William R. McMahan Collection

Identifier: MSS.0278

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

This .21 linear feet collection contains one handwritten diary from the Civil War, a typescript of the diary, and a book from 1895.


  • 1861-1865; 1895

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection may be viewed only in the reading room of Special Collections in the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Collections should be requested 2-3 days prior to visiting in order to facilitate easier access. For questions or to request a collection, contact specialcollections@vanderbilt.edu.


William R. McMahan was born in 1843 in Indiana. At the age if eighteen, he enlisted as a private for service in the Union Army with the Fifty-eighth Volunteer Infantry on September 10, 1861. His diary relates military life, and various Civil War campaigns: Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga, and Atlanta. At war’s end he was discharged having obtained the rank of First Lieutenant. After returning from the army he studied medicine and in 1868 he graduated from Rush Medical College of Chicago. He was faculty member of Evansville Medical College from 1882-1884.

Listed in the back of the diary is a list of monies borrowed and/or loaned, a list of wounded soldiers. Included in the typescript are notes from John J. Hight’s diary [original not available],

The collection was donated by his grandson, A. B. Nickey.


.21 Linear Feet (1 Half Hollinger box)


This small collection contains one handwritten diary from the Civil War, a typescript of the diary, and a book from 1895.

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the William R. McMahan Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


About this Site

This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

Requesting Materials

Each finding aid contains a link to request materials from the collections. Collections can also be requested by emailing the repository directly through the library website. Each repository has its own location, hours, and contact information. Please consult the repository with questions about using the materials. Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the repository’s reading room. In many cases, the collections are stored off-site and require advance notice for retrieval.