Tag Archives: Special Collections

Lillian Exum Clement Stafford Papers, PC.2084

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

Announcement of Lillian Exum Clement Stafford Papers, PC.2084, and Tribute to Exum, the American South’s First Female State Representative, and to her Father

Exum and George Clement at in a field, Buncombe County, ca. 1916.

Exum and George Clement in a field, Buncombe County, ca. 1916.

I am very pleased to announce that the Lillian Exum Clement Stafford Papers, PC.2084, are now processed and available for research. These papers are particularly valued because Lillian, known within her family and by most others as Exum, has had a significant legacy as the first female state representative in North Carolina. Notably, she was also the first female legislator in the American South. Following her election in November 1920, Exum has often been quoted as telling a reporter, “I am by nature, very conservative, but I am firm in my convictions. I want to blaze a trail for other women. I know that years from now there will be many other women in politics, but you have to start a thing.” [News and Observer. Jan. 7, 1921].

Much has already been written about Exum, her life and public service. Naturally, a comprehensive history and documentation of her accomplishments goes far beyond the scope of this piece. Instead, I will narrow my focus to what has recently evoked my curiosity about who and what inspired her success. Since Father’s Day is celebrated this month, I thought it would be revealing to shed some light on Exum, alongside her father, George Washington Clement (ca. June 17, 1852–Dec. 1942). And thankfully, the papers do contain a few items that illustrate a strong father and daughter connection. Additionally, a study of the lives of George and his daughter suggests that both shared similar traits. These include very strong determination and a work ethic, along with convictions, faith, and ideals, such as dedication to family, church, and community–surely among the profound influences in her life.

Exum and George Clement at the intake of the North Fork of the Swannanoa River, ca. 1916

Exum and George Clement at the intake of the North Fork of the Swannanoa River, ca. 1916.

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25th Anniversary of the Persian Gulf War

[This blog post comes from Matthew Peek, Military Collection Archivist for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Oil fields and refineries still burning in Kuwait, Frederick E. Stoehr Papers, Military Collection, State Archives of North Carolina

Frederick E. Stoehr of Carolina Shores, North Carolina, worked in Kuwait in 1992 as an engineer with a task force from Foster Wheeler, an international engineering and construction company, to rebuild three heavily damaged oil refineries in the kingdom after they had been set on fire during the Persian Gulf War by Iraqi military forces. Stoehr took photographs, such as this one, of the oil fields and refineries still burning in Kuwait. Frederick E. Stoehr Papers, Military Collection, State Archives of North Carolina.

January 16-17, 2016, marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, part of what we now call the Persian Gulf War. The Persian Gulf War began on August 2, 1990, when the nation of Iraq invaded the kingdom of Kuwait. Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein initiated the invasion and occupation of Kuwait with the hopes of acquiring the nation’s large oil reserves, canceling a large debt Iraq owed Kuwait, and expanding Iraqi power in the region. On August 3, 1990, the United Nations Security Council issued a call for the invading Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. After Iraq annexed Kuwait as part of its country on August 8, 1990, Iraq’s threat to the world’s largest oil producer—Saudi Arabia—led ultimately to the United Nations authorizing on November 29, 1990, use of force by “all means necessary” after January 15, 1991, to expel Iraq from Kuwait. The military buildup for a potential armed conflict by a coalition of 700,000 troops from 39 countries became known as Operation Desert Shield (though there are variations in the total number of troops involved). About 540,000 of these troops were from the United States, and it is reported around 75,000 service members from North Carolina military installations served during the war period. Iraq grew its occupying army in Kuwait to about 300,000 troops.

After the January 15, 1991, deadline for Iraqi troop withdrawals from Kuwait passed without any compliance, United States President George H. W. Bush announced on January 16, 1991, the start of Operation Desert Storm, intended to expel occupying Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Kuwait was liberated on February 27, 1991. When Iraqi troops withdrew from Kuwait at the end of the war, they set fire in Kuwait to more than 600 oil wells and pools of spilled oil through explosive charges and other means. The sky throughout the country was filled with thick black smoke that blocked out visibility all around as coalition troops moved in. The war ended officially on February 28, 1991, when President Bush declared a cease-fire. Iraq accepted the terms of the United Nations cease-fire agreement on April 6, 1991. There were 383 U.S. fatalities in the Persian Gulf War, of which there were 17 who were from North Carolina.

