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Collection Number: 02259

Collection Title: H. M. Berry Papers, 1890-1962

This collection has use 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 section for more information.


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Size 5.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2400 items)
Abstract Born in Hillsborough, N.C., the daughter of John and Mary Strayhorn Berry, Harriet Morehead Berry graduated from the State Normal and Industrial College at Greensboro, N.C., in 1897 and taught school from 1897 to 1901. From 1901 to 1921, she was employed by the State Geological and Economic Survey. During the absence of State Geologist Joseph Hyde Pratt during World War I, Berry acted as director of the Survey. During this period, she also took over Pratt's duties as secretary of the North Carolina Good Roads Association. After losing her job with the Geological and Economic Survey in 1921, Berry became editor of industry and commerce for the Greensboro Daily News, 1922-1924. In 1924, she was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was an early supporter of John W. Davis. During 1924 and 1925, she was secretary of the North Carolina Credit Union Association. From 1925 to 1937, she was employed by the State Department of Agriculture as an editor of Market News and director of publicity for credit unions. In 1927, she was appointed state superintendent of credit unions. Bad health forced her resignation in 1937. The collection contains correspondence, circulars, press releases, articles, speeches, and clippings concerning H. M. Berry's activities in the Good Roads movement and the promotion of state roads legislation of 1921; her work with the North Carolina Credit Union Association, 1923-1931; the Democratic National Convention of 1924; and state and national party campaigns, 1920-1932. Also included are minutes of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, 1916-1923, and Berry's unfinished compilations of materials for a history of the movement.
Creator Berry, H. M. (Harriet Morehead), 1877-1940.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
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 H. M. Berry Papers #2259, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Margaret Berry Street and Robert B. Street. The papers were deposited under seal from July 1940 until April 1952, when Margaret Berry Street withdrew them in order to work on a biography of H. M. Berry. After Street's death, Robert Berry returned the papers to the Southern Historical Collection in August 1968 for unrestricted use.
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

H. M. (Harriet Morehead) Berry (22 July 1877-24 March 1940), leader in the good roads movement in North Carolina and a civic and political activist was born in Hillsborough, N.C., the daughter of Dr. John and Mary Strayhorn Berry. Harriet M. Berry was educated at home and at the Nash-Kollock school in Hillsborough. In 1892, she entered the State Normal School (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and graduated with honors in 1897.

Berry began her long association with North Carolina's road system in February 1901. She was hired as a stenographer to Dr. Joseph Hyde Pratt, mineralogist on the North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey. Berry quickly became involved with many phases of the survey's work. Under state geologist Joseph Austin Holmes, the North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey had taken the lead in movements to encourage conservation and, particularly to promote the building of better roads. Working with both Pratt and Holmes, Harriet Berry assumed much of the responsibility for providing the staff work on which the survey's technical investigations and its reform activities rested. In 1904, she became secretary to the survey.

In 1906, Joseph Hyde Pratt succeeded Joseph Holmes as both state geologist and as secretary of the North Carolina Good Roads Association. Working with Pratt, Berry became increasingly involved with the good roads movement. During World War I, while Pratt was in the army, she became acting head of the survey. In 1919, she led the North Carolina Good Roads Association in an attempt to create a state highway commission with authority and to fund a state system of paved roads. Despite her efforts, the General Assembly did not enact what she considered an effective law.

From 1919 to 1921, Berry canvassed the state. She spoke in 89 of the state's 100 counties and flooded the state with news releases, letters, petitions, and circulars. Her initiative increased the membership of the North Carolina Good Roads Association from 272 to 5,500 members and built its treasury from less than $2,000 to more than $12,000. Her efforts were rewarded in 1921, when the General Assembly passed a road law that created a powerful state highway commission and committed the state to the construction of a modern highway system.

Berry left the Geological and Economic survey in 1921. A change of administration and bitter feelings from the legislative fight prompted her resignation. In 1922, she joined the staff of the Greensboro Daily News as editor of the Department of Industries and Resources. While working at the newspaper, she campaigned for better schools and for the creation of an organization to advertise North Carolina's advantages for industry, tourism, and resource development. In 1924, she became the secretary of the North Carolina Credit Union Association, which encouraged farmers to form local cooperatives, pooling their financial assets to create a fund from which members could borrow at a cost substantially below bank interest rates.

