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Collection Number: 04402

Collection Title: Geo. E. Butler Papers, 1922-1939

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.


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Size 3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1650 items)
Abstract George Edwin Butler was co-superintendent of public instruction of Sampson County, N.C., and lawyer of Clinton, N.C.; trustee of the University of North Carolina; director of the Bank of Clinton; member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, 1905; member of the Republican State Executive Committee; delegate to several Republican national conventions; and unsuccessful candidate for several offices, including state attorney general, U.S. Senator, Superior Court judge, and Supreme Court Judge. The collection includes correspondence, notes, printed material, and other items of Geo. E. Butler, relating primarily to his political career, including his campaign for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1930 and his attempts to secure appointment as judge of the U.S. Court of Claims in 1929, the Federal Power Commission in 1930, clerk of federal court in 1932, and federal receiver for failed banks in 1932. Other files relate to the North Carolina Bar Association, 1925-1926; public education in North Carolina, 1922; and criminal prosecution resulting from the failure of the Bank of Clinton, 1929-1932. A series of general political material, 1924-1939, reflects Butler's involvement in Republican Party organization and politics as well as his concern with federal and national political activities. The collection contains material relating to Charles A. Jonas, Isaac M. Meekins, Marion Butler, H. Brownlow Jackson, W. Giles Mebane, and Jake F. Newell, among others.
Creator Butler, Geo. E. (George Edwin), 1868-1941.
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 Geo. E. Butler papers #4402, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Originally part of the ALGERNON LEE BUTLER PAPERS, received from Mrs. A. L. Butler of Clinton, North Carolina, and her children, in October 1978, November 1981, and May 1983.
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

George Edwin Butler was born on 5 June 1868 in Salemburg (Sampson County), NC . His parents, Wiley Butler and Romelia Ferrill, had six children (4 boys and 2 girls). One of George's brothers, Marion, was the United States Senator from North Carolina from 1895 to 1901 and national Chairman of the Populist Party.

George Butler attended Salem High School and went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1887 to 1889. He then returned to Sampson County and was the principal of Salem High School for three years. In 1893 he again went to Chapel Hill, this time to study law. After the completion of these studies, Butler returned home and became the co-superintendent of public instruction for Sampson County. He also set up a law practice in Clinton, North Carolina.

Butler ran successfully for a seat in the North Carolina State Senate in 1897, but, with the coming of the Spanish-American War in 1898, his political life was set aside as he volunteered for duty in Cuba and was commissioned a major in the First North Carolina Regiment. During his service in Cuba, Butler, in addition to his normal duties, served as a Summary Court Martial Officer and was president of the General Court Martial Board of the Seventh U. S. Army Corps. He was addressed as "Major" for the rest of his life.

Following the war, Butler returned to his law practice in Clinton and married Eva B. Lee on 8 January 1902. The couple had three sons (Algernon, Edwin, and Mossette) and one daughter (Frances). During this period, Butler, in addition to practicing law, became a trustee of the University of North Carolina and a director of the Bank of Clinton. He also continued his interest in politics and was elected to the North Carolina State House of Representatives in 1905 as a Republican.

Following his term in the House, Butler resumed his law practice but continued an active involvement in Republican politics both as a candidate for various offices and as a state Republican Party executive. The offices Butler sought during the following years included state Attorney General, Superior Court Judge, and Supreme Court Judge in 1924. He also ran for the Republican nomination to the U. S. Senate in 1930 and was the Republican candidate for Congress from the Third District on two occasions. He was unsuccessful in all of these races. Butler continued to be an active member of the Republican State Executive Committee and served as a delegate to several Republican National Conventions.

In addition to his political interests, George Butler was involved in many aspects of civic life. He was twice president of the Sampson County Agricultural Society and was the first president of the Sampson County Chamber of Commerce. He also served as commander of the North Carolina Home Guard during World War I, and was a member of the Ports and Terminals Commission under Governor Morrison from 1921 to 1925. He was head of the state organization of the Rotary Club and was chairman of the Executive Committee of the North Carolina State Bar Association. For many years, Butler held the position of vestryman at St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Clinton.

Butler had a special interest in public education in North Carolina. He advocated local taxation for public schools, consolidated school districts, raising standards for county superintendents, and equal educational opportunity for all children of the state.

