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Collection Number: 03457

Collection Title: Bagley Family Papers, 1848-1939

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 section for more information.


This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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Size 2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1,500 items)
Abstract Bagley family members included William Henry Bagley (1833-1886), clerk of the North Carolina Supreme Court, 1868-1887; his wife Adelaide, daughter of Jonathan Worth; Worth Bagley, a United States naval cadet and ensign, who was killed in the Spanish- American War; William Henry Bagley (1877-1936), a newspaper executive in Raleigh, N.C.; Adelaide (Bagley) Daniels and her husband, Josephus Daniels, secretary of the Navy, United States ambassador to Mexico, and Raleigh newpaper publisher; and George C. Worth (1867-1937), a Presbyterian missionary in China. The collection is primarily letters about family, personal, and social life received by William Henry Bagley and his wife Adelaide, including letters written by Adelaide to her future husband, 1864-1866, and correspondence of other members of the Worth and Bagley families in North Carolina. Other correspondence includes letters from the Bagley children and their families, chiefly 1889-1898. Represented are Worth Bagley; William Henry Bagley at Havanna in 1899 and as a newspaper executive in Raleigh, N.C., 1900-1915; Adelaide (Bagley) Daniels and Josephus Daniels, including letters from Washington, D.C., while Daniels was secretary of the Navy, and from Mexico, 1933-1939, while he was United States ambassador; and letters, 1931-1936, from George C. Worth (1867-1937) in China, which contain descriptions of the Japanese invasion.
Creator Bagley family.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
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 Bagley Family Papers #3457, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Jonathan Daniels of Raleigh, N.C., in 1960 and 1968 and from Worth Daniels in 1968.
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.
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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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

William Henry (W. H.) Bagley, 1833-1886, was the son of Colonel Willis H. Bagley of Perquimans County, N.C. Willis Bagley was, for many years, the sheriff of Perquimans County and was active in politics there. W. H. Bagley obtained his education at the Hertford Academy. After graduation, he edited the Elizabeth City Sentinel, then studied law, and was licensed in 1859. He originally opposed secession, but joined the 8th Regiment, North Carolina Troops at the start of the war. After being captured and released, he was promoted to Major of the 68th Regiment, North Carolina Troops. He served in that capacity until 1864. During the war, the voters of Perquimans and Pasquotank counties twice elected him to represent them in the North Carolina Senate. After the war, he became the private secretary of Governor Jonathan Worth, a position he held until he was elected Clerk of the State Supreme Court in 1868. He remained clerk until his death in 1886.

In 1866, W. H. Bagley married Adelaide Worth, daughter of Governor Jonathan Worth. They lived in Pittsboro, Chatham County, N.C., and, during legislative or court sessions, in Raleigh, N.C. They had six children: Adelaide Worth (1869-1943); Belle (1872-1936); Worth (1874-1898); Ethel (1875-1939); William Henry Jr. (1877-1936); and David (b. 1883).

Adelaide Worth Bagley lived her early life in Pittsboro and Raleigh and received her education at Peace College in Raleigh. In 1888, she married Josephus Daniels, who was editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson, and ambassador to Mexico under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Adelaide Bagley Daniels was active throughout her life in benevolent organizations and served on the board of directors at Rex Hospital in Raleigh in the 1920s and 1930s.

Belle and Ethel Bagley both received their early education in Raleigh. They lived together much of their lives and settled in Washington, D.C., where they were employed by the federal government. They lived on Dupont Circle for much of their time in Washington and were active in church and social activities in the city.

Worth Bagley received his early education at Centennial Graded School and the Raleigh Male Academy until, at age 15, he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. After leaving for academic reasons in 1892, he was reappointed and graduated in 1896. He served on several vessels in the Atlantic until the start of the Spanish-American War, when his ship was sent to Cuba. On 11 May 1898, Ensign Bagley was killed at Cardenas, Cuba, the only American naval officer killed during the war. His body was returned to Raleigh and a monument to him was erected on the Capitol grounds.

