Robert Jesse Travis papers, 1884-1964

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Travis, Robert Jesse, 1877-1963.
Title: Robert Jesse Travis papers, 1884-1964
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 469
Extent: 2.5 linear feet (5 boxes) and 1 oversized papers folder (OP)
Abstract:Papers of military officer Robert Jesse Travis and his wife, Rena Falligant Travis concerning the life and activities of their family, including legal, military, and political matters.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift, 1965.


[after identification of item(s)], Robert Jesse Travis papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

In 2019, some medals in this collection were reappraised and deaccessioned. Appraisal decisions were made by Interim Head of Manuscript Processing Sarah Quigley.


Processed by KS, October 30, 1972

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Major General Robert Jesse Travis was born on January 13, 1877 at Conyers, Georgia, the son of Dr. A. C. W. Travis and the former Allie Livingston. He received no formal education until the age of twelve. In 1891, he enrolled in the preparatory school of Emory College; he later attended Emory College and was graduated with first honors in 1897. While at Emory, Travis distinguished himself as a champion debater, and as editor of two campus publications, the Phoenix and the Zodiac. He received scholastic medals in Greek, Latin, the natural sciences, and mathematics; he was also president of Phi Gamma society and a member of Chi Phi social fraternity. After graduation, Travis took a position as principal of a Madison, Georgia high school to finance graduate work in law and economics at the University of Georgia. He received the Bachelor of Law degree in 1899. While attending the University of Georgia, Travis was awarded the Ready Writers' Medal, was president of Phi Kappa society, and a charter member of the Sphinx men's honorary society.

General Travis' military career began in 1899, when he entered the 1st Georgia Infantry on August 25. He was transferred to the Coast Artillery in 1902. In World War I, Travis (then a colonel) commanded the 118th Field Artillery. For his valorous wartime service, he was awarded the Commander's Cross of Poland in 1919, but was not allowed to accept this award immediately, as the U. S. State Department did not officially recognize decorations of the Polish government at that time. Travis received his commission as major general in the National Guard in 1924. In the same year, while attending a convention of the National Guard Association in Louisville, Kentucky, Travis proposed to the convention that the National Guard become a part of the U. S. Army on a regular component basis. The convention adopted this resolution, as did Congress two years later. In 1932, General Travis participated in the dedication of a National Guard memorial in Paris, presided over by General John J. Pershing.

During his military career, General Travis served as president of the Georgia Reserve Officers' Association, the Georgia National Guard Association, and the National Guard Association of the U. S. respectively. In 1911, General Travis was officially retired from active military service at a military review at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in which 17,000 troops marched in his honor.

In addition to his military career, General Travis practiced law from 1899 until his retirement in 1951, serving twice as attorney for the city of Savannah, and also as attorney for McIntosh and Effingham counties. In 1932, Travis was an unsuccessful candidate for the Georgia Supreme Court. He was rent control attorney for Savannah under post-World War II restrictions set down by the federal Office of Price Administration (OPA).

General Travis was actively involved in a number of civic and fraternal organizations. He served as the first president of the Municipal League of Georgia. In 1918, Travis became Grand Master of Georgia Masons. In 1919, General Travis was decorated by the Grand Masonic Lodge of England. In addition to his Masonic activities, General Travis served as preceptor of the Scottish Rite, and prior to his death, he was the oldest living past potentate of Savannah's Alee Temple of the Shrine. Travis was a past president of the Georgia Sons of the Revolution and the University of Georgia Club. He was also a member of the Colonial Wars Society, the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, the St. Andrews Society, and the American Legion, among others. The Wesley Monumental Methodist Church of Savannah claimed General Travis as a member.

General Travis was an amateur historian of some note. He turned over historic deeds and records to the Georgia Historical Society, and his endeavors in this field were instrumental in leading to the discovery of a Revolutionary War battlefield in Savannah. After exhausting genealogical research, Travis also compiled a Travis family history, published in Savannah in 1954.

General Travis married the former Rena Falligant (1881-1964) of Savannah on November 27, 1902. The couple had four children: two sons, Brigadier General Robert Falligant Travis (1904-1950), USAF, and Colonel William Livingston Travis (l908-), USAF (retired); and two daughters, Rena Travis White (1915-) and Cecilia Darracott Travis Smith.

(1918-1950). Brigadier General Robert F. Travis, a distinguished flyer in World War II, and later commanding general of the Pacific Air Command until its termination in 1949, was the man for whom Travis Air Force Base in California and Travis Field, Savannah's municipal air-port, were named.

Publications of Robert J. Travis include: an article, "Sidney Lanier," in The Georgian, III, no. 4 (January, 1899); The Travis (Travers) Family and Its Allies: Darracott, Lewis, Livingston, Nicholson, McLaughlin, Pharr, Smith, and Terrell (Savannah, 1954); Travis, George M. Napier, and Robert L. Colding co-compiled the Masonic Manual and Code of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Georgia, 3 eds. (Nashville: Brandon Printing Co., 1920).

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Robert Jesse Travis from 1884-1964. The papers include letters (1905, May 15 - March 21, 1964), newsclippings (1892, September 29 - February 4, 1966), miscellaneous materials (pamphlets, programs, invitations, manuscripts, notes, etc.), photographs, several books, and a collection of Travis medals.

Correspondence and newsclippings in the collection concern the following: the fraternal activities of General and Mrs. R. J. Travis; Travis and Falligant family genealogies; legal, military, and political subjects; personal matters (esp., the death of Brigadier General Robert F. Travis on August 6, 1950); Travis Air Force Base, California.

