In 2018, the VMHC was gifted an extraordinary collection of books, documents, and art associated with the Stewart and Bryan families of Richmond, Virginia. The collection—which contains more than 2,300 volumes and nearly 12,000 manuscript items, including personal correspondence, business records, and photographs—spans three centuries of Virginia history and will serve as an invaluable resource for researchers and museum guests.
The collection traces the families’ lineage beginning with Bryce Stewart (1757 – 1827) of Rothesay, Scotland, whose two sons, John Stewart (1806 – 1885) and Daniel Stewart (1809 – 1889), immigrated to the United States and settled in Richmond to join their uncle as tobacco merchants. John and Daniel later formed a partnership and invested in numerous enterprises, including the tobacco trade, railroads, turnpikes, and real estate. The collection contains their business correspondence, including rare documents associated with the slave trade in Virginia and Tennessee. Also prominently featured are multigenerational records documenting daily life at Brook Hill, the family ancestral home in Henrico County, Virginia.