Skip to main content

Phillips family papers

Identifier: Mss 1125

Collection Overview

The collection consists primarily of typescripts and manuscripts created by members of the Phillips family, who lived in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Georgia during the Civil War. Recollections and journals recount their daily activities during the war, as well as the imprisonment of Eugenia Phillips in Washington, D.C., and on Ship Island by federal forces. Philip Phillips and William Hallett Phillips wrote at length on their careers in law, both before and after the Civil War. Besides the family's own writings, the collection contains a published poem on a Washington, D.C., ball in which Eugenia is referenced, and an address based on the writings and works of Philip Lee Phillips, the Library of Congress's first Superintendent of Maps.


  • Creation: 1848-1889, 1998


Language of Material

Materials in English

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Philip Phillips (1807-1884) was born to Aaron and Caroline Phillips in Charleston, South Carolina. Philip received a formal education under Mr. Gates and Isaac Harby before being sent to Captain Partridge's American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy at the age of 15, when it was temporarily located in Middleton, Connecticut. Returning to Charleston three years later, he decided to pursue a career in law, studying under John Gadsden. He married Eugenia Levy (1819-1902) in 1836 and the couple settled in Mobile, Alabama, where he served two terms in the state legislature. In 1853, he was elected as a U.S. Congressman and the family moved to Washington, D.C. He served one term, from 1853-1855, before setting up a law practice in Washington.

Philip was a Unionist, opposed to secession; his wife, however, was a Confederate. In 1861 when the family was living in Washington, D.C., she was accused by federal authorities of participating in a spy ring. She and two of her daughters were put under house arrest in Rose O'Neal Greenhow's home for three weeks before being released on the condition that the family move south. The family left Washington, D.C., and settled in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1862, where Philip continued his law practice. There Eugenia was again imprisoned, this time on Ship Island, a former quarantine station in the Mississippi Delta, for allegedly failing to show respect during the funeral of a Union solider. She was released after three and a half months, and she and her husband were summoned to take a loyalty oath to the United States. They refused to sign and the family then moved to LaGrange, Georgia, where they remained for the duration of the war. In 1867, Philip returned to practicing law in Washington, D.C., primarily before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Philip and Eugenia had twelve children. Their second youngest son, William Hallett Phillips (1853-1897), also became a lawyer who argued cases before the Supreme Court. Their youngest son, Philip Lee Phillips (1857-1924) became the first Superintendent of Maps at the Library of Congress when the Hall of Maps and Charts was established in 1897.


0.5 linear feet (1 document box)


Memoirs and journals written by lawyer and politician Philip Phillips, his wife, Eugenia Phillips, and their two youngest sons, lawyer William Hallett Phillips and Library of Congress Superintendent of Maps Philip Lee Phillips. Also includes a poem describing a Washington, D.C., ball in which Eugenia is referenced, and an address based on the writings and works of Philip Lee Phillips.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2010 by John Jameson.

Alternate Form of Materials

Digital reproductions available online in the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include the Robert N. Rosen papers (Mss 1064).

Processing Information

Processed by Amy Lazarus, June 2015.

Inventory of the Phillips Family Papers, 1848-1998
Processed by: Amy Lazarus; machine-readable finding aid created by: Amy Lazarus
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)