Pvt. Victor C. Faure, WWI

Source: Victor C. Faure Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1201

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


The letter is written by Pvt. Victor C. Faure to his parents, Henry E. Faure and Inge Peterson Faure, who live in San Francisco, California, describing his experiences during World War I.

From his letter above he describes Army life on Tuesday September 24, 1918, as continually on the move… near the front in France…never know where we will be next…we can hear the guns…don’t want to see corned beef again for about a year…

You will notice pages one and two have parts cut off, they probably were censored.

Other letters describe his participation with the First Army as part of the American Expeditionary Force

Fannie Wallace Letter to Mannie & Sissie Tuten 29 July 1863

Source: Arthur Whitford Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #18.1.a
Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo
Description: Letter from Fannie Wallace to Mannie and Sissie Tuten, 29 July 1863

Fannie Wallace Civil War Letter 29 July 1863

This little letter is from a young woman in Greensboro, North Carolina to her grandparents, Mannie and Sissie Tuten. It offers a glimpse into social life in the South during the crisis of the Civil War. Written less than a month after the Battle of Gettysburg (1-3 July) and the Fall of Vicksburg (4 July 1863) that ended any hope of Confederate victory, Fannie makes no mention of these disasters. Instead, she focuses on her family and social activities, her friends and her parties. She writes that her cousins are visiting and wishes they could be with them too. She passes on Nancie’s request for some snuff. Fannie knows there is a war on and that there are shortages. Indeed, she proclaims her patriotism: she is writing with Confederate ink on a Confederate spelling book and danced with two Confederate officers at a Ball. Either she did not understand the seriousness of the military situation, or, perhaps, more likely, did not wish to think about them or burden her grandparents with her worries.

Original, signed letter from Caleb (C. D.) Bradham, Sr., inventor of Pepsi-Cola

Source: Minges Collection #1136.1.a

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

Description: Original, signed letter from Caleb (C. D.) Bradham, Sr., inventor of Pepsi-Cola, to Dr. Jos. J. Watson in South Carolina promoting Pepsi-Cola as a safe drink.  Bradham also mentions some basic ingredients found in the beverage (1917).

Der Bat Artist / Maurice Sendak RIP

Source: Stuart Wright Collection – Randall Jarrell Papers #1169-005.6.u

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo


Poet Randall Jarrell collaborated on three children’s books with illustrator Maurice Sendak: Fly by Night (1976), The Animal Family (1965) and The Bat-Poet (1964). Of the three, The Bat-Poet has always been my favorite.  Shortly before publication of The Bat Poet, in 1964, Sendak sent this undated letter to Jarrell.  In place of a signature, Sendak signed his letter with a characteristically charming and tiny pen & ink cartoon of himself in the guise of “Der Bat Artist” flourishing his brush in hand (or foot) and about to create.  The miniature drawing perfectly captures the spirit of Jarrell’s poetic hero, who, like a real human child, tale is just so eager and sweet and shy and curious, yet manages all this without being too cloying. The small bat wants to know things, and then he wants to sing, and when that doesn’t work, he begins to make up poems, trying to express himself. He sets out to explore the day world, for example, and he gets a creative crush on the vain yet talented mockingbird. Little by little, he puts his observations into words.  When he received Sendak’s letter, Jarrell filed it carefully inside his copy of The Bat Poet, where it remained until Joyner Library acquired it in 2010.

This post is in honor of Maurice Sendak who died on 8 May 2012 in Danbury, Connecticut at age 83.

R. E. Day's Letter to S. Day, 16 October 1831

First page of R. E. Day’s letter to his uncle in America. Westfall Collection #8.1.a.os.1.1

Above is the first page of a letter from R. E. Day of Handen, in the hops-growing region of Kent, near London to his uncle S. Day, who had emigrated and was living in Utica, New York. Day reports on the poor economic conditions in England’s farming regions and the outbreak of riots and disturbances in the area, including the recent burning of Lord Winchilsea’s farm. These riots, known as the “Swing Riots” because they were frequently preceded by warning letters from a “Captain Swing” had begun the previous summer but continued throughout the decade and spread to many other regions of England. It resulted in several major pieces of legislation including the first revision of the Poor Laws since the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Lord Winchilsea (George William Finch-Hatton) was a politically prominent and somewhat notorious landowner. Winchilsea had challenged the Duke of Wellington to a duel, in 1829, when the latter was still prime minister of England. Both men deliberately aimed wide.

Westfall Collection #8.1.a.os.1.1

Lightfoot Paper, 1865

Source: Guide to the Lightfoot Paper, 1865, Manuscript Collection #12
Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Page 2 of a Letter (28 May 1865) from an anonymous pro-Union woman in Gainesville, Georgia to her sister in the North.

