The Doy Leale McCall Sr. Collection is actually a collection of collections. It consists of the papers of fifteen different families, and several individuals, as well as more than 13,000 printed items. The papers document the history of the Alabama Black Belt from 1806 to the mid-20th century. The McCall collection includes journals, diaries, personal papers, business records, newspapers, photographs, maps, broadsides, sheet music, flyers, pamphlets, legal records, business cards, and a myriad of other documents.
The McCall Papers cover such subjects as education, gender issues, politics, banking, plantation life, sociology, slavery, labor relations, Reconstruction, and the Civil War, to name a few. They reflect the lives of slaves, politicians, yeoman farmers, soldiers, merchants, planters, and women. Geographically, they primarily cover the Alabama Black Belt counties of Clarke, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Marengo, Montgomery, and Pickens. Each family's papers will be available for research after they have been organized and a finding aid to them produced.
The compiler of these papers, Doy Leale McCall Sr., was born at Hoke's Bluff in Etowah County, Alabama, in 1896. McCall served in the military during World War I. Along with his brother L. T. McCall and his father, L. L. McCall, Doy moved to Monroe County in 1922 and established a sawmill. Three years later he moved to the town of Monroeville and met and married Marie Crook, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Crook, in 1926. McCall lost an arm to a sawmill accident in 1927, which left him time to indulge his passion for history and bottle collecting. Over the next years he amassed one of the largest archive of historical documents and bottles in the United States. McCall died in 1971. Select items from the collection can be viewed on this site.
Listed below are some of the major components of the McCall Papers. We have provided links to those components with online finding aids.
Doy Leale McCall Papers (unprocessed). Circa 30 linear feet of family papers related to the McCall family.
Pickens Family Papers (1799-1944 [bulk 1820-1899]). Comprised of 20,000 letters, documents, diaries, plantation ledgers, receipts, contracts, household accounts, wills, maps, photographs, and other material. For more on the family, please click here. For the finding aid to the papers, please click here.
Gindrat, Thorington, Winter Family Papers (still undergoing processing). Consists of approximately 22,000 personal and business letters, 46 letterpress volumes with more than 15,000 pages of outgoing correspondence, 240 bound ledgers, several original corporate plans, plats and maps, photographs, and other original material. For more on the family, please click here.
Philip J. Weaver Papers (not yet processed). Made up of circa 2,200 letters and documents, 8 notebooks and ledgers, and other original material. Weaver (1797-1865) settled in Alabama in 1818 and soon became a prominent merchant and real estate baron. After operating in Cahawba, Centreville, and Maplesville, he finally settled in Selma, where he was one of the first inhabitants. In 1848 he helped secure the Alabama & Tennessee Railroad connection to Selma, which greatly increased the economic and population growth of the town. Weaver also organized and funded the immigration of about three hundred Germans, many of whom were businessmen, artisans, and mechanics. In nearby Marengo County, Weaver operated a huge cotton plantation, owned as many as 700 slaves, and was reputedly the wealthiest man in South Alabama. He invested extensively in real estate in Southern states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Weaver's businesses and other properties in Selma, along with much of the rest of the town, were burned by Union troops near the end of the Civil War. Weaver himself was killed by a Union soldier. Weaver's family members continued to run his plantation and business operations for several decades. [Most of this paragraph copied verbatim from the appraisal report written by Dr. Michael Parrish of Baylor University.]
Malachi Lamar Stabler Sr. Papers (not yet processed). Comprised of 2,800 letter and documents and 5 ledgers. M. L. Stabler (1843-1925) and his family ran a very successful mercantile businesses in the South, which was known as Stabler & Sons. The business was located in Lower Peach Tree, Alabama, from before the Civil War and into the 20th century.
Daniel Houston Cram. A manuscript entitled "Sketchbook of the Mexican War," comprised of color drawings of sites witnessed during the Mexican War.
Eyre Damer. A manuscript entitled "The Magic Ring" written by the author of When the Ku Klux Road (1912).
Autographs. Approximately 50 letters signed by such notable people as P.G.T. Beauregard, Raphael Semmes, William Jennings Bryan, Jefferson Davis, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, William Rufus King, and Daniel Webster.
Presidential Land Grants. 188 United States land grants verifying the purchase of lands in Alabama, and bearing the signatures of American presidents, including 67 signed by President Andrew Jackson.
Printed material (all but newspapers processed); 1757-1998 [bulk 1818-1970]). More than 13,000 almanacs, books, broadsides, brochures, catalogs, circulars, flyers, invitations, leaflets, newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, programs, sermons, and tracts, as well as state and federal publications. In addition, there are hundreds of daily reports on cotton and commodity prices. More than 1,300 of these items date before 1870 and include unique early Alabama and Confederate imprints.
Steamboats (not yet processed; 1820s-1930s). Several thousand steamboat receipts and several ledgers related to commercial steamboat operations, including the earliest known receipt for a steamboat plying an Alabama river (1820). Also includes approximately 100 steamboat photographs compiled by Bert Neville, an expert on Alabama steamboats.
Photographs (not yet processed). A number of images of historical figures, including Confederate General Braxton Bragg and Margaret Mitchell.