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Collection Number: 05413

Collection Title: Ralph Waldo McDonald Papers, 1936

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 section for more information.


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Size 3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1100 items)
Abstract Ralph Waldo McDonald was an educator, legislator, and North Carolina gubernatorial candidate in the Democratic primary elections of 1936 and 1944. He was associated with the extension service and taught in the education and radio departments at the University of North Carolina beginning in the late 1930s and served as president of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, 1951-1961. The collection includes correspondence, speeches, political materials, and other items related to Ralph Waldo McDonald's 1936 Democratic Party gubernatorial primary campaign against Clyde R. Hoey and Alexander H. "Sandy" Graham. Campaign-related correspondence includes letters between McDonald and his campaign staff, particularly W. L. Lumpkin and Itimous T. Valentine, and to and from McDonald supporters and campaign volunteers. Topics include finances; press and newspaper coverage; the organization of volunteers; the political atmosphere and leanings of North Carolina counties; Hoey's reputation and claims; and critical campaign issues such as the sales tax, old age pensions, liquor regulation, and "the political machine." Post-primary correspondence also discusses allegations of electoral irregularities, campaign finance difficulties, and McDonald's decision to campaign for Hoey. There are also materials relating to organizing campaign workers and supporters--including women--in North Carolina counties and precincts; publicity materials, including speeches, press releases, photographs, and political cartoons; financial records; appointments and itineraries; tables charting votes by county and candidate; and Hoey campaign materials. Topics include banking, electric power and Hoey's connection to the Duke Power Company, prison reform, labor, and the sales tax. Also included are few personal and family letters, a group photograph of members of the Order of Gimghoul that features author Walker Percy, and other items.
Creator McDonald, Ralph Waldo, 1903-1977.
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 Ralph Waldo McDonald Papers #5413, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Charles and Susan Hansen of Raleigh, N.C., March 2009 (Acc. 101066).
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

Ralph Waldo McDonald (1903-1977) was an educator, legislator, and North Carolina gubernatorial candidate in the Democratic primary elections of 1936 and 1944. McDonald, a native of Gallatin County, Ill., was raised in Illinois and Arkansas and graduated in 1923 from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. He then was a high school math teacher in Fork Smith, Ark., 1923-1924; principal of the Sunnyside Consolidated Schools, Fayetteville, N.C., 1924-1927; and head of the Department of Psychology and Education at Salem College, Winston-Salem, N.C., 1928-1934. He received a doctorate in educational psychology from Duke University in 1933.

McDonald's political career began in 1934 when he was elected to a seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives for Forsyth County, where he promoted improving public education finances and opposed the recently instituted sales tax. In 1936, he ran for governor of North Carolina in the Democratic primary against Clyde Hoey and Alexander H. "Sandy" Graham. McDonald positioned himself as the antiestablishment candidate and aligned himself with the programs of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt through his campaign slogan, "Let's have a New Deal in North Carolina." The first primary resulted in a run-off with Hoey, which McDonald lost among much speculation of voter fraud and electoral misconduct. After his defeat, McDonald campaigned for Hoey. He entered law school at the University of North Carolina in September 1936, but he contracted tuberculosis in 1937 and was forced to abandon his studies. After his recovery, he accepted a position with the extension services and as professor of education and head of the radio department at the University of North Carolina. He campaigned again for governor in 1944, but was defeated by R. Gregg Cherry. Thereafter, he served on various national educational committees, including the National Education Association, the National Commission on Teacher Education and Professional Standards, and the National Education Association's Department of Higher Education. He served as president of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, 1951-1961.

McDonald married Athleen Taylor of Arkansas in 1923. They had a daughter, Athalea.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, speeches, political materials, and other items related to Ralph Waldo McDonald's 1936 Democratic Party gubernatorial primary campaign against Clyde R. Hoey and Alexander H. "Sandy" Graham. Campaign-related correspondence includes letters between McDonald and his campaign staff, particularly W. L. Lumpkin and Itimous T. Valentine, and to and from McDonald supporters and campaign volunteers. Topics include finances; press and newspaper coverage; the organization of volunteers; the political atmosphere and leanings of North Carolina counties; Hoey's reputation and claims; and critical campaign issues such as the sales tax, old age pensions, liquor regulation, and "the political machine." Post-primary correspondence also discusses allegations of electoral irregularities, campaign finance difficulties, and McDonald's decision to campaign for Hoey. There are also materials relating to organizing campaign workers and supporters--including women--in North Carolina counties and precincts; publicity materials, including speeches, press releases, photographs, and political cartoons; financial records; appointments and itineraries; tables charting votes by county and candidate; and Hoey campaign materials. Topics include banking, electric power and Hoey's connection to the Duke Power Company, prison reform, labor, and the sales tax. Also included are few personal and family letters, a group photograph of members of the Order of Gimghoul that features author Walker Percy, and other items.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated.

About 450 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence includes internal and external communications of Ralph Waldo McDonald and his campaign staff, particularly W. L. Lumpkin, campaign manager; Itimous T. Valentine, associate campaign manager; Edney Ridge, member, Board of Strategy, Committee for McDonald; and A. J. Fletcher, head of Wake County, N.C., campaign headquarters. There are also many letters to and from McDonald supporters, contributors, and campaign volunteers. There are few personal and family letters. Much of the early correspondence consists of letters arranging speaking engagements or from constituents pledging support to McDonald's candidacy and offering service to the campaign. Correspondence April-June 1936 relates to campaign finances; press and newspaper coverage; the organization of volunteers; the political atmosphere and leanings of North Carolina counties; the reputation and claims of the opponent, Clyde R. Hoey; and critical campaign issues such as the sales tax, old age pensions, liquor regulation, and the "the political mahcine."

Correspondence after McDonald's defeat in July 1936 includes letters of condolence, many containing references to voter fraud or electoral irregularities and to the election being "stolen" or "bought" by the opposition. Letters from the North Carolina State Board of Elections reflect McDonald's attempts to have instances of irregularity investigated. Also among the post-primary correspondence are letters expressing various attitudes toward his decision to campaign for Clyde Hoey on behalf of the Democratic Party and some letters reflecting the campaign's difficulties in meeting financial responsibilities.

Folder 1

February-March 1936 #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

April 1936 #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3-4

Folder 3

Folder 4

May 1936 #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 3-4

Folder 5

June 1936 #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

July 1936 #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

August 1936 #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8-9

Folder 8

Folder 9

September 1936 #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 8-9

Folder 10

October 1936 #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

Undated #05413, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1936 and undated." Folder 11

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated.

About 650 items.

A large portion of the campaign materials are related to the organization and mobilization of persons involved in the McDonald campaign as organizers, managers, chairpersons, speakers, volunteers, supporters, contributors, and committee and precinct workers. Some of these demonstrate the active involvement of women in the campaign infrastructure. There is also a large amount of publicity material, including speeches, press releases, photographic materials, printed items, and political cartoons. Other materials include financial records; appointments and itineraries; tables charting votes by county and candidate; campaign material produced by McDonald's opponent Clyde Hoey; and data and research on critical campaign issues such as banking, costs of electricity and Hoey's association with the Duke Power Company, prison reform, labor, and the sales tax. There are also a few tangentially related political items and items pertaining to McDonald's enrollment in Law School at the University of North Carolina, including a few photographs related to the Order of Gimghoul, one of which is a group photograph that features Walker Percy.

Folder 12-15

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

Folder 15

Addresses #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 12-15

Includes notebooks and loose papers containing addresses, possibly for use as mailing lists.

Folder 16

Appointment book #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 16

Includes appointments and speaking engagements, April-June 1936, for Ralph Waldo McDonald with some entries for W. L. Lumpkin.

Folder 17

Baby Bonds #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 17

Baby Bonds were apparently sold to campaign supporters to raise funds. Some booklets contain records of purchasers.

Folder 18

Banking Department #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 18

Includes notes and figures related to the state Banking Department, a topic of interest in the campaign. See also W. L. Lumpkin: Personal file.

Folder 19

Bills and receipts #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 19

Includes bills and receipts for campaign related expenses including newspaper and radio advertisements, telephone service, telegraphs, office supplies, accomodations, printing, and other goods and services.

Folder 20

Bulletin #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 20

An internal publication for campaign workers; includes messages from Ralph Waldo McDonald, instructions, and event notices.

Folder 21

Check books #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 21

Folder 22

Clippings #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 22

Folder 23-29

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Folder 26

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

Committees and supporters #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 23-29

Papers compiled into at least two volumes. The first volume, arranged alphabetically A-Z, possibly belonged to Ralph Waldo McDonald. The second volume, arranged alphabetically Z-A, possibly belonged to W. L. Lumpkin or another campaign official.

