Skip to main content

George A. Baxter Family papers

Identifier: WLU-Coll-0003

Scope and Contents

The George A. Baxter Family papers begin in 1797 and trace the history of three generations of the Baxter family in Virginia. The collection contains both correspondence and newspaper articles saved by the family.

The letters written by George Baxter primarily describe his ministry from 1798-1840. He writes with concern for both his family and the churches to whom he ministered. The collection also contains many of his sermons which were reproduced in assorted newspapers. Thirteen letters written in 1805 to Anne deal with the affairs of Washington and Lee University, when it was named Washington College.

Also included is a partial biography of Baxter written by his daugher, Louisa. It describes his time at Washington College, his church ministry, and his selection to the faculty at Union Theological Seminary.

Another large portion of the collection is the correspondence of Baxter's children. Sydney Baxter was an attorney whose practice covered a large portion of Virginia. His letters concern his children, who were primarily cared for by his family after the death of his wife, Anna. Two of his sons fought in the Civil War and both died during or soon after. He describes experiencing their deaths.

Baxter's other children maintained a steady correspondence between themselves. Joseph follwed his father into the Presbyterian ministry and died at a young age. His wife, Susan, continued corresponding with family members. Louisa, Elizabeth, Nancy, and Mary also contained active correspondence with one another.

The family papers reflect the social life of 19th century Virginia, including a personal recipe book, as well as a folder on the genealogy of the Fleming family and a letter to Louisa Baxter from a missionary's wife in China. Other correspondents include Alexander Tedford Barclay, Louisa Baxter, William Brown, William Henry Foote, Edward Graham, Samuel L. Graham, Hugh Blair Grigsby, and William Swann Plumer.


  • Creation: 1797-1918


Conditions Governing Use

The materials from Washington and Lee University Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used should be fully credited with the source. Permission for publication of this material, in part or in full, must be secured with the Head of Special Collections.

Biographical Note

Dr. George Addison Baxter was born in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1771. He attended Liberty Hall Academy, now Washington and Lee University, and received his diploma in 1796. Baxter was licensed to preach in 1797 and was elected president of Washington and Lee, when it was named Washington College, in 1799. He held that post until his resignation in 1829. Afterwards, he served as a professor at the Union Theological Seminary in Prince Edward County, Virginia until his death in 1841.


2.5 Linear Feet (five document cases)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was a gift of Mary Coulling, Martha Coulling, and Sidney M. B. Coulling.

Related Materials

WLU Coll 0009: William and Anne Fleming Family Papers



Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Washington and Lee University, University Library Special Collections and Archives Repository

204 W. Washington St.
Lexington VA 24450 USA