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William and Eula Phelps's papers

Identifier: MSS 15787

Scope and Contents

The William and Eula Richardson Phelps letters (1895-1940; 2 cubic feet) relates the courtship and early marriage of William and Eula Richardson and their life with family members. William was a tobacco salesman for R. H. Fishburne and Company in Roanoke, Virginia and because he travelled across the mid-west for his living, there are frequent letters between the couple, that describe their life at the turn of the century. There are also letters from Eula's family about her mother being unwell, and the medical attention that was provided during this time. A hypnotist by the name of Price is also mentioned. In addition to family correspondence there is a handwritten will from Eula Phelps; a marriage certificate,a wedding "Memories" booklet,a teacher certificate,report cards for her sister Leah Richardson, a Workman's Time book,and photographs of William Stine Phelps, and Eula's father, David P. Phelps.


  • Creation: 1895-1940

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Biographic Note

William Stine Phelps was born in Boones Mill, Virginia on October 14, 1867, where he also attended school. In 1895 he began courting Eula Richardson, while he was working as a tobacco salesmen, traveling across the mid-west states. William and Eula were married in 1897 before she began her teaching career and while he was still traveling for his job. Their correspondence describes their loneliness for each other and their family life in Roanoke, Virginia at the turn of the century. The collection demonstrates their strong commitment to family and church. In 1903, the couple moved to Bluefield, West Virginia where William and his brother, J. T. Phelps bought a furniture business, eventually incorporating it in 1909. He managed the business for many years until his retirement. Eula Richardson Phelps was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David F. Richardson. She had two sisters, Leah who was a teacher and was married to Holley Prescott Bush; and Rosa who was married to D. Luther Meador. They also had a brother, William R. Richardson who was married to "Willie M." William Phelps was the son of Andrew Jackson Phelps and Alice Jane Boone Phelps. He had two brothers, J. T. Phelps(who bought their furniture business), and N. W. Phelps. They also had a sister, Mary Phelps Walker.


2 Cubic Feet (4 Document boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection of letters is arranged into four series: Series 1. Correspondence of William and Eula Phelps from 1895 to 1901, Series 2. letters to Wiilliam and Eula Phelps 1897-1920's, Series 3. Greeting cards, and Series 4. Photographs, personal items, and poetry.


Purchased, 29 April 29, 2014.

William and Eula Richardson Phelps papers
Ellen Welch
20 January 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States