Auditor’s Statement, A.C. Monk & Company, July 13, 1920

Source:    A.C. Monk & Company/A.C. Monk Family Collection, 1907-2004  ECMC # 1285

Staff Person: Fred Harrison

Description: Originating just prior to WWI under the name Monk Adams Company, Wilson, N.C, A.C. Monk & Company officially began business in Farmville, N.C. on May 10, 1922.

The company’s records recently donated to the East Carolina Manuscript Collection attest to a continuous period of impressive growth.  The firm soon became one of the  nation’s leading dealers in leaf-tobacco.

According to Albert Monk III, grandson of A.C. Monk, the company’s initial wealth relied heavily on  diverse business interests: namely, farmland, a furniture store and funeral home. In the late 1980s; however, it was decided that in order to grow, the company had to get bigger.

As such, on July 13, 1990, the business merged with a competitor to form Monk-Austin Inc. Another merger later that decade resulted in the creation of DIMON Inc. which emerged to become the second largest leaf-tobacco merchant in the world. Monk family members retained some  indirect ownership in this entity until its eventual acquisition by Alliance One in the early 2000s.

On view here is an auditor’s statement from July 13, 1920, one of a nearly intact collection of business papers spanning from approximately 1916 to the early 2010s. Company founder, A.C. Monk, Sr. died on June 6, 1948.  Sons, Albert C., Robert Turnage and William C.  succeeded him.

Farewell to China

Source: James N. Joyner Papers (#429), East Carolina Manuscript Collection

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


James Noah Joyner was born in 1888. He attended the University of North Carolina, and was later employed by the British-American Tobacco Company (B.A.T.) in China from 1912 to 1935. He worked and traveled the whole time he was in China. He maintained close ties with his family in North Carolina and later managed the family farm. He became the division manager before coming home to North Carolina and died at the age of 83.

These photographs are of a farewell group in Nanking, China, (B.A.T.) managers, fellow employees and James Joyner before he returns to North Carolina.

Tobacco Advertising in China

Source: James N. Joyner Papers (Manuscript Collection #429)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


James N. Joyner (1888-1972), attended the University of North Carolina and graduated in 1910. He was employed  by the British-American Tobacco Company (B.A.T.) in China from 1912 to 1935, returned to North Carolina to manage the family farm at LaGrange, and died at the age of 83.  His papers reveal many aspects of the operations of the B.A.T. Company and the social life during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

This is a photograph of a group of people advertising tobacco products during his time in China.

City of Greenville, North Carolina

Source: Junius D. Grimes Papers (#571)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


Take a step back in time to 1914 Greenville, N. C., in this C. E. Weaver Series, “Illustrated Cities”, by Central Publishing Co., Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. Greenville was growing and changing: The Center Brick Warehouse was selling Bright Leaf Tobacco (93,762 pounds avg. at $24.55 per hundred). The Flanagan Buggy Co. distributed products throughout Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The Greenville Ice and Coal Co. was a necessity for this community. The R.L. Smith Stables sold and exchanged horses and mules. The East Carolina Teachers Training School is now called East Carolina University; the campus consisted of the Power House, Dining Hall, Infirmary, Dormitories and the Administration Building and the soon to be erected library, gymnasium and the President’s Residence. These are just a few highlights from the pamphlet from the Junius D. Grimes Papers #571.

Aerial View of Barbour Boat Works, Inc.

Source:  Barbour Boat Works, Inc. Records

Staff Person:  Dale Sauter

Description:  This image offers a nice view of the Barbour Boat Works factory in New Bern, North Carolina.  The business ended in the mid-1980s.  Included in the Barbour Boat Works, Inc. Records are important ship drawings, correspondence and photos.  We plan to add descriptions of all photos in this collection very soon.  Check the finding aid at the following link for future updates.

Imperial Tobacco Company Factory Employees

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection #741.11.a.7

Staff Person:  Martha Elmore

Description:  In this August 1956 image taken for the Greenville, N.C., Daily Reflector newspaper,  African American women are sorting tobacco at the Imperial Tobacco Company factory.  Many other images related to tobacco production from the field, to the barns, to the warehouse, and finally to the factories can be found in the Daily Reflector Negative Collection.

