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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Margaret Hughes Williams papers mss.3748


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266

November 2013


This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-11-21T11:27-0600

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Collection Title:

Margaret Hughes Williams papers

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


5.0 Linear feet (Artifacts and letters: coverlet, WWI uniform, 2 dolls, doll bed, slip, and letters)




Letters and artifacts from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries of this large rural Alabama family.


Hughes, Eli Thomas, 1892-1978


Williams, Margaret Hughes

Processing Information:

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2013

Preferred Citation:

Margaret Hughes Williams papers, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Acquisition Information:

gift of Margaret Hughes Williams, 2013

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Access Restrictions:


Scope and Contents note

The collection is primarily artifacts, textiles and a doll bed, with a notebook of Eli Thornton Hughes' letters home from France during WWI. The collection includes: a coverlet made before 1889 by Louisa Thornton Hughes (she spun the wool, dyed it, and wove the coverlet before she married); a half slip she made to wear for her wedding on 12 December 1889; one wax doll; one china doll; a furniture salesman's sample bed with linens (mattress, 2 pillows, sheet, pillowcases, and coverlet made by Louise Thornton Hughes) that was used as a doll bed (the bed was belonged to a furniture salesman who used it as a sales model when visiting furniture stores); Eli Hughes' WWI uniform; and Eli T. Hughes' letters from France, 1918-1919.

There are also a few photographs (none original). There are two printouts of a scanned photograph of Arley Hughes, and one photograph of James Harvey and Louisa Thornton Hughes with six of their twelve children taken in front of the coverlet. The children are: (top row, l to r) Eli, Ethma, and Arley; and (bottom row, l to r) Naoma, Lela, and Floy. In the letters, there is a picture of Eli in his World War I uniform (which forms part of this collection). It is with the letter dated 24 September 1918 (box 3748.001, folder 1).

Biographical/Historical note

James Harvey Hughes, son of James Thompson and Mary Jane Mitchell Hughes, was born on August 10, 1867, in Pickens County, Alabama. On December 12, 1889, he married Louisa Emerline Thornton (born January 17, 1868, also in Pickens County, Alabama). The couple had twelve children: (1) Arley Ezra; (2) Eli Thomas; (3) Mary Ethma; (4) Lela E.; (5) Naoma M.; (6) Floy; (7) James V.; (8) Luma E.; (9) Annie M.; (10) Charles G.; (11) Eunice D.; and (12) Anvin. James Harvey Hughes died on March 20, 1957, in Columbus, Mississippi. Louisa Hughes died on September 8, 1966, also in Columbus, Mississippi.

Arley Hughes was born in Fayette County, Alabama, on January 9, 1891. He married Virginia Ellen Doughty; the couple had four children: (1) Harvey; (2) Louise; (3) Herbert; and (4) Bill. Arley Hughes served in the United States Army during World War I. He died on March 22, 1969, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Eli Thomas Hughes was born on April 27, 1892, in Alabama. He served in the 81st Infantry Division ("Wildcats") of the United States Army in World War I. He married Daisy Lee Skinner; the couple had one daughter, Margaret. according to the 1929 and 1932 City Directories, Eli was a grocer in Tuscaloosa. He died on March 14, 1978, in Tuscaloosa.


Williams, Margaret Hughes (local)

Correspondence (aat)

Daily Life and Family (localbroad)

Dolls (lcsh)

Military uniforms (lcsh)

Textiles (lcsh)

World War I (localbroad)

World War, 1914-1918--Personal narrarives, American (lcsh)

Eli T. Hughes - Correspondence, Outgoing - July-September 1918 Box 3748.001 Folder 1

Eli T. Hughes - Correspondence, Outgoing - October 1918 Box 3748.001 Folder 2

Eli T. Hughes - Correspondence, Outgoing - November-December 1918 Box 3748.001 Folder 3

Eli T. Hughes - Correspondence, Outgoing - January-February 1919 Box 3748.001 Folder 4

Eli T. Hughes - Correspondence, Outgoing - March-April 1919 Box 3748.001 Folder 5

Eli T. Hughes - Correspondence, Outgoing - May-June 1919 Box 3748.001 Folder 6

Photographs Box 3748.001 Folder 7

Coverlet Box 3748.002

Wedding half slip Box 3748.002

Eli T. Hughes - World War I uniform Box 3748.003

Wax doll Box 3748.004

China doll Box 3748.004

Doll's bed with bed linens (mattress, sheet, two pillows, two pillowcases, coverlet with crocheted trim) Box 3748.005