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Collection Number: 03987

Collection Title: Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972

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.


This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 20 items)
Abstract Alice Morgan Person of Franklin County, N.C., was, beginning in 1882, the producer and distributor of Mrs. Joe Person's Remedy, a proprietary medicine. In 1857, she married Joseph Arrington Person, a planter from Franklin County, N.C., with whom she had nine children. Materials include two handwritten versions (72 pp. and 57 pp.) of an autobiography by Alice Morgan Person in which she discussed the difficulties and successes associated with her business efforts; an autograph album chiefly containing clippings relating to Person; Person's account book, 1910-1912; two versions of Person's will. Also included are two volumes, 1872-1873 and 1913-1916, of the diary of Person's sister, Lucy Morgan Beard, a schoolteacher of Hickory, N.C., chiefly concerning teaching and family and social activities.
Creator Person, Alice Morgan, 1840-1913.
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 Alice Morgan Person papers #3987, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Typed transcription of the autobiography is available.
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of Southern women and their families in the 19th century, Series A.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Louise Stephenson of Raleigh, N.C., in 1974.
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

Alice Morgan was born in 1840 near Petersburg, Va. She received most of her education at home. In 1857, she married Joseph Arrington Person, a wealthy planter from Franklin County, N.C. The couple settled at Person's plantation and had nine children.

In 1863, Joseph Person organized a company of North Carolina volunteers. He soon was discharged from service, however, because of a disability. Shortly after returning home, he suffered a debilitating stroke that prevented him from working for the rest of his life. Her husband's disability, coupled with the economic consequences of the Civil War, led Alice Morgan Person to market a patent medicine, the recipe for which had been given her by a neighbor.

In 1882, she began selling Mrs. Joe Person's Remedy door-to-door in Charlotte, Raleigh, and other major North Carolina towns. The Remedy proved quite popular, and Person was soon known throughout the South for her medicine and for her piano playing. She performed popular tunes at fairs in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia, and made a recording of her music at Victor Records in New Jersey.

Alice Person travelled extensively during her lifetime for both business and pleasure. In 1913, during one such trip to the West Coast, she suffered a seizure and died. She left a considerable estate, most of which had been accumulated as a result of her business activities. Also surviving her is an autobiography that offers a detailed account of her public life, including the challenges of starting and sustaining a business as a "woman in a man's world."

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Chiefly items of or about Alice Morgan Person, including an autograph/memory album, 1884-1902; a few letters, 1894 and undated; an extensive account book, 1908-1912; two wills, 1913; three copies of her autobiography, undated and 1971; two newspaper clippings, 1913 and 1972; and several miscellaneous items. Also included are two volumes of Person's sister's diaries, 1872-1873 and 1913-1916, containing day-to-day observations of Lucy Morgan Beard's teaching and social activities, mostly in Hickory, N.C.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972.

Folder 1-2

Folder 1

Folder 2

Album, 1884-1902, 49 pp., and enclosures. Articles relating to Alice Morgan Person's business activities. Some articles are pasted over poems and autographs collected by Josie Person, daughter of Alice Morgan Person. Several loose newspaper articles are also included. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 1-2

Folder 3

Letters, 1894 and undated. Four letters to or from Alice Morgan Person or her children, including an undated invitation from Person to attend a business-related "pic-nic" and dance held at her home in Franklin County, and several letters relating to family visits. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 3

Folder 4

Account book, 1908-1912, 106 pp. Contains detailed accounting of Person's income and expenses, primarily for the years 1910 and 1911, including expense accounts during trips and counts of the bottles of Remedy sold. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 4

Folder 5

Wills, 1913 and 1915, of Alice Morgan Person, including a partial will, 1913, in which she named her son, Rufus Person, as her executor and detailed the persons to whom she would give her assets and household items, and a copy of Person's 1915 will filed in Mecklenburg County. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 5

Autobiography of Alice Morgan Person #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 5

Folder 6

Early manuscript draft, undated, 57 pp. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 6

Folder 7

Final manuscript draft, undated, 72 pp., with corrections and additions. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 7

Folder 8

Typescript, 1971, 75 pp. Copyrighted typescript booklet of Alice Morgan Person's autobiography entitled "Banny's Book," produced by Louise Stephenson from the final manuscript draft. Added are photostatic copies of a selection of newspaper articles originally contained in the album described above. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 8

Folder 9

Clippings, 1913 and 1972, with biographical references to Alice Morgan Person. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 9

Diary of Lucy Morgan Beard, sister of Alice Morgan Person, with entries documenting Beard's daily activities including teaching, reading, knitting, and socializing with people in Hickory, N.C., where she lived. Entries in the last volume include remarks on the death of her sister Alice and, later, about her own failing health. Also included are several loose sheets of paper giving information about an unknown person's travels in Canada, Oregon, California, and Alaska. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 9

Folder 10

3 March 1872-23 July 23 1872, 18 pp. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 10

Folder 11

1872-1873, 192 pp. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 11

Folder 12

1913-1916, 56 pp. #03987, Series: "Alice Morgan Person Papers, 1872-1972." Folder 12

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Processing Information

Processed by: Timothy A. Long, January 1993

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

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