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Charles Laban Abernethy, Jr., Papers, 1842-1970

(Manuscript Collection #98)

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Charles Laban Abernethy, Jr., Papers
Creator: Abernethy, Charles Laban, 1901-1968
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1842-1970) consisting of correspondence concerning national politics, photographs, pre-World War II invitations, notes, legal papers, legal case files, school material, tariff discrimination, etc.
Extent: 32.0 Cubic feet, 520 items , including correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, legal case files, school material, receipts, and a map.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

October 1, 1969, 16 cubic feet; Legal case files of law firm of Abernethy and Abernethy of New Bern, N.C.

November 24, 1969, 12 cubic feet; Personal correspondence, photographs, clippings, legal files, and miscellaneous. Gift of Mrs. Charles L. Abernethy, Jr., New Bern, N.C.

May 6, 1970, (unprocessed addition 1), ca. 300 items.; correspondence, photographs, clippings, pamphlets, scrapbooks, miscellaneous. Donor: Mrs. Charles L. Abernethy, Jr.

June 27, 1973, (unprocessed addition 2), ca. 250 items.; poems. Donor: Mrs. Charles L. Abernethy, Jr.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Charles Laban Abernethy, Jr., Papers (#98), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mrs. Charles L. Abernethy, Jr.

Processing Information

  • Processed by G. Newbold, April 1970

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Charles Laban Abernethy, Jr., the son of Charles L. and Minnie Abernethy, was born in 1901 in Rutherford College, North Carolina. After graduating from high school in New Bern, Mr. Abernethy attended the University of North Carolina for two years, transferred to Harvard University and graduated from that institution in 1922. He then studied law at Harvard and Trinity College (now Duke University) before receiving his degree from Wake Forest in 1924. Charles Abernethy, Jr., married the former Sarah All and joined his father in the firm of Abernethy and Abernethy. The senior Abernethy served the Third District of North Carolina as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1922 to 1935. The wife of Charles Abernethy, Jr., graduated from the highly-regarded Boston Conservatory and taught piano lessons in New Bern for over thirty years.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Although little of the correspondence is concerned with national politics, three of the early letters deal with the 1932 Democratic convention. Two letters from June 1932 contain comments by then governor of New York Franklin D. Roosevelt on the Democratic convention in Chicago and the Craven County primaries in North Carolina. In a letter written during July of the same year, Frank C. Norbeck, a delegate to the Democratic convention, discusses the issue of repealing Prohibition and its possible effect on President Hoover.

Concerning state politics, for the pre-war period there is a letter (June, 1936) from the State Board of Elections listing the official vote of the Third Congressional District election between the successful incumbent Graham Barden and Charles Abernethy, Jr. Although Mr. Abernethy ran three times for Congress this is the only correspondence dealing with his unsuccessful attempts.

Also in the pre-World War II period are two letters of invitation. The first letter (December, 1938) is an invitation for Charles Abernethy, Jr., to submit poems to the Watchtower Publishing Company. The second letter invites Mr. Abernethy to be listed in the 1940 edition of the Social Directory of the United States.

In the years after World War II there are a number of letters concerned with state and local politics. Included are letters from candidates requesting support from Mr. Abernethy; correspondence (July, 1953) concerning the appointment by Governor Umstead of a replacement to fill the United States Senate seat left vacant by the death of Willis Smith; and a letter from Johnson Mathews (July, 1963), chairman of the State Board of Paroles, commenting on the verbal attacks on that board by Judge Clawson Williams. In several letters written during 1965 and 1966 Mr. Abernethy comments on the selections for public office made by Governor Dan K. Moore. Also of interest are U.S. Senator Sam Ervin's comments (July, 1968) on the nomination of Abe Fortas to fill the seat of Chief Justice Earl Warren, and a speech by Ervin in opposition to the appointment of Thurgood Marshall.

With the collection is correspondence pertaining to a lengthy illness suffered by Congressman Abernethy. Letters from Laurel Sanitarium, Laurel, Maryland, to Charles Abernethy, Jr., concern the period in which Charles Abernethy, Sr., stayed at that institution. Several letters from the former congressman are included. Also in the collection is correspondence with the Prudential Life Insurance Company concerning the legal guardianship of the former congressman.

Additional materials include newspapers and clippings from the various schools which Mr. Abernethy attended; newspaper clippings of cases in which he was attorney; photographs of John Nance Garner, William Kerr Scott, and unidentified persons in addition to numerous photographs and snapshots of members of the Abernethy family; charters and ordinances of the city of New Bern (1913); and two maps of the Havelock-Slocum Village area of Craven County.

Included in the collection, though not directly related to the Abernethy papers, is a group of papers (1848-1882) belonging to Johnson Bryan of Craven County. The Johnson Bryan papers include statements of debt and obligation, receipts, correspondence, and some business records. Included are mortgage papers from the public stage line operating between New Bern and Beaufort, North Carolina (1848); receipts from the purchase and sale of Negro slaves (1857-1859); mortgage of the mail line operating between Plymouth and New Bern (January, 1860); and a receipt (1861) for $100 for the hire of one free Negro in payment for a fine on a state indictment. Also included is an adjudication of bankruptcy, a certificate of exempted property, a dismissal of debt concerning Johnson Bryan (1868), and a resolution from the North Carolina Board of Internal Improvements (undated) complaining of tariff discriminations and maintenance deficiencies on the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad.

Thirty-two cubic feet of legal case files for the law firm of Abernethy and Abernethy are completely sealed and will not be open to the public before January, 1995. The manuscript committee will have sole responsibility for deciding upon accessibility to the files after the above date.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Geographic Entry :

  • North Carolina, New Bern

Autograph Entries :

  • Ervin, Sam[uel] J[ames] (4) 1967, 1968
  • Jones, Walter B[eamon] 1968
  • Jordan, B[enjamin] Everett 1964
  • Larkins, John [Davis], Jr. (3) 1954-1969
  • Lennon, Alton [Asa] 1953
  • Moore, Clifton L[eonard] 1960
  • Parker, R[obert] Hunt (2) 1962, 1968
  • Rodman, William B[lount] 1965
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D[elano] (2) 1932

Subject Entries :

  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE--Financial Papers--Craven Co., N.C.
  • CRIME AND PUNISHMENT--Parole
  • ELECTIONS--20th Century
  • ELECTIONS--U.S. Congress--House--1936
  • HEALTH AND MEDICINE--Mental Health
  • INSURANCE--Adjustment Claims
  • NEGROES
  • NEW BERN, N.C.
  • POETS AND POETRY
  • POLITICS--Democratic Party--National Convention--1932
  • POSTAL SERVICE--1860
  • PROHIBITION
  • ROOSEVELT, FRANKLIN DELANO
  • SLAVERY--Slave Trade--Craven Co., N.C.
  • TRANSPORTATION--Railroads--Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad
  • TRANSPORTATION--Stages
  • U.S.--CONGRESS--Senate--1953
  • U.S.--SUPREME COURT--1968

Date Entries :

  • 1840-1849
  • 1850-1859
  • 1860-1869
  • 1930-1939
  • 1960-1969

Genealogy Entry :

    • BRYAN FAMILY--Craven Co., N.C.

Map Entries :

  • NORTH CAROLINA: HAVELOCK (undated)
  • NORTH CAROLINA: HAVELOCK (undated)

Images below are listed alphabetically by subject. This list reflects only those portions of the collection for which negatives have been prepared.

RECREATION--Family Life--Children
Description: Child in a goat cart
Date: 1900s
Call Number: p-98/26

SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS--Family Life--Children
Description: Boy sitting in library on chair, reading
Date: early 1900s
Call Number: p-98/26, 348

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Box 1#0098.1
Correspondence
Box 2#0098.2
Correspondence; Johnson Bryan Papers
Box 3#0098.3
Newspaper Clippings; Photographs
Box 4#0098.4
Date Books; Published Material
Oversize Folder os1#0098.os1
Certificates and Awards

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

What is this page? Click here to learn more abou this webpage
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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