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Abbie M. Brooks diaries and church invitation

Collection number: ahc.MSS39f

Scope and Content

This collection contains two diaries of Abigail M. Brooks, which date from 1865 and 1870 along with typed transcriptions of both. In addition, there is an invitation to attend church which dates from 1858. In the 1865 diary, Brooks describes life in rural Tennessee, near Nashville, where she teaches in a one room school house. Later in the year, Abigail moves to Edgefield, Tennessee, also near Nashville, and starts her own school. She describes life in Edgefield, trials with her students, the smoking stove, and parents who don’t pay tuition. She also describes trips to Nashville to shop, take music lessons, and visit with friends. In April 1865, she mentions the fall of Richmond, General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, President Lincoln’s assassination. She describes meeting soldiers who were traveling home from war and learning about their war experiences. In the 1870 diary, Brooks describes the cities of Edgefield, Nashville, Atlanta, Madison, Augusta, and Savannah. Her diary gives insight into the Presbyterian Churches that Abigail attended while living in these cities. She describes the services, the ministers and church buildings. Many of the entries review her efforts to make a living selling books, religious prints, maps, or pictures of Robert E. Lee, both door-to-door and in local factories or offices. She mentions many local businessmen and their wives and sometimes comments on race relations, travel,city conditions and the hardships she encountered as a single woman trying to make a living in the post-Civil War South.


  • 1858-1870


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

Abigail Lindley (1830-1914) was born July 11, 1830 in Cooperstown, Pennsylvania to Alanson and Lucetta Lindley. Her father was a teacher and later the owner of a wool carding mill. Abigail was probably educated in the female academies of Meadville, Pennsylvania. In 1856, she left Pennsylvania and moved to Ohio to live with her Aunt Phoebe, where she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Ortie. Ortie was raised in Ohio by foster parents David and Laura Bacon. After the birth of her daughter, Abigail was disowned by her family. She left Ohio for a life of work and travel in the South. She began using the name Abbie M. Brooks. It has not been determined why she began using the name “Brooks” because it is not known that she ever married. During the Civil War, she taught in Edgefield, Tennessee where she also sold religious books, Civil War images and maps. Around 1870, she began selling books in Atlanta; Madison; Augusta; and Savannah, Georgia. In the early 1870s, she began making trips to Florida where she “wintered” for many years while having a base in Atlanta. She wrote several articles and books on Florida history and travel including The Unwritten History of Old St. Augustine. She died in St. Augustine, Florida in 1914.


3 item(s)



Acquisition Information



America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Processing Information

Collection reprocessed in 2008

Abbie M. Brooks diaries and church invitation, 1858-1870
Inventory prepared by Paul Crater
June 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305