W. H. Bagley Jr. received his education at a private academy in Mebane, N.C. For much of his life he worked as a reporter for newspapers around the country. He also assisted his brother-in-law, Josephus Daniels, with business aspects of the News and Observer.

David Bagley received his early education in North Carolina, then was appointed to the United States Naval Academy. After graduation, he became an officer in the Navy and served in the two world wars, rising to the rank of admiral.

(Sources: John H. Wheeler, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina (1884) and Grady Lee Ernest Carroll Sr., The City of Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Civil War Experience (1979).)

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The collection is primarily letters about family, personal, and social life received by William Henry Bagley and his wife Adelaide Bagley, including letters written by Adelaide Bagley to her future husband, 1864-1866, and correspondence of other members of the Worth family and Bagley family in North Carolina. Other correspondence includes letters from the Bagley children and their families, chiefly 1889-1898. Represented are Worth Bagley; William Henry Bagley at Havana, Cuba, in 1899 and as a newspaper executive in Raleigh, N.C., 1900-1915; Adelaide Bagley Daniels and Josephus Daniels, including letters from Washington, D.C., while Josephus Daniels was secretary of the Navy, and from Mexico, 1933-1939, while he was United States ambassador; and letters, 1931-1936, from George C. Worth (1867-1937) in China, which contain descriptions of the Japanese invasion.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Loose Papers, 1848-1864.

About 1,800 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly letters to or from members of the Worth and Bagley families of North Carolina. Items detail events in the lives of W. H. Bagley, his wife Adelaide Worth Bagley, and their six children, as well as news from other closely related family members.

Materials, 1848-1888, are chiefly letters to or from W. H. Bagley concerning his business, fraternity, and personal relations. Materials, 1889-1908, chiefly concern the children of W. H. and Adelaide Worth Bagley, including dozens of letters from Worth Bagley to his mother while he was a student at the United States Naval Academy, and several letters from W. H. Bagley Jr., to various family members from Cuba. Items, 1909-1939, relate primarily to the surviving children of W. H. and Adelaide Worth Bagley and their families, including letters to and from Josephus Daniels, husband of Adelaide Bagley Daniels; to Belle Bagley from her suitor, W. E. Christian; and from George C. Worth, Presbyterian missionary in China, to members of the Bagley family. Miscellaneous items include photographs, bills, receipts, and a few other scattered items.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1848-1888.

About 650 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Materials chiefly concerning the business, fraternal, and personal relations of W. H. Bagley. Items include letters, receipts, bills, and other miscellaneous materials. Most of the letters are either from or to W. H. Bagley. They include several letters to Benjamin Townsend of Catonsville, Md., 1853; many detailed letters from Adelaide Worth during her courtship with W. H. Bagley, 1864-1866; many letters exchanged by W. H. Bagley and Adelaide Worth Bagley and their children when one or more of the family members was away from home, 1869-1888; and several letters to W. H. Bagley relating to his activities on behalf of the International Order of Odd Fellows and the National Union of Mansfield, Ohio, 1874-1888.

Items of particular interest include letters from Adelaide Worth during her courtship with Bagley, in which she describes life in Raleigh at the close of the Civil War and during the first months of Reconstruction and emancipation, 1864-1866; several letters from W. H. Bagley's father and brother, Willis and Willis Jr., chiefly concerning Reconstruction era politics in eastern North Carolina, 1866-1876; letters exchanged by members of the immediate Bagley family detailing the health of family members and friends, discussing social activities in Raleigh and Pittsboro, and describing new places seen during trips, 1869-1888; letters from W. H. Bagley to his wife Adelaide from Rockbridge Alum Springs, Va., describing the poor health and treatment of her father, Governor Jonathan Worth, immediately prior to his death, August 1869; letters from family members to Adelaide Worth Bagley during the illness and after the death of her husband, 1885-1886; and several letters indicating the engagement of Adelaide Worth Bagley's oldest daughter, also named Adelaide Worth Bagley, to Josephus Daniels, 1888.

