R. E. Coker papers, 1748-1968.

Creator: Coker, R. E. (Robert Ervin), 1876-1967.
Collection number: 3380
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Abstract: Robert Ervin Coker (1876-1967) was a zoologist and marine biologist, associated with the United States Bureau of Fisheries from 1902 to 1923, professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 1923 to 1949, and author. The collection includes professional papers of Robert Coker, earlier Coker and McIver family papers, and Coker family history material. Coker’s correspondence and other materials chiefly concern his research, writing, and publications on marine life; the Zoology Department and other divisions of the University of North Carolina; national, regional, and state professional organizations; biological stations of the United States Bureau of Fisheries and other laboratories in Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Iowa, and North Carolina; cooperation with the North Carolina Board of Conservation and Development; and consultations with other government units, domestic and foreign, for the practical application of fisheries research. There are also materials relating to Coker’s work with the Chapel Hill school board between 1930 and 1947 and to his other community activities. Family papers include maps, will, deeds, genealogical notes, and diaries pertaining to the Coker family farm near Hartsville, Darlington County, S.C., and to family and Darlington County history. Included is a diary kept by Coker’s grandmother, Sarah Witherspoon Ervin McIver, between 1854 and 1889.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: The diary of Sarah Witherspoon Ervin McIver (Folder 560a), between 1854 – 1899, ┬ádiscusses life on the family plantations and includes mentions of slaves. There is also a file in Box 29 entitled “North Carolina College for Negroes” (currently North Carolina Central University). In Image file PA-3380/7, there are four photographs of African Americans in Society Hill, S.C., including one of an elderly woman with the caption “At the Threshold. Aged 100 years old” .