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Valentine H. Mairis Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS107

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Valentine Hale Mairis Papers primarily consist of correspondence to Mairis with some ledgers, documents and genealogical materials. The Papers comprise .5 linear feet and are arranged in 62 folders in 1 box. There are many letters from the early nineteenth-century discussing military life, negotiations for the purchase of his commission into the Dragoons and unrest in Ireland. Most of the correspondence and other materials from this period concern Mairis' family, including Mairis' marriage certificate and a list of his children's baptism dates and sponsors.

Much of Mairis' income came from property he and his family owned in Lavington, and there is a great deal of correspondence and some ledgers relating to these affairs. Included in this is discussion of the Copyhold Act of 1853 and its repercussions among local landowners and tenants. Mairis' connections to the British military remained strong even after he left the life of a travelling soldier. Mairis received two letters from his brother William while he was en route to India in which he describes the deplorable conditions on his ship.

There are several letters in the Papers from his son, Edward, written just before he left for India. There is one letter from the famous Far Eastern scholar, James Low, in Singapore in which he discusses military life in Burma and India and his works on Asian religion and agriculture. There is also a run of letters from one of Mairis' former colleagues in the 78th Highland Regiment, Lt. Col. Henry N. Douglas, who had spent more than 20 years in the British military in Asia. His letters discuss in detail his career, conditions in Ceylon and Sir Charles Napier, with whom Douglas had served in the Battle of Sind. The Valentine H. Mairis Papers would be of great interest to scholars of British Colonial India, British military life and local social history of Wiltshire and Bristol.

Abbreviations: ADS....................................Autograph Document Signed ALS....................................Autograph Letter Signed VHM....................................Valentine H. Mairis


  • 1813 - 1863

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical note

Valentine Hale Mairis was born about 1795 the son of a Vicar in West Lavington in Wiltshire. His early career was spent in the British military, first as an Ensign in the 78th Highland Regiment in India, Scotland and Ireland (1813-20), then as a Major in the 6th Dragoons of the King's Guard in Birmingham and Limerick (1820-22). In 1820 Valentine Mairis married Elizabeth Edwards of Bishops Lavington; a union which eventually led a family of eight children. Military life soon became a difficult burden on Mairis' growing family, and in 1822 he became a half-pay officer in Clifton, Bristol and Devizes, Wiltshire.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Provenance: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph E. Jeffs, 1986.

Valentine H. Mairis Papers
Michael J. North. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
1991 Septemner 19
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057