Folder 1

1848-1863 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 1

Folder 2

1864 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 2

Folder 3

1865 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 3

Oversize Paper OP-3457/1

Certificate, 1 July 1865 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." OP-3457/1

Signed by President Andrew Johnson, the certificate declares William H. Bagley Superintendent of the Charlotte, N.C. branch of the United States Mint.

Folder 4

1866-1867 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 4

Folder 5

1868 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 5

Folder 6

1869-1870 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 6

Folder 7

1871-1873 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 7

Folder 8

1874 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 8

Folder 9

1875 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 9

Folder 10

1876 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 10

Folder 11

1877 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 11

Folder 12

1878-1879 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 12

Folder 13

1880 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 13

Folder 14

1881 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 14

Folder 15

1882 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 15

Folder 16

1883 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 16

Folder 17

1884 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 17

Folder 18

1885 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 18

Folder 19

1886-1888 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 19

Folder 20

Undated 1848-1888 #03457, Subseries: "1.1. 1848-1888." Folder 20

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1889-1908.

About 440 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly letters to or from the children and widow of W. H. Bagley. Most of the letters were written either by Worth Bagley while he was a student at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., and an officer in the Navy, 1889-1898, or by W. H. Bagley Jr., in Havana, Cuba, 1899. Items of particular interest include the dozens of letters Worth Bagley sent to his mother detailing his activities as a student in the Naval Academy, 1899-1895. Worth's many topics include the academic rigors of the Academy, his participation in athletics, his frequent homesickness, and, especially from 1893 to 1895, his increasingly busy social life. Also interspersed with these letters are several report cards Worth received while he attended the Naval Academy. His later letters, 1895 to May 1898, focus on his experiences as an officer in the United States Navy. Several letters and telegrams of May and June 1898 express the sympathy of family, friends, and acquaintances, including William Jennings Bryan, over the death of Ensign Worth Bagley during the Spanish-American War.

Other items of interest include detailed letters from W. H. Bagley Jr., to various family members while he was on assignment in Havana, Cuba, 1899. Among the topics he describes are the people and climate of Cuba, military activities related to the occupation of the island, and the murder of an American soldier by a Cuban policeman, 2 April 1899.

Folder 21

June-October 1889 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 21

Folder 22

November-December 1889 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 22

Folder 23

January-May 1890 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 23

Folder 24

June-December 1890 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 24

Folder 25

January-June 1891 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 25

Folder 26

July-December 1891 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 26

Folder 27

January-June 1892 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 27

Folder 28

July-December 1892 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 28

Folder 29

1893 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 29

Folder 30

1894 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 30

Folder 31

1895 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 31

Folder 32

1896 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 32

Folder 33

1897-1898 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 33

Folder 34

1899-1908 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 34

Folder 35

Undated, 1889-1908 #03457, Subseries: "1.2. 1889-1908." Folder 35

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. 1909-1939.

About 700 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly letters of Adelaide Worth Bagley Daniels, her husband Josephus Daniels, William E. Christian, and George C. Worth to various members of the Bagley family. The Daniels' letters, 1909-1939, concern events that occurred while they were in Raleigh working with the News and Observer, 1909-1913 and 1921-1933; in Washington, D.C., while Josephus served as secretary of the Navy for Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921; and in Mexico City while Josephus served as ambassador under Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1939. Letters written by W. E. Christian, addressed primarily to Belle Bagley, who lived in Washington, D.C., mostly concern his courtship of Ms. Bagley, 1924. Also included are letters George C. Worth wrote from China where he was a Presbyterian missionary, 1931-1937.

