Ruffin C. Godwin Papers

Manuscript Collection #611
Godwin, Ruffin C.
Physical description
2 Cubic Feet
Preferred Citation
Ruffin C. Godwin Papers (#611), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1940-1970) of Veterans Service Director, American Legion Commander, and Craven County representative in NC General assembly (1965,1967,1969), including correspondence, legislative files, reports and miscellaneous materials.

Biographical/historical information

Ruffin C. Godwin was born near Dunn, North Carolina, on February 10, 1891, to Wiley and Delia Godwin. He served in World War I with the United States Army, attaining the rank of Corporal. He was honorably discharged in 1918 and joined the American Legion at its inception in 1919. He served admirably in the American Legion from 1919 until his death. He served as Post Adjutant and Post Commander of the Donerson Hawkins Post 24 of The American Legion in New Bern, North Carolina, as District Commander, Department Vice Commander, and Department Commander of the North Carolina American Legion and as Vice Chairman of the National Internal Affairs Commission, the National Economic Commission, the National Trophies, Awards and Ceremonials Committee, the National Distinguished Guests Committee, National Executive Committeeman from North Carolina, and National Vice Commander of the American Legion. He was also politically active serving on the County Board of Elections in 1928, and as an Alderman for the city of New Bern from 1932 to 1936. In 1939 in was appointed to the United States Department of Labor, Office of Veteran Affairs, as the representative to North Carolina. He held this position until 1963 when he ran for the General Assembly as a representative to Carteret, Pamlico, and Craven Counties. During his three terms he served as Vice Chairman of the House Committees on Employment Security, State Personnel, and Banks and Banking; and as Chairman of the Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs in the 1967 and 1969.

Godwin was married twice, first in 1919 to Betty Wilkins Godwin (1883-1956) until her death. They had one son, Robert C. Godwin (1922-1994). He then married Mary Elizabeth Dixon (1906-1992) in 1957. They had no issue.

Ruffin Cornelius Godwin passed away five days shy of his seventy-ninth birthday on February 5, 1970, at his home in New Bern, North Carolina.

Find a Grave

Ruffin C. Godwin Obituary

Scope and arrangement

This collection spans several decades with most of the material falling in the late 1960's. Ruffin C. Godwin was Craven County's representative to the North Carolina General Assembly from 1965 to 1969. His campaign materials, records, and correspondence with fellow assemblymen are found in the first series of this collection. During his tenure many important social issues were brought to debate in the Assembly and Godwin's constituency was not hesitant in expressing their opinions. As such, a large portion of this collection is the constituent correspondence Godwin received. Series two houses issues that had large constituent responses such as: brown-bagging, whiskey by the glass, East Carolina College's university status, public schools, teachers, the speaker ban, and retired military and civil servants benefits.

Even before his tenure in the General Assembly, Godwin was heavily involved in Veteran Employment Services with both the federal and North Carolina Departments of Labor. The third series houses his records with both. He also was involved with prison reform, notably advocating for Vocational Rehabilitation. Records relating to his participation as well as federal and North Carolina studies of its success in the 1960's are included in series three as well.

The fourth series focuses on Godwin's involvement with the American Legion which he joined at its inception in 1919. These records include correspondence from both regional and national delegates, notifications of reunions, and include materials relating to celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of World War I. The American Legion's response to the 1948 Hoover Commission that advocated the closing of the Veteran's Administration is also included.

The final series in this collection houses oversize documents. Here, campaign posters, General Assembly seating charts and voting logs, redistricting maps, and the NC American Legion newspapers from the late 1960's can be found.

This collection is most helpful to the researcher looking into Vocational Rehabilitation, retired military concerns, and eastern North Carolina's political situation from 1965 to 1969.

