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Catalog Data

Written by:
Robert Brown Elliott, American, 1842 - 1884  Search this
Subject of:
United States Department of the Treasury, American, founded 1789  Search this
ink on wove paper
H x W: 9 1/2 × 7 1/2 in. (24.1 × 19.1 cm)
Place made:
Charleston, South Carolina, United States, North and Central America
Place depicted:
Florida, United States, North and Central America
August 4, 1880
Born in England, Robert B. Elliott (1842–1884) moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1867 and, after co-founding the nation's first known African American law firm, Whipper, Elliott, and Allen with William Whipper and Macon B. Allen, he rose to prominence in state politics. In 1870, he was elected a U.S. representative to Congress. He received national acclaim for his powerful speeches in support of civil rights legislation.
At the time this letter was written, Elliott was working as an appointed customs inspector for the Treasury Department in Charleston, South Carolina. On the trip to Florida that is the subject of the correspondence, Elliott contracted malaria from which he would never fully recover. He was later transferred to New Orleans before being dismissed by the Treasury Department in 1882. He died in New Orleans on August 9, 1884.
A handwritten letter by Robert B. Elliott containing his request of a friend for a loan of $100.00 in order to travel, on orders from Washington, to Florida on official business for the Treasury Department. The letter is handwritten in brown ink on one side of a single sheet of off-white paper lined in blue. At top left is [Confidential.] underlined and at top right is [Charleston, S.C., / Aug. 14th, 1880.]. The letter is addressed to [L. Dunneman, Esq., / Charleston, S.C.: / Dear Friend - ]. The body of the letter consists of two paragraphs and begins, [I am very sorry to trouble you, but i have just received orders from Washington to proceed to Florida on official business, and not having the money at present to bear the expense, I write to ask you to aid me in my difficulty as it is very important that I should go.]. It is signed at bottom right [Your friend, / Robt. B. Elliott.]. On the verso, preprinted in red ink is a form for [Office of Special Agent Treasury Department] that has not been completed. Handwritten in red ink at the very top is [D-15-1881] and at the bottom [7779 B/27] and [6137 B/27].
African American  Search this
Correspondence  Search this
Finance  Search this
Government  Search this
Law  Search this
Men  Search this
Politics  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. History, 1865-1877  Search this
Slavery  Search this
U.S. History, 1865-1921  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Stanley Turkel's Collection of Reconstruction Era Materials
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
No Known Copyright Restrictions
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Slavery and Freedom Objects
Documents and Published Materials-Business and Legal Documents
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture