Quentin Gregory Papers

1905-1913, 2013
Manuscript Collection #200
Gregory, Quentin; Gregory, Thomas Wynns
Physical description
0.63 Cubic Feet, 260 items , consisting of correspondence, a letter copy book, photographs, picture post cards, and a memoir.
Preferred Citation
Quentin Gregory Papers (#200), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1905-1913, undated) consisting of correspondence, a letter copy book, photographs, picture post cards, brands of tobacco, etc. related to Halifax Co, North Carolina, native Quentin Gregory's work in China with the British-American Tobacco Company. Also included is a memoir written by his son Thomas Wynns Gregory in 2013 about life growing up and living as an adult in Halifax, N.C.

Biographical/historical information

Quentin Gregory, a native of Halifax County, was born February 4, 1880. He attended Horner Military School in Oxford, N. C., and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1902. Mr. Gregory was employed in China by the British-American Tobacco Company from 1905 to 1920. He was president of the Bank of Halifax from 1921 to about 1956 when he was made chairman of the board. In 1968, Mr. Gregory retired from active business.

Scope and arrangement

Correspondence in the collection deals primarily with business of the British-American Tobacco Company. These letters are written by Quentin Gregory in Tientsin to the company office in Shanghai. The Tientsin Association of the British-American Tobacco Company held a monopoly in the tobacco trade for that area. The primary concern in most of these letters is the fierce competition between the Tientsin Association and the Dragon (assumed to be a Japanese brand of tobacco). Numerous letters in 1906 describe the efforts of the Association to eliminate Dragon from the market. The use of contracts with subdealers to reduce Dragon sales is discussed. The contract forbid subdealers to sell Dragon in their shops. The reluctance of subdealers to sign is attributed to the $10 to $100 fine for violators. The company dealt with those who would not stop selling Dragon by refusing to allow them any of the profits from shares if they continued to sell opposition goods. Some of the problems of the company such as difficulty with the custom houses and railroads, and the need of a man at customs to report on incoming cigarettes are discussed. Other problems include the misconduct of a night watchman (1908), classification of first and second class shops as to allotments (1908), and the scarcity of money (1906).

Different brands of tobacco such as Golden Bat, Antocar, Rooster, and Pinhead are analyzed by Gregory. A comparison of their prices and success on the market is made. Methods of advertising are also dealt with in some letters. Correspondence of 1906 gives lists of advertising matter and brands put on gratis to encourage sales.

Included in the collection is a Pass for Protection in China; map and book on Kyoto, Japan; and other miscellaneous items. A great number of photographs and postcards reflect life in China during this period. Nitrate negatives of some of the photographs have been placed in storage.

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 23, 1972, ca. 300 items; papers (1905-1913, undated) consisting of correspondence, a letter copy book, photographs, and picture post cards. Deposited by Mr. Quentin Gregory, Halifax, N.C. Gift contract signed in 2019 by his sons John T. Gregory and Miles C. Gregory.

September 9, 2019, (unprocessed addition 1), 0.20 cubic feet; This addition includes the manuscript copy, a typescript, and the bound volume of Ahhh, Halifax written by Thomas Wynns Gregory in 2013. Thomas Gregory, a son of Quentin Gregory, documents his life growing up and living as an adult in Halifax, North Carolina, from the Great Depression through the rest of the 20th Century and into the 21st Century. His memoir is written in a very engaging manner that gives the reader a true picture of the times. Gift of Christina Long Gregory.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Quentin Gregory

Gift of John Tillery Gregory

Gift of Dr. Miles Cunningham Gregory

Gift of Christina Long Gregory

Processing information

Processed by J. Bouldin, June 1975

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
Gregory, Quentin
Corporate Names
British-American Tobacco Co. (China)--History
Americans--China--History--20th century
International business enterprises--China
Tobacco industry--China
Tianjin (China)