler, Denny, Poage, Hughes); Anderson's personal materials like certificates, receipts, and sheet music; and photographs, including three of Anderson's near Lexington home, Glengarry. The second series consists of materials kept and created by Major John Marshall McCue. McCue was a prominent figure in the Civil War, who was a distant relative of Anderson's wife, Alice B. Simms. McCue's materials include several account books and diaries, featuring writing on everyday Virginia life and politics; correspondence with McCue, including several letters from General John D. Imboden; McCue's own genealogical research; and personal materials, featuring copied articles, Virginia militia rolls, and personal writing. The final series consists of two scrapbooks present within the collection. The first contains clippings of various poems, pictures, and inspirational writing. It is unclear who began this scrapbook, but it appears to have been maintained at some point by Anderson's wife, Alice. The second scrapbook was kept by E.D. Perkins of Lexington, and is filled with arranged pictures of various animals, children and babies, angels, flowers and plants, and holiday scenes and cards.
The James Blythe Anderson materials contain materials in this collection kept by, generated by, or which directly relate to James Blythe Anderson. Many of these items center around Anderson's passion for genealogy - the Correspondence and Genealogy subseries especially. The correspondence present within the collection is with various distant relatives to better keep track of family data. Anderson's genealogical research delves into several prominent Southern families which ultimately make up his own pedigree. Also present, though with little evident relevance, is a pedigree record book of fox hunting dogs. This series also contains Anderson's personal materials, including certificates, sheet music, and clippings intended for a scrapbook as well as photographs, including a few of Anderson's home Glengarry.
The Correspondence subseries consists of James Blythe Anderson's correspondence with several distant relatives and fellow researchers regarding various genealogical elements of the Anderson family tree. This correspondence ranges from 1892-1946, and also includes undated letters and incomplete letters.
The Genealogy subseries consists of James Blythe Anderson's genealogical research as well as genealogical pieces held and collected by Anderson. The majority of Anderson's research centers around a few notable Southern families, which at some point feed into the Anderson family lineage, as well as the Anderson family itself. These other family names include Denny, Hughes, Poage, Tyler, and Taylor (including President Zachary Taylor). Also present are several genealogical charts; drawings of coats of arms; and family documents, some dating back to the mid 1700s. This subseries is finished with a bound book containing the genealogical pedigrees for various fox hunting dogs. This record book contains a note that it was given from C.H. Corbin to J.H. Cunningham, but was presumably acquired and kept by Anderson at some point after the data ends in 1915.
The Personal materials subseries contains various items held or created by James Blythe Anderson which are unrelated to his genealogical work. These materials include several certificates for Anderson's membership in various clubs and organizations, like the American Legion, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Society of Cincinnati; a file of newspaper clippings labeled for inclusion in a future scrapbook; receipts; and sheet music with words written by Anderson.
The Photographs subseries contains six photographs present with Anderson's materials. Three of these photographs are of various people, seemingly sent to Anderson along with genealogical data from distant relatives with whom Anderson kept correspondence. The remaining three are images of Glengarry, Anderson's farm and home near Lexington, Kentucky.
The John Marshall McCue materials series contains items present within the collection which belonged to John Marshall McCue. These materials were inherited and collected by James Blythe Anderson. They include five bound account books and diaries, containing musings on McCue's daily life, as well as various news events happening around Virginia and the United States as a whole, ranging from 1833-1855; McCue's correspondence; genealogical research; and personally held materials like writings and documents.
The Account books and diaries subseries contains six diaries kept by John Marshall McCue from 1833-1855. Five of these books are hardbound ledgers, in which McCue also kept various elements of his personal accounting. The sixth diary, Diary of a trip, represents McCue's various travels around the Southern United States. These six diaries give insights into McCue's daily life as well as what was happening around him. McCue was a prolific writer, writing an entry every day, and was particularly interested in politics.
The Correspondence subseries consists of various letters kept and written by John Marshall McCue. This correspondence varies in content, though current politics and family genealogy are well represented. The general correspondence file features letters about the abolitionist John Brown and the possibility of statehood for Kansas. McCue kept especially regular personal correspondence with General John D. Imboden, with letters ranging from 1847-1889.
The Genealogy subseries contains various notes from genealogical research performed by John Marshall McCue. McCue copied much of his work from articles in existing books, often noting which book provided particular pieces of information. McCue researched parts of his own family line as well as other notable Southern family lines.
The Personal materials subseries consists of materials generated and kept by John Marshall McCue. This includes a significant amount of writing, both original and copied articles. McCue's original writing is present in Augusta's Plan, a plan suggested by McCue as a way to succeed in the Civil War and in his writing about Major Claiborne Rice Mason. This subseries also contains a handwritten piece on the life and death of General John D. Imboden, who kept personal correspondence with McCue from 1847-1889.
The Scrapbooks series contains two scrapbooks present within the James Blythe Anderson papers. The first scrapbook contains no sign of particular ownership, and most of its materials containing dates are from the range 1860-1863. The scrapbook contains various articles, poems, inspirational quotes, speeches, prose, and pictures cut out of a newspaper. Three newspaper names appear: The Lexington Herald, The Kentucky Messenger, and the Richmond Mountain Democrat. Also present is a newsprint photo of President Woodrow Wilson (dated 1916) and a copy of Harper's Young People - An Illustrated Weekly from 1862. To the rear of this scrapbook are drawings of flowers signed by Alice B. Simms, James Blythe Anderson's wife. This suggests that Alice B. Simms and/or James Blythe Anderson may have owned and used this scrapbook at some point, but it was begun by someone else since neither of the couple was alive during its primary date range.
The second scrapbook has an ornate cover with raised engravings of Romanesque features. The front cover was signed by E.D. Perkins of Lexington on December 25, 1883. As this name is not one which appears elsewhere in the collection, the relationship of this scrapbook to the rest of this collection is unknown. Each page in the scrapbook is filled with arranged pictures which have been glued onto the paper. The pictures consist of various animals, children, babies, angels, flowers and plants, holiday scenes, and holiday cards. There is no handwriting present in the scrapbook over than the signed front cover, and the only writing present is seen on the holiday cards celebrating Easter, Christmas, and Valentine's Day.