Highlights of Private Collections Now Available

[This blog post was written by Fran Tracy-Walls, Private Manuscripts Archivist in the Special Collections Section.]

I am pleased to highlight private collections, most of which have become available for research during the last six months. At minimum these papers have a finding aid in the State Archives Search Room (SR) and a collection-level description online in the Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS), accessible via the State Archives website. Note that MARS entries are being updated, but may not yet show changes on the website. Some of these finding aids can be located online.

The collections below are listed generally from the earliest in terms of time span to the most recent. There is a wide representation of archival material from the 18th to late 20th centuries, and together they illustrate the depth and complexity of our state’s history and culture.

Clark and Hawkins Family Papers, 1812-1945; bulk 1829-1896. PC.2110. Families represented were prominent early 19th century plantation owners in Halifax County (Clark family) and Warren and Franklin counties (Hawkins family). David McKenzie Clark (ca. 1772-1829), Halifax County, was grandfather of a future chief justice of the state, Supreme Court Walter McKenzie Clark. Several of the elder Clark’s daughters and a granddaughter married into the Hawkins family. Dr. William Joseph Hawkins (1819-1894) married and fathered children by two of the Clark daughters and one Clark granddaughter. Hawkins was a physician, president of the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad, one of the founders and a president of the Citizens Bank of Raleigh. The collection includes personal correspondence, 1829-1895, of three generations of the Clark and Hawkins family and also a 1945 letter from a sixteen year-old descendant. Of particular interest are the letters written by the two fathers represented in the collection, David Clark and William J. Hawkins, each to a daughter. 1 box

John Bane (Bain) Papers, 1804-1885. PC.1917. Bane (ca. 1795-1882) spent his adult life in Orange County, North Carolina, in the vicinity of Hillsboro (now Hillsborough), the county seat. John Bane acquired a number of acres of land and made a living as a farmer. For a period of time, during the 1830s and beyond, Bain served as a judge of the Superior Court of Law and Equity, Hillsborough District. The papers include three letters, deeds and plats, a land processing notice, a power of attorney with authentication, and three documents relating to a law suit concerning a mill-dam. These papers function primarily as a supplement to public records in the State Archives. 1 box and 1 oversized box.

J.E. Mitchell Letter, 1847. PC.2102. One manuscript letter of J [John?] T. Mitchell, 14 November 1847, written from Camp Arispes Mills (possibly near Ramos Arizpe in the State of Coahuila), Mexico to his brother, A.A. Mitchell, Yanceyville, Caswell County, and written while in service during the Mexican War, possibly in the N.C. Regiment, Company G, composed of many Caswell County volunteers. 1 item.

Brown, Mayo, and Hopkins Family Papers, ca. 1865-1900. PC.2072. Addition to this core collection of two boxes of photographs of the Brown family, some Parker family members, and other related lines, natives of Edgecombe County.

Adam F. Yandle Papers, 1867-ca. 1920. PC.2101. Consists of tax receipts on property in Mecklenburg and Union County, petition for removal of a freedman, 1867, a road order, land plats and map, certificates and material pertaining to his service as a private, promoted to second lieutenant in the 37th N.C. Infantry, application for his headstone, and miscellaneous material, 1867-circa 1920; and 2011, 1 box

William H. Howerton Family Papers, 1861-1917. PC.2025 During the 1850s Dr. Howerton (1831-1885), established a medical practice at Richlands, Onslow County, where he married Amanda Koonce, He served briefly as captain of Company H, 37th Regt., North Carolina Troops, 1862. Following the war Dr. Howerton became active in Republican Party politics and successfully stood for election to the office of Secretary of State in 1872. He later operated the Warm Springs Hotel and the Swannanoa Hotels in the western part of the state. Subsequently he and his family moved to Morehead City, where he died suddenly in 1885. The papers concern aspects of his career and his family, including several photographs and a manuscript letter written by Dr. Howerton’s son from Cuba, 1898, during the Spanish American War. 1 box in addition to four account books from Dr. Howerton’s tenure as hotel proprietor.

Malinda Thompson Letters, 1863. PC.2109. Malinda Thompson (ca. 1807-d. aft 1880) of Hillsboro, Orange County was widowed in 1849. From that time on, throughout the Civil War period and beyond, Malinda was dependent upon the help of her three sons to maintain the family farm. John W. Thompson enlisted for the war, Confederate Army service, on July 15, 1863 and was assigned to Company E., Col. Peter Mallett’s Battalion, N.C. Troops. Consists of three manuscript letters, dated May 20, May 31, and September 22, 1863. The first of the letters was written by Malinda, with women who were part of the extended family including messages in the first and second letters. The first two letters especially reflect the sorrow inflicted on them by the war, their hope for its imminent end, and the severe hardship placed upon the women at home physically, emotionally, and psychologically. 1 box

Pauline Williams Koonce Family Papers, 1875-1940, bulk 1900-1926. PC.1874. Pauline Williams (1895-1994) was born in Richlands, Onslow County, and grew up in Wilmington. She attended Meredith Academy in Raleigh and was graduated from the State Normal and Industrial College in Greensboro (later Woman’s College, then UNC-G). There are a number of loose photographs and albums relating to her and her father’s friends and family, and the Watson, Denton, and Koonce families of Raleigh, Wake County. Other materials relate to Pauline’s student life, her teaching career, and cultural events she attended, from 1908 to 1926, prior to her marriage to Marvin Burke Koonce. They include composition books, a small quantity of letters from two principals regarding her application to teach, 1916; materials and programs from concerts during her post-graduate studies at Columbia University, University of Chicago, University of California, Berkley; various programs from cultural events in the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach area, and Atlanta, Georgia; and some published bulletins concerning North Carolina public schools, including New Hanover High School. Of particular interest are a 1922 concert program of the Colored Community Jubilee Singers, Harbor Island, featuring the Negro Anthem and various spirituals and a program during the same period of the renowned tenor, Roland Hayes (1887-1977). Hayes is said to have shattered the color barrier in the world of classical music. 8 boxes.

Matlock and Taylor Family Papers, 1905-1909. PC.2033. Papers include 165 letters, with most written by Rufus Jefferson Matlock (1881-1953), a native of Alamance County. He attended Trinity College, Durham, then served as principal of Hookerton Collegiate Institute, Greene County. There he met Palmetta Taylor (1884-1945) of Hookerton, and a graduate of the institute. The letters document their courtship from December 1905 until just before their wedding June 16, 1909. The letters also shed light on the social customs, Alamance and Greene counties, and some of the college life of Trinity College during that era.

Williams, David Marshall (“Carbine”), Letters, 1927-1934. PC.1753. Firearms inventor, Williams was born and grew up on his family’s farm near Godwin, Cumberland County. During a raid on an illicit still in 1921, Williams, twenty-one at the time, was involved in a shoot-out. Though he denied killing the deputy sheriff, he averted possible capital punishment by pleading guilty to second degree murder. While serving a projected twenty to thirty-year sentence, Williams won the admiration of the warden who saw his skill in repairing and designing guns, and was assigned to the prison machine shop. He is recognized as designer of short stroke piston, which made possible the M-1 carbine rifle. Includes twenty-six manuscript letters and one invitation sent 1923-1934 to David Marshall (“Carbine”) Williams, primarily during the time of his incarceration at the State Farm at Caledonia, Halifax County. The majority were written by a brother, Robert Wesley Williams, who was then a student at Elon College. The letters reflect the ongoing, strong support of his family during his incarceration. Three of the letters were accessioned in 2002; and an additional twenty-four items in 2010. (1 box).

Blanche Penland Browder Papers, 1857, ca. 1930-1998. PC.2085. Papers consist of sixteen daily journals written by Blanche Browder from the 1950s-late 1990s; a set of second copy typed letters from her mother, Ollie Lance Penland, 1939-1965; financial and travel journals; a large folder of creative writing, some from her days as a student at the University of North Carolina, ca. 1930; two notebooks of remembrances, along with a typed manuscript extracted from the notebooks, and some other biographical writings; diplomas from Young Harris College and the University of North Carolina; marriage certificate; an 1857 deed, Clay County, not part of the county records, State Archives; miscellaneous papers of her husband, Nathaniel C. Browder, a native of Catawba County, and a group of his self-published books, and several books of North Carolina genealogical interest. A native of Clay County, Mrs. Browder lived in other states, and settled in Raleigh in 1981 where she lived until her death in 2000.

H. Ziegler Papers and Funeral Home Records, 1901; 1931-1943. PC.2105. Ziegler (1859-1948), a native of Germany, settled in Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County. The papers consist primarily of funeral expenses, and information about the deceased during the years 1931-1943, including place and dates of birth and death; location and date of funeral service and clergyman; occupation, and parents’ and spouse’s names, etc. There are four licenses of F.H.Ziegler, two dated 1901, one illegible, and one dated 1933. Three were state-issued licenses for embalming, and the last a U.S. Commerce Department license for operation of a steamboat or small vessel, Norfolk District. 2 boxes.

