The Cabell Family Papers

William Cabell portrait

The history of Virginia and that of the Cabell family are inextricably linked; indeed, since about 1726, the Cabells have been one of the Commonwealth’s most interconnected and influential families. This site offers a broad introduction to the Cabell family and to the extraordinary archival material that Cabells in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries left behind.

Originally created in 2003, this site was updated in January 2021 to incorporate recent scholarship based on research in the Cabell Family Papers held by the University of Virginia and other repositories. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor, Professor of History Kirt von Daacke, and other UVA faculty members are among those who have demonstrated in indelible fashion the vast potential of the Cabell Family Papers for illuminating the history of Virginia, the United States, and the University of Virginia. Of special note are the inspired uses historians and genealogists have made of the Cabell Family Papers for documenting the history of slavery in Virginia and its built environment, and especially for recovering the stories of the thousands of enslaved persons who spent part or all of their lives in servitude to members of the extended Cabell family. Much more could be done, however, and we invite all researchers to avail themselves of this remarkable resource.

The Cabell Family
Genealogy of the first three generations of Cabells in America, with biographies of several of the more prominent family members.

Cabell Contributions to American History
Cabells have served their nation as soldiers, statesmen, authors, educators, and many things besides.

The Cabells and Their Times
Historical context for the Cabells, including a general introduction to the political, religious, and economic issues of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Virginia.

Cabells and the University of Virginia
Present at the founding, Cabells have been involved in the life of the University ever since.

Selected Cabell manuscripts from the University of Virginia’s Special Collections Library, made available online.

Research aids, including a searchable database with entries for over one thousand manuscript collections relating to the Cabell Family.

Presented by the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia