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

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


The Papers of Edward F. Hewins

The man, around whom the Edward F. Hewins Papers are organized, is the donor's father, Captain Charles E. Hewins. Charles Hewins was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, September 2, 1841 and was the second of six children born to John and Charlotte Hewins. Volunteering at the beginning of the Civil War in the Union Army, Hewins was enrolled in Company I, 42nd Massachusetts Infantry. Hewins served in Company I until January 1863 when he was taken prisoner at Galveston, Texas. During this same year, Charles' oldest brother William was killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Charles however, was fortunately paroled after a short confinement in a prisoner of war camp. After a prisoner exchange was arranged at New Orleans, Hewins returned for a brief period to his home in Dorchester and then came to Fort Monroe near the close of the Civil War. While stationed at Fort Monroe, Hewins and his friend Albert Howe served under Captain Charles Wilder in the Freedman's Bureau. Following the war, both Hewins and Howe began collaborating in the general mercantile business in Hampton, Virginia.

A few years later, Charles Hewins began developing his business interests in oyster planting and harvesting. He remained in the oyster field for the rest of his life, and during the first year of business, owned and sailed two vessels, The Independence and The Farmer's Return. As one of the pioneer oyster planters of Virginia, Hewins held oyster grounds at Ballast Marsh and Hampton Bar.

On March 31, 1891 Charles Hewins married Mary E. Coats from the state of New York, at the time a teacher at the Hampton Institute. They resided until his death in the home which he had built on a tract of land purchased from the former Bates Estate.

Charles Hewins was active in community affairs and was a member of St. Tammany Lodge No. 5, A.F. & A.M., and of the Hampton Commandry, Knights Templar. In 1927 Hewins suffered a stroke of paralysis and died several months later, at the age of 86.

Among those who survived Charles Hewins was his only son, Edward F. Hewins. Edward Hewins was born in 1893 in Hampton, Virginia and is the donor of the Hewins Papers to the Old Dominion University Department of Archives and Manuscripts. Educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Edward Hewins achieved prominence in the Tidewater area as a marine architect at the Newport News Shipbuilding Drydock Company. As was his father, he was active in local civic organizations until well advanced in years.

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Edward F. Hewins contain family papers dating from 1856 to 1957, the bulk of which primarily relate to the donor's father Captain Charles E. Hewins (1841-1927). The collection is arranged into three series according to content: Correspondence, Civil War Military Papers, Miscellaneous.

The highlight of the collection is Series I in which family correspondence is well represented for the period 1862 through Reconstruction. Numerous historical references to the Civil War period, such as the Lincoln Assassination and Sherman's southern campaign, are found in the letters written by Charles Hewins. In this first subseries, are also several letters written while Hewins was a prisoner of war, describing both the camp at New Orleans and the Battle of Galveston in 1863. The Hewins letters additionally provide an interesting perspective on secessionist activities and social attitudes toward the Black "freedman", as viewed through a Unionist's eyes.

Incoming correspondence to Charles Hewins from family and business friends completes the first series. Signing her letters as "C.A. Hewins", Charles' mother is the most frequent contributor. Providing family news along with comments on local affairs, these and similar accounts from the remaining letters allow for a balanced overview of social conditions in the North and the South during the same historical period.

Series II contains photocopies from the National Archives and the US Bureau of Interior. In both cases, these copies deal with the military record of Charles Hewins. Under Series III are grouped a small number of miscellaneous materials, among which is a brief genealogical chart of the Hewins family in the hand of Edward F. Hewins.

The nature of the documents in the collection vary according to their physical state and provenance. In most cases, the items are original holographs and their entries in the finding aid are designated with the letter "H". A relatively large number of the letters, however, are photocopies of original letters. Because of their physical deterioration in many cases, these documents have been grouped by year instead of assigned an item by item entry. Also grouped by year are brief summaries of original correspondence. The synopses as well as the copies were made by Mrs. Gladys Blair, a former graduate student in History at Old Dominion University. Accordingly, these documents are designated in the finding aid with either the letter "C" or "S"l.


