The bulk of the James Yadkin Joyner Papers consists of Joyner's personal correspondence and financial papers, although the collection also contains a considerable quantity of newspaper clippings and other printed material pertaining to the educational institutions with which Joyner was associated.
Joyner's personal correspondence, especially the portion written between 1879 and 1905, constitutes an important record of Joyner's personality, activities, and interests as a young man. His keen sense of humor is reflected in many of his letters. Joyner and Effie Rouse penned most of the letters, but Joyner's relatives, classmates, and friends wrote many of them. Letters written after 1905 are of relatively little importance. Few of them reflect the nature of Joyner's tenure as superintendent of public instruction. Correspondence of the 1920s and 1930s primarily concerns Joyner's farming interests and his work for the Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association and the Prudential Insurance Company.
The following outline summarizes the narrative description of the Joyner Papers:
University of North Carolina
Joyner attended the University of North Carolina from 1878 until 1881. Correspondence, speeches, printed material, and miscellany pertain to aspects of hisstudent days there and his continuing interest in the institution. Correspondence discusses student life and accommodations (Oct., 1881; Sept., Oct., 1882; Sept., 1883) and the law school (Sept., 1882; Sept., 1883). A note of Kemp P. Battle ([1886?]) is written on a pamphlet describing the university. Additional correspondence concerns affairs of the Alumni Association (Feb., Mar., May, 1925; July, 1927). Speeches and debates Joyner prepared as a member of the Philanthropic Society (1878-1880) reveal a great deal about his character and beliefs. They pertain to the necessity of converting heathens to Christianity (1878), the power of the written word (1879), capital punishment (1880), the effect of republicanism on the development of literature (ca. 1880), North Carolina's backwardness and neglect of its history (ca. 1880), and martyrdom (ca. 1880). Another speech, "What Shall We Do With Our Girls?" (ca. 1880), contains an amusing reference to Charles Duncan McIver and discusses the need for improved higher education for women in North Carolina. Also included is Joyner's senior speech, given at the commencement of 1881, "Self Government." Printed material concerning the university includes programs, broadsides, clippings, pamphlets, and a calendar (1907). Among the photographs in the collection is a group view of UNC students, including Joyner, possibly the class of 1881. The collection also contains a memoranda book (1879-1881?) that includes notes and accounts, Joyner's grade report (Dec., 1880), an issue of the Raleigh
News and Observer concerning the university and President Edwin Anderson Alderman's retirement (June 10, 1900), and an interesting poem written by Joyner (Nov., 1879).
La Grange Academy/Collegiate Institute
Between 1881 and 1884 Joyner helped manage La Grange Academy and La Grange Collegiate Institute. During this time his partners included Noah J. Rouse, a Mr. Murphy, and Henry Horace Williams. Scattered correspondence (Feb., Sept., 1883; Sept., 1884) and financial papers (1881-1883) pertain to Joyner's work there. Of particular interest is Joyner's letter of Sept. 20, 1883, which includes an amusing account of Horace Williams's return to the school with a 51-pound package of stationary. Another letter (Feb., 1951), quotes an 1883
News and Observer article concerning La Grange Academy. The collection also includes speeches given at a school commencement ([1884?]); a pamphlet,
La Grange Academy; an invitation/program for La Grange Collegiate Institute's 1884 commencement, and a memoranda book ([1879-1881?]). Among the collection's legal papers and deeds is a fire insurance policy for "Academy" in La Grange (1883).
Winston Graded Schools
During the 1884-1885 academic year, Joyner taught at the Winston Graded Schools, of which Calvin Henderson Wiley was board chairman. Correspondence deals with the offer of a position there (Oct., 1884), unsuccessful negotiations of Wiley and others to convince Joyner to accept reappointment (June-Aug., 1885), and the board's high opinion of Joyner's work (Sept., 1885). Letters of Fannie Cox, probably a teacher at the school, mention affairs there, including Charles Duncan McIver's happiness and forgetfulness (Sept., 1885), and the reluctance of the "worthy head" of the school to leave his office (Nov., 1885). The collection also contains two printed items: a list of books used by the school (undated) and a program for an entertainment given to raise money for the library (May 21-22, 1885). A memoranda book () contains humorous notes concerning a meeting Joyner attended, probably at Winston.
