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Collection Number: 00242

Collection Title: John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 (bulk 1844-1865).

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 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 600 items)
Abstract John Willis Ellis was a Salisbury, N.C., lawyer, Democratic Party leader, and governor of North Carolina, 1858-1861. The collection includes personal, professional, and official correspondence, a diary, and other papers of Ellis, including volumes, 1844-1861, containing manuscript notes and clippings of materials used in Ellis's campaigns for the North Carolina state legislature and for governor. Materials include political speeches and official messages; notes and speeches on internal improvements; official papers and correspondence, pertaining particularly to Secession and the beginning of the Civil War; personal and political correspondence including a series of letters, 1853-1858, from Philo White, United States minister in Ecuador, discussing social life in Ecuador and diplomatic relations with the United States; a brief personal diary, October 1860-February 1861; and 20th-century papers of his grandson, John Ellis Knowles of Connecticut, concerning a biography of Ellis. A small part of the collection consists of microfilm, photoprints, and manuscript copies of manuscripts in other repositories, gathered by Noble J. Tolbert for The Papers of John Willis Ellis (Raleigh, 1964).
Creator Ellis, John Willis, 1820-1861.
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 John Willis Ellis Papers, #242, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from John Ellis Knowles of New York, N.Y., 1932 and 1959.
Additions received from Noble J. Tolbert, March 1964; John Ellis Knowles Wisner, executor for the estate of John Ellis Knowles, July 1978; Jean Littell Winslow of Wilmington, Del.,February 1991 (Acc. 91037)1932, 1959, 1964
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

John Willis Ellis (1820-1861) was a Salisbury, N.C., lawyer, Democratic Party leader, and governor of North Carolina, 1858-1861.

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The collection includes personal, professional, and official correspondence, a diary, and other papers of John Willis Ellis, including volumes, 1844-1861, containing manuscript notes and clippings of materials used in Ellis's campaigns for the North Carolina state legislature and for governor. Materials include political speeches and official messages; notes and speeches on internal improvements; official papers and correspondence, pertaining particularly to Secession and the beginning of the Civil War; personal and political correspondence including a series of letters, 1853-1858, from Philo White, United States minister in Ecuador, discussing social life in Ecuador and diplomatic relations with the United States; a brief personal diary, October 1860-February 1861; and 20th-century papers of his grandson, John Ellis Knowles of Connecticut, concerning a biography of Ellis. There are also two letters, one from Ellis, 1859, related to a proposition to have the remains of Revolutionary War general Francis Nash of Hillsborough, N.C., moved from Valley Forge, Pa., for reburial in the state of North Carolina. A small part of the collection consists of microfilm, photoprints, and manuscript copies of manuscripts in other repositories, gathered by Noble J. Tolbert for The Papers of John Willis Ellis (Raleigh, 1964).

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1846 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1847 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1848 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1849-1850 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1851 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

1852-1854 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

1855-1858 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

1859 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

1860 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 9

Folder 10-11

Folder 10

Folder 11

1861 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 10-11

Folder 12

1863-1865 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

1927 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

1928-1929 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 14

Folder 15

1930-1932 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 15

Folder 16

1933-1940 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 16

Folder 17

1943-1948 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 17

Folder 18

1953-1958 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 18

Folder 19-20

Folder 19

Folder 20

Undated #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 19-20

Folder 20

Photographs #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 20

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-242/1

Oversize papers #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." OPF-242/1

Folder 21

Addition of June 1979 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 21

Includes genealogical material compiled by John Ellis Knowles Wisner.

Folder 22

Volume 1: Notebook, 1844-1846 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 22

Folder 23

Volume 2: Notebook, 1844-1861 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 23

Folder 24

Volume 3: Scrapbook, 1854-1860 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 24

Folder 25

Volume 4: Lettercopy book and diary, 1855, 1860-1861 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 25

Folder 26

Volume 5: Notebook, undated #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 26

Folder 27

Volume 6: "John W. Ellis, Governor of North Carolina, 1859-1861," by Annie Walker Garrard #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 27

Folder 28

Addition of February 1991 #00242, Series: "John Willis Ellis Papers, 1844-1958 and undated." Folder 28

Includes two letters relating to Francis Nash.

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, July 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.

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