A letter regarding the 1969 film TORA! TORA! TORA!.

Source: Walter L. Small, Jr., Papers, Manuscript Collection #731.1.a

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

Description: A letter to Rear Admiral Walter L. Small, Jr., USN (Ret.) from film producer Elmo Williams thanking Small for his consultation work during the production of the 1969 film TORA! TORA! TORA!.

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

White’s Theatre

Source: Junius D. Grimes Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #571

Staff Person: Maury York


White's Theatre stationery

White's Theatre stationery

This letter from the Junius D. Grimes Papers depicts White’s Theatre located on Fifth Street in Greenville. The theatre had been built by Samuel T. White some five years before the letter was written. Initially this facility provided a venue for both live acts and motion pictures. Later, as the State and Park theatres, it showed only movies. The Greenville Redevelopment Commission purchased the building in 2008 with the hope of restoring it for public use.

Letter from Harry S. Logan to his half-sister, Mrs. H.C. (Murdena Susan Logan) Kennerley

Source: Guide to the Harry Seymour Logan Papers, 1930-1936, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #111

Letter from Harry Seymour Logan to his half-sister

Letter from Harry Seymour Logan to his half-sister

Staff Person: Dale Sauter


We hear a lot of comparisons these days between the current economic climate and the era of the Great Depression. Today’s staff pick is a portion of a letter that offers some public viewpoint during the time of the depression. The letter, dated October 22, 1931, was written by Harry Seymour Logan in Oakland, CA, to this half-sister, Mrs. H.C. (Murdena Susan Logan) Kennerley in Pinehurst, NC. Remarking on existing economic conditions, Logan mentions that “Seattle I understand for the first time in her history [has] a breadline for women and children, which is pretty tough.” Logan goes on to make further comments of a more social and political nature when he says, “No wonder we have radicals and soap box artists. I don’t believe that the people who live in luxury can help feeling blue over the present situation, I imagine that people who boosted for the apparent jelly fish Hoover feel now as I do (a sap) I don’t think anyone blames him for the deppression [sic] but they feel he has the power and authority to untangle the mess.”

For more information on President Hoover’s reaction to the Great Depression, see the following online article.


For more information on the Harry Seymour Logan Papers or any other collections we hold, please contact us for further details.

East Carolina Railway and Henry Clark Bridgers, Sr.

Source: Henry Clark Bridgers, Jr., Papers, 1870-1981, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #558

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

East Carolina Railway/Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road Company  Agreement

East Carolina Railway/Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road Company Agreement


Henry Clark Bridgers, Sr. (1876-1951) of Tarboro, N.C., was born into a railroading family. His family Robert R. Bridgers was president of the following three North Carolina railroads: the Wilmington and Weldon, the Albemarle and Raleigh, and the Wilmington, Columbia and Augusta. Robert Bridgers also created an association of railroads over the years that came to be known as the Atlantic Coast Line system.

Henry Bridgers was heavily involved in the incorporation of the East Carolina Railway on July 1, 1898, and was the first president and general manager of the railroad at age twenty-two. Early funding problems were somewhat eased with the purchase of all the capital stock of the East Carolina Railway by the Wilimington and Weldon Rail Road Company on May 24, 1899.

This letter, sent from the Atlantic Coast Line President W. G. Elliott to East Carolina Railway President Henry Clark Bridgers, is one of three letters Pres. Elliott wrote that day spelling out the agreement between the two companies. The East Carolina Railway ran from Tarboro to Hookerton (Greene County, N.C.) and was led by Henry Clark Bridgers until 1935. The last run made on the railroad was on November 16, 1965.

The undated photograph below is of an East Carolina Railway train car.

East Carolina Railway train car

East Carolina Railway train car

For more information concerning Henry Clark Bridgers, Sr., or the East Carolina Railway, please see the Henry Clark Bridgers, Jr., Papers at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0558. Background information for this article was gathered from East Carolina Railway, Route of The Yellow-hammer by Henry C. Bridgers, Jr. (1973) which can be found in the North Carolina Collection in Joyner Library.

Josephus Daniels

Source: Elias Carr Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #160

Letter from Josephus Daniels to Elias Carr

Letter from Josephus Daniels to Elias Carr

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


Josephus Daniels was born May 18, 1862. His was educated at Wilson Collegiate Institute and the University of North Carolina. He was admitted to the bar in 1885. Daniels was a publisher, editor, secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1921, and much more.

His choices affected North Carolina and beyond. Daniels banned alcohol from Navy ships in June 1914, which led to the saying “cup of Joe,” referring to a cup of coffee. He also would not allow prostitution within a five-mile radius of naval stations. He created the Naval Consulting Board to encourage inventions and appointed Thomas Edison to chair that board.

Daniels was active in the Democratic Party in North Carolina. He promoted white supremacy in The News and Observer, which he edited for most of the period between 1894 and 1948. In 2005, a report released by the Wilimington Race Riot Commission, named him “precipitator of the riot.”

Daniels died in Raleigh on January 15, 1948 at the age of 85.

The letter below was from Josephus Daniels to Elias Carr, a Democrat who served as North Carolina’s governor from 1893 to 1897. In the letter, Daniels asks for a copy of Carr’s address to the Farmers’ Alliance, so that The State Chronicle can print it the day after it is given. The letter is from the Elias Carr Papers #160.

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.