Goldsboro Graded Schools
Joyner served as superintendent of the Goldsboro Graded Schools from 1889 until 1893. Correspondence (Apr., 1889) pertains to Joyner's decision to resume his career in education, recommendations for the position, and congratulations upon his selection. A few financial papers (1891-1892) pertain to teachers who worked for the system and purchases made for the institution. Memoranda books ([1889?, 1891]) contain brief notes concerning finances, grades, the library fund, and periodicals. Also in the collection are a program for a public meeting concerning the system ([ca. 1888]), a circular soliciting funds for the purchase of library books (1890), the schools' twelfth annual report (1892-1893), a photograph of the building, and newspaper articles in the Goldsboro
Argus (1889, 1891) and the Raleigh
State Chronicle (Feb. 17, 1892) concerning Joyner and the school system.
Teachers' Institutes and Normal Schools
During the 1880s and 1890s Joyner participated in normal schools and teachers' institutes at localities around the state. Joyner taught at a normal school in Washington, N.C., in July, 1885. Correspondence (July 3, 16; Aug. 19, 27) discusses the nature of the school, leisure activities associated with it, and the school's desire for a more detailed report from Joyner. The collection also includes a program concerning the nature of the session and newspaper articles (Argus, July 18, 1885; Washington Gazette, July 30, 1885) describing it. The summer of 1887 found Joyner in Franklin for another normal school. Joyner's correspondence discusses his trip to Franklin aboard trains (July 9), a beautiful farm outside Franklin (July 18), aspects of the school (July 24, 31), and difficult travel conditions by buggy between Franklin and Waynesville (Aug. 6, 7). Of particular interest is the draft of an essay Joyner wrote to the Goldsboro
Argus (#345.6.c), lauding the normal school and discussing in great detail a corundum mine outside Franklin. Scattered correspondence (Aug., 1885; Aug., 1889; June-Aug., 1890; June, 1898) pertains to Joyner's work with teachers' institutes sponsored by the superintendent of public instruction at Gatesville, Burgaw, and other communities.
State Normal and Industrial College
Joyner headed the Department of English at the State Normal and Industrial College for Women in Greensboro from 1893 until 1902. Scattered correspondence, printed material and miscellany pertains to some of his activities there. A Feb. 27, 1893, letter of the editor of the
North Carolina Teacher and attachments to it, including letters of Joyner, deal with criticism of the school. In July and August, 1895, Joyner took courses in Anglo-Saxon and other subjects at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Letters to his wife mention his progress and describe his rooms at a boardinghouse (July 9), the physical setting of Watkins Glen, N.Y. (July 30), the teaching style of professor Hiram Corson (Aug. 4), and the features of a park outside Ithaca and steamer trips to Shelldrake and down Lake Cayuga (Aug. 7, 11). Additional correspondence pertains to Charles Duncan McIver's refusal to accept the position of general agent of the Peabody Fund owing to a crisis at the college (Jan., 1904), the college's campaign to raise $250,000 for a student-alumnae building (Feb., 1924), Charles D. McIver's accomplishments in the field of higher education (May, 1928); and former students' remembrances of Joyner's days as a teacher there (Aug., 1953). School publications include catalogs (1892-1893, 1894-1895, 1897-1898, 1898-1899), annual reports (1895, 1897, 1898), and programs. The collection also contains a speech and financial data (1905) pertaining to the college and Joyner's brief speech, "Welcome Back to School Girls" (1942), given on the occasion of the college's fiftieth anniversary.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Though the Joyner Papers contain relatively little correspondence concerning Joyner's tenure as Superintendent of Public Instruction (1902-1919), a variety of published and unpublished material reflects the nature of the work in which he was involved.