Johnston County, NC Teacher’s First Grade Certificate

Source: Albert R. Smith Collection #9.1.b.23

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description: This Teacher’s First Grade Certificate, dated 12 Oct. 1889, belonged to N. T. Ryals of Johnston County, North Carolina.  It showed that Ryals had successfully passed the examination to teach in Johnston County’s public schools.  It listed his “true grade of scholarship” in Spelling, Defining, Reading, Writing, Aritmetic (Mental and Written), English Grammar, Geography, Elementary Phsysiology and Hygiene, History of North Carolina, & History of the United States. Ryals passed all these examinations with grades between 90 and 95 out of a possible 100 points. Johnston County Superintendent of Public Instruction Ira T. Truslington signed the certificate and also attested that Ryals had “also furnished satisfactory evidence of good moral character.” According to his journal, Ryal’s teaching was not his sole source of income. He was also a surveyor and farmer. Printed form. 1 item. 1 p.

N. T. Ryal's Teacher's First Grade Certificate

The Imperial Tobacco Processing Plant, Greenville, NC (undated)

Source: Greenville Area Preservation Association Records, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #605

Staff Person: Dale Sauter


Today’s staff pick consists of two views of The Imperial Tobacco Processing Plant in Greenville, North Carolina, from the Greenville Area Preservation Association (GAPA) Records, #605. These two images originated from the North Carolina State Archives. Many of the materials in the GAPA records (including the featured images) were used for the creation of the 1988 publication, The Architectural Heritage of Greenville, North Carolina, edited by Michael Cotter.

The Imperial Tobacco Company was originally founded in the United Kingdom in 1901. At one time, Imperial Tobacco Company also had branches in the North Carolina towns of Durham, Oxford, Greenville and Wilson. Located in “Tobacco Town” off Dickinson Avenue, the Greenville plant, consisting of a three-story structure, was once the largest buyer of tobacco on the Greenville market for the export trade, according to research by local historian Roger Kammerer. Most of the structure was built in the early 1900s. The company left Greenville in 1978, leaving behind the building covering two city blocks. There were plans of restoring the structure, but sadly, on April 17, 2008, the plant was gutted by fire. Following an investigation, the cause was ruled as arson. The structure was then slated for demolition.

Sources: Imperial Tobacco website, The Daily Reflector online newspaper

For more information on the Greenville Area Preservation Association Records or any other collections we hold, please contact us for further details.

Imperial Tobacco Company, Limited, Greenville, NC, Pitt County, NC

Imperial Tobacco Company, Limited, Greenville, NC, Pitt County, NC

Imperial Tobacco Company, Limited, Greenville, NC, Pitt County, NC (alternate view) Note: Image originated from the NC State Archives Office (N.82-7-822)

Imperial Tobacco Company, Limited, Greenville, NC, Pitt County, NC (alternate view) Note: Image originated from the NC State Archives Office (N.82-7-822)

Storm Center of Plug Tobacco

Source: Tobacco & Americans, Special Ref TS 2235 U5 H4

Manufacturing plug tobacco

Manufacturing plug tobacco

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

This image shows the manufacturing of plug tobacco at a Winston, North Carolina tobacco plant. The description under the photo states that “Winston, North Carolina, was “storm center of the plug industry,” stubbornly stuck to flat plug made of Bright leaf in the face of spectacular increase in Burley plug sales. Winston became third-ranking city in manufactured tobacco output, rejected old consignment system to develop its own sales force.”

The image is from the book entitled “Tobacco & Americans,” a title which is one of the many interesting books that make up the Special Collections’ reference collection which is located in the search room.

Kinchen Wiley Cobb

Source: William E. Elmore Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #39

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

The image below is possibly of Kinchen Wiley Cobb of Greenville, N.C. According to a sketch written by his son Charles D. Cobb, Sr., in the Chronicles of Pitt County North Carolina (1982), Kinchen Cobb became Supervisor of the Greenville Tobacco Board of Trade around 1923 and remained in this position until just before World War II. He was responsible for directing tobacco sales and advertising the Greenville market. This image expertly illustrates the advertising aspect of his job. This photograph was bought at a rummage sale that Charles D. Cobb, Sr., held probably twenty years or more ago. If anyone can confirm who the man in the car is, please let us know so we can place this information with the photograph. This image (p-39/5) is part of the William E. Elmore Collection #39 and is found in box #39.5.a. The finding aid for this collection can be seen at Manuscript Collection 39.

Car advertising tobacco sales in Greenville.

Car advertising tobacco sales in Greenville.

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