Petticoat Pilots Meeting

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection (Manuscript Collection #741)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore


For decades women faced tremendous hurdles in their desire to become pilots.  In the early years they weren’t allowed to enter into competitions such as the National Air Race because these races were thought to be too dangerous for women.  In 1929 women pilots held their first National Women’s Air Derby.  Humorist Will Rogers, who was the starter for the race, referred to the women pilots as “petticoat pilots and flying flappers” and nicknamed the race the Powder Puff Derby.

This photograph shows a group of women welcoming Petticoat Pilots to the airport at Greenville, North Carolina, in August of 1965.  I don’t know what the occasion was for this group of women pilots gathering, but it is interesting that the nickname for women pilots in 1929 was still being used in 1965.

Information about the Powder Puff Derby came from Karen Bush Gibson’s book titled, Women Aviators:  26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys.

Plan for 7′ 9 Pram

Source: Hagerty Company Collections (EC Manuscript Collection # 1084 Os1)

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: The Douglas Fir Plywood Association founded in 1933 in Tacoma, Washington was one of many trade associations that that were set up following the National Recovery Act. The Association set standards for plywood manufacture and in 1938 became the holder of an industry wide trademark on plywood. Prior to that each manufacturer had their own brand logo. The new DFPA Construction Standard was accepted by the Farm Home Administration for interior and exterior use of FHA approved homes. In addition to developing industry-wide standards the DFPA also promoted consumer use of member plywood. One such promotion is shown here in a plan for a 7′ 9″ pram. Construction techniques for the pram as well as a bill of materials were supplied on this plan dated 1940. During World War II DFPA plywood was used in barracks, life-boats, and gliders. The Hagerty Company of Cohasset, MA constructed PT boats, skiffs, sailboats and dinghies from DFPA plywood.

Military Training in North Carolina Public Schools 1853

Source:  L. H. Smith Papers (#23.1.a.1)

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo

Description:  Below is a personal letter from future Edgecombe and Duplin County school teacher, L. H. Smith, to his brother Edward P. Smith.  At the time he wrote this letter, L. H. was teaching at Bradly’s School House, but had not yet earned his teaching certificate.  Edward begins the letter by recounting his search for two of Edward’s mislaid letters and his eventual discovery of  a silver shilling leading him to the comic deduction that Edward’s letter must have contained silver ore.  He promises that if Edward sends him a gold shilling, he will be more careful of it.  However the bulk of the letter describes his experiences teaching at Bradley’s School House, North Carolina.  He focuses on the regular Friday routine.  All his scholars, he writes, “speak”, or recite their lessons, on Friday and he musters all the boys accompanied by a fife and drum.  “The smaller boys”, he writes, “have wooden guns and the larger real ones.”  Apparently, this was something of a social occasion in the community and a matter of serious competition between different schools and schoolmasters.  L. H. reports that “Frank was here last week and see [sic] me drill them.  He says they beat his company.  Some Fridays there is some 25 or thirty people to hear them speak and to see them muster and lots of girls among them.”  L. H. notes that he is writing during recess and has no time to “collect my thoughts” but readers will note numerous errors of spelling and punctuation in the letter.  One hopes that the students benefited more from L. H.’s lessons in reading and arithmetic than they could have from his writing lessons.

Military Training in North Carolina Public Schools 1853

Insight from an Englishman

Source: Jerome R. Worsley Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1214

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

This page is from a piece of correspondence (June 27, 1953) that is part of the papers of Jerome R. Worsley, who was born in Bethel, N.C. and was a student of the East Carolina Teachers College (which is now East Carolina University). The letter was written to Mr. Worsley by Clive Irving, an author living in Britain during the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. In the letter, Mr. Irving describes how Americans and the English view each other, Britain’s equivalent of the McCarthy Red Scare problem and styles of clothing. The letter can be viewed in its’ entirety here and the finding aid for the Jerome R. Worsley Papers can be accessed at

1706 Van der Aa Map of North Carolina


Source: Zee en Land togten der Franszen Geaan na,en in’t Americaans Gewest van Florida (MC 49)

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: This 1706 map of the Carolinas and Florida drawn by Pieter van der Aa (1659-1733)  is based on an earlier 1606 map by Hondius (see MC 42). The map features a North Carolina Native American town called Chicola on the River Jordaan. Also shown are the locations of the ill fated French settlements of 1562 (Ribaut) and 1564 (Laudonierre). The lower right cartouche features a really neat early European drawing of the Carolina Palmetto (Sabal Palmetto). The title of the map Zee en Land togten der Franszen na,en in’t Americaans Gewest van Florida, aller-eerst dour Joh. Pontius ontdekt,  translates as the land of France in America along with the discoveries of Ponce de Leon.

"Memories of Two Years (almost) before the Mast"

Source: Ronald Vaughn Papers (Manuscript Collection #658)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description: Ronald Vaughn of Brownwood, TX, enlisted in the Navy with his twin brother Donald (January 1944). He served on the escort aircraft carrier USS KITKUN BAY (CVE-71). The Memoir describes Vaughn’s involvements during his service in World War II in the Pacific (1944-1945).

This page was taken from his memoir, (pp. 12)

Photo of General Eisenhower

Source: Jerome R. Worsley Papers (Manuscript Collection #1214)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: Jerome R. Worsley, a Bethel, N.C., native and 1949 graduate of East Carolina Teachers College, served in the U.S. Army for two years including a year in Paris, France, as office manager for Special Services for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.  SHAPE, the  military unit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), was established April 2, 1951, with General Eisenhower as its first Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe (SACEUR).  SHAPE was created to establish an integrated effective NATO military force under a centralized military organization with one NATO commander.  Source:

Peter Stuart Ney

Source: William E. Elmore Collection (EC Manuscript Collection #39.1.f)

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: Michel Ney, 1st Duc d’Elchingen, 1st Prince de la Moskowa, popularly known as Marshall Ney was a eighteenth and nineteenth century French military commander. After service during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, Ney fell out of favor and was arrested and condemned to death for treason in December of 1815. In January of 1816 Peter Stuart Ney arrived at Charleston, SC., where he subsequently disappeared. In 1821 he appeared in Mocksville, NC where he assumed the position of a school teacher. He also worked as a teacher in Hillsborough, Salisbury and Mecklenburg county before returning again to Mocksville. He died there on 15 November 1826 and is buried at the Third Creek Presbyterian Church. This document typed in August of 1908 at Roaring River, NC, relates the life of Peter Stuart Ney, the Great Marshall of France. In the relation Peter Stuart Ney’s grandson, E. M. C. Neyman of Saltillo, IN, states that his grandfather was in fact the Michel Ney. This document is signed by James H. Foote, born 8 November 1825 and “is taken as proof that the old Tar Heel Teacher was the Great Marshall of France.” At the bottom the relation is noted as being done “at the request of my friend, Judge Allen.” A pencil notation on the first page states “copyied and sent to the Historical Society.”

Dred Peacock – W. T. Farrow Correspondence 23-25 May 1900

Dred Peacock, President, Greensboro Female College, Greensboro, NC. Letter to Capt. W. T. Farrow, Washington, NCCapt. W. T. Farrow, Washington, NC. Letter to Dred Peacock, President, Greensboro Female College, Greensboro, NC

Source:  J. A. Burgess Papers (#22.1.a)

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo

Description: The correspondence between Dred Peacock and W. T. Farrow, seen above, is from the J. A. Burgess Papers in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection. Peacock had been a professor of Latin, German, Physics and Chemistry since 1888, and, since 1894, had been President of Greensboro Female College. His wife, Ella Carr, was the daughter of O. W. Carr, a member of the Trinity College (now Duke University) faculty and a member of Greensboro Female College’s Board of Trustees. During his tenure as President, Peacocks had been struck by a terrible tragedy.  Their daughter, Ethel Carr Peacock, died at the age of 6. Subsequently, the Peacocks endowed the Greensboro Female College library in their daughter’s name.

