North Carolina. State Dept. of Archives and Histor.

Biennial report of the North Carolina State Department of Archives and History [serial] (Volume 1954/56) online

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of the


JULY 1, 1954

JUNE 30, 1956






Executive Board*

McDaniel Lewis, Chairman, Greensboro
Gertrude S. Carraway, New Bern
Fletcher M. Green, Chapel Hill
Clarence W, Griffin, Forest City
Josh L. Home, Rocky Mount
William Thomas Laprade, Durham
Mrs. P. F. Patton, Hendersonville

Christopher Crittenden, Director, Raleigh

For terms of office of members of the Executive Board, see below,
Appendix VII, p. 53.


To His Excellency
Luther H. Hodges

Governor of North Carolma

Dear Governor Hodges :

In compliance with Chapter 543, Session Laws of 1955, I
have the honor to submit herewith for your Excellency's
consideration the Biennial Report of North Carolina De-
partment of Archives and History for the period, July 1,
1954-June 30, 1956.


Christopher Crittenden,

Raleigh, July 1, 1956


A Period of Continued Progress 6

Division of Archives and Manuscripts 10

Division of Historic Sites 20

Division of Museums 30

Division of Publications
























Appropriations and Expenditures, 1930-1956 46

Appropriations and Expenditures, 1954-1956 46

Number of Employees as of June 30

at the End of Each Biennium 47

Positions and Salary Ranges, June 30, 1956 48

List of Employees, Showing Name, Title, and

Period of Service 48

Publications of Members of the Staff 50

Terms of Office of Members of the Executive

Board; the Members, June 30, 1956; and the

Dates of Appointment 53

Archives and Manuscripts Accessioned, 1954-1956 53
Services Rendered by the Division of Archives

and Manuscripts, 1954-1956 67

Number of Visits to Search Room for Each

Biennium, 1928-1956 69

Colleges and Universities Represented in Visits

to Search Room 69

Topics of Research Being Pursued by Visitors

to Search Room, 1954-1956 69

Services Rendered by the Division of Archives

and Manuscripts Restoration and Copying 71

State Records Microfilmed, July 1954-June 1956. ... 71
State Agencies Served by Records Control

Program, 1954-1956 71

Partial List of North Carolina Counties Served

by the Division of Archives and Manuscripts,

1954-1956 72

New Historical Markers Approved During the

Biennium 72

Ceremonies at the Unveiling of Historical Markers 74
Registration at the Hall of History by State and

Foreign Country, 1954-1956 ' 75

Museum Items Accessioned 76

Volumes, Pamphlets, Leaflets, and Charts Mailed

by Month 92

Copies of The North Car-olina Historical Review

Mailed Per Issue 92

Back Issues of The North Carolina Historical

Review Mailed Per Month 92

Paid-Up Subscriptions, New or Renewal, Received

for The North Carolina Histoncal Review,

Per Month 93

Articles Published in The North Carolina

Historical Review 93

Documentary Materials Published in The North

Carolina Historical Revieiv 95

Copies of Carolina Comments Mailed Per Issue . 95




July 1, 1954, to June 30, 1956

A Period of Continued Progress

During the 1954-1956 biennium the Department contin-
ued to expand and progress in many ways — in the total of
its appropriation, in the size of its staff, and, most im-
portant of all, in the scope, volume, and quality of its
services to the public.

Neiv Basic Act

The General Assembly at its regular 1955 session passed
a bill that became Chapter 543, Session Laws of 1955, re-
defining and re-stating the duties and functions of the
Department. The bill had been prepared by the Commission
on Reorganization of State Government in co-operation with
the Department, and in general it strengthened and clarified
the provisions of the law relating to the Department. The
major change was that it transferred from the Department
of Conservation and Development to the Department of
Archives and History the State's historic sites function.


The Department's appropriation, which had increased
rapidly in recent years, reached new high levels during
the biennium. From $161,203 in 1953-1954, the total
dropped slightly to $160,084 in 1954-1955 but cHmbed to
$183,182 in 1955-1956.' These totals do not include $10,000
available each year from the Highway Fund for historical
markers and also certain additional sums, so that the grand
total for the last year mentioned exceeded $200,000.


