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  Wikipedia: Beauvoir

Wikipedia: Beauvoir
Beauvoir
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Beauvoir is the historic post-war home and Presidential library of Confederate President Jefferson Davis located at Biloxi, Mississippi.


Beauvoir Main Residence

Description

Beauvoir is the retirement home of Confederate President Jefferson F. Davis. The compound consists of approximately 500 acres located in Biloxi, Mississippi across US Highway 90 from Biloxi Beach. "Beauvoir" means "beautiful view".

The compound consists of a Louisiana raised cottage-style residence, a botanical garden, a former Confederate veterans home, a modern gift shop, a Civil War museum, the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, and various outbuildings, and a historic Confederate cemetery which includes the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier.

The house is surrounded with cedars, oaks and magnolia trees and has an orange grove behind it. The home faces the Gulf of Mexico and Spanish moss hangs from many of the large old hardwoods.

Oyster Bayou, a freshwater lake once connected directly to Mississippi Sound runs across the property behind the main house. The lake is fed by a natural spring that lies on the grounds. The northwest portion of the estate is the site of a pre-urban hardwood forest with an environment similar to what existed in the area during the 1800's. Proposals currently call for restoration of Oyster Bayou to its original environmental state.


Jefferson Davis Presidential Library

History

Beauvoir was built by James Brown, a planter and entrepreneur in 1848. In 1873 the home was sold to Frank Johnston and soon thereafter to Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey. Dorsey was a novelist and intellectual from Natchez, Mississippi who was a staunch southern partisan. Dorsey lived in the home with her half-brother Beauvoir Dorsey and invited Jefferson Davis to live at Beauvoir and write his memoir The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.

Davis accepted Dorsey's invitation and moved into the Library Pavilion on the estate grounds in 1877 with his wife Varina Davis. Davis arranged to purchase the property in 1879 but Dorsey died before the sale and left the estate to Davis in her will. Davis and his wife moved into the house proper along with their two daughters. Davis lived in the home until his death in December of 1899. Varina Davis remained on the property for a short time while she wrote her book Jefferson Davis: A Memoir. She and her daughter Winnie moved to New York City in 1891.

Jefferson Davis left the estate to his daughter Winnie. But on her death the ownership of the property reverted to Varina who sold much of the property to the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1902 for use as a memorial to her husband and as the location of home for Confederate veterans and widows. A dozen barracks buildings, a hospital, and a chapel were built behind the home and approximately 2,000 veterans and their families lived in the home at one time or another during its existence. from 1903 to 1957.

In 1941 the Confederate cemetery and main house opened for tours. Eventually a Confederate Museum was opened on the site. Over the next few years a Jefferson Davis Gallery and gift shop were opened and the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier was established on the grounds.

In 1969 the home survived the onslaught of Hurricane Camille due to its construction and materials. The home did experience extensive flooding and a major fundraising and restoration effort was required.

In 1997 the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans opened the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library which contains the personal library and papers of Jefferson Davis, a biographical exhibit, and a theater and lecture hall.


Oyster Bayou on the Beauvoir Grounds

Collections

The Jefferson Davis Presidential Library maintains a collection of 6,500 books on United States history, southern history, and history of the American Civil War. The library also maintains collections of photographs, personal letters, manuscripts, envelopes, postcards, newspaper clippings, records of Confederate heritage organizations such as the United Confederate Veterans and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and records from the Veterans home that once was present on the grounds.

Activities

Several annual events are held each year including the Spring Pilgrimage in March, Confederate Memorial Day in April, The Fall Muster in October, and Candlelight Christmas in December.

Visitors to the site are presented with a biographical film on the life of Jefferson Davis narrated by an actor portraying Davis's long-time friend, Iowa Senator, George Wallace Jones.

Designations

The home and grounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Beauvoir is also designated as a National Historic Landmark and a Mississippi Historical Landmark.


Beauvoir is also the name of several communes of France:


  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona