Silva family papers
New Search | Return to Search Results | View/Save/Print PDF

Silva family papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Silva, Margaret, approximately 1886-1952.
Creator: Silva, William Posey, 1859-1948.
Creator: Teasdale, May Silva, 1861-1954.
Title: Silva family papers
Dates: 1907-1950
Extent: 1.35 cubic feet (2 boxes, 5 volumes)
Identification: MS 0729

Biographical/Historical Note

William Posey Silva (1859-1948) was born in Savannah, Georgia, the son of James Sylvester Silva and Margaret Susan Askew Silva. He was educated in the public schools of Savannah and attended the University of Virginia. For several years he was with his father in the chinaware business in Savannah. In 1887, he moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he established a chinaware business. He also went to France to study landscape painting. Silva returned to Chattanooga in 1909, moved to Washington, D.C. in 1910, and then to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in 1913, where he built his own art gallery. He lived in Carmel the remainder of his life. He became a very successful and well=known landscapist, winning prizes and honorable mentions in many exhibitions. He also had one-man exhibitions in several cities.

May Silva Teasdale (1861-1954) was the sister of William P. Silva. She lived in Savannah all of her life. She attended public schools in Savannah and Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, where she majored in music. Her first husband was Plutarch Timayenis. In 1900 she married, as her second husband, William Harry Teasdale (d. 1949), Superintendent of the Savannah Cotton Exchange for 35 years. She was very active in musical circles in Savannah and as a composer of songs, a vocalist, organist, and teacher. She was a charter organizing member of the New York Singing Teachers' Association, the Savannah Music Club, the Philomonic Club, and the Music Study Club. Her publications include Self Help for Vocal and Piano Students in Tone Relation and Intonation, Progressive Game of Music Composers, Sure Guide Practice Chart, and several others. She was instrumental in having music instruction started in the public schools.

Margaret Silva (d. 1952) was the daughter of May Silva Teasdale by her first marriage. She was educated in the Savannah public school system and taught in the elementary schools for a few years. She then went into library work in Savannah. She moved to New York where she remained for several years. On her return to Savannah she again became a member of the Savannah Public Library staff, a position she held for 15 years until shortly before her death. In her last years she compiled information on her uncle, William P. Silva - his life, career, whereabouts of his paintings, etc.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of William Posey Silva, May Silva Teasdale, and Margaret Silva, particularly those focused on William Silva's career and the musical activities in Savannah during the 20th century. William Silva's papers include correspondence, post cards of his paintings, exhibition catalogs of his works, articles and clippings regarding his career, a notebook containing copies of exhibition reviews, list of his paintings and their owners, and an original pencil sketch. Part of this collection was compiled by his niece, Margaret Silva.

May Silva Teasdale's papers include a loose-leaf notebook of letters from the family of her first husband, Plutarch Timayenis, in Smyrna and Athens, Greece, correspondence, and "Twilight Musicales," a notebook containing clippings and other materials regarding the Twilight Musicals at the Teasdale Home. Also included are clippings on the Savannah Music Club, the Savannah Music Teachers Association, programs from recitals by Mrs. Teasdale's students, the Scrapbook Music Club, and other musical activities. The collection also contains a list of members of the Savannah Music Club and of musical people in Savannah, miscellaneous musical notes and exercises, papers on her Opera Study Class, Music Study Club, and a minute book from the Savannah Music Teachers' Association.

The Margaret Silva papers in this collection include correspondence, as well as photographs of the front of James S. Silva's store in Savannah, James S. Silva and family, and a snapshot of William P. Silva in front of a house in Spencerville, Maryland.

The collection also contains four scrapbooks containing information on Savannah during the time period.

Index Terms

Artists (visual artists)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.
Georgia--Social life and customs.
Letters (correspondence)
Sheet music.
Silva family.
Silva, Margaret, approximately 1886-1952.
Silva, William Posey, 1859-1948.
Teasdale, May Silva, 1861-1954.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Material was acquired from daughter of May Silva Teasdale, one of the creators.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], Silva family papers, MS 729, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mary Teasdale Oemler, 1952.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List




188William Posey Silva
scrapbook of clippings, etc., regarding his career and paintings. Some of this material is duplicated in folders above. There are several items not pasted in, including an original pencil sketch, list of prices for paintings, clippings, exhibit catalogs, etc. His obituary notices are in this last group. In the scrapbook is an original letter written to his mother from Washington, D.C., December 1, 1909, enclosing an exhibit catalog.






