The Carlock/Denman/Irvin/Porter Collection contains chiefly personal correspondence, but also school records, calling cards, daily calendars, and photographs. The correspondence dates back to the 1850s with some scattered letters associated with the parents and grandparents of Daniel Enyart Denman of White Oak Grove, IL. Correspondence received individually by Armedia Charity Carlock and Daniel Enyart Denman first appears in 1874. The two, who married 9 February 1883, are the earliest “protagonists” of this collection. The letters and cards from family, friends and business contacts trace their family down to their granddaughter, Betty Belle (Irvin) Porter, born 19 April 1922, who donated this collection to the museum in the summer of 2004. Betty Belle passed away February 8, 2012 at the age of 89.
What can be found in this collection? There is, most obviously, a great deal of detailed (if sometimes spotty) history of the family members involved. However, even researchers who have no specific interest in the Carlock/Denman/Irvin/Porter family will find a window into life in central Illinois from the middle of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth. Nearly all letters address local weather, the health of family members, and when they last received a letter/when they expect to mail the current one.