James Wormley Family Archive
Well, this is a collection of photographs and correspondence regarding family members from the turn of the century and the latter part of the 19th century, primarily revolving around James Wormley and the Wormley Hotel in Washington, D.C.
And James Wormley was your great-great-grandfather.
He would have been my great-great-grandfather, that's correct. He was an African-American who owned what has been characterized as the preeminent hotel in Washington. It was right at Lafayette Square.
And we have a picture of the hotel up here. It's no longer standing, unfortunately, but that's a marvelous old shot of it. Now, James Wormley also had another interesting distinction. In 1865, he was a participant in a fairly historic event. Can you tell us a little about that?
Yes, he was actually at the deathbed of Abraham Lincoln. He was always called whenever there was a time of emergency or urgency, and he actually was portrayed in the Littlefield picture of Lincoln's deathbed as the only African-American in that image.
Well, one of the things I think is so interesting about this is the range of your family archive. And you have photographs, wonderful tintypes. Here's a little broadside on the death of James Wormley. You have them in good albums here, where they're protected from handling and wear. You've got them labeled wherever you can, because memories fade, and if you know who someone is in a picture, get a label on it, as you've done. This is very unusual to see an African-American family archive of this extent. And I think just for its unusual qualities and his historic figure, I would value this at about $5,000 at least, maybe more.
Thank you very much, I appreciate that.
Thanks for bringing it in.
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