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Collection Number: 04337-z

Collection Title: David J. Gilmer Papers, circa 1937-1945

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 processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size About 45 items
Abstract David J. Gilmer was an A.M.E. Zion minister and director in the 1930s and 1940s of Trinity Mission, Greensboro, N.C., a shelter for the homeless. Scattered items relating to Gilmer's activities, primarily the operation of Trinity Mission. Most items are brief letters, many of them by Gilmer to the editor of the "Greensboro Daily News." Also included are newspaper columns by Gilmer, records of contributions to Trinity Mission and an annual report on the shelter, and a copy of an article about Gilmer and Trinity Mission.
Creator Gilmer, David J., b. circa 1880.
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 David J. Gilmer Papers #4337-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from Bookworm & Silverfish (dealer), of Wytheville, Va., in November 1982. The previous provenance of this material is not known.
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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David J. Gilmer was born circa 1880 in the West McCulloch Street neighborhood in Greensboro, N.C. In 1900, Gilmer commanded Company H, 49th Regiment of United States Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish-American War and was stationed in Mindanao, Philippine Islands. In 1926, Gilmer was proprietor of both the Gilmer Drug Company and the Gilmer Cafe and Sanitary Barbershop in Greensboro. He closed the businesses and became an evangelist between 1926 and 1930.

In 1931, Gilmer became the assistant pastor of the Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on East Market Street, Greensboro. Gilmer assisted attorney Andrew Joyner, Jr., and Greensboro Mayor Paul C. Lindley to organize Trinity Mission in January 1931 and located it at Trinity Church. Around 1935, Gilmer became superintendent at the Federal Transient Service's East Market Street Shelter in Greensboro. By the following year, he was pastor at St. Philip's A.M.E. Zion Church, Greensboro, and superintendent at Trinity Mission. He became pastor at Mt. Olivet A.M.E. Zion Church, Greensboro, between 1941 and 1942.

Greensboro city directories indicate that Gilmer had a wife, Minnie A. Gilmer, and one daughter, Minnie S. Gilmer, a teacher in Greensboro in the early 1940s. Gilmer resided in Greensboro at least until 1948.

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This material consists of scattered items relating to activities of African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church minister David J. Gilmer during the period 1937-1945, years when he was concerned primarily with the operation of Trinity Mission, a shelter for the destitute in Greensboro, N.C. Most items are brief letters, many of them by Gilmer to the editor of the Greensboro Daily News. Also included are newspaper columns by Gilmer, records of contributions to Trinity Mission and an annual report on the shelter, and a copy of an article about Gilmer and Trinity Mission.

Correspondence is chiefly of Gilmer with citizens of Greensboro relating to the work of Trinity Mission. About half are letters to the editor for publication in the Greensboro Daily News in which Gilmer discusses racism, the treatment of mulattoes, interracial cooperation, social welfare, and other matters relating to blacks in Greensboro. Also included are five letters from the adjutant general's Office of the War Department, responding to Gilmer's inquiries about his pension and his war record in the Philippine Islands; two letters from executives of the Vick Chemical Company, relating to gifts made to Trinity Mission; and a brief personal note from W. J. Trent (1874-1963), president of Livingstone College, Salisbury, N.C.

Writings consist of eleven handwritten drafts of newspaper columns, three published version of writings, two fragments, and one brief meditation on scripture, perhaps part of a sermon. Eleven of the seventeen items are pieces for Gilmer's "Week-by-Week" column; three are a part of another series of articles, "Along Elm Street." Both series address such topics as social welfare, immorality, race relations, and the education of African Americans. Some, if not all, of the "Week-by-Week" columns appeared in The Star of Zion, the newspaper of the A.M.E. Zion Church.

Other material in this collections includes an annual report of the Trinity Mission for 1938, an eleven-page volume with various kinds of entries, and a 1941 article about Trinity Mission. The annual report contains statistics on services rendered and the mission's finances; a list, presumably incomplete, of contributions is attached. The volume includes entries recording contributions, presumably to Trinity Mission; reflections on scripture, perhaps for a sermon; drafts of letters to the editor of the Greensboro Daily News; lists of members, probably members of churches served by Gilmer; and a brief note on the founding of Trinity Mission. The article, "Thousands of Homeless are Helped by Trinity Mission," appeared in the Greensboro Record, 7 January 1941.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse David J. Gilmer Papers, circa 1937-1945.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, August 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, January 2010

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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