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Collection Number: 02862

Collection Title: Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954

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.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 81.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 55,000 items)
Abstract Robert Lee Doughton of Laurel Springs, Alleghany County, N.C., was a farmer, businessman, state legislator, and United States representative from North Carolina's Ninth District, 1911-1952. The following counties were in Doughton's district for at least part of his tenure in Congress: Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery, Burke, Cleveland, Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Caldwell, Alexander, Watauga, Iredell, Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly, Ashe, and Alleghany. Doughton was chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means from 1933 almost continually until 1952. Doughton's congressional office files, including requests from constituents for appointments and services, correspondence with district and state leaders, and letters regarding public questions and pending legislation, especially concerning finance and taxation. Other topics addressed extensively include Democratic Party politics and the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are a few scattered personal, financial and business, and legal items, and copies of speeches. The bulk of the papers date between 1928 and 1952.
Creator Doughton, Robert Lee, 1863-1954.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
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 Robert Lee Doughton Papers, #2862, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Robert Lee Doughton of Washington, D.C., and Laurel Springs, N.C., 1952; from members of the Doughton family, 1963; from Tom Doughton of Sparta, N.C., 1982; from Virginia Pou Doughton of Raleigh, N.C., 1981 and 1983; and from Rick Hendricks, June 2007 (Acc. 100688).
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
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

Robert Lee Doughton of Laurel Springs, Alleghany County, N.C., was a farmer, businessman, state legislator, and United States representative from North Carolina's Ninth District, 1911-1952. The following counties were in Doughton's district for at least part of his tenure in Congress: Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery, Burke, Cleveland, Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Caldwell, Alexander, Watauga, Iredell, Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly, Ashe, and Alleghany. Doughton was chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means from 1933 almost continually until 1952.

Doughton was educated in the public schools and high schools of Laurel Springs and Sparta, N.C., and engaged in farming and raising of livestock at Laurel Springs. From 1903 through 1910 he was a member of the state Board of Agriculture. In 1908 and 1909 he served in the North Carolina Senate, and from 1909 through 1911 was a member of the state prison board. In 1911 he became president of the Deposit and Savings Bank, North Wilkesboro, N.C.

Doughton was elected to the 62nd Congress in 1910, his term beginning 4 March 1911, and served continuously through the 82nd Congress, January 1953. He announced his planned retirement in 1952 and was appointed Democratic national committeeman. In the spring of 1954 he resigned that post.

Robert Lee Doughton was married to Mrs. Robert Hicks of Concord, N.C., a widow whose maiden name was Lillie Stricker. She died in 1946. Their children included Claude Doughton of Laurel Springs, N.C.; J. Horton Doughton of Statesville, N.C.; Reba Doughton, who was hostess for her father after her mother's death; and Mrs. B. O. Edwards of Asheville, N.C. Doughton's older brother, Rufus A. Doughton, served for many years in the North Carolina General Assembly, and was lieutenant governor.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes papers from Robert Lee Doughton's congressional office files and relate to his position as representative of the Ninth District, to his membership on and chairmanship of the Committee of Ways and Means, to that Committee's work as the Committee on Committees, to Doughton's position as the senior representative from North Carolina, and to his membership in the Democratic party. There are letters from his brother, Rufus A. Doughton, from his sons, and from his daughter Reba, but most of them relate in some way to his public position. Doughton's personal financial papers are not included.

There are few papers for the early period of Doughton's career. By 1932, the number of papers increases, and files for each year are extensive through 1952. The papers are concerned with the major questions which came before Congress, especially those relating to finance and taxation, to North Carolina in general, and to Doughton's district in particular. Doughton's constituents wrote to him on any and all kinds of subjects, sending requests and advice. Many of the papers are concerned with services rendered to individual constituents or to communities and towns in the district.

In the early years of Democratic control, a major topic of interest was postal appointments. Throughout the 1930s Doughton was busy with the problem of patronage, and was besieged with applications for government employment. In 1935-1936, there was a possibility that he might be a candidate for governor of North Carolina, and the papers for those years contain information on affairs of the Democratic party in the state. For other years, there is very little on party politics outside the district. Papers from the World War II years, 1942-1945, contain information on efforts to serve constituents in the matter of appointments and commissions, military discharges, rationing, price control, and allocation of materials. Immediately after the war, there were many letters from military personnel anxious for quick discharges.

Robert Lee Doughton was especially interested in the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the papers contain a great deal of information on the progr ess of the Parkway, and congressional and executive action in regard to it.

There are many letters and papers relating to the work of the Committee of Ways and Means. The more important papers of this nature should be among the papers of the Committee, but Doughton received letters from people of all stations commenting on pending legislation, and making suggestions. This is true to a lesser extent for other proposed legislation; there are letters from constituents, from North Carolinians in general, and from people all over the country opposing or endorsing all kinds of proposed legislation, and discussing whatever questions of public policy were then current.

The collection also includes items relating to Doughton's personal business affairs, particularly property owned by him in Washington, D.C., and in northwestern North Carolina. There is also correspondence related to politics and campaigns, both of Doughton and local elections in his district; requests for photographs, letters of congratulation on various events of his career; and similar items.

