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Francis Orray Ticknor Collection

Identifier: MC 19

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, biographical works about Ticknor, manuscripts and typescripts of some of his poems, a bound typescript of Ticknor letters from December 18, 1839 to January 17, 1870 collected by M. T. Furlow, 18 letters of the Cutliff family (1898-1953), a copy of The Poems of Francis Orray Ticknor edited by Michelle Cutliff Ticknor, and a typescript copy of Sarah Anne Cheney's 1934 Duke University MA thesis on Francis Orray Ticknor.


  • Majority of material found within 1839 - 1953

Biographical / Historical

Francis Orray Ticknor was born on November 13, 1822, probably in Fortville (or The Old Fort) in Jones County, Georgia, to Dr. Orray Ticknor and his wife, Harriet Coolidge Ticknor. Dr. Ticknor had moved to Savannah, Georgia in 1815 from Columbia, Connecticut where he met and married his wife . Francis, or Frank as he was usually known, was the last of three children. He was five months old when his father died in March of 1823. Sometime after her husband's death, Mrs. Ticknor and her children moved to Columbus, Georgia. In 1835 Francis left Columbus to attend school in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, after which he studied medicine in Philadelphia and New York. Around the new year of 1844 he settled in Shell Creek, Lumpkin County, Georgia, and began a medical practice. On January 18, 1847 Dr. Ticknor married Rosalie Nelson, daughter of Major Thomas Maudit Nelson of Virginia, who had moved to the Wynnton area of Columbus, Georgia in 1840. Around 1850 Dr. and Mrs. Ticknor moved from Shell Creek to Torch Hill, about seven miles from Columbus. The Ticknors had 8 children, of whom 5 reached adulthood. Besides medicine, Ticknor was involved in horticulture (especially the cultivation of roses) and poetry. The Southern Cultivator published both prose articles and poems by Ticknor. During the Civil War Dr. Ticknor worked in several hospitals around Columbus. His best-known poem, Little Giffen of Tennessee, was written during the War about one of the wounded he tended. The Civil War and its aftermath left the Ticknors and the town in reduced circumstances, but he continued to work as a doctor and to write until shortly before his death on December 18, 1874 in Columbus and is buried in Linwood Cemetery. Two incomplete collections of his poems were published after his death. The first was edited by Kate Mason Rowland and published by J.B. Lippincott and Co in 1879. The second was edited by his granddaughter, Michelle Cutliff Ticknor, and published in 1911.


1 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Collection was recieved by Virginia C. Lee in 1977

Related Materials

Allan Brockman Research Papers, MC 293

Dillingham Family Collection, SMC 31
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

4225 University Ave
Columbus Georgia 31907 United States