Page 3 of a Letter (28 May 1865) from an anonymous pro-Union woman in Gainesville, Georgia to her sister in the North.

At left and right are two pages from a 6-page letter (28 May 1865) handwritten by an anonymous Pro-Union woman living in Gainesville, Georgia to her sister in the North shortly after the end of the civil war. In the segment of the letter shown she describes the murder of 12 of 24 Union prisoners of war, captured by Southern Home Guard troops in November 1864, during General William Tecumseh Sherman’s march to Atlanta and then to Savannah; in other portions of the letter she describes the arrival of hordes of starving soldiers demanding food, the wartime suffering of the people in the South due to the blockade; the financial losses of southerners who invested in Confederate bonds; and the efforts of ladies to prepare clothes for soldiers. She also recounts her refusal to support secession or participate in pro-war activities; plans of neighbors to move to Mexico following the defeat of the Confederacy; the lack of new clothes as a result of the war; five years worth of family news; and the fears of her neighbors for the future including whether slaves would actually be freed and Southern land confiscated. Photocopied. 6 p. 2 copies. Loaned for copying my Miss Jean Lightfoot, 9/25/1967. To view the entire letter and a transcript please visit the Special Collections Department of Joyner Library.

Elbert Carpenter Civil War Letter

Source:  Carpenter Family Papers, #11.1.a & North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865:  A Roster, Vol. 14 (1998), p. 680.

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo


Description:  The letter above is from Elbert Carpenter, a soldier serving in Company D, 61st Regiment North Carolina Troops,  who was stationed at Tarboro, in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, to his father, Solomon Carpenter, Chatham County, NC.  The letter, dated 26 November 1862, records the recent deaths of his two brothers.   Elbert’s brothers — Wyatt had died earlier that day at Tarboro of an unknown disease and James had died from “consumption” and “dispepsia” on 22 November also at Tarboro — had also served in Company D.  Elbert himself did not have long to live.  He was killed at Kinston on 14 December, less than three weeks later.   Holograph.  Encapsulated.  (Carpenter Family Papers #11.1.a)

Transcript: State of N.C. Edgecom County November the 26 1862 Dear and affectionet father and Mother It is with great pain that I seat my selfe to drope you a few lines to in form you that Brother Wiet [Wyatt] is Ded he Did one the 26 of this month he has Bin Sicke fore a month he Will be Bered here the Doctor has never told me What the Diseas Was so I cant say What Was the matter With him Dear and affectionate father and Mother I am Well at this more than Bad cole I hope that Whern this letter gits to hand it Will find you all in joying good halthe i want you to write to me as soon as you gitre this letter if you pleas it Dos give me great pleasure to reseve a letter from you James. Died on the 21 of this mohth and Was Bered here in this plas. Dear father Direct your letters to Tarbour in care of N A Ramsey the 61 Regiment company D Elbert Carpenter.

Andy Griffith Letter to John D. Messick

Source: UA 02.05 – John D. Messick Papers

Staff Person: Arthur Carlson


Mt. Airy, North Carolina native Andy Griffith attained worldwide fame for his portrayal of two of television’s most iconic characters, Sheriff Andy Taylor and Ben Matlock.   Before his nearly six decade film and television career, Griffith performed stage plays.  His first starring Broadway role occurred with “No Time for Sergeants,” which premiered at the Alvin Theater October 20, 1955.  In it, Griffith portrayed country bumpkin Will Stockdale as the audience followed his series of misadventures in the US Air Force.  “No Time for Sergeants” also featured actor Don Knotts, who later appeared on the “Andy Griffith Show” as Deputy Barney Fife.

A lover of performances and music, East Carolina College President John D. Messick appealed to his fellow native Tar Heel for tickets to a performance of “No Time for Sergeants.”   Featured in the John D. Messick Collection (UA 02.05) of East Carolina University Archives, Griffith’s response and signature are available for researchers interested in learning more about East Carolina’s fifth President.

Letter from Santa Claus, Amsterdam

Source: The William H. & Araminta Guilford Tripp Papers, 1849-1911, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #614

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


William H. and Araminta Guilford Tripp were married in 1853 and lived on Mount Hope farm on the Pamlico River in Beaufort County. William H. Tripp was a member of the North Carolina House of Commons from 1850 until 1852. During the Civil War he served as a captain in Co. B of the 40th Regiment of N.C. Troops.

The collection consists chiefly of correspondence (1849-1911). The letter below is from Santa Claus, Amsterdam, to “Master Dick,” and was dated, December 24th (no year was given). The identity of the recipient is unknown. An unrelated poem was written in pencil in the opposite direction on the back of the letter.
The collection can be found at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0614/

Letter from Santa, page 1

Letter from Santa, page 1

Letter from Santa, page 2

Letter from Santa, page 2

1 2 3 4 5