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Collection Number: 05085

Collection Title: Pope Family Papers, 1851-1983

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Size 2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1800 items)
Abstract Pope family of North Carolina, including Jonas Elias Pope of Northampton County, a man of color who was free before the Civil War; his son, M. T. Pope, who was born in Northampton County and later lived in Henderson, Charlotte, and Raleigh; M. T. Pope's wife, Delia H. Pope of Raleigh; and their daughters, Evelyn Bennett Pope and Ruth Permelia Pope. M. T. Pope graduated in the first class of the Leonard Medical School of Shaw University; served in the Third Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers in the Spanish-American War; and practiced medicine and owned businesses and real estate in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. In the early 1900s, he was one of seven men of color registered to vote in Raleigh; in 1919, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor. Delia H. Pope taught school and was trained in the Madame C. J. Walker method of scientific hairdressing; Evelyn Bennett Pope was a professor of library science at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University); and Ruth Permelia Pope was a teacher of home economics in Chapel Hill, N.C. The collection includes correspondence, financial and legal papers, educational records, and other papers of the Pope family. Included are letters written during M. T. Pope's Spanish-American War service; letters of recommendation, 1892-1899, 1910, and 1914, for M. T. Pope from lawyers, bankers, and college administrators; letters in the 1920s, mostly relating to land in Northampton County; and letters about insurance, real estate, and other financial matters. Financial and legal papers relate to Jonas Elias Pope's land and taxes in Northampton County, N.C. Also included are his certificate of freedom, 1851, and a copy of his will. A few items relate to businesses M. T. Pope helped start or partially owned. Many papers relate to Raleigh property and real estate; income taxes; insurance; stock; bank accounts; utility payments; and hospital bills. Other papers include educational records, biographical information, diplomas and certificates, clippings, notebooks, autograph books, and other materials. There are also scattered publications of First Baptist Church in Raleigh, the National Medical Association, and the People's Benevolent and Relief Association.
Creator Pope family.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
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 Pope Family Papers #5085, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from the Evelyn B. Pope and Ruth P. Pope Charitable Foundation of Raleigh, N.C., in February 2002 (Acc. 99178).
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

M. T. (Manassa Thomas) Pope, physician, businessman, and politician, was born near Rich Square in Northampton County, N.C., on 24 August 1858. Both of his parents were free people of color. Pope's father, Jonas Elias Pope (1827-1900?), was a carpenter, farmer, and landowner. Jonas Elias Pope remarried late in life and had another son, Jonas Elias Pope II, who was born in 1898 and died in 1977.

M. T. Pope went to Raleigh, N.C., in 1874 to attend Shaw University. He finished his undergraduate education in 1879 and then studied at the Leonard School of Medicine at Shaw, graduating in 1886 in its first class. On 23 February 1887, Pope married Lydia Walden, who died on 10 September 1906. Pope lived and worked for a few years in Henderson, N.C., before settling in Charlotte about 1890. In Charlotte, Pope not only practiced medicine but also was a very active businessman, helping to establish the Queen City Drug Company and the People's Benevolent and Relief Association of North Carolina, an insurance company.

During the Spanish-American War, M. T. Pope served as first lieutenant and assistant surgeon in the Third Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers, an all-black volunteer regiment. After mustering out in February 1899, Pope moved to Raleigh where he established his medical practice on East Hargett Street, and, in 1900, built a substantial brick residence at 511 South Wilmington Street.

After the white supremacy campaigns of 1898 and 1900 and the passage of the suffrage amendment to the North Carolina Constitution in 1900, Pope was one of only seven men of color in the entire city of Raleigh to be eligible to vote and one of only 31 in Wake County. His political activity reached a high point in the April 1919 primary, when he ran for mayor of Raleigh at the head of a non-partisan African American slate of candidates along with Calvin Lightner (whose son, Clarence Lightner, became the first black mayor of Raleigh in 1973) and J. Cheek.

In 1907, M. T. Pope married Delia Haywood Phillips, who was born in 1880 and thus was 22 years his junior. To the couple two daughters were born: Evelyn Bennett Pope in 1908 and Ruth Permelia Pope in 1910. Both daughters received degrees from Shaw University and both went on to earn Master's degrees from Columbia University in New York, Evelyn in library service and Ruth in home economics. Evelyn also earned a Bachelor's degree in library science from the Hampton Institute.