11William Posey Silva: correspondence, 1907-1948 ( 30.0 items. )
The letters 1907-1925 are typed copies in one folio. Letters and cards, 1908-1947 are from him to his sister May Silva Teasdale and to his niece, Margaret Silva. Some are from Margaret Silva to him with his replies noted on them. There is a letter of Frank Silva to his niece, Margaret, with her reply, regarding William P. Silva, 1945. There are two 1948 letters of condolence on his death.
2William Posey Silva ( 13.0 items. )
Post cards of some of his paintings, catalogs of exhibitions featuring his paintings and one catalog of a gallery where his paintings are in the permanent collection.
3William Posey Silva ( 16.0 items. )
Articles and clippings regarding his career. Contains print of a photograph and lists of whereabouts of some of his paintings.
4Letters to Margaret Silva from individuals and institutions owning Silva paintings, 1945 ( 28.0 items. )
5William Posey Silva ( 1.0 items. )
loose-leaf notebook containing copies of reviews of exhibits and paintings by Silva, 1928-1940 and a list of owners of paintings, alphabetical by state. Some of the paintings on the lists in Folder 3 have not been entered in this notebook. In the handwriting of Margaret Silva.
6May Silva Teasdale ( 1.0 items. )
loose-leaf notebook of Timayenis letters. These are letters from the family of Mrs. Teasdale's first husband, Plutarch Timayenis I Smyrna and Athens, Greece. Those from 1889-1931 are copies in the hand of Margaret Silva, sent to May Silva, her son, Tom, and her daughter, Margaret. There are originals written to Margaret, 1929-1935. Included is some information on Demostenes T. Timayenis, and a list of the immediate family members. The back of the notebook contains writings of Margaret Silva.
7May Silva Teasdale ( 10.0 items. )
personal. Letter from her cousin, Julia B. Walker, June 1947; letter from her daughter Mary Teasdale Oemler, December 6, 1947; post card from Savannah Public Library acknowledging gift of her book, July 10, 1944; copy of review of her book from Musical America, December 14, 1907; press release on her book, The Progressive Game of Opera Composers, 1935; "A Verse for Marie on going to bed;" Diary, January 1-April 15, 1950, inserted is an account of the illness and death of her husband, December 21, 1948-January 15, 1949; NYSTA Bulletin, February 1948; January and December 1950.
8May Silva Teasdale ( 1.0 items. )
"Twilight Musicales." Notebook containing clippings and other materials re the Twilight Musicals at the Teasdale home, November 1936-June 1937, December 1938-December 31, 1939. There are also clippings regarding the Savannah Music Club, the Savannah Music Teachers Association, "Ten Afternoons of Opera," recitals by Mrs. Teasdale's students, the Scrapbook Music Club, and other musical activities, list of members of Savannah Music Club and of musical people in Savannah.



29May Silva Teasdale: musical notes ( 14.0 items. )
Miscellaneous musical notes and exercises; preface and foreword to an unnamed book; folio containing "Interval Jingles for Juniors," by May Silva Teasdale, January 1929.
10May Silva Teasdale ( 2.0 items. )
notebook of clippings on pre-Christmas music in Savannah, December 1949; contains other clippings re church music in Savannah, recitals and miscellaneous items, and notes from Opera News regarding opera performances, 1938-1940; notebook with lists of musicians in Savannah, members of music clubs, etc.
11May Silva Teasdale ( 1.0 items. )
Opera Study Class, 1908-1909; Music Study Club, 1939. notebook containing programs, opera outlines, etc. for the Opera Study Class, organized by Mrs. Teasdale; also list of members of her Music Study Club. Contains clippings of musical interest locally and generally.
12May Silva Teasdale ( 1.0 items. )
Savannah Music Teachers' Association minute book, February 13, 1922-November 5, 1923. Contains some clippings and a program of the Spring Concert, May 24, 1935, of the Music Teachers' Association. Mrs. Teasdale was recording secretary, 1922-1923.
13May Silva Teasdale ( 17.0 items. )
Savannah Music Teachers' Association correspondence, 1922-1924; also a few vouchers.
14Margaret Silva papers, 1940-1942 ( 3.0 items. )
Letter to her from Susie Fodor, December 14, 1940; note by her to Margaret Godley, undated and written on an envelope, sending her some items; excerpt from The Horn Book, July-August 1942, with articles by her friend Josiah Titzell re Rachel Field.
15Photographs ( 3.0 items. )
front of James S. Silva's store in Savannah; James S. Silva and family; snapshot of William P. Silva in front of a house, Spencerville, Md., August 29, 1911.
16Programs of musical events in Savannah, 1900-1950 ( 42.0 items. )


32 scrapbooks, mostly of Savannah interest ( 2.0 items. )