Artifact of the Month: Littleton College commemorative plate

In 1882, Littleton Female College opened in Littleton, North Carolina. Originally chartered as the Central Institute for Young Ladies, the school grew from an inaugural class of eleven students to 274 students in 1907.

Our November Artifact of the Month is a commemorative plate that recalls Littleton College (which eventually dropped the word “female” from its name).

commemorative plate

Littleton College offered courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics in addition to the domestic courses of study that were common in contemporary women’s schools. Littleton was a private Methodist school, owned by Rev. James Manly Rhodes.

In 1919 a fire destroyed the school’s buildings and Mr. Rhodes didn’t rebuild. But despite Littleton College’s relatively short lifespan, we’re left with some great documentation of the institution and its students.

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has digitized three editions of the Littleton College yearbook, the Pansy.

littleton basketball team
Yearbook photo of the Littleton College “A.B.C. Basket ball Team,” 1905
littleton basketball team
Yearbook photo of the Littleton College “X.Y.Z. Basket ball Team,” 1905
littleton orchestra
Yearbook photo of the Littleton College Orchestra, 1905

The North Carolina Collection Photograph Archives holds several photographs of Littleton buildings and students in its North Carolina County Photograph Collection. And the North Carolina Postcard Collection holds a Littleton College postcard:

littleton college postcard

The commemorative plate, a recent donation from a descendant of several Littleton students, is the Library’s first non-paper artifact from Littleton College. It’s a great addition to the North Carolina Collection Gallery.

6 thoughts on “Artifact of the Month: Littleton College commemorative plate”

  1. My mother, Fannie Kingsland Alston, attended Littleton Female College as a High School student. As a matter of fact, she was a student there when it burned in 1919. My grandmother, Willie Daniel was a student there in the 1990s, as were several of her sisters. (My grandmother had seven sisters.) It’s possible that some attended in the 1880s. My grandmother passed away in the flu epidemic in 1919 on the night the college burned.
    My great, great aunt, Frances Gideon Daniel married John Graham. They owned and operated the John Graham Academy in Warrenton, NC. This was a preparatory school for young men. Some of the most prestigious young men in the state were students there, among them Frank Porter Graham, who later became President of the University of North Carolina. Aunt Frankie and Uncle John had three daughters who, probably, attended Littleton Female College.
    It was a very good school.

  2. Again I envy the US for its “memory retention” (have been looking at your exhibits repeatedly over the past months now). In Europe, Germany esp., a lot of such memorabilia were irretrievably lost during the second world war. Both my mother’s and father’s several institutions of learning were burnt to the ground, most family heirlooms lost as well etc.

  3. My grandmother, Sara Elizabeth Relfe, born. 1888, was a student at Littleton Female College in 1905-1906. She was from New Hope, NC on Durant’s ‘Neck in Perquimans County. I have her copy of The Pansy yearbook and her silver teaspoon marked with her initials and LFC the students had to provide. She met her dearest friend, Ethel Troy from Greensboro there as students. Ethel became my mother’s godmother.

  4. My mother, Lilian Bridges Rhodes, told us many stories of the college her parents Lula Hester Rhodes and James Manly Rhodes (president and owner of the college). One story being how Lilian , age 5, woke up for three nights in a row running to her mamas bed warning of a dream she had that the college was on fire.
    And indeed, a fire happened the next night and not one person was lost, but the college burned down.

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