Papers (1865-2013, bulk 1919-1982) relating to Georgia Pearsall Hearne, an artist, musician, and teacher, whose portraits of prominent North Carolinians earned her state-wide recognition, including consisting of correspondence, daybooks, photographs, original artwork, reproductions of art work, newspaper clippings, printed forms, printed materials, genealogical materials, and miscellany.
Georgia Pearsall was born in Rockingham, N.C. but spent much of her early life in Georgia. Later, she moved to Red Springs, N.C. She studied art and music at Southern Presbyterian College in Red Springs (later Flora Macdonald College) and continued her art education at Washington College, ca. 1920-1923 and at the Art Students' League in New York City, 1923-1924, 1933-1934. While in New York, she studied also music under Gustav L. Becker. As early as 1916, Miss Pearsall taught art and music in eastern N.C. communities, including Greenville, Rocky Mount, and Smithfield. In 1926 she married Closs Wrightman Hearne (1884 – 1945), the son of Benjamin Howell Hearne and Charlotte E. Moore Hearne. The couple settled in Greenville, where Georgia continued to teach art and music, at her home. Her portraits of prominent North Carolinians, including Sallie Southall Cotten and Governor Angus Wilton McLean, earned her statewide recognition as an artist.
The Georgia Pearsall Hearne Papers (1865 – 2013) are arranged in 5 series in original order, except as described below. The bulk of the collection pertains to Mrs. Hearne's art- and music-related interests.
Series 1 Personal Correspondence (1895 – 1955). This series also includes a file containing her birth and marriage certificates, a Memory Book for Closs Hearne [her husband] (1885 – 1980), and miscellaneous materials, including medical records, programs and poems (1914 – 1950). The personal correspondence mainly consists of letters from family members and friends. Many of them discuss routine family life and activities in Red Springs. A letter of aspiring playwright Ted Harris (Aug. 1926) discusses his writing activities in New York City. Several letters mention the 1932 presidential election and the Hearnes' decision to vote for the Socialist candidate, Norman Thomas. A file of business correspondence (1935-1938) pertains to a dispute between the Hearnes and others over the A. B. Pearsall estate in Red Springs (1935 – 1938). Also included are publications pertaining to Jarvis Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church in Greenville (1926), the Red Springs charge of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1919), and the End of the Century Book Club in Greenville (1930), and a genealogy of the Bryan, Smith, and Whitfield families.
An early run of correspondence (1905-1907) includes letters written by Closs Hearne's father Benjamin H. Hearne and his sister Isabella (Belle) Augustus Hearne Harris to Closs. Benjamin's letters discuss family health, mention the presence of a carnival, and the cost of a trip to Raleigh to see the Fair. His letters come from Greenville and are written on stationery advertising local businesses (grocer C. G. Starkey and photographer Rodolph Hyman). Belle's 1907 letter discusses her and her brother's Christian Science religion and her husband Ed's uneasiness about this religion, that she may go to the Exposition [Jamestown probably], and being excited about the new Training School [probably ECTTS, now ECU].
Series 2 Genealogical / Family History materials (1865 – 2007). This series includes photographs of family members and residences, genealogical records researched by Harry L. Neal (1918); and genealogical personal materials (1865 – 2007) compiled by Georgia Pearsall Hearne. A photograph album (1904-1906, undated) contains views of friends, relatives, and scenes in Red Springs, including Pearsall residences. Other of the album's photographs show a gypsy camp (1904), a log corn crib, the aftermath of a fire in Red Springs (1905), gunboats and soldiers' quarters in the Philippines, and Filipino natives and their houses. Additional photographs depict an art class at Southern Presbyterian College (ca. 1903) and Gustav Becher (1907).
Series 3 Art and Music Related Materials (1903 – 2013). Mrs. Hearne collected numerous programs for various art exhibits and concerts, particularly when she was studying in Red Springs, Washington, and New York programs (1903 – 1982). They pertain to her recitals and exhibitions, as well as those of others. Programs of recitals given by her students and her daughter in Greenville also are included in the collection. In addition, they include documents related to her attendance at Flora McDonald College (1902 – 1960), clippings & photographs of portraits she painted and digital reproductions of photographs of her paintings (2006 – 2013). The photographs in series 3, perhaps the most significant portion of the collection, include many views of portraits painted by Mrs. Hearne, including residents of Greenville and East Carolina College teachers and administrators. The collection also contains photographs from which Mrs. Hearne painted portraits. The Flora Macdonald College file includes a program of the college's fiftieth anniversary celebration (1946), an address by Malcolm Seawell calling for the preservation of the college as a separate entity (1957) and two publications concerning Charles Graves Vardell, the first president of the college.
Series 4 Manuscript and Printed Volumes (1919 – 1974). This series documents Georgia Pearsall Hearne's career as an art and music teacher, including her attendance at The Art Students League of New York (1920-1921, 1933-1934), her 1948 show, lists of her pupils, and receipts and expenses for her teaching activities. Daybooks and memoranda books (1919-1956) deal with her art and music students and list expenses, receipts, and portraits painted. Another volume contains a lengthy list of Mrs. Hearne's commissions, and a diary for 1960 describes her routine activities and artistic endeavors, including commissions she received from East Carolina College in Greenville.
Series 5 Oversized Materials (1879 - 1981) consists of materials removed from other folders for conservation reasons. Included is artwork, Miss Pearsall's diploma from Southern Presbyterian College, photographs of the Pearsall home in Red Springs and a George Washington birthday party at Washington College, and a lengthy newspaper article concerning the WPA Art Gallery in Greenville (1941).
August 28, 2019 (unprocessed addition #10), 0.05 cubic feet; This addition consists of family history information on the Hearne family, a letter from Closs W. Hearne to his wife Georgia Pearsall Hearne (1928), a clipping of Closs Hearne's obituary (1945), photocopies of obituary newspaper clippings, photographs of Closs Hearne and other relatives and friends, Closs Hearne's business cards, and a photocopy of an article about Edward Warren Hearne written by Roger Kammerer. Gift of Mrs. Alison Hearne Atkins.
Gift of Mrs. Alison Hearne Atkins
Processed by C. Cook, April 1982
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Reprocessed by HIST 5910 student Chelsea M. Head, April 20, 2016; revised by Jonathan Dembo, May 10, 2016
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.