The Department's staff continued to increase in size, from
31 on June 30, 1954, to 33 two years later.- Of greater

' For appropriations and expenditures, 1980-1954, and the Department's budset,
1954-1956, see below, Appendixes l-II, pp. 46-47.

- For the number of employees, 1908-1956; positions and salary ranges, June 30,
1956; list of employees, 1954-1956; and a list of staff publications, see below. Appen-
dixes III, IV, V, and VI, pp. 47, 48, 50.

State Department of Archives and History 7

significance, perhaps, was the fact that during the period
under review the quality of the staff was probably higher
than ever before. Through the use of the position descrip-
tions prepared several years ago by the State Personnel
Department, in co-operation with the Department of Ar-
chives and History, it has been a sine qua non that each
new employee meet the minimum prescribed standards and
it has been possible to emphasize the professional nature
of the latter Department's program.

Archives and Manuscripts

By far the most significant accession in Archives and
Manuscripts has been a gift from Honorable Thurmond
Chatham, Congressman from the Fifth North Carolina
District. This collection includes 27 original docum.ents
relating to North Carolina, 1664-1674, among them the
commission and instructions of the Governor of Albemarle,
1667, and other documents of the Lords Proprietors. The
Division continues to be hampered by the lack of suitably
constructed space and of sufficient total space, as well as by
the lack of a staff sufficiently large to perform the assigned
duties, but nevertheless it has performed notable and in-
creasing services. The Records Control Program has made
further progress, facilitated toward the end of the bien-
nium by the physical consolidation of the entire program in
the new Records Center.'

Historic Sites

While the General Assembly in 1955 transferred to the
Department the historic sites function, it made only a small
appropriation for the purpose — nothing for central ad-
ministration.- By certain measures of reorganization and
certain transfers in the budget, however, it was possible
at least to make a beginning in this field, and effective
October 1, 1955, a new Division of Historic Sites was
established within the Department. The groundwork was
thus laid for this new program and progress was made both
in developing the sites transferred to the Department and

' For further information on the program and accomplishments of the Division of
Archives and Manuscripts, see below, pp. 10-19.

- For further information about the program of the Division of Historic Sites, see
below, pp. 20-29.

8 Twenty-Sixth Biennial Report

also in advising and assisting private individuals and un-
official organizations in preserving and maintaining historic
sites. A total of 42 historical markers were authorized,
bringing the grand total to 809.


The Hall of History (state historical museum) has con-
tinued its program of following the latest and most ap-
proved museum methods and practices in portraying to
the State's people their common heritage. Several perma-
nent exhibits were added, and various special exhibits were
opened.' Among the most important accessions was an
original kitchen, over a century old, that was brought more
than 100 miles to Raleigh, along with many of its original
furnishings. The attendance continued to increase, amount-
ing during the biennium to an estimated 218,178. Of special
significance was the development of the Tarheel Junior
Historian Association.


The Department's program of publishing documentary
volumes, The North Carolina Historical Review (a histori-
cal quarterly), Carolina Comments (a newsletter), pamph-
lets, and leaflets was continued. The number of subscribers
to The Review reached a new high. Of significance was the
publication of the eighth volume of The Records of the
Moravians in North Carolina, a series begun in 1922 that
covers the history of that remarkable group of settlers
and their descendants from 1752 to 1837. In order to make
the publication program more nearly self-sustaining, the
price of a subscription to The Review was increased from
$2.00 to $3.00, the price of each documentary volume was
increased from $1.00 to $3.00, and a small fee was charged
for most of the pamphlets and leaflets. -

A Program of Service

In addition to the ways mentioned above, the Department
sought to serve by every means possible the people of the
State and to bring history alive for them. It co-operated

' For more detailed information regarding the program of the Division of Museums,
see below, pp. 30-36.

" For additional data on the publication program, see below, pp. 37-45.

