I found this very interesting “Chapel Hill Letter” in an issue of The Mebane Leader from May 18, 1915. The letter describes a project led by Kemp Plummer Battle to preserve a collection of “articles used in industries in avocations” in 1915 and seal them up in a “hermetically sealed box” to be opened again in 1965 and 2015. At each opening, one of Battle’s descendants would offer a prize of $50 to a student to “write a thesis on the change of the preceding semi-centennial period.”
The North Carolina Historical Society, led at the time by J. G. deRoulhac “Ransack” Hamilton, was charged with keeping the box.
So what happened to it? Does anybody know whether it was opened in 1965? And if we can succeed in tracking it down sometime in the next couple of years, are there any Battle descendants out there who would be willing to offer the $50 prize for an essay?
Here’s the full letter: