The collection consists of family correspondence, photographs, negatives, and miscellaneous materials. Early letters detail activities at Washington and Lee University, including two open-air plays and socializing with girls from Bryn Mawr, PA (May 6, 1908. Other early letters concern the death of Lee Sutton, the search for his body after a canoeing accident, and condolences from friends and family (June 1-August 2, 1908). Other topics discussed were malaria (July 25-August 19, 1920); the Christian Science religion (July 8, 1920); a car and train accident that resulted in death (July 29, 1920); a circus in Kinston, NC (August 8, 1920); the shooting of a man by a Negro over back pay (August 14, 1921); a portable victrola and the cost of victrola record books (January undated, August 3, 1920); radio stations (January 7-8, 1925); operations for tonsillitis and thyroid problems (February 2-17, June 2-23, 1926); the preservation of a Greensboro, NC, cemetery (March 11-14, 1929); and vitaphone pictures (March 12-14, 1929). Throughout the correspondence daily activities of the Sutton family are described, and bridge clubs, book clubs, and various forms of entertainment are mentioned (1925-1948).
The bulk of the correspondence focuses on activities during World War II. Discussed are activities on board the USS
NEW YORK during the North Atlantic Neutrality Patrol and at the beginning of the war (April 19-September 21, 1941) and on board the USS
CABANA in the Pacific Theatre (November 6, 1943-August 19, 1945). Specific topics concern the rescue of survivors of a sunken Norwegian ship in the North Atlantic (July 20, 1941, attached to a letter of July 7, 1941); German prisoners of war at work in a Kinston, NC, tobacco warehouse (August 9, 1944); the shortage of domestic labor in Detroit and the Negro race riots (October 15, 1944); the actions of an anti-submarine group (January 11, 1945); traveling around the Hawaiian Islands (February 2, 1945); religious services on board ship (February 6, 1945); the easing of censorship restrictions (July 31, 1945); and the clearing of Japanese mines in the Pacific (August 19, 1945). Throughout the letters various forms of entertainment including radio shows, reading, social events, and building model boats are mentioned.
Other correspondence concerns the high cost of automobiles (January 3, 1946) and musical performances at Montreat, NC (August 24, 1947). Miscellaneous items include a pamphlet on the gold standard, a list of members of the N.C. General Assembly (1925), Christian Science materials, and newspaper clippings. The collection's photographs consist of hunting and fishing scenes, portraits, group shots, and a number of baseball player Babe Ruth while on hunting and fishing trips to Camp Bryan in Craven County, NC. Also included are family photographs and negatives.
For more information on Camp Bryan, see
Carteret Waterfowl Heritage by Jack Dudley, 1993.