Tag Archives: diaries

New Digital Collection: Travel Perspectives


Stewart Family Ledger and Scrapbook, available online through the NC Digital Collections.

The Travel Perspectives collection is now available online via the North Carolina Digital Collections. This collection features narratives and images of tourism as experienced by North Carolinians, found within the holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina. These documents consist of letters, scrapbooks, journals, photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, and other material related to the representation of the creator’s travels and experiences. The collection consists of items dating primarily from the 1850s through the 1950s, representing the first significant wave of mass tourism in which North Carolinians participated.

For more information on topics related to this collection, please check out this NCpedia page developed by the State Library:

Other resources:

Another digital collection of interest includes the Historic North Carolina Travel and Tourism Photos Project, which includes a series of photos, originally used in advertising campaigns to market the state as a travel destination, produced between 1929 and 1970 by the Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division.


Newly added World War I material

With the anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I approaching, here is a list of material recently uploaded to the World War I digital collection:

History of the North Carolina Council of Defense: 1917-1920, v.1-3, Joseph Hyde Pratt

In an attempt to garner a united national support for the United States’ involvement with the World War I effort, the U.S. Congress created the Council of National Defense with the passage of the Army Appropriation Act (39 Stat. 649) (also called the National Defense Act of 1916) on August 29, 1916. The Council of National Defense was a presidential advisory board that included six members of the President’s Cabinet: Secretary of War Newton D. Baker (chairman of the Council); Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels; Secretary of Agriculture David Houston; Secretary of the Interior Franklin Lane; Secretary of Commerce William Redfield; and Secretary of Labor William Wilson. The Council’s responsibilities included “coordinating resources and industries for national defense” and “stimulating civilian morale.” As President Woodrow Wilson said of the Council: “The Council of National Defense has been created because Congress has realized that the country is best prepared for war when thoroughly prepared for peace.” The work of the Council grew more significant when the United States entered World War I in 1917. The federal government held a conference on May 2, 1917, in Washington, D.C., to facilitate the organization of state councils of defense, to which Joseph Hyde Pratt, state geologist, was appointed to represent North Carolina. The federal government used the conference to ask state governors to create their own local councils of defense to support the national war effort, with the goal being to cooperate with other state councils and the federal government in organizing and directing the resources of states, making them available and effective for national use. The state councils would also recommend changes in state laws to state legislatures, with the goal of the changes aimed at increasing the nation’s ability to respond to the needs of the war effort. At the start of America’s entrance into the war, the Council coordinated resources and industries for national defense; stimulated civilian morale; coordinated the work of state and local defense councils and women’s committees; and later studied problems of post-war readjustment of soldiers to civilian life and reconstruction of the nation’s infrastructure. The Council of National Defense ceased its operations in June 1921. The History of the North Carolina Council of Defense, 1917-1920, written and compiled by Joseph Hyde Pratt, provides detailed information about the purpose, organization and inner-workings of North Carolina’s Council of Defense.

Red Cross histories: Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Burke, Chatham, Cleveland, Cumberland, Currituck, Gaston, Guilford, McDowell, Moore, Onslow, Orange, Pitt, Randolph, Stanly, Vance, Wake, Watauga, Wayne, Wilkes.

John B. Exum, Jr. correspondence, 1918-1919

Correspondence written by John B. Exum, Jr. while he served during the war. Exum, Jr. writes almost exclusively to his mother about where he is stationed, what the conditions are like where he is, if he has seen any Wayne County boys, and what he is experiencing in Europe during his service.

Thomas P. Shinn, war diary, 1917-1918

Thomas “Jack” Pinkney Shinn, born in Cabarrus County, North Carolina and raised in Kannapolis, served in World War I as an Army infantryman. Shinn recorded his experiences and unit’s movements through the end of 1918 in this diary. Accurately capturing the life of an Army soldier on the frontline during the Great War, Shinn provides the personal insight of a North Carolinian faced with soldierly monotony and the horrors of the trenches.

James G. Lane, correspondence, 1918

Correspondence written by James G. Lane while stationed stateside during WWI in 1918. They include letters written to his sister, Bessie E. Lane, his father, and his grandfather, about his experiences in the Navy and his views on the war in Europe. Lane held the rank of Quartermaster First Class (Aviation), and was stationed stateside at various U.S. Navy training installations throughout his service.

Isham B. Hudson, war diary, 1918

Isham B. Hudson’s war diary contains short entries covering his military unit’s movements throughout France in the fall of 1918. He notes his role in the Battle of St. Mihiel in September 1918 briefly in reserve forces, and discusses hearing the news of the Armistice that ended World War I on November 11, 1918. More than half of Hudson’s diary details his experience in terms of weeks documenting his role with the Allied occupation of Europe from December 1918 through April 1919. The back of Hudson’s diary features short poems he wrote and those he took from other sources, as well as names and information on friends and fellow soldiers.

The Wharton Jackson Green Travel Journal

[This blog post comes from Fran Tracy-Walls, Private Collections Archivist.]

John Coffey (NC Museum of Art Deputy Director and Curator of American and Modern Art) emailed me on August 31, 2011 with a strong recommendation–that the State Archives acquire an original journal European tour journal of North Carolina native Wharton Jackson Green. Coffey had extensively researched Green’s background and his purchase of a marble bust of John C. Calhoun, now in the North Carolina Museum of Art permanent collection. Mr. Coffey’s sources had included a 1987 transcription housed at the Northern Kentucky University library.

An introduction to the transcription indicated that the original was in the hands of a Green descendant, George Gibson Carey IV of Cincinnati. Once I located Mr. Carey I called him and explained the importance of the journals to future potential researchers at the State Archives of North Carolina and the benefits of preserving these records in our repository. In addition I told him of John Coffey’s scholarship at the N.C. Museum of Art. (As an example, in May of 2011, Mr. Coffey had spoken on the topic “The Curious Case of a Marble Bust of John C. Calhoun” at a conference in observance of the 150th anniversary of NC’s secession vote, as part of the North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial).

During our first phone conversation, Mr. Carey graciously agreed to consider a donation of the original journals (in two volumes), still in his possession. Understandably he wanted time to think about my request and to discuss it with his grown children. Once he made the decision to donate, Mr. turned the material over to an appraiser he selected closer to the Cincinnati area. The appraisal process took months, but Mr. Carey never showed irritation with my periodic efforts to “touch base” and to confirm my continued interest. In time, patience paid off for both of us. In early May of 2012 the appraisal process was completed, and Mr. Carey followed through with his original generous decision to donate the journals. The two volumes arrived in excellent condition on May 23.

Journal in two volumes of a tour of England, Ireland, France, Prussia, Austria, Italy, and Egypt made in 1858-1859 by Wharton Jackson Green, his wife Esther Ellery Green, and her friend Adeline Currier. First volume dated 21 July 1858-10 March 1859; second dated 18 March 1859-22 May 1859. It was on this journey that Green purchased a marble bust of John C. Calhoun by Hiram Powers (1805-1873). Powers, an American neoclassical sculptor, had gone to Washington, DC, in 1834, where he has met John C. Calhoun. However, in 1837 Powers settled in Florence, Italy, where he lived and worked until his death.

The journal volumes can be found in PC.2050, Wharton Jackson Green Travel Journal.

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)