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Collection Number: 04125

Collection Title: Matthew Smart Davis Papers, 1851-1914

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 About 600 items (1.5 linear feet)
Abstract Matthew Smart Davis was born in Warren County, N.C., in 1830. He was graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1855 and married Sarah Louisa Hill in 1856. He was principal of the Louisburg Male Academy, 1856-1881, and, for a number of years prior to 1880, he was also Franklin County superintendent of schools. From 1880 to 1896, he was chiefly involved in farming and serving as Franklin County treasurer. In 1896, he reorganized the Louisburg Female Academy (later Louisburg College) and served as its president until his death in 1906. The collections includes school, financial, legal, and other materials relating to Davis and his school and farming career. School materials include items relating to Louisburg College (the former Louisburg Female Academy and College) and to the Louisburg Male Academy. Louisburg College materials include fire insurance policies, 1897-1906; an art teacher's application for employment with recommendations attached, 1913; and a financial statement, 1914. Louisburg Male Academy materials include bills and receipts from bookstores, printers, and other merchants; a copy of the boarding house rules; a copy of the "Rules of Government of the Pupils"; closing exercises from the 1870s; and various grade books and assignment sheets. Financial materials relate chiefly to Davis's farming and family activities. Legal materials relate to the 1879 Orange County libel suit between H. A. Foote and Blair Burwell, for which Davis appears to have served as mediator, and to various estates that Davis administered, particularly that of W. H. Spencer. The Spencer materials are deeds and other financial items generated by W. H. Spencer during his lifetime and materials relating to the settlement of his estate, as well as materials relating to Spencer's duties as Franklin County superior court clerk, including many bills for court charges and other services. Also included are letters, report cards, and other items relating to Davis's days at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and to his family in Warrenton, N.C., 1852-1856; Davis's appointment as principal, 1855, and exemption from military service, 1863; and his certificate of appointment as Franklin County justice of the peace, 1887.
Creator Davis, Matthew Smart, 1830-1906
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 Matthew Smart Davis Papers #4125, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Provenance
Received from Sarah Davis of Louisburg, N.C., in April 1977, November 1994 (Acc. 94167), June 1995 (Acc. 95076), July and August 2001 (Acc. 99013, 99042, 99065), and October 2001 (Acc. 99097).
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

Matthew Smart Davis, son of Edward and Rebecca Pitchford Davis, was born near Inez in Warren County, N.C., on 3 October 1830. In June 1856, he married Sarah Louisa Hill, with whom he had nine children, six of whom survived to adulthood: Edward Hill, lawyer and Methodist minister; Florence Madree, who married Eugene Allen; Mary Madeline, who married Ivey Allen and was president of Louisburg College, 1906-1918; Lula Pauline, who married Zollicoffer Egerton; Charles Weldon, who died at the age of 21; Mabel Irwin, Louisburg College teacher and librarian at the Warren County Public Library; and Marion Stuart, architect, of Louisburg.

Matthew Smart Davis received his A.B. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1855 and his A.M. in the early 1860s. In 1856, he began teaching at the Louisburg Male Academy, where he soon became principal. Davis held this position for 25 years. For several years prior to 1880, he served as Franklin County superintendent of schools. In 1880, he left teaching for farming at the Egerton plantation called Little Egypt and at Green Hill, Sarah Louisa Hill's family's plantation, southwest of Louisburg. During this time, he also served three terms as Franklin County treasurer. In 1896, he became president of Louisburg College, which his daughters had attended when it was Louisburg Female Academy. Davis died in office in 1906.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collections includes school, financial, legal, and other materials relating to Matthew Smart Davis and his school and farming career. School materials include items relating to Louisburg College (the former Louisburg Female Academy and College) and to the Louisburg Male Academy. Louisburg College materials include fire insurance policies, 1897-1906; an art teacher's application for employment with recommendations attached, 1913; and a financial statement, 1914. Louisburg Male Academy materials include bills and receipts from bookstores, printers, and other merchants; a copy of the boarding house rules; a copy of the "Rules of Government of the Pupils"; closing exercises from the 1870s; and various grade books and assignment sheets. Financial materials relate chiefly to Davis's farming and family activities. Legal materials relate to the 1879 Orange County libel suit between H. A. Foote and Blair Burwell, for which Davis appears to have served as mediator, and to various estates that Davis administered, particularly that of W. H. Spencer. The Spencer materials are deeds and other financial items generated by W. H. Spencer during his lifetime and materials relating to the settlement of his estate, as well as materials relating to Spencer's duties as Franklin County, N.C., superior court clerk, including many bills for court charges and other services. Also included are letters, report cards, and other items relating to Davis's days at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and to his family in Warrenton, N.C., 1852-1856; Davis's appointment as principal, 1855, and exemption from military service, 1863; and his certificate of appointment as Franklin County justice of the peace, 1887.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. School Materials, 1860s-1914.

About 25 items.

Arrangement: by institution.

Chiefly materials relating to Louisburg College (the former Louisburg Female Academy and College) and to Louisburg Male Academy. Louisburg College materials include fire insurance policies, 1897-1906; an art teacher's application for employment with recommendations attached, 1913; and a financial statement, 1914. Louisburg Male Academy materials include bills and receipts from bookstores, printers, and other merchants; a copy of the boarding house rules; a copy of the "Rules of Government of the Pupils"; closing exercises from the 1870s; and various grade sheets and term records.

Folder 1

Louisburg College #04125, Series: "1. School Materials, 1860s-1914." Folder 1

Folder 2

Louisburg Male Academy #04125, Series: "1. School Materials, 1860s-1914." Folder 2

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s.

About 200 items.

Arrangement: by type.

Processing note: See also Additions of July and August 2001.

Accounting sheets, bills, receipts, account books, and other items relating chiefly to Matthew Smart Davis's farming activities. Also included are a few tuition bills for his daughters at the Louisburg Female Academy and records of other family expenditures.

Folder 3

Blacksmiths' accounts, 1861-1890 (about 10 items) #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 3

Folder 4

Cotton sale records, 1860-1870s (about 30 items) #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 4

Folder 5

Farm account book, 1883-1884 #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 5

Folder 6

Insurance policies, 1870-1909 (6 items) #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 6

Folder 7

Slave hirings, 1861-1862 (3 items) #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 7

Folder 8

Store account book, 1880 #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 8

Folder 9

Tuition bills, Louisburg Female Academy, 1860s-1870s (about 10 items) #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 9

Folder 10-12

Folder 10

Folder 11

Folder 12

Miscellaneous financial materials, including accounts with various merchants, tax receipts, etc., 1850s-1890s (about 150 items) #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 10-12

Folder 13-15

Folder 13

Folder 14

Folder 15

Miscellaneous account books, including one from the 1880s relating to tenant farmers, 1870s-1894 (3 items) #04125, Series: "2. Financial Materials, 1850s-1890s." Folder 13-15

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Legal Materials, 1850s-1892.

About 220 items.

Arrangement: by subject.

Materials relating to the 1879 Orange County, N.C., libel suit between H. A. Foote and Blair Burwell for which Davis appears to have served as mediator, and to various estates that Davis administered, including those of Daniel Shine Hill and Susan Irwin Toole Hill, his wife's father and mother; J. B. Mann; and W. H. Spencer. The Spencer materials include deeds and other financial items generated by Spencer during his lifetime and materials relating to the settlement of his estate. folders 24 and 25 contain materials relating to Spencer's duties as Franklin County, N.C., superior court clerk, including many bills for court charges and other services. Miscellaneous legal materials include an 1872 deed belonging to Davis.

Folder 16

Foote-Burwell libel suit, 1879 (about 50 items) #04125, Series: "3. Legal Materials, 1850s-1892." Folder 16

Folder 17

Hill family estate papers, 1850s-1870s (about 20 items) #04125, Series: "3. Legal Materials, 1850s-1892." Folder 17

Folder 18

J. B. Mann estate, 1865-1869 (1 item) #04125, Series: "3. Legal Materials, 1850s-1892." Folder 18

Folder 19-25

Folder 19

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

W. H. Spencer papers, 1860s-1892 (about 150 items) #04125, Series: "3. Legal Materials, 1850s-1892." Folder 19-25

Folder 26

Miscellaneous legal papers #04125, Series: "3. Legal Materials, 1850s-1892." Folder 26

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Other Materials, 1863-1896.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Additions.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Additions of July and August 2001 (Acc. 99013, 99042, and 99065), 1851-1902.

About 140 items.

Processing note: The additions of July and August 2001 are arranged in the same way as, but have not been incorporated into, the original deposit of materials.

Arrangement: by type.

Chiefly business and personal letters, receipts, bills, statements of account, and speeches of Matthew Smart Davis.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2. Financial materials, 1857-1897.

About 60 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Miscellaneous financial materials, including accounts and receipts from various merchants.

Folder 30

Accounts and receipts, 1857-1897 #04125, Subseries: "2. Financial materials, 1857-1897." Folder 30

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4. Other materials, 1851-1902.

About 80 items.

Arrangement: by type.

Primarily letters received by Matthew Smart Davis and speeches that he wrote. The speeches address various topics, including the Crimean war and the state of American politics in the 1850s. These works appear to have been written while Davis was a student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the donor suggests that they may have been delivered before the Dialectic and Philanthropic societies. The personal letters date from Davis's student days in the 1850s and are primarily concerned with university life. The family letters address matters of family history as well as financial arrangements. The business letters relate to Davis's long-term association with the Louisburg Male Academy and address topics such as student admissions, potential commencement speakers, and teaching methods.

Folder 31

Student speeches, 1850s #04125, Subseries: "4. Other materials, 1851-1902." Folder 31

Folder 32

Letters, 1851-1902 and undated #04125, Subseries: "4. Other materials, 1851-1902." Folder 32

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Oversized papers in folder OP-4125/1.

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Processing Information

The additions of July and August 2001 are arranged in the same way as, but have not been incorporated into, the original deposit of materials.

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