This collection contains the personal papers of the Hammet, Talbot, and Goodell families. Papers include correspondence, diaries, genealogies, financial records, and other materials.
John Hammet (1795-1834) emigrated from County Cork, Ireland, to Virginia in 1816. From 1818 to 1826, he worked as an overseer in Montgomery County, Virginia, for General John Preston, an influential politician and member of southwest Virginia's leading family. Five of Hammet's relatives followed him to Virginia between 1816 and 1830. One, half-brother William Hammet (1799-1861), became chaplain of the University of Virginia and later a Mississippi congressman. In 1826, John Hammet moved to Bourbon County, Kentucky, as a partner of James McDowell, who later served as governor of Virginia. In 1828, Hammet moved to Illinois, followed by several relatives.
In 1886, Hammet's granddaughter Virginia married Arthur Newell Talbot (1857-1942). Talbot was the grandson of George Newell (1795-1878), an English immigrant farmer who settled in Illinois in 1851. In 1881, Talbot graduated from the Illinois Industrial University (now the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) with a degree in civil engineering. After working for several western railroad companies, he joined the faculty of his alma mater in 1885, where he remained until 1926. Talbot's daughter, Dorothy, married Warren Franklin Goodell (1899-1965), a member of one of central Illinois' most important commercial families.
The collection is organized in three series: Hammet Family Papers (1817-1865), Talbot Family Papers (1851-1921, 1994), and Photocopies.
The Hammet Family Papers series contains correspondence between family members and acquaintances, as well as financial and legal records. Notable correspondents include James McDowell, James Preston, John Preston, and William R. Preston. Topics discussed include agricultural practices in the free and slave states, brewing and distilling on the frontier, family life, Illinois Industrial University, milling, political issues from Virginia's 1830 constitutional convention, railroads, religion, and teaching. Several of John Hammet's letters describe how slavery was practiced in the south.
The Talbot Family Papers series contains correspondence, diaries, genealogies, poetry, financial and legal records, and printed material. The papers of George Newell focus primarily on farming conditions in Illinois and the family's financial records. His grandson, Arthur Newell Talbot, maintained a large letterbook discussing topics related to his field of civil engineering and his choice to join the faculty of Illinois Industrial University. His wife Virginia Hammet Talbot's papers pertain to her genealogical work on the Hammet family, specifically on William and John Hammet. Their daughter, Dorothy Talbot Goodell, continued her mother's genealogical work later on.
The Photocopies series contains photocopies of original materials. As noted within the inventory, there are a few documents that exist only in photocopy form. These photocopies can be found in boxes 3 or 4 as indicated in the inventory.
The Library acquired the collection in a series of deposits beginning in 1978.