This collection (46 items) contains 44 letters that lawyer and congressman Levi B. Vilas wrote to his brother and mother after moving from Vermont to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1851. Vilas discussed family finances, politics, and his impressions of the South while traveling in 1856 and 1857. The collection also includes 1 letter by Harrison Vilas and 1 photograph.
Levi B. Vilas often discussed his family's financial situation, particularly related to their estate in Vermont. Between 1860 and 1861, he expressed concern for his mother's health and questioned the impact that her illness would have on the family. He also provided news of his wife and children, his business affairs, politics, and the local Democratic Party.
In 1856 and 1857, Vilas took extended tours through the South and reflected on aspects of southern life such as the importance of cotton and slave labor. During the Civil War, he expressed concerns for his 3 sons serving in the Union Army. Harrison Vilas wrote 1 letter to his wife and mother recounting a journey from Vermont to Wisconsin (April 27, 1853). The collection also includes a photograph taken in Madison, Wisconsin, of a bearded man sitting at a desk in a study; a manuscript note identifies him as "L.B. Vilas."