Robert Morton Hughes Papers, 1754-1950, undated
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Brief Description:

The Hughes Papers are divided into three major sections. The first section contains Hughes' personal and political correspondence, speeches, literary efforts, small amounts of material related to his legal practice and to his involvement in Virginia political affairs (included is his participation in the Constitutional Commission of 1926-1927), and considerable material about his activities in support of education. Of particular note in this last area are his longtime association with the College of William and Mary (1870-1940) and his service on the State Board of Education (1930-1935).

The second section consists of correspondence and other papers originally belonging to certain of Hughes' relatives. Some of the correspondence goes back to the late 18th century. The major figures are Hughes' father Judge R. W. Hughes (d. 1901). his mother Eliza Johnston Hughes (d. 1908), his adoptive maternal grandfather John B. Floyd, (1806-1863) and his maternal great uncle Joseph E. Johnston, (1807-1891). Judge Hughes was one of the first prominent Virginian's to turn Republican in the post-Civil War Period; Floyd was Governor of Virginia (1849-1852), Secretary of War under Buchanan (1857-1860), and a general in the Confederate army (1861-1863); Johnston was a general in both the U.S. and Confederate armies (1860-1865). Among Hughes' papers are a number of incomplete drafts of Johnston's published war memoirs.

The third section consists of correspondence and other material related to Hughes' extensive activity as an amateur historian. The central topics are the careers of Gen. Johnston and Governor Floyd and after that Virginia and southern history in general.

Held at:
Special Collections and University Archives
Email: pbruce [at]
Record Series Number: 00/MG 7
Created by: Hughes, Robert M. (Robert Morton) (1855-1940)
Volume: 20.4 Linear Feet
Acquired: 05/19/1976. Additional accessions made in 1980 and 1983.

The Hughes collection is divided into 14 series:

Series I: Personal Correspondence. Includes R. M. Hughes' correspondence from 1866 to 1939.

Series II: Financial Records. Includes R. M. Hughes' bills, tax receipts and deeds.

Series III: Speeches. Includes R. M. Hughes' speeches on historical, legal, political and literary topics.

Series IV: Writings. Includes R. M. Hughes' writings, both published and unpublished, on political, legal and historical topics.

Series V: Legal Practice. Includes a certificate to practice law in Virginia, correspondence and other papers related to Hughes' legal practice from 1877 to 1924.

Series VI: Politics. Includes material related to Hughes' involvement in Virginia Politics.

Sub series A: Correspondence. Covers the years 1880 to 1939.

Sub series B: Applications for Judgeships. Consists mostly of correspondence from R. M. Hughes and others on his behalf regarding his efforts to be appointed to a federal judgeship. Covers the years 1897 to 1911.

Sub series C: General. Includes background material on Hughes, newspaper clippings and political scrapbooks dated 1902-3 and 1928-9.

Sub series D: Virginia Constitutional Commission. Includes Hughes' correspondence and articles regarding his participation on the Virginia Constitutional Commission from 1926-1929

Series VII: Education. Includes material on Hughes involvement in education, particularly his association with the College of William and Mary.

Sub series A: College of William and Mary. Consists mostly of correspondence from 1878 to 1941, includes correspondence regarding the Norfolk Branch of the College of William and Mary dated 1925-1941.

Sub series B: University of Virginia. Includes correspondence and other materials dated 1884-1938.

Sub series C: State Education Commission. Includes correspondence and other material dated 1927-1928.

Sub series D: State Board of Education. Includes correspondence and other material regarding Hughes' tenure on the State Board of Education 1930-1935.

Series VIII: Memorabilia. Includes certificates, mementos from William and Mary, a memorial volume for Harvey Laird Wilson, and memorial pamphlets (1855-1940).

Series IX: Pictorial Records. Include photographs, drawings and engravings.

Series X: Family Papers. Includes family information and correspondence.

Sub series A: General. Includes a partial family tree and other information on the Hughes, Johnston, and Preston families.

Sub series B: Judge R.W. Hughes (father of R. M. Hughes) includes correspondence from 1840-1902. (3 boxes)

Sub series C: Eliza Johnston Hughes. Contains correspondence from 1843-1901. (2 boxes)

Sub series D: Charles C. Johnston (R. M. Hughes' Maternal Grandfather) correspondence from 1824-1831 (8 documents)

Sub series E: Eliza Preston Johnston (R. M. Hughes' Maternal Grandmother) correspondence from 1821-1827 (9 documents)

Sub series F: Governor John Floyd. Includes one document only, a letter to the Governor of New York regarding fugitive slaves, dated 1832

Sub series G: John B. Floyd (son of Governor John Floyd and R. M. Hughes' adoptive maternal grandfather) includes correspondence from 1831-1863.

Sub series H: Sally B. Preston Floyd (R. M. Hughes' adoptive maternal grandmother) includes correspondence dated 1839-1879 (12 documents)

Sub series I: Edward Johnston. Includes correspondence dated 1847-1848 (2 documents)

Sub series J: John Preston Johnston (R. M. Hughes' maternal uncle) includes correspondence dated 1837-1845 (26 documents)

Sub series K: General Joseph E. Johnston (R. M. Hughes' maternal uncle) includes correspondence related to the civil war, correspondence with General James Longstreet and General Jubal Early, correspondence with relatives, accounts of civil war battles, and a rough draft of his memoirs. (1836-1924)

Sub series L: Various Relatives. Includes correspondence dated 1787-1858 of John Preston and Francis Preston (17 documents), Sarah Campbell Preston (9 documents), Letitial Floyd (1 document), and William Radford (3 documents).

Sub series M: Robert M. Hughes, Jr. Includes correspondence dated 1921-1950, and miscellaneous publications dated 1941-1946.

Series XI: Historical Studies. Includes R. M. Hughes' studies of the Civil War period and the place of some of his relatives in Virginia history.

Sub series A: Governor John B. Floyd. Includes material on Floyd's views and actions at the start of the civil war and correspondence regarding Hughes' historical writings. (1888-1937)

Sub series B: General Joseph E. Johnston. Includes copies of letters to Johnston, newspaper articles, correspondence between Johnston and Hughes regarding the writing of Johnston's memoirs, and correspondence with publishers regarding Johnston's biography. (1891-1939)

Sub series C: Civil War Topics. Includes writings by Hughes, correspondence regarding treatment of Civil War issues in Muzzey's history textbook. (1907-1936)

Sub series D: Virginia History. Includes materials regarding various aspects of Virginia history

Sub series E: General. Includes correspondence on various historical topics and newspaper clippings. (1890-1939)

Series XII: Index Cards. For letters once owned by R. M. Hughes

Series XIII: Miscellaneous. Includes proceedings of the Research Club (1914-1920), correspondence, writings, and scrapbooks.

Series XIV: Oversized Materials. Includes certificates, diplomas, and scrapbooks focused on the Civil War and Spanish-American War.

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.
Subject Index
College of William and Mary. Board of Visitors
College of William and Mary. Norfolk Division
Confederate States of America. Army
Floyd, John B. (John Buchanan), 1806-1863
Hughes, Robert M. (Robert Morton), 1855-1940
Hughes family
Johnston, Joseph E. (Joseph Eggleston), 1807-1891
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Virginia. State Board of Education
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.
Acquisition Notes: Hughes Family  Gift. Accession #A76-18
Related Materials: Other papers related to Robert Morton Hughes can also be found in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at William & Mary (Mss. 65 H88 and UA 5.013).
PreferredCitation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Robert Morton Hughes Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.
Finding Aid Revisions: Box and Folder inventory completed by Alexis Ferguson, Special Collections and University Archives Student Assistant, in May 2017.