James Vivian Whitfield Papers

Manuscript Collection #128
Whitfield, James Vivian
Physical description
1.52 Cubic Feet, 550 items , consisting of articles, awards, newspaper clippings, correspondence, speeches, reports and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
James Vivian Whitfield Papers (#128), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1945-1968) consisting articles, awards, Forest Farmer magazine, newspaper, clippings, correspondence, speeches, reports etc.

Biographical/historical information

James Vivian Whitfield was born in Seven Springs, N.C., on 23 July 1894. After the death of his mother, he was reared by his grandmother, Mrs. M. F. Powers, of Wallace, N.C. He was educated in the Wallace public schools, Horner Military Academy, and the University of North Carolina where he received his A.B. in 1915 and his M.A. in 1919.

Senator Whitfield served in various South American countries from 1919 until 1927 as a State Department Foreign Service officer. In 1935, after his New York business failed, he returned to his farm in Pender County. He was active in the N.C. and National Farm Bureau; founded the Pender Cold Storage Cooperative and the N.C. Naval Stores Cooperative; served as vice-president of the N.C. Forestry Association and vice-president and president of the Forest Farmers Association; and was instrumental in founding the Holly Tree Park (oldest and largest holly tree in U.S.) and the Moore's Creek National Military Park. He also served on the State Council on Natural Resources, as chairman of the N.C. Commission on Interstate Cooperation, and as president of the Seashore Highway Association. Whitfield was a member of the N.C. House of Representatives (1947-1951) and the N.C. Senate (1953). He was chairman of the State Stream Sanitation Committee, and its successor from 1957 until his death in 1968.

Scope and arrangement

The bulk of the correspondence is concerned with water pollution control and abatement in North Carolina. The earliest reference to this subject is from Maurice Winger, Secretary of Enka Corporation, to Governor Luther H. Hodges (30 April 1958), praising Senator Whitfield's work as chairman of the State Stream Sanitation Committee. Other letters refer to his articles on stream pollution (Aug. 1956 - July 1958), the proposal to consolidate all agencies concerned with water resources, and Whitfield's opposition to the abolition of the Sanitation Committee (Oct. - Nov. 1958). Correspondence for 1959-1960 contains Whitfield's advice to Oregon water conservationists (Feb. 1959), his proposal (1959-1960) for a White House Conference (correspondents here include Congressmen William M. Colmer, John A. Blatnik, Fred Schwengal, and Harold Cooley; Senator Lyndon B. Johnson; presidential aides David W. Kendall and General J. S. Bragdon; and Secretary of H.E.W. Arthur Fleming). Included also are copies of several letters recommending Senator Whitfield for a vacancy on the National Advisory Board on Water Pollution Control (April and May 1961); a letter from Senator Whitfield to Governor Sanford opposing arbitration on Sanitation Committee findings concerning phosphate mining (Sept. 1962); a policy letter from Senator Whitfield to committee members and staff regarding a new federal law on pollution and the need for state as well as federal funding (31 Dec. 1965); a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration (Department of the Interior) stating official compliance with the Water Quality Act of 1965; and a policy letter to committee members announcing the committee's merger into the new Department of Water and Air Resources (30 June 1967). The progress of the Committee over the sixteen years of its existence is also reviewed in this letter.

The new era of the Department of Water and Air Resources is inaugurated with a telegram appointing Whitfield as the chairman of the department's board (Aug. 1967). A list of appointments to water and air control advisory councils and a list of staff members of the new department are also included (Dec. 1967). Of special interest are Northcutt Ely's report on "Political Controls of the Quantity and Quality of Water Supply; " the Covington and Burlington law firm's report on the Secretary of the Interior's authority under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (April 1968); Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall's letter to Governor Dan Moore concerning North Carolina's water quality standards under the new law (May 1968); a report (memorandum) to the Interstate Conference on Water Problems entitled "The Role of the States in Regard to the Setting of Water Quality Standards Under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act" (April 1968); and a statement by Governor Love of Colorado and a resolution adopted by the Western Governor's Conference, printed in the 24 May 1968, Congressional Record, concerning the Secretary of the Interior's authority under the same act. Also of interest are letters dealing with personnel problems in the Department of Water and Air Resources (June 1968); criticism of the department (18 July 1968); and the need for further research on harmful aquatic plants such as sphaerolilus (July 1968).

There are a number of letters and reports on phosphate mining in North Carolina, especially by Texas Gulf Sulfur in Beaufort County. The first is a report by Mssrs. Hubbard and Clary of the Sanitation Committee, dated 20 July 1962, entitled "An Evaluation of the Effects of Proposed Phosphate Operations upon the Waters of the Pamlico and Pungo Rivers in North Carolina." The correspondence includes a number of letters to Texas Gulf Sulfur officials and various consultants, including C. E. Miller, A. Nelson Sayre and Dr. R. J. M. DeWeist (Nov. 1967 - Jan. 1968). Other correspondence deals with Senator Whitfield's proposal that the state build a park at the site of the "oldest Holly Tree in America" and the fruition of that project (June - Dec. 1959).

