Lucy Cherry Crisp Papers

Manuscript Collection #154
Crisp, Lucy Cherry, 1899-1977
Physical description
11.5 Cubic Feet, consisting of correspondence, diaries, day books, financial papers, legal papers, literary manuscripts, publications, speeches, notes, photographs, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings.
Preferred Citation
Lucy Cherry Crisp Papers (#154), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access to audiovisual and digital media is restricted. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Papers (1794-1972) consisting of correspondence, diaries, letters, financial papers, legal papers, manuscripts, publications, speeches, notes, etc.

Biographical/historical information

Lucy Cherry Crisp (March 4, 1899-November 25, 1977), daughter of Sellers Mark and Annie (Gorham) Crisp, was born in Crisp, Edgecombe County, though her family moved soon after her birth to Falkland in Pitt County. Miss Crisp received a B.S. degree in music from the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina in 1919 and later studied at Columbia University, Boston University, and Radcliffe College. For ten years following her graduation from Woman's College, Miss Crisp taught piano and supervised music programs in several North Carolina and South Carolina schools. She served from 1929 until 1932 as education director and student secretary at the Church of the Convenant in Greensboro. Between 1932 and 1936 she acted as general secretary of student religious activities at Woman's College. The 1936-1937 academic year found Miss Crisp at the First Congregational Church, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she worked as director of the Pilgrim Foundation. Following her work between 1938 and 1940 with the YWCA at Macon, Georgia, she spent six years (1941-1946) in Greenville, N.C., working at the Community Art Center and the U.S.O. Club. Miss Crisp directed the North Carolina State Art Gallery from 1947 until 1955 and the Florence Museum (Florence, S.C.)from 1957 until 1963. Returning to Greenville, she served as director of the Greenville Art Center and spent much of her time writing.

Writing stimulated Miss Crisp throughout her life. She wrote numerous articles, including two newspaper columns: "By-way and Hedges" [News and Observer (Raleigh)]; and "The Fence Corner" [Daily Reflector (Greenville)]. She prepared for publication a biography of George Washington Carver and the Civil War diary of Delha Mabrey of Edgecombe County, but failed to have them printed. A prolific poet, she published two volumes of verse: Spring Fever (1935); and Brief Testament (1947).

For further information, see William S. Powell (ed.), Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol. I, p. 461.

Scope and arrangement

The correspondence in this collection is divided into series reflecting Miss Crisp's career, interests, and personal life.

State Art Gallery correspondence (1946-1956), concerns Crisp's work as assistant director and director of the North Carolina State Art Gallery. Most of the correspondence, routine in nature, reflects the affairs of the gallery and artists connected with it. Notable letters concern the dispersal of the paintings of New Orleans artist Helen Turner (May, 1950); the work of a semi-literate, Negro artist living in Raleigh (May, 1948; June, 1950); exhibitions of the Robert C. Vose Galleries of Boston (November, 1950); cultural activities at Duke University (December, 1950); the activities and accomplishments of Robert Lee Humber (January, 1951); and the Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts (September, 1954). Of particular interest is correspondence describing the activities of Katherine Pendleton Arrington (July, 1951), Carl W. Hamilton's work and status as consultant in planning new gallery quarters and purchasing new acquisitions (April, July, 1953; February, May, July, 1954; January, 1955), and Miss Crisp's resignations as director (July, 1954; July, 1955). Correspondents include John Chapman Lewis, Charles Sibley, Leo Katz, Lena Bullock Davis, Carl W. Hamilton, and Charles Sylvester Green.

Three small series reflect Miss Crisp's association with the Greenville Art Center (1941-1966), the Florence Museum (1957-1966), and the Rocky Mount Arts Center (1965-1966). Greenville correspondence concerns scattered activities sponsored by the WPA Art Gallery and the center. The series includes letters of Louis Orr (May, 1942), discussing his exhibit and his impression of the facilities. Florence Museum correspondence concerns routine matters. A letter (February, 1963), discusses the Carolina Museum of Lancaster, S.C. Rocky Mount Arts Center correspondence concerns a series of art appreciation lectures Miss Crisp gave there in 1966.

The collection contains a considerable quantity of general art-related correspondence (1946-1972), chiefly from North Carolina artists or artists Miss Crisp met through her museum work. Though some of it undoubtedly is related to her official positions--especiallythe directorship of the State Art Gallery--most of it clearly is a result of her continuing personal relationships with the correspondents. The letters constitute a rich source of information concerning artists in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City. They also reflect Miss Crisp's personality and interests.

Notable letters concern the activities of William C. Fields and his opinions concerning art-related activities in N.C. (June, 1947), a student's opinion of The Unfolding of Artistic Activity by Henry Shaefer-Simmern ([April, 1948]), travel in Mexico and the eruption of a volcano there ([November, 1948]), activities of the Indians living near Taos, N.M. (December, 1948), the Copain Restaurant and art gallery in New York City (October, 1950), artistic activities in Norfolk, Va. (July, 1951), plans for a Fine Arts Festival at Davidson College (February, 1952), restoration of Thalian Hall in Wilmington (May, 1952), an art-related trip of Philip Moose from Virginia to Louisiana and other parts of the Southeast and Moose's description of Charles Sibley (August, 1952), artistic activities in Wilmington (July, 1951; August, September, 1952; April, 1953), and portraits owned by Mrs. Harry Woolcott of Wilmington (April, June, 1954).

