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Collection Number: 04916

Collection Title: William Dygnum Moss Papers, 1899-1970 (bulk 1899-1932)

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 About 600 items (2.5 linear feet)
Abstract William Dygnum Moss (1866-1932) was born in Ontario, Canada. His career as a clergyman in the Presbyterian Church included posts in his native country and at two churches in the United States. He served as pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Chapel Hill, N.C., for more than 20 years, during which time he also ministered to students at the University of North Carolina. The collection contains correspondence, sermons, prayers, articles, clippings, and photographs documenting the life and work of William Dygnum Moss, mostly as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, N.C. Among the photographs are some of Chapel Hill; the University of North Carolina campus; and school children, some of them barefooted, at school in the 1920s. There are also materials of Chapel Hill resident Madge Kennette, a member of the family with whom Moss resided at the time of his death in 1932. These include letters; clippings; and diaries, 1911-1969, that closely document her daily life.
Creator Moss, William Dygnum, 1866-1932.
Language English.
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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.
Provenance
Received from Howard Doll of Chapel Hill, N.C., in March 1998 (Acc. 98039).
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

The Reverend William Dygnum Moss (1866-1932), known to many as "Parson Moss," was the son of William and Anne Coulter Moss. He was a native of Canada, but acquired his naturalization papers shortly after arriving in the United States.

Prior to coming to the United States, Moss lived in various parts of Canada, where he attended school and held pastorates. The November 1921 issue of The Carolina Magazine reports that his family settled in the central province of Manitoba during his childhood. According to this source, Moss was greatly influenced by the scenic views of the region and decided early in life to pursue a career in the ministry.

Moss was a graduate of McGill University in Montreal. In keeping with his leanings towards the clergy, he also earned a degree from the Presbyterian College of Montreal. Later, he served as pastor to congregations in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, respectively.

Health concerns led Moss on his southward journey from Nova Scotia to the United States. He arrived in North Carolina in 1903 and accepted a pastorate at the Presbyterian Church of Chapel Hill. Moss held this post for more than 20 years, though not consecutively. After only a few years, he accepted a call from the Washington Heights Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. He remained there for six years.

By the time Moss left for Washington, he had garnered tremendous respect and admiration within Chapel Hill's Presbyterian Church community. He was so highly regarded that members of the congregation responded to his departure by refusing to accept a substitute pastor in his stead. Moss returned to North Carolina in 1912 and resumed his role with the former flock. He continued his services there for the next two decades and spent the remainder of his life in Chapel Hill.

Through his leadership and work as a clergyman, Moss formed many close ties with the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He enjoyed long-lasting personal friendships with the institution's presidents, faculty members, and thousands of students. He earned a reputation for seeking out and visiting with students in their dormitories and fraternity houses. The collection includes letters from a number of parents who pledged or gave financial support to his ministry in exchange for the kindness extended to their sons attending the University.

Moss was a popular speaker at annual commencement exercises. He devoted many years of service as chair of the campus Y.M.C.A. and gained recognition as the unofficial University chaplain. From 1914 to 1915, he pursued graduate studies at UNC. In 1918, UNC conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.

During his career, he authored a number of articles and published several sermons, including "A Christmas Message " and "A Tragedy of Speed: Sermon on the Wreck of the Titanic."

After Moss returned to Chapel Hill from Washington, D.C., in 1912, the parsonage served as a home to the family of Joseph Kennette, formerly of Washington, N.C. Members of the Kennette family kept house for Moss. Joseph Kennette eventually purchased a home for his family on Chapel Hill's East Franklin Street. Years later, the parson took up residency in the Kennettes' home, where he died of a heart attack on 7 October 1932.

Moss's papers include numerous love letters from a Washington, D.C., woman named "Marnie", who referred to herself as his wife. There is no evidence, however, that they were married. At the time of Moss's death, a local newspaper stated that he was survived only by two sisters: Eliza Moss of Portage, La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada, and Mrs. John W. Ross of Pictou, Nova Scotia.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence, sermons, prayers, articles, clippings, and photographs documenting the life and work of William Dygnum Moss, mostly as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, N.C. Among the photographs are some of Chapel Hill; the University of North Carolina campus; and school children, some of them barefooted, at school in the 1920s. There are also materials of Chapel Hill resident Madge Kennette, a member of the Joseph E. Kennette family with whom Moss resided at the time of his death in 1932. These include correspondence; clippings; and diaries, 1911-1969, that closely document her daily life.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence, 1899-1933, of William Dygnum Moss. Included are letters from friends and associates in Canada, France, Persia, and throughout the United States. These materials, some of which predate Moss's arrival in North Carolina, provide extensive documentation of his work as a clergyman. A letter dated 22 December 1899 expresses the gratitude and affection of the St. Andrews Church congregation in Pictou, Nova Scotia, which gave Moss a gold watch in exchange for his services as pastor. There are similar letters from residents of the United States, thanking him for his attention to, and involvement in, a variety of spiritual-, financial-, and education-related matters. Included are a significant number of letters from parents requesting Moss's guidance and influence in the lives of their sons attending the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In addition, there are numerous undated love letters signed by "Marnie," a woman in Washington, D.C., who referred to herself as Moss's wife, and wrote to Moss as "Guilliamme." In some of these letters Marnie urged Guilliamme to consider starting a ginseng business.