Folder 30

Electric costs/Duke Power Company #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 30

Includes a petition of complaints filed against Duke Power Company citing excessive commercial electric rates. Clyde R. Hoey's association with the Duke Power Company was a point of contention during the campaign. See also W. L. Lumpkin: Personal file.

Folder 31-32

Folder 31

Folder 32

Financial records #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 31-32

See also W. L. Lumpkin: Personal file.

Folder 33

Hoey, Clyde R.: Campaign materials #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 33

Folder 34

Itineraries #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 34

Folder 35

Labor #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 35

Includes material related to Clyde Hoey's legislative record as it pertains to labor issues and information on a Florida transient labor resolution.

Folder 36

University of North Carolina #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 36

Includes materials related to McDonald's study of law and to the University of North Carolina. All are undated.

Image Folder PF-5413/1

University of North Carolina #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." PF-5413/1

Includes pictures and photographs related to McDonald's study of law and to the University of North Carolina. Photographs are of the Order of Gimghoul including Walker Percy and of the football stadium. All are undated.

Folder 37

Letters to the editor #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 37

Folder 38

Lumpkin, W. L.: Personal file #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 38

Includes strategic correspondence and other materials related to major campaign issues including Duke Power Company and the state Banking Department. There are also records of expeditures and contributions for the first primary and other items.

Folder 39

Managers #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 39

Lists of campaign managers by county. Includes list of female managers and chairpersons heading Ralph Waldo McDonald's women's committees.

Folder 40

Maps of North Carolina #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 40

Folder 41

Notebooks, shorthand #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 41

Folder 42

Notes #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 42

Includes unidentified and fragmentary notes.

Folder 43

Photographic materials #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 43

Includes photographs related to the campaign, presumably submitted by supporters. There are also metal and pressed paper photographic plates of various sizes with images of Ralph Waldo McDonald; W. L. Lumpkin; and McDonald's wife and daughter, Athleen and Athalea McDonald.

Image Folder PF-5413/1

Photographic materials #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." PF-5413/1

See folder 43 description.

Folder 44

Political cartoons #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 44

Includes linoleum plates of political cartoons for reproduction. Cartoons reference the sales tax, machine politics, campaign tactics and "dirty tricks," and other issues.

Folder 45

Press releases #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 45

Folder 46

Printed items #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 46

Includes pamphlets, fliers, newspaper columns, and other printed publicity items. Also included is a copy of Durham's Labor Review, Annual 1936 which contains a full page advertisement for Ralph Waldo McDonald.

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-5413/1

Printed items #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." OPF-5413/1

See folder 46 description.

Folder 47

Prison system #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 47

Includes a letter from an inmate and accompanying financial data on the prison system.

Folder 48

Publicity materials: Proofs and drafts #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 48

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-5413/1

Publicity materials: Proofs and drafts #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." OPF-5413/1

Folder 49

Related papers #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 49

Includes political and personal papers of Ralph Waldo McDonald apparently not used in the campaign.

Folder 50

Sales tax #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 50

Includes figures, graphs, and other politician's views on sales tax, an important issue in the campaign.

Folder 51

Speakers #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 51

Includes lists of speakers available to the campaign, organized by county.

Folder 52-53

Folder 52

Folder 53

Speeches #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 52-53

Includes speeches by Ralph Waldo McDonald and W. L. Lumpkin on various topics, and speeches written by the campaign to be given by others.

Folder 54

State Board of Elections #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 54

Includes a document describing proper electoral procedures issues in response to problems reported during the first primary.

Folder 55

Tax records of Ralph Waldo McDonald #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 55

Folder 56

Precinct list #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 56

Relationship of persons listed to McDonald campaign is undetermined.

Folder 57-59

Folder 57

Folder 58

Folder 59

Volunteers #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 57-59

Lists of volunteers include votes garnered by each candidate by precinct.

Folder 60

Vote tables #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." Folder 60

Tables of vote figures by county related to 1936 straw poll and first primary, and to previous elections in the state of North Carolina.

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-5413/1

Vote tables #05413, Series: "2. Campaign Materials and Other Papers, 1936 and undated." OPF-5413/1

See folder 60 description.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Kate Stratton, September 2009

Encoded by: Kate Stratton, September 2009

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