Littleton College Memorial Association Papers

1873, 1892-2009
Manuscript Collection #114
Littleton College Memorial Association
Physical description
2.47 Cubic Feet, 1340 items, consisting of correspondence, programs, college history, alumnae lists, clipping, pamphlets, minutes, yearbooks, reports, bulletins, speeches.
Preferred Citation
Littleton College Memorial Association Papers (#114), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1873, 1892-2009, undated) concerning Littleton Female College (later called Littleton College) in Warren County, North Carolina, and its alumnae include correspondence, programs, college history, alumnae lists, clippings, pamphlets and speeches, etc. The college opened in 1882 and closed after a disastrous fire in 1919. The Littleton College Memorial Association was founded in 1926.

Biographical/historical information

Originally chartered as "Central Institute for Young Ladies," Littleton Female College first opened its doors in January 1882 to eleven students. Under the leadership of Reverend James Manly Rhodes, the physical plant of the school was greatly expanded in 1889, and by 1908 the institution could boast an enrollment of 285 pupils. In 1912 the name was again changed to Littleton College, the word "Female" having been dropped. During its brief life, Littleton College gained wide recognition for the "high quality" of its course offerings, considered far advanced in comparison with similar schools of the period. Instruction included not only the traditional domestic arts deemed necessary in cultivating young ladies but work in higher mathematics, chemistry, physics,and biology as well. In January of 1919 a fire swept the entire complex and it was decided by Mr. Rhodes not to rebuild. In 1926 the Littleton College Memorial Association was formed by a group of former students interested in keeping the spirit and memory of the institution alive. Vara L. Herring, former college treasurer, served as the guiding force for the Association until the late 1950s. In 1962 the Association designated North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount as the official location for its annual reunions. For further information see A Brief History of Littleton College by Dr. Ralph Hardee Rives (Greenville, N.C., 1968).

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence in the collection primarily deals with the activities and work of the Association. Early correspondence (1925-1957) denotes the Association's first efforts in providing a home and financial support for Rev. and Mrs. Rhodes who were then living in Winter Haven, Florida. Unable to recoup their losses when the college burned, the couple was forced to rely on the Association, and especially Miss Herring, for aid. Other points of interest are the formation of the Association itself and the establishment of a loan fund by the organization to be used in helping deserving girls attending Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee. One letter (10 September 1929) is particularly interesting for its descriptions of road travel in the South as well as conditions and information concerning Valdosta, Georgia.

Correspondence (1960-1987) is chiefly addressed to Dr. Rives and concerns the Association's annual reunions. Most of these letters are from members of the Association and former students of Littleton College and are suggestive of the guidance given the Association by Dr. Rives.

Minutes of the Association (1965-1986) contain speeches, addresses, remarks, and programs of yearly meetings (1962-1987). A "reunion book" kept by one member gives information on various meetings held by the Association from 1928 to 1938 and contains a year-by-year listing of graduates from Littleton College (1886-1919). Biographies of and information concerning various students and leaders associated with Littleton College as well as a copy of a joint resolution (1975) of the North Carolina General Assembly honoring the life and memory of Frances Renfrow Doak, a former student at Littleton College, are also included. Brief biographies of Littleton College President James Manley Rhodes and his wife Lula H. Rhodes are also included in the collection. Other materials include Dr. Rives's booklet, A Brief History of Littleton College (1969); a Class of 1916 file, containing several biographies of members from that class; and a group of miscellaneous Association papers, primarily receipts, notes, and drafts of news releases. Of note also is a folder containing photocopies of letters and post cards (1906-1910) concerning S. A. Stewart and wife Lillian B. Stewart and their work as missionaries in Kobe, Japan. Commentaries concern efforts to learn the Japanese language, distaste for Japanese food, the teaching of English, and the death of Mrs. Stewart.

Among those printed materials found in the collection are commencement programs, report cards, salutatorian and valedictorian addresses, certificates, graduation invitations, and student publications, (The Chatterbox, 1908, 1909) and The Pansy (1905, 1906, 1907).

Photographs reflect various meetings of the Association between 1937 and 1973. There are, however, a number of early photographs of the campus, its students and leaders. Of related interest is a post card picture of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Littleton (ca. early 1900s).

A variety of publications also appear in the collection. Those of a religious nature include in addition to church bulletins, several church histories, namely, History of the Stem United Methodist Church: 1886-1986 by Merile Tewskbury (1986); History of Connally United Methodist Church, Milton, North Carolina, edited by Ophelia Barker (1969); and History of Anne Street Methodist Church, Beaufort, North Carolina, edited by Emily Loftin (1966). Noteworthy also is a pamphlet entitled Minutes of the Nineteenth Annual Convention of the Women's Christian Temperance Union of North Carolina Held at Littleton, N.C., 5-9 June 1901.