State Department of Archives and History 9

closely with the State Literary and Historical Association,
which was carrying on a broader and more effective pro-
gram than ever before; the Director of the Department,
following the custom of many years, continued to serve as
Secretary of the Association, and various members of the
Department's staff assisted the Association in many ways.
Staff members continued to travel to all parts of the State,
delivering addresses and participating in ceremonies and
movements of various kinds (all in the general field of
North Carolina history). Also, staff members continued to
play a leading part in the affairs of different national and
regional historical and allied organizations.

Neiv Bidldincj

The Department will never to the fullest degree serve the
State and its people until it is housed in a building especially
designed for its needs. At the present time it is located in
the State Education Building, which is primarily an office
building and is in certain ways unsuited to the require-
ments of a department of archives and history. A request
was made to the 1955 General Assembly for an appropria-
tion of $1,363,465 for an Archives and History Building,
but the budgetary situation was so tight that at the time
there was no hope of obtaining such an appropriation and
the request was not pushed.

Executive Board

On August 10, 1954, Governor Umstead appointed Mr.
Josh L. Home of Rocky Mount to fill the unexpired term
of B. F. Brown, who had resigned on May 6, 1954. On
August 20, 1954, Mr. McDaniel Lewis was elected Chairman
of the Executive Board. On July 18, 1955, Governor Hodges
reappointed Mr. Home for a term expiring March 31, 1961,
and appointed Dr. Fletcher M. Green of Chapel Hill for a
term expiring March 31, 1961, succeeding Mrs. B. T.
Williams of Stedman.'

The program and activities of the Department during the
biennium are described more in detail on the pages that

' For the terms of the Executive Board and the dates of their appointment, see
below. Appendix VII, p. 53.

H. G. Jones, State Archivist

The Division of Archives and Manuscripts consists of
two closely related but physically separated sections^ the
Archives proper and the Records Control Program. For
the convenience of this report, the sections are discussed
here separately.

The Archives

Several changes in personnel during the 1954-1956 bien-
nium have perhaps prevented the Archives from function-
ing in the most efficient manner. Taking into account the
interruptions, staff changes, and shortage of personnel, the
Archives shows marked progress and considerable accomp-
lishments. The most pressing needs of two years ago are
still the most urgent needs of the Division — i.e., more and
better designed and equipped space, and additional person-
nel. Improper air conditioning in the archives areas has
resulted in considerable anxiety over whether or not the
records are being adequately protected against excessive
heat, humidity, and exposure. Due to the unorthodox ar-
rangement of a combination of heating pipes and cool air
in the stacks, it is questionable whether the problem can
be remedied at all. This is the most compelling support for
the Department's efforts to secure appropriations for a new
building. The staff can watch over and make use of the
unique records in the Archives with great care, but they
cannot prevent deterioration of the valuable holdings be-
cause of defective structural conditions, conditions which
every electrical engineer who has observed the situation
has concluded are incapable of remedy.

As the following paragraphs and appendixes will reveal,
the small Archives staff has accomplished a great deal not
only in collecting and preserving records, but just as im-
portantly, in making these records available to professional
and amateur historians, biographers, genealogists, national,
state, and local officials, and the public in general. Thou-
sands of persons were served in visits to the Search Room
and by mail, thousands of pages of irreplaceable records

State Department of Archives and History


12 Twenty-Sixth Biennial Report

were restored and laminated, and photostatic copies, micro-
film, and microfilm prints were made. All this work was in
addition to the routine archival duties of accessioning, in-
ventorying, describing, shelving, and preserving the rec-
ords. This work was done by an archival staff of six persons
including the State Archivist.

Yet these impressive figures' should not blind one to the
urgent need of expanding these services. Large groups of
records still are not under adequate control and many of
them cannot be properly controlled with the present limited
staff. Such records are being preserved, but they are of
little practical value as long as they are not in usable order.
Despite progress in restoring badly worn records, for every
page restored there are many dozen pages in the Archives
in need of repair and restoration. The more than 5,000
visitors to the Search Room had to be served in most cases
by one attendant. This same attendant had the primary
responsibility of doing the research for almost 5,000 genea-
logical enquiries by mail and telephone. The entire Division
of Archives and Manuscripts has no stenographer or typist-
clerk, the result of which is that higher salaried archivists
are required to spend a large portion of their time at the

Pointing up the needs of the Archives, however, should in
no way detract from the pride with which the Division
gives a summary of its work the past two years.


