Materials in the collection have been organized into five series:
Series 1: Professional Correspondence, Box 1-2
Series 2: Sermons, Addresses, and Writings, Box 3-6
Series 3: Notebooks, Box 7
Series 4: Miscellany, Box 8
Series 5: Personal Correspondence Box 9-11
The professional and personal correspondence is organized by date written. The Sermons, addresses, writings are arranged in approximate alphabetical order.
Scope and Contents
The papers of James C. Furman contain a broad assortment of materials, most of which date from the beginning of his career as a Baptist preacher in 1828 to his death in 1891. The collection of papers includes both personal and denominational correspondence, as well as sermons, speeches, and original poetry. A group of small notebooks includes various types of information, from records of funds raised for the denomination by Furman to herbal remedies. Materials personally accumulated by Furman include booklets and papers that belonged to other family members, including his wives, Harriet Eloise and Mary Glenn Davis Furman, and Hannah Bowers Furman, the first wife of his brother Wood. Throughout the papers are drawings of people, places, and animals.
Series 1: Professional Correspondence
Correspondence in this series dates from 1827 to 1892. There are 623 items, including both letters to James C. Furman and copies of letters from him. Such letters are primarily between Furman and other Baptist ministers, but personal matters and university business are often included since family and friends were involved in all aspects. Some correspondence, dated after Furman’s death (1891), belonged to Mary Davis Furman and other family members. The only year in this series not represented is 1864.
Series 2: Sermons, Addresses, and Writings
Papers in this series are largely sermons (published and unpublished) or sermon notes. Other types of documents, such as letters, are denoted as such. Descriptive notes include length and style of document, and in some cases condition of document. The author is usually James Clement Furman, unless otherwise noted. The vast majority of documents in this series do not contain dates (those that do are noted).
Materials appear to date from 1828 through 1890, but are largely undated and untitled. A significant number of the sermons are in poor condition and are partially illegible. Many of these are written on strips of paper as narrow as one inch, and have been folded into small, one or two-inch rectangles. All such sermons are written in a precise, often minute, script, but time and the elements have taken their toll.
Addresses and Writings
Most materials are poetry and hymn lyrics; some may be speech notes rather than sermons, as Furman was politically active and was a popular public speaker in addition to being a preacher.
Series 3: Notebooks
Papers in this series are notebooks (literally, bound pages in books) or notebook material (unbound). Notes include description of notebook (color, size, condition, date) and number of pages. The author is James Clement Furman unless otherwise noted. Documents are arranged in approximate alphabetical order. The materials in this series contain notes of visits, fund-raising accounts, class lectures, and medical remedies. Additionally, records of slave families kept by Harriet Davis Furman are noted on the cover of a ledger.
Series 4: Miscellany
Series contains notes, letters, publications, and drawings of various people by Furman, as well as his 1828 license to preach and a transcription of his Will. Of note is a booklet about Furman authored by his second wife, Mary Davis Furman, in 1907. Also, three pieces of confederate currency belonging to Furman are included. Materials relate to Furman, but do not specifically match other series in content.
Series 5: Personal Correspondence
Series contains personal letters dating from 1830-1891. Brian Neumann transcribed the correspondence from January 6, 1845 to September 10, 1860 in 2014.