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Ethel May Burt Collection, ca. 1900

Manuscript Collection #1143

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

Title: Ethel May Burt Collection
Creator: Burt, Ethel May
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Photograph album compiled by Ethel May Burt (ca. 1900) consisting primarily of photographic prints documenting Edenton, Chowan County, N.C., but also including views of various towns including Belhaven and Louisburg, N.C., and Claremont, Corbin Point, James River, and Portsmouth, Va., focusing on street scenes. Also includes also photos of families and friends; White and African American residents; the sitting rooms of Mrs. C. B. Elliott and Mrs. R. L. Temple; and images of notable sites, including Chowan County Courthouse, Dr. Richard Dillard and his front yard, Sailboat ELIZABETH, Norfolk & Southern Railway Stations and Depots, Edenton Bay, U.S. “Fish Pond” and Fish Hatchery, Bank of Edenton, Edenton Cotton Mill interior and exterior views, Methodist church, C. B. Elliott residence, Magnolia Street, “Dr. Capehart’s Fishery”, Steamer WAGNER of the Norfolk & Southern Railway Line, Ship BOUTWELL and Captain W. S. Howland, Cherry’s Point, Holley’s Wharf, Tar River, and “Lover’s Leap.”
Extent: 0.056 Cubic feet, 1 vol., [boxed] 5” x 7” 46 pages used of 59 pages. 117 photographic prints & 1 Original art.

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

Accessions Information

April 1, 2009, 1 item, 0.056 cubic feet; Photograph album containing black and white photographs (ca. 1900) taken chiefly in Edenton, N.C., and in the vicinity of Louisburg, N.C.; views in and near Edenton include street scenes; Chowan County Courthouse; Dr. Richard Dillard and his front yard; sailboat ELIZABETH; Norfolk and Southern passenger depot, freight depot and dock; Edenton Bay; U.S. Fish Pond; U.S. Fish Hatchery; Bank of Edenton; exterior and interior of Edenton Cotton Mill; Methodist church; residence of C. B. Elliott; Magnolia Street; Dr. Capehart's Fishery; steamer WAGNER of the Norfolk & Southern Line; ship BOUTWELL and Captain W. S. Howland; Cherry's Point; and Holley's Wharf; views in the vicinity of Louisburg include the Tar River and "Lover's Leap"; also pictured are various white and African American residents and the sitting room of Mrs. R. L. Temple, Belhaven, N.C. 5" X 7" 119 photographic prints. 1 box. 1 vol. 46 p. used of 59 p. (0.056 cubic feet) Recd. 2/5/2009. Note: Autographed "Ethel May Burt" on page 1. Captioned throughout in the same hand. Donor: Willie Nelms, Director, Sheppard Memorial Library

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

Ethel May Burt Collection (#1143), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Willie Nelms, Director, Sheppard Memorial Library

Processing Information

  • Processed, Preliminary inventory & Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, April 1, 2009; Finding aid and container list by Erica Smith, 4/24/2013; Revised by Jonathan Dembo, 11/13/2013.


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

The collection was compiled by Ethel May Burt. The pictures have been dated to c.1900. Census data reveals that Ethel May Burt was born in March 1878 in Virginia. By 1900, she had moved to Edenton, North Carolina and was living with her sister, Emily, and her sister’s husband Claud Elliott. In 1909, she married J.M. Beatty. Mrs. Ethel May Burt Beatty died in 1956 and was buried in Beaver Hill Cemetery, in Edenton, North Carolina. Her husband, J.M., died ten years later in 1966.

The album includes images of:

Dr. Richard Dillard appear in the album. Dr. Richard Dillard, Sr., (d. 1887) moved to Edenton from Virginia before 1855. Dillard was appointed to the North Carolina Council of State in 1855, replacing William Badham. The doctor resigned his seat on the Council in 1856 to run for the North Carolina State Senate, serving two terms as Senator from the Third District (1856-1859). As the Civil War neared, Dillard was elected to attend both the North Carolina Secession Convention and the Constitutional Convention (1861-1862). In the 1880s, Dillard served as president of the Edenton and Norfolk Telegraph Company (1881) and was appointed (1883) to the School Committee of the Third School District in Chowan County. Source: Richard Dillard Papers (Manuscript Collection #599), Joyner Library, East Carolina University

Norfolk & Southern Railway Passenger Depot, Freight Depot, and Dock are pictured in the album. Appropriately, its roots reach back to the earliest days of railroading in America. Norfolk Southern's history parallels the economic and social growth of the country, for as one observer said more than a century ago, "Where railroads are not, civilization cannot be. The railroad and the schoolmaster are the two chief agents of human improvement." Today's Norfolk Southern is the product of hundreds of railroad combinations, reorganizations and consolidations. This timeline covers the Thoroughbred's three largest predecessors - Conrail, Norfolk & Western Railway and Southern Railway - and many of the lines that went before them. After each predecessor's name, we've used CR, NW or SR in parentheses to indicate which road eventually operated its lines. Source: Norfolk & Southern Railroad website.

Bank of Edenton is also pictured in the Album. This bank has since been destroyed.

Interior and exterior views of the Cotton Mill, also located in Edenton are pictured in the album. The Edenton Cotton Mill was organized and funded in 1898 by nineteen local residents who wished to provide a market for the region’s cotton growers and thereby keep the industry’s profits in the area. As the founders intended, the mill became and remained a mainstay in the local economy until its closing. It was consistently profitable, with the exception of losses for four years during the Great Depression. Although the mill maintained the village, it did not operate a general store. Thus, the villagers patronized local businesses, further contributing to the local economy. The Cotton Mill closed in late 1995 and donated it to Preservation North Carolina. Source: Edenton Cotton Mill Museum of History.

Interiors of houses in Edenton and Belhaven are also included in the photo album. Both are examples of Victorian interiors. Victorian interiors were at the height of fashion in the early 1900s with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The images in the photo album show what we today would call cluttered interiors.

“Lover's Leap,” which was located in Louisburg, also appears numerous times throughout the album.

Ethel May Burt also appears throughout the album. She also captioned most of the photographic prints.

Early County Fair in Edenton North Carolina is also documented.

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

The collection consists of one 5" x 7" photo album. The album contains 117 photographic prints, original art, and a postcard of various sizes and uses 46 sheets of 59 sheets (118 pages). Ethel May Burt autographed the margin of page 1 and probably took most of the photographs. The album consists of images taken of Edenton, Louisburg, and the surrounding areas. The collection is arranged in a single series in original order. All but the last few items in the album are glued strongly to the pages. Ms. Burt captioned most of the images in the margins.

The album documents Edenton, Chowan County, N.C., but also includes views of various towns, including Belhaven and Louisburg, N.C., and Claremont, Corbin Point, James River, and Portsmouth, Va., focusing on street and landscape scenes. It also includes views of families and friends; White and African American residents; the sitting rooms of Mrs. C. B. Elliott and Mrs. R. L. Temple; images of notable sites, including the Chowan County Courthouse, which was built in 1766; Dr. Richard Dillard and his front yard; Sailboat ELIZABETH; Norfolk & Southern Stations and Depots; Edenton Bay; U.S. “Fish Pond”; U.S. Fish Hatchery; Bank of Edenton; Edenton Cotton Mill interior & exterior views; Methodist church; C. B. Elliott residence; Magnolia Street; “Dr. Capehart’s Fishery”; Steamer WAGNER of the Norfolk & Southern Line; Ship BOUTWELL and Captain W. S. Howland; Cherry’s Point; Holley’s Wharf; Tar River; and Lover’s Leap.

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

Below is material taken from a preliminary inventory and represents content from the collection that is unprocessed.

  • Box 1#1143.1
    • Folder a#1143.1.a
      Photograph album containing black & white photographs (ca. 1900)

      Photographs taken chiefly in Edenton, N.C., & in the vicinity of Louisburg, N.C.; views in & near Edenton include street scenes; Chowan County Courthouse; Dr. Richard Dillard & his front yard; sailboat ELIZABETH; Norfolk & Southern passenger depot, freight depot & dock; Edenton Bay; U.S. "Fish Pond"; U.S. Fish Hatchery; Bank of Edenton; exterior & interior of Edenton Cotton Mill; Methodist church; residence of C. B. Elliott; Magnolia Street; "Dr. Capehart's Fishery"; steamer WAGNER of the Norfolk & Southern Line; ship BOUTWELL & Captain W. S. Howland; Cherry's Point; & Holley's Wharf; views in the vicinity of Louisburg include the Tar River & "Lover's Leap;" also pictured are various white & African American residents & the sitting room of Mrs. R. L. Temple, Belhaven, N.C. 5" X 7" 119 photographic prints.

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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