The Billups-Garth Archives at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library has partnered with the Mississippi Digital Library (MDL) to digitize seventy-nine letters written by Eugenia “Genie” R. Morgan from 1889 to 1890. The letters offer a glimpse into local life during the late Victorian Era and touch on topics such as social activity, romance, family dynamics, religion, friendship, health, and more.
Genie was born in 1873 in Columbus to John D. and Mary Couch Morgan. Her paternal Aunt, Eugenia Morgan Moore owned Camellia Place. Genie attended Judson College in Marion, Alabama, but became sick in 1889 and returned home to recover. It was during this time of recovery that Genie’s letters were written.
The bulk of the letters are to her second cousin, William Jemison Prowell, Jr. of Birmingham, Alabama with whom she had a romantic relationship. The relationship was complicated by other suiters, however, including Charles Dashiell and William Coleman. Genie mentions local dances called “Germans” as well as attending revivals in Aberdeen led by prominent Methodist preacher Samuel Porter Jones. At one point, Genie writes from Asheville, North Carolina where she assists her father in his recovery from an illness. Later, she returns to Judson College where she writes about events, students, and teachers. Genie Morgan died on December 30, 1894 when she was 21 years old and is buried in Friendship Cemetery.
The letters along with their transcriptions are accessible on the MDL at http://www.msdiglib.org/about/partners/columbus. The MDL is hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi and provides a free online space to search and explore the wealth of materials available in Mississippi.