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Monday - Friday:
9 am - 4:30 pm

Other times by appointment


The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

Contact Information

Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-5350
fax (757) 683-5954




William Polk Fitchett was an Eastern Shore plantation owner who resided in the community of Seaview in Northampton County, Virginia. He lived in the Poplar Grove plantation home that was built in 1783 by Benjamin Stratton. As a farmer his income was created by the growing of potatoes, which were transported north by rail and corn, which was used to feed his livestock. He had a common country school education and was of English descent.

William Polk Fitchett was married to the former Margaret E. Mapp, his first wife, who was originally from Willow Grove plantation in Weirwood, Virginia. By his first wife, Fitchett had two children, a daughter Willetta and a son, James P. Fitchett. It is from this first marriage that the Doughty family traces it genealogical roots to the present. The dates of birth, death and marriage to his first wife are unknown. Fitchett's daughter Willetta was born June 19, 1862. She married Edward Joseph Doughty (born May 10, 1861 - died January 19, 1954). The marriage produced two children: E. J. Doughty, Jr. (born March 6, 1895 - d. ?) and Adelaide W. Doughty (born January 24, 1894). Adelaid married Louis M. Doughty. They had two sons, Louis C. Doughty (May 14, 1922) and Francis Marion Doughty (November 5, 1925). Mrs. Adelaide Doughty outlived her husband and still resides on the Eastern Shore. She is 87 years old.

William P. Fitchett lived through but did not participate in the Civil War and was married a second time to the former Elizabeth Ann Roberts (b.? d.?). They had three children, two sons Julian (b.? d.?) and Charles Polk Fitchett (b.? d.?), and one daughter, Eva Roberts Fitchett (b.? d.?). Little is known about the second set of William Polk Fitchett's children.


The Doughty Family Papers, dating from 1855 to 1904, are a collection of letters, paid receipts and household ledgers belonging to William Polk Fitchett. The content of many of the letters deals with James Polk Fitchett's (William's son) life at the school and also love letters sent to Willetta Fitchett (William's daughter) from various suitors. The paid receipts consist of charges for services rendered to or from Fitchett himself and the ledgers are an account of household expenses from the years 1887-1890. Other items in the 57-piece collection are brochures, a shopping list, a poem and business letters from distant relatives and friends.


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Louis C. Doughty, June 20, 1980


Collection is open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.


1 Hollinger Documents Case


MG - 47


Box 1

Series I - Correspondence

Folder 1 General Dated: March 1855 - February 1859 Re: College Life in the Mid - 1850's
Folder 2 General Dated: April 1879 - July 1904 Re: Fitchett Family and Later Life
Folder 3 General Undated

Series II - Business Correspondence

Folder 4 Dated: December 1864 - September 1892

Series III - Receipts and Bills (Cancelled)

Folder 5 Dated: July 1859- September 1880

Series IV - Miscellaneous Material

Folder 6 Miscellaneous Material

Series V - Account Books of Miss Eva R. Fitchett, Family and Farm Expenses

Folder 7 January 1887 - February 1889, pp. 1-70
Folder 8 1888, pp. 1-100
Folder 9 1889, pp. 7-108
Folder 10 1890, pp. 1-122