Gift of Mr. Edward F. Hewins, March 10, 1978


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


One Hollinger Document Case

Collection Number

MG - 26

Container Listing

Box 1

Series I Correspondence

Subseries A: Charles E. Hewins - outgoing

Folder 1 Mrs. C.A. Hewins (Mother): (H) June 1, 1863
Folder 2 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) September 23, 1867
Folder 3 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) March 13, 1868
Folder 4 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (C) 1864 - five letters
Folder 5 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (C) 1865 - six letters
Folder 6 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (C) 1866 - three letters
Folder 7 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (C) 1867 - four letters
Folder 8 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (S) 1862, 1863, 1865- three letters
Folder 9 Mr. John C. Hewins: (C) 1864
Folder 10 Charlotte Hewins: (S) 1862, 1863 - three letters
Folder 11 Helen Hewins : (S) March 5, 1863
Folder 12 Susie Hewins: (H) June 15, 1866
Folder 13 Susie Hewins: (C) June 21, 1864
Folder 14 Susie Hewins: (S) February 27, 1863

Subseries B: Charles E. Hewins - incoming (family)

Folder 15 Lillian H. Gay: (H) November 21, 1926
Folder 16 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) n.d.
Folder 17 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) June 12, 1864
Folder 18 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) June 30, 1864
Folder 19 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) August 21, 1864
Folder 20 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) September 11, 1864
Folder 21 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) October 2, 1864
Folder 22 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) December 14, 1864
Folder 23 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) December 25, 1864
Folder 24 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) January 18, 1865
Folder 25 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) January 22, 1865
Folder 26 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) February 12, 1865
Folder 27 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) August 13, 1865
Folder 28 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) September 2, 1866
Folder 29 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) February 3, 1867
Folder 30 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) August 5, 1867
Folder 31 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) September 8, 1867
Folder 32 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) October 22, 1868
Folder 33 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) May 9, 1868
Folder 34 Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (H) November 14, 1869
Folder 35 Helen Hewins: (H) January 1, 1865
Folder 36 John Foster Hewins: (11) March 30, ca. 1864
Folder 37 John Foster Hewins: (H) February 4, 1894
Folder 38 Richard Hewins: (H) May 24, 1876
Folder 39 Susie Hewins: (H) May 29, 1864
Folder 40 Susie Hewins: (H) July 22, 1864
Folder 41 Susie Hewins: (H) October 30, 1864
Folder 42 Susie Hewins: (H) February 5, 1865
Folder 43 Susie Hewins: (H) January 2, 1869
Folder 44 Captain Charles B. Wilder: (H) November, 1880

Subseries C: Charles E. Hewins - incoming (friends and business)

Folder 45 Clarence (?): (H) July 10, 1864
Folder 46 George G. French: (H) February 25, 1877
Folder 47 George G. French: (H) July 17, 1877
Folder 48 George G. French: (H) June 20, 1878
Folder 49 Albert Howe: (H) August 6, 1877
Folder 50 J.A. Lowe: (H) February 4, 1869
Folder 51 Increase S. Smith: (H) December 30, 1857

Subseries D: Family Correspondence

Folder 52 Edward F. Hewins to Aberdeen W. Child: ca. January 6, 1857 (enclosed letter 9/20/41; bill 1/12/42, photograph 6/14/41)
Folder 53 Mrs. Charles B. Wilder to Mrs. C.A. Hewins: (C) February 22, 1864

Series II: Civil War Military Papers - Charles E. Hewins

Folder 54 Civil War Company Muster Role: (C) National Archives, 1863
Folder 55 Civil War Prisoner of War Record: (C) National Archives, 1863
Folder 56 Charles E. Hewins Pension File: (C) US Bureau of the Interior

Series III: Miscellaneous

Folder 57 Order of Exercises at the Gibson Grammar School: March 24, 1856
Folder 58 Newspaper obituaries for Charles E. Hewins: Co 1927
Folder 59 Hewins family genealogical chart: (H) n.d.
Folder 60 Calling cards: Lucia F.M. Fenner, Dr. & Mrs. Boutelle: n.d.

Revised: 1/28/2008