Correspondents include: Garland T. Byrd, Florence A. Candler, William H. Duckworth, Dwight David Eisenhower, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, Lauren Foreman, Marvin Griffin, Lister Hill, Olin D. Johnston, George M. Leader, Douglas MacArthur, George C. Harahan, Edward Martin, Gerald P. O'Hara, Prince H. Preston, Richard Russell, John Sparkman, and Herman Talmadge.

Also included in the collection are miscellaneous materials on: the fraternal activities of General and Mrs. R. J. Travis; Travis and Falligant family genealogies; the National Guard; nature lore; political subjects; Savannah, Georgia.; "retired pay"; and Travis Field, Savannah, Georgia. Additional miscellaneous materials include: legal papers of the Travis and Falligant families; poems, stories, and articles (including several Travis and Falligant manuscripts); published manuscripts and letters of R. J. Travis (1899, January - March 3, 1957); Travis notes, lists, etc; miscellaneous pamphlets, programs, invitations; and the funeral plan for Brigadier General Robert F. Travis (August 14, 1950).

The Travis photograph collection contains pictures of: R. J. Travis and his wife, Rena, and their children and grandchildren: R. J. Travis' brother, John L. Travis, and his wife, Anna; Miss Louise Strong Falligant, sister of Rena Travis; and other members of the Travis and Falligant families. Also included are photographs of R. J. Travis in various military and fraternal groupings. In addition, there are photographs of the members of Travis' graduating class of 1897, Emory College, Oxford, Georgia.

The collection contains several books, including a souvenir postcard book of Reims, France 1914-1918 (Battle of the Marne); and "Wedding Bells" (Mrs. R. J. Travis' wedding book).

Medals in the collection include: three scholarship medals awarded to Robert J. Travis as a student at Emory College (originally, there were seven in the collection, but four of these were stolen from a Special Collections display case in 1971); the Commander's Cross, awarded to R. J. Travis by the Polish government; and four United Daughters of the Confederacy presidential emblems awarded to Mrs. R. J. Travis.

In addition to material in boxes, the collection contains eight medals (located in the Special Collections vault), and ten oversize photographs.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Geographic Names

Form/Genre Terms


Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 1905 May 15-December 8, 1944
1 2 1945 June 6-December 31, 1947
1 3 1948 June 5-July 20-1950
1 4 1950 August 6-September 6, 1950
1 5 1951 April 17-October 5, 1953
1 6 1954 February 26-November 18, 1955
1 7 1956 June 22-December 4, 1957
1 8 1958 February 25-November 28, 1959
1 9 1960 January 29-March 21, 1964, undated
1 10 Fraternal activities, August 2, 1919-February 16, 1964
1 11 Legal subjects, April 23, 1931-May 22, 1938
1 12 Military subjects, February 17, 1932-September 16, 1965
2 1 Personal/Family, September 29, 1932-February 4, 1966
2 2 Political subjects, March 8, 1936-July 8, 1962
2 3 Military career of Brigadier General R.F. Travis, March 28, 1943-March 23, 1950
2 4 Death of Brigadier General R.F. Travis, August 7, 1950-November 1950
2 5 Travis Air force Base, California, October 20, 1950-April 25, 1951
2 6 Miscellaneous subjects, May 7, 1933-July 16, 1962
2 7 Materials regarding fraternal activities of R.F. Travis, December 3, 1899-May 1963
2 8 Materials regarding fraternal activities of Mrs. R.F. Travis, June 6, 1934-August 1964
2 9 Genealogical materials, Travis and Falligant families
3 1 Legal papers, Travis and Falligant Families
3 2 Poems, stories, articles [includes several Travis and Falligant manuscripts]
3 3 Publications, manuscripts and letters of R.J. Travis, January 1899-March 3, 1957
3 4 National guard materials, March 27, 1929-October 1957
3 5 Newsclippings of the city of Savannah, Georgia
3 6 Correspondence, pamphlets, etc on retired pay
3 7 Funeral plans for Brigadier General R.T. Travis, 1950
3 8 Newsclippings, Articles, Pamphlets, etc.: Nature Lore 1913-Mar. 18, 1956
3 9 Pamphlets, Programs, Invitations, etc. 1902, Nov. 27-May 23, 1959
4 1 Pamphlets, Reprints: Political Subjects April 20 1944-April 7, 1959
4 2 Newsclippings, etc.:Travis Field, Savannah, GA. 1950, May 25-Jan. 30, 1960
4 3 Notes, Lists, etc.
4 4 Various members of the Travis and Falligant Families
4 5 Mr. and Mrs. John Livingston Travis
4 6 Louise Strong Falligant [Photographs and miscellaneous awards]
4 7 R.J. Travis, miscellaneous
4 8 R.J. Travis Military, 1884-1924
4 9 Rena Falligant Travis [Mrs. R.J.]
4 10 Children of General and Mrs. R.J. Travis
4 11 Miscellaneous Subjects
5 1 Class of Emory College, 1897, A-G
5 2 Class of Emory College, 1897, H-R
5 3 Class of Emory College, 1897, S-W and unidentified
OP1 - Photographs
Books and Medals
5 4 "Wedding Bells" [Mrs. R. J. Travis' wedding book]
5 5 "Battle de la Marne Reims" [Souvenir postcard book of Reims, France 1914-1918]
5 6 Emory College, scholarship medals, 1897
5 7 Polish Commander's Cross, 1918