Butler died in Clinton on 1 May 1941. At the time of his death he was a member of the Committee to Revise the State Constitution.

Sources:These papers; Biographical Clippings File, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

George E. Butler's political and legal activities are documented in a series of subject files, a general political file, and a clippings file. The most extensive subject file concerns Butler's campaign for the Rupublican nomination to the United States Senate in 1930. Other files relate to the North Carolina Bar Association, 1925-1926; public education in North Carolina, 1922; criminal prosecution resulting from the failure of the Bank of Clinton, 1929-1932; and attempts by Butler to secure appointment as judge of the United States Court of Claims, 1929, the Federal Power Commission, 1930, clerk of federal court, 1932, and federal receiver for failed banks, 1932. A series of general political material, 1924-1939, reflects Butler's involvement in Republican Party organization and politics as well as his concern with state and national political issues. Items in the clipping file concern Butler's political activities, 1929-1936.

Most prominent North Carolina Republicans as well as a number of national leaders of the 1920s and 1930s are represented by correspondence in the subject or general political files. These include Charles A. Jonas, Isaac M. Meekins, Marion Butler, H. Brownlow Jackson, W. Giles Mebane, and Jake F. Newell.

Files containing the papers of George Butler came to the Southern Historical Collection with those of his son and law partner, Algernon Lee Butler. The papers have been kept, in so far as possible, in the order in which they were received. In some cases this results in a certain amount of overlapping: for instance, for material relating to Butler's campaign for nomination to the United States Senate it is necessary to look at both the Senate Campaign series and the General Political series. Within each series the papers have been reorganized to make them easily accessible.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. General Political Material, 1924-1939.

About 600 items.

Arrangement: Outgoing - Chronological.

Arrangement: Incoming - Alphabetical by correspondent.

Correspondence, printed material, and notes covering a broad range of Butler's political concerns. Included are materials on a number of elections; state Republican Party organization; and state and national political issues.

Folder 1

Outgoing: 1924; 1926 #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 1

Folder 2-5

Folder 2

Folder 3

Folder 4

Folder 5

Outgoing: 1927-1930 #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 2-5

Folder 6

Outgoing: January-September 1931 #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 6

Folder 7

Outgoing: October-December 1931 #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 7

Folder 8-10

Folder 8

Folder 9

Folder 10

Outgoing: 1932-1939 #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 8-10

Folder 11

Incoming: A #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 11

Folder 12-14

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

Incoming: B #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 12-14

Folder 15

Incoming: C #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 15

Folder 16

Incoming: D #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 16

Folder 17

Incoming: E #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 17

Folder 18

Incoming: F #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 18

Folder 19

Incoming: G #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 19

Folder 20-21

Folder 20

Folder 21

Incoming: H #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 20-21

Folder 22-24

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

Incoming: J #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 22-24

Folder 25

Incoming: K #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 25

Folder 26

Incoming: L #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 26

Folder 27

Incoming: M #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 27

Folder 28

Incoming: N #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 28

Folder 29

Incoming: P #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 29

Folder 30

Incoming: R #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 30

Folder 31

Incoming: S #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 31

Folder 32

Incoming: T #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 32

Folder 33

Incoming: U #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 33

Folder 34

Incoming: V #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 34

Folder 35

Incoming: W #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 35

Folder 36

Incoming: Y #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 36

Folder 37-38

Folder 37

Folder 38

Miscellaneous Correspondence #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 37-38

Folder 39-43

Folder 39

Folder 40

Folder 41

Folder 42

Folder 43

Printed Material and Notes #04402, Series: "1. General Political Material, 1924-1939." Folder 39-43

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930.

About 700 items.

Arrangement: Outgoing - Chronological.

Arrangement: Incoming - Alphabetical by correspondent.

Correspondence, printed material and notes relating to Butler's attempt to win the nomination of the Republican Party to be United States senator from North Carolina in 1930.

Folder 44

Outgoing: January-March 1930 #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 44

Folder 45-47

Folder 45

Folder 46

Folder 47

Outgoing: April 1930 #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 45-47

Folder 48-49

Folder 48

Folder 49

Outgoing: May 1930 #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 48-49

Folder 50

Outgoing: June, July, October 1930 #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 50

Folder 51

Incoming: A #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 51

Folder 52-55

Folder 52

Folder 53

Folder 54

Folder 55

Incoming: B #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 52-55

Folder 56

Incoming: C #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 56

Folder 57

Incoming: D #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 57

Folder 58

Incoming: E #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 58

Folder 59

Incoming: F #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 59

Folder 60

Incoming: G #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 60

Folder 61

Incoming: H #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 61

Folder 62

Incoming: J #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 62

Folder 63

Incoming: K #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 63

Folder 64

Incoming: L #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 64

Folder 65-66

Folder 65

Folder 66

Incoming: M #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 65-66

Folder 67

Incoming: N #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 67

Folder 68

Incoming: O #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 68

Folder 69

Incoming: P #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 69

Folder 70

Incoming: Q #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 70

Folder 71

Incoming: R #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 71

Folder 72

Incoming: S #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 72

Folder 73

Incoming: T #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 73

Folder 74

Incoming: V #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 74

Folder 75

Incoming: W #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 75

Folder 76

Incoming: Y #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 76

Folder 77

Miscellaneous Correspondence #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 77

Folder 78-79

Folder 78

Folder 79

Printed Material and Notes #04402, Series: "2. Senate Primary Campaign, 1930." Folder 78-79

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Correspondence regarding George Butler's attempt to secure a Court of Claims judgeship, 1929; his attempt to gain appointment first as general council and later as commissioner of the Federal Power Commission, 1930; his application to be made a United States government receiver for failed banks, 1932; and his possible appointment to the position of clerk of the Federal Court, 1932.

Folder 80-83

Folder 80

Folder 81

Folder 82

Folder 83

U. S. Court of Claims, 5 July - 31 July 1929 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 80-83

Folder 84

U. S. Court of Claims, August 1929 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 84

Folder 85

U. S. Court of Claims, September 1929 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 85

Folder 86

U. S. Court of Claims, October 1929 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 86

Folder 87-88

Folder 87

Folder 88

U. S. Court of Claims, Lists and Indexes, 1929 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 87-88

Folder 89

Federal Power Commission, March 1930 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 89

Folder 90

Federal Power Commission, June 1930 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 90

Folder 91-92

Folder 91

Folder 92

Federal Power Commission, July 1930 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 91-92

Folder 93

Bank Receivership, January-February 1932 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 93

Folder 94

Clerk of Federal Court, November-December 1932 #04402, Series: "3. Appointive Offices, 1929, 1930, 1932." Folder 94

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Bank Fraud Case, 1929-1932.

About 50 items.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Correspondence, legal papers, and notes relating to criminal and civil charges brought against George Butler and others as a result of the failure of the Bank of Clinton.

Folder 95

Correspondence, August-September 1932 #04402, Series: "4. Bank Fraud Case, 1929-1932. " Folder 95

Folder 96-98

Folder 96

Folder 97

Folder 98

Notes and Legal Papers, 1929-1932 #04402, Series: "4. Bank Fraud Case, 1929-1932. " Folder 96-98

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Miscellaneous Files, 1922, 1925-1926.

About 50 items.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Correspondence concerning public education in North Carolina; inquiries from various counties concerning their tax rates; draft of a bill proposing an equal allotment of public school funds and a uniform rate of taxation for the public schools; correspondence relating to procedures and fees in the United States District Court in Wilmington, North Carolina; and correspondence relating to the annual meeting of the North Carolina Bar Association, 1926.

Folder 99

N. C. Schools and Taxes, April-May 1922 #04402, Series: "5. Miscellaneous Files, 1922, 1925-1926." Folder 99

Folder 100

N. C. Bar Association, August 1925-April 1926 #04402, Series: "5. Miscellaneous Files, 1922, 1925-1926." Folder 100

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 6. Clippings, 1929-1940.

12 items.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Newspaper clippings concerning George Butler and the Senate race of 1930; the Court of Claims judgeship in 1929; and an account of a speech Butler made in 1936 attacking FDR and the New Deal.

Folder 101

Clippings, 1929-1940 #04402, Series: "6. Clippings, 1929-1940." Folder 101

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Processing Information

Processed by: Harry McKown, Laura O'Keefe, John White, Barbara Logsdon, March 1985

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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