A Guide to the May Family Papers, 1846-1949 [bulk, 1876-1913] May Family Papers 233

A Guide to the May Family Papers, 1846-1949 [bulk, 1876-1913]

A Collection in
Alexandria Library
Local History/Special Collections
Accession Number 233


Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections

Alexandria Library
Local History/Special Collections
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Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2420
(703) 838-4577 (voice)
(703) 706-3912 (fax)
Email: lhsc@alexandria.lib.va.us
URL: http://www.alexandria.lib.va.us/branches/lhsc.html

© 2008 Alexandria Library. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Rochelle Boslego, 1992.

Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections
Accession Number
May Family Papers, 1846-1949 [bulk, 1876-1913]
Physical Characteristics
3 boxes

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

May Family Papers, Accession #233, Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections, Alexandria, Va.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Eileen W. Sulley, 1990.

Biographical/Historical Information

The May Family operated the William H. May & Son Company, begun in 1852 and located just south of the Carlyle House on the one hunred block of North Fairfax Street, and later at 201-203 King Street. There are pictures of the company on its letterhead in the collection. The company manufactured plows, wagons and fertilizers and sold agricultural implements and seeds. It disappeared from the Alexandria City Directories after 1934.

The Mays represented in this collection are William H. May (1822-1910), his son John W. May (1855-1930), John's wife Effie H. DeVaughn May (1859-1903), daughter Emily May, and son Carroll Hackney May (1882-1950). Effie May's father, James H. DeVaughn (1816-1899), and sister, Mary DeVaughn, also have materials in this collection.

Scope and Content

This collection includes records and correspondence relating to the William H. May & Son Company, including an undated four page list of supplies available from the company. There are also flyers with information and pictures relating to nineteenth century farm equipment from other companies. Other correspondence shows William H. May's involvement with the International Silver Company and the Alexandria Home Insurance Company. There is also a letter to William H. May from a Russian banker, caught embezzling in Europe and incarcerated in Madrid, Spain, asking for help with funds for his daughter in the United States. John W. May is represented in this collection by some deeds and correspondence. There are two 1845-1846 letters to John from cousins Isaac and Hoziah Hook of Cumberland, Maryland.

Carroll H. May was not only involved with the William H. May & Son Company until its demise, but correspondence in this collection shows that as Lieutenant of Company G, First Regiment, Infantry, Virginia Volunteers, Alexandria, he was active in organizing a parade for the dedication of a park and laying the cornerstone of a monument to George Washington. The George Washington Monument Association is mentioned. Carroll resigned his commission in 1912. There are also some papers relating to Carroll as president of the Bethel Cemetery Company. Other correspondence to Carroll includes items from an 1899 gramophone company, the YMCA, advertisements of a magic book, the Improved Order of Red Men of Virginia and North Carolina, and Robinson Moncure (a Virginia House delegate). Carroll was a medical doctor and Sanitary Inspector for the City of Alexandria. Letters from 1943 offer consolation for the death of his son in World War II.

There are several pieces of correspondence to May women. One is a 1903 letter to Effie DeVaughn from Palais Royal of Washington, D.C., and the other is a 1936 letter from Laura P. Sullivan of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Alexandria, Virginia, to Emily R. May. There is also an 1846 letter to William and his mother from his sister, Margaret May. There is an 1856 autograph album of Mary DeVaughn. Emily R. May's English literature scrapbook of 1901-1902 and her correspondence are in this collection. There is also some correspondence to and from James DeVaughn, a furniture manufacturer, who was Effie DeVaughn's father.


The material is arranged either under the May Company or under the name of the family member concerned.

Related Material

See Boush/Asher Family Papers (Box 234) for Mary May who married Samuel Boush.

See also Alexandria vertical file, biographies - M for information on William H. May.

Index Terms

  • Bethel Cemetery (Alexandria, Va.)
  • DeVaughn family
  • Improved Order of Red Men of Virginia and North Carolina
  • May family

Contents List

Box-folder 233:1
Mary DeVaughn Autograph Album, 1856-1863.
Box-folder 233:2
William H. May & Son advertisements.
Box-folder 233:3
William H. May, correspondence, 1843-1910.
Box-folder 233:4
William H. May & Son Company, correspondence from, 1865-1913.
Box-folder 233:5
William H. May & Son Company, correspondence to, 1867-1918.
Box-folder 233:6
William H. May & Son Company, International Silver Company correspondence, 1907-1910.
Box-folder 233:7
John L. May of Winchester, correspondence from cousins Isaac S. Hook and Hoziah Hook and Cumberland, Maryland, 1845-1846.
Box-folder 233:8
John W. May, correspondence, business and legal papers, 1897-1919.
Box-folder 233:9
Mrs. J.W. May [Effie DeVaughn], correspondence, 1903.
Box-folder 233:10
J.W. May correspondence to Carroll H. May during a business trip, 1904.
Box-folder 233:11
W.H. May, Alexandria Home Insurance Company, 1906-1913.
Box-folder 233:12
Emily R. May, English literature scrapbook, 1901-1902.
Box-folder 233:13
Emily R. May, correspondence, 1906-1935.
Box-folder 233:14
Carroll H. May, Washington School certificates, 1890-1894.
Box-folder 233:15
Carroll H. May, Potomac Academy certificates and Potomac Academy Catalogue, 1890s.
Box-folder 233:16
Carroll H. May, miscellaneous personal correspondence, 1897-1909.
Box 233A
Alexandria Home Fire Insurance Company Policies, 1907.
Box-folder 233B:17
Carroll H. May, business correspondence received, 1899-1935.
Box-folder 233B:18
Carroll H. May, correspondence advertising a magic book, 1897.
Box-folder 233B:19
Carroll H. May, correspondence with Martha H. Swan [May], 1905.
Box-folder 233B:20
Carroll H. May, correspondence relating to George Washington Monument/parade, 1905-1913.
Box-folder 233B:21
Carroll H. May, correspondence from Mary C. May [Lovey], 1907-1909.
Box-folder 233B:22
Carroll H. May, correspondence relating to Red Men, 1908-1913.
Box-folder 233B:23
Carroll H. May, Bethel Cemetery papers, 1898-1913.
Box-folder 233B:24
Carroll H. May, Jr. and John May to their mother, Martha Swan May, 1929.
Box-folder 233B:25
Carroll H. and Martha (Mrs. Carroll) May, letters of sympathy on the death of their son John in World War II, 1943.
Box-folder 233B:26
Alexandria first day covers, 1949.
Box-folder 233B:27
May family genealogical material.
Box-folder 233B:28
Carroll H. May, correspondence relating to military service in Company G, First Regiment, Infantry, Virginia Volunteers.
Box-folder 233B:29
DeVaughn family correspondence, 1891.
Box-folder 233B:30
James DeVaughn, business correspondence, 1870-1900.