The William Alexander Yancey Papers consist of his essays, sermons, correspondence, a program and certificate concerning Yancey's career as a teacher, Presbyterian missionary and minister. Many essays are autobiographical and include discussions of his years as a slave and his education. Other topics are religious or relate to such topics as "The School System of West Virginia", "The Old South and the Negro," and "The New South and the Negro." There is also one 1955 letter between two of his children.
Biographical/historical: Born a slave, William Alexander Yancey was a teacher and a Presbyterian minister and missionary. After the Civil War, he moved to Virginia and subsequently purchased some land there. In 1872 he converted to the Presbyterian faith. A year later, Yancey graduated from Hampton Normal School in Virginia. He taught school from 1873 to 1890, and was also a school principal. Yancey later became a Sabbath school missionary through the Presbyterian Church and was ordained a minister.