Scope and arrangement
The Pollard Family papers consist of the business papers of Richard Pollard, 1840s-1909, and correspondence of his family and related families in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1840s-1917.
Pollard's business correspondence chiefly documents his career as an insurance agent in Lynchburg, 1860s-1880s. Also documented are his brief New York banking career, 1849-1850, and his years in the China trade, 1850s. Additional business papers include: insurance policy renewal receipts, 1872-1879; insurance rate books, lists of policy holders, notes, printed material, and other documents relating to Pollard's insurance career; constitution and by-laws, letters, and accounts, 1876-1877, of the Mutual Home Association of Lynchburg, Virginia; notes and accounts, 1850s, concerning the China trade. A two part volume contains a "commercial journal", January - July, 1856, recording business conditions in San Francisco, and carbon copies of business letters written by Pollard from Macao, Hong Kong, Newburgh, N. Y., and Lynchburg, 1858-1867. Four diaries, ca. 1848-1878, chiefly concern Pollard's spiritual development and activities at the Court St. Methodist Episcopal Church. Certificates of appreciation awarded by the church to Pollard, 1895-1908, are also included.
The family correspondence is chiefly that of Richard Pollard and members of his immediate and extended family, particularly his second wife Elizabeth Saunders Dudley Pollard, and his daughter Bettie Pollard Glass. Correspondence with and among the related Dudley, Glass, Rives, and Saunders families, mainly of Lynchburg, is included. The correspondence contains family and personal news, and includes letters from family members serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War (including Richard Pollard and Charles Saunders), and from children attending various Virginia schools and colleges. Of note are letters to Richard Pollard from his brother the author and journalist Edward A. Pollard (1831-1872) and a manuscript of his essay "The Problem of the Negro", 1872. In this essay, written six months before the 1872 presidential election, Edward Pollard proposes a political party, "The Order of Black Diamonds" for southern freedmen. While the proposed party would ostensibly have as its program the economic interests of the freedmen, it is also clear that Pollard intended it to be at least indirectly led by southern white Democrats and to be a competitor of the Republican Black political leagues.
Photographs, clippings, printed material, household bills, and diaries of Nannie Saunders, 1857 (box 13) and Elizabeth Saunders Dudley Pollard, 1865 (box 14), are included. Also of note is a diary: "The cruise of the U. S. Monitor Miantonomoh to and from Europe during 1866-1867... being a diary of events kept by an officer attached to her during the cruise". The diary documents the ship's journey from Washington D. C. up the coast of the United States and Canada and then to Europe, passing or stopping at: New York; Boston; Halifax, Nova Scotia; St. John's Newfoundland; Ireland; England; Cherbourg, France; and Copenhagen, Denmark. The officer describes life aboard ship, travels and social life on shore, visitors to the ship, and other ships encountered. The identity of the writer - who calls himself "Emory" and is from Baltimore - and his relation to the Pollard family, if any, is unknown.
The Pollard family papers are arranged in two series: