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Collection Number: 04936

Collection Title: Ellen Bruce Currie Papers, 1868-2000

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.


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Size 4.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2500 items)
Abstract Ellen Bruce Currie (1920- ) grew up in Raeford, N.C. Her maternal grandparents were Ruth Hairston Pannill Gordon (1850-1928), a cousin of Jeb Stuart, and Melville Cox Gordon (1838-1892). Currie's father was lawyer James Wharey Currie (1879-1935), her mother was Ruth Pannill Gordon Currie (1885-1947), and her brother was James Gordon Currie (1919-1964). Currie worked for the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Veterans Administration in Richmond, Va., and then at Fort Bragg, N.C. The collection includes letters, biographical information, religious materials, family history materials, legal and financial papers, and photographs documenting Ellen Bruce Currie's life. The bulk is correspondence, including many letters to Currie from Melbourne Slade, a prolific writer whose letters describe his Vietnam War experiences and personal struggles after the war. Also included are love letters to Currie and letters from her brother James Gordon Currie to his family while he served in World War II and about his alcoholism after the war. Biographical information documents Ellen Bruce Currie's education, travel, and employment. Religious materials chiefly relate to the Presbyterian Church. Family history materials include Ruth Hairston Pannill Gordon's reminiscences about General Jeb Stuart and items relating to the Currie, Gordon, and Pannill families. Legal papers document James Wharey Currie's career as a lawyer in Raeford, N.C. Included are items about land at Fort Bragg and material relating to a 1929 crime of seduction case. Financial papers consist chiefly of small ledgers kept by James Wharey Currie in the early 1930s. Photographs are of family members. The Addition of 2000 contains correspondence, financial documents, papers relating to Presbyterian church business, and photographs. Additions received after 2000 have been integrated into original deposits.
Creator Currie, Ellen Bruce, 1920-
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 Ellen Bruce Currie Papers #4936, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Carol Melton of Burlington, N.C., in October 1998 (Acc. 98138 and 98227), September 2000 (Acc. 98756), May 2002 (Acc. 99254), and April 2003 (Acc. 99465).
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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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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Born 19 November 1920 in Fayetteville, N.C., Ellen Bruce Currie grew up in Raeford, N.C., and attended Hoke County schools. Her paternal grandparents were James Lauchlin Currie (1849-1894) and Violet Jane Womack Currie (1851-1926).Her maternal grandparents were Ruth Hairston Pannill Gordon (1850-1928) and Melville Cox Gordon (1838-1892). Ruth Hairston Pannill Gordon was a cousin of Jeb Stuart. Ellen Bruce Currie's father was lawyer James Wharey Currie (1879-1935), her mother was Ruth Pannill Gordon Currie (1885-1947), and her brother was James Gordon Currie (1919-1964).

Ellen Bruce Currie graduated from Peace College in 1940 and, in 1944, moved to Richmond, Va. In Richmond, she worked for the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Veterans Administration until 1952, when she returned to Raeford to care for Florence (Punch) Gordon (1883-1958), her aunt. Currie worked at Fort Bragg, N.C., from 1952 until her retirement in 1985. She died in 2004.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Letters, biographical information, religious materials, family history materials, legal and financial papers, and photographs documenting Ellen Bruce Currie's life. The bulk of the collection is correspondence, including many letters to Currie from Melbourne Slade, a prolific writer whose letters describe his Vietnam War experiences and personal struggles after the war. Also included are love letters to Currie from Charles H. Hostetler, Luis Rodriguez, K. H. Desai, and Charles Olin Brackin. Other correspondence includes Currie's maternal grandfather Melville Cox Gordon's letter from Washington, D.C., at the time of the Rutherford B. Hayes inaugaration and letters from Ellen Bruce Currie's brother James Gordon Currie to his family while he served in World War II and about his alcoholism after the war.

Biographical information documents Ellen Bruce Currie's education, travel, and employment. Religious materials chiefly relate to the Presbyterian Church. Family history materials include Ruth Hairston Pannill Gordon's reminiscences about her cousin General Jeb Stuart. There are also items relating to the Currie, Gordon, and Pannill families; to the Bruce Society; and to the Jamestowne Society. Legal papers document the career of Ellen Bruce Currie's father James Wharey Currie as a lawyer in Raeford, N.C. Legal papers include items relating to land at Fort Bragg; material about a 1929 crime of seduction case; and the constitution for the 9th Judicial District Bar Association. Financial papers consist chiefly of small ledgers kept by James Wharey Currie in the early 1930s. Photographs are of family members.

The Addition of 2000 primarily contains correspondence. It also includes financial documents, papers relating to Presbyterian church business, and photographs.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1868-1998.

About 2000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly letters to Ellen Bruce Currie, but also correspondence relating to three generations of the Currie family. Letters of Currie's maternal grandmother Ruth Hairston Panill Gordon begin in 1868 and include courtship letters between her and Currie's grandfather Melville Cox Gordon, including a letter from Melville Cox Gordon in Washington, D.C., at the time of Rutherford B. Hayes's inauguration. From 1910 to 1928, there is correspondence relating to Currie's mother Ruth Pannill Gordon Currie, including letters and poems from Arthur D. Gore and letters of condolence on the death of her husband James Wharey Gordon in 1935. In 1943-1945, there are letters from Ellen Bruce Currie's brother James Gordon Currie to family members documenting his World War II experiences in the European Theatre.