By far our most significant accession during the past
biennium was the Thurmond Chatham Collection, a gift
from the Congressman from the Fifth District and promi-
nent manufacturer. This collection consists of 27 original
letters and documents, amounting to 94 pages, on North
Carolina, 1664-1674. It includes the commission of 1667
with the attached "Instruction for our Governor of the
County of Albemarle in the Province of Carolina," several
commissions and appointments, and letters to Governors
Stephens and Carteret. These rare papers are in an excel-

' For statistics on services rendered researchers and State and county agencies, see
below. Appendixes IX-XIII, pp. 67-71.

State Department of Archives and History 13

lent state of preservation and are preserved in custom-made
boxes purchased by Mr. Chatham.

Among other significant accessions were the following:
general correspondence, special appointments, and county
file of Governor William B. Umstead ; general correspon-
dence of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1912-
1933; Court of Chancery Minutes, 1766-1767; Granville
County Tax List of 1786 ; Minute Book of the Vestry and
Wardens of the Poor, Sampson County, 1785-1823 ; addi-
tional papers of the North Carolina Society of the Cincin-
nati ; abstracts of deeds. Wake County, Volume H, 1787-
1790; Diary of Col. Allen L. Fahnestock, 86th Regiment,
Illinois Infantry Volunteers, 1862-1865 (microfilm) ; North
Carolina population census of 1880 ; and Quinlan-Monroe
Lumber Company papers, Hazelwood, 1901-1914.

These items, as well as others listed in the Appendix,'
were accessioned and are now available for use in the Search
Room, except for the census of 1880 which, because of its
poor condition, is not available for use.


The time-consuming but essential job of extending better
control over records was continued despite shortage of
personnel. Confederate pension records were arranged
alphabetically, World War II Selective Service records
were arranged by local board and a microfilm index was
made, and the Mecklenburg estate papers were arranged
alphabetically. At the end of the biennium work was pro-
gressing on alphabetical arrangement of the vouchers of
the War of 1812 and Wake County estate records.

Preservatiori and Restoratio7i

The formidable project of repairing, laminating, and
rebinding land grant records for the Secretary of State
was continued. A total of 29 volumes were restored in this
biennium, but with only one person engaged in this task,
it will require roughly five years to complete this special
service for the Secretary of State.

A total of 12,946 pages were repaired and laminated
during the biennium, including materials in the Archives,

' For a complete list of accessions, see below, Appendix VIII, pp. 53-67.


Twenty-Sixth Biennial Report


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State Department of Archives and History 15

land grants for the Secretary of State, and a few items for
other agencies and private individuals. In addition, the
Department furnished at no charge the materials for the
restoration of a number of volumes of deeds for counties.

Service to the Public

The Department is a public agency. Aside from its pri-
mary duty of serving the State as the archival agency, the
Department exists for the benefit of the people of North
Carolina who support it with their taxes. Here, again,
shortage of personnel prevents the fullest possible service,
but even with so limited a staff more than 10,000 persons
were served by the Search Room from July 1, 1954, to
June 30, 1956, either in person, by telephone, or by mail.

A total of 5,398 persons registered to do research in the
Search Room. ^ This number does not include those who
through either haste or oversight failed to register. Of
these visitors, 4,500 were from North Carolina, thus empha-
sizing the public character of the Division. The remainder
were from 39 states, the District of Columbia, and Cuba. Of
the total, 93 were historians connected with colleges and
universities, 169 were other historians, 205 were students
(usually candidates for advanced degrees), 48 were in the
legal profession, 4,884 were seeking genealogical informa-
tion, and 241 were unclassified. In addition to the visitors,
242 persons were served by telephone. A total of 40 insti-
tutions of higher learning throughout the United States
were represented by the visitors.- Sixty specific topics of
serious research,'^ m.any of them destined to emerge in book
form, were listed by those who used the Division's records.