In 1925, Berry joined the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, editing the department's Market News. She then served as director of publicity for credit unions. In 1927, she became the state superintendent for credit unions, continuing in that position until poor health forced her to retire in 1937.

Berry was a lifelong Democrat, serving her party on local, state, and national levels. She was a member of the state Democratic executive committee and a delegate at large to the Democratic National Convention in 1924. She was a member of the Legislative Council of Women in World War I and was a supporter of woman suffrage. She served as head of the Chapel Hill Equal Suffrage League and at one time as vice-president of the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League.

Remembered as a delicate woman of refined tastes, she was also a person of inflexible will and a skilled political infighter. She was guided by an intellectual and moral conviction prefigured in her honors address as a college senior, "The Jingle of the Guinea." In this essay, she argued that the health of a society lay in the well-being of all its members, not in the wealth of a minority. Berry died in Chapel Hill in 1940 of heart trouble. An Episcopalian, she was buried after a graveside service in the Chapel Hill Cemetery.

(Adapted from Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Volume 1, pages 144-145.)

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, circulars, press releases, articles, speeches, and clippings concerning H. M. Berry's activities in the Good Roads movement in North Carolina and the promotion of state roads legislation of 1921; her work with the North Carolina Credit Union Association, 1923-1931; the Democratic Party national convention of 1924; and state and national party campaigns, 1920-1932. Also included are minutes of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, 1916-1923, and Berry's unfinished compilations of materials for a history of the movement.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Related Material, 1914-1940 .

About 1,600 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence, press releases, speeches, and other related material. This series contains chiefly letters received and sent by H. M. Berry dealing primarily with good roads, credit unions, politics, and North Carolina development. Correspondents include people prominent in North Carolina government or business, 1918-1940. There are also press releases, speeches, and routine business items of the North Carolina Good Roads Association.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1914-1923.

About 1,200 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence and other items dealing primarily with the Good Roads movement. Correspondence includes routine business of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, plans for the annual conventions, financial matters, legislative activities, and lobbying for the road bills of 1919, 1921, and 1923. Other topics include conditions of jails in Orange County, N.C., patronage and political appointments, and letters from Good Roads Associations in other states. Principal correspondents include W. A. McGirt, T. L. Gwyn, Heriot Clarkson, Hugh McRae, John Sprunt Hill, Joseph Hyde Pratt, Julian S. Carr, and others.

Folder 1

1914-1918 #02259, Subseries: "1.1. 1914-1923." Folder 1

Folder 2-8

Folder 2

Folder 3

Folder 4

Folder 5

Folder 6

Folder 7

Folder 8

1919 #02259, Subseries: "1.1. 1914-1923." Folder 2-8

Folder 9-16

Folder 9

Folder 10

Folder 11

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

1920 #02259, Subseries: "1.1. 1914-1923." Folder 9-16

Folder 17-24

Folder 17

Folder 18

Folder 19

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

1921 #02259, Subseries: "1.1. 1914-1923." Folder 17-24

Folder 25-27

Folder 25

Folder 26

Folder 27

1922 #02259, Subseries: "1.1. 1914-1923." Folder 25-27

Folder 28-32

Folder 28

Folder 29

Folder 30

Folder 31

Folder 32

1923 #02259, Subseries: "1.1. 1914-1923." Folder 28-32

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1924-1934.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters chiefly concerned with the establishment of credit unions in North Carolina and the political campaigns of 1924 and 1932. Berry served as a delegate at large to the 1924 national Democratic Party convention. This subseries contains miscellaneous items from the convention, mostly invitations. Other items include press releases about North Carolina roads, April-May 1934.

