William Waller Carson Papers
This collection consists of patents, manuscripts, speeches, notes, correspondence, photographs, and clippings relating to William Waller Carson. The majority of this material documents Carson's work as a civil engineer, his employment as a professor at the University of Tennessee, and his involvement with several Confederate veterans' associations.
Series I: Writings, 1874-1923, contains patents, manuscripts, and speeches. Most of the patents (Sub-Series A) relate to engineering devices but one documents the Airlie [Genealogical] System. Carson's manuscripts (Sub-Series B) generally relate to one of two works: Carson's religious tract Some Ramblings in Theological Fields and his autobiography, William Waller Carson. The speeches (Sub-Series C) relate to religious matters. Additional speeches regarding the deaths of Confederate veterans can be found in Series II.
Series II: United Confederate Veterans, 1909-1930, primarily documents Carson's time as leader of the Fred Ault Camp of the United Confederate Veterans. Materials include speeches given on the deaths of fellow Confederate veterans, speeches given to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, materials documenting the Fred Ault camp itself, and materials regarding government pensions for former Confederate soldiers.
Series III: University of Tennessee, 1890-1964, houses material documenting Carson's time as a civil engineering professor at the University. This material consists primarily of photographs of University students and faculty and material relating to Carson's death.
Series IV: Other Papers, 1869-2005, contains correspondence to and from Carson regarding various teaching positions and his 1916 retirement from the University of Tennessee, clippings and other materials regarding Carson's family and descendants, clippings regarding the Battle of Fort Sanders, materials regarding some of Carson's professional activities, notes, and minutes.
Series V: Oversized Materials, 1905, contains a three oversized items such as photographs.
- 1869-2005 (bulk 1869-1930)
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Conditions Governing Use
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2 Linear Feet
This collection, dated 1869-2005 (bulk 1869-1930), consists of patents, manuscripts, speeches, notes, correspondence, photographs, and clippings relating to William Waller Carson. The majority of this material documents Carson's work as a civil engineer, his employment as an engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, and his involvement with several Confederate veterans' associations.
William Waller Carson was born in Mississippi on June 2, 1845, to Dr. James Greene and Catherine Waller Carson. He was raised primarily in Louisiana. In 1863, he enlisted in the 4th Louisiana Cavalry Regiment (CSA), where he served until 1865. After the war, he resumed his education and graduated from Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) with his Civil Engineering (C. E.) degree in 1868 and his Mining Engineering (M. E.) degree in 1869. After graduation, he worked on several civil engineering projects before becoming a professor of mathematics at Davidson College (North Carolina) in 1877. He held this post until 1883. He married Rachel Finnie of Memphis, Tennessee, in December of 1880, and they had three children. In 1885, he became a professor of civil engineering at the University of Tennessee. For many years, "Uncle Billy" (as his students called him) constituted the University's entire Civil Engineering Department. He retired from this post in 1916.
Carson was also extremely active in Confederate veterans' affairs, and was the commander of the Fred Ault Camp, No. 5, of the United Confederate Veterans from 1912 until his death. Carson died in Knoxville on February 7, 1930.
Collection consists of five series:
- Series I: Writings, 1874-1923
- Series II: United Confederate Veterans, 1909-1930
- Series III: University of Tennessee, 1890-1964
- Series IV: Other Papers, 1869-2005
- Series V: Oversized Materials, 1905
Portions of this collection were previously identified as MS.0042.
Henry W. McIlwaine, Jr. donated this collection to the Special Collections Library in December of 2005.
Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA