MsC 24

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates: 1877 -- 1938
(Bulk Dates:1877)
.25 linear ft.

This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900

Posted to Internet: January 2003

Acquisition Note: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1937 by John J. Hamilton.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

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Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Scope and Content:

John J. Hamilton was Editor of the Des Moines Daily News, as well as the first Assistant Librarian for the University of Iowa (1873 - 1878). His "Sociological Survey of Rowanty Township, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, August to November, 1878, Negro Population" is a 200+ page document with information gathered and written out (longhand) by Hamilton as part of a research project for his master's degree (from the University of Iowa), but never really used.  In his study, which he conducted by walking around the entire township and visiting every family he met, Hamilton "...proceeded to take down the family history of every negro family in the township from 'Nat's Fray', Nat Turner's slave insurrection in the early '30's in the neighboring county of Southampton, in which fifty six white men, women and children lost their lives, till that lovely fall of 1878.  I called it a 'sociological survey' and, not knowing precisely, flatter myself that it was one of the earliest bits of field work ever taken even on its small scale.  It covered the complexion -- degrees of gingercake color, they usually called it -- state of health, habits as to liquor and tobacco, party and church affiliations, amounts of land, livestock and poultry owned, whether or not incumbered, and other information volunteered in their quaint lingo, 'gwines' and all in some cases.  Names were carefully noted, not always correct, as on the first page, "Yates" Smith later turned out to be E. H. Smith, the old aristocratic father of 'the boy congressman' John Ambler Smith, already superseded by the Republican congressman Joseph Jorgenson..." (Hamilton to Miss Clara Hinton, 3 Dec., 1937).

Related Resources:

John Judson Hamilton's letters are available in the Upton Sinclair Archives at the Lilly Library. Jo An  Manfra and Robert R. Dykstra, "Serial Marriage and the Origins of the Black Stepfamily: The Rowanty Evidence."  Journal of American History 72:1 (June 1985), 18 - 44) draws extensively on the "Sociological Survey."  


Correspondence and biographical information, 1934 -- 1938. Including a letter from Albert Einstein (13 items)

Newspaper clippings, 1934 (3 items)

Notebook (1) of a survey of race relations in the lower Southern states recorded on a journey by foot, 1877 (1 item)

Notebook (2) of a survey of race relations in the lower Southern states recorded on a journey by foot, 1877 (1 item)

Sociological survey of Rowanty Township, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, 1878 -- Negro population (1 item)

"The Two Races in the South," graduating thesis by John J. Hamilton, June 21, 1877 (1 item)