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Sutton-Martin-Mason Family Papers

Identifier: Ms-2003-013

Scope and Content

The papers of the Sutton-Martin-Mason family consist largely of the personal correspondence of Rachel Louisa Sutton (familiarly known as Louisa or Lou), the greater majority of the letters being from family and friends in the years before she was married. The letters mostly comment upon personal and family matters but many also relate to the Civil War--including comments on military campaigns, conditions on the homefront, and news of local men serving in the war. A number of letters are written from Martha Washington College (Abingdon, Virginia) and discuss the school, its classes, and related activities. A few of the letters appear to be draft copies of letters written by Sutton to her friends but never mailed.

The collection also contains other papers of David and Louisa Martin, such as deeds, assorted financial records (including personal checks, account statements, receipts, and a notice for the sale of the John Sutton estate), poetry (most of which seems to have been copied from published sources, rather than being original compositions), and general materials (including grade reports for the Martins' children from various Southwest Virginia educational institutions) and assorted ephemera (including a dress pattern fragment cut from a Civil War-era newspaper); and photographs.

The papers of Elinor Mason, comprising one folder, include correspondence, photographs, postcards and assorted ephemera.


  • 1861 - 1968


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Rachel Louisa Sutton, daughter of John and Eliza Glasgow Sutton, was born in Pulaski County, Virginia, in 1849. During the late 1860s, she attended nearby Martha Washington College. On December 14, 1870, she married Pulaski County farmer David H. Martin (born c.1849). The couple had 10 or 11 children, including Walter B. (VPI class of 1909) and Lilly, born probably in 1871, who attended Hollins Institute (now Hollins University) in the early 1890s. Lilly later married James Porterfield Mason, and they became the parents of six children, including Elinor.

Elinor Mason, daughter of James P. and Lilly Martin Mason, was born, probably in Pulaski County, in 1910. During the 1940s, she was a federal employee, living in Williamsburg, Virginia. She later retired to Glade Spring, Virginia, where she died in 1996.


0.2 Cubic Feet (1 box)


This collection consists of the papers of a Pulaski County, Virginia family, largely consisting of letters received by Rachel Louisa Sutton (later married to David H. Martin) from friends and family during the 1860s. Also contains deeds, family financial records, poetry, photographs and assorted ephemera. A small collection of materials belonging to the Martins' granddaughter, Elinor Mason, completes the collection.


The papers are arranged by document type, then chronologically. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically.

Source of Acquisition

The Sutton-Martin-Mason Family Papers were purchased by the Special Collections in 1993.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Sutton-Martin-Mason Family Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Sutton-Martin-Mason Family Papers commenced in June 2003 and was completed the following month.

Sutton-Martin-Mason Family Papers, 1861-1968
John M. Jackson, Archivist
2003 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US