Carol Leigh Humphries Papers, 1952-1992, undated

Manuscript Collection #344

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

Title: Carol Leigh Humphries Papers
Creator: Humphries, Carol Leigh, 1923-1992
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1966-1992, undated) of Carol Leigh Humphries, a Southern Baptist Conference missionary woman from Person County, North Carolina, including letters to family and friends in North Carolina documenting her career as a missionary in Jos, Kaduma and other locations in Nigeria, British West Africa; newspaper clippings related to Humphries’ missionary work; also genealogical notes of Mrs. Emma H. Blalock.
Extent: 0.25 Cubic feet, 1 archival box; 33 items.

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

Accessions Information

August 23, 1977, 0.01 cubic feet, 11 items; Papers (1952-1977) of a Southern Baptist Conference missionary woman from Person County, North Carolina documenting her career as a missionary in Jos, Kaduma and other locations in Nigeria, including correspondence, clippings, and miscellaneous material. Donor: Miss Carol Leigh Humphries

April 21, 1992 (Unprocessed addition 1), 0.01 cubic feet, 15 items; Correspondence & clippings (1977-1992) relating to a Southern Baptist missionary woman from Person County, North Carolina documenting her career as a missionary in Kaduma and other locations in Nigeria; also biographical notes relating to her aunt Mrs. Emma Humphries Blalock who served as a missionary in China, 1894-1918. Donor: Mrs. Katherine P. Bowles

December 11, 2007 (Unprocessed addition 2), 0.02 cubic feet, 7 items; Letters received (1969-1985) by Mr. & Mrs. Nina Cook & Hulon Welch, Rougemont, North Carolina, from Carol Leigh Humphries, in Jos & Kaduna, Nigeria documenting her career as a missionary with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board. Typed letters. Donor: Mrs. Nina Cook Welch

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

Carol Leigh Humphries Papers (#344), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Miss Carol Leigh Humphries
  • Gift of Mrs. Katherine P. Bowles
  • Gift of Mrs. Nina Cook Welch

Processing Information

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services, March 2002;

  • Processed, Inventory & Finding aid by Melissa Jones, March 22, 2012;

  • Inventory revised by Jonathan Dembo, July 13, 2012;

  • Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, July 24, 2012.


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

Carol Leigh Humphries was born at the family home in Bethel Hill, Person County, North Carolina on 6 December 1923. Her mother had five (5) children from a previous marriage, and five (5) more children with Mr. Humphries. She grew up on the family farm and assisted in the farm work.

Ms. Humphries attended Bethel Hill School in Person County from first through eleventh grade. She was raised a Christian, with Christian teachers at school and church, and was active in Bethel Hill Baptist Church. She attended East Carolina Teachers College in Greenville, North Carolina to train to become a teacher and received her A.B. degree in elementary education in 1944. There, she became active in Christian organizations like the Young Women’s Christian Association and the Baptist Student Union. After hearing a former missionary to China, Dr. Theron Rankin, speak at a conference, Humphries decided to make mission work her life’s work.

In 1944, Humphries went to Wilmington, North Carolina to work as Temple Baptist Church’s religious education director. After fourteen months, she went to Louisville, Kentucky to the Women’s Missionary Union Training School, which later became Southern Seminary, and received a Master’s in Religious Education. She applied to the Baptist Home Mission Board to serve as a missionary during the summer of 1946. She was sent to Dallas, Texas, where she did mission work in the city. She then became a fieldworker for North Dallas Baptist Church where she worked with the Women’s Missionary Union organizations. Here, she also met a missionary from Nigeria, and felt called to work in Africa.

She went to Richmond, Virginia and appeared before the Foreign Mission Board to prepare to leave the United States. In 1952, at age twenty-nine, Humphries left for Nigeria, then still a colony in British West Africa. She was first appointed as a teacher at Elam Memorial Girls School in Shaki, Nigeria. She taught English reading, spelling, composition, Bible, home economics, and hygiene. She learned the Yoruba language of the local Nigerians and later learned the Hausa language.

Ms. Humphries became a fulltime worker with the Women’s Missionary Union of Nigeria in 1953, and moved to Kaduna, Nigeria. In 1961, she moved to Jos, where she served as the Women’s Missionary Union director for northern Nigeria. She was responsible for dispersing Christian literature to the Hausa people.

She attended many missionary conferences during her time in Nigeria and was the director of the Women’s Missionary Union of Nigeria for much of her time there. She became well-known as a missionary attempting to spread Christianity and encourage conversion. She also went on several furloughs to the United States and spoke to various churches about her mission work. She was pleased with her efforts and the missionary efforts in Nigeria, and hoped that the efforts would continue to improve after her retirement.

In 1986, Humphries retired and returned to Person County, North Carolina. She continued to share stories of the time she spent in Africa, and was honored as the Emeritus Missionary by the Beulah Baptist Association in 1991. Carol Leigh Humphries died on 11 February 1992 of cancer at Person County Memorial Hospital in Roxboro, Person County, North Carolina.

