Records of Robert Herring Wright's Tenure as President of East Carolina Teachers College, 1907-1934

University Archives #UA02-01

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Records of Robert Herring Wright's Tenure as President of E.C.T.T.S. and E.C.T.C.
    Repository: East Carolina University Archives
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers and publications produced or related to the administration of Robert Herring Wright. Materials include biographical records, correspondence, speeches, clippings, administrative records, and other miscellaneous items.
    Extent: 2.5 Linear feet,
  • Description

    The records of Robert Herring Wright include biographical materials, correspondence, administrative records, speeches, news clippings, and other miscellaneous materials. The records begin in 1906 and end in 1934.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    Robert Herring Wright, an eastern North Carolina native, became the first President of East Carolina Teachers Training School in 1909. Wright was born to Bettie Vaiden Herring Wright and John Cromartie Wright, a Confederate veteran, in 1870 at the Wright family home Coharie in Sampson County. The Wrights had five sons and four daughters, and worked to ensure that all of their children received a good education.

    Robert, the second son, went on to study for two years at Oak Ridge Institute, and then teach in a rural school for two years before going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1894. Wright received his B.S. degree from UNC in 1897. After graduation, Wright taught in Nash County for one year before serving as an instructor at the Oak Ridge Institute for two years. In 1901 Wright entered graduate school at Johns Hopkins University in English and History. While in graduate school Wright got a job as a history teacher at Baltimore City College, where he was made chairman of the Department of History and Civics in 1904. In 1906 Wright took a job as principal of Eastern High School, a girls' school, in Baltimore. During his time as principal, Wright did graduate work at Columbia University in the summers.

    Wright married Charlotte Pearl Murphy on December 31, 1901. They had four children Pearl, Robert, Mary, and William.

    The reputation as an educator that Wright built in Baltimore is one of the reasons that he came to the attention of the trustees of ECTTS, who were looking for someone to head their new school. Wright took his post with the vision of improving education in all of eastern North Carolina by training young teachers at East Carolina. In 1920 ECTTS became East Carolina Teachers College with authorization to offer four years of college instead of just two. Starting off with around 175 students, the college grew to 1,000 by the end of Wright's tenure. The college began to offer graduate courses and masters degrees in 1929.

    Wright served as President until 1934, when he had a massive heart attack at his desk on April 23. Wright died in the hospital two days later. This tragic ending to an era in East Carolina's history shocked the entire campus and community, as well as the state. Wright's 25 years as President shaped East Carolina and provided a foundation for what the college would become as it continued to grow.

  • Administrative Information
    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open to the public without restrictions.

    Copyright Notice

    Property rights reside with University Archives, East Carolina University. Copyright resides with the creators of the material or their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact the University Archivist. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item description and date.] Records of Robert Herring Wright. UA02-01. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

Container List

  • Administrative Files
    Official Installation, undated
    Biographical Information, undated
    Newspaper Clippings, undated
    Statistics, 1928
    Correspondence, 1913-1914
    Correspondence, 1918-1934
    Educational Conference at ECTC, Welcome Address, 1934
    Bulletin Volume 29 Number 4, 1938 December
    Commencement Records, 1914-1929
    Commencement Records, 1930-1932
    Speeches - Ragsdale - N.D, undated
    Budget Bureau Correspondence, 1925-1931
    Budget Bureau Correspondence, 1932-1934
    Budget Committee Minutes, 1932-1933
    Building Committee Minutes, 1930-1932
    Science of the State Building - R. D. W. Connor, 1930
    Cox, J.D. and Cox, W. E. Correspondence, 1927-1928
    Daniels, Josephus, 1931-1932
    Edmonds, Rebecca - Administrative Records, 1925-1932
    Flanagan, E.D. and J.D. Flanagan Correspondence, 1927-1933
    Graham, Frank P., President of UNC- Chapel Hill Correspondence, 1932
    Jarvis, Thomas J. Correspondence (with Edward Graham and Julius J. Foust), 1914
    Joyner, James, 1909-1932
    Newell, L. B. Correspondence, 1924-1926
    Faculty Productivity, Meeting of the Staff, 1932
    Founder's Day, 1932-1934
    Student Self Government Association, New College Song, 1933
    Wright, Bettie - Biographical Information, 1921,1933, undated
    Board of Trustees, 1909-1927
    Board of Trustees Correspondence, 1930-1934
  • Speech Files
    Teaching and Education, undated
    Teaching and Education, undated
    Teaching and Education, undated
    Teaching and Education, undated
    Religious Writing, Words and Phrases List, undated
    Speeches, 1907-1909
    Speeches, 1910-1913
    Speeches, 1914-1918
    Speeches, 1922-1931
    Chapel Talks, 1924-1925
    Chapel Talks, 1926 January-May
    Chapel Talks, 1926 June-December
    Chapel Talks, 1927 January-February
    Chapel Talks, 1928 March-September
    Chapel Talks, 1928 March-September
    Chapel Talks, 1928 October-December
    Chapel Talks, 1929 January-May
    Chapel Talks, 1929 June-December
    Chapel Talks, Dr. Turner, 1930
    Chapel Talks, 1930
    Chapel Talks, 1930 January-March
    Chapel Talks, 1931 January-February
    Chapel Talks, 1931
    Chapel Talks, 1932
    Chapel Talks, 1933 January-May
    Chapel Talks, 1933 September-December
    Chapel Talks, 1934
    Chapel Talks, Governor Jarvis, 1911
    Speeches - S.B. Underwood, undated
  • Wright's Death, 1934-1938
    Wright, Pearl, Correspondence, Sympathy letters for Robert H. Wright's illness and death, 1934 April 24-25
    Wright, Pearl, Correspondence, Sympathy letters for Robert H. Wright's death, 1934 April 26
    Wright, Pearl, Correspondence, Sympathy letters for Robert H. Wright's death, 1934 April 27-28
    Wright, Pearl, Correspondence, Sympathy letters for Robert H. Wright's death, 1934 April 29-30
    Wright, Pearl, Correspondence, Sympathy letters for Robert H. Wright's death, 1934 May
    Wright, Pearl, Correspondence, Sympathy letters for Robert H. Wright's death, 1934 June-October
    Wright, Pearl, "Some of the last words of my husband Robert H. Wright", 1934
    Williams Funeral Home - letter of thanks, card from Robert H. Wright's family, 1934
    Resolutions of Respect for Dr. Robert H. Wright, 1934
    Newspaper Clippings, obituaries and articles about Robert H. Wright, 1934
    Wright, Mrs. R.H. (Pearl), Correspondence from Margaret Davis editor of Tecoan, 1938

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