Mail enquiries continued to increase, and this phase of
the Division's duties is approaching the level where it will
require the full-time duties of one person. No less than
4,400 persons were given information by mail, 718 of whom
were North Carolinians.^ The bulk of these letters came
from out of the State— from 46 states, the District of

'^ For detailed statistics, see below. Appendix IX. pp. 67-68.

-' For a list of institutions represented by visitors, see below. Appendix XI, p. 69.

•■' For a list of topics of researchers, see below. Appendix XII, pp. 69-70.

' For statistics on services rendered, see below. Appendix IX, pp. 67-68.

16 Twenty-Sixth Biennial Report

Columbia, Alaska, Canada, England, Germany, Hawaii,
and South Africa. The writers were most often interested
in genealogy, but more than 100 were seeking information
for professional writings.

The Division continued to serve the public by making
low-cost reproductions of records available.^ A total of
6,789 photocopies and microfilm prints were made for a
charge of $2,400.95, and 360 certified copies were supplied
at a charge of $360. In copying records 3,042 feet of micro-
film were used. The increasingly large demand for repro-
ductions of records will soon require the full-time services
of one worker.

Finally, 17 counties asked for and received aid from the
Division, the extent of such aid ranging from authorization
for disposal of non-current records to personal visits by
staff members to advise county officials on preservation or
maintenance of records. -

Records Control

North Carolina, unlike some states but like others, has
insisted that the problem of controlling semi-current rec-
ords can best be solved not by the establishment of a com-
pletely independent records management agency, but
through a closely related records control group functioning
as an integral part of the Department of Archives and
History. The success and progress of the North Carolina
program support this point of view.

For administrative purposes the Records Control Pro-
gram, with headquarters on the second floor of a state
building at the corner of McDowell and Lane streets, is
directly under the supervision of the Records Center Super-
visor who is responsible through the State Archivist to the
Director of the Department. The program may be divided
into two projects : the personnel assigned to inventorying
records of state agencies and making disposal or retention
schedules for such agencies ; and the microfilm project,
composed of personnel who transfer to microfilm such
records as need to be preserved permanently but which

^ For statistics on reproduction of records, see below. Appendix XIII, p. 71.
- For a list of counties served, see below, Appendix XVI, p. 72.

State Department of Archives and History


18 Twenty-Sixth Biennial Report

need not be preserved in their original form. Each of these
projects depends upon the other, inasmuch as records of
agencies inventoried are "scheduled" in such a manner that
they are to be retained in the original form in the office
of origin, transferred to the Records Center for retention
of originals for a specified period, microfilmed and the
originals disposed of, or transferred to the Archives for
preservation for historical, as distinguished from adminis-
trative, purposes.

Since February, 1956, the Center has been under the
supervision of Mrs. Fannie Memory Blackwelder whose
historical and legal background well qualify her for the
position. Under her administration the programs of inven-
torying and microfilming have been extended to the point
that the records of a number of State agencies are in ad-
mirable order and schedules have been drawn up indicating
how and when each series is to be transferred, filmed, or
otherwise disposed of. Notable among the departments
which have excellent control over the records in this manner
is the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Many of the earlier inventories and schedules are in need
of revision, and this work is being carried on as time allows.
Most State officials are sympathetic toward the records con-
trol program and have given the Department their co-oper-

The first steps in any control program are the drawing
up of an administrative history of the agency, an inventory
of its records, and a schedule for disposal and or retention
of each series of records. In case record groups need to be
retained for a given number of years, they are transferred
in steel cabinets to the Records Center where they will be
preserved until the specified date, at which time they will

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Online LibraryNorth Carolina. State Dept. of Archives and HistorBiennial report of the North Carolina State Department of Archives and History [serial] (Volume 1954/56) → online text (page 1 of 8)