Coastal Plains Fair Association Records

Manuscript Collection #508
Coastal Plains Fair Association
Physical description
3.04 Cubic Feet, 1500 items , consisting of correspondence, financial records, clippings, and photographs.
Preferred Citation
Coastal Plains Fair Association Records (#508), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Records (1913-1931) including correspondence, financial records, clippings and photographs.

Biographical/historical information

The Coastal Plains Fair Association, previously known as the Edgecombe County Fair Association, was based in Tarboro, NC, and organized that county's fair from at least 1913 until the 1930s. Officers were elected annually. In addition to funds received from stockholders, an appropriation was received from the State Department of Agriculture. Clarence A. Johnson and L. D. Hargrove, both of the Royster Mercantile Company, were secretaries of the association through the 1910s and 1920s.

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence mainly concerns the booking of acts which included balloonists, high-wire acts, acrobats, animal acts, bands, and fireworks. Correspondence with State Department of Agriculture Home Demonstration agents concerns exhibits and premiums, while that with school principals concerns school exhibits.

Fair management is a recurring topic. Correspondence in 1918 concerns the organization and running of a county fair, while a memo from C. A. Johnson (1919) urges the directors to keep the fair agricultural in emphasis. Later correspondence (1924) details Coastal Plains Fair Association holdings and management as does a 1927 memo. Correspondence with another county fair secretary (1927) discusses the political reasons for a large number of circuses coming through Edgecombe County.

Harness racing is a major topic throughout. Problems with the North Carolina Fair Circuit are discussed as are plans for the formation of a new circuit, the Short Ship Circuit, for eastern North Carolina (1918). Racing committee minutes, circuit minutes, and correspondence concern the number of classes, purses, rules, and admissions. ShortShip Circuit finances are given for 1927. Auto racing is discussed in 1927 and occasionally in 1929.

World War I influenced the fair in several ways. A 1918 flyer from the Internal Revenue Service gives war tax information for racing associations and fairs. In 1918 the National War Work Council of the YMCA presented an exhibit and the fair association decided to pay its premiums with war savings stamps. In 1919 Johnson requested a government thrift exhibit, and a military exhibit of German war relics was also arranged. Furnifold M. Simmons corresponded with Johnson in 1918 about exhibiting a government airplane and in 1919 about having the Navy Band perform. The fair was cancelled in 1918 due to the influenza epidemic.

A letter from A. P. Foxhall to W. A. Hart and George Howard, officers of the Fair Association, responds to a charge that intoxicants and prostitutes were used at the convict camp which was located on the fairgrounds during the 1923 off-season.

Stockholders lists are available for 1925, 1927, and 1930. Balance sheets are included for 1920-1929 while some miscellaneous financial records note partial payrolls. A journal lists bills, cash, expenses, rent, concessions, and gate receipts (1913, 1916-1924). Photographs are of acts.

A file on the N.C. State Fair includes reports, a pamphlet about running local fairs, and minutes of meetings (1928-1929). A file on other fairs includes the 1925 budget and annual report of the Kinston Fair Association.

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 17, 1986, 2 cu. ft.; Records (1917-1930) of Tarboro, NC, agricultural fair. Gift of F. S. Royster Mercantile Company, Tarboro, NC.

Source of acquisition

Gift of F. S. Royster Mercantile Company

Processing information

Processed by M. Boccaccio, March 1988

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
Meeting Names
Coastal Plains Fair Association
Agricultural exhibitions--Management--North Carolina--Tarboro
Harness racing--North Carolina

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence, 1917 , August 1919
Box 2 Correspondence, September 1919 - 1922
Box 3 Correspondence, January 1923 , August 1925
Box 4 Correspondence, September 1925 , September 1928
Box 5 Correspondence, October 1928 - 1931
Box 6 Coastal Plains Fair advertising, 1916-1928; Clippings; Agent's advertising; North Carolina Association of Fairs, 1922-1929; Other fairs; Stockholders, 1925-1930; Insurance, 1921-1930; Miscellaneous financial records; Balance sheets, 1921-1930; Journal, 1913, 1916-1924; Photographs