History and Genealogy


The Foster-Woods Papers are divided into two series: Foster family papers (Series 1) and Woods family papers (Series 2). Although the families intermarried, the papers have been divided for ease of understanding. Correspondence makes up the largest part of the papers, but accounts, land records, legal documents, and sketches are also included. The Foster family series includes letters of Ephraim H. Foster, prominent in Tennessee politics in the 1830s and 1840s and one of the founders of the Whig Party in Tennessee. The papers also include letters written by the children of Ephraim H. and Jane Dickinson Foster, particularly Robert III, John D., Julia, and Sallie. The double connection between the Foster and Woods families comes in the marriages of Robert Coleman Foster IV to Julia Hannah Woods and Joseph Leonidas Woods to Francis (Fanny) M. Foster (see attached family charts). Julia and Joseph Leonidas Woods were children of Robert Woods and Sarah West, thus connecting the West family. Julia eventually became the owner of her parent’s home, “Westwood.” Featured in the Woods family series are letters of Julia’s brother, James A. Woods, to his father, Robert Woods. There are also items in the papers relating to painter William E. West, brother of Sarah West Woods, and to Charles Armistead and his wife, Mary Robina Woods.


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