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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Cooper and McAmis Families Letters MSS.3213


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266

January 2011


This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2011-01-25T09:47-0600

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Collection Title:

Cooper and McAmis Families Letters

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


0.1 Linear feet




Letters and other miscellaneous materials of two sisters, Maggie Cooper of Marion, Alabama, and Mattie McAmis of Birmingham, Alabama.

Access Restrictions:


Acquisition Information:

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, 2010

Preferred Citation:

Cooper and McAmis Families Letters, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Processing Information:

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2011

Biographical/Historical note

Maggie (Margaret) Cooper was born in 1842 or 1843 to Anthony and Matilda McAmis in east Tennessee. The second daughter, Maggie married Samuel H. Cooper on 22 November 1860, in Perry County, Alabama. The couple had five children, two girls and three boys: May (called Bell), Eliza (called Bama) Joseph, W.C. and S.L.

Mattie (Matilda) McAmis was born in Tennessee around 1855, the seventh child of Anthony and Matilda. Beginning in the early 1870s, she lived with her sister, Maggie, for several years in the Birmingham area, as indicated by the letters to her from her brother, Jim. According to the 1880 U.S. Census, she was still listed as a resident in Maggie's home. One of the envelopes in the collection (postmarked from Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, on 29 June 1893) is addressed to Mrs. Mattie M. Mitchell in Summerfield, Marion County, Florida, and the 1900 U.S. Census lists a Mattie Mitchell in Summerfield, Florida, with husband, Adolphs, and daughter, Effie.

Jim McAmis, the third child and oldest son of Anthony and Matilda, lived in Montgomery, Montgomery County, Alabama, in 1872 and 1873.

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains letters and other materials of two sisters, Maggie Cooper of Marion (and later of Brierfield), Alabama, and Mattie McAmis of Birmingham, Alabama. Although none of the letters is correspondence between the two, the letters to Mattie all reference Maggie and indicate that Mattie lived with Maggie and her family for some time.

Maggie's letters, written between 1861 and 1868 are to her mother. The first two, written in January and March 1861, speak of the secession of Alabama and Tennessee from the United States. The other letters tell about her children (Bell, Bama, and a little boy - not named) and the various illnesses the family endures, including cholera and typhoid fever. There is also one letter from Bama Cooper to one of her aunts, written on 4 May 1883, from Birmingham, Alabama. [Note: there are transcriptions of the first two letters included.]

The letters to Mattie McAmis are all from her brother, Jim, written between 1872 and 1873, from Montgomery, Alabama. Jim relates news from various friends and family and always ends by asking Mattie to "give my love to Sam, Mag and the children."

The collection also includes two poems and a list of materials. The materials list indicate that Mattie is a "Wax Work Teacher" in Birmingham, and lists a rose leaf mould, diamond dust, carmine, "crome" yellow and one wax "nife." There are also pattern pieces for at least four flowers, small birthday, Christmas and calling cards, as well as several empty enveopes.

Correspondence from Maggie Cooper Letters Box SC0041 Folder 3213.01

Correspondence to Mattie McAmis Box SC0041 Folder 3213.02

Miscellaneous Materials Box SC0041 Folder 3213.03