Items of interest include W. E. Christian's extensive love letters to Belle Bagley, in which he outlined his efforts to write short stories and a novel, excerpts of which he sent to her. Christian apparently was recovering from some type of mental collapse and wrote fiction and his letters to Bagley as a form of therapy. Also included are the diary-letters of Josephus Daniels while he was ambassador to Mexico. These letters contain much information about Daniels's official duties, as well as references to the active social life he and his wife shared in Mexico City. Daniels also enclosed newspaper clippings with his letters, many of which refer to his activities in Mexico City. Of particular interest in the George C. Worth letters are his references to conditions in China and details about the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.

Folder 36

1910-1912 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 36

Folder 37

1913-1917 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 37

Folder 38

1918-1919 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 38

Folder 39

1920-1924 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 39

Folder 40

W. E. Christian correspondence, 1890- February 1924 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 40

Folder 41

W. E. Christian correspondence, March-10 April 1924 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 41

Folder 42

W. E. Christian correspondence, 11-17 April 1924 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 42

Folder 43

W. E. Christian correspondence, 18-30 April 1924 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 43

Folder 44

W. E. Christian correspondence, May 1924 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 44

Folder 45

W. E. Christian correspondence, June 1924 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 45

Folder 46

W. E. Christian correspondence, July 1924 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 46

Folder 47

W. E. Christian correspondence, August-December 1924; 9 December 1925 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 47

Folder 48

W. E. Christian correspondence, undated #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 48

Folder 49

1925-1926 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 49

Folder 50

1927-1932 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 50

Folder 51

March-June 1933 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 51

Folder 52

July-December 1933 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 52

Folder 53

1934 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 53

Folder 54

1935 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 54

Folder 55

1936 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 55

Folder 56

January-June 1937 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 56

Folder 57

July-October 1937 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 57

Folder 58

November-December 1937 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 58

Folder 59

January-September 1938 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 59

Folder 60

October-December 1938 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 60

Folder 61

1939 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 61

Folder 62

1939 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 62

Folder 63

1939 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 63

Folder 64-65

Folder 64

Folder 65

Undated, 1909-1939 #03457, Subseries: "1.3. 1909-1939." Folder 64-65

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. Worth-Bagley Genealogy, 1914, 1964 and undated.

14 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Materials related to the genealogy of the Worth and Bagley families of North Carolina.

Folder 66

Worth-Bagley genealogy #03457, Subseries: "1.4. Worth-Bagley Genealogy, 1914, 1964 and undated." Folder 66

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Volumes, 1891-1929.

3 items.
Folder 67

Volume 1: 1891 #03457, Series: "2. Volumes, 1891-1929." Folder 67

This volume has two sections. Pages 1-44 contain records kept by W. H. Bagley Jr., as clerk to the Committee on Judiciary of the House of Representatives in the North Carolina General Assembly, 10 January-20 February 1891. The records include bills considered and recommendations made at each committee meeting. Pages 47-67 and 91 contain items of W. H. Bagley's "Memory Book," compiled chiefly May-August 1891, in which he pasted souvenirs, social cards and brief notes, invitations, pressed flowers, and leaves. For each item, he wrote short sentimental captions. This section also contains manuscript memoranda written by him during the same season. 91 pages.

Folder 68

Volume 2: 1902 #03457, Series: "2. Volumes, 1891-1929." Folder 68

Journal and notes of David Worth while on a United States Naval Academy cruise, 19 July-22 August 1902. The small volume is entitled "A Cruise on the USS Chesapeake." 50 pages.

Folder 69

Volume 3: 1929 #03457, Series: "2. Volumes, 1891-1929." Folder 69

Printed pamphlet with contents of speech delivered by Charles Whedbee upon the presentation of W. H. Bagley's portrait to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, 14 May 1929. The pamphlet contains biographical information on W. H. Bagley and background about the history of the North Carolina Supreme Court during the late 1800s. 15 pages.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Timothy A. Long, December 1992

Encoded by: Eben Lehman, January 2007

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, July 2010

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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