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May Family Papers (MS233)

Identifier: MS233
This collection includes records and correspondence relating to the William H. May & Son Company, including an undated four page list of supplies available from the company. There are also flyers with information and pictures relating to nineteenth century farm equipment from other companies. Other correspondence shows William H. May's involvement with the International Silver Company and the Alexandria Home Insurance Company. There is also a letter to William H. May from a Russian banker, caught embezzling in Europe and incarcerated in Madrid, Spain, asking for help with funds for his daughter in the United States. John W. May is represented in this collection by some deeds and correspondence. There are two 1845-1846 letters to John from cousins Isaac and Hoziah Hook of Cumberland, Maryland. Carroll H. May was not only involved with the William H. May & Son Company until its demise, but correspondence in this collection shows that as Lieutenant of Company G, First Regiment, Infantry, Virginia Volunteers, Alexandria, he was active in organizing a parade for the dedication of a park and laying the cornerstone of a monument to George Washington. The George Washington Monument Association is mentioned. Carroll resigned his commission in 1912. There are also some papers relating to Carroll as president of the Bethel Cemetery Company. Other correspondence to Carroll includes items from an 1899 gramophone company, the YMCA, advertisements of a magic book, the Improved Order of Red Men of Virginia and North Carolina, and Robinson Moncure (a Virginia House delegate). Carroll was a medical doctor and Sanitary Inspector for the City of Alexandria. Letters from 1943 offer consolation for the death of his son in World War II. There are several pieces of correspondence to May women. One is a 1903 letter to Effie DeVaughn from Palais Royal of Washington, D.C., and the other is a 1936 letter from Laura P. Sullivan of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Alexandria, Virginia, to Emily R. May. There is also an 1846 letter to William and his mother from his sister, Margaret May. There is an 1856 autograph album of Mary DeVaughn. Emily R. May's English literature scrapbook of 1901-1902 and her correspondence are in this collection. There is also some correspondence to and from James DeVaughn, a furniture manufacturer, who was Effie DeVaughn's father.


  • 1846-1949 (Bulk, 1876-1913)



1.01 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

The May Family operated the William H. May & Son Company, begun in 1852 and located just south of the Carlyle House on the one hunred block of North Fairfax Street, and later at 201-203 King Street. There are pictures of the company on its letterhead in the collection. The company manufactured plows, wagons and fertilizers and sold agricultural implements and seeds. It disappeared from the Alexandria City Directories after 1934. The Mays represented in this collection are William H. May (1822-1910), his son John W. May (1855-1930), John's wife Effie H. DeVaughn May (1859-1903), daughter Emily May, and son Carroll Hackney May (1882-1950). Effie May's father, James H. DeVaughn (1816-1899), and sister, Mary DeVaughn, also have materials in this collection.


The material is arranged either under the May Company or under the name of the family member concerned.

Related Materials

See Boush/Asher Family Papers (Box 234) for Mary May who married Samuel Boush. See also Alexandria vertical file, biographies - M for information on William H. May.
May Family Papers Finding Aid
Rochelle Boslego
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Local History and Special Collections Branch, Alexandria Library Repository

717 Queen Street
Alexandria VA 22314 United States