Scattered correspondence concerns Livingston Johnson's appeal to Joyner not to run for a second term as superintendent (May, 1904), Joyner's view of the press's role in public education and free government (July, 1904), his candidacy for the presidency of the National Education Association (Apr.-June, 1909; July, 1910), praise for Joyner's work (Dec., 1918; Jan., 1919), and the state's policy of textbook distribution used during Joyner's administration (Nov., 1927).
Joyner's speeches ([1904?], undated) discuss school consolidation, the awkwardness of public education in North Carolina and in the South, harmful trends in modern education, and progress in North Carolina's public education system.
The collection also contains published compilations, reports, and bulletins (1901-1905). They pertain to public school law, building and improving schoolhouses, taxation for schools, the study of North Carolina history, standards for teaching various subjects, elementary school curricula, school systems of the South, and "Suggestions to Conductors of Institute in Colored State Normal Schools, Greensboro, N.C., June, 1904." Numerous newspaper clippings and issues of Raleigh newspapers primarily concern Joyner's tenure as superintendent. Also included in the collection are an oversize broadside, "The School Room Against the Bar Room," written by Joyner as superintendent, and in a folder of Joyner-related miscellany, a statement ([1919?]) explaining his resignation and stating the conditions under which he would accept the Democratic nomination for governor in 1920.
Miscellaneous Education-Related Material
Correspondence concerns Horace Williams's studies at Yale University and his perception of the campus and students there (Sept., 1884); physical aspects of Salem Academy and Joyner's amusing encounter with some of its students (Mar., 1885); the Bingham School (July, 1885); aspects of Kinsey's School in La Grange, including Effie Rouse's desire to teach there (July, 1886; July 1887) and a "gypsy play" given there (Nov., 1895); Joyner's defense of state aid to education at a meeting of the Piedmont Baptist Association (Sept., 1896); support for the erection of a monument of Calvin H. Wiley in Raleigh (June, 1903); a summer school cooking course at Baptist Female University in Raleigh (Apr., 1904); George Peabody College's need of money to construct a demonstration school (Feb., 1924); the consolidation of rural schools in Lenoir Co. (Apr., 1924); criticism of James M. Henderson's Industrial Union Training School andOrphanage at Southern Pines (Mar., 1925); the National Education Association's support of a U.S. department of education (Jan., 1928); the growth and condition of the State Industrial and Normal School in Winston-Salem (May, 1941); and an N.C. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right of the commissioners of Franklin County to tax for support of public schools (Sept., 1953).
Also included in the collection are school lessons and essays written by J. Y. Joyner and other members of his family; Joyner family grade reports (1870s-1905, undated); miscellaneous publications concerning Appalachian Training School (1904), Pantego Male and Female Academy (1885), and Yadkin Valley Institute (1904); and a variety of education-related publications, including
Report of State Board of Examiners. . . Colored State Normal Schools (19014-1905), a letter of the "Campaign Committee for the Promotion of Education in North Carolina ([1900?]), a program of the District Association of County Superintendents held in Edenton (1905), material concerning Peabody College (1904), W.E.B. DuBois's
The Negro Common School (1901), pamphlets by Charles W. Farr concerning teachers' institutes, and issues of
Southern Education (May, Nov., 1903). Copies of newspapers contain articles concerning education in North Carolina. Also of interest are two photographs of buildings in Crouse College, Syracuse University (ca. 1881-1884).
OTHER CAREER PURSUITS
Joyner's brief career in the law began with study in 1885 and 1886 at the Greensboro Law School, operated by Robert Paine Dick. Correspondence pertains to a partnership offer by the firm of Faircloth and Allen in Goldsboro (Feb., 1885), and courses and other aspects of the Greensboro Law School (June 11, Sept. 17, 25, 1885). Joyner passed the examination given by the North Carolina Supreme Court in early 1886. Thereafter, many of his letters pertain to his law practice and a variety of events in Goldsboro. Of particular interest are Joyner's references to his first case, to save a Negro's land from a creditor (Apr., 1886); prohibition sentiments (May 8, 1886); spring races and tournament at the fairground (May 26, 28, 1886); pandemonium associated with two local Republican conventions (Aug., 1886); and appearance of the Rev. Dr. Lafferty and Frederick Marde at the opera house (Mar. 18, 30, 1887). Joyner's letter of Nov. 3, 1887, describes the scene at the opera house on the night of a lecture by Frances Willard and criticizes the concept of women's rights. The letters also contain scattered references to Joyner's partners and other notables- for example, a visit to the circus of Joyner, William Reynolds Allen, and Charles Brantley Aycock (Oct. 7, 1886) and activities of Allen and his new bride (Nov., 10, 1886).
Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association
From 1922 to 1926 Joyner served as president of the association. Scattered correspondence beginning in 1924, much of it of a routine nature, pertains to his work for the association and the cooperative movement. Correspondence discusses a new metal tobacco stick for efficient curing of tobacco (Aug., 1924), association policies concerning mortgages and liens (Oct., 1924), stands of various legislators concerning the concept of cooperative marketing and a bill to require managers of open warehouses to sell tobacco in the owner's name (Jan., 1925), Joyner's refusal to discharge an association official and his offer to resign as president (Apr., 1925), suggestions for selling or renting warehouses owned by the association (Apr., 1925), reasons for the failure of the movement in N.C. (Aug., 1927), work of the Farmers' Organization Sub Committee for organizing N.C. farmers (Aug., Oct., 1927), and contributions of J. Con Lanier of Greenville to the tobacco cooperative movement as a legislator (Mar., 1938).
Included in a file of tobacco-related material is a typescript, "Suggestions for the Successful Administration of Locals," probably local chapters of the association. An oversize photograph depicts Joyner, President Calvin Coolidge, and others at a White House reception during the Cooperative Marketing Conference and annual meeting of the association (Jan. 5, 1925).
Prudential Insurance Company
In 1926 Joyner joined the company as a special agent in Raleigh. Later he served as an assistant manager there. Correspondence of Joyner and the Charlotte office of Prudential and financial material (1926-1939) reflects the nature of the company's sales techniques and Joyner's success in selling insurance, particularly to academic institutions such as Meredith College and Duke University. Of particular interest are letters of the Prudential company that reflect their prejudice against black clients (Nov., Dec., 1927; Oct., 1928). Additional correspondence pertains to policies of the Mutual Benefit Health and Accident Association of Omaha (June, 1927).
A file of insurance-related material includes Joyner's proposal for an endowment trust fund for the School of Dentistry at Duke University ([1927?]) and a life insurance policy for O. Max Gardner ([1930?]).
Throughout much of his adult life, Joyner managed several farms in Lenoir County on which tenants grew tobacco, cotton, and other crops. Letters of Joyner and his tenants and financial material, particularly of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, give some indication of their relationship and of the farming practices they employed. Also of interest is correspondence between Joyner and the Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina concerning their study of the cooperative movement and the nature of Joyner's tenant farming operations (May, Aug., 1927; Jan., Feb., Apr., 1928). Memoranda books (, 1929) contain brief records concerning farm workers and tenants. A contract (1948) among a file of legal papers and deeds also pertains to Joyner's tenants.
Joyner had an interest in a variety of organizations not directly related to the activities mentioned above. He was a director of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. Scattered correspondence, including letters from William B. Rodman, Jr., pertains to obtaining proxies necessary for control of annual meetings (May, June, Dec., 1924; May, June, 1925); the unprofitability of the Atlantic Hotel at Morehead City and thepossibility of its sale by the railroad (Oct., Dec., 1927); the pier, passenger trains, and other aspects of the port of Morehead City (Feb., 1928); and amendments to bylaws of the company (Aug., 1930). A letter of Dec., 1937 from J. C. B. Ehringhaus lauds the board for obtaining control of the railroad for the state. A file of miscellany includes a report to the directors concerning dock facilities at Morehead City and recommendations for a port terminal there (ca. 1930).
