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John R. Porter Papers, 1915-1959

Manuscript Collection #635

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: John R. Porter Papers
Creator: Porter, John R.
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1915-1959) including correspondence, clippings, photographs, statistics, biographical sketches, reports, financial statements, meeting minutes, and miscellaneous.
Extent: 0.43 Cubic feet, 274 items , consisting of correspondence, clippings, photographs, statistics, biographical sketches, reports, one published volume, and miscellaneous.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

May 19, 1992, 273 items; Papers (1915-1959), of president of Carolina Telephone and Telegraph Company, including correspondence, clippings, photographs, statistics, biographical sketches, reports, and miscellany. Gift of Mrs. Ruth Dancy, Tarboro, NC.

February 7, 1996 (addition), 1 volume; Copy of Carolina Telephone: The First Hundred Years by James R. Nichols. Gift of Mr. William E. Elmore, Greenville, NC.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

John R. Porter Papers (#635), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mrs. Ruth Dancy
  • Gift of Mr. William E. Elmore

Processing Information

  • Processed by K. Rouse, June 1997

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

John Rucker Porter (1880-1959) was born near Lillard's Mill, TN, worked as a clerk with Cumberland Telephone Company in Nashville, TN (1900-1908), and became the General Manager of Home Telephone and Telegraph Company in Henderson, NC (1918). When Home Telephone merged with Carolina Telephone (1926), Porter became the executive vice president of the new company, Carolina Telephone and Telegraph, and served as the company's fourth president until his retirement (1938-1947). Porter remained on the company's Board of Directors until his death (1959).

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Early personal correspondence discusses the possibilities of starting a hunting club that would rival Camp Bryan in Craven County, NC, in availability of bird, duck, and wild turkey (Aug. 26 and Oct. 9, 1929); membership lists of golf clubs and the arrangements of golf tournaments (1929 and 1934); agricultural conditions on Porter's Hyde County, NC, farm, Riverside (Sept. 24, 1947); the development of the Camp Carolina recreational area for Carolina Telephone employees on Porter's property in Hyde County (1930s); and letters from a U.S. military officer stationed in Sri Lanka in World War II concerning native fishing and cultural practices and attempts to keep his bored men busy (Feb. 3 and Mar. 30, 1945). Correspondents include George A. Holderness (founder and third president of Carolina Telephone and also a state senator), Walter Gifford (American Telephone and Telegraph president), Benjamin S. Read (Southern Bell president), LelandHume (Southern Bell vice president), and Wesley M. Angle (U.S. Independent Telephone Association director).

Business-related correspondence discusses stock prices, dividends, and service expansion strategies for Carolina Telephone and other independent telephone companies (1929-1947). Particularly interesting letters describe an attempted takeover of Carolina Telephone (May 10, 1929); the implementation of dial "cut over" technology and Southern Bell's involvement with this project (Oct. 4, 1929); Depression-era pieces of business legislation such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Walsh-Healey Act, and the National Labor Relations Act that were likely to place financial pressure on the telephone industry (1939-1940); the supply of American aircraft to the British Royal Air Force (Aug. 20, 1940); and the company's wiring of telephone systems for military installations such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina (Sept. 25, 1940). Other letters contain a financial statement and meeting minutes (Nov. 18, 1929) of the October 29, 1929, meeting of the J. Epps Brown Chapter of the Telephone Pioneers of America; U.S. Independent Telephone Association lists (1934-1937, 1940) of purchases, sales, and current assets of independent telephone companies; and an address (1934) by Andrew W. Robertson (Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company chairman of the board).

Miscellaneous items include newspaper clippings of Porter's achievements in the telephone industry and Camp Carolina; photographs of the Porter family, of Carolina Telephone executives, of Carolina Telephone social events at which Porter received awards, and of the installation of a Fort Bragg, NC, telephone cable; and publications including official history of the company entitled Carolina Telephone: The First One Hundred Years by James R. Nichols. Oversized materials include the chart, "A Century of Business Progress" and a Carolina Telephone and Telegraph Company map that depicts existing telephone exchanges and the controlling companies of these exchanges (1926).

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Geographic Entries :

  • North Carolina, Edgecombe County

Autograph Entries :

  • Gifford, Walter S[herman] 1939

Subject Entries :

  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE--Carolina Telephone Company
  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE--Law and Legislation
  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE--Telephone--20th Century
  • COMMUNICATION--Telephone--Carolina Telephone Company
  • COMMUNICATION--Telephone--20th Century
  • INVENTIONS--Telephone Devices
  • LABOR--Law and Legislation
  • ORGANIZATIONS--Telephone Pioneers of America
  • PUBLIC UTILITIES--Law and Legislation
  • PUBLIC UTILITIES--Telephone--20th Century
  • PUBLICATIONS--North Carolina
  • SPORTS--Golf--20th Century
  • SPORTS--Hunting--Camp Bryan--1929
  • SRI LANKA--General Description and History--1945
  • U.S.--CONGRESS--Law and Legislation
  • U.S.--MILITARY--National Defense
  • WAR--WORLD WAR II--England
  • WAR--WORLD WAR II--Sri Lanka

Map Entries :


Images below are listed alphabetically by subject. This list reflects only those portions of the collection for which negatives have been prepared.

Description: Porter and others at switchboard
Location: Tarboro, NC
Date: 1930s
Call Number: p-635/5

Description: groundbreaking for new telephone building
Date: 1930s
Call Number: p-635/6

Description: with Porter in telephone frame room Moody, Major Marlin, Chief Signal Corps Branch
Location: Tarboro, NC
Date: 1940s
Call Number: p-635/21

Description: portrait, Porter, Chairman Carolina Telephone
Date: 1920s
Call Number: p-635/7

Description: young man and older man standing on pier
Location: Morehead City, NC
Date: 1921
Call Number: p-635/3

SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS--Entertainment--Parties
Description: Rodormer's Round Up, Park Ridge Country Club
Date: 1941
Call Number: p-635/2

SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS--Family Life--Children
Description: Mary Elizabeth Porter
Location: Tarboro, NC
Date: 1930s
Call Number: p-635/1

SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS--Family Life--Children
Description: Knox and Elizabeth Porter
Date: 1930s
Call NUmber: p-635/4

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

What is this page? Click here to learn more abou this webpage
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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