Alan Boles Collection

1857-1967. 1/2 box (15 folders), 100 items.MSS. COLL. #138

NOTE: The numbers cited in parentheses throughout the inventory, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.


The focus of this relatively small collection mainly pertains to the Civil War, reflecting the collecting interests of the man for whom the collection is named. It is particularly strong in materials relating to various activities of the Confederate States of America and the U.S. Army.

Researchers interested in coins and currency from that period will find a number of examples that may be useful. In addition, the collection contains a letter written by Robert E. Lee in 1869 to the Patrick Henry Literary Society of Goochland Co., Virginia.

Arrangement: The Alan Boles Collection is arranged into five series, and within each series folders are arranged alphabetically. The following headings represent the five series: Correspondence, ca. 1861-69; Documents, nd; Financial, 1857-1925; Maps, 1943-67; and Printed, ca. 1861-1965.

Provenance: This collection was donated by Alan Boles to the Greensboro Historical Museum in 1987. The archival material, donated simultaneously with an object collection consisting of 178 items, was assigned accession number 1987.143.179.

Processing: This collection was organized and the finding aid prepared by Francis D. Pitts III in December 1997.


In 1987 Alan Boles requested that the Greensboro Historical Museum assist him in getting an appraisal for the collection of historical artifacts he had amassed during his lifetime. After receiving the appraisal, Boles donated the bulk of his collection, mainly items related to the Civil War, to the Museum.


Types of materials in this collection include coins and currency, circulars correspondence, financial and military documents, maps, and stamps.

The bulk of the collection pertains to the Civil War. Researchers will find an interesting assortment of items that shed light on various aspects of activity during the period. Of particular note are the documents relating to the Confederate States of America, such as the bond for five hundred dollars (3:2), the receipt and voucher from the Quartermaster’s Department (3:3), and the Form of Oath (5:3). Also of interest are the documents pertaining to the U.S. Army. Included in this group are discharge papers (5:4), military passes (5:6), and General Orders, Numbers 27 and 78 (5:6-7).

The covers (1:1) graphically depicting Civil War-era sentiments are unused. They are interesting in what they reveal about those who produced them.

Though not related to the Civil War but also of interest, is a letter written by Robert E. Lee in 1869 to the Patrick Henry Literary Society of Goochland Co., VA (1:2). In the correspondence, Lee acknowledges the “sense of honor” he feels having been elected an honorary member of the Society, but expresses doubt about whether he will be able to attend, due to the distance he would have to travel, any of its meetings.

Of the coins, currency, and stamps in folders 3:1,4 and 5:5, the most interesting items are the Confederate, North Carolina, Greensboro Mutual Life Insurance and Trust Co., and USA banknotes and CSA stamps. In this group there are also commemorative stamps and tokens that may be of some interest.

The collection also contains a number of maps that researchers may find useful. In folder 4:1 are four reproductions of earlier renderings – two colonial, one Early National, and one Civil War — and three originals. The most interesting of the latter group are two WWII aeronautical charts that identify “active air defense zones” and “danger areas” on the Atlantic coast of the United States. In folder 5:1 researchers will find the “New Historical War Map” (1864), which is a military map of the border and southern states. On the opposite side of the map is stamped the following information: “Price 50, cts. For the benefit of a ONE ARMED SOLDIER.”


1.  Correspondence.  2 folders (5 items).  Ca. 1861-69.

The most significant item in this series is a letter written in 1869 by Robert E. Lee to the Patrick Henry Literary Society of Goochland Co., VA. The series also contains four covers with Civil War-era sentiments graphically depicted on the front of each one.

2.  Documents.  1 folder (1 item).  Nd.

The one item in this series consists of a small strip of paper bearing the signature of George H. Thomas, a southern-born Union general.

3.  Financial.  4 folders (30 items).  1857-1925.

This series contains a collection of coins, tokens, currency and a CSA bond. The most unique items, however, are a receipt for “Tax in kind” and a “Soldier’s Ticket” issued by the Richmond & Danville R.R. Co., both authorized by the Quartermaster’s Department of the Confederate States.

4.  Maps.  1 folder (7 items).  1943-67.

Four of the maps in this series are reproductions of ones made originally in the colonial, Early National and Civil War periods. There are also two interesting regional aeronautical charts that identify “active air defense zones” and “danger areas” on the Atlantic coast of the United States during WWII. In addition, this series contains a 1967 National Geographic map of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand.

5.  Printed.  7 folders (57 items).  Ca. 1861-1965.

This series contains the most interesting assortment of items in the collection. Noteworthy materials are from the Civil War period and include the “New Historical War Map” (5:1); circulars (5:2); a CSA Form of Oath (5:3); a Union soldier’s discharge papers (5:4); and US Army passes, General Orders, and a “signals” communication (5:6-7). Folder 5:5 contains a collection of stamps, the majority of which are commemorative.


11Correspondence-- Covers (ca. 1861-65)
2 -- Lee, Robert E. (1869)
21Document -- Autograph (nd)-- Autograph (nd)
31Financial-- Coins (1857-1925)
2-- CSA bond (1863)
3-- CSA Quartermaster's Dept. (ca. 1861-65)
4-- Currency (1862-64)
41Maps (1943-67)
51Printed -- Booklet (1864)
2-- Circulars (1862)
3-- CSA Form of Oath (1862)
4-- Partridge, J. A. -- Discharge papers (1862)
5-- Stamps (ca. 1861-1965)
6-- U. S. Civil War documents (1862-65)
7-- U. S. Civil War documents -- New Bern (1863)

Index to the Alan Boles Collection

NOTE: The numbers following the name/subject entry — e.g. 1:1 — indicate in which Series#:Folder# (or, if no “:”, Series only) that name/topic can be found. Dates of the items are given in parentheses for an individual Series/Folder or, if at the end, for the entire subject/name entry.  The abbreviation GSO indicates a Greensboro association.

Civil War: 1-5 (ca. 1861-65)
Coins: 3:1 (1857-1925)
Confederate States of America: bond, 3:2 (1863); covers, 1:1 (ca. 1861-65); currency, 3:4 (1862-64);
Form of Oath, 5:3 (1862); map, 5:1 (1864); quartermaster’s dept., 3:3 (ca. 1861-65); stamps, 5:5 (ca. 1861-65)
Connecticut Fifth, The: circular, 5:2 (1862)
Covers: 1:1 (ca. 1861-65)
Currency: 3:4 (1862-64)

Foster, Maj. Gen. John Gray (USA): 5:7 (1863)

Greensboro Mutual Life Insurance & Trust Co.: 3:4 (1862)

Hilton Head Island (SC): USA military docs., 5:6 (1865)

Lee, Robert E.: letter (ALS), 1:2 (1869)

Maps: 4:1 (1943-67); 5:1 (1864)

New Bern (NC): USA military docs., 5:7 (1863)
North Carolina: currency, 3:4 (1862-64); maps, 4:1 (reproductions, 1966)

Partridge, J. A.: USA discharge papers, 5:4 (1862)
Patrick Henry Literary Society (VA): 1:2 (1869)

Railroads: 3:3 (ca. 1861-65)
Richmond and Danville R.R. Co. (VA): CSA soldier’s ticket, 3:3 (ca. 1861-65)

Soldier’s News-letter (MS): 5:2 (1862)
Stamps: 5:5 (ca. 1861-1965)

Thomas, George H.: autograph, 2:1 (nd)

United States of America: Civil War documents, 5:4,6-7 (1862-65)

Washington, DC: military passes, 5:6 (1862-64)