In 1923 Governor Cameron Morrison appointed Joyner to the State Ship and Water Transportation Commission. Among several letters resulting from this appointment are two pertaining to completion of the intercoastal waterway from Beaufort to the Cape Fear River (Jan., 1924) and a Norfolk businessman's desire to assist in planning a port in N.C. (June, 1924).
Joyner's abiding affection for Governor Charles Brantley Aycock was manifested by his participation in several efforts to memorialize Aycock. Correspondence of Clarence Poe, Gutzon Borglum and others concerns the Aycock Memorial Committee's solicitation of reminiscences about Aycock (Mar., Apr., May, 1924); artist Borglum's work on a monument to Aycock at Capitol Square in Raleigh and plans for relocation of it (June, 1924; Aug., 1927; Mar., 1928; May-July, Dec., 1928); Charles Keck's progress on enlarging the statue (Sept., Dec., 1931; Jan., 1932); and the preparation of a mailing by the Aycock Memorial Commission for the restoration of the Aycock birthplace (Apr., 1952). A letter of May, 1951, encloses the invocation Joyner gave at a convocation in the N.C. Capitol in Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Aycock's inauguration. A file of Aycock-related miscellany (1904-1952) includes certificates, programs, brochures, and a newspaper clipping concerning various efforts to memorialize Aycock.
The J. Y. Joyner Papers reveal a great deal about Joyner's relationships with family and friends and about a variety of his interests.
A variety of material reveals the nature of Joyner's close relationship with Charles Duncan McIver. Correspondence concerns their rooming house at Winston (Apr., 1885) and Joyner's trip to Winston to visit McIver (Dec., 1885). Of particular importance are letters from Joyner to his wife that describe a trip to Europe he and McIver took (1905). They include descriptions of physical aspects, services, and passengers of the
BLUCHER (Sept. 12-15); a performance of pantomime and dance at the "Folies-Bergere" in Paris (Sept. 22); aspects of Paris, including the "gilded vice," and the French countryside (Sept. 24); a coach trip from Keswick, England, to Edinburgh (Oct. 8); and aspects of Edinburgh, Loch Lomond, and the countryside around Ayr, Scotland (Oct. 11-16). Also included in the collection are financial papers such as hotel bills; a memoranda book containing notes about expenses, itineraries, and sites of interest; and printed material pertaining to the trip, including a pamphlet plan, post cards, and programs concerning the
BLUCHER and the Hamburg-Amerika Line, and a map of the Midland Railway in Britain. The collection also contains a photograph of McIver and Joyner in New York City (1905?) and one of McIver's infant daughter, Verlinda Miller.
Much of the correspondence in the collection pertains to members of the Joyner family. Letters of John Joyner describe the countryside and resort at Sweet Springs, Va. (July, 1851) and aspects of the health resort of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Aug., 1852). Of particular interest are letters (1883-1887) that reveal the nature of Joyner's courtship of Effie Rouse. Letters of Joyner's sister, Eliza Nettles and her husband, W. M. Nettles, describe Asheville and its vicinity, including its crowded conditions, high rents, heavy wagon traffic, farm life, and the beauty of the landscape (Feb., Mar., 1884; Jan., Feb., 1885; Mar., 1887).
Joyner's son, James Noah, worked for the British-American Tobacco Company in China; several of his letters describe company activities and events in China, particularly the vandalism and disruptions by communist "bandits" (June, 1929; Aug., Dec., 1930; Apr., 1931; Apr., 1935). Also of interest is Joyner's description of steamer traffic through Yangtze Gorges (Aug., 1930).
