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Monday - Friday:
9 am - 4:30 pm

Other times by appointment


The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

Contact Information

Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-5350
fax (757) 683-5954


The Papers of Elizabeth Calvert Page Dabney

Scope and Contents - Access - Inventory and Item Description

Historical Sketch

Elizabeth Calvert Page Dabney is a former Professor of English at Old Dominion University and a descendant of an old Norfolk family.

The history of Elizabeth Calvert Page Dabney's family includes the histories of the Dabneys, the Pages, the Gordon's, the Whittles, and the Loyalls.

The Pages are an old and well-known Virginia family historically distinguished for their devotion to the Episcopal Church. They are related by marriage to the famous Revolutionary War General "Light Horse Harry" Lee and General Robert E. Lee. Another General, Richard Lucien Page, served the United States Navy in the War of 1812 and in the Mexican War. When Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, he resigned his commission to the Union and was commissioned in the Navy of the Confederacy. He was later captured as a prisoner of war, and released after the Civil War.

The Gordon family came to Virginia from Scotland in the 1700's. Samuel and Basil Gordon, and Samuel's nephew, were the first of their family in Virginia. The three men married three sisters who were the daughters of William Knox of Culpepper County, Virginia. They settled near Fredericksburg. In 1812, after the death of their father, the Gordon's returned home to Scotland. Samuel and Agnes Knox Gordon remained in Scotland and England for the next twenty years before returning to Virginia.

The Loyall's lived in Norfolk during the Civil War. Camilla Frances Loyall kept a diary of her experiences during this time. Her accounts include the capture of Norfolk by the Union in 1862.

Scope and Contents

The papers contained in this collection date from 1812 to 1943. They include family diaries, speeches and essays about the Confederacy during the Civil War, old newspapers and booklets, and various legal documents and certificates. Of particular note are Camilla Frances Loyall's first hand accounts of Norfolk during the Civil War, and it's capture by General Wool and the Union in 1862.


Gift of Ms. Dabney, July 1978

Collection Number

MG 95


Open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian


1 Hollinger box and 1 document case

Inventory and Item Description

Box 1

Folder 1: The Gordon Family - Genealogical Data
Folder 2: Diary of Agnes Knox Gordon (Dabney's great-great grandmother) - This diary, dating from 1812 to 1839, recounts life in Scotland and England, then follows the journey to the United States and then life in Virginia. (Typed transcript)
Folder 3: Diary of Camilla Frances Loyall (Admiral David Farragut's sister-in-law) - This diary, written in Norfolk, Virginia during the Civil War, dates from May 1 - June 14, 1862 and describes the Union's occupation of Norfolk and the city's reaction to one of its own, Admiral David Farragut, leading U.S. Naval forces in the capture of New Orleans.
Folder 4: Description by William C. Whittle (Dabney's grandfather) of Naval Action, March 1860 - Relates to story of Whittle's first action in the United States Navy when he was serving as a midshipman on the USS Preble. The action occurred off Anton Lizardo near Vera Cruz, Mexico and involved US naval vessels and two steamships flying no flag whose objective was to assist General Miramon in his rebellion against President Juarez of Mexico. The two vessels had sailed from Havana, Cuba.
Folder 5: "Cruises of the Confederate States Steamers 'Shenandoah' and 'Nashville'" - Written by Captain William C. Whittle, an officer on board. Published in 1910.
Folder 6: Speech by William Conway Whittle - Handwritten text of a speech delivered to the United Daughters of the Confederacy Shaw-Niemyer (?) Camp, Berkley, Virginia (n.d.)
Folder 7: Jefferson Davis Home Association Life Membership - William C. Whittle
Folder 8: Certificate of Merit - Edmonia L. Whittle - Jan. 1, 1943 - First Fighter Command Auxiliary Aircraft Warning Service
Folder 9: Confederate Bond - $500
Folder 10: Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the Grand Camp, Confederate Veterans, Proceedings, Department of Virginia - October 24-26, 1916
Folder 11: Address by Miss Mildred Lewis Rutherford, Historian General, U. D.C. (United Daughters of the Confederacy) - "Historical Sins of Omission and Commission" - delivered Oct. 22, 1915 at San Francisco, CA
Folder 12: Receipt and Legal Agreement re. 161 Duke Street - between Samuel Hirsch and Sarah Alexina Page, November 10, 1898 in regard to the sale of a lot and dwelling at 161 Duke Street, Norfolk
Folder 13: Receipt for payment of real estate commission by Richard L. Page to Pannill Bros. (Nov. 10, 1898)
Folder 14: Receipt for Purchase of Slaves (1854) - receipt of the purchase of a slave, Catherine, with her two children, Dec. 27, 1854, by Mr. R. L. Page
Folder 15: Memorial Sermon to General Richard Lucien Page (2 copies) - by the Reverend Carl E. Grammer in Christ Church, Norfolk, August 18, 1901
Folder 16: Report of the Ivanhoe Land and Improvement Company of Ivanhoe, Wythe County, VA (1890-1892)
Folder 17: Concerning Old Norfolk (2 copies) - 1904 booklet on Norfolk history
Folder 18: The Gray Jacket, Nov. 1893
Folder 19: The Gray Jacket, Dec. 1893
Folder 20: The Gray Jacket, March 1894
Folder 21: The Gray Jacket, Nov. 1897
Folder 22: The Jamestown Bulletin, July 1906 - Jamestown Exposition
Folder 23: Charleston News and Courier, May 10, 1899 - "Reunion - United Confederate Veterans"
Folder 24: Raleigh News and Observer, May 11, 1902
Folder 25: Norfolk Landmark, June 11, 1905
Folder 26: Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 10, 1918
Folder 27: The History and Adventure of Little James and Mary by Lucy Watkins (1819)
Folder 28: Envelope postmarked July 11, 1885 and addressed to Captain William C. Whittle

Box 2

Folders 1-3: Graduation Certificates

Revised: 12/18/2007