There is also correspondence relating to the first cement factory in North Carolina built by the Ideal Cement Company of Denver, a subsidiary of Volunteer Portland Cement Company of Knoxville, Tennessee (1959).

There is considerable correspondence relating to forestry in the U.S., particularly in N.C. and the southern states. These letters concern the need for cooperation between the Forestry Services (U.S. and state) and industry; the relationship between industry, the forest services, and Forestry Schools; and federal programs for long-range timber growth (July 1961).

Water conservation and development is discussed in several letters concerning such topics as proposed navigational improvements in New Topsail Inlet (Col. R. P. Davidson, Corps of Engineers to Pender County Board of Commissioners, Aug. 1961); proposed canals in the Virginia Beach area connecting Back Bay and Currituck Sound with the Atlantic Ocean (Jan. 1964); a N.C. law (G.S. 141.6) designed to extend N.C. jurisdiction to a twelve-mile limit (Jan. - Feb. 1967); seafood conservation (March 1968); beach erosion at Sunset and Yaupon beaches in Brunswick County (Aug. 1968); the possibility of establishing an Estuarine Flushing and Nontidal Current Prediction Service in N.C. (July - Sept. 1968); opposition to a proposal to make William B. Umstead State Park into an urban recreation area (Aug. 1968); proposal for co-ordinating campaigns in Duplin, Pender, and Onslow counties for "watershed improvement authorities" (Sept. 1968); a proposed dam at Falls of the Nause and its possible beneficial effects in drought control as well as flood control (Sept. 1968); formal hearing on proposal by the Department of Water and Air Resources in Eastern N.C. (Oct. 1968); and the assignment to committees of the N.C. delegation to the National Rivers and Harbors Congress (21 Oct. 1968).

A few speeches are included in the collection. Among these are a speech by Whitfield, dated 7 April 1961, delivered before the Tenth Southern Municipal Industrial Waste Conference held at Duke University; J. Nelson Gibson's (a member of the State Stream Sanitation Committee) speech, dated 23 October 1963, on the "J. Vivian Whitfield Day" at Moore's Creek National Military Park; and Whitfield's speech, dated 16 June 1967, at the customhouse in Wilmington upon the occasion of the 192nd Anniversary of the Corps of Engineers.

There are two boxes of printed material (primarily Forest Farmer magazine to which Whitfield was a prolific contributor) and research pamphlets and reports. Of particular interest are the proceedings of the Southern Water Resources Conference, 31 July - 2 August 1968; a report by DeWeist Consultants on phosphate mining in Eastern North Carolina; and a report by the Department of Water and Air Resources (July 1968), dealing with ground-water resources in Chowan County. Also of interest are three legal pamphlets: "Law Relating to Stream Sanitation in N.C." (1951); "N.C. Fisheries Law and Regulation for Coastal Waters" (1966); and "Some Legal Aspects of Water Use in North Carolina" (1958) by Harold H. Ellis. Also included are three bills introduced by RepresentativeWhitfield in the 1947 Session of the N.C. General Assembly. They deal with an aerial topographical survey, farm marketing, and proposed extension of North Carolina's territorial jurisdiction seaward to a twenty-five-mile limit. A fourth bill, dated 1959 and introduced by Jones of Ashe, Philpott and Uzzell, is concerned with abolishing the Governor's Committee on Interstate Co-operation and revising the membership of the N.C. Commission on Interstate Co-operation. Also of some interest are two copies of the By-Laws of the Carolina Naval Stores Co-operative, Inc., and a Whitfield genealogical chart.

Two boxes of newspaper clippings contain one file of articles by or about Sen. Whitfield and/or his work; one file on water pollution; one file on miscellaneous scientific articles; and one file of a political nature that reflect Whitfield's basically conservative political views.

Administrative information
Custodial History

June 1, 1970, 1cubic feet; Papers include correspondence, reports, articles, clippings, awards, and miscellaneous. Gift of Mrs. J. Vivian Whitfield, Wallace, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. J. Vivian Whitfield

Processing information

Processed by B. Hicks, December 1970

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
Whitfield, James Vivian
Corporate Names
North Carolina. Dept. of Water and Air Resources
Forestry law and legislation--North Carolina
Parks--North Carolina
Phosphate mines and mining--North Carolina
Politicians--North Carolina
Water--Pollution--Law and legislation--North Carolina

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence, 1955-1966
Box 2 Correspondence, 1967-1968
Box 3 Session Laws, Pamphlets, Magazines
Box 4 Reports
Box 5 Reports, Speeches
Box 6 Clippings
Box 7 Miscellaneous