Kemp Plummer Lewis papers, 1908-1946.

Creator: Lewis, Kemp Plummer, 1880-1952.
Collection number: 3819
View finding aid.

Abstract: A lifelong textile executive with Erwin Mills in Durham, N.C., Kemp Plummer Lewis was the son of Richard Henry Lewis and Cornelia Viola Battle. He attended the University of North Carolina, where he was later president of the alumni association and a member of the first board of trustees of the consolidated university. He was also active in Durham civic affairs and Episcopal church work. Family and financial correspondence of Kemp Plummer Lewis, including materials relating to Erwin Mills; the North Carolina Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church; the University of North Carolina, including information concerning the Order of the Gorgon’s Head Lodge and Zeta Psi Fraternity; Durham City Schools; Durham Rotary; and a variety of charitable institutions. Business letters reveal labor union activities and management response in various North Carolina textile mills, especially those in Durham, Cooleemee, and Erwin, N.C. The Durham and Southern Railway Company, the Bank of Harnett, and the Erwin Yarn Company are other businesses represented in the collection, as are the American Cotton Manufacturers’ Association and the North Carolina Cotton Manufacturers’ Association. A great deal of family correspondence concerns the Battles of Chapel Hill and Nell Battle Lewis, Lewis’s half-sister and feature writer, who wrote a column called “Incidentally” for the Raleigh News and Observer. Papers also reflect Lewis’s involvement in settling the estates of William Allen Erwin and William Allen Erwin, Jr.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Throughout the correspondence in Series 1, there are letters from a number of organizations requesting funding, including the National Training School (now North Carolina Central University in Durham), the Wake Forest Normal and Industrial School for the Training of Negro Youth, and Palmer Memorial Institute. In Folder 855, there is a letter from Reverend I. Harding Hughes of Concord, the chairman of the Committee on Negro Work.