The collection is organized into three main subject categories: business correspondence and files; correspondence dealing with Fleming's political activities; and personal and miscellaneous items.
The business subgroup contains correspondence from the law firm Aycock, Fleming and Moore from 1899-1909. The correspondence deals with the various cases Fleming and his partner Lawrence Moore worked on during those ten years. The firm handled many different types of cases including criminal, missing persons, personal injury and compensation, land deeds, and will settlements for Pitt County and the surrounding area. Fleming also worked with insurance companies on behalf of his clients. Besides the correspondence, the collection also contains legal drafts and notes from the cases worked on by Fleming, and bills and receipts from the law firm.
The correspondence (1904-1909) in the political subgroup deals with Fleming's terms as State Senator. Legislative correspondence covers a wide range of topics, including commercial issues; transportation, medical, and liquor legislation; and taxes. Among noteworthy items are letters concerning special taxes raised to offset expenses from a smallpox epidemic; road laws and repairs; train freight and passengers; pilotage laws for the port of Wilmington; opposition to a Board of Examiners for Osteopaths; support for an Act to Establish a State Laboratory of Hygiene; licensing of dentists; liquor laws and dispensaries for various eastern North Carolina towns; the Greensboro Normal School; the Jamestown Exposition; a bill to establish a reformatory for youthful criminals in North Carolina; and a bill to restrict immigration in North Carolina. In addition there are letters dealing with the Blind Tigers, a term possibly connected with the illegal distilling of liquor; establishment of water, light, and sewage works in Greenville; and the setting of boundaries and financial provisions for school districts. Some interesting correspondence in this subgroup includes correspondence from the Coca-Cola Company (1907) in regards to a bill in the North Carolina Senate. This bill called for prohibiting the sale of any drink containing caffeine, cocaine or any coal-tar preparation. By 1907, cocaine was not an ingredient in Coke but caffeine was present. Fleming also received correspondence by constituents wanting to change the divorce laws in North Carolina.
General political topics discussed are local bond issues, congressional election laws and changes in primaries, altering the pay of jurors, laws affecting real estate and building and loan institutions, local government in several eastern North Carolina towns, and patronage positions. One major topic throughout Fleming's political career is prohibition. Fleming received correspondence from many towns on this subject including Ayden, Bethel, Falkland, Fountain, Salisbury, and Winterville. Fleming also received correspondence from the Anti-Saloon League calling for prohibition in Salisbury, North Carolina. Political correspondence also documents aspects of the daily life of a state senator, such as costs of lodging in Raleigh and newspaper coverage of the legislature by the
Raleigh Evening Times.
A third major subgroup pertains to personal correspondence, clubs and social events, Fleming's wedding, the building (1901-1904) of his home in Greenville, organizations he was involved in, and his death and funeral. Among items pertaining to social events and clubs are membership cards (including the Knights of Khorassan); an invitation to join the State Club, which includes a list of charter members and booklets on club rules; newspaper clippings; and an account of a social gathering in Greenville (ca. 1890s). Also of interest are materials concerning the hiring of servants for the Fleming household and correspondence between Fleming and architects dealing with the building of his home. The collection also contains correspondence and materials advertising an early twentieth century cure for asthma; and materials (1914-1948) concerning attempts by Fleming's wife, son, and other members of the Greenville community to reveal his part in establishing East Carolina Teachers' Training School.
Part of the personal subgroup deals with Fleming's activities with the Knights of Pythias, an organization founded to heal the cultural wounds caused by the Civil War. Fleming served as District Deputy Grand Chancellor with responsibility for much of the administrative details of District Two in North Carolina. The bulk of correspondence concerning the Pythians deals with the arrangements for District meetings and quarterly reports concerning membership and suspension records. Lists of lodges and their location are found on some letterheads, and correspondence also contains general information about the operation of and visits to lodges made by the lodge's annual banquet. Besides the correspondence, also found here are a copy of the
Carolina Pythian, and "Resolutions of Respect to James Leonidas Fleming" as drawn up by the Greenville Lodge upon his death.
Personal material also includes two boxes of photographs, including individuals and groups (some identified), the Fleming house, Meredith College (1950s), Robert E. Lee, and possibly Hollins College (1890s).
Oversize materials include blueprints for the Fleming house and the May 8, 1906, issue of the Greenville
Daily Reflector. For related material, see Collection No. 414 Loula White Fleming Papers.