M. T. Pope died in 1934 at the age of 76, and his wife followed him in 1955. Evelyn was by then on the faculty of the School of Library Science at North Carolina College at Durham (now North Carolina Central University), and Ruth was a home economics teacher in Chapel Hill. The two sisters, neither of whom married, kept up the family home in Raleigh and retired there in the 1970s. Evelyn died in 1995 and Ruth in October 2000.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, financial and legal papers, educational records, and other papers of the Pope family, an African American family of North Carolina. Letters of Jonas Elias Pope, a man of color who was free before the Civil War; M. T. Pope, physician, businessman, and politician; Delia H. Pope, who taught school and was trained in the Madame C. J. Walker method of scientific hairdressing; Evelyn Bennett Pope, professor of library science at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University); and Ruth Permelia Pope, a teacher of home economics in Chapel Hill, N.C.; are arranged in chronological order, with a few groups of letters filed by subject at the end of the series. Whereas the majority of the correspondence was received without order, these groups of letters were bundled together or otherwise segregated from the general correspondence.

Included are letters written during Pope's service in the Third Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers during the Spanish-American War; a letter from George H. White, a member of the United States House of Representatives, about his effort to keep the Third North Carolina in the service; letters, 1921-1934, between M. T. Pope and officials of the United States Bureau of Pensions about his pension for military service; letters of recommendation, 1892-1899, 1910, and 1914, from various lawyers, bankers, and college administrators in Henderson, Raleigh, and Charlotte; letters in the 1920s mostly having to do with land in Northampton County, N.C.; and letters about home and automobile insurance, real estate transactions, and other financial matters.

The earliest financial and legal papers are papers of Jonas Elias Pope, mostly relating to land and taxes in Northampton County, N.C. Included is Jonas Elias Pope's certificate of freedom, 1851. Also included is a copy of Jonas Elias Pope's will. A few items relate to businesses M. T. Pope helped start or partially owned. Many papers relate to property and real estate transactions in Raleigh, N.C. Papers relating to property and income taxes; insurance for homes, automobiles, health, and life; stock owned; bank accounts; utility payments; and hospital bills are also included.

Other papers include educational records, biographical information, diplomas and certificates, clippings, notebooks, autograph books, and other materials of Pope family members. Financial and legal papers relating to the death and estate of M. T. Pope and Delia H. Pope were mixed with other material, such as funeral programs and obituaries, and are filed in Series 3. Other Papers rather than in Series 2. Financial and Legal Papers. Also included are few scattered publications of the First Baptist Church in Raleigh, the National Medical Association, and the People's Benevolent and Relief Association, as well as a funeral program for Jonas Elias Pope II, a certificate of appointment of James Walden as 1st Sergeant in Company E of the 2nd Regiment of United States Colored Cavalry, 1 August 1865, and stationery.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1896-1983.

About 400 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters of Jonas Elias Pope, M. T. Pope, Delia H. Pope, Evelyn Bennett Pope, and Ruth Permelia Pope. The letters are arranged in chronological order, with a few groups of letters filed by subject at the end of the series. Whereas the majority of the correspondence was received without order, these groups of letters were bundled together or otherwise segregated from the general correspondence.

The earliest letters are addressed to M. T. Pope in Charlotte, N.C. A letter, 17 February 1896, from Jonas Elias Pope describes an accident he had in his buggy and also his intention to marry. A letter to M. T. Pope from a cousin who was living with Jonas Elias Pope also mentions Jonas's desire to marry because "...there must be some more Popes that his son is not doing anything for the country." Three letters were written during M. T. Pope's service in the Third Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers during the Spanish-Amercian War. One of these requests a report from Pope; one from Pope to the chief surgeon, Department of the Gulf, is a form letter, giving his "Personal Report of station and duty for the month of July 1898"; and the other is Pope's report on a soldier who was shot by a fellow soldier. A letter, 2 January 1899, from George H. White, a member of the United States House of Representatives, to Pope in Raleigh, N.C., says that White had seen the president and the adjutant general of the War Department in an effort to keep the Third North Carolina in the service.

Letters, 1921-1934, between M. T. Pope and officials of the United States Bureau of Pensions about his pension for military service are filed at the end of the series. There are also letters to and from Edward W. Pou, United States Representative from North Carolina, about his assistance to Pope with regard to the pension. In a letter in November 1934, Delia H. Pope informed the Bureau of Pensions of M. T. Pope's death and requested a form to apply for a pension as his widow. A few additonal letters relate to the widow's pension.

A few letters of recommendation, 1910 and 1914, including one from the mayor of Raleigh about M. T. Pope's driving, are filed chronologically. About 20 letters, 1891-1898, of introduction or recommendation from various lawyers, bankers, and college administrators in Henderson, Raleigh, and Charlotte, are filed in a group at the end of the series. These letters emphasize M. T. Pope's character, intelligence, and reliability. There are letters from H. M. Tupper, president of Shaw University; Andrew J. Harris, mayor of Henderson, N.C.; E. B. Springs, mayor of Charlotte, N.C.; J. H. Wade, president of the Merchants & Farmers National Bank in Charlotte; and others.

Letters in the 1920s mostly have to do with land in Northampton County, N.C. In the 1920s and following decades, there are letters about home and automobile insurance, real estate transactions, and other financial matters. Nearly all of the letters in the 1950s-1980s deal with property and insurance. Filed at the end of the series is correspondence between M. T. Pope and, after his death, Delia H. Pope, and William H. Wannamaker about a debt owed to Mrs. Wannamaker by the Popes. Mrs. Wannamaker had inherited a mortgage from J. P. Brawley on a 43-acre farm on Walnut Creek in Wake County, N.C. Related material may be found in Series 2. Financial and Legal Papers.

Letters in the 1930s include letters to Ruth Permelia Pope from her father, her mother, and William (apparently a friend from Shaw University), giving news of family and friends, and from officials of Columbia University about her application and matriculation at Teachers College. There are letters to Evelyn Bennett Pope about professional matters.

Most of the letters in the 1940s are to Ruth Permelia Pope, including several from her mother. Two letters to Delia H. Pope from Eula in Detroit give news of friends.

A folder of letters, 1907-1916, relate to alleged sexual misconduct of M. D. Bowen of Shaw University and M. T. Pope's displeasure with the lack of action against Bowen by Charles Meserve, president of Shaw.

Folder 1

1896-1899 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 1

Folder 2

1900-1916 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 2

Folder 3

1923-1929 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 3

Folder 4-5

Folder 4

Folder 5

1930-1939 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 4-5

Folder 6

1944-1949 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 6

Folder 7-8

Folder 7

Folder 8

1952-1957 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 7-8

Folder 9

1964-1983 and undated #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 9

Folder 10

Bowen, 1907-1916 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 10

Folder 11

Greeting cards #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 11

Folder 12-13

Folder 12

Folder 13

Pension, 1899, 1921-1935, 1944 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 12-13

Folder 14

Recommendations, 1891-1898 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 14

Folder 15

Wannamaker mortgage, 1932-1936 #05085, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1896-1983." Folder 15

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981.

About 900 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

The earliest financial and legal papers are papers of Jonas Elias Pope, mostly relating to land and taxes in Northampton County, N.C. Included is Jonas Pope's certificate of freedom, 1851. Also included is a copy of Jonas Elias Pope's will. Later papers regarding property in Northampton County include a lease, 17 August 1926, for five years, of a farm owned by J. E. Pope and M. T. Pope and a draft of a lease, August 1927, for another farm.

A few items relate to businesses M. T. Pope helped to start or partially owned. Included among these are the letters of incorporation, 1892, of the Queen City Drug Company in Charlotte, N.C.

Many papers relate to property and real estate transactions in Raleigh, N.C. Also included are the abstract of title and other papers related to the purchase of a house and lot on East College Street, Asheville, N.C., bought by M. T. Pope in 1904. In the 1950s, there are papers relating to Evelyn Bennett Pope's purchase and remodeling of a house on Fayetteville Steet in Durham, N.C.

Papers relating to property and income taxes; insurance for homes, automobiles, health, and life; stock owned; bank accounts; utility payments; and hospital bills are also included. Letters related to some of these business matters may be found in Series 1. Correspondence. Financial and legal papers relating to the death and estate of M. T. Pope and Delia H. Pope were mixed with other material, such as funeral programs and obituaries, and are filed in Series 3. Other Papers rather than in this series.

