William J. and Pearl Peed Croom Collection, 1900-1983, undated (bulk 1936-1940)

Manuscript Collection #434

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

Title: William J. and Pearl Peed Croom Collection
Creators: Croom, Pearl Peed
Croom, William J., d. 1940
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Collection (1900 - 1983, undated [Bulk: 1936 - 1940]) of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographic prints, printed forms, ephemera, printed materials, oversized materials, etc. relating to the life and career of William J. Croom (1901-1940) as a patrolman in Kinston, North Carolina, State Highway patrolman in Greensboro, N.C., and Director of Public Safety in Durham, N.C.; Also included are Croom and Peed family genealogical files.
Extent: 0.65 Cubic feet, 2 archival boxes & 1 oversized folder; 145 items, 1,327 p.

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

Accessions Information

October 16, 1981, 21 items; Peed Bible records and clippings, photographs, and memorial book for William J. Croom. Loaned by Mrs. Pearl Peed Croom.

May 25, 1983, (addition 1) 167 items; Clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous items (1931-1940) concerning career of William J. Croom. Loaned by Mrs. Pearl Peed Croom.

September 20, 2002, (addition 2) 18 items, 0.25 cubic feet; Collection (1926 - 1983, undated) of notebooks, printed materials, printed forms, and ephemera relating to William J. Croom (d. 1940), his career as a North Carolina Highway Patrol police officer and director of the Durham, North Carolina Department of Public Safety; and to his wife, Pearl Peed Croom. See preliminary inventory attached. Donor: William E. "Mickey" Elmore

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

William J. and Pearl Peed Croom Collection (#434), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Processing Information

  • Processed by Jonathan Dembo, April 2002; Encoded by Mark Custer, January 28, 2008; Processed, inventoried, finding aid by Stephen M. Wilson, 5/7/2013; Revised by Jonathan Dembo, 5/10/2013; Revised by Jonathan Dembo 10/8/2013


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

William Jesse "Bill" Croom (1900 - 1940) was a law enforcement officer in North Carolina from 1926 until his death in 1940. He began his career as a Patrolman in the city of Kinston, North Carolina, where he was a popular officer with a reputation for integrity and a no-nonsense attitude. He was considered an expert motorcycle rider. Later in the early 1930s he became an early member of the newly formed North Carolina State Highway Patrol (founded in 1929) in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1936 then Lieutenant Croom resigned his post in the Highway Patrol to become the Director of Public Safety in Durham, North Carolina. While at this post, Durham achieved record lows in traffic fatalities and vehicular deaths under Croom’s tenure. He was also responsible for the introduction of two-way radios in Durham Police Department patrol cars. Unfortunately, William Croom met an untimely demise. While on a fishing trip with two other officers on the Neuse River, Croom’s boat capsized and all three men on board drowned in the strong current of the river.

William J. Croom’s wife, Pearl Croom (nee Peed) was born in Person County in 1900 but grew up in Pitt County, N.C., where her father, George W. Peed, was involved in promoting tobacco agriculture. She graduated from Winterville High School. A licensed practical nurse, she moved to Greenville, N.C., after her retirement in 1973. She was a member of Grace Free Will Baptist Church. Mrs. Croom died in 1983.

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

The William J. and Pearl Peed Croom Collection includes a variety of documents, notebooks, photographs, letters, membership cards and certifications relating to the law enforcement career of William J. Croom. Also in the collection are family records relating to the Croom and Peed families, and several documents relating to Pearl Peed Croom, William J. Croom’s wife.

The William J. and Pearl Peed Croom Collection is arranged in original order in four series. Series 1 consists of Manuscript Materials; Series 2 consists of Manuscript Volumes; Series 3 consists of Printed Materials; and Series 4 consists of Oversized Materials. The collection is held in 2 archival boxes and 1 oversized folder.

