Title: Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis, February 28, 1836: 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. 19K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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, 1836
Author: Kenelm H. Lewis
Description: 3 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 3914 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Buildings and Grounds
Education/UNC Faculty, Staff, and Servants
Reading and Writing/Reading
Examples of Student Writing/Letters and Letter Writing
Travel and Entertainment/Celebrations and Holidays
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.
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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 tells his sister about a recent snowfall, his reading, festivities celebrating George Washington's birthday, and plans to complete South Building and begin Gerrard Hall.
Letter from Kenelm H. Lewis to Emma Lewis , February 28, 18361
Lewis, Kenelm Harrison, 1816-1866

Page 1
Chapel Hill Feb 28th 1836

Dear Sister ,

I received a letter from Father some few weeks since, stating that Mother was mending slowly. I also received a letter his morning, from Sister E. (not from Sister E of Mount Prospect)2 which says that Mother is gradually improving. I have waited with intense anxiety to receive a letter a letter from you, but I have waited invain, invain have I stood at the Post Office when the mail was opening, expecting to receive a letter from you, but alas! no letter has come, viz from you. Perhaps you may say that you defered writing until you should receive a letter from me, is this so?
I have no news that will either please, or instruct you, the whole world appears to be covered with snow, but Winter brings with it charms as well as sorrows, the dreariness and desolation of the landscape, the short gloomy days, while they circumscribe our wanderings, shut in our feelings also from rambling abroad, and make us more keenly disposed for the pleasures of the social circle. Our thoughts are more concentrated, our friendly sympathies more aroused. But however agreeable it may be, it is not very pleasant to me in the morning at 6 o'clock, when the college bell arouses us from our slumbers &c.,–
We had a celebration here last 22nd in honour of the illoustrous Washington. after proceding

Page 2
to the chapel, and hearing a beautiful and appropriate oration deliverd by Mr McQueen late senator from chatham, we repaired to the principal hotel3 & partook of a sumptuous dinner, the table was covered with syllabub, plumb cakes, sugar cakes, sweet cakes, & as Washington Irving says the whole "family of cakes,"4 &c &c. &c.
The President tells us that the Trustees are determined to support the character of this institution!!! they intend finishing a building, which was commenced some 10 or 15 years ago, they also intend erecting another building to correspond with the former one.5 Monsieur Burgevin a native of France has been appointed Professor of modern languages, and is now on the Hill performing the duties assigned by the Faculty; he is no doubt well qualified to teach the French, & Spanish languges, Being a native of France, he can teach the true pronounciation, which he says is the main object in learning french.
My reading this session has been various, Histories, Novels, Biography &c. some of which were very entertaining, and indespensably necessary in the acquirement of a liberal education.6 I heard from Brother Exum a few weeks since, they were all well; Couisin Willis was acting as clerk, But perhaps you have heard from him since I have, if so, please inform me.

Page 3
Present my love to Mother , Father, & all my relations, I shall expect a letter from you in a few days, let me not be disappointed.

Your affectionate Brother

Kenelm H Lewis

Envelope page


1. John Francis Speight Papers, SHC. The letter is addressed "Miss Emma Lewis / Mount Prospect/ Edgecomb." The amount of postage, "12 1/2" cents, is handwritten in the upper right corner. Though the letter has been postmarked with a circular stamp, the date is too faint to read.

2. "Sister E" is Elizabeth (Betsy) Figures Lewis, named for her grandmother. "Sister E. of Mount Prospect," the family home, is Emma , to whom this letter is addressed. Kenelm also had a sister by the name of Mary Ann.

3. Probably the Watts Hotel, near present day Graham Memorial on Franklin Street, owned from 1834 to 1846 by former sheriff Thomas D. Watts and after his death, by his widow Lucy. In 1834 Isaac C. Patridge built a second hotel directly across Franklin Street from the Watts Hotel. It was open by December 30, 1834, but floundered until 1837, when Patridge, heavily in debt, left for New York City (Vickers 39).

4. Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., ed. Haskell Springer (Boston: Twayne, 1978), 287.

5. The campaign to complete Gerrard Hall was begun in June 1832. The Grammar School was sold, and contributions were solicited from friends and alumni. In 1833 the trustees sold a tract of 2,560 acres not far from Nashville, TN, which Major Charles Gerrard, a Revolutionary War veteran, had bequeathed to the University on the condition that it "forever remain the property of the University." "On May 22 of [1835], the Executive Committee of the Board ordered that immediate steps be taken for the completion of Gerrard Hall" (Henderson 87). Gerrard Hall was completed by the 1837 Commencement. Lewis refers to "another building to correspond with" Gerrard Hall; this building, Smith Hall, now known as Playmakers Theater, was not completed until 1851.

6. The Philanthropic Society's "Library Register" for 1833 to 1837 reveals that between February 2 and June 2, 1836, Lewis checked out the following books: History of New York, The Disowned, Last of the Mohicans, Pope, Addison's Works, Sketch Book, Pompeii, Falkland, [unrecovered] Novels, Gipsey & Infidel, Guy Mannering, Johnson's Introduction, Poetical Quotations, Junius (Philanthropic Society Circulation Records, Vol. S-12, UA).