Diaries of Sally Independence Foster Donated to UNA

Jun. 28, 2012


FLORENCE, Ala. – The diaries of Sally Independence Foster, written in the Civil War era and beyond while she was a resident of the University of North Alabama’s Rogers Hall, were recently donated to the UNA Archives Collection by her family. The donation was made by Foster’s great grandson, James T. McDonald Jr., and his wife, Mary, of Atlanta; and her great granddaughter, Flora Speed, and her husband, James, of Marietta, Ga.

“These are documents of historical significance and have been in this family for many years. We are honored that UNA has been entrusted with them to preserve them for future generations of students and scholars,” said Dr. William G. Cale Jr., UNA president.

The donations include two diaries, spanning 1861-87, as well as business records dating back to 1835. Foster’s first diary entries were made when she was 14 years old.

McDonald said her entries from the Civil War era were particularly significant as she wrote from a house, Rogers Hall, occupied by soldiers, including Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forest.

Speed said Foster wrote not only about everyday life but also about “how a teenager felt about the events that were going on at that time. … She wrote about different people in the community and her own family who went to fight in the Confederate Army. She wrote about people she knew who had been killed.”

McDonald and Speed approached UNA about donating the documents in an effort “to get them to a place where they had meaning and where they would be kept together,” McDonald said.

UNA, he said, was an ideal fit as the location of his great grandmother’s former home and as a university that will preserve the documents as valuable research tools for future generations.

Rogers Hall became a part of the UNA campus in 1948 and has undergone renovations in the years since, including a complete renovation in 2007.

The UNA Archives Collection is housed in the university’s Collier Library.