Journal & Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion

Journal & Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion

Journal & Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion

Journal & Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion

Excerpt

No contemporary has given a more revealing picture of the social life of the Virginia tidewater plantations in the eighteenth century than Philip Vickers Fithian in the journal he kept and the letters he wrote while teaching the Carter children at "Nomini Hall" during 1773‐ 1774. This account was originally published by the Princeton Historical Association in 1900. Unfortunately the book has not been generally accessible for a number of years and it has therefore seemed appropriate to reprint it. An opportunity is thus provided to incorporate certain sections of the journal and a number of letters which touch upon persons and events in Virginia, but which were omitted from the first edition. Some of these relate to the period before Fithian went to Nomini Hall and others were written after his departure. Several letters written to Fithian by others, but which throw light on conditions in Virginia, are also printed for the first time. A catalogue of the library of Robert Carter III compiled by Fithian is given as an appendix to the book.

In order that the reader may enjoy Fithian's impressions in the sequence in which they were recorded, his letters have been incorporated with the journal by inserting each at the close of the entry for the day on which it was written.

Many individuals have assisted me in editing the journal and in writing the introduction. First of all, I am indebted to Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger of Harvard University and Professor Thomas J. Wertenbaker of Princeton University, both of whom have read my introductory chapters and given me other valuable advice. For information regarding Virginia architecture and gardens of the eighteenth century I wish to thank Messrs. A. Edwin Kendrew, Singleton Moorehead and Alden Hopkins of the Architectural Department of Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated . . .

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