Engineers and construction workers attempting to repair refineries in Kuwait amidst burning oil fields and refineries in 1992

Another image of engineers and construction workers attempting to repair refineries in Kuwait amidst burning oil fields and refineries in 1992. Frederick E. Stoehr Papers, Military Collection, State Archives of North Carolina

The Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina would like to honor those North Carolinian military service personnel who served in the Persian Gulf War and those 17 North Carolinians who gave their lives in the conflict. We work to preserve the memory and service history of the state’s recent veterans through conducting oral history interviews with Persian Gulf veterans and collecting records from the war period. In order to commemorate our veterans’ service, we use original materials to demonstrate the different ways in which military service and conflict has impacted the service member, North Carolina, the United States, and the world. In order to help us have enough materials to develop educational materials and support historical research, we ask that if you are a Persian Gulf War-era veteran and have any original Persian Gulf War photographs, documents, maps, training manuals, or other archival materials, or would like to conduct an oral history interview about your service in the war, please contact the Military Collection at 919-807-7314, email at matthew.peek@ncdcr.gov, or visit our webpage at http://archives.ncdcr.gov/Public/Collections/Non-Government/Military-Collections to learn more about the Military Collection. We thank you again for your service.

Student Records from Brookstone College’s Charlotte and Greensboro Campuses

[This blog post was written by Gwen Thomas Mays, Organization Records Archivist.]

The majority of the student records from Brookstone College’s Charlotte and Greensboro campuses are now in the custody of the State Archives. Former students may request copies of their transcripts – please refer to the instructions on the Archives website: http://archives.ncdcr.gov/Public/Services/Academic-Transcripts-Of-Defunct-Colleges.

State Archives Needs Your Help to Preserve North Carolina’s Military Heritage

[This press release comes from Matthew Peek, Military Collection Archivist for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Cover of The Wildcat, published in France by the Eighty-First Division, May 10, 1919

Cover of The Wildcat, published in France by the Eighty-First Division, May 10, 1919.

Do you or your family wonder what to do with original historic materials from veterans’ military service? Are you looking for ways to preserve the legacy of North Carolina veterans? Are you a North Carolina veteran who has original materials from your military service, and might be interested in having them preserved?

The Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina works to document and preserve records detailing North Carolina’s rich military history from colonial days to the present.

The Military Collection collects, arranges, describes, preserves, and makes accessible to the public historical materials that document the history and development of North Carolina’s military history for conflicts involving its citizens, residents, and enlisted military personnel in North Carolina. The State Archives’ Military Collection provides a professionally-curated research collection of military history that supports public and educational programming; scholarly and student research; and the public interest in relation to the mission of the State Archives of North Carolina.

“As we have come to the centennial of World War I, the 75th anniversary of World War II, and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we would like to remind the public that the State Archives cares greatly about our servicemen and servicewomen’s sacrifices and dedication to their country, comrades, and families,” says Matthew Peek, military collection archivist at the State Archives.

“We offer veterans and their families a location to preserve the materials of veterans’ military service, that is freely accessible to the public and work to utilize our Military Collection to educate the public about military service and culture,” he concludes.

Military records or materials extend beyond combat or training to include items that were created during wartime and document reactions to the conflict. Letters written between a service member and their family or friends, documents detailing a non-combatant veteran’s daily work, training manuals, maps and architectural drawings, photographs, films, print-outs of social media posts from a service individual—these all constitute military materials to be preserved.

If you or your family may be interested in donating your historic military materials, you can call the Military Collection Archivist at 919-807-7314, or email him at matthew.peek@ncdcr.gov.

You can also visit the Military Collection’s webpage to learn more about the collection and how to donate your military materials: http://archives.ncdcr.gov/Public/Collections/Non-Government/Military-Collections.

New Private Collection: The Leopold Graf Family Gold Mining and Land Business Papers, 1880-1909

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

Announcing a new Private Collection available for research: The Leopold Graf Family Gold Mining and Land Business Papers, 1880-1909. PC.2115. Gift of descendant, Germaine Beard Whitaker, Salisbury, N.C., 2015

Map of the Great Atlas Mines, part of PC.2115

Map of the Great Atlas Mines, part of PC.2115.