The papers contain carbon copies of Doughton's letters as well as the letters addressed to him. Frequently, the carbon of his reply was clipped to a letter he received.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1911-1913 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1914 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1915-1919 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1920-1921 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1924 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 5

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1925 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 6-8

Folder 9-11

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1926 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 9-11

Folder 12

1927 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 12

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1928 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 13-24

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1929 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 25-39

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1930 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 40-54

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1931 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 55-78

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1932 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 79-157

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1933 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 158-272

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1934 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 273-421

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1935 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 422-516

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1936 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 517-583

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1937 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 584-680

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1938 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 681-758

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1939 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 759-806

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1940 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 807-868

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1941 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 869-950

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1942 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 951-1074

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1943 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1075-1163

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1944 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1164-1250

Folder 1251-1351

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Folder 1350

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1945 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1251-1351

Folder 1352-1469

Folder 1352

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1946 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1352-1469

Folder 1470-1541

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1947 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1470-1541

Folder 1542-1605

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1948 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1542-1605

Folder 1606-1706

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1949 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1606-1706

Folder 1707-1772

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1950 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1707-1772

Folder 1773-1859

Folder 1773

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1951 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1773-1859

Folder 1860-1944

Folder 1860

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Folder 1862

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Folder 1944

1952 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1860-1944

Folder 1945

1953-1954 #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1945

Folder 1946-1949

Folder 1946

Folder 1947

Folder 1948

Folder 1949

Undated speeches #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1946-1949

Folder 1949a

Volume 1: "30th Anniversary of Service of Robert Doughton," (1940) #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1949a

Chiefly letters of tribute.

Folder 1949b

Volume 2: "42 years in Congress, 1911-1953" #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." Folder 1949b

Chiefly letters of tribute.

Extra Oversize Paper Folder X-OPF-2862/1

Papers #02862, Series: "Robert Lee Doughton Papers, 1913-1954 and undated." X-OPF-2862/1

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of 1982 and 1983.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Deeds

About 200 items.

Records, 1804-1940, of land transactions in the tri-county area of Alleghany, Ashe, and Wilkes counties, N.C., near Laurel Springs. All evidently pertain to land acquired by Robert Lee Doughton at some point.

Folder 1950

1804-1860 #02862, Subseries: "Deeds" Folder 1950

Folder 1951a-1952b

1861-1929 #02862, Subseries: "Deeds" Folder 1951a-1952b

Folder 1953a-1953b

1891-1940 #02862, Subseries: "Deeds" Folder 1953a-1953b

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Writings

About 45 items.

Typed copies of speeches and press releases of Robert Lee Doughton delivered during the 1930s and 1940s. Most of the items are commencement speeches.

Folder 1954-1955

Folder 1954

Folder 1955

Speeches and press releases #02862, Subseries: "Writings" Folder 1954-1955

Folder 1956

Speeches (by others) #02862, Subseries: "Writings" Folder 1956

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Correspondence

28 items.

Miscellaneous letters and telegrams, chiefly pertaining to business dealings of Robert Lee Doughton. Included is a telegram from President Herbert Hoover, 17 November 1932, asking Doughton to attend a meeting concerning the war debt.

Folder 1957

Correspondence #02862, Subseries: "Correspondence" Folder 1957

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Promissory notes

10 items.

Promissory notes of Robert Lee Doughton and other North Carolinians in the Alleghany, Ashe, and Wilkes County, N.C., areas. Promissory notes not relating to Doughton pertain to property owners whose land was acquired by the Senator at a later date.

Folder 1958

Promissory notes #02862, Subseries: "Promissory notes" Folder 1958

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Miscellaneous Financial and Legal Material

10 items.

Statements of account, receipts, wills, and stock certificates of Robert Lee Doughton and other North Carolinians of the Alleghany County, N.C., area.

Folder 1959

Miscellaneous financial and legal material #02862, Subseries: "Miscellaneous Financial and Legal Material" Folder 1959

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Schematic Representations

8 items.

Diagrams of land in Alleghany County, N.C., relating to the property holdings of Robert Lee Doughton. Included are reports of the county surveyor as well surveys by private individuals.

Folder 1960

Land surveys #02862, Subseries: "Schematic Representations" Folder 1960

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Clippings

13 items.

Chiefly clippings of articles from North Carolina newspapers at the time of the death of Robert Lee Doughton (1954). Included is an article from the Salisbury (N.C.) Evening Post, 9 October 1978, describing Doughton's success in bringing a Veteran's Administration Hospital to Salisbury.

Folder 1961

Clippings #02862, Subseries: "Clippings" Folder 1961

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Audio and Pictorial Material

12 items.
Audiodisc D-2862/1

"Interview with Senator Doughton," WAYS (Radio), Charlotte, N.C., October 1952 #02862, Subseries: "Audio and Pictorial Material" D-2862/1

Audiodisc D-2862/2-7

D-2862/2

D-2862/3

D-2862/4

D-2862/5

D-2862/6

D-2862/7

Speeches, audio #02862, Subseries: "Audio and Pictorial Material" D-2862/2-7

Includes audio recordings of speeches made by Doughton and by Democrats of North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District, probably recorded in 1931.

Oversize Volume 3-6

Ovolume 3

Ovolume 4

Ovolume 5

Ovolume 6

Scrapbooks, 1933-1953 #02862, Subseries: "Audio and Pictorial Material" 3-6

Scrapbooks chronicle Robert Lee Doughton's political activities for the years 1933 through 1953. While most of the clippings come from North Carolina newspapers, there are also articles from major American newspapers and magazines outside the state.

Image Folder PF-2862/1

Photographs #02862, Subseries: "Audio and Pictorial Material" PF-2862/1

Chiefly photographs of Robert Lee Doughton in his later years.

Oversize Image Folder OP-PF-2862/1

Photographs #02862, Subseries: "Audio and Pictorial Material" OP-PF-2862/1

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of 2007.

About 30 items.

Includes letters, 1947-1954, from Robert Lee Doughton to Laura Alice Thompson Reeves.

Folder 1962-1963

Folder 1962

Folder 1963

Letters to Laura Alice Thompson Reeves #02862, Series: "Addition of 2007." Folder 1962-1963

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, November 2009

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.

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