Other publications include the following: History of Beaufort, N.C.: Settled 1709-Incorporated 1722 by Emily Loftin, ed. by Mrs. Homer Lewis (second printing 1964); Family of Ballachulish: McCalls, McLaurins and Related Families by Marguerite L. Whitfield (1977); Truth and Righteousness: Baccalaureate Sermon by J. M. Carter, D. D. to the [Senior] Class of [the University of North Carolina] '92, and two books of poetry.

A few North Carolina Wesleyan College items are to be found in the collection including issues of the "North Carolina Wesleyan College Bulletin" (1962-1973), as well as editions of The President's Report and Honor Roll (1965-1969). One folder contains information and a brochure (1873) concerning the former Wesleyan Female College in Murfreesboro.

Newspaper clippings detailing the history of Littleton College and activities of the Littleton College Memorial Association along with one complete copy of The Littleton News (29 October 1939) comprise the remainder of the collection.

Administrative information
Custodial History

February 17, 1970, 112 items; Correspondence, programs, college history, alumnae lists, and clippings.

October 15, 1971, ca. 150 items; Correspondence and miscellaneous (1916-1961).

September 11, 1972, 100 items; Correspondence, programs, lists, reports, etc.

March 10, 1976, 29 items; Correspondence, minutes, clippings.

October 10, 1978, 80 items; Correspondence, clippings, minutes, bulletins, and miscellaneous.

May 30, 1980, 30 items; Correspondence, clippings, and miscellaneous.

August 28, 1980, 46 items; Papers (1927-1980), including correspondence, clippings, minutes, and miscellaneous.

October 8, 1980, ca. 150 items; Papers (1961-1970), including correspondence, programs, speeches, and clippings, and a 1906 issue of The Pansy.

April 7, 1982, 35 items; Correspondence, clippings, minutes, and miscellaneous (1980-1981).

April 30, 1986, ca. 200 items; Papers (1906, 1955-1985), including correspondence, clippings, programs, a yearbook, and miscellaneous.

October 13, 1986, 90 items; Papers (1969-1985), including correspondence, clippings, and miscellaneous materials.

December 29, 1987, ca. 80 items; Photographs, clippings, and published minutes of 19th Convention of Women's Christian Temperance Union (1901). Gift of Dr. Ralph Hardee Rives, Enfield, N.C.

October 10, 2007, (unprocessed addition 1), 85 items, 0.25 cubic feet; History correspondence, clippings, minutes, notes, etc. (1969-2007, undated) relating to the history and activities of Littleton College Memorial Association. See preliminary inventory attached. Recd. ca. 8/16/2007. Donor: Ralph Hardee Rives.

August 2, 2012, (unprocessed addition 2), ca. 240 items, 0.30 cubic feet; Papers include correspondence (1967-2009) concerning the Littleton College Endowed Scholarship at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C., the Littleton College Memorial Association and the Littleton Methodist Church. Clippings, tributes and articles (1940-2008) document important residents of Littleton or the Littleton Methodist Church and graduates or offspring of graduates of Littleton College. Other items include church bulletins (1974, 1976, 1992-2009), items such as Reunion programs (1979, 1981), photocopy of 1917-1918 report card, articles, minutes (1978-1979, 1987) and financial records (1965-1991) of the Littleton College Memorial Association, and photographs of Central Academy (for boys) owned by Reverend James M. Rhodes who also owned Littleton Female College. Donor: Ralph Hardee Rives.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Dr. Ralph Hardee Rives

Processing information

Processed by F. Harrison, March 1989

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

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

Key terms
Personal Names
Doak, Frances Renfrow, 1887-1974
Rhodes, James Manly, 1850-1941
Rhodes, Lula H. (Lula Hester), 1868-1937
Corporate Names
Littleton College
Littleton College Memorial Association
Littleton Female College
North Carolina Wesleyan College
Wesleyan Female College (Murfreesboro, N.C.)
Methodists--North Carolina
Women--Education--North Carolina--History--19th century
Women's colleges--North Carolina
Kōbe-shi (Japan)--Description and travel
Southern States--Description and travel
Valdosta (Ga.)--Description and travel

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence, 1925-1957
Box 2 Correspondence, 1960-1966
Box 3 Correspondence, 1967-1977
Box 4 Correspondence, 1978-1987
Box 5 Association minutes and programs, reunion book, lists of alumnae and friends, biographies, college history
Box 6 Miscellaneous Association materials, Class of 1916 file, missionary letters
Box 7 Miscellaneous college materials, college programs and catalogue, college commencement materials, photographs, The Chatterbox
Box 8 The Pansy
Box 9 Publications, Wesleyan Female College material, N.C. Wesleyan College material
Box 10 Clippings
Folder os1 Clippings, copy of The Littleton News(Oct. 29, 1939)
Box 11 Folder a Minutes, Clippings, Correspondence & Notes (1969-1990, n.d.) ca. 75 items. ca. 125 p. Note: Received some time before 1991
Box 11 Folder b History, Correspondence, Clippings & Notes (2005-2007) 10 items. 36 p. Note: Recd. 8/16/2007