Folder 33-35

Folder 33

Folder 34

Folder 35

1924 #02259, Subseries: "1.2. 1924-1934." Folder 33-35

Folder 36

1925 #02259, Subseries: "1.2. 1924-1934." Folder 36

Folder 37

1926 #02259, Subseries: "1.2. 1924-1934." Folder 37

Folder 38

1927-1931 #02259, Subseries: "1.2. 1924-1934." Folder 38

Folder 39

1932-1933 #02259, Subseries: "1.2. 1924-1934." Folder 39

Folder 40

1934 #02259, Subseries: "1.2. 1924-1934." Folder 40

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. 1935-1940 and undated.

About 100 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence chiefly about H. M. Berry's resignation as superintendent of credit unions and her work on a history of North Carolina roads.

Folder 41

1935-1939 #02259, Subseries: "1.3. 1935-1940 and undated." Folder 41

Folder 42

1940 #02259, Subseries: "1.3. 1935-1940 and undated." Folder 42

Folder 43

Undated #02259, Subseries: "1.3. 1935-1940 and undated." Folder 43

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Records of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, 1918-1923.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Newspaper Clippings, 1918-1940 and undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Biographical and Related Material, 1940-1962.

About 100 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters, speeches, clippings, scrapbooks, biographical material, and related items on H. M. Berry. This subseries contains papers pertaining to the Plaque Dedication ceremony in the lobby of the State Highway Building in Raleigh for Berry on 25 October 1962 as well as speeches, clippings, and programs about this event. There are also two scrapbooks organized by Berry, one of newspaper clippings on her contribution to the Good Roads Association and related material and another of inspirational poetry, stories, and quotations of interest to Berry. Also included are articles and other collected material about Berry and her family that were used for a biography about Berry.

Folder 78

Materials for biography, collected in 1960 #02259, Series: "4. Biographical and Related Material, 1940-1962." Folder 78

Folder 79

Plaque dedication, 1962 #02259, Series: "4. Biographical and Related Material, 1940-1962." Folder 79

Folder 80

Scrapbook: Good Roads Association and related materials, 1920-1923, 144 pages #02259, Series: "4. Biographical and Related Material, 1940-1962." Folder 80

Folder 81

Scrapbook: Inspirational poetry, stories, and quotations, 204 pages #02259, Series: "4. Biographical and Related Material, 1940-1962." Folder 81

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Pictures, 1890-1935.

17 items.
Image P-2259/1

H. M. Berry, circa 1915 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/1

Caption: "Mother of N.C. State Highway System, Chapel Hill, N.C."

Image P-2259/2

H. M. Berry and unidentified man, circa 1915 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/2

Image P-2259/3

H. M. Berry and five unidentified men, circa 1915 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/3

Image P-2259/4

Possibly H. M. Berry and four unidentified men, 26 April 1924 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/4

On verso: "First car poultry shipped cooperatively out of eastern North Carolina"

Image P-2259/5

Members of North Carolina Good Roads Association, 10 July 1917, Battery Park, Asheville, N.C. #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/5

H. M. Berry on first row, second from right

Image P-2259/6

Unidentified group, circa 1920 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/6

Possibly H. M. Berry on second row, third from left

Image P-2259/7

Edwin Bedford Jeffress, circa 1920 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/7

Image P-2259/8

William Archibald McGirt, circa 1920 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/8

Image P-2259/9

Albert Cabell Ritchie, circa 1923 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/9

Campaign literature printed below photo proclaiming "Maryland's Great Governor"

Image P-2259/10

Joseph Austin Holmes, circa 1890 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/10

Image P-2259/11

Thomas Contee Bowie, circa 1915 (negative on file) #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/11

Image P-2259/12

John Sprunt Hill, 1935 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/12

Photo is captioned "State Senate, 1935"

Image P-2259/13

Frank Page, circa 1915 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/13

Image P-2259/14-15

P-2259/14

P-2259/15

Three unidentified men, circa 1915 (two copies) #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/14-15

Image P-2259/16

Unidentified man, circa 1915 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/16

Image P-2259/17

Unidentified man, circa 1915 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/17

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Processing Information

Processed by: Carolyn Hamby and Suzanne Ruffing, February 1996

Encoded by: Russell Michalak, April 2006

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