L. L. Polk papers, 1857-1919.

Creator: Polk, L. L. (Leonidas La Fayette), 1837-1892.
Collection number: 3708
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Abstract: L.L. (Leonidas La Fayette) Polk (1837-1892) of Anson County, N.C., was a planter; editor; merchant; Confederate officer in the 26th and 43rd North Carolina infantry regiments; Democrat and Populist; first North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, 1877-1880; founder of the Progressive Farmer; and vice president and president of the National Farmers’ Alliance, 1887-1892. The collection can be divided into the following time periods: correspondence and other items, 1862-1864, relating to events leading up to Polk’s two courts-martial during the Civil War, plus his small diary; letters, 1865, from Raleigh, N.C., where he was serving in the North Carolina legislature; papers documenting the years Polk and his family lived in Anson County, N.C., 1870-1877, where he operated a general merchandise store; papers concerning Polk’s term as North Carolina’s first Commissioner of Agriculture, 1877-1880; papers concerning various business ventures, 1880-1885, including efforts to sell a diphtheria cure in Boston, Mass., and New York, N.Y.; papers, 1886-1892, dealing with the founding of the Progressive Farmer, Polk’s work with the Farmers’ Alliance and Industrial Union, his election to national offices of the Union, and his death; and papers, 1892-1919, of Polk’s son-in-law, James W. Denmark, and of Clarence Poe relating to the Progressive Farmer and Poe’s ultimate purchase of the paper in 1903, and a few Denmark family items. The addition of August 2010 consists of materials on similar topics, especially relating to the Populist Party and North Carolina politics in 1892 and the Progressive Farmer. Included are several 1892 letters that concern the election of Marion Butler as president of the National Farmers’ Alliance. Other materials include tintype and cartes de visite portraits of L.L. Polk, Sally Gaddy Polk, James W. Denmark, and the Polk family, and a small number of genealogical notes and clippings.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection