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Collection Number: 01487

Collection Title: George Erwin Gullett Stephens Papers, 1884-1988

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 FAQ section for more information.


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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 500 items)
Abstract George Erwin Gullett Stephens, a native of Summerfield, Guilford County, N.C., and resident of Charlotte and Asheville, N.C., was a journalist and real estate broker. He married Sophie Convere Myers Stephens. Their children were Sophie Myers Stephens (Martin) and George Myers Stephens. The collection consists of personal and professional papers of George Erwin Gullett Stephens. Included are letters, 1906, to Stephens about the work of Isaac Erwin Avery, a fellow journalist; a photograph of and correspondence with Kemp P. Battle and author Zane Grey; and letters and other papers, 1915-1946, concerning the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and general political and economic developments in western North Carolina. The addition of 2005 is chiefly correspondence of Sophie Myers Stephens that documents family life, health concerns, and social activities of the Stephens and Martin families, especially while she was at school, traveling in Europe, and during her marriage to Edward Watts Martin. Sophie Myers Stephens's correspondents include her parents; her brother and his wife Eleanor Stephens; and her husband and his mother Lena Penington Martin. There is some miscellaneous correspondence. Also included are a few photographs and other materials relating to the Myers family of Charlotte, N.C., and to the crowning of Sophie Myers Stephens as queen of the 1935 Rhododendron Festival of Asheville, N.C.
Creator Stephens, George Erwin Gullett, 1873-1946.
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 George Erwin Gullett Stephens Papers #1487, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Sophie Stephens Martin, daughter of George Stephens, from the estate of her brother, George Myers Stephens, 1 November 1979 (Acc. 79217); and from Penny Mills of Wadesboro, N.C., in November 2005 (Acc. 100267).
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

George Erwin Gullett Stephens was born 8 April 1873 in Summerfield, N.C., to Addison H. and Lydia Lambeth Stephens. He attended the University of North Carolina and was graduated in 1896. He was a noted athlete and is credited with throwing the first forward pass in collegiate football history (UNC vs. Georgia, 26 October 1895). Stephens married Sophie Convere Myers on 9 December 1902. The couple had two children, George Myers Stephens and Sophie Myers Stephens (Martin).

Stephens served as president and joint publisher of the Charlotte Observer; organizer and president of the American Trust Company, 1901-1918; and joint owner and publisher of the Asheville Citizen. He also served as trustee for the University of North Carolina, 1900-1946. Stephens was involved in the development of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Smoky Mountains National Park, and western North Carolina in general.

Sophie Myers Stephens attended Ashley Hall in Charleston, Va., and Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Va. She was elected queen of the 1935 Rhododendron Festival in Asheville, N.C. The following year she married Edward Watts Martin. In 1957, she earned a masters degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of personal and professional papers of journalist and real estate broker George Erwin Gullett Stephens, a native of Summerfield, Guilford County, N.C., and resident of Charlotte, N.C., and Asheville, N.C. Included are letters, 1906, to Stephens about the work of Isaac Erwin Avery, a fellow journalist; a photograph of and correspondence with Kemp P. Battle and author Zane Grey; and letters and other papers, 1915-1946, concerning the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and general political and economic developments in western North Carolina.

The addition of 2005 is chiefly correspondence of Sophie Myers Stephens, the daughter of George Erwin Gullett Stephens and Sophie Convere Myers Stephens, documenting family life, health concerns, and social activities of the Stephens and Martin families, especially while she was at school, traveling in Europe, and during her marriage to Edward Watts Martin. Sophie Myers Stephens's correspondents include her parents; her brother George Myers Stephens and his wife Eleanor Stephens; and her husband and his mother Lena Penington Martin. There is some miscellaneous correspondence. Also included are a few photographs and other materials relating relating to the Myers family of Charlotte, N.C., and to the crowning of Sophie Myers Stephens as queen of the 1935 Rhododendron Festival of Asheville, N.C.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Papers, 1906-1968.

About 300 items.