Periodically throughout the 19th century, gold fever hit native North Carolinians along with immigrants who chose not to strike out for California. The excitement also attracted investors from the American northeast and from Europe. This phenomenon is evident in the papers of the Graf family, natives of Baden, a state in southwestern Germany. They had found initial success in Newark, N.J. as shoe and boot makers, and leather-work proved profitable for them before and after the Civil War. Yet Leopold Graf (ca. 1839-1907) probably dreamed of much grander profits when he gained title in 1881 to 1,300 acres in the Gold Mining District of Rowan County!

The Graf collection does not hold any clues as to the genesis of Leopold Graf’s interest in North Carolina gold, still one can surmise a possible source of such interest. A bicentennial history published in 1999 by the N.C. Division of Archives and History, Gold Mining in North Carolina (Richard Knapp and Brent Glass), describes visits to the state by northern capitalists and the influence of widely circulated reports in journals and advertisements. These proclaimed the ongoing availability of gold in the region, particularly the Gold Hill District, and the existence of several minerals that could be mined inexpensively in one’s spare time. Additionally, they often cited the advantages of cheap labor, now that slavery had been abolished, and touted the value of the state’s abundant timber and water resources.

Even though the Great Atlas Mines did not fulfill the promise the name suggests (and did not receive a mention in the Gold Mining history), at least part of the family established a permanent home in North Carolina. Noteworthy for North Carolina genealogy and family history, younger son, Albert Herman Graf, settled permanently in nearby Salisbury. By the time of the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Albert was head of a lumber manufacturing business, and his descendants have been in the area and state for well over one hundred years to date.

Of particular interest in the collection is a letter written by renowned German mechanical engineer, Carl Adolf Thies, written August 25, 1891, (at that time he was Supt. Gen. Manager, Haile Goldmining Co., Lancaster Co. [Kershaw], S.C.) to Charles Taylor, U.S. Assay Office, New York. Thies (1832-1917) had perfected a relatively inexpensive chlorination process of extracting gold from less valuable ores/minerals, and was invited to demonstrate the procedure at the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893. He refers to a visit of Stuart W. Cramer (in charge of the U.S. Assayer Office, Charlotte) to the Gold Hill District. The letter ends with Thies saying that he has “often wondered why Charlotte has not been selected as a place to erect [?] Chlorination [works]…a work of this kind would stimulate mining & would pay much.” (Thies and his family settled in Charlotte by the late 1890s, and their home is on the National Register of Historic Places.).

A full finding aid is available in the Search Room, and an online finding aid is planned at a future date. An abstract is as follows:

Leopold Graf (ca. 1839-1909) was born in Baden (a southwestern German state) to Wendelin and Brigada Grief (Graf) and immigrated to the United States with his family probably during the 1850s. He and his father were shoemakers in business in Newark, Essex, New Jersey. Before or by the early 1880s Graf had developed a business interest in silver and gold and he began acquiring land in a noted gold mining region of North Carolina, Rowan County.

Papers include maps and surveys, such as the Great Atlas Mines, 1,300 acres, 1881; certified copy of certificate of organization and business prospectus of the Beam Gold Mining Lumber and Manufacturing Company, 1893; deeds, bullion receipts, company prospectus; letter of 1891 by renowned German mechanical engineer, Carl Adolf Thies; and miscellaneous papers related to land and to gold mines and mining.

Extent: 1 box; two oversize map folders.

Other gold mining related collections in Private Collections, and the Account Books subset, State Archives of North Carolina:

  • Argo Mining Co. Account Book, AB.538.
  • Gold Hill Copper Company. AB.442; MfP. 104
  • Gold Hill Mining Company Papers.MfP.104.
  • Mann-Arrington Gold Mining Company Account Books, AB.537.1-4
  • Mecklenburg Iron Works Records, MfP.235.1-10

Sources include:

United States Federal Census, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1910. Richard F. Knapp and Brent D. Glass, Gold Mining in North Carolina: A Bicentennial History (Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, NC DCR, 1999) [See especially, Chapter 4, “The Gold Hill Mining District, 1865-1915;” and Chapter 5, “Other Mining Activity, 1915-1999.”