Folder 16

1851, 1859-1878 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 16

Folder 17

1880-1889 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 17

Folder 18-19

Folder 18

Folder 19

1890-1899 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 18-19

Folder 20-21

Folder 20

Folder 21

1900-1909 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 20-21

Folder 22

1910-1929 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 22

Folder 23-25

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

1930-1939 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 23-25

Folder 26-29

Folder 26

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

1940-1949 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 26-29

Folder 30-33

Folder 30

Folder 31

Folder 32

Folder 33

1950-1959 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 30-33

Folder 34-38

Folder 34

Folder 35

Folder 36

Folder 37

Folder 38

1960-1969 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 34-38

Folder 39-41

Folder 39

Folder 40

Folder 41

1970-1981 #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 39-41

Folder 42

Undated #05085, Series: "2. Financial and Legal Papers, 1851-1981." Folder 42

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Other Papers, 1865-1972.

About 500 items.

Arrangement: by subject.

Educational records, biographical information, diplomas and certificates, clippings, notebooks, autograph books, and other materials of Pope family members. Financial and legal papers relating to the death and estate of M. T. Pope and Delia H. Pope were mixed with other material, such as funeral programs and obituaries, and are filed here rather than in financial and legal papers.

Other materials relating to M. T. Pope include his commission as assistant surgeon with the rank of first lieutenant in the Third Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers in 1898; his certificate of registration as a physician, 1899; his voter registration certificate, 1902; other certificates and licenses; a death certificate; a listing of burial expenses; news articles relating to him or collected by him, 1899 and 1905; and a notebook of remedies for various ailments.

Items relating to Delia H. Pope include her business card as a scientific hairdresser trained in the Madame C. J. Walker method, materials relating to the Sunday School at First Baptist Church in Raleigh, a funeral program, and an obituary.

Material relating to Evelyn Bennett Pope includes autograph books dated 1925 and 1936; grade reports from Hampton Institute and from Columbia University; the thesis written for her masters degree at Columbia; an examination from Shaw University; and diplomas from Shaw University, the Hampton Institute, and Columbia University. Files for Ruth Permelia Pope contain autograph books, one dated 1932 and one without a date; perfect attendance certificates from Raleigh schools; diplomas; grade reports, an exam, an autobiography written as a term paper for an education class at Columbia University, and other records from Columbia University; a transcript, an exam, grade reports, and a notebook from Shaw University; two articles from the Chapel Hill High School newspaper, including one about her being named Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Teacher of the Year in 1972. There are also an autograph book, 1930-1931, and a history notebook, 1921; it is not clear to whom they belonged.

Other materials include a few scattered publications of First Baptist Church in Raleigh, the National Medical Association, and the People's Benevolent and Relief Association. Also included are a funeral program for Jonas Elias Pope II; a certificate of appointment of James Walden as First Sergeant in Company E of the 2nd Regiment of United States Colored Cavalry, 1 August 1865; and stationery for M. T. Pope and for Rock Hill Dairy, which he owned.

Folder 43-47

Folder 43

Folder 44

Folder 45

Folder 46

Folder 47

Pope, M. T. #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 43-47

Folder 48-50

Folder 48

Folder 49

Folder 50

Pope, Delia H. #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 48-50

Folder 51-56

Folder 51

Folder 52

Folder 53

Folder 54

Folder 55

Folder 56

Pope, Evelyn Bennett #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 51-56

Folder 57-63

Folder 57

Folder 58

Folder 59

Folder 60

Folder 61

Folder 62

Folder 63

Pope, Ruth Permelia #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 57-63

Folder 64-65

Folder 64

Folder 65

Pope, Evelyn Bennett/Ruth Permelia #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 64-65

Folder 66-68

Folder 66

Folder 67

Folder 68

First Baptist Church #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 66-68

Folder 69

National Medical Association #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 69

Folder 70

People's Benevolent and Relief Association #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 70

Folder 71

Miscellaneous #05085, Series: "3. Other Papers, 1865-1972." Folder 71

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Items separated include oversize papers (OP-5085).

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Processing Information

Processed by: Linda Sellars, January 2003

Encoded by: Linda Sellars, January 2003

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