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Robert Morris Travis Papers

Identifier: MS-3281

  • Staff Only

This collection houses photographs, personal effects, memoirs, correspondence, and professional papers documenting the life of Robert Morris Travis (1857-1941). The bulk of the collection is composed of Travis's photographs from his military service and his remembrances of fighting in the Spanish-American War.

Series I: Spanish-American War Memoirs and Autobiographical Materials, 1898 April 19 - 1912, contains three versions of Travis's memoirs of the time he served with the U. S. Army's 4th Infantry: a lined scrapbook with handwritten entries, a copy of Passages from the History of an Adventurous Life (which includes his nephew Wesley Travis Kennerly's reminisces of the Spanish-American War), and Sketches from the History of an Adventurous Life. The lined book/scrapbook includes photographs titled General Lawton's Residence in Manila,A Spanish Krupp Gun on Lunita and Native carrying water.

Series II: Correspondence and Other Papers, 1899 March 24-1941 October 16, includes letters that Robert M. Travis wrote to W. T. Kennerly during the Spanish-American War in addition to family and personal papers (including a telegram sent after an accident in 1938).

Series III: Professional Papers, 1889-1940, includes a letter of appointment to the office of sheriff's deputy of Stephens County, Washington and a sharpshooter's certificate for 1896.

Series IV: Financial Papers, 1889 August 8-1940 December 14, includes cancelled checks and receipts.

Series V: Estate Papers, 1933 December 7-1942 January, includes R. M. Travis's will, bound legal papers documenting his estate and probate, and a letter from Thomas H. O'Donnell of the War Department regarding a request for a bronze star grave marker.

Series VI: Photographs, circa 1880-1932, includes several individual portraits of R. M. Travis in addition to such group portraits as the picture taken in Fort Sherman, Idaho in 1896.

Series VII: Memorabilia, circa 1936-1943 October 11, includes calling cards, bank books, an estate check book, and a heavy metal belt buckle with US engraved on it.


  • circa 1880-1943 October 11

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


4.25 Linear Feet


This collection contains the papers, photographs, diaries, and personal effects of Robert Morris Travis, who served as a private, corporal, and sergeant in the U. S. Army's 4th Infantry for thirty years. Among these materials are copies of Morris's book, Sketches from the History of an Adventurous Life, which describes his time in Cuba and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert Morris Travis was born to Dr. Joseph Hutchings and Eliza (Crump) Travis on November 24, 1857 near Manleyville (Henry County) Tennessee. Following his father's death in 1886, Travis moved to the Washington Territory where he worked as a farmer, blacksmith, carpenter, and deputy Stephens County Sheriff. In 1891, he enlisted in the U. S. Army in Spokane, Washington. During his 27-year military career, he served as a Private, Corporal, and Sergeant in Companies B and H of the 4th Infantry. While fighting in the Spanish-American War, he participated in battles around Santiago, Cuba, including San Juan Hill. Toward the close of this campaign, Travis contracted yellow fever.

In 1899, Travis's regiment was ordered to the Philippine Islands during the Aguanaldo insurrection. Travis stayed in the Philippines for over six years and participated in more than twenty battles and skirmishes. During World War I, he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the U. S. Guards. After he retired from the military, Travis returned to Henry County, Tennessee, where he remained until his death on October 16, 1941 at the age of 83. According to the obituary in The Parisian,Uncle Bob enjoyed talking about his travels and experiences as a soldier.

The information in this biographical note was provided by the collection's donor.


Collection consists of 4 boxes divided into eight series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I:Spanish-American War Memoirs and Autobiographical Materials
  2. Series II: Correspondence and other papers
  3. Series III: Professional Papers
  4. Series IV:Financial Papers
  5. Series V: Estate Papers
  6. Series VI: Photographs
  7. Series VII: Memorabilia
  8. Series VIII: Oversized and Other Materials, circa 1880-1941 October 24

Acquisition Note

Louis and Lucy Gump donated this collection to the University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Special Collections in June of 2008.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA