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Knut (Sargeant Prentiss) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • General

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: Sargeant Prentiss Knut papers
    Creator: Knut, Sargeant Prentiss, 1855-1939
    Identifier/Call Number: mssKnut
    Physical Description: 22.67 Linear Feet (20 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1830-1972
    Date (bulk): 1865-1938
    Abstract: A collection of letters and documents related to the life and work of American lawyer Sargeant Prentiss Knut.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Sargeant Prentiss Knut papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Miss Carolyn Pollard and Ward Pollard, June 1977.

    Biographical / Historical

    Sargeant Prentiss Nutt (who later changed his name to the old spelling, "Knut") was a Mississippi lawyer who was involved in Democratic politics. Knut was born approximately 1854, one of the eleven children of Dr. Haller Nutt and Julia Nutt; Dr. Nutt was a wealthy cotton planter at Natchez, Mississippi. In 1860, Dr. Nutt began the construction of his mansion, Longwood, designed by the architect Samuel Sloan. A Union sympathizer, Dr. Nutt suffered tremendous losses during the Civil War. After his death in 1864, his widow filed a lawsuit against the Federal government in an attempt to recover some of the damages. Sargeant Prentiss Knut attended the University of Virginia, and was admitted to the bar at Natchez in 1878. He then practiced law in Washington, D.C., pursuing the settlement of the war claims of his own family and the claims of many other Southerners. In 1896, he married Lily Barret who died in 1898, a few days after giving birth to their daughter Lily Knut Brown. At her death, Lily Barret Knut willed her large estate to her daughter Lily Knut Brown; this will later became the subject of much litigation in which father and daughter opposed each other. Sargeant Prentiss Knut was also involved in Democratic politics and was the treasurer of the Mississippi Democratic Association in Washington, D.C; he died there in 1939 and was buried at Longwood.

    Scope and Contents

    A collection of 2,700 items from 1830 to 1972; it contains professional papers and personal, professional, and family correspondence of Sargeant Prentiss Knut. Included is material related to the Civil War claims regarding family property and other litigation, including the settlement of Lily Barret Knut's estate. The collection also contains material from Knut's professional and political career. Also included is correspondence of the Barret and Knut families, biographical information, notebooks, typewritten copies of the diaries of Dr. Rush Nutt (1805) and Rittenhouse Nutt (1834), newspaper clippings and ephemera.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Huntington Library Staff, circa 1985. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the finding aid derived from a legacy summary report.


    Organized in the following series: 1. Personal and family correspondence; 2. Business correspondence of the Nutt family; 3. Business, personal, and political correspondence of Sargeant Prentiss Knut; 4. Correspondence of the Barrett and Knut families; 5. Correspondence and documents relating to war claims; 6. Biographical and genealogical data; 7. Newspaper clippings and ephemera; 7. Sargeant Prentiss Knut's notebooks, diaries of Rittenhouse Nutt and Dr. Rush Nutt (copies).


    Former call number: mssKnut papers.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Lawyers -- Mississippi
    Lawyers -- Washington (D.C.)
    Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
    War damage compensation -- Southern States
    Wills -- United States -- Cases
    Mississippi -- History
    Natchez (Miss.) -- History
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    Estate records -- United States
    Family papers -- Mississippi
    Legal correspondence -- United States
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States
    Personal papers -- United States
    Professional papers -- United States
    Knut, Lily Barret, -1898
    Nutt, Haller, 1816-1864
    Nutt, Rittenhouse
    Nutt, Rush, 1781-1837
    Democratic Party (Miss.)