New Collections: Love Letters

We have a number of new collections that are preserved, processed, and now available for research. Love and war were in the air, as the bulk of the materials include courtship correspondence and letters written by people while they were serving in the Armed Forces. Some highlights:

  • New materials span from the 1830s-2007
  • Subjects geographically range from the Kwajalein Atoll to Martha Washington College to the New Orleans levees.
  • Lots of love! Many of these collections feature letters between loved ones.
  • Some interesting mentions include a pair of waraji rice straw sandals, some 375 reported yellow fever deaths, and former UNC System President Frank Porter Graham participating in anti-war efforts of the 1930s.

Click on any of the collection titles to learn more about the materials, view any digital items, and request them for use in our reading room.

McKeithen Family Papers circa 1800s-1927 (#05679)
*Includes digital content
Courtship letters circa 1909-1911 (some also from 1911-1926) between Mary Norman Leeland McKeithen and her fiancee Edward T. McKeithen written while Norman was a student at Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C., and Edward worked in Rockingham, N.C., in real estate and insurance. There are also letters between Mary Norman Leeland McKeithen and her parents on the occasion of her engagement and her honeymoon; a 1913 letter to Mary Norman Leeland McKeithen’s mother Effie Leeland from a family member relating his desertion to Canada during the Civil War; a letter, dated 1927, from Edward T. McKeithen to his fifteen year-old son urging him to delay playing football; and other items.
Myers, Patterson, and Snell Family Papers, 1865-1936 (#05668)
Two sets of letters and accompanying photographs from members of the Myers, Patterson, and Snell families of Loris, S.C.; Thomasville, N.C.; and Wilmington, N.C. The first set was written during the Civil War and describes life in battle. The second set is from Paul Myers Snell, Sr., and was written while he was in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, working for the Army Corps of Engineers on dredging and developing the levee system around New Orleans in the 1930s. Photographs depict Wilson Lindsay Myers and the Snell family.
Rice, Thompson, and Winbourne Family Papers, 1838-1972 (#05662)
Papers of the Rice, Thompson, and Winbourne families of North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, and Virginia are chiefly from the mid to late nineteenth century. Siblings, parents and children, in-laws, cousins, and friends write on varied topics, primarily family, children, farming, crops, economic conditions, church and religion, health, grief, and the deaths of loved ones. Other topics include gardening, carpentry work, temperance movement, social life, national and local politics, particularly in Florida after the Civil War, teaching and teachers at Normal and Common schools, boarding with families and taking boarders, college studies, homesteading in Colorado, and mineral wealth in Alaska. Passing mentions to African Americans in the community are made in some letters written during and after the Civil War.
George Newton Ballou and Etta Blanche Tate Papers, 1901-1905 (#05676)
*Includes digital content
Courtship letters, 1901-1905, of Etta Blanche Tate and George Newton Ballou written while Etta Blanche Tate was a student in Greendale, Va., at Martha Washington College in Abingdon, Va., and employed as a teacher in various locations in Virginia. George Newton Ballou wrote from his home in Ashe County, N.C., from the Eastern Normal College in Front Royal, Va., and in various locations in Tennessee where he worked as a photographer. The collection also contains digital transcriptions of the letters and a small amount of related material.
John “Roy” Robinson Diary, 1913-1914 (#05531-z)
A diary, dated 20 November 1913 to 11 June 1914, and containing 150 pages written in pencil. Documented in the diary are the author’s travels through Arkansas and Oklahoma (occasionally on horseback) looking for work, the murder of two men, a visit to Fort Gibson where Robinson’s grandfather (David Elbert Robinson) was stationed during the Second Seminole War, Robinson’s grandmother’s house burning down, smallpox, and the death of his wife. Routine entries detail bridge work in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas, where Robinson primarily performed repairs and maintenance of stringer bridges for the railroad.
Allen Leroy Campbell Papers, 1944-2012 (bulk 1944-1946) (#05664)
Over 400 pieces of World War II correspondence, the majority of which are letters sent from Allen Leroy Campbell to his wife, Hazel, while he served in the United States Navy. Campbell discusses his experiences in boot camp and on the U.S.S. Oakland, as well as his travels. He is also very interested in how his family is faring, inquiring about his children, Allen, Jr. (referred to as Bud) and Virginia (referred to as Sis or Miss Pris), and expressing his love and concern for them and for his wife. Also included are a book collecting and annotating the letters; a small number of photographs of Allen, Allen, Jr., and Virginia Campbell, and the U.S.S. Oakland; and related material.
Cook Family Papers, 1864-1866, 1919 (#05671-z)
*Includes digital content
The Cook Family Papers chiefly consist of Civil War military records and letters of C. J. Cook, his son David Haze Cook, and his daughter Carolina Cook. Letters describe health, farming and social activities, mumps treatment, religion, cavalry horses, and the locations of friends and relations also serving in the Confederate Army. Carolina Cook’s letter of 17 December 1864 reports rumors of “Negros arising.”
Courtney Sharpe Ward Papers 1932-2007 (bulk 1934-1938) (#05687)
Papers of peace activist, clubwoman, and journalist Courtney Sharpe Ward (1911-1997) of Lumberton, N.C., primarily document her pacifism work during the 1930s and early 1940s. Other materials pertain to her work in Christian education and the early years of her career as a journalist and columnist with the Robesonian newspaper in Lumberton, N.C. Collection materials include a scrapbook, correspondence, printed organizational items, such as informational sheets, brochures, and meeting programs, newspaper clippings, photographs, handwritten notes and reflections, scripts for peace pageants performed in the 1930s, and drafts of lectures and speeches delivered. The collection illustrates the anti-war efforts in which she and her associates engaged in the mid 1930s.
Addition to the Leonidas Campbell Jones Papers, 1864-1889 (#04523)
An addition of family letters from 1883-1889, primarily written by Leonidas Campbell Jones to his wife and children in Jonesboro, N.C. The letters detail Jones’ time away from home, traveling as part of his job as the Superintendent of the North Carolina Central Railroad. Also includes images and additional genealogical and biographical information about the family members.

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