John R. Porter Papers

Manuscript Collection #635
Porter, John R.
Physical description
0.43 Cubic Feet, 274 items , consisting of correspondence, clippings, photographs, statistics, biographical sketches, reports, one published volume, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
John R. Porter Papers (#635), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1915-1959) including correspondence, clippings, photographs, statistics, biographical sketches, reports, financial statements, meeting minutes, and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

John Rucker Porter (1880-1959) was born near Lillard's Mill, TN, worked as a clerk with Cumberland Telephone Company in Nashville, TN (1900-1908), and became the General Manager of Home Telephone and Telegraph Company in Henderson, NC (1918). When Home Telephone merged with Carolina Telephone (1926), Porter became the executive vice president of the new company, Carolina Telephone and Telegraph, and served as the company's fourth president until his retirement (1938-1947). Porter remained on the company's Board of Directors until his death (1959).

Scope and arrangement

Early personal correspondence discusses the possibilities of starting a hunting club that would rival Camp Bryan in Craven County, NC, in availability of bird, duck, and wild turkey (Aug. 26 and Oct. 9, 1929); membership lists of golf clubs and the arrangements of golf tournaments (1929 and 1934); agricultural conditions on Porter's Hyde County, NC, farm, Riverside (Sept. 24, 1947); the development of the Camp Carolina recreational area for Carolina Telephone employees on Porter's property in Hyde County (1930s); and letters from a U.S. military officer stationed in Sri Lanka in World War II concerning native fishing and cultural practices and attempts to keep his bored men busy (Feb. 3 and Mar. 30, 1945). Correspondents include George A. Holderness (founder and third president of Carolina Telephone and also a state senator), Walter Gifford (American Telephone and Telegraph president), Benjamin S. Read (Southern Bell president), LelandHume (Southern Bell vice president), and Wesley M. Angle (U.S. Independent Telephone Association director).

Business-related correspondence discusses stock prices, dividends, and service expansion strategies for Carolina Telephone and other independent telephone companies (1929-1947). Particularly interesting letters describe an attempted takeover of Carolina Telephone (May 10, 1929); the implementation of dial "cut over" technology and Southern Bell's involvement with this project (Oct. 4, 1929); Depression-era pieces of business legislation such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Walsh-Healey Act, and the National Labor Relations Act that were likely to place financial pressure on the telephone industry (1939-1940); the supply of American aircraft to the British Royal Air Force (Aug. 20, 1940); and the company's wiring of telephone systems for military installations such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina (Sept. 25, 1940). Other letters contain a financial statement and meeting minutes (Nov. 18, 1929) of the October 29, 1929, meeting of the J. Epps Brown Chapter of the Telephone Pioneers of America; U.S. Independent Telephone Association lists (1934-1937, 1940) of purchases, sales, and current assets of independent telephone companies; and an address (1934) by Andrew W. Robertson (Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company chairman of the board).

Miscellaneous items include newspaper clippings of Porter's achievements in the telephone industry and Camp Carolina; photographs of the Porter family, of Carolina Telephone executives, of Carolina Telephone social events at which Porter received awards, and of the installation of a Fort Bragg, NC, telephone cable; and publications including official history of the company entitled Carolina Telephone: The First One Hundred Years by James R. Nichols. Oversized materials include the chart, "A Century of Business Progress" and a Carolina Telephone and Telegraph Company map that depicts existing telephone exchanges and the controlling companies of these exchanges (1926).

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 19, 1992, 273 items; Papers (1915-1959), of president of Carolina Telephone and Telegraph Company, including correspondence, clippings, photographs, statistics, biographical sketches, reports, and miscellany. Gift of Mrs. Ruth Dancy, Tarboro, NC.

February 7, 1996 (addition), 1 volume; Copy of Carolina Telephone: The First Hundred Years by James R. Nichols. Gift of Mr. William E. Elmore, Greenville, NC.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Ruth Dancy

Gift of Mr. William E. Elmore

Processing information

Processed by K. Rouse, June 1997

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
Porter family
Porter, John R., 1880-1959
Corporate Names
Carolina Telephone and Telegraph Company
Farms--North Carolina--Hyde County
Telephone companies--North Carolina--Records and correspondence
Telephone--North Carolina--Fort Bragg
Wildlife-related recreation--North Carolina