Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry

Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry
Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry in 1901
Personal details
Born (1825-06-05)June 5, 1825
Lincoln County, Georgia
Died February 12, 1903(1903-02-12) (aged 77)
Asheville, North Carolina
Nationality American

Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry (June 5, 1825 – February 12, 1903) was an American Democratic politician and diplomat who served as an officer of the Confederate States Army in the American Civil War.


Curry was born in Lincoln County, Georgia, the son of Jabez and Rebecca Jordan Curry. His father, scion of a prominent Southern family, was cousin of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas and husband of Tabitha Burwell Jordan, J.L.M. Curry's aunt. Curry grew up in Alabama and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1843 where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Literary Society. While studying at Harvard Law School, Curry was inspired by the lectures of Horace Mann and became an advocate of free universal education. He served in the Mexican-American War; in the Alabama State Legislature in 1847, 1853, and 1855; as a Democrat in the United States House of Representatives in 1857–61; and in the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States. As a lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate Army, he was a staff aide to General Joseph E. Johnston and General Joseph Wheeler.[1]

After the war he studied for the ministry and became a preacher, but the focus of his work was free education in the South. He traveled and lectured in support of state normal schools, adequate rural schools, and a system of graded public schools. He was president of Howard College, Alabama, and a professor at Richmond College, Virginia. From 1881 until his death he was agent for the Peabody and Slater Funds to aide schools in the South and was instrumental in the founding of both the Southern Education Board and the first normal school in Virginia, now known as Longwood University. The Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia is named for him, as is the Curry Hall dormitory at Longwood, and the Curry Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Curry served as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Spain during 1885–1888 and as ambassador extraordinary to Spain on the coming of age of King Alfonso XIII in 1902. His publications include works on education, American government, and Spanish history. He was awarded the Royal Order of Charles III and several honorary degrees. Curry died on February 12, 1903, and is buried in Richmond, Virginia. His wife is buried in Talladega, Alabama, where their home, the J.L.M. Curry House, also called the Curry-Burt-Smelley House, still stands, a National Historic Landmark today.


Until October 2009, Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry was honored by one of Alabama's two statues in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection. It was donated in 1908 and sculpted by Dante Sodini. In October 2009, the statue was replaced with a statue of Helen Keller, and Curry's statue went to Samford University.[2]


  • Constitutional Government in Spain (1889)
  • William Ewart Gladstone (1891)
  • The Southern States of the American Union (1894)
  • Difficulties, Complications, and Limitations Connected with the Education of the Negro (1895)
  • Civil History of the Government of the Confederate States, with some Personal Reminiscences (1901)


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