Further interesting correspondence in this series concerns Hobson Pittman's opinion of art and architecture in parts of Spain (May, [1956]); the Winston-Salem Gallery of Fine Arts (September, 1956); the activities of Dr. Morris Samuel Lazaron, a rabbi of Maryland and Blowing Rock (March, 1957); the Hickory Museum (March, 1957); the career of Hobson Pittman (August, 1963 March, May, 1966); the Carolina Art Association and the Gibbes Art Gallery of Charleston, S.C. (October, November, 1963); the activities of Senta and Justus Bier (November, 1963; February, October, 1965; April, 1966); concerts and lectures at the Florence Museum (November, 1964; May, 1965); a summer meeting of the N.C. Museum Council at Salem, N.C. (May, 1965); academic and physical aspects of the Hill School at Pottstown, PA. (June, December, 1965); the healing power of metaphysics and the Metaphysics Church in New York City (December, 1965; February, October, 1966); and civic activities, including the fight for a new jail, of the Henry Timrod Club of Florence, S.C. (November, 1967). Correspondents include Theo Hios, Philip Moose, Claude Howell, Hobson Pittman, Ellen Wydeveld, Lena Bullock Davis, William C. Fields, Kenneth Harris, Charles Sibley, John Chapman Lewis, Mabel Pugh, Klara Zale Osis, Jim Walker, Stanislawa Nowicki (wife of architect Matthew Nowicki), Fred Rhoads, Senta Bier, and Marshall Daugherty.

The Thirty N.C. Painters series includes correspondence and other material concerning an art exhibit at the Ruth Shaw Gallery in New York City organized in the spring of 1956 by Miss Crisp. She envisioned the exhibit as a promotion of the opening of the North Carolina Museum of Art. In addition to general correspondence concerning the exhibit, the series contains files on the following artists: John Brady, Robert Burns, Joseph Cox, Lena Bullock Davis, James W. Fitzgibbon, Jim Harrill, Claude Howell, Ernest Illman, Gregory D. Ivy, George J. Kachergis, Inez Leinbach, John Chapman Lewis, Edith London, Elizabeth H. Mack, Marianne Manasse, Susan Moore, Philip Moose, Kenneth Ness, AnneNorthup, Hobson Pittman, Ann Carter Pollard, Raiford M. Porter, Joe Chris Robertson, Charles Sibley, and James A. Walker. Of interest are letters concerning an art exhibit in Statesville, N.C. ([May, 1956?]; folder #154.2.u) and the facilities of the Carolina Arts Gallery in Raleigh (May, 1956; folder #154.2.dd).

A final file of art-related correspondence concerns Miss Crisp's intention during 1956 and 1957 to write for the Raleigh News and Observer articles concerning North Carolina artists. Correspondence and attached typescripts of the articles concern Mabel Pugh, Lena Bullock Davis, and Charles Baskerville.

Literary correspondence reflects Miss Crisp's avid interest in many writing projects throughout her career.

Letters from George Washington Carver of Tuskegee, Alabama (1933-1942), the earliest of which are hand-written, reflect his friendship with Miss Crisp following his visit to Greensboro, N.C., for a lecture at Woman's College in the spring of 1933. The letters concern his lectures, research and philanthropic work at Tuskegee, endorsement of Crisp's intention to write a brief biography of him, philosophy of religion, and his love of art and nature. Among the correspondence are letters concerning the celebration of his fortieth year at Tuskegee (1936-1937), Carver's meeting with and description of Henry Ford (April, 1940) and Rackham Holt's biography of Carver (March, 1940).

Copies of Carver's letters to others (1890-1928) used by Miss Crisp while preparing her biography of Carver, reflect aspects of his past, especially his student days in Iowa.

Letters sent to Carver (1925-1934, undated) concern Carver's religious beliefs, his commendation by the Texas legislature (February, 1930), the restoration of the Church of the Advent in Tuskegee, Ala. (March, 1930), the salubrious effects of his massages with peanut oil (December, 1930), and Carver's Iowa days (June, 1934).

Letters concerning Carver sent to correspondents other than Miss Crisp (1924-1939, undated), contain information about his lectures, character, and school days in Iowa. Of particular interest is a letter (July, 1932), concerning the racial prejudice Carver encountered at an exhibition in New York City.

Crisp correspondence relating to Carver (1932-1964) reflects her interest in him as a lecturer and as the subject of a biography. Letters (May, 1933-July, 1934) of Jim Hardwick, possibly an evangelist who helped arrange Dr. Carver's lectures, concern Carver's speaking engagements (including interracial meetings), physical condition, and spirituality. Hardwick's letters also concern his religious experience while praying at a conference at Blue Ridge College ([June, 1933]); a riot in Brawley, Ca., involving 1,200 Mexican and Philippine workers and a lettuce pickers' strike (January, 1934); and the religious camps of Glenn Clark near Minneapolis (February-May, 1934).

Other letters in this series concern Carver's appearance and activities while studying at Simpson College and the nature of the college at that time (August, 1934; January, February, 1939); the fund-raising efforts of the George Washington Carver Foundation (March, 1948; October, 1949), and Miss Crisp's repeated efforts to publish a biography of Carver and articles relating to him.

Spring Fevercorrespondence (1935-1963) concerns the publication of and reaction to Crisp's volume of verse written in Negro dialect. Notable letters reflect the views and activities of Archibald Rutledge (March, 1936) and Kemper Fullerton's perception of the essence of the spirit of Negroes (October, 1936).

Brief Testamentcorrespondence (1947-1949) concerns the publication of and reaction to Crisp's second book of verse. A letter in this series (May, 1947) discusses Willis Duke Weatherford and his Blue Ridge College in Western N.C.

Additional literary correspondence (1965) concerns Crisp's research for and writing of a brief biography of Greenville capitalist Marvin Key Blount.

Delha diary correspondence (1947-1963) traces Miss Crisp's work in editing for publication the Civil War diary of Delha Mabrey of Edgecombe County, N.C. Letters reveal details about the Gorham family and the eventually unsuccessful negotiations with Random House and Lippincott.

Greensboro Writer's Club correspondence (1954-1955) concerns Miss Crisp's participation as a judge in the club's fourth state-wide writing contest. A letter (February, 1955) states that she placed as a winner in the contest's poetry division.

Miscellaneous literary correspondence (1925-1967, undated) reflects Crisp's efforts at writing poetry as well as newspaper and magazine articles. Many of the articles were rejected; some of them are attached to the correspondence. Notable letters and their attachments concern the drainage canal under construction near Grindle Creek in Pitt County (August, 1925; [1925]); an interesting skit, "These Women--In 1950 As Now," written by Crisp (September, 1929); the literary career and lectures of Thornton Wilder (February, 1936); North Carolina's exhibit at the 1940 World's Fair in New York (August, 1940); LaFayette's trip to the United States in 1824 (October, 1940); preparations of Woman's College of the University of North Carolina for its fiftieth anniversary celebration (November, 1940); "Aunt Queen," an elderly, black midwife in Pitt County (January, 1941); and the comments and services of literary agents (February, March, 1941; [March, 1967]). A letter (February, 1943) encloses photographs concerning the furnishing of Camp Davis at Holly Ridge in Onslow County.

Other correspondence in the series concerns the society night exercises of the Astrotekton and Philaretia literary societies at Meredith College (May, 1949), a prospectusfor a project to compile A Handbook of North Carolina Writers by Richard Walser (January, 1952), the summer writers conference at Fairleigh Dickinson University (August, September, December, 1962), and constructive criticism of Miss Crisp's writings (November, 1962; January, 1963).

U.S.O. correspondence (1942-1951) consists chiefly of letters of marines Miss Crisp met while assisting in the management of the U.S.O. Club located in the Woman's Club building in Greenville. A letter (July, 1942) encloses three photographs of the portico of the Woman's Club. Other letters contain the marines' endearments spurred by their occasional visits to the pleasant town and club. Some letters reflect the activities of the marines at camps in the United States and in the Pacific Theatre, as well as their feelings about military service, but most of them contain little substantive information. Occasional letters describe the art-related activities of the correspondents.

Other correspondence concerns the duties and leisure activities of a marine in a company of amphibious scouts (February, 1943), and fundraising activities, liberty, and leave policies at Camp Lejeune (April, July, 1943). Detailed letters, chiefly from Gordon Clyde Macdonald, provide an interesting picture of conditions at Camp Pendleton, Ca., and a tent camp at Las Pulgas Canyon (August-December, 1943; October, 1945). The letters describe labor, a fire watch, leisure and leave activities, the incompetence of a doctor, and combat training, including the loading of ammunition on barges and a simulated maneuver to take and fortify an island.

Other notable letters concern the U.S.O. Club at Oceanside, Ca., and a soldier's opinion of U.S.O. clubs' importance and ideal management (December, [1943?]; January, 1945); the bureaucratic nature of the U.S. naval hospital at Rancho Santa Margarita, Oceanside, Ca., (January, 1944); and activities and operational details of the Greenville U.S.O. Club (August, 1944).

A series of letters from Tinian Island (August, 1944-June, 1945) describes the difficulty of taking the island, animals and insects encountered there, Christmas festivities and recreation, base facilities, and the citation by President Roosevelt of the 121st Division of N.C.B. Another series of letters form Clyde Macdonald (July-November, 1945) describes in detail the facilities on Saipan, the favored treatment (relative to marines and seabees) of the army, and the tedious process by which soldiers left the island for the U.S.

Other letters concern facilities and military activities on Okinawa (October, [1945]); conditions aboard a ship bearing men and airplanes from Guam to Pearl Harbor (November, 1945); activities and desires of Clyde Macdonald upon reaching his home (January, 1946); efforts of volunteers in Watertown, Mass., to mend clothing and send it overseas (May, [1946]); halcyon qualities of Greenville (September, 1947); the Driftwind Press of North Montpelier, Vt., (January-February, 1948); and lectures in meteorology offered by the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History (February-April, 1948).

Religious work in correspondence (1926-1964) reflects, often obliquely, Miss Crisp's work in the Presbyterian Church and her efforts in behalf of youth (the early Carver correspondence also relates to Crisp's youth work at Woman's College; she secured him as speaker). The correspondence constitutes an interesting source for opinions concerning religion and the Presbyterian Church.

Hewitt F. Cunningham, a worker for the All-South Extension Committee of the United Society of Christian Endeavor, a graduate student at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, and employee of the Travel Institute of Bible Research, wrote most of the letters. The correspondence begins on a formal basis in 1926, but continues, because of Cunningham's increasingly amorous relationship with Crisp on a more personal basis until 1931. The letters contain interesting information relating to churches and church work, especially in Louisville, Ky., and New York City.

Notable correspondence concerns work of the United Society of Christian Endeavor (1926-1929; November, 1930); aspects of Louisville, including concerts (June, December, 1928; October, December, 1929), religious services, and churches (1929); the Perpetual Observance of the Armistice (November, 1928; November, 1929); and the library, course work, and other matters at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary (October, [1928?]; May, 1929). Additional correspondence concerns the 69th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the U.S. at Montreat, N.C. (May, 1929) and plans for a religious course at a Presbyterian young people's conference at Washington [N.C.] Collegiate Institute (June, 1929). Cunningham's letters describe other aspects of Louisville, including personnel at the Kentucky State Fair (September, 1929), preparations for and the effect of an American Legion convention (September-October, 1929), the 16th National Recreation Congress for youth (October, 1929), his opinion of President Herbert Hoover following Hoover's visit (October, 1929), social life at the YMCA (December, 1929); January, 1930), and the Passion Play sponsored by the Louisville American Legion (January, February, 1930).

Correspondence beginning in March, 1930, reflects Cunningham's move to New York City where he worked for the Travel Institute of Bible Research. Much of the correspondence, however, concerns his inability to obtain permanent church-related employment because of the depressed economy. Notable letters concern services and internal aspects of area churches, including the Disciples of Christ Church, Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, Marble Collegiate Church, the Church of Sea and Land, and the Tompkins Avenue [Presbyterian] Church in Brooklyn (1930); and interesting radio programs in New York (March, 1930).

Letters (April-July, 1930) reflect the nature of a trip to Palestine. They include descriptions of religious services and entertainment aboard the SS PROVIDENCE ([April, 1930]), as well as activities and conditions aboard the SS SINIAI (June, July, 1930).

Other correspondence concerns a speech by Harry Emerson Fosdick (August, 1930); the abilities of handicapped persons in New York (September, 1930); an encounter with James Percival Huget (September, 1930); activities of the Sloane House YMCA (September, October, 1930); and a speech by Dr. Daniel Alfred Poling, president of the International Society of Christian Endeavor (October, 1930).

Cunningham's letters beginning in October, 1930, reflect his travel throughout the South in behalf of the Travel Institute of Bible Research. Notable correspondence concerns the poverty which led him to accept the temporary position (October, 1930), Christmas decorations in Memphis (November, 1930), an audience of sixteen Americans before the court of St. James (December, 1930), a concert given in Atlanta by Paderewski ([February, 1931]), a recital given by soprano Amelita Galli-Curci in Nashville (March, 1931) and the Congress of World Missions in Atlanta (February, 1931).

Other notable correspondence, in addition to letters from Charles E. Jefferson and Lloyd C. Douglas, concerns a religious conference at Blue Ridge ([July, 1936]); the work of Emanuele Santi at Castle Heights Methodist Church in White Plains, N.Y. (January, March, 1955; [April, 1956?]); the Casa Materna choir of Italian orphans (March, [April?], July, November, 1956); and the organization of All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta (October, 1956).

Family and personal correspondence (1841-1972) consists of scattered letters written to Miss Crisp's ancestors and a large body of letters, beginning in 1916, written to Miss Crisp.

A few letters penned between 1856 and 1861 were used by Miss Crisp in writing the prologue to her typescript of the Civil War diary of Delha Mabrey of Edgecombe County (see below). Written to Miss Crisp's maternal grandmother, Josephine Cherry (Mrs. Henry Wise gorham) by her former classmates at Salem Academy, they concern activities of Baptists at Grindle Creek and Greenville in Pitt County (May, 1857), the Methodist Church attended by students at Greensboro Female College (August, 1857), and Kittrell's Springs in Vance County, (August, 1860).

The remainder of the early family correspondence comprises (chiefly) letters written during the Civil War to Josephine Cherry by her brothers (George W., who fought in Company I of the 15th Regiment of N.C. Troops; John; Charles; and Lewis); letters written to Annie Gorham (Miss Crisp's mother) by connections at Central Institute and Littleton Female College in Littleton, including John Melanchton Rhodes, president of the college; correspondence between Annie Gorham and her sister, Helen; and correspondence between Annie and her suitor, Sellers Mark Crisp.

Letters concern women and miscellaneous aspects of Lauderdale County, Mississippi (1841), activities and conditions of Confederate troops at various places inVirginia (1862-1864) and Coosawhatchie, S.C. (1863); rumors of a Union attack on Greenville and the belligerence of a runaway slave near there (December, 1863); the laborious process of unloading the steamer THISTLE, which ran ashore near Fort Fisher on March 11, 1864 (March, 1864), and a fishing party of ladies at Savage's Mill [Pitt County?] (July, 1864).

Letters of John Cherry (July, August, 1864) from the ordnance train of Martin's Brigade, Hoke's Division in Virginia, discuss Grant's "vile" practice of shelling Richmond, his reluctance to leave the trenches, the unwholesomeness of the region, and the lack of water there.

A few letters written by Annie Gorham at Central Institute and other letters to Miss Gorham from classmates and J. M. Rhodes (1884-1891) discuss the curriculum, social life, buildings, and other aspects of Central Institute and Littleton Female College in Littleton. Correspondence from J. M. Rhodes and Helen Gorham (1887-1888) concerns various aspects of Henderson Female College, of which Rhodes was president.

Additional correspondence concerns the Sunny Side Institute and other schools in the vicinity of Whitakers (February, 1884); UNC-Chapel Hill facilities and the summer normal school (July, 1884); religious activities in Eaglesville [near Old Sparta?] (April, 1889); the facilities of and other aspects of Peabody Normal College of the University of Nashville (December, 1889); tobacco "fever" at Old Sparta (August, 1890); the state of schools, denominational rivalry, and leisure activities at Fair Bluff (October, November,, 1890; January, February, 1891); an examination in Latin administered by M. S. Davis at Louisburg Female College (May, 1898), and a school at Penelo and preparations for closing exercises there (April, 1901).

Love letters between Sellers Mark Crisp of Old Sparta and Annie Gorham (1889-1891) reflect their thoughts about religion and the institution of marriage.

Personal correspondence of Miss Crisp is written primarily by her mother, brothers, sister, and sister-in-law. Letters of Annie Gorham Crisp and Lillian Crisp Lawrence originate in Falkland. Letters of Crisp's siblings and their spouses reflect routine affairs in their communities: Richard H. and Helen, Freeport, N.Y.; Louis and Louise, Staunton, Va.; Gorham and Kathryn, University, Ala.; Sellers Mark and Rose, Greenville; and George and Rachel, Harlengin, Tex. and East Point, Ga. Other letters concern Miss Crisp's finances and the activities of her classmates at Woman's College.

Letters of Annie Gorham Crisp (1916-1934) provide an interesting picture of rural life in the vicinity of Falkland. She discusses domestic affairs such as cooking, sewing, entertaining, and gardening; agriculture, especially tobacco and cotton crops; economic and labor conditions; local schools; and church activities.

Mrs. Crisp's letters also concern the Crisp farm's connection to the newly enlarged electric plant in Falkland ([December, 1921]), the condition of the "old" cemetery in the Negro section of Greenville ([April, 1926]), a soup kitchen in Falkland for underprivileged children (November, 1933), and Mrs. Crisp's attitude concerning Negroes (December, 1933).

Letters of Lillian (Crisp) Lawrence, dating primarily from the 1950's and 1960's, reflect various activities, especially agricultural, at Falkland. In addition, they concern damage from Hurricane Donna (September, [1960]), the disposition of a Negro school in the Falkland area (April, 1961), and the telephone service there (May, 1961).

A series of letters from Lieutenant William Crisp, son of Louis and Louise Crisp (1966-1967), discuss U.S. maneuvers and enemy actions during the Vietnam War, including those at Binh Dinh; LZ Stirrup by the China Sea; LZ Matthew in the Phu Cat Mountains, CPZ, Highway 19; Mang Sang Pass; an area between An Khe and the South China Sea; LZ McLellan; LZ Pistol; LZ Hammond, Phu My District; LZ Sand; and LZ Geronimo.

Other correspondence concerns clothing of French children (July, 1918); student activities at the Woman's College (November, 1918); the desire of the News and Observer to report religious activities (January, 1926); the Orient Point Inn at Orient Point, Long Island (July, 1943); activities at Camp Crawford [?] and the near encounters with Russians of Company G., 11th Airborne Battalion [?] (October, 1947); and Lewis Mumford's comments on the single woman and marriage (September, 1956). A letter of E.S. Askew of Windsor, N.C. (September, 1956), discusses his belief in the inferiority of Negroes and the insidiousness of school integration. Two attachments amplify his opinions.

Additional correspondence concerns an art festival in Greenville (May, 1957), activities of Negro registrants at the University of Alabama (June, 1963), management and finances at the Greenville Art Center (November, 1963), activities and goals of the Woman's Club of Greenville (September, 1965), a hunting expedition near Zagreb, Yugoslavia (January, 1969), travel aboard the SS COLUMBO (June, 1969), the UNC-G School of Music and activities of the class of 1919 (June-November, 1969; April, 1970), and Edward M. Kennedy's support of George McGovern and criticism of Richard Nixon ([August, 1972]).

Diaries and daybooks (1921-1968), consisting of volumes and a few loose entries, chronicle Miss Crisp's personal life, thoughts, and career-related activities. The bulk of the volumes reflects Crisp's activities as director of the State Art Gallery, the Florence Museum, and the WPA Gallery in Greenville. Of particular note among these are entries concerning her criticism of the presence of the military in the inaugural parade of Kerr Scott (#154.13.j; January 6, 1949), a description of Hobson Pittman (#154.13.u), and a gallery talk on Grandma Moses (#154.13.b; January 18, 1947). The diary written during Crisp's tenure as director of the Florence Museum (#154.13.v) contains unusually interesting references to her work, thoughts, and cultural activities in Florence.

Other volumes reflect aspects of her work with the Greenville U.S.O.

Crisp's religious work is reflected in volumes relating to her interest in programs of the Presbyterian Church, her attendance at the 1931 summer session of the Boston University School of Religious Education, her work at the Church of the Covenant in Greensboro, her employment at the Woman's College, her directorship of the Pilgrim Foundation at the University of Illinois, and her YWCA work in Macon, Ga.

Entries in these and other volumes reflect Crisp's literary interests and personal affairs, including illnesses and romantic attachments. Glued to pages of one diary (#154.14.a) are photographs of Crisp's college friends and siblings.

A series of subject files contains notes, typescripts and other material relating to the State Art Society and the State Art Gallery. It includes exhibit attendance records (1953-1955); lists of special exhibitions (1947-1954), special events and lectures (1950-1954), and portraits by school; and News of Art calendar notices.

Additional subject files contain information concerning the Greenville Art Center (1963-1964), the 30 N.C. Painters exhibit at the Shaw Studio in New York City (1956), the Greenville U.S.O., and the soldiers who visited in (including photographs of the building and soldiers), and Crisp's religious work at the Woman's College.

Financial papers include material concerning the State Art Society (1942-1957, undated), the Florence Museum (1961-1963, 1971), the sale of Brief Testament (1947), the personal affairs of Miss Crisp (1932-1971, undated), business dealings of Lunsford Cherry of Edgecombe Co., and Annie Gorham (1840-1891). Cherry's papers include receipts for the sale of cotton (1850-1861).

Miscellaneous financial and legal papers include statements of fees due the sheriff and jailor of Essex Co., Va., for summoning court witnesses, attending court, and finding runaway slaves (1794-1797); a deed for land sold by S.L. Hartt, sheriff of Edgecombe Co. to Exum Lewis (1816); and the will of Mary Cherry of Edgecombe Co., (1886).

The series of Miss Crisp's writings includes the manuscript, a manuscript fragment, and pages for Brief Testament; drafts of a biography of George Washington Carver; and unpublished articles concerning Carver.

The collection also contains two typed copies of the diary of Delha Mabrey of Edgecombe County, written between 1860 and 1865. The second copy contains Crisp's prologue and epilogue explaining the background of the diaries and the relationships ofpersons she mentions. Being written by a member of the planter class, the diary provides insight into social life and customs of Edgecombe County elites of the time. It contains references to Mabrey's domestic activities, including sewing, gardening, and entertaining; reading habits; and travels throughout North Carolina and the Southeast. The diary contains little substantive information concerning the Civil War, though it does reflect Delha's views concerning the war.

Entries of particular interest concern a High Point artist and daguerreotyper named Smith (July 26, 1860), the condition of a hotel and Andrew Jackson's law office in Salisbury (July 27, 1860), Asheville and its people (August 1, 2, 11, 1860), Hot Springs in Madison County (August 4-11, 1860), travel aboard the Mississippi River steamboat KENTUCKY (April 3-5, 1861), and trips to Kittrell's Springs in Vance County (July 19-24, 1861) and Piedmont Springs near Morganton (August 1-2, 1861; 1863). Other topics include runaway slaves in Edgecombe County (March 27, 31, 1862), Confederate soldiers near Greenville who mistook a herd of cows for the enemy (May 18, 1862), medical treatment in Lincoln County (March 22, 1863), Delha's thoughts about Negroes in transition from slavery to freedom (May 11, 1865), and U.S. troops in Tarboro (May 14, 1865).

Miscellaneous articles in manuscript form, chiefly relating to Pitt County, follow the Delha diary. Topics include a drainage canal in Pitt County; K. T. Futrell, the Supt. of Public Welfare; an Eastern N.C. tenant farmer; Woodrow Wilson; the Pitt County Fair; Mabel Barnhill, a pioneer female pharmacist; Sallie Southall Cotten; art; the second annual meeting of the State Historical Association in 1901; the Eastern Carolina Symphonic Choral Association; Greenville's WPA Art Gallery and the Greenville Art Center; boating and shipping on the Tar River; Dr. Jenness Morrill of Farmville and Falkland; Delha Mabrey; the Greenville U.S.O.; and the State Art Gallery.

Other Crisp writings include a laudatory biography of Marvin Key Blount, considerable poetry, and miscellaneous pieces contained in several volumes.

A folder of poetry by others concerns George Washington Carver.

Crisp's publications include The Story of Nancy North (1930); Spring Fever; order blanks for and a copy of Brief Testament; History of the North Carolina State Art Society (1956); verse published in issues of Driftwind (1941, 1947); and "My Adventures With Clay," published in the July, 1940, issue of The Alumnae News of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

A series of miscellany includes Crisp biographical material, information concerning the 1932 summer session at Union Theological Seminary of Columbia University, and a volume of "Guests for Meals, Teas, Etc.," 1933-1936. The latter probably relates to Crisp's work as general secretary of student religious activities at Woman's College.

The collection also includes a series of Crisp's speeches and speech notes (1925-1966) concerning valued servants at Woman's College, Pitt County history, the installation of James Larkin Pearson as Poet Laureate of North Carolina, the State Art Gallery, "Poetry in the Every Day," and seminars given at the Rocky Mount Arts Center (1966). Also included is a list of talks given during 1933 and 1934. A speech by architect Matthew Nowicki given at the State Art Gallery concerns the United Nations complex.

Notes reflect Crisp's research for her writings. Carver files contain considerable autobiographical and biographical material, including Carver's responses to questions about his life, Crisp's accounts of interviews with Carver at Tuskegee, and an October 5, 1956, speech by Henry A. Wallace, "The Uniqueness of George Washington Carver." Other topics represented include banks and banking in Pitt County; the Port Terminal at Greenville; Delha Mabrey; Marvin Key Blount; the diary of Nelson M. Ferebee, a surgeon in the U.S. Navy during the late nineteenth century (see collection #404); Jarvis Memorial Methodist Church in Greenville; and Pitt Memorial Hospital.

Invitations (1899-1969, undated), include an announcement and program for the commencement exercises of Louisburg Female College held on May 28, 1899.

Photographs in the collection represent Miss Crisp; the Crisp home at Falkland; family members; the Greenville U.S.O. (Woman's Club) and soldiers who visited it; Hobson Pittman's painting, "Studio in Charleston" ; the Florence Museum; George Washington Carver and Crisp's bust of him; an international committee involved in planning the United Nations Complex; and State College School of Design students involved in planning an exhibit on the United Nations Complex for the N.C. State Art Gallery. Other photographs are of the exterior and interior of Bracebridge Hall in Edgecombe County; the Greenville Port Terminal on the Tar River; the construction of a drainage canal near Grindle Creek in Pitt County (1925); a University of Alabama parade honoring its football team and coach, Hank Crisp; scenes in Greensboro, N.C.; St. Thomas Church in Bath, N.C.; and miscellaneous unidentified structures, places, and persons, probably taken in Pitt County.

The series of printed material reflects various aspects of Miss Crisp's career. Art-related items include copies of the State Art Gallery News of Art (1947-1970); State Art Gallery exhibition notices and brochures (1947-1972); miscellany relating to the State Art Gallery and Museum of Art; Greenville Art Center publications (1952-1965); miscellaneous exhibition notices; A Memorial Service and Unveiling of the Bust of Harry Stillwell Edwards (1938); A Work in Progress by H. Th. Wijdeveld; a copy of State Fair Facts concerning the Dorton Arena; and a series of "Lessons in Art Appreciation" by Bernard Meyers (1937).

Carver-related items include his writings concerning agriculture (1925-1942); pamphlets and articles concerning him; an 1891-1892 catalog of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa; and post cards, bulletins, reports, and other material concerning TuskegeeInstitute. Among these is Anson Phelps Stokes's Tuskegee Institute--The First Fifty Years (1931). Also included is "Tuskegee's Washington," music concerning Booker T. Washington; and publications concerning Iowa State College (1938-1939) and Simpson College (1938).

Additional printed material includes a fragment of the Bold Soldier Boy's Song Book (possibly a Confederate imprint), a 1944-1945 handbook of the Greenville Woman's Club, a program of the 1950 Florence Tobacco Festival, a history of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in North Carolina (1966), World War I Marine newsletters (The Pioneer, Cherry Point News, Cross Cut, Photoflash) (1943-1945), and "Culture Week" programs (1950-1953).

Printed material of a religious nature includes The Song of the Souls of Men (1933) by Glenn Clark; church bulletins, including those of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenville; and a pamphlet concerning the 32nd annual convention of the North Carolina Christian Endeavor Union held in Winston-Salem, June 24-26, 1930.

Among the folder of programs are those concerning the Pupil's Recital at Littleton Female College, March 31, 1893; Society Night at Meredith College, May 28, 1949; Richard E. Byrd's lecture on the South Pole (1931); and the November 11, 1929, observance of the armistice of World War I, held in Louisville.

Additional printed material includes the Sing Song Book used by the Macon, Ga., YWCA clubs; the January, 1891 edition of The Monitor, the newspaper of Littleton Female College; the 1959-1960 handbook of the Altrusa Club of Florence, S.C.; and a 1969 directory of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro class of 1919.

A folder of miscellany includes essays and other exercises prepared at Central Institute in Littleton and a photostatic copy of a Civil War broadside urging enlistment in the Pitt County Grays (Co. B, 24th Tar Heel Infantry).

Clippings in the collection reflect Miss Crisp's professional and personal interests. Her writings include "By-ways and Hedges," 1926-1935, which describe many aspects of life in Pitt County and eastern North Carolina; "The Fence Corner," 1940-1941; "Tar Heel Art," 1953-1956; and miscellaneous articles.

Clippings concerning Miss Crisp and her family are followed by those concerning the State Art Gallery, the 30 N.C. Painters exhibit (1956), miscellaneous art-related topics, George Washington Carver, writers and writing, the Greenville U.S.O., religious activities, sundry aspects of Greenville, the Civil War, building and architecture (including an article on Edgecombe County's Bracebridge Hall), North Carolina, and miscellaneous topics.

The oversize folder contains a photograph of Lucy Cherry Crisp standing next to her bust of George Washington Carver.

Administrative information
Custodial History

December 17, 1970, ca. 450 items; Family papers (106 items, 1848-1865), personal correspondence, copy and galley proof of Brief Testament, North Carolina News of Art (1947-1955), feature articles, and newspaper columns entitled "Tar Heel Art" and "By-ways and Hedges." Gift of Lucy Cherry Crisp, Greenville, N.C.

April 6, 1973,six cubic feet; Personal correspondence, diaries, poetry, literary manuscripts, clippings, and miscellaneous. Gift of Lucy Cherry Crisp, Greenville, N.C.

July 17, 1978, ca. 400 items; Correspondence, poetry, articles, clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous. Gift of Richard H. Crisp, Greenville, N.C.

January 23, 1979, ca. 200 items; Correspondence (1841-1875, 1891-1901, 1916-1932), essays, clippings. Gift of Richard H. Crisp, Greenville, N.C.

April 27, 1994, (unprocessed addition 1), 143 items; Papers (1942-1943) of the Greenville Service Center, including correspondence, press releases and Schedules. Gift of Mr. Stuart Savage.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Richard H. Crisp

Processing information

Processed by M. York, June 1980

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
Blount, Marvin, 1892-1986
Carver, George Washington, 1864?-1943
Crisp, Lucy Cherry, 1899-1977
Mabrey, Delha
Corporate Names
Florence Museum (Florence, S.C.)
Greenville Art Center (Greenville, N.C.)
Greenville U.S.O. Club (Greenville, N.C.)
North Carolina Museum of Art
North Carolina State Art Society
Rocky Mount Arts Center (Rocky Mount, N.C.)
Art--North Carolina
Artists--North Carolina
Authors, American--North Carolina
Women artists--North Carolina
Falkland (N.C.)--Social life and customs--20th century
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
Crisp, Lucy Cherry, 1899-1977. Brief testament : verse
Crisp, Lucy Cherry, 1899-1977. History of the North Carolina State Art Society
Crisp, Lucy Cherry, 1899-1977. Spring fever and other dialect verse
Crisp, Lucy Cherry, 1899-1977. Story of Nancy North

