Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Cunningham family papers

Abstract

The Cunningham family papers (dated 1820-1911, undated; 0.7 cubic feet; 2 boxes) comprise notebooks, personal writings, property deeds, meeting minutes, and correspondence that document the affairs of the generations of the Cunningham family of Louisville, Kentucky.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Cunningham family papers
Extent
0.7 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Business enterprises
Child rearing
Correspondence.
Deeds.
Family.
Health
Letters.
Love-letters
Minutes and proceedings.
Property -- Kentucky
Travel.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by subject. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0448: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Cunningham family papers, 1820-1911, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
The Cunningham family of Louisville, Kentucky included Robert Morrison Cunningham, Sr. (1828-1878), his wife Annie Milton (1831-1895), and their three children: Bettie Scott Cunningham (1854-1890), John Milton Cunningham (1857-1931), and Robert Jr. (1859-1923). John married Rose Irene Brown (1865-1951) and together they had John Milton Cunningham Jr. (1888-1940) and Robert Brown Cunningham (1899-1951). In 1886, Robert Jr. married Frances Barnett (1862-1905); together they had four children: Kathleen (1887-1958), Robert III (1891-1931), Annie (1894-1974), and Andrew (1895-1979). After the death of Frances, Robert remarried in 1906 to Mary Margaret Bremaker McWilliams (1860-1950). Robert Sr. worked as a bank cashier, Robert Jr. was a credit manager, John was a real estate agent, and Robert III was a mechanical engineer.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Cunningham family papers (dated 1820-1911, undated; 0.68 cubic feet; 2 boxes) comprise notebooks, personal writings, property deeds, meeting minutes, and correspondence that document the affairs of the generations of the Cunningham family of Louisville, Kentucky. The notebooks and personal writings include essays by Bettie Cunningham concerning education, personal character development, and historical events. The property deeds include a number of deeds renting and selling large tracts of property to neighbors and tenants. The meeting minutes include two board meetings where the members acknowledge the death of Robert Cunningham, Sr. The correspondence includes letters between Robert Sr. and his wife Annie, Robert Jr. and his wife Frances, and sympathy letters to Robert Jr. and his daughter Kathleen concerning the death of Frances. In the letters from Robert, Sr. to Annie, he discusses his feelings for her, personal health, trips taken, and business. Letters from Robert, Jr. to Frances discuss business trips taken, purchases made for his lumber company, how he misses her and their children, a spontaneous trip to Cuba, personal health, and how business operations are going. He writes to Frances from a number of locations, including Havana, Cuba; Memphis, Tennessee; Mexico; and Jackson, Mississippi. The sympathy letters to Robert Jr. and Kathleen come from family and friends, and express their sorrow and shock over the death of Frances in 1905.
The Cunningham family papers are part of the Wade Hall Collection of American Letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Address book, undated

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Bettie Cunningham compositions, 1870-1872

  • Box 1, folder 2
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College Street Presbyterian Church board of deacons and trustees meeting minutes, 1878 December 2

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Copy of will of Fannie B. Cunningham, 1902

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Cunningham family papers, 1896, 1909, undated

  • Box 1, folder 5
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First National Bank board of directors meeting minutes, 1878 December 26

  • Box 1, folder 6
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Girls short essay, undated

  • Box 1, folder 7
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Notebook of Annie Cunningham, 1871-1874, undated

  • Box 1, folder 8
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Property deeds, 1820-1867

  • Box 1, folder 9
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Cunningham family letters, 1844, 1878-1911, undated

  • Box 1, folder 10
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Robert Cunningham, Sr. to Annie Milton, 1851-1878, undated

  • Box 1, folder 11
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Letters to Robert Cunningham, Jr., 1897-1905

  • Box 1, folder 12
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Sympathy letters to Robert Cunningham, Jr., 1905

  • Box 1, folder 13
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Letters to Frances Cunningham, 1897-1904, undated

  • Box 2, folder 1
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Robert Cunningham, Jr. to Frances Cunningham, 1898-1904

  • Box 2, folder 2
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Sympathy letters to Kathleen Cunningham, 1905

  • Box 2, folder 3-4
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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Materials must be requested at least 5 days before your appointment.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.