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James E. Morrow Letters to Clara J. Johnson

Identifier: MA.00045

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 27 letters by James Elmore Morrow to Clara J. Johnson written between January 18 and December 4, 1864 while Morrow was a Union officer in West Virginia and Maryland during the Civil War. It also contains one letter to Clara J. Johnson from her father, F.J. Johnson, dated August 23, 1863.

The letters from James Morrow trace the beginning of his and Clara's acquaintance, through the developing courtship, until - by the time of the last letter (Dec. 1) - it is apparent that the couple has come to an understanding about their future relationship.

The letters are primarily courtship letters relying heavily on the conventional language of the time. Nevertheless, the writer also expresses feelings of loneliness and refers occasionally to problems controlling alcohol consumption. Morrow also describes his duties as a mustering-out officer (Union Army, in West Virginia and Maryland) in the last year of the Civil War, commenting freely on the mustering-out process, on the behavior of veterans released, and on the quality (or lack) of leadership among his superior officers. The letters of October 1864, in which he expresses his grief at the death of Col. Thoburn and his feelings about Thoburn’s successor are among the most personally revealing.

The letter by F.J. Johnson, Clara's father, details a multitude of events and personalities in Clara's hometown of Wellsburg, West Virginia, at the time of his writing. It also reveals the closeness and affection between them. He misses Clara, and describes her as "…deeper wound around my heart than I ever deemed you were."


  • Creation: 1863-1864


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the collection for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

James E. Morrow was commissioned a Captain on February 4, 1863. He recruited nearly all of "Company F" in Hancock County, West Virginia. Morrow was the first president of Slippery Rock Normal School, Pennsylvania. He and Clara Johnson Morrow were the parents of Dwight W. Morrow (AC 1895).


0.25 Linear feet (1 half archives box)

Language of Materials



Letters of a Union military officer to Clara Johnson written during the Civil War. The collection includes one letter to Clara Johnson from her father.


The letters are arranged chronologically, as indicated in the container list.

Related Materials

See also the Morrow-Lindbergh-McIlvaine Family Papers (MA.00378) and the Dwight W. Morrow Papers (MA.00028) for additional family materials.

Daria D'Arienzo, Head of Archives and Special Collections
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299