Series 1: Manuscript Materials includes clippings, photographic prints, christmas cards, postcards, printed forms, correspondence, genealogical and biographical materials. The newspaper clippings relate primarily to William J. Croom’s career as Director of Public Safety for the City of Durham and his tragic disappearance and death. The majority of the newspaper articles are from The Durham Morning Herald and The Durham Sun. The correspondence includes letters and greeting cards addressed to and by William J. Croom that are professional and personal in nature. Series I also includes certificates and membership cards that all belong to William J. Croom. These are mostly membership cards for fraternal and professional organizations. All show Croom to be a member in good standing. Series 1 also includes family records relate to the ancestry of William J. Croom and his family’s residency in Lenoir County, North Carolina. Also in these records are marriage, death and birth certificates for the Peed family of Person County, North Carolina. The Photographic prints depict William J. Croom and other members of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Few of these photographs are dated and in many the location is unknown. Croom appears in very few of these photographs and when he is in a photograph, it is often in the midst of a group of other people.

Series 2: Manuscript Volumes consist primarily of small pocket, engagement diaries dating from 1930 - 1936.

Series 3: Printed Materials consist of a North Carolina State Highway Patrol Guide from 1930 and a copy of The Police Review, the official publication of the National Association of Policemen, from April 1926, which includes an article entitled North Carolina From a Police Standpoint, which mention Mr. Croom.

Series 4: Oversized Materials includes photographic prints, printed forms, clippings, and printed forms too large to fit in the original folders.

