Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.
Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.
Scope and Contents of the Materials
Letters, copies and extracts, written by Edward Coles (1786-1868), who held the positions of secretary to President James Madison and Governor of Illinois. Subjects covered by the letters include James Madison and the War of 1812; Madison's not emancipating his slaves at his death; the claiming of public lands by individual states; the estate of James Monroe; Andrew Jackson; Thomas Jefferson's authorship of the Ordinance of 1787; and Jefferson's relationship with John Adams. Typescripts of letters written by Edward Coles to Nicholas Biddle, Joseph C. Cabell, Henry Clay, Albert Gallatin, Thomas Jefferson, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Joel R. Poinsett, Henry S. Randall, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, William Cabell Rives, Charles Sumner, Martin Van Buren and Robert C. Winthrop, among other correspondents.
Edward Coles was born in Albemarle County, Va. 15 December 1786. He attended Hampden-Sydney College and the College of William and Mary. He was private secretary to James Madison. He emancipated his slaves upon his removal to Illinois. Coles was elected governor of Illinois. He moved to Philadelphia and died in 1868. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: <a href="http://scrc.swem.wm.edu/wiki/index.php/Edward Coles ">http://scrc.swem.wm.edu/wiki/index.php/Edward Coles </a>.
These letters are in typescript form, meaning that they are typed copies made from contemporary copies. All these letters have been printed/published in the <i>William and Mary College Quarterly</i>, 2nd Series, v.7, pp. 32-41, 97-113, 158-173.
Coles Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.