Oliver Max Gardner papers, 1892-1966.

Creator: Gardner, Oliver Max, 1882-1947.
Collection number: 3613
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Abstract: Oliver Max Gardner (1882-1947), lawyer of Shelby, N.C., and Washington, D.C.; state senator, 1910-1915, lieutenant governor, 1916-1920, and governor, 1929-1933, of North Carolina. He married Fay Webb (1885-1969), who was active in the Democratic Party and in women’s organizations. Included are items relating to Fay Webb Gardner and other family members. Legal papers give insight into adoption, child custody cases, land sales, and estate and debt settlements in Cleveland County, N.C.; into corporate litigation, 1920s-1930s; into the establishment of the Ackland Art Museum; and into legal affairs of the textile, soft drink, and aviation industries. Political papers describe the state State Democratic Executive Committee’s organizing efforts, 1908-1915, 1930-1936; state and national political campaigns, 1900s-1950s; and the offices of North Carolina lieutenant governor, 1916-1921, and governor, 1929-1933. Letters comment the New Deal; Democratic Party patronage; the Supreme Court packing controversy of 1937; and economic policy, taxation, and industrial policy. Business papers document Shelby Public Schools during World War I and the operation of family businesses. Personal correspondence, photographs, notebooks, and scrapbooks document courtship; family activities during World War II; the endowment of Gardner-Webb College; administration of North Carolina State College and the University of North Carolina; the role of the political wife; and activities of women’s organizations. Additions include deeds and other documents relating to real estate around Shelby; items relating to O. Max Gardner’s death; and family correspondence, particularly of Gardner’s sisters, one of whom lived in Alberta, Canada, and his niece, who lived in rural Washington state.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Of interest in the background materials are items, June 1930, saved from a writing contest in support of Gardner’s “Live-at-Home” program. Included is a copy of the winning essay by an African American student from Windsor Colored High School, Windsor, N.C. (see also 4/P-3613 for photograph of winners). Also, in sub series 4.2, there ia a copy of a deed, 25 March 1942, granting land for an African American cemetery in Shelby, N.C.