Vivian N. Darden Papers

1907-1955, undated
Manuscript Collection #439
Darden, Vivian N. (Vivian Norfleet), 1892-
Physical description
0.11 Cubic Feet, 96 items , including correspondence, World War I military records, photographs, financial records, estate papers, clippings, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Vivian N. Darden Papers (#439), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
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Papers (1907-1955) including correspondence, World War I military records, photographs, financial records, estate papers, clippings, business letters, bank loans, and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

Vivian Norfleet Darden (b. 1892), a native of Drivers, Virginia, moved to Hertford in 1910 to work in the mercantile business with Simon Rutenberg and J. R. Stokes. Eventually, his brother Douglass joined him, and they bought out others to form Darden Bros. (1926) and later, Darden's Department Store (1957). Vivian Darden served as mayor of Hertford for more than twenty-one years and held the positions of city manager and fire chief.

Darden served approximately fourteen months in the U.S. Army during World War I. He achieved the rank of Supply Sergeant for Battery F, 316th Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Force, serving at Camp Jackson in Columbia, S.C., and in France.

Scope and arrangement

The majority of the correspondence falls into two categories. The first group consists of letters to V. N. Darden from young ladies who were teaching school in Lucama, N.C., Belcross, N.C., and Colorado. The second group is comprised of letters from Darden to his family, written while he served in the army (1917-1918). The first group deals primarily with the school-related and social activities of the correspondents. The second group contains general comments on Darden's personal safety and questions about family and business activities in Hertford. Army life and Darden's assignments receive only cursory attention.

A half dozen business letters from Darden's brother Douglass and from Simon Rutenberg pertain to bank loans and store activities.

Twenty-eight post cards in the collection (1907-1931, undated) depict buildings and sights in several cities in North Carolina and elsewhere, including Greensboro, N.C., Greenville, N.C., Rocky Mount, N.C., Wilson, N.C., Durham, N.C., Panacea Springs, N.C., Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, Petersburg, Virginia, Fort Monroe, Virginia, and Braddock Heights, Maryland.

A folder of miscellaneous material contains estate papers of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Morgan of Perquimans Co., N.C. (1937-1947), insurance policies, V. N. Darden's military papers, photographs of Darden's store, and two newspaper clippings citing V. N. Darden's fifty years in the mercantile business and his service as mayor of Hertford.

An oversize folder contains a copy of the Hertford Herald (Oct. 11, 1918) that contains a picture of V. N. Darden and a letter he wrote home from France.

The collection contains also a copy of the History of the 316th Field Artillery- "The Wildcat Record."

Administrative information
Custodial History

February 26, 1982, 96 items; Papers (1910-1955), including correspondence, World War I military records, photographs, financial records, estate papers, clippings, and miscellaneous. Gift of Mrs. Florence Darden Christensen, Hertford, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Florence Darden Christensen

Processing information

Processed by J. Smith, October 1982

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
Darden, Vivian N. (Vivian Norfleet), 1892-
Department stores--North Carolina--Hertford
Merchants--North Carolina--Hertford
Soldiers--United States--Correspondence
Teachers--North Carolina--Correspondence
World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives
Hertford (N.C.)--Commerce