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Inventory of the Phillips Family Papers, 1848-1889, 1998

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Memoirs and journals written by lawyer and politician Philip Phillips, his wife, Eugenia Phillips, and their two youngest sons, lawyer William Hallett Phillips and Library of Congress Superintendent of Maps Philip Lee Phillips. Also includes a poem describing a Washington, D.C., ball in which Eugenia is referenced, and an address based on the writings and works of Philip Lee Phillips.
Title: Phillips family papers
Creator: Phillips family
Date(s): 1848-1889, 1998    
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
(1 document box)
Repository: Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
Call Number: Mss 1125
Language of Material: Materials in English

Biographical Note

Philip Phillips (1807-1884) was born to Aaron and Caroline Phillips in Charleston, South Carolina. Philip received a formal education under Mr. Gates and Isaac Harby before being sent to Captain Partridge's American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy at the age of 15, when it was temporarily located in Middleton, Connecticut. Returning to Charleston three years later, he decided to pursue a career in law, studying under John Gadsden. He married Eugenia Levy (1819-1902) in 1836 and the couple settled in Mobile, Alabama, where he served two terms in the state legislature. In 1853, he was elected as a U.S. Congressman and the family moved to Washington, D.C. He served one term, from 1853-1855, before setting up a law practice in Washington.

Philip was a Unionist, opposed to secession; his wife, however, was a Confederate. In 1861 when the family was living in Washington, D.C., she was accused by federal authorities of participating in a spy ring. She and two of her daughters were put under house arrest in Rose O'Neal Greenhow's home for three weeks before being released on the condition that the family move south. The family left Washington, D.C., and settled in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1862, where Philip continued his law practice. There Eugenia was again imprisoned, this time on Ship Island, a former quarantine station in the Mississippi Delta, for allegedly failing to show respect during the funeral of a Union solider. She was released after three and a half months, and she and her husband were summoned to take a loyalty oath to the United States. They refused to sign and the family then moved to LaGrange, Georgia, where they remained for the duration of the war. In 1867, Philip returned to practicing law in Washington, D.C., primarily before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Philip and Eugenia had twelve children. Their second youngest son, William Hallett Phillips (1853-1897), also became a lawyer who argued cases before the Supreme Court. Their youngest son, Philip Lee Phillips (1857-1924) became the first Superintendent of Maps at the Library of Congress when the Hall of Maps and Charts was established in 1897.

Collection Overview

The collection consists primarily of typescripts and manuscripts created by members of the Phillips family, who lived in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Georgia during the Civil War. Recollections and journals recount their daily activities during the war, as well as the imprisonment of Eugenia Phillips in Washington, D.C., and on Ship Island by federal forces. Philip Phillips and William Hallett Phillips wrote at length on their careers in law, both before and after the Civil War. Besides the family's own writings, the collection contains a published poem on a Washington, D.C., ball in which Eugenia is referenced, and an address based on the writings and works of Philip Lee Phillips, the Library of Congress's first Superintendent of Maps.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person, family, or organization, by topical subject, by place, and by types of material.


    • Phillips, P. (Philip), 1807-1884
    • Phillips, W. Hallett (William Hallett), 1853-1897
    • Phillips, Eugenia Levy
    • Phillips, Philip Lee, 1857-1924


    • Women prisoners of war--Missisppi--Ship Island--Biography
    • Women prisoners of war--United States--Biography
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
    • Lawyers--United States
    • Practice of law--Washington (D.C.)
    • Practice of law--Louisiana--New Orleans


    • Washington (D.C.)--History
    • Ship Island (Miss.)--History
    • New Orleans (La.)--History

    Types of Material

    • Memoirs
    • Typescripts
    • Manuscripts
    • Poems
    • Proceedings

    Related Resources

    Related Material

    Related materials in Special Collections include the Robert N. Rosen papers (Mss 1064).


    "Index of Subjects; Intended as a Manual to Aid the Student and Professional Man, in Preparing Himself for Usefulness," 1848, 1871-1876   box 1 | folder 1

    Contains a section of printed instruction followed by handwritten journal entries, including one brief entry by Philip Phillips in 1848, and many entries by William Hallett Phillips from 1871 to 1876. Most pertain to W. H. Phillips's career as a lawyer, but he also wrote lengthy notes on the New Testament at the end of the journal.

    "A Metrical Description of a Fancy Ball Given at Washington, 9th of April 1858," 1858   box 1 | folder 2

    Eugenia Phillips of Alabama is identified as one of the guests in the notes. Written by Franklin Philip.

    "Reminiscences of the Late Civil War," 1876   box 1 | folder 3

    A manuscript of William Hallett Phillips's recollections of his family's daily life during the Civil War.

    "A Summary of the Principal Events of My Life," 1876   box 1 | folder 4

    Typescript memoir by Philip Phillips, mainly focusing on his education and career, as well as the periods during the Civil War when his wife, Eugenia, was imprisoned by Union authorities. Original typescript signed by Philip Phillips, based on an earlier manuscript written in 1870.

    "Proceedings of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States on the Death of Philip Phillips and the Action of the Court Thereon," 1884   box 1 | folder 5

    Contains the proceedings of a meeting held to commemorate the late Philip Phillips, reflecting on his career, positive qualities, and the significant impacts of his work.

    "Southern woman's story of her imprisonment during the War of 1861 and 1862," 1889   box 1 | folder 6

    A typescript recollection by Eugenia Phillips of her imprisonments during the Civil War, written from memory in 1889.

    "A Separate Apartment for Maps and Atlases in the Library of Congress," 1998   box 1 | folder 7

    An address written by Richard W. Stephenson speaking as Philip Lee Phillips, based on Phillips's reports and writings. Originally presented at the first annual dinner of the Philip Lee Phillips Society and published by the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions

    This collection is open for research.

    Copyright Notice

    The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

    The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume 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 for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Phillips family papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Materials were donated in 2010 by John Jameson.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Amy Lazarus, June 2015.

    Encoded by Amy Lazarus, July 2015.

    Reviewed and uploaded by Joshua Minor, July 2015.

    Table of Contents