US postal history and Civil War era artifacts donated to Auburn University Libraries

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – A donation of American postal history and Civil War era books, letters and newspapers from John and Faye Vick, of Andalusia, Ala., to Auburn University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Department has added to the university’s growing collection of 19th-century artifacts.

John Vick, Auburn class of 1962, has had a lifelong interest in U.S. postal history, Alabama postal history, other related Alabama history and Naval history. The collection also includes many contemporary Civil War books. Included in the gift is a unique collection of Confederate Marine Corps letters from Lt. Edward Crenshaw of Butler County.

Other items that were donated are correspondences written to Robert E. Lee while he was president of Washington College in Lexington, Va., mostly from colleagues, students or former students, dating from 1868 to 1870. Also of interest are pieces of correspondence between Jefferson Davis and the Secretary of War of the Confederate States of America. One of the letters contains Davis’ signature. There is also the oath of loyalty to the Union that Raphael Semmes, captain of the raider C.S.S. Alabama, wrote and signed when he was being hired as a tax collector for the city of Mobile after the Civil War.

“John and Faye Vick have been generous to Auburn University in numerous ways for a long, long time,” said Dwayne Cox, head of Auburn University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Department. “Their recent gift of postal history and books related to the Civil War, as well as other areas, again demonstrates their commitment to Auburn. Researchers will find this material invaluable for years to come. The university libraries appreciate the confidence that the Vicks have placed in us for the preservation of this material.”

Full cataloging and preservation of the items is ongoing. Special Collections and Archives staff expect the items will be ready for researcher and public access this spring.

Collections such as this are among the types of in-kind donations received by the Auburn University Foundation on the university’s behalf. For more information about making donations of this nature, contact Auburn’s Office Development at (334) 844-7375.

Auburn University Libraries serves the more than 24,000 students and faculty of Auburn with a collection in excess of 3.4 million volumes. The Special Collections and Archives Department collects, preserves and houses rare and unique items relating to the histories of Auburn University, the state of Alabama, the southeastern region, the Civil War, Native Americans and aviation. The Auburn University Digital Library develops accessible digital collections of materials that support the teaching and research of Auburn faculty and students, and that, in turn, further the mission of Auburn University. These collections are made available to educators and students in the state, nation and world.

(Contributed by Jayson Hill.)

Contact: Jayson Hill, Auburn University Libraries, (334) 844-7439 (, or
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (