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Emma Holmes diary (microfilm)

Creation: 1861-1866
Accession: 0919


Emma E. Holmes (1838-1910) was the daughter of Dr. Henry M. Holmes (1790-1854) and Eliza Ford Gibbes (1808-1875). The diary chronicles Holmes's life in Charleston, South Carolina, during the Civil War, detailing the Charleston fire of December 1861, visiting army camps, taking a position as governess and tutor, and plundering Union troops near the end of the war.


  • Creation: 1861-1866



1 item(s)

Biographical Note

Emma Edwards Holmes (1838-1910) was the daughter of Dr. Henry M. Holmes (1790-1854) and Eliza Ford Gibbes (1808-1875). Born into an elite South Carolina family, Holmes was in her twenties during the Civil War. She lived in Charleston during the April 1861 bombardment of Fort Sumter and visiting during the shelling of the city in 1863. Holmes spent extended periods of time on plantations and visited army camps. Because of the December 1861 Charleston fire, her family was uprooted to Camden, South Carolina.

Scope and Contents

The diary was kept by Emma Edwards Holmes (1838-1910), who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, and its environs during the Civil War. While it mentions political events and battles, it is most useful for its description of social and family life as it deteriorated under the privations of war. For lack of money, Holmes was obliged to take a position as a governess and tutor, and she recorded her unhappiness with the job. She wrote of her work with the Ladies Charleston Volunteer Aid Society, and the plundering by Union troops near the close of the war.

The first part of the diary, while outlining war preparation and the early part of the war, also presents a fascinating picture of life in the antebellum South. In the second part of the diary, Holmes and her family find themselves squarely in the path of Sherman's armies and early Reconstruction.

Location of Copies

First generation microfilm at South Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Not to be reproduced.

Language of Materials


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Emma Holmes diary (microfilm)
John Beverly Riggs
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Ashley Williams

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA