About the Pearces

The Pearce Civil War Collection began in 1991 when Charles S. Pearce, Jr. purchased the first document as a gift for his wife, Peggy. That gift, a letter from the battlefield at Antietam written by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain to his wife Fanny, sparked an ongoing interest that led to the collection of these historically significant documents. In 1996, when the Pearces decided that their collection needed a home where it could be viewed and researched, they placed it in the care of . Through the generosity of the Pearces, the collection continues to grow.

Charles S. Pearce, Jr. was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1919, the son of Charles S. Pearce, Sr. and Vivian Coates Pearce. Raised in Chicago, Charles, Jr. attended prep school at Los Alamos Ranch School near Santa Fe, New Mexico. He graduated from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, with a Bachelor's degree in English in 1942. He served in the United States Army during World War II, first in field artillery and subsequently in tank destroyer and intelligence.

Peggy Hallstead Pearce was born in 1918 in Penn Yan, New York, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Walter G. Hallstead. She was educated at Middlebury College in Vermont and Cornell University, graduating cum laude in 1941 with a Bachelor's degree in languages.

The Pearces married on March 13, 1942 in Towanda, Pennsylvania. After the war they lived in Chicago before moving to Texas in the early 1950s to reside in Kerens on a ranch that had been in his mother's family for three generations. The Pearces have two children, Charles S. Pearce III and Vivian Allan Pearce. They have five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Charles and Peggy Pearce were honored in 1997 by the Texas Library Association with its Benefactor's Award for outstanding service to Texas Libraries. In 1999, the Dallas Civil War Roundtable honored the Pearces with the Grady McWhiney Award for their contributions to scholarship and preservation of Civil War history. On March 13, 2001 the Pearces were honored by the Texas State Legislature for their gift and ongoing support of the Civil War Collection at Navarro College.

Mrs. Pearce passed away on February 2, 2005 surrounded by her family. A memorial service to honor her life was held February 8, 2005 in the Cook Center on the campus of Navarro College.

The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110. Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.