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Title: Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, February 28, 1838: Electronic Edition.
Author: Lewis, Kenelm Harrison, 1816-1866
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann and Kimberly R. Myers
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 13K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-03-15, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: John Francis Speight Papers (#3914), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, February 28, 1838
Author: Kenelm H. Lewis
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 3914 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Student Life
Reading and Writing/Reading
Examples of Student Writing/Letters and Letter Writing
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
DocSouth staff created a 600 dpi uncompressed TIFF file for each image. The TIFF images were then saved as JPEG images at 100 dpi for web access.
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Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Lewis provides his sister with an account of his daily routine from dawn to noon and reports that the Philanthropic Society library contains 3,500 volumes.
Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis , February 28, 18381
Lewis, Kenelm Harrison, 1816-1866

Page 1
University of NC. Feb 28th 1838

Dear Sister

I received your letter dated 23 Inst.2 yesterday, and should have answered it immediately but was prevented by the report that a balloon was to make its' ascension that evening. I attended but it was a failure. ~ = Your advice about letter writing has met with my entire approbation and hope to profit by your timely warning.–
I have few correspondents and consequently write few letters. My health at present is very good very well situated & have every opportunity both of reading, and learning the course of Studies prescribed in College. we have in our library about three thousand five hundred volumes.3 Historys, Novels Biographys &c. &c. I am very desirous to remain here next vacation for the purpose of reading.–
I must now say a word or two in regard to the ordinary routine of daily life at College. Very early in the morning the observer may see lights at a few of the windows of the buildings inhabited by the students. They mark the rooms occupied by the more industrious or more resolute, who rise and

Page 2
devote an hour or two to their books by candle light on the winter mornings. About day the bell awakens the multitude of sleepers in all the rooms, and in a short time they are to be seen issuing from the various doors with sleepy looks and a few with books under their arms to attempt to make up as well as the faint but increasing light will ennable them, for the time wasted in idleness or dissipation on the on the evening before. the first who come down go slowly, others with quicker and quicker step as the tolling of the bell proceeds; and the last few stragglers run with all speed to answer to their respective names. One of the Professors reads a portion of Scripture by the mingled light of the reddening beams which comes in from the eastern sky. He then offers the morning prayer. The hundreds of young men before him exhibit the appearance of respectful attention. when prayers are over, the several classes repair immediately to the rooms assigned to them, and recite the first lesson of the day. During the short period which elapses between the recitation and the breakfast bell College is a busy scene. parties are running up and down the stairs

Page 3
two steps at a time with the ardour and activity of youth. And now and then a fresh crowd is seen issuing from the door of some one of the buildings where a class has finished its recitation and comes forth to disperse to their rooms;– The breakfast bell brings out the whole throng again and gathers them around the long tables in the Steward,s Hall or else scatters them among the private families of the Village.– An hour after breakfast the bell rings to mark the commencement of study hours; when the students are required by College laws to repair to their respective rooms, which answer the 3fold purpose of parlour bedroom and stud[y to] prepare for their recitation at 11. o'clock they [however] who choose to evade this law can do it without any detection. The great majority comply, but some go into their neighbour,s rooms to receive assistance in their studies, some lay by the dull book and read a tale: and others farther gone in the road of idleness and dissipation steal secretly away from College and ramble in the woods or skate upon the ice, evading their task like truant boys. they of course are marked absent but

Page 4
pretended sickness will answer for an excuse. they go, on blind to the certainty of disgrace which must soon come.–
Remember me to my dear parents and Brothers. I expect Brother Exum every day. Please excuse the shortness of this letter and the carelessness in which it is written. Write as soon as convenient

Your. Brother.

K H Lewis.


1. John Francis Speight Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Miss Emma Lewis / Mount Prospect/ Edgecombe/NC." and postmarked "MAR 1" with a circular stamp in the upper left corner. The amount of postage, "18 3/4" cents, has been written in the upper right corner. To the left of the address, on the flap that would have been folded to the inside of the letter, Lewis wrote "The snow is 5 inches deep."

2. "instant": the present month.

3. Lewis refers to the number of books owned by the Philanthropic Society, of which he was a member. By 1835 the societies each owned approximately 3,000 volumes; the University's library contained approximately 1,900 books (Battle 1:410).