R. B. House papers, 1916-1973.

Creator: House, R. B. (Robert Burton), 1892-
Collection number: 3581
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Abstract: Robert Burton House was executive secretary, 1926-1934, dean of administration, 1934-1945, and chancellor, 1945-1957, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill campus; lecturer in the UNC English Department, 1957-1962; author; and public speaker. Correspondence, writings, and other materials chiefly relating to House’s administrative career at UNC. Much of the correspondence centers around administrative problems, especially budgetary issues. There are also letters in which House expressed his views on race relations, Communism in the 1950s, and other topics. Among the correspondents are Josephus Daniels, Harry Chase, William Umstead, singer Kate Smith, Francis O. Clarkson, R. D. W. Connor, Frank Porter Graham, Gordon Gray, Jonathan Daniels, Carl T. Durham, O. Max Gardner, Terry Sanford, Hardin Craig, and Louis R. Wilson. Also included are some family correspondence with House’s Thelma, Halifax County, N.C., relatives, and letters and other materials relating to House’s activities with the University United Methodist Church and to his harmonica playing at speeches and on television. Writings include numerous speeches, reviews, and radio addresses relating to UNC, to North Carolina history, and to House’s historical sketch of Sallie Drake Twitty. Pictures are chiefly photographs of House at official UNC functions.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Much of the correspondence concerns administrative problems, but letters also express House’s views on race relations. Included are House’s complaints to the Carolina Coach Company, North Carolina Corporation Commission, and the police chief of Durham, North Carolina, after he and his wife were offended by the presence of “a drunken Negro” while taking a bus trip from Durham to Chapel Hill in 1932 (Folders 6-7).

Also present is a letter dated 31 October 1951 in which House states “there is no immediate answer to the Negro situation. If the newspapers didn’t have to get up a story, there would be nothing sensational in the whole thing” (1951).