Stewart Family Sanitorium Ledger and Scrapbook, 1911-1913; 1923.PC.2064. J.W. (John Washington?) Stewart was owner of the Stewart Sanitorium and the Hazelton Hotel and other businesses located in early 20th century New Bern. A volume called a case book includes entries dated from 1911-1913. It served as a register of patients who stayed various lengths of time, as they recovered from a variety of medical conditions. The book names physicians assigned to individual patients, with a brief diagnosis noted, but no confidential medical history and no indication that the book was maintained by medical staff. The other volume is a travel scrapbook created by Miss Eleanor Grace Stewart (1899-1927). It describes her travel during the summer of 1923 to New York City and to Europe. It includes her handwritten descriptions of landmarks, and contains programs, travel brochures, commercial postcards, and a small quantity of photographs–many with handwritten captions and notes.

Raymond A. Stone Papers, 1960-1968. PC.2081. Born in 1927 in Franklin County, Stone was graduated from Wake Forest College, 1950, and was awarded a Ph.D. in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was appointed initially by Governor Luther Hodges, 1960, to serve on the N.C. Citizens Committee for Better Schools and retained by Governor Terry Sanford. Subsequently he served as a special advisor on education to Sanford, involved with the task of establishing the community college system in North Carolina. He presided over the founding of the first community college in the state and served for twenty-five years as president of Sandhills Community College, Moore County. Papers include correspondence, notes, lists, programs, reports, and clippings that document his work, circa 1960-1964, as executive secretary of the N.C. Citizens Committee for Better Schools. Includes some material between 1964-1968 during the beginning of Dr. Stone’s tenure as community college president. 4 boxes.

Helen Mahlum Papers, 1972-1985. PC.1749. A native of Indiana, Mahlum (1915-1997), moved in 1958 to New Bern, Craven County where she emerged as a civic leader active in various organizations, including the local, state, and national Federation of Business and Professional Women. A volunteer office manager for North Carolinians United for ERA, Mahlum was also chair of North Carolina Women’s Equity League, a member of the North Carolina Council on the Status of Women and other organizations. Papers relate to the Equal Rights Amendment, particularly the effort of various organizations to bring about its ratification in North Carolina, 1972-1982, which was ultimately defeated by the state legislature; and material concerning the North Carolina Council on the Status of Women (now Council for Women), an agency was established by Executive Order in 1963 by Governor Terry Sanford. 11 boxes.

Vernon Malone Papers, 1976-2009. PC.2096. Malone (1931-2009), a native of Wake County, was a graduate of Shaw University, Raleigh, and studied further at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the University of Minnesota. A career educator, Malone served as chairman of the Wake County School Board; was elected as a Wake County Commissioner (1984-2002; chairman, 1990-1994); and North Carolina State Senator (2003-2009), where he was serving at the time of his untimely death. The papers reflect Malone’s passion for education and his efforts to chart a path of progress and interracial cooperation even before his early days as a Wake County school board chairman in the 1970s. Papers include Malone’s handwritten and typed speeches that he made in Wake County and beyond to organizations, churches, and school groups, from 1976 to just before his death in 2009. 6 boxes. In addition to these materials, some are still being processed.

George Stevenson Collection, PC.1990. Now available for use in the Search Room: 3 boxes. 1 box of land 17th century land records research; 1 box of land research cards; 1 box of Henry McCulloh and Associates land transactions. The late George Stevenson’s research (though probably only a portion) will be of great interest to many researchers because of his extensive knowledge and exhaustive research in colonial and early North Carolina history. We are seeking additions to this collection from the many people George wrote and/or to whom he provided valuable research.

Miscellaneous Papers, PC.21. ca. 1689-1912. This has been a long-established holding in the area of Private Manuscripts and Papers, but the separate finding aids and work sheets had not been revised nor ever consolidated. Also, the last two boxes of the collection had not been described. There is now a consolidated online finding aid. This is a collection of miscellaneous items from the colonial period to early 20th century, and includes original material and along with a number of photocopies and transcripts from other repositories. Papers from the colonial period includes a contemporary abstract of letter about Governor Dobb’s marriage to girl of fifteen; duplicate of instructions from General Assembly to agents in London concerning internal taxation and the right to emit currency (1768). Of particular interest to researchers are Boxes 6 and 7. Box 6 (1775-1869) consists of photocopies that consists for the most part of material concerning the Transylvania Company lands and other western lands. These papers include descriptions of areas visited in the west and business activities and prospects for future development in Tennessee and Kentucky. Other items in this group include: mention of privateering (1778, 1812), Revolutionary War news (including disease and activities of Congress, 1778), report of vandalism and degradation at University and bright prospects for Davidson College (I869), garrisoning of fort at Beaufort by Negro troops (1867), politics (1840-1860), and various other papers of private financial matters. Examples of material from Box 7 (1758-1910) include a letter from James K. Polk to David L. Swain, 29 Apr. 1874; a statement of “The Negro Problem,” 1890; and deeds and land records, from Glasgow County (defunct) and Lenoir County (burned court houses) 1790-1910, that serve to supplement public records. 5 volumes and 2 boxes.