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Records of John Decatur Messick's Tenure as President of East Carolina Teachers College and East Carolina College

(University Archives #UA02-05)

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

Title: Records of John Decatur Messick's Tenure as President of East Carolina Teachers College And East Carolina College
Repository: East Carolina University Archives
Languages: English
Abstract: The collection includes papers and publications produced or related to the administration of John Decatur Messick. Materials include biographical records, correspondence, articles, newspaper clippings, administrative records, and other miscellaneous items.
Extent: 7.75 Linear feet, 15 record cartons, 1 small record carton.

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

Access Restrictions

Portions of this collection are restricted. Contact the University Archivist for details. Restricted Box 12 Folder 18.

Publication and Reproduction Rights

Property rights and copyright reside with East Carolina University. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact the University Archivist.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into eleven series: 1)Personal Papers 2)State Correspondence 3)National Correspondence 4)College Correspondence 5) Local Correspondence and Papers 6)Board of Trustees 7)Students and Campus Events 8)Faculty and Staff 9)ECC Land and Buildings 10) Academic Papers 11) Miscellaneous Articles

Preferred Citation

[Item Description and date]. Records of John Decatur Messick's Tenure as President of East Carolina Teachers College And East Caroina College. UA02-05. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

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

John Decatur Messick was born the sixth of nine children to Jesse McCagie Messick and Mary Zion Flowers Messick on November 9, 1897 in South Creek, NC in Beaufort County. After completing his basic schooling in South Creek, Messick studied at Falcon Academy. Messick attended King's Business College in Raleigh before entering Elon College, where he graduated in 1922.

Messick married Magdalene Elizabeth Robinson of Washington, DC. They had two daughters Helen Margaret and Mary Rosalyn and two sons, Norval Robinson and John Albert.

After graduating from Elon, Messick pursued a career in education. He spent the next few years working in North Carolina public schools. He worked as principal of South River School in Wade, NC from 1922-1926, principal in Trenton, NC from 1926-1929, and Superintindent in Spencer, NC from 1929-1935. Meanwhile, Messick continued his education by doing graduate work during the summers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1922-1929. Messick recieved his Ph.D. in administration and supervision of schools from New York University in 1934.

After obtaining his Ph.D., Messick decided to shift his career to college education starting with a small job as a summer session professor at the teachers college in Asheville, NC in 1934-1935. In 1935, Messick accepted his first big job at a college as the Dean of Men, Instruction and Administration at Elon College, a post which he held until 1944. In 1944, Messick left North Carolina to take a job as Dean of Instruction and Administrative Assistant to the President at State Teachers College in Montclair, NJ.

In 1947, ECTC President Dennis H. Cooke resigned, leaving the Board of Trustees with the task of finding a new President. The Board invited Messick, who accepted and became the fifth President of East Carolina Teachers College. Messick began his presidency with a campaign to drop the word Teachers from the school's name to reflect his new expanded mission for the college. The General Assembly approved the name change to East Carolina College in 1951. A highly qualified and energetic leader, Messick presided over the expansion of the campus, enrollment, faculty, and curriculum during his tenure. By the time of Messick's resignation in 1959, ECC had become the third largest campus in North Carolina. Two of Messick's most important accomplishments include challenging the state government's unequal funding of the Consolidated University over the teacher's colleges and fighting for the establishment of a Nursing School.

After his resignation as President of ECC, Messick took a job as grants administrator with HEW in Washington DC and later became Dean of Administration at a teachers college in Vermont. He also served as vice-president of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1965. Messick and his wife retired to Wilmington, NC where they lived until he died on October 3, 1993.

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

The Records of John Decatur Messick's Teunure as President of East Carolina Teacher College and East Carolina College include biographical materials, correspondence, articles, newspaper clippings, administrative records, and other miscellaneous materials. The records cover the years of Messick's Tenure from 1947 to 1959, but also include materials up until Messick's death in 1993.

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

Jump to a section?

Series 1:
Personal Papers, 1947-1993 (Bulk, 1947-1959)
Series 2:
State Correspondence, 1947-1959
Series 3:
National Correspondence, 1947-1959
Series 4:
College Correspondence, 1947-1959
Series 5:
Local Correspondence and Papers, 1947-1959
Series 6:
Board of Trustees, 19447-1960
Series 7:
Students and Campus Events, 1947-1959
Series 8:
Faculty and Staff, 1947-1964 (Bulk, 1947-1959)
Series 9:
ECC Land and Buildings, 1947-1962 (Bulk, 1947-1959)
Series 10:
Academic Papers, 1945-1960 (Bulk, 1947-1959)
Series 11:
Miscellaneous Articles, 1947-1959
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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