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

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

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Series 1:
Manuscript Materials
  • Box 1#0434.1
    • Folder a#0434.1.a
      Collection (1936 - 1940) including: You're A Police Man, Poem by W. H. Drane Lester, Inspector, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Autographed with Sentiment by Drane Lester, 10 May 1939, Broadside; Memorial Record, Webbs Chapel Cemetery, Kinston, North Carolina, In Memory of William Jesse Croom, including family record, services, music, bearers, societies attending, relatives attending, record of visitors, biographical notes & Pearl P. Croom wearing schedule, Notebook, 19 May 1940; Memorial Service, Durham Lodge, No. 456, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Trinity Methodist Church, 1 Dec. 1940, Program; Croom Biographical clippings (1936 - 1940) Photocopies. 15 items. 35 p.
    • Folder b#0434.1.b
      Highway Patrolmen (1930 - 1936) Photographic prints. Black & White. 12 items. 12 p. Note: Prints cataloged as: P-434/1 - P-434/14
    • Folder c#0434.1.c
      Croom family Christmas card & Color Postcards (ca. 1931 - 1940): Atlantic City Auditorium and Convention Hall; Boardwalk Winter Scene; Marlborough - Blenheim Hotel and Boardwalk; Merry-Go-Round Bar, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey; Doster Hall, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; Rockne Memorial, Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, Indiana, includes letter from "Ruth" to Mrs. J. Walter Long & Family, 26 Oct. 1940, on verso. 7 items. 7 p.
    • Folder d#0434.1.d
      Printed Forms (1931 - 1940) related William Croom's career as Director of Public Safety in Durham, NC, including American National Red Cross First Aid Certificate, 28 Nov. 1931; Southern Traffic Officer's Training School Certificate, 20 - 31 July 1936; U. S. Federal Communications Commission, Radio Telephone Operator License, 21 July 1938; Internal Association for Identification, North Carolina Division Membership Certificate, 1 June 1939; Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Kinston, North Carolina, Resolutions of Respect in Memory of William J. Croom, 13 May 1940. 5 items. 5 p. Note: Torn; needs conservation.
    • Folder e#0434.1.e
      Excerpts from letters actually received at Home Owners Corp., Photocopy typescript; Beware the Deadly Sitting Habit, Poem, Photocopy typescript; Our Friend, by R. L. Cannady, Poem, Typescript; You Have Been Here, Poem, Holograph (undated). 4 items. 5 p.
    • Folder f#0434.1.f
      Membership Cards & Business Cards (1930 - 1940) Ephemera & Printed forms. 10 items. 10 p.
    • Folder g#0434.1.g
      Correspondence & Envelopes (1935 - 1940, undated) 11 items. 14 p. Note: includes letter from J. Edgar Hoover, dated 30 April 1940.
    • Folder h#0434.1.h
      Croom Family Genealogical Information, 1790 - 1983 (ca. 1900 - 1983, undated) 4 items. 14 p.
    • Folder i#0434.1.i
      Clippings (1936 - 1938) relating to William J. Croom's career as Durham's Director of Public Safety. 11 items. 11 p. Note: Deacidified.
    • Folder j#0434.1.j
      Clippings (1938) relating to William J. Croom's career as Durham's Director of Public Safety. 28 items. 28 p. Note: Deacidified.
    • Folder k#0434.1.k
      Clippings (1940 1956, undated) relating to William J. Croom's disappearance and death. 23 items. 23 p. Note: Deacidified.
    • Folder l#0434.1.l
      Pearl Peed Croom Obituary Service; A Little Mixed Up, Poem; & List of Hymns Sung at Pearl's Funeral (ca. 1983) Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 1 p.
Series 2:
Manuscript Volumes
  • Box 2#0434.2
    • Folder b#0434.2.b
      William J. Croom Engagement Diary (1932) with record of travels, addresses, and notes. 1 vol. 110 p.
    • Folder c#0434.2.c
      William J. Croom Engagement Diary (1933) with record of travels, addresses, and notes. 1 vol. 110 p.
    • Folder d#0434.2.d
      William J. Croom Engagement Diary (1934) with record of travels, addresses, and notes. 1 vol. 110 p.
    • Folder e#0434.2.e
      William J. Croom Engagement Diary (1935) with record of travels, addresses, and notes. 1 vol. 110 p. Note: Copy 1
    • Folder f#0434.2.f
      William J. Croom Engagement Diary (1935) with record of travels, addresses, and notes. 1 vol. 110 p. Note: Copy 2
    • Folder g#0434.2.g
      William J. Croom Engagement Diary (1936) with record of travels, addresses, and notes. 1 vol. 110 P.
Series 3:
Printed Materials
  • Box 2#0434.2
    • Folder h#0434.2.h
      North Carolina State Highway Patrol Guide Containing Official Map of the State Highway Commission State and Municipal Traffic Laws and General Information. Approved by the North Carolina State Highway Commission (1930) 1 vol. 148 p.
    • Folder i#0434.2.i
      North Carolina From a Police Standpoint, The Police Review (Official publication of National Association of Policemen), Vol. 2, no. 4 (April 1926) 1 vol. 332 p. Note: contains biographical notes and photographs of policemen throughout North Carolina.
Series 4:
Oversized Materials
  • Oversize Folder os1#0434.os1
    • University of Alabama Southern Traffic Officers' Training School Certificate. Sponsored by the Alabama Highway Patrol, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Safety Council, and the University of Alabama, Held at the University of Alabama, July 20-31, 1936. (31 July 1936) Printed form. 10.75" x 16.75" 1 item. 1 p.  (item #1)
    • Harold Nathan Portrait (undated) Photographic print. 11" x 13.25" Black & White. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Inscribed "To my friend, William J. Croom with every good wish, Harold Nathan." Cataloged: P-434/1.  (item #2)
    • The State Law Enforcement Journal, Durham, N. C. Edition, Vol. 1, no. 2 (April 1940) Periodical. 1 item. 3 p. Note: Includes front page article on Croom, entitled Director W. J. Croom Has Seen Much Growth in Department and Croom in Hospital with Pneumonia; has been deacidified.  (item #3)
    • North Carolina State Highway Commission Personnel Portraits (ca. 1921 - 1922) including lieutenants of the patrol, patrolmen, district secretaries; portrait proof sheet. Photographic print. Black & White. 21.75" x 23.75" Note: Brittle, fragile, torn; needs conservation; Cataloged: P-434/2.  (item #4)
    • The Durham Sun, 50th Anniversary Edition, Durham, North Carolina (1939) Newspaper. 1 item. 6 p. Note: Croom cited in article on Durham Police Department on page 6; photograph included; fragile, brittle, acidic; needs conservation.  (item #5)

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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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, 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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