W. T. Farrow was a Washington, NC justice of the peace, school board member, and a local agent for the Norfolk & Southern Railway Company.  He was also secretary-treasurer of the Styron Transportation Company, a subsidiary of the Norfolk & Southern, which operated the steamer AURORA in the Washington, NC vicinity.  He had sent his daughter, Mamie, to attend Greensboro Female Academy in the sprint of 1899, but Mamie had been forced to withdraw due to illness.

The correspondence is found in the J. A. Burgess Papers (#22) in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection. Burgess was the chief agent of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad Company in Washington, NC, where Farrow worked, but otherwise was unrelated to Farrow.

Greensboro Female College, chartered in 1838 by the Methodist Church, was the first chartered college for women in North Carolina and only the third college for women in the nation. The college had a very good reputation in North Carolina but had a long history of financial instability.  In 1912 the school changed its name to Greensboro College for Women; in 1919 it changed its name, again, to Greensboro College, a name it has retained to the present day. Since 1954 it has also admitted male students.

The Peacock — Farrow correspondence — between one man, whose daughter had lost her battle with illness and another, whose sick daughter, Mamie, had been forced to drop out of school — concerns the bill Farrow received for his daughter Mamie’s tuition bill for the spring term in 1899.  Farrow had been charged $136.55 for Mamie’s Penmanship, Spelling, Composition, Bible & Piano, Recitation classes, and for room and board, heating, lighting, and washing although she had attended for only 43 days and taken 33 lessons.

In the first, typed, letter above, dated 23 May 1900, Peacock wrote to Farrow, replying to a previous letter from Farrow dated 21 May 1900, in which Farrow had first complained about his tuition bill.  President Peacock appears to have been both deeply moved to sympathy and yet rather confused by the situation. In behalf of the college, he returned Farrow’s check, saying “We decidedly prefer to have your good will to any amount of money, and my personal friendship for you and your family would cause me to do anything in my power to have you perfectly satisfied.” He offered to correct any errors in the bill, inquired after Farrow’s health, and hoped that Mamie’s health was improving too.

In the second, handwritten letter, dated 25 May 1900, Farrow responded, saying “I don’t know what your rules are regulating such matters. It just doesn’t look right to me, but I am willing to abide by your decision”, and concluding that it would make no difference to their friendship.  He said both he and his daughter were now in better health.

Peacock’s financial generosity may help explain why Greensboro Female Academy very nearly went bankrupt in 1903 and was only saved by a last minute gift of $20,000 from a generous alumna. It may also explain why the Peacocks removed their library from Greensboro Female College and gave it to Trinity College, where it is known today as the Ethel Carr Peacock Memorial Collection. It may also explain why Peacock was replaced as President in the same year by Lucy H. Robertson, who became the first female college president in North Carolina history.

Posthumous Wartime Award

Source: Hugh Elroy Best Family Collection, Manuscript Collection #894.1

Staff Member: Nanette Hardison

This U.S Army photograph, taken on June 20, 1969 by C. Gene Tyree, DAC at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is of LTG John J. Tolson, Commander General XVIII Corps, presenting the Silver Star and Bronze Medal posthumously to Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Best, Jr., who is receiving the medals on behalf of their deceased son, Hugh E. Best, III, who was killed in action in 1969 in the Vietnam War. Mrs. Hugh E. Best, Jr. (Glanor Gay Best) served in the WAAC (Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps) during World War II beginning in 1942. A picture of her along with her husband and father-in-law, Hugh Elroy Best, Sr., is featured in the Lady Liberty: Women During Wartime exhibit that is currently on display on the fourth floor of Joyner Library in the Manuscripts and Rare Books Department. The exhibit will be on display from September 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014.