The Cynthia Beverley Tucker Washington Coleman papers are arranged into six series: Correspondence, Writings, Legal Papers, Financial Papers, Printed Material, General/Miscellaneous, and Artifacts.
The correspondence series is divided into three subseries. The first subseries consists of letters written to Coleman, the second subseries consists of letters written by Coleman, and the third subseries consists of letters written by and sent to individuals other than Coleman. When known, the relationship of the writer to Coleman is noted. Much of this information was provided by her great-granddaughter, Cynthia Barlowe. Correspondents include family members from the Tucker, Washington, and Coleman families as well as Coleman's close friends. The letters cover a wide variety of subjects, including family relationships and business, illness, births, deaths, social conditions, friendships between and among women in the 19th century, education, the College of William and Mary, slavery, and Coleman's life as a refugee during the Civil War. Of particular note is an 1875 letter written by Joseph Gray, one of Coleman's former slaves.
The writings series is divided into two series: writings by Coleman and writings by other individuals. Coleman was a prolific writer. Topics of her manuscripts include a biography on her grandfather (St. George Tucker), stories about her family's slaves, her own memoir, and historical events and figures.
The legal papers series is relatively small and largely has ties to either Coleman's father or her Coleman in-laws. The series does include a handwritten copy of Coleman's will and some of her estate papers as well as handwritten transcriptions of legal documents concerning the Tucker House.
The financial papers demonstrate Coleman's participation in her own financial affairs while both married and widowed. The series includes documentation regarding land holdings in Texas, Missouri, and Williamsburg as well as documents detailing stocks owned by Coleman, and correspondence between her bank and her.
The printed material series is comprised of published items, including broadsides, pamphlets, and several issues of "Confederate Veteran." The General/Miscellaneous series contains items that did not fit within the other series, including photographs, invitations and calling cards, and files on subjects such as Bruton Parish Church and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA). The Artifacts series includes an array of non-paper items, such as a brooch, an 1850 Phoenix Literary Society pin from the College of William and Mary, and a box of powdered medicine, which possibly belonged to Coleman's first husband, Henry A. Washington.
Cynthia Beverley Tucker Washington Coleman was born to Nathaniel Beverley Tucker and Lucy A. Smith Tucker on January 18, 1832. She was the granddaughter of St. George Tucker. She married Henry Augustine Washington (professor of history and political economy at the College of William and Mary) in 1852. After his death in 1858, she married Dr. Charles Washington Coleman in 1861. Both marriages produced children, but the only children to survive into adulthood were three sons and one daughter with Dr. Coleman: Charles, Jr., Beverley, George, and Elizabeth.
Coleman was a co-founder of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, a charter member of the Society of Colonial Dames of America in Virginia, and a writer. She died on October 24, 1908 and is buried with her second husband in the Bruton Parish Churchyard.
Tucker-Coleman Papers (Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library)
Charles Washington Coleman, Sr. Papers (Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library)
Charles Washington Coleman, Jr. Papers (Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library)
Henry A.Washington Papers (Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library)
Portrait of Cynthia B.T.W.Coleman (Special Collections Research Center (Lobby), Swem Library)