Container list
Box 1 Folder a-c State Art Gallery, 1946-1956
Box 1 Folder d Greenville Art Center, 1941-1966
Box 1 Folder e Florence Museum, 1957-1966
Box 1 Folder f-j General Art, 1946-1964
Box 2 Folder a-b General Art, 1965-1972
Box 2 Folder c-ff 30 N.C. Painters, 1956
Box 2 Folder gg Rocky Mount Arts Center, 1965-1966
Box 2 Folder hh Biographical Articles Concerning N.C. Artists, 1956-1957
Box 3 Folder a-g Literary Efforts: Carver, 1890-1964
Box 3 Folder h Literary Efforts: Spring Fever, 1935-1963
Box 3 Folder i Literary Efforts: Brief Testament, 1947-1949
Box 3 Folder j Literary Efforts: Marvin K. Blount Biography, 1965
Box 3 Folder k Literary Efforts: Delha Diary, 1947-1963
Box 3 Folder l Literary Efforts: Judge, Greensboro Writer's Club Contest, 1954-1955
Box 3 Folder n Literary Efforts: Miscellaneous, 1925-1967
Box 3 Folder o Literary Efforts: Miscellaneous, 1925-1967
Box 4 Folder a-h U.S.O., 1942-1944
Box 5 Folder a-h U.S.O., 1945-1951
Box 5 Folder i Greenville Service Center, 1942-1943
Box 6 Folder a-g Religious Work, 1926-March, 1930
Box 7 Folder a-g Religious Work, April, 1930-1964
Box 8 Folder a Family--Personal, Delha Diary Prologue, 1856-[1861?]
Box 8 Folder b-j Family--Personal, 1841-1918
Box 9 Folder a-k Family--Personal, 1919-1949
Box 10 Folder a Family--Personal, 1950-1962
Box 10 Folder b Family--Personal, 1950-1962
Box 10 Folder c Family--Personal, 1950-1962
Box 10 Folder d Family--Personal, 1950-1962
Box 10 Folder e Family--Personal, 1950-1962
Box 10 Folder f Family--Personal, 1950-1962
Box 10 Folder g Family--Personal, 1950-1962
Box 10 Folder h Family--Personal, 1950-1962
Box 11 Folder a-i Family--Personal, 1963-1967
Box 12 Folder a-d Family--Personal, 1968-1972
Box 13 State Art Gallery, 1947-1955; Florence Museum, 1957-1963; Literary Endeavors and Personal Affairs
Box 14 Christian Endeavor Work and Miscellaneous, 1921-1926; Church of Covenant and Woman's College, 1929-1935; Boston University School of Religious Education, 1931; Macon, Ga., and Literary Endeavors; WPA Gallery and U.S.O., 1942-1946
Box 15 Folder a Attendance Records, 1953-1955
Box 15 Folder b Society, Minutes and Miscellany, 1951-1969
Box 15 Folder c Lists of Portraits by School
Box 15 Folder d Lists of Special Exhibitions, 1947-1954
Box 15 Folder e Lists of Special Events and Lectures, 1950-1954
Box 15 Folder f News of ArtCalendar Submissions, 1950-1951
Box 15 Folder g Miscellany
Box 15 Folder h Greenville Art Center, Administrative Notes, 1963-1964
Box 15 Folder i 30 N.C. Painters Exhibit Miscellany, 1956
Box 15 Folder j U.S.O., Miscellany, 1944-1946
Box 15 Folder k U.S.O., Marines' Addresses and Photographs, 1942
Box 15 Folder l Woman's College Work, [Blue Ridge Conference?], 1934-[1936?]
Box 15 Folder m-q Financial Papers, 1840-1971
Box 15 Folder r Miscellaneous Legal Papers, 1794-1886
Box 16 Folder a-c Brief Testament
Box 16 Folder d-i Carver Biography
Box 16 Folder j Carver Articles
Box 17 Folder a-i Delha Diary Manuscript
Box 17 Folder j Pitt County Drainage Canal, [1925]
Box 17 Folder k Miscellaneous Articles
Box 18 Folder a-b Miscellaneous Articles
Box 18 Folder c Marvin Key Blount Biography
Box 18 Folder d William G. Crisp, "On a Train to Florence"
Box 18 Folder e-q Poetry
Box 18 Folder r Poetry (Carver-related)
Box 19 Folder a-e Spring Fever
Box 19 Folder f The Story of Nancy North
Box 19 Folder g-i Brief Testament
Box 19 Folder j History of the North Carolina State Art Society
Box 19 Folder k Poetry
Box 19 Folder l "My Adventures With Clay"
Box 19 Folder m Biographical Data, Lucy Cherry Crisp
Box 19 Folder n Columbia University Summer School, 1932
Box 19 Folder o "Guests for Meals, Teas, Etc.," Woman's College, 1933-1936
Box 20 Folder a-n Notes
Box 20 Folder o Invitations, 1899-1969
Box 21 Folder f-i State Art Gallery, 1947-1972
Box 21 Folder j Greenville Art Center, 1952-1965
Box 21 Folder k Florence Museum, 1958-1972
Box 21 Folder l Exhibition Notices, Miscellaneous
Box 22 Folder a-e Art-related
Box 22 Folder f-i George Washington Carver
Box 23 Folder a-b Tuskegee Institute
Box 23 Folder c Carver-related Colleges
Box 23 Folder d Bold Soldier Boy's Song Book; Greenville Woman's Club Handbook
Box 23 Folder e Florence Tobacco Festival, 1950
Box 23 Folder f Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1955-1966
Box 23 Folder g World War II Newsletters, 1943-1945
Box 23 Folder h "Culture Week" Programs, 1950-1953
Box 23 Folder i Religion, Miscellaneous
Box 23 Folder j Miscellaneous Programs
Box 24 Folder a Macon, Ga., YWCA Songbook
Box 24 Folder b-c Miscellaneous
Box 24 Folder d-g "By-ways and Hedges," 1926-1935, undated
Box 24 Folder h "The Fence Corner," 1941-1942
Box 24 Folder i "Tar Heel Art," 1953-1955, undated
Box 24 Folder j-k Miscellaneous Crisp Articles
Box 24 Folder l Crisp Family
Box 25 Folder a-b State Art Gallery
Box 25 Folder c 30 N.C. Painters Exhibit, 1956
Box 25 Folder d Art and Artists, Miscellaneous
Box 25 Folder e-f Carver, 1923-1965
Box 25 Folder g Writers and Writing
Box 25 Folder h Greenville U.S.O
Box 25 Folder i Hewitt F. Cunningham Enclosures, 1929, 1931
Box 25 Folder j Greenville, 1965, 1966
Box 25 Folder k Civil War history
Box 25 Folder l Building and Architecture
Box 25 Folder m South Carolina
Box 25 Folder n-p Poetry
Box 26 Folder a Photograph scrapbook
Box 26 Folder b Copies of photograph scrapbook
Box 27 Folder a-c Drawings