Wade H. Phillips Papers

Manuscript Collection #59
Phillips, Wade H.
Physical description
0.43 Cubic Feet, 400 items , consisting of correspondence, speeches, clippings, pamphlets, photographs, and articles.
Preferred Citation
Wade H. Phillips Papers (#59), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1900-1961, undated) including correspondence, speeches, clippings, pamphlets, photographs, etc. relating to chairmanship of the Davidson County (NC) Democratic Party and member of the State Senate. c.

Biographical/historical information

Wade Hampton Phillips (1879-1968) was born at Yadkin College in Davidson County, North Carolina, on July 7, 1879. He attended school in Davidson County, then went to college at Erskine. He was a 1904 graduate of the University of North Carolina law school. He subsequently served as chairman of the Davidson County Democratic Committee (1906-1910). In 1912 Phillips was elected as a state senator. In 1916, as a major in the 120th Infantry of the National Guard, he served on the Mexican border when Pancho Villa threatened the area. He later obtained the rank of lieutenant colonel and served on General John Pershing's staff as judge advocate of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I (1917-1919). After the war he returned to Lexington to practice law. In 1924 Governor McLean appointed him as the first director of the new North Carolina Department of Conservation and Development. He was active in the American Legion, being a former state commander. In 1948 he was again elected to the state Senate. In his later years he served on the Davidson County Board of Education and was the local historian for Davidson County, contributing many articles to the local newspapers.

Scope and arrangement

The collection falls into three distinct categories. The first, general correspondence from 1904-1961; the second, the state Senate correspondence from 1949; and the last, a miscellany of newspaper clippings, historical articles, pamphlets, and legal and financial files.

General correspondence includes a letter from the chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee of Davidson County complaining that the Republican party had been spreading slanderous reports and threatening violence (1904). Locke Craig in another letter (1908) asks about the political situation in Davidson County. Other letters deal with a variety of topics, including the possibility of a monument to General Nathaniel Greene at Guilford Court House, a monument at the Marne in France to World War I veterans, state prohibition on the use of oleomargarine in ice cream, opposition to the use of foresters in N. C., repeal ofthe Eighteenth Amendment, the Southern cotton crop, and child welfare. One file pertains to the legal case, handled by Phillips' firm, of William W. Green, a black Army warrant officer charged with assault, and his attempts to obtain back-pay from the Army while he was in prison. Other correspondence relates to stock deals, the N.C. State Bar, the American Legion, the revision of the state constitution, a C.C.C. camp in Davidson County, Linville Caverns, and optimism about good farm crops.

The second category consists of correspondence of Phillips while serving his second term as state senator. Phillips was the chairman of the Committee on Teachers and State Employees Retirement, and was also on the committees of Education, Appropriations, Insurance, and Judiciary (number one). The correspondence from January, through March, 1949, deals primarily with education and related topics such as teaching benefits, retirement, benefits and pay, improvement of school facilities, appropriations, complaints, and suggestions relating to the school system in North Carolina.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee his correspondence reflects such topics as a Confederate women's home, state employees salary increase, attempts to expand the nutrition division in the State Board of Health, the State Personnel Bill, Town Creek Indian Mound, North Carolina history texts, judges' salaries, a dental school at the University of North Carolina, allocations at E.C.C., and imports and exports at Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina.

Other significant correspondence deals with legislation concerning wildlife (fox, deer, etc.) and the appointment of another game warden in Davidson County, tax regulations, service stations, restaurants, and cinder block and concrete manufacturers. Additional topics of discussion include the need for automobile inspection in North Carolina, attempts to amend criminal statutes relating to public drunkenness, the illumination of railroad switch lights, unions and anti-closed shop laws, monopolistic practices of soft drink vending machines, protection of children whose parents married under the age of sixteen, and various other local and statewide issues.

The third category contains a variety of unrelated items including American Legion minutes of the France Convention Investigating Committee (1928), a list of battlefield and cemetery trips taken by veterans, reports of various contracts, a translation of hotel reservations, and a roster of officers in the 321st and 161st Infantry brigades.

Also included are photographs, clippings (1924-1968), legal and financial information, and newspaper articles written by Phillips on local history.

Pamphlets include: Boone Way, The Only Way to Real Recovery, The Daniel Boone Memorial Booklet, Military Order of the World War; Constitution and By-Laws, and Why Revise Our State Constitution.

Administrative information
Custodial History

July 18, 1968, ca. 400 items; Personal and legislative file (1900-1961), including correspondence, speeches, clippings, pamphlets, and photographs. Gift of Mrs. R. M. Middleton and Mrs. Wade H. Phillips, Lexington, N. C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. R. M. Middleton and Mrs. Wade H. Phillips

Processing information

Processed by R. Browning, December 1978

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Phillips, Wade H. (Wade Hampton), 1879-1968
Corporate Names
Democratic Party (N.C.)
East Carolina College
North Carolina. General Assembly. Senate
North Carolina. State Board of Health
United States. Constitution. 18th Amendment
Harbors--Law and legislation--North Carolina
Public schools--North Carolina--History
Taxation--North Carolina
Wages--North Carolina
Wildlife conservation--North Carolina
Wildlife management--North Carolina--Davidson County
Davidson County (N.C.)--Politics and government