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Collection Number: 04648

Collection Title: Theophilus H. Hill Papers, 1856-1901

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 200 items)
Abstract Theophilus Hunter Hill, poet and librarian of Raleigh, N.C., who edited The Spirit of the Age, a Raleigh newspaper, and The Century of South Carolina. In 1861, Hill's first volume of poetry, Hesper and Other Poems, was published in Raleigh, the first book issued under the copyright laws of the Confederate States of America. He also published Poems (1869) and Passion Flower (1883). Letters and other items chiefly relating to literary matters. There is no information about Hill's career as a librarian or his other interests, and there are only a few letters that relate to family activities. Letters from Theodore Bryant Kingsberry (1828-1913), clergyman, author, literary critic, and journalist of Oxford, N.C., begin in 1858 and continue sporadically through 1889, and are mostly about Kingsbury's career and literary opinions. There are also a few letters in the 1860s through around 1890 from Charles Force Deems (1820-1893), clergyman, educator, and author, who apparently helped launch Hill's literary career, and who encouraged Hill to continue writing and publishing his work. Hill's major correspondent was John Henry Boner (1845-1903), poet of Salem, N.C. Letters from Boner begin in 1864 and continue through 1901, and are chielfy about Boner and Hill's friendship, Boner's religious beliefs, and, especailly, Boner's literary career. A few manuscript poems are enclosed with the letters. In the late 1890s, many letters focus on Boner's failing health. There are also a few writings of Hill, including manuscript poems and a manuscript volume of Hesper and Other Poems, 1859. Other papers include a few clippings collected by Hill, chiefly of poems, many of which were written by Boner, and a few items of family itnerest.
Creator Hill, Theophilus H. (Theophilus Hunter), 1836-1901.
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 Theophilus H. Hill papers #4648, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Theo H. Carraway of Asheville, N.C., via the North Carolina Collection, UNC-CH (Acc. 93020).
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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Theophilus Hunter Hill, poet and librarian, was born on 31 October 1836 near Raleigh at Spring Hill Plantation, the home of his maternal grandfather, Theophilus Hunter, Jr. His great-grandfather was the Reverend William Hill, a chaplain in the American Revolution; his grandfather, also William Hill, was North Carolina secretary of state for more than forty years; and his father, William G. Hill, was an eminent physician. His maternal great-grandfather was Theophilus Hunter, pioneer Wake County settler. Hill's mother was Adelaide Hunter Hill.

Hill received his early schooling under an aunt, Eliza Hill, who later ran a private school in Raleigh. He then attended the Raleigh Male Academy. In 1852, Hill entered the University of North Carolina, but, because of family financial difficulties, was obliged to complete his studies at home.

In 1853, Hill became editor of The Spirit of the Age, a Raleigh newspaper. He was encouraged by future governor Daniel Fowle to study law, which he did. Although licensed to practice in 1858, he did not care for the law and never opened a practice, preferring the literary life. In 1861, Hill's first volume of poetry, Hesper and Other Poems, was published in Raleigh, the first book issued under the copyright laws of the Confederate States of America. His second volume, Poems, was published in New York in 1869, and his final volume, Passion Flower, was published in Raleigh in 1883. Other poems appeared in newspapers and periodicals.

From 1871 to 1873, Hill served as state librarian until he became editor of The Century, published in South Carolina. He also represented several book concerns and insurance companies. Hill was a lifelong Democrat, although he never ran for political office.

Hill's first wife, whom he married on 22 January 1861, was Laura Phillips of Northampton County; she died in 1878. Their children were Theophilus Hunter, Frank E., and Rosa. In September 1879, he married Mattie Yancey of Warren County. They had one child, Tempe.

Hill died of typhoid fever in Raleigh on 29 June 1901.

(Adapted from notes in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, William S. Powell, editor.)

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Letters and other items chiefly relating to literary matters. There is no information about Hill's career as a librarian or his other interests, and there are only a few letters that relate to family activities. Letters from Theodore Bryant Kingsberry (1828-1913), clergyman, author, literary critic, and journalist of Oxford, N.C., begin in 1858 and continue sporadically through 1889, and are mostly about Kingsbury's career and literary opinions. There are also a few letters in the 1860s through around 1890 from Charles Force Deems (1820-1893), clergyman, educator, and author, who apparently helped launch Hill's literary career, and who encouraged Hill to continue writing and publishing his work. Hill's major correspondent was John Henry Boner (1845-1903), poet of Salem, N.C. Letters from Boner begin in 1864 and continue through 1901, and are chielfy about Boner and Hill's friendship, Boner's religious beliefs, and, especailly, Boner's literary career. A few manuscript poems are enclosed with the letters. In the late 1890s, many letters focus on Boner's failing health. There are also a few writings of Hill, including manuscript poems and a manuscript volume of Hesper and Other Poems, 1859. Other papers include a few clippings collected by Hill, chiefly of poems, many of which were written by Boner, and a few items of family interest.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1856-1901 and undated.

About 175 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Most letters relate to literary matters. There is no information about Hill's career as a librarian or his other interests, and there are only a few letters that relate to family activities.

Letters from Theodore Bryant Kingsbury (1828-1913), clergyman, author, literary critic, and journalist of Oxford, N.C., begin in 1858 and continue sporadically through 1889. Most of these letters focus on Kingsbury's career and literary opinions. There are also a few letters in the 1860s through around 1890 from Charles Force Deems (1820-1893), clergyman, educator, and author, who apparently helped launch Hill's literary career and to whom Hill dedicated some poems in 1872. In these letters, Deems encouraged Hill to continue writing and publishing his work.

Hill's major correspondent was John Henry Boner (1845-1903), poet of Salem, N.C., whose technique and themes were thought to evoke Edgar Allan Poe. Letters from Boner begin in 1864 and continue through 1901. These letters are chiefly about Boner and Hill's friendship, Boner's religious beliefs, and, especially, Boner's literary career, which, he complained, was largely ignored by people in his native state. A few manuscript poems are enclosed with the letters. Boner's non-literary work is indirectly documented in the letterhead stationery he used and the locations from which he wrote. Details of his service with the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C., in the 1870s, 1880s, and again at the end of his life, and his various editorial positions in New York--with the Century Dictionary, the Library of American Literature, the Standard Dictionary, and Literary Digest, and the World--are largely absent from his letters. In the late 1890s, many letters focus on Boner's failing health. The last letter, dated 25 June 1901, is addressed to Hill's wife. In it, Boner suggested that his friend, suffering with typhoid fever, would do well to join Boner so that the two men could recuperate together. Hill died four days later.

Folder 1

1856-1869 #04648, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1856-1901 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1872-1883 #04648, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1856-1901 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1884-1889 #04648, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1856-1901 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1890-1897 #04648, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1856-1901 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1898-1901 #04648, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1856-1901 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

Undated #04648, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1856-1901 and undated." Folder 6

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Writings, 1859 and undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Other Papers.

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