Margaret Eliza Cotten, Cultural Exchange with Japan, and the Crenshaw Family

Three new finding aids have been added to the Private Collections finding aids page:

Cotten, Margaret Eliza, Journal, 1853-1854
Margaret Eliza Cotten (1835-1895) was born in Tarboro, Edgecombe County, N.C., the first-born of John W. Cotten (circa 1811-1845 and Laura Placidia Clark Cotten (1816-1864). Following the death of her father, Margaret moved to Raleigh with her family, where she was educated at St. Mary’s School. A year and a few months after the last entry in the journal, she married Joseph Adolphus Engelhard. This antebellum journal was maintained when Margaret Cotten was living with her mother, younger siblings, and grandmother in Raleigh, N.C. during her seventeenth and eighteenth years, from October 1, 1853 to July 12, 1854. Entries include accounts daily life and of trips to Tarboro and to Wilmington, N.C. to visit with family and friends and to take part in social events and Christmas holiday celebrations. The journal also provides a glimpse of the thoughts and aspirations of a well-connected, upperclass young woman in antebellum Raleigh, a town of about 4,500 people during the period recorded. (1 item)

Crenshaw Family Papers, 1833 – 1944
The Crenshaw family can trace its history in Wake County to James Crenshaw, a native Englishman, who settled in the area during the mid 1700s. His children included Samuel B. Crenshaw (circa 1790-1828) and William M. Crenshaw (1783-1861). William was a founding trustee and the first treasurer of the institute that became Wake Forest College. Samuel and his wife, Eliza (Harris) Crenshaw, built Crenshaw Hall on land given her in 1824 as a wedding present from her father, Robert. Louisa was the only child of Samuel and Eliza, who returned to Crenshaw Hall after the death of her first husband, William Norman. Eventually, after marriage to her first cousin, John Martin Crenshaw (son of William), Louisa persuaded John to make his home with her at the Crenshaw Hall. Later generations lived in and some held title to the beloved homeplace, including Mattie Williams Jones (1875-1961), and some years later, her son Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr., (1903-1989). Jones served in World War II as a corporal in the United States Marine Corps, and like most family members, was buried in the Crenshaw Hall Cemetery. Papers include original documents and letters and two oversized manuscript volumes, with the papers spanning the 19th and 20th centuries and relating to the Crenshaw Family and related families, who lived primarily at Crenshaw Hall, near Wake Forest, Wake County. The earliest document in the papers are the leaves of a disbound memorandum book that appear to be financial records and lists made by the first treasurer of the institute that became in 1839 Wake Forest College. The last documents include military-related items, three photographs, and a group letters to Marine Corporal, Thomas Plummer Jones, Jr., 1943-1944. Among the papers are financial records, particularly those of John Martin Crenshaw, who was involved in farming and tenancy operations, the cotton brokerage business, a grist mill, and other interests. Especially notable are the courtship letters from three generations, written from 1853-1857; during the 1890s; and from 1942-1944. (3 boxes, 1 cubic feet.)

Cultural Exchange Project: Mito Second High School and Daini Senior High School, Mito, Japan with Central School, Greensboro, N.C., 1939-1946
It appears that these papers are the result of a cultural exchange after the close of World War II among a school identified as Central School, Greensboro, N.C. (the now defunct Central Junior High School), and two Japanese schools, Mito Second High School and Daini Senior High School, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. One postcard identifies a librarian at Central School, Miss Mary Robert Seawell (1905-1980), who may have had major responsibility for this exchange. This collection, circa 1939-1946, contains two albums, one with narrative and photographs of girls in classes, cultural and school activities, and one with post cards including Japanese scenes and landmarks; two hand written and illustrated manuscript story books; artwork, and other material indicating a cultural exchange between the schools. Of particular interest are the album with photographs and narrative, and the two manuscript books depicting Japanese folk legends, handwritten in English with illustrations apparently painted in watercolors. (1 box)

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