In 1945, there are love letters to James Gordon Currie from "Gale" and, in 1946-1948, from Octavia D. McRae. McRae's letters document post-war life in rural North Carolina and chronicle her visits to New York and Washington, D.C.. In 1954-1958, there are letters about James Gordon Currie's alcoholism.

Other family letters relate to Ellen Bruce Currie's aunt Florence Gordon, 1910-1928; 1954-1958; 1959-1960; her aunt Helen Kilgore, 1954-1958; and her cousin Tish Currie, 1978-1979.

Letters of Ellen Bruce Currie include love letters from Charles H. Hostetler, ca. 1950-1951; letters from Luis Rodriguez, ca. 1954-1958; courtship and other letters from Indian pediatrician K. H. Desai, beginning ca. 1959 and continuing until around 1968; and from Charles Olin Brackin in the 1970s and 1981. Ellen Bruce Currie seems to have been engaged to Hostetler, a Raeford attorney, but they never married. While most of the letters pertain to personal relationships and friends, some letters include information about the locales from which they were written. Desai wrote from Ahmedabad and Bhilai M.P., India and described his attempts to move back to the United States. Currie eventually visited Desai on a trip around the world. Brackin was employed in the lumber business and often wrote from Central America.

Letters to Ellen Bruce Currie from Melbourne Slade, who served in the Vietnam War, begin in the early 1960s and document Slade's experiences in Vietnam and after the war. Slade's letters are forthright about his experiences and relationships. In a letter dated 1 January 1963, he wrote, "Americans are getting bumped off every day. You won't read about it because it's hush, hush!" In addition, Slade detailed his difficulties after the war with his ex-wife and children.

From 1978 to 1998, much of Currie's correspondence relates to her interest in genealogy and family history.

Folder 1

1868-1879 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 1

Folder 2

19th century letter fragments #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 2

Folder 3

1910-1928 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 3

Folder 4

1935-1939 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 4

Folder 5-6

Folder 5

Folder 6

1943-1944 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 5-6

Folder 7

1945 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 7

Folder 8-12

Folder 8

Folder 9

Folder 10

Folder 11

Folder 12

1946-December 1948 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 8-12

Folder 13

1949 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 13

Folder 14-16

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

1950-1951 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 14-16

Folder 17

1954-1958 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 17

Folder 18

1959-1960 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 18

Folder 19

1961-1962 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 19

Folder 20-24

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

1963 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 20-24

Folder 25

January-February 1964 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 25

Folder 26

March-August 1964 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 26

Folder 27-31

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

Folder 30

Folder 31

September 1964-June 1968 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 27-31

Folder 32-42

Folder 32

Folder 33

Folder 34

Folder 35

Folder 36

Folder 37

Folder 38

Folder 39

Folder 40

Folder 41

Folder 42

July 1968-June 1970 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 32-42

Folder 43

March-December 1971 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 43

Folder 44

1972 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 44

Folder 45

1973-1977 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 45

Folder 46

1978-1979 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 46

Folder 47-48

Folder 47

Folder 48

1980-July 1981 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 47-48

Folder 49

August-December 1981 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 49

Folder 50-53

Folder 50

Folder 51

Folder 52

Folder 53

1982-1998 #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 50-53

Folder 54-55

Folder 54

Folder 55

Undated correspondence #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 54-55

Folder 56

Undated correspondence from K. H. Desai #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 56

Folder 57-58

Folder 57

Folder 58

Undated correspondence and letter fragments from Melbourne Slade #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 57-58

Folder 59

Undated correspondence from Charles Olin Brackin #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 59

Folder 60

Undated correspondence and letter fragments from Jean Johnson #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 60

Folder 61

Letter fragments #04936, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1868-1998." Folder 61

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Biographical Information, ca. 1927-1987.

14 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Biographical information about Ellen Bruce Currie, including documentation of her education, travel, and employment.

Folder 62

Birth certificate, news clippings, memorabilia #04936, Series: "2. Biographical Information, ca. 1927-1987. " Folder 62

Folder 63

Resume and other items relating to employment #04936, Series: "2. Biographical Information, ca. 1927-1987. " Folder 63

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Religious Materials, ca. 1946-1997.

21 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Materials reflecting Ellen Bruce Currie's interest in religion, particularly the Presbyterian faith. Most materials are from the Raeford Presbyterian Church. In 1983, there are items relating to the union of the Presbyterian Church.

Folder 64

Religious materials #04936, Series: "3. Religious Materials, ca. 1946-1997. " Folder 64

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Family History, 1911-1996.

About 160 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical by subject.