Additional topics among Joyner's personal correspondence include the Atlantic Hotel in Morehead (June, 1881); a New Year's Eve service at Home Moravian Church in Salem (Jan., 1884); J.P. Joyner's wedding arrangements in La Grange (Jan., 1885); the trip to New Orleans of Effie Rouse, the city's unattractive aspects, and her disapproval of the opening of businesses there on Sundays (Feb., Mar., 1885); the neatness of Salem Academy and J. Y. Joyner's amusing encounter with students there (Mar., 4, 1885); aspects of the Kinston
Free Press , including circulation and advertising income (Mar., 1885); the nature of Mt. Mitchell and accommodations at the Mt. Mitchell Hotel in Black Mountain (June, 1885); J. P. Joyner's views concerning the benefits of marriage (Oct., 1885); social activities in Greensboro (Feb., 1886); plans to build a church in New York City in honor of Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson (Mar., 1887); wedding plans of the sister of Effie Joyner in La Grange (Nov., 1895); a concert held in a Baptist church in La Grange to raise money for a mission band (Nov. 24, 1895); the Joyner's flowers and yard plants in Greensboro (Aug., 1896); plans for their new house in Greensboro and materials used in its construction (July, 1897); and Effie Joyner's trip to New York City and her impression of the Fifth Avenue Hotel (Sept., 1898).
Also of interest are letters concerning Walter Clark's negative view of large corporations that did not pay taxes on stocks and bonds (Apr., 1922; Apr., 1923), the suitability of Robert Lassiter for the state finance committee of the Democratic National Committee (Aug., 1924), the character and background of the Aycock family of Wayne County (Dec., 1924), the Joyner family of eastern North Carolina (Nov., 1925), and a controversy and suit concerning the National Bank of La Grange (July, 1927). Another letter (Aug., 1927) encloses a pamphlet,
The Grange. Its Origin, Progress and Educational Purposes . Additional correspondence pertains to criticism of Al Smith as the potential Democratic nominee for president (Apr., 1928), the pursuits of Dr. R. T. Bryan as a missionary in China (May, 1930), a proposed reader designed to inculcate in children an appreciation of the need for world cooperation (July, 1953), Joyner's ninety-first birthday (Aug., 1953), and the alleged inferiority of Negroes (Aug. 13, 1953).
Essays in the collection concern Governor William Walton Kitchin (1924), Edgar Allan Poe, temperance, the Democratic party in the election of 1952, and Joyner's relationship with Effie Rouse.
Financial materials, including memoranda books, pertain to the Joyners' purchases.
The collection contains a variety of publications. They include a program of the Tuesday Afternoon [Book] Club in Raleigh (1908-1909); M.O. Sherrill's
A Soldier's Story: Prison Life and Other Incidents in the War of 1861-'65; Constitution of the Farmers State Alliance of North Carolina (1912);
Fourth Annual Meeting of the State Literary and Historical Association (1903); W. W. Holden's
Address on the History of Journalism in North Carolina (1881);
Declaration of Principles, Junior Order United American Mechanics (undated);
Report of War Department Advisory Committee on Military Justice (1946);
Old Saratoga and the Burgoyne Campaign (1897); temperance tracts (1886, undated); and speeches, including Zebulon Vance's
Free Ships for Free Seas and others pertaining to the tariff (1884) and the need for civil service reform (1880).
Deeds and legal papers (1860-1948, undated) primarily reflect the affairs of the Fields and Joyner families in Lenoir County. One deed (1904) concerns J. Y. Joyner's land in Guilford County.
Photographs depict Joyner, unidentified friends or members of the family, Josephus Daniels and his wife (1937), and the burning of the Atlantic Hotel in Morehead City (1933). Included are an ambrotype and a daguerreotype, both unidentified.
The collection also contains a file of genealogical material concerning W. N. Hadley, Mrs. Haywood Edmundson, and members of the Rouse family, and a file of poetry, some of which was written by J. Y. Joyner.
A folder of miscellany contains a cure for cholera (undated) and a typescript (1949) describing occupied Japan and many aspects of Kyoto. The typescript contains a brief anecdote concerning Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall's love of ice cream.
Among materials in the oversize files are a certificate of bankruptcy for R. K. Fields and a variety of newspapers.
For related material, see collection #429.