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

This collection is arranged in original in two series: correspondence and printed materials.

SERIES I: CORRESPONDENCE contains letters from Mrs. Humphries during her mission work in Kaduna, Nigeria, West Africa written to her friends, Mrs. H.H. Welch and Mount Harmony Baptist Church in Rougemont, North Carolina, and Dr. Donald R. Lennon of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. All of the letters were written by Humphries, except for the last letter discussing her death. The letters illustrate her experiences in Nigeria. Humphries describes the environment in Nigeria, the activities of the Women’s Missionary Union (W.M.U.) of Nigeria and their missionary and conversion efforts. She mentions various Nigerian individuals and tells stories of their conversion. Humphries also discusses her role in the W.M.U. as a member of the leadership board and serving as the director.

Humphries attended numerous missionary conferences and retreats, including the Northern Baptist Conference, W.M.U. Associational and Leadership Conference, General Workers’ Conference, Nigerian Baptist Convention W.M.U. Executive Board Meeting, Annual Nigerian Baptist Convention meetings, the Baptist World Alliance Meeting, and many others. The letters mention interaction and missionary effort among the Igala, Basa, Hausa, and Yoruba tribes of Nigeria and mention Humphries’ visits to various locations throughout West Africa, such as Sierra Leone, Kaduna, and Zaria. The last letter is from Aduke Akinola, the Executive Secretary of the Baptist Women’s Missionary Union of Nigeria, written to T.A. Bowles of Roxboro, North Carolina. The letter expresses condolences about the death of Carol Leigh Humphries. All but one of the letters are typed, and the hand written one is legible. Prayer cards are also included in the correspondence series that were given to individuals to serve as a reminder to pray for Humphries, foreign mission work, and missionaries. Bible verses are printed on the cards. In this series, there is also a hand written genealogical outline tracing Carol Leigh Humphries’ aunt, Emma S. Humphries, a missionary to China in 1894, her husband, Thomas Lee Blalock, and their children.

SERIES II: PRINTED MATERIALS, 1952-1992 contains newspaper articles, a banquet program, and an excerpt from a church newsletter. Some of the newspaper articles advertise Humphries’ visits to churches in the United States sharing her missionary experiences with story and slide shows, during the 1960s and 1970s. One article recognized Humphries as Missionary of the Week, while another recognizes her as Emeritus Missionary of the Beulah Baptist Association. Other newspaper articles are obituaries written about Humphries that express sadness about her death and recognize her efforts as a missionary. The testimonial banquet program is from a banquet on January 17, 1952 in Humphries’ honor as she would soon leave for her mission to Nigeria. The excerpt from the church program is from North Dallas Baptist Church recognizing Carol Leigh Humphries Day in 1967.