The collection consists of personal and professional papers of journalist and real estate broker George Erwin Gullett Stephens, a native of Summerfield, Guilford County, N.C., and resident of Charlotte and Asheville, N.C. Included are letters, 1906, to Stephens about the work of Isaac Erwin Avery, a fellow journalist; a photograph of and correspondence with author Zane Grey; and letters and other papers, 1915-1946, concerning the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and general political and economic developments in western North Carolina.

Folder 1

Correspondence, 1906 #01487, Series: "1. Papers, 1906-1968." Folder 1

Letters received in appreciation of Isaac Erwin Avery's "Idle Comments," a compilation of Avery's Charlotte Observer newspaper columns.

Folder 2

Correspondence, 1915-1946 #01487, Series: "1. Papers, 1906-1968." Folder 2

Includes letters from Kemp P. Battle, thanking Stephens for helping him publish the History of the University of North Carolina; correspondence with Zane Grey, a childhood friend; and an 1884 letter from William Sydney Porter (O. Henry).

Folder 3

Blue Ridge Parkway and Smokey Mountain National Park materials, 1926, 1934-1935, 1968 #01487, Series: "1. Papers, 1906-1968." Folder 3

Includes a 1968 account by George Myers Stephens about his father's involvement in the development of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Folder 4

Blue Ridge Parkway Correspondence, 1931-1934 #01487, Series: "1. Papers, 1906-1968." Folder 4

Folder 5

Blue Ridge Parkway Correspondence, 1935-1938 #01487, Series: "1. Papers, 1906-1968." Folder 5

Folder 6

Blue Ridge Parkway, Smoky Mountains National Park Commission Correspondence, 1940-1942 #01487, Series: "1. Papers, 1906-1968." Folder 6

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of 2005, 1899-1988.

About 200 items.

Chiefly correspondence of Sophie Myers Stephens documenting family life, health concerns, and social activities of the Stephens and Martin families, especially while she was at school at Ashley Hall in Charleston, S.C., and Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Va., and later at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.; traveling with her mother in Europe; and during her marriage to Edward Watts Martin. Sophie Myers Stephens's correspondents include her parents, George Erwin Gullett Stephens and Sophie Convere Myers Stephens; her brother, George Myers Stephens, and his wife Eleanor Stephens; and her husband and his mother, Lena Penington Martin. There is some miscellaneous correspondence. Also included are a few photographs and other materials relating to the crowning of Sophie Myers Stephens as queen of the 1935 Rhododendron Festival of Asheville, N.C.

Folder 7

Edward Watts Martin and Sophie Myers Stephens Martin, 1935-1949 and undated #01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." Folder 7

Folder 8

Lena Penington Martin to Edward Watts Martin and Sophie Myers Stephens Martin, 1936-1945 #01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." Folder 8

Folder 9

Sophie Myers Stephens Martin and George Stephens, 1923-1943 and undated #01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." Folder 9

Folder 10

Eleanor Stephens and George Myers Stephens and Sophie Myers Stephens Martin, 1929, 1949-1958 #01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." Folder 10

Folder 11-12

Folder 11

Folder 12

Sophie Convere Myers Stephens and Sophie Myers Stephens, 1925-1950 and undated #01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." Folder 11-12

Folder 13

Rhododendron Festival (Asheville, N.C.), 1935-1936 #01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." Folder 13

Miscellaneous correspondence and papers, 1899-1988 and undated #01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." Folder 13

Image Folder P-1487/1

Photographs #01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." P-1487/1

Images of Sophie Myers Stephens as a child, adolescent, and as queen of the Rhododendron Festival. Also included are two images of homes of the Myers family of Charlotte, N.C., and the Stephens family at Kanuga Lake, Henderson County, N.C.

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-1487/1

#01487, Series: "Addition of 2005, 1899-1988." OPF-1487/1

Certificate, 1935, declaring Sophie Stephens Martin the Rhododendron Queen #01487, Series Addition of 2005, 1899-1988., Opaperfolder OPF-1487/1
Sophie Stephens Martin UNC diploma, 1957 #01487, Series Addition of 2005, 1899-1988., Opaperfolder OPF-1487/1
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Processing Information

Processed by: F. Gamel and Tim Pyatt, November 1979 and November 1995

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, April 2006

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