Materials reflecting Ellen Bruce Currie's interest in genealogy. Currie investigated the Currie family and the related Gordon and Pannill families. Included are her application to the Jamestowne Society and mailings from both the Jamestowne Society and the Bruce Society. Currie saved newpaper clippings about her relatives in Davidson, N.C., including her father's brother Archibald Currie (1876-1942), his daughter Lucy Currie Johnston (1910-1979), her husband Frontis Withers Johnston (1908-1990), their daughter Letitia Dabney Johnston Kimbrough, and Achibald's other daughter Letitia Currie (1908- ). There are also materials relating to Currie's brother James Gordon Currie (1919-1964), including affidavits stating that his military experiences during World War II ultimately led to his death; to her father James Wharey Currie (1879-1935); and to her mother Ruth Pannill Gordon Currie (1885-1947).

Of particular interest is the reminiscence of Ellen Bruce Currie's maternal grandmother Ruth Hairston Pannill Gordon about her cousin General Jeb Stuart.

Folder 65

Bruce Society #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 65

Folder 66

Currie, James Gordon, his wife Constance Merle Currie, and daughter Barbara Pannill Currie #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 66

Folder 67

Currie, James Wharey #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 67

Folder 68

Currie, Ruth Pannill Gordon #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 68

Folder 69

Currie and Johnston families #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 69

Folder 70-72

Folder 70

Folder 71

Folder 72

Genealogical charts, records, notes, forms, newspaper clippings #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 70-72

Folder 73

Gordon family #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 73

Folder 74

Jamestowne Society #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 74

Folder 75

Pannill family (compiled by Hunter Pannill) #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 75

Folder 76

Scotland and the Highland Games in North Carolina #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 76

Folder 77

Stuart, Jeb (Ruth Hairston Pannill Gordon's reminiscences) #04936, Series: "4. Family History, 1911-1996. " Folder 77

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Legal Papers, ca. 1913-1935.

About 60 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Materials relating to early 20th century court cases of Ellen Bruce Currie's father James Wharey Currie, lawyer of Raeford, N.C. Included are disputes concerning the government's condemnation of land for use by Fort Bragg, 1910s; deeds for Hoke County, N.C., and Moore County, N.C., 1921-1927; a 1929 crime of seduction case; and an undated constitution for the 9th Judicial District Bar Association.

Folder 78-79

Folder 78

Folder 79

1913-1918 #04936, Series: "5. Legal Papers, ca. 1913-1935. " Folder 78-79

Folder 80

1919-1920 #04936, Series: "5. Legal Papers, ca. 1913-1935. " Folder 80

Folder 81

1921-1927 #04936, Series: "5. Legal Papers, ca. 1913-1935. " Folder 81

Folder 82-83

Folder 82

Folder 83

1929 #04936, Series: "5. Legal Papers, ca. 1913-1935. " Folder 82-83

Folder 84

1930-1935 #04936, Series: "5. Legal Papers, ca. 1913-1935. " Folder 84

Folder 85

Undated #04936, Series: "5. Legal Papers, ca. 1913-1935. " Folder 85

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 6. Financial Papers, ca. 1930-1953.

9 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Financial papers of James Wharey Currie and bills due after the death of his wife Ruth Pannill Gordon Currie in 1947.

Folder 86

Financial records #04936, Series: "6. Financial Papers, ca. 1930-1953. " Folder 86

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse 7. Pictures, ca. 1880-ca. 1980.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98756)

About 200 items.

1870-2000.

Primarily letters and other correspondence. The letters cluster around various holidays and tend to deal with related matters. There are also financial documents, including one about the sale of a parcel of land in Orange County, N.C., by Archibald Currie, in 1870. There are also documents relating to Ellen Bruce Currie's financial position, the liquidation of her mother's estate, as well as papers about her purchase of shares in Engel Petroleum, Inc.. Other papers relate to Currie's attempts to move into the Presbyterian Home of High Point and to the embezzlement of a large sum of money from the Raeford Presbyterian Church by the Church's bookkeeper. There are also photographs, including one apparently depicting Ellen Bruce Currie receiving an award from General Norman Schwartzkopf, and photographs of Richard Thomas Gillespie, Jr., and Malcolm Worthington, that appear to date from the early twentieth century.

Folder 87-89

Folder 87

Folder 88

Folder 89

Correspondence, 1983-2000 and undated #04936, Series: "Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98756)" Folder 87-89

Folder 90

Biographical information, 1990-2000 #04936, Series: "Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98756)" Folder 90

Folder 91

Religious materials, 1955-1999 #04936, Series: "Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98756)" Folder 91

Folder 92

Legal papers, 1945-1991 #04936, Series: "Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98756)" Folder 92

Folder 93-94

Folder 93

Folder 94

Financial papers, 1870-1990 #04936, Series: "Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98756)" Folder 93-94

Folder P-4936/4

Pictures, 1904-1940s #04936, Series: "Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98756)" Folder P-4936/4

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Items separated include pictures (P-4936/1-4).

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Processing Information

Processed by: Caroline Weaver, July 1999

Encoded by: Caroline Weaver, July 1999

Additions received after 2000 have been integrated into the original deposits.

Finding aid updated in December 2005 by Nathalie Wheaton because of addition.

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