Local History through the Camera Lens

[This blog post was written by Kim Andersen, Audio Visual Materials Archivist in the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Announcement for the event: North Carolina's Past Through The Films of Century Film Studios

Come see campaign coverage of Governors Bob Scott, Dan K. Moore, James E. Holshouser, Jr., Terry Sanford, and Jim Hunt; sponsored films for NC law enforcement agencies, the Boy Scouts, and the North Carolina State Fair; commercials for the Record Bar, Mt. Olive Pickles, and Duke’s Children’s Classic golf tournament and a host of other topics (even NC State Football!) that the Century Film Studios in Raleigh produced between the 1950s and 1980s! These films and more will be showcased on Tuesday evening, October 13, 2015, at a special screening and discussion event at NCSU’s Hunt Library.

What: Local History through the Camera Lens

When: Oct. 13 / 7:00pm-9:00pm

Where: James B. Hunt Jr. Library on the NCSU campus

1070 Partners Way, Raleigh, NC 27608

More: https://www.facebook.com/events/643812085754446/ and https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/event/north-carolina%E2%80%99s-past-through-films-century-film-studios

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/133205518

The Century Film Studio Collection is part of the AV Materials holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina. Century Film Productions (AKA Century Studios; Century Films) was a Raleigh-based film studio owned and operated by O.B. (Ollie) and Lynn Garris. O.B. Garris, who also worked during his career at WNAO and WRAL, was a prolific cameraman, photographer, and filmmaker, and his work provides a rare opportunity to peek at media production from the 50s-80s and see some of the Triangle area and North Carolina in that era. The State Archives was very fortunate to have benefited from the expertise of film archivist Melissa Dollman, who processed the collection at the Archives, secured grant funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation to have two of the films restored, and has continued to do extensive research on the collection.

Melissa Dollman will discuss her research on the Century Films and the phenomenon of local media production along with Dr. Devin Orgeron, associate professor of Film Studies at NC State, Kim Andersen of the State Archives of North Carolina (and NC State alumnus), and Skip Elsheimer, film collector and owner of A/V Geeks (and also an NC State alumnus).

This program, a collaboration between the NCSU Libraries, NC State’s Department of English, the State Archives of North Carolina, and A/V Geeks, is free and open to the public. It will be fun for the whole family. Please bring your parents and grandparents. They might recognize things we don’t! They might even see themselves!

Please contact Kim Andersen (kim.andersen@ncdcr.gov) if you have questions.

Charles A. Farrell Collection on Flickr

[This blog post was written by Kim Andersen, Audio Visual Materials Archivist in the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

The Charles A. Farrell Collection, PhC.9, is one of the most outstanding and well-loved photograph collections in the State Archives of North Carolina.  As of today the entire collection of well over 3000 images is online via the State Archives Flickr site!

Photograph of a woman in a field near Duck, NC. Call number: PhC_9_2_85_37a

Photograph taken near Duck, NC, Dare County, no date; estimated 1935-1940. Call number: PhC_9_2_85_37a. From the Charles A. Farrell Photo Collection, PhC.9, State Archives of North Carolina.

The bulk of the photographs in the collection were taken by Charles A. Farrell between 1925 and 1940 in association with his work as a commercial photographer in Greensboro where he owned and operated the Art Shop for many years.  Farrell also took a significant number of photographs of coastal North Carolina in the late 1930s.  A brilliant and prolific photographer, Farrell photographed a variety of diverse subjects including traditional coastal life in Onslow County prior to the construction of Camp Lejeune, the Cherokee Indian Fair in the mountains of North Carolina, and aviation including pictures of Charles Lindbergh in Greensboro.  The collection also contains older family photos and images captured by Farrell’s wife, Anne Farrell, a gifted photographer in her own right, during her travels in the state.  Now all these photographs are available to the world via the Web.  Please enjoy and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

For more information on Farrell, the photographs here in the State Archives, and related collections at UNC-Chapel Hill, please contact Kim Andersen, AV Materials Archivist (919/807-7311, kim.andersen@ncdcr.gov), and see the following:

Finding Aid to the Charles A. Farrell Collection, PhC.9, State Archives of NC — http://ead.archives.ncdcr.gov/phc_9_farrell_charles_a.xml

Boats in Manns Harbor on the Cashie River. Call number: PhC9_4_149_8

April 1941 – Manns Harbor in Dare County, boats on the Cashie River. Call number: PhC9_4_149_8. Photo by Anne Farrell. From the Charles A. Farrell Photo Collection, PhC.9, State Archives of North Carolina.