Manuscript of Confederate Constitution on exhibition for historians.
From the News leader, December 30, 1908.
The original parchment copy of the provisional constitution of the Confederate States
has not been lost as reported in an afternoon paper, declares the secretary of the Confederate Museum
, but has been preserved with the knowledge of many members of the Confederate Memorial
Literary Society in the Confederate Museum
since its establishment in 1897.
It appears that the original constitution was purchased in 1870 by Mrs. Mary de Renne
, of Savannah, Ga.
, for $25,000 and presented to the Southern Historical Society.
When the Confederate Memorial
Literary Society was established here in 1896 with a fire-proof building for the care of their relics, they offered a room in their museum to the Southern Historical Society, who accepted their offer.
In 1907 the Southern Historical Society turned over its relics and documents to the society here.
About a year ago Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman
, an astute young historian and expert in transcript work, was engaged to catalogue the documents belonging to the Confederate Memorial
Literary Society in collaboration with a historical manuscript commission composed of a number of ladies belonging to the society.
His work in this connection has been highly successful and valuable, and he has published a book showing the results of his researches in the manuscripts of the Confederate Memorial
Quite recently Mr. Freeman
took up the work of examining the Southern Historical Society papers which were in the keeping of the Confederate Memorial
The original constitution was among these papers, carefully preserved in a tin tube in one of the book cases.
The impression created that the valuable manuscript had been lost or forgotten is an entirely erroneous one.
It has been securely and carefully preserved,
only awaiting time and means for a proper publication and exhibition, which Dr. Freeman
has now arranged.
The parchment will be exhibited this week to the members of the American
Historical Society, but after that will be withheld from public view; as it is feared that the effect of light will dim the ink with which it is engrossed.
The manuscript is the third most valuable in the United States
, and is in perfect condition.
By hard work and perseverance the Confederate Memorial
Literary Society, which is primarily a literary organization, has collected a most valuable number of papers of all kinds.
So large has the work grown that it was recently found necessary to appoint a historical manuscript commission.
This work for the classification and arrangement of papers belonging to the society is now going on under the direction of Dr. Freeman