Folder 1

1899 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 1

Folder 2

1900 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 2

Folder 3

1902-1904 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 3

Folder 4

1905 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 4

Folder 5

1906 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 5

Folder 6

1907-1912 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 6

Folder 7

1913-1914 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 7

Folder 8

1915-1916 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 8

Folder 9

1923-1925 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 9

Folder 10

1926-1927 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 10

Folder 11

1928 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 11

Folder 12

1929 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 12

Folder 13-14

Folder 13

Folder 14

1930 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 13-14

Folder 15

1931 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 15

Folder 16

1932 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 16

Folder 17

1933 #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 17

Folder 18-21

Folder 18

Folder 19

Folder 20

Folder 21

Undated #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 18-21

Folder 22-29

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Folder 26

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

Undated, Marnie to Guilliamme #04916, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1899-1933 and undated. " Folder 22-29

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated.

About 100 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Sermons and prayers delivered during worship services and on special occasions. There are three published sermons, including "A Christmas Message," "A Tragedy of Speed: Sermon on the Wreck of the Titanic," and Moss's first sermon at the Washington Heights Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. Note that many sermons are handwritten drafts on carbon paper and are quite fragile. This series also includes a small number of humorous writings of a folkloric nature.

Folder 30

1 October 1905-1 October 1922 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 30

Folder 31

21 January 1923 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 31

Folder 32

15 April 1923 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 32

Folder 33

7 November 1926-8 June 1927 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 33

Folder 34

15 April 1928 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 34

Folder 35

11 November 1928 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 35

Folder 36

December 1928 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 36

Folder 37

1929 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 37

Folder 38

21 September 1930 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 38

Folder 39

7 December 1930 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 39

Folder 40

14 December 1930 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 40

Folder 41

New Year 1931 #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 41

Folder 42-53

Folder 42

Folder 43

Folder 44

Folder 45

Folder 46

Folder 47

Folder 48

Folder 49

Folder 50

Folder 51

Folder 52

Folder 53

Undated #04916, Series: "2. Sermons, Prayers, and Related Papers, 1905-1931 and undated. " Folder 42-53

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Articles and Clippings, 1903-1932 and undated.

About 25 items.

Articles, originals and photocopies, concerning Moss's work as a clergyman. Included are articles from The Carolina Magazine, the Raleigh News and Observer, the Durham Morning Herald, the Raleigh Times, and from newspapers outside North Carolina and the United States. These articles address spiritual matters and examine the significance of the church as an institution. Notable among the materials is a copy of Moss's farewell sermon, delivered at St. Andrew's Church in Pictou, Nova Scotia, on 29 November 1903 and published in The Pictou Advocate. There are about a dozen clippings concerning Moss's death in 1932.

Folder 54

Newspaper and Magazine Articles/Clippings, 1903-1932 and undated #04916, Series: "3. Articles and Clippings, 1903-1932 and undated. " Folder 54

Folder 55

The Carolina Magazine, 1921 and 1923 #04916, Series: "3. Articles and Clippings, 1903-1932 and undated. " Folder 55

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Pictures, 1896-1942 and undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated.

About 90 items.

Arrangement: by type of material, then chronological.

Materials concerning the life and activities of Chapel Hill resident Madge Kennette, a member of the family with whom Moss resided at the time of his death. Included are letters and Christmas cards sent to Kennette from family members and friends; Kennette's diaries, 1911 and 1959-1969, which closely document her daily life; and a few clippings, some photocopies, documenting her long career as a secretary in the Chemistry Department at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Folder 56

Correspondence, 1954-1970 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 56

Folder 57

Correspondence, undated #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 57

Folder 58

Clippings, 1958 and undated #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 58

Folder 59

Diaries, 1911 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 59

Folder 60

Diaries, 1959 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 60

Folder 61-62

Folder 61

Folder 62

Diaries, 1963 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 61-62

Folder 63

Diaries, 1964 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 63

Folder 64

Diaries, 1964-1965 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 64

Folder 65

Diaries, 1965-1966 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 65

Folder 66-67

Folder 66

Folder 67

Diaries, 1966 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 66-67

Folder 68

Diaries, 1967 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 68

Folder 69

Diaries, 1969 #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 69

Folder 70

Miscellaneous #04916, Series: "5. Madge Kennette Papers, 1911-1970 and undated. " Folder 70

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Items separated include photographs (P-4916).

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