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Series 1:
Correspondence, 1966-1992, undated
Subseries 1:
Letters sent by Carol Leigh Humphries, 1966-1992
  • Box 1#0344.1
    • Folder a#0344.1.a
      • Friends (23 February 1966) discusses English speaking services at the church in Jos, the conversion of several Nigerian individuals and the opportunity to witness to them. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #1)
      • Mrs. H.H. Welch / Mt. Harmony Church (19 November 1969) discusses the number of conversions, the camps she visited, and the power of prayer she has witnessed. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #2)
      • Friends (18 November 1972) discusses the library she shares with people nearby and seeing God at work in the lives of the mental patients in the local hospital. She is joyful. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #3)
      • Friends (18 May 1973) discusses her activities for Christmas 1972, and gives an update on the individuals she asked for prayer for previously. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #4)
      • Friends (13 May 1975) discusses her reason for extending her missionary work because of the challenge and responsibility she feels, visiting mentally ill patients in the hospital, a new cooking class, efforts to purchase a car for the Mission, and an update on her library efforts. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #5)
      • Mrs. H.H. Welch / Mt. Harmony Baptist Church, (November 1976) discusses the many reasons she rejoices in the Lord after hearing many peoples' testimonies, witnessing more conversions, and her excitement for seeing old friends. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #6)
      • Dr. Donald R. Lennon (November 1977) discusses the dry season in Nigeria, the Lydia Auxiliary Camp, scarcity of items in food stores, and the prospects of starting new churches. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #7)
      • Friends (November 1979) discusses the 3 Baptist Conferences she attended, her position of General Director responsible for all literature to the Hausa, and the activities of the 60th anniversary of the Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) of Nigeria. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #8)
      • Friends (25 April 25) discusses her, happiness in Nigeria, the growth of new conferences and working closely with the directors, working weekly with an Army Women's Christian Fellowship Group, and her plans to attend the Baptist World Alliance meeting in Toronto, Canada. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #9)
      • Mr. and Mrs. Bowles and family (27 June 1981) discusses the Missionaries' Prayer Retreat, three annual conferences, films used as missionary tools, her encouragement at the number of female leaders in the mission, and asks for further prayer. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #10)
      • Mr. Donald R. Lennon / East Carolina University Manuscript Collection (27 June 1981) discusses the Missionaries' Prayer Retreat, three annual conferences, films used as missionary tools, her encouragement at the number of female leaders in the mission, and asks for further prayer. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #11)
      • Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Welch and Church (27 June 1981) discusses the Missionaries' Prayer Retreat, three annual conferences, films used as missionary tools, her encouragement at the number of female leaders in the mission, and asks for further prayer. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #12)
      • Dr. Donald R. Lennon (July 1982) discusses her activities for Christmas 1981, their prayer retreat, her 30th anniversary of serving in Nigeria, and asks for prayer requests. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #13)
      • Mr. Donald R. Lennon (May 1983) asks for continuing prayer requests and asks for more prayer requests. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #14)
      • Mt. Harmony Baptist Church (11 May 1984) thanks the church members for their many letters, hospital visitations, the Nigeria-Alabama Partnership in Mission Crusade, seven baptisms at her church, and mentions her approaching retirement in December 1985 and her desire to find a replacement. 1 item. 1 p.   (item #15)
      • Mrs. Hulon Welch (19 June 1985) discusses her work with a Nigerian woman to train her for the W.M.U., and asks for prayer. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #16)
Subseries 2:
Letters not written by Carol Leigh Humphries, 1992
  • Box 1#0344.1
    • Folder a#0344.1.a
      • Aduke Akinola to Mrs. T.A. Bowles (13 February 1992) discusses the news of the death of Mrs. Carol Leigh Humphries, offers condolences, and states that she will always be remembered by the Baptist Women's Missionary Union of Nigeria. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #17)
Subseries 3:
Prayer Cards, undated
  • Box 1#0344.1
    • Folder a#0344.1.a
      • Prayer Card from Mrs. Humphries in Kaduna (undated) asking for prayer and listing Bible verses. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #18)
      • Prayer Card from Mrs. Humphries in Kaduna (undated) to Mrs. Nina Welch in Rougemont, NC. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #19)
Subseries 4:
Genealogical sketches, undated
  • Box 1#0344.1
    • Folder a#0344.1.a
      • Outline of the genealogy of the Humphries family illustrating that earlier generations were missionaries to China. 1 item. 2 p.  (item #20)
Series 2:
Printed Material, 1952-1992
Subseries 1:
Newspaper Clippings, 1966-1992
  • Box 1#0344.1
    • Folder b#0344.1.b
      • News Article from The Courier Times (23 June 1966) celebrating Mrs. Humphries' visit home after 14 years of missionary service, mentions the purpose of the missionary work, and some of the problems missionaries face during their missions. 1 item. 2 p.  (item #1)
      • News Article from Dallas, TX (1971) that mentions Mrs. Humphries' future visit to Dallas and her speaking engagements that are open to the public. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #2)
      • News Article from Irving Daily News, Irving, TX (15 January 1971) mentions Humphries' speaking engagements during her visit to Texas. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #3)
      • News Article from The Courier Times (30 May 1974) advertises Humphries' speaking engagement and slide presentation at Bethel Hill Baptist Church about her work in Nigeria. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #4)
      • News Article from The Courier Times (2 June 1977) advertises "Carol Leigh Humphries Sunday" to recognize Mrs. Humphries' efforts in Nigeria. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #5)
      • News Article (December 1979) recognizing Mrs. Humphries as Missionary of the Week and briefly discusses her missionary efforts in Nigeria. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #6)
      • News Article from The Courier Times (14 December 1991) discusses that Mrs. Humphries was names Emeritus Missionary of the Beulah Baptist Association. 1 item. 2 p.  (item #7)
      • Humphries' Obituary from The Courier Times (19 February 1992) discussing the death of Mrs. Humphries by cancer. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #8)
      • Obituary (February 1992) titled, "Nigerian Missionary dies in Roxboro." 1 item. 1 p.  (item #9)
      • News Article from Biblical Recorder (23 May 1992) recognizes the efforts of Mrs. Humphries during her life and missionary effort in Nigeria. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #10)
      • News Article from The Herald-Sun (13 February 1992) lists the obituary of Mrs. Humphries. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #11)
Subseries 2:
Miscellaneous Printed Documents, 1952, 1967
  • Box 1#0344.1
    • Folder c#0344.1.c
      • Testimonial Banquet Program for banquet (17 January 1952) recognizing Miss Humphries as a newly appointed missionary to Nigeria. This is the proof for the printer. 1 item. 2 pages.  (item #1)
      • Exert from a Church Newsletter of North Dallas Baptist Church, Volume 5, Number 8 (18 February 1967) advertising Carol Leigh Humphries Day, 26 February 1967. 1 item. 1 p.  (item #2)

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.

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