Administrative information
Custodial History

December 31, 1990, 2 cubic feet; Papers (1940-1970) of Veterans Employment Service director, American Legion commander, and Craven County representative in N.C. General Assembly (1965, 1967, 1969), including correspondence, legislative files, reports, and miscellaneous materials. Donor: Mr. Robert Godwin.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Robert Godwin

Processing information

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Processing completed April 26, 2016, by Samantha Sheffield

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
Godwin, Ruffin C.
Craven County (N.C.)--History--20th century

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Campaign Materials of Ruffin C. Godwin, 1964-1968
Box 1 Folder b General Assembly, 1964
Box 1 Folder c General Assembly, 1965
Box 1 Folder d General Assembly, 1966
Box 1 Folder e General Assembly, 1967
Box 1 Folder f General Assembly, 1968
Box 1 Folder g General Assembly, 1969
Box 1 Folder h General Assembly, farewell letters, 1969-1970
Box 1 Folder i Private Correspondence, 1959-1961
Box 2 Folder a Recommendations by Representative Godwin, 1964-1970
Box 2 Folder b Political Press Publications, "The State" Magazine, July 2, 1949 with Godwin on cover, and Craven County "Fact Magazine" published by NC Motor Carriers Assoc, 1965
Box 2 Folder c Revenue Reports from NC Dept. of Revenue, 1964-1970
Box 2 Folder d Alcohol: browin bagging and whiskey by the glass, 1967
Box 2 Folder e Alcohol: drunk driving and violence, 1967
Box 2 Folder f Alcohol taxation, 1969
Box 2 Folder g Auto insurance and licensing, 1965
Box 2 Folder h Banking: loans and interest rates, 1966
Box 2 Folder i Capital Punishment, 1967
Box 2 Folder j County specific concerns, 1964-1969
Box 2 Folder l East Carolina University independent status, 1966-1967
Box 2 Folder m East Carolina University status: newspaper clippings, 1966-1967
Box 2 Folder n East Carolina University status: constituent correspondence, 1966-1967
Box 3 Folder a Education: public schools, 1964-1969
Box 3 Folder b Education: teachers, 1964-1969
Box 3 Folder c Education: university, 1965-1969
Box 3 Folder d Farming and dairy concerns, 1965-1969
Box 3 Folder e Fisheries and coastal water concerns, 1965-1969
Box 3 Folder f Gas Tax, 1969
Box 3 Folder g Hospital and mental health concerns, 1965-1969
Box 3 Folder h Public land concerns: parks and pollution, 1966-1968
Box 3 Folder i Roads and highways commission, 1964-1970
Box 3 Folder j Retired civil servants, 1967-1969
Box 3 Folder k Retired military concerns, 1965-1970
Box 4 Folder a Speaker Ban, 1965
Box 4 Folder b Tax: tobacco and soft drink, 1965-1969
Box 4 Folder c Wildlife & forestry concerns, 1965-1968
Box 4 Folder d Youth councils and voting age, 1968
Box 4 Folder e General/other issue correspondence, 1965-1969
Box 4 Folder f U.S. Dept. of Labor - Veteran's Employment Service & N.C. Veterns Commission, 1959-1967
Box 4 Folder g U.S. Dept. of Labor Study on Vocational Rehabilitation, 1960-1961
Box 4 Folder h N.C, Governor's Study on Vocational Rehabilitation, 1967-1968
Box 4 Folder i Vocational Rehabilitation constituent correspondence, 1960-1968
0611-s3 Veterns Employment Services, 1958-1968
Box 5 Folder a American Legion, 1945-1959
Box 5 Folder b American Legion, 1960-1962
Box 5 Folder c American Legion, 1962-1963
Box 5 Folder d American Legion, 1964-1966
Box 5 Folder e American Legion, 1967-1969
Box 5 Folder f American Legion Response to Hoover Commission, 1948
Box 5 Folder g American Legion newsletters and pamphlets, 1945-1969
Box os1 Includes: campaign posters, reditricting maps, certificates of service in General Assembly, seating charts of 1965 General Assembly, 1965-1969
Box os2 NC American Legion newspapers, 1965-1969