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