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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Elisha Wolsey Peck papers MSS.1120


Finding aid prepared by Donnelly Lancaster and Richard Brown


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266



This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2009-08-28T14:53-0500

Language Usage:


Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

Elisha Wolsey Peck papers

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


0.4 Linear feet




This collection contains personal and business correspondence, financial papers, election returns, and material relating to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1867, of which Peck was chairman.

Scope and Contents note

The Elisha Wolsey Peck papers include account books, correspondence, election returns, invitations, case files, minutes, and receipts. The collection contains documents relating to Peck's family, finances, business, law practice, membership in the Rising Virtue Masonic Lodge, and service to Alabama during Reconstruction. The material relating to the Reconstruction period is particularly significant, as Peck served as president of Alabama's Constitutional Convention of 1867 and was Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court 1867-74. The collection is divided into the following series: Correspondence, Case Files, Reconstruction, Account Book, Receipts, Rising Virtue Lodge, David Lamb Peck, and Miscellaneous. Series descriptions: Correspondence: The Correspondence series is separated into three subseries: personal, business and Reconstruction. The series contains letters and invitations. Correspondence dates from 1851-1885. Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically, while outgoing correspondence is arranged by date. Two letters from Peck's son, David, are addressed to Mrs. E. W. Peck but are included in Peck's correspondence. Case files: This series contains papers from 1843-1876 relating to clients Peck represented. They are arranged alphabetically by case name. Reconstruction: Contains Peck's papers relating to Reconstruction in Alabama. Includes the text of the speech he gave to the Constitutional Convention in 1867 and 1868 election returns from various counties. Account books: There are account books from the law firms of Ellis and Peck and Peck and Clark, ranging in date from 1830-1848. Receipts: Receipts for personal and business expenses, 1869-1887. Rising Virtue Lodge: This series contains minutes of a meeting, resolutions, and an invitation from the Rising Virtue Lodge, a Masonic Lodge in Tuscaloosa. David Lamb Peck: This series contains a book labeled in May 1848 as D. L. Peck's account book and diary. It contains poetry, notes on the Bible, sketches, and computations. Miscellaneous: This series contains two unidentified books. One is an 1830s notebook containing poetry, notes on the Bible, and notes comparing prices of various goods. The second item consists of undated, unbound pages from an unidentified account book, containing itemized lists of goods.

Processing Information:

Processed by

Donnelly Lancaster and Richard Brown, 2003

Preferred Citation:

Elisha Wolsey Peck papers, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.

Acquisition Information:

Separated from Samuel Minturn Peck Papers

Biographical/Historical note

Elisha Wolsey Peck was born in 1799 in Blenheim, Schoharie County, New York. He began the study of law in 1819. Five years later he was admitted to practice in Superior Court at Albany, New York. The following year he was admitted to the bar in Syracuse, New York; he then moved to Elyton (Birmingham), Alabama. He married Lucy Lamb, the daughter of Samuel and Lucy Lamb in Talladega, Alabama, in 1828. In 1832 he formed a partnership with Harvey W. Ellis after moving to Tuscaloosa. Governor Arthur P. Bagby appointed him chancellor of the middle chancery division of Alabama in 1839. He was a candidate for Representative to the Constitutional Convention of 1865 but was defeated. In 1867 he moved three times: once to Sycamore, Illinois, then to Rockford, Illinois, and finally back to Tuscaloosa. Upon his return he was elected Chairman of the Military Reconstruction Convention of 1867. Later that year he was chosen as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, in which capacity he served until retiring in 1874. He died at his home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1888.


Components in Detail

Personal, incoming Box 248 Folder 1

Personal, outgoing Box 248 Folder 2

Business Box 248 Folder 3

Reconstruction Box 248 Folder 4

CASE FILES Box 248 Folder 5

Components in Detail

Case Files Box 248 Folder 5


Components in Detail

Alabama Constitutional Convention Box 248 Folder 6

Peck's speech before the Constitutional Convention, 1867

Election returns Box 248 Folder 7


Components in Detail

Ellis and Peck Account book Box 248 Folder 8

Peck and Clark Memo book Box 248 Folder 9

Peck and Clark Account book Box 248 Folder 10


Components in Detail

Receipts dating from 1869-1887 Box 248 Folder 11


Components in Detail

Minutes, resolutions, and invitations from the Rising Virtue lodge Box 248 Folder 12


Components in Detail

Notebook Box 248 Folder 13

MISCELLANEOUS Box 248 Folder 14

Components in Detail

Unidentified 1830s notebook containing poetry, Biblical writings, and trade notes; unbound pages from unidentified account book, n.d. Box 248 Folder 14