unc logo

Collection Number: 04448

Collection Title: Billy Arthur Papers, 1883-1997

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1300 items)
Abstract William Joseph Eudy "Billy" Arthur, North Carolina editor, publisher, columnist, comedian, politician, and businessman. Arthur, a dwarf, toured on the vaudeville circuit, 1929-1930, then attended the University of North Carolina where he majored in journalism and was head cheerleader, 1931-1932. From the 1930s through the 1950s, he edited or wrote for several newspapers. He also represented Onslow County in the North Carolina House of Representatives, 1943-1945, and served as House reading clerk, 1955-1961. In 1962, Arthur opened a hobby shop in Chapel Hill, from which he retired in 1980. The collection includes correspondence, writings, photographs, and other materials relating to Arthur. Letters document Arthur's career as a writer, reading clerk in the North Carolina House of Representatives, comedian, and businessman. Notable correspondents include Terry Sanford, Dean Smith, Christopher Fordham, many state and national politicians, and various editors and publishers. Writings include newspaper clippings; syndicated material; and book-length manuscripts, among them a book of North Carolina humor. There is also material relating to the activities of Arthur family members and materials Arthur used in his comedy routines. In addition, there are three scrapbooks documenting all phases of Arthur's life and many photographs of Arthur, his family, and his friends.
Creator Arthur, Billy, 1911-2006.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Billy Arthur papers #4448, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Billy Arthur, Sr., of Chapel Hill, N.C., in May 1986 (Acc. 86068), May 1988 (Acc. 88048), August 1988 (Acc. 88086), December 1994 (Acc. 94179), and May 1997 (Acc. 97066), and from Billy Arthur Jr., of Chapel Hill, N.C., in April 2000 (Acc. 98607).
Received from Billy Arthur of Chapel Hill, N.C., on 14 May 1997.
Received from Billy Arthur Jr., of Chapel Hill, N.C., in April 2000 (Acc. 98607).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

1911 Born in Charlotte, N.C., to Annis Eudy and J. A. Arthur, with the congenital disease achondro-plasia that results in dwarfism
1922-1927 Mascot for Charlotte Hornets
1925 Worked for WBT radio in Charlotte, N.C.
1928 Graduated from Charlotte Central High School
1929-1930 Toured on the vaudeville circuit on the eastern seaboard
1931-1933 Attended the University of North Carolina, majored in journalism, and was the head cheerleader, 1931-1932
1933-1940 Became city editor of the New Bern Tribune in New Bern, N.C.
1940-1953 Published News and Views in Jacksonville, N.C.
1943-1945 Served in North Carolina House of Representatives, representing Onslow County
1950 Married Edith Harris of Elizabeth City, N.C.
1951 Annis Lillian Arthur born (also a dwarf)
1952 Billy Arthur Jr., born (also a dwarf)
1954 Moved to Chapel Hill and worked as publicist for the Morehead Planetarium and wrote for The Chapel Hill Weekly
1955-1961 Served as reading clerk in the North Carolina House of Representatives
1958 Started a newspaper clipping service
1962 Opened a hobby shop in Eastgate Mall in Chapel Hill, which was bought by Trico, Inc., in 1974, but managed by Arthur
1980 Retired from hobby business
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, writings, photographs, and other materials relating to Arthur. Letters document Arthur's career as a writer, reading clerk in the North Carolina House of Representatives, comedian, and businessman. Notable correspondents include Terry Sanford, Dean Smith, Christopher Fordham, many state and national politicians, and various editors and publishers. Writings include newspaper clippings; syndicated material; and book-length manuscripts, among them a book of North Carolina humor. There is also material relating to the activities of Arthur family members and materials Arthur used in his comedy routines. In addition, there are three scrapbooks documenting all phases of Arthur's life and many photographs of Arthur, his family, and his friends.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters and telegrams, incoming and outgoing, documenting Billy Arthur's public career as a writer, reading clerk in the North Carolina House of Representatives, comedian, and businessman. Notable correspondents include Terry Sanford (folder 6), Dean Smith (folder 10), UNC-CH Chancellor Christopher Fordham (folder 10), many state and national politicians, and various editors and publishers. Personal and family correspondence is scant.

Folder 1

1933-1955 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 1

Folder 2

1956 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 2

Folder 3

1957 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 3

Folder 4

1958 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 4

Folder 5

1960-1969 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 5

Folder 6

1970-1979 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 6

Folder 7

1980-1981 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 7

Folder 8

1982 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 8

Folder 9

1983 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 9

Folder 10

1984-1986 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 10

Folder 11

1987 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 11

Folder 11a

1988 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 11a

Folder 11b

1989-1990 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 11b

Folder 11c

1991-1992 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 11c

Folder 11d

1993-1994 #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 11d

Folder 12

Undated #04448, Series: "1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994." Folder 12

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Material, 1883-1985.

About 50 items

Arrangement: by type.

Correspondence, contracts, blueprints, advertisements, copyrights, a birth certificate, and a will documenting several of Arthur's business ventures and family financial matters. Of particular interest is correspondence dealing with a dispute between Trico, Inc., and Billy Arthur, Inc. (hobby shop), over Arthur's a bonus in 1979.

Folder 13

Advertising #04448, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Material, 1883-1985." Folder 13

Folder 14

Billy Arthur, Inc. (Hobby Shop) #04448, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Material, 1883-1985." Folder 14

Folder 15

Copyrights #04448, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Material, 1883-1985." Folder 15

Folder 16

Miscellaneous #04448, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Material, 1883-1985." Folder 16

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Writings, 1930-1988.

430 items.

Arrangement: by type.

Newspaper clippings, syndicated material, and two book-length manuscripts written by Billy Arthur. Among the clippings are columns written by Arthur for Suden's Red Fez, The Jacksonville Daily News, The Chapel Hill Weekly, and The Chapel Hill Newspaper. The manuscript Worst of Billy Arthur remains unpublished. There is also a manuscript for a book of North Carolina humor. The material from The Chapel Hill Weekly was selected by Arthur, not written by him.

Folder 17-18

Folder 17

Folder 18

Manuscript, Worst of Billy Arthur #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 17-18

Folder 19-25

Folder 19

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Manuscript, NC Book #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 19-25

Folder 26

Manuscript, NC Book, rough material #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 26

Folder 26a

Unnamed manuscript. #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 26a

Folder 27

Newspapers, 1930-1959 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 27

Folder 28

Newspapers, 1960-1988 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 28

Folder 29

Newspapers, undated #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 29

Folder 30

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 1 and 2 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 30

Folder 31

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 3 and 5 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 31

Folder 32

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 6 and 7 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 32

Folder 33

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 8, 9, and 10 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 33

Folder 33a

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 11-18 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 33a

Folder 34

Chapel Hill Weekly, typed copies of clippings, 1960 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 34

Folder 35

Newspapers, Red Fez articles, 1948-1958 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 35

Folder 36

Syndicated material, epigrams, 1938-1959 #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 36

Folder 37-39

Folder 37

Folder 38

Folder 39

Syndicated material, epigrams, undated #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 37-39

Folder 40

Syndicated material, medium-length material, undated #04448, Series: "3. Writings, 1930-1988." Folder 40

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Other Materials, 1922-1988.

About 240 items.

Arrangement: by type.

Material documenting the activities of various members of Billy Arthur's family, biographical material (mostly newspaper clippings), genealogical material, monologue material, awards and certificates, and some printed material. Arthur purchased most of the material he collected for his comedy monologues.

Folder 41

Awards and Certificates #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 41

Folder 42

Biographical Material, 1930s, 1940s #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 42

Folder 43

Biographical Material, 1950s #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 43

Folder 44

Biographical Material, 1960s #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 44

Folder 45

Biographical Material, 1970s #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 45

Folder 46

Biographical Material, 1980s #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 46

Folder 47

Biographical Material, undated #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 47

Folder 48

Family Material, Mrs. Annis Eudy Arthur #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 48

Folder 49

Family Material, Miss Annis Arthur #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 49

Folder 50

Family Material, Billy Arthur Jr. (by him) #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 50

Folder 51

Family Material, Billy Arthur Jr. (about him) #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 51

Folder 52

Genealogical Material #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 52

Folder 53

Miscellaneous #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 53

Folder 54-55

Folder 54

Folder 55

Monologue Material #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 54-55

Folder 56

Printed Material #04448, Series: "4. Other Materials, 1922-1988." Folder 56

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Volumes, circa 1922-1962.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985.

About 200 items.

Arrangement: by category.

Pictures of Billy Arthur, family, and friends. Pictures are in rough chronological order within each category. The designation N shows that a negative is on file.

Image Folder P-4448/folders 1-2

P-4448/1-50d. Photographs of Billy Arthur, circa 1920-1988. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folders 1-2

Image Folder P-4448/folder 3

P-4448/51-67. Photographs of Billy Arthur with his family, circa 1920-1980. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 3

Image Folder P-4448/folder 4

P-4448/68-89. Photographs of Annis Eudy Arthur (Billy Arthur's mother), circa 1910-1978. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 4

Image Folder P-4448/folder 5

P-4448/90-92. Photographs of Billy Arthur Jr. (Billy Arthur's son), circa 1980-1982. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 5

P-4448/93-100. Photographs of J. A. Arthur (Billy Arthur's father), circa 1900-1925. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 5

P-4448/101-113. Photographs of family members, circa 1900-1982. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 5

Image Folder P-4448/folder 6

P-4448/114-133g. Billy Arthur with others, including Dean Smith (132) and vaudeville troupe (117-119, 125, 127-128, 130-131), circa 1920-1988. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 6

P-4448/134-137. Photographs of others, circa 1929-1941. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 6

P-4448/138-144. Photographs of Billy Arthur, Inc., circa 1965-1968. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 6

Image Folder P-4448/folder 7

Military-related pictures. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 7

Image Folder P-4448/folder 8

Club activities. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folder 8

Image Folder P-4448/folders 9-10

Miscellaneous photographs of Billy Arthur with family and friends. #04448, Series: "6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985." P-4448/folders 9-10

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 7. Audio Tapes, 1986 and undated.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of May 1997 (Acc.97066).

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98607).

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: Marion Pressler with assistance from Connie Cartledge and Angela Abbatiello, October 1986 and subsequent additions

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was revised with the support of the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

Back to Top