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Vivian Coleman Bear Papers

Identifier: Ms-2009-086

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of Vivian Coleman Bear, a resident of Roanoke, Virginia in the early twentieth century. The collection contains such materials as correspondence, financial documents, photos and ephemera relating to Bear and her ancestors.

The correspondence within the collection largely consists of letters written by H. Ferd Weigand, a Baltimore attorney and a suitor of Vivian Coleman. Weigand's letters, written between 1912 and 1914, relate mostly to personal matters. He seems to have overstepped the bounds of propriety while expressing his desires in a letter dated March 12, 1912; in his next letter, dated March 28, Weigand apologizes for the transgression. Another letter is accompanied by a poem and illustration. Weigand makes frequent promises to visit Roanoke but complains of an increasingly heavy workload. Other correspondents and apparent would-be suitors are C. O. Pugh of Newport News and Harry G. Holbrook. The collection also contains a few letters between other family members, including a letter from John Marshall Clemens to his aunt, Elizabeth Pollard, regarding Clemens family genealogy.

Included among the small set of financial documents are an 1844 receipt issued by E. Jackson to D. Staley for the payment of tuition for three students and an 1859 receipt for goods purchased by Captain Jack Pollard of Jones & Steptoe (Lynchburg, Virginia); as well as other receipts.

An 1882 New Testament Bible in the collection includes several genealogical notes and newspaper clippings. Several of these items relate to Mark Twain, Bear's cousin. Removed from the Bible and now housed in a separate folder are notes from various Bible lessons.

The collection also contains a few family photographs and a small set of ephemera, which includes business cards for H. Ferd Wiegand, a calling card for L. W. Coleman, an ink blotter for the Lumbermen's Credit Association, and an unidentified lock of hair.


  • 1844 - 1916


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

Vivian Clemens Coleman, the daughter of Harriet "Hattie" Staley and Lee Coleman, was born January 7, 1888. The family seems to have been living in Kentucky when Coleman was born, but by 1900, she was living with her aunt, Alma Staley Crouch, in Roanoke, Virginia. Coleman, continued to live in Roanoke after marrying Charles Edgar Bear (1883-1968), the son of John Henry and Lizzie Stephens Bear. Charles Bear, who attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Roanoke College, and the University of North Carolina, later worked in both the lumber and automobile business. The couple had no children. Vivian Coleman Bear died in Roanoke on October 17, 1984.


0.2 Cubic Feet (1 box)


The collection contains the papers of Roanoke, Virginia resident Vivian Coleman Bear, including correspondence from E. Ferd Weigand and other suitors; family correspondence and financial documents relating to the Clemens and Staley families; Bible with genealogical notes and clippings; photographs; and ephemera.


The collection is arranged by document type, then chronologically.

Source of Acquisition

The Vivian Coleman Bear Papers were purchased by Special Collections in 1994. The collection was purchased under the title of "Clemmons / Coleman Family Papers."

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Vivian Coleman Bear Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Vivian Coleman Bear Papers commenced in May 2009 and was completed in June 2009.

Vivian Coleman Bear Papers, 1844-1916
John M. Jackson, Archivist
2009 (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