Nesbitt Memorial Library

Rare and Important Items Donated to Archives

Beginning in the summer of 2006, the family of James and Mary Elizabeth Hopkins donated a massive amount of material collected by the Hopkinses to the archives. Though the collection will not be processed for years, it has already yielded several rare and important items. Among them were eleven letters written by John Samuel Shropshire to his wife while on the Confederate campaign in New Mexico. Shropshire was the highest ranking Confederate officer killed on the campaign. Previously, ten of his letters were known to exist, and those ten have been repeatedly and assiduously studied by historians. The collection also included Shropshire's Bible, a prayer book given to him on his twenty-second birthday, and a photograph, apparently of his wife and infant son. Besides the Shropshire letters, there was a printed flyer containing a reminiscence of the New Mexico campaign by another Confederate officer, James Murray Crosson. The flyer is apparently unique. Further, there were letters written by Moses Solon Townsend while he was serving in the Confederate army, and letters written by Marcus Harvey Townsend while he was serving in the Texas legislature. Also included was the large journal kept by Fannie Amelia Dickson Darden in the 1880s. This legendary item is popularly known as "Fannie Darden's Diary," and had been out of the public domain for several years. Finally, there was a copy of the pamphlet written by Rowan Green and published in 1877. This is only the second copy of the pamphlet known to exist. The other belongs to the library of the University of Texas at Austin and is in fragile condition. All of these items greatly enhance the library's already excellent archive, and should further elevate the library's reputation as a repository of local history. The last items from the collection arrived in February 2007.