This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
|Size||About 9,500 items (25.5 linear feet)|
|Abstract||J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton (1878-1961) was a historian; founder of the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.; and professor and chair of the History Department at the University of North Carolina. The collection consists of of J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton's personal, family, and professional correspondence (except for his correspondence as chair of the History Department at the University of North Carolina and director of the Southern Historical Collection, which are held by the University Archives), 1885-1961; Hamilton's diaries, 1919, from when he served in the Army Educational Corps in France, and 1935-1949, which chiefly recount his extensive collecting trips around the South and his working and social life in Chapel Hill; nine scrapbooks, 1900-1961, on Hamilton, his academic and professional career, with some material relating to his military service during and after World War I and to the Southern Historical Collection; miscellaneous writings by Hamilton, many unpublished; and notes on Confederate generals. Frequent correspondents include James Sprunt; R.D.W. Connor, historian and from 1934 the first Archivist of the United States; Louis Round Wilson; historian E. Merton Coulter; David A. Shepherd, a fellow alumnus of the University of the South; A.R. Newsome; and Charles W. Dabney.|
|Creator||Hamilton, Joseph Gregoire de Roulhac, 1878-1961.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Joesph Gregoire de Roulhac Hamilton, son of Daniel Heyward and Frances Gray Roulhac Hamilton, was born in Hillsborough, N.C., on 6 August 1878 and died in Chapel Hill, N.C., on 10 November 1961. He attended the Sewanee Academy in Tennessee and received his Masters degree from the University of South in 1900. He next attended Columbia University where he studied under William Archibald Dunning and received his Ph.D. in 1906.
Hamilton began his teaching career as an instructor at the Horner Military School in Oxford, N.C., in 1901. He served as principal of the Wilmington, N.C., High School from 1904 to 1906. In 1906, he was appointed associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In 1908, Hamilton became Alumni Professor and Chair of the History Department, and later Kenan Professor of History and Government in 1920. He resigned as chair of History Department in 1930, but continued to teach until 1936, after which he devoted full time to the Southern Historical Collection (SHC).
During World War I, Hamilton was Director for the War Issues Course, Fourth District, S.A.T.C., 1918; Lecturer, Citizenship Unit, Army Educational Corps, A.E.F., 1919; and Consultant in General Education to the War Plans Division, U.S. General Staff, 1920-1922.
Hamilton wrote more than a hundred articles and sketches for leading historical journals and reviews. He authored Reconstruction in North Carolina (1914), Party Politics in North Carolina,1835-1860 (1916), and North Carolina Since 1860 (1919), among other book-length publications. He was active in and held office for a number professional associations, including the American Historical Association, the Historical Manuscripts Commission, the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the Southern Historical Association, and the Historical Society of North Carolina.
Hamilton is probably best known as the founder of the Southern Historical Collection, which opened for research in January 1930. Hamilton's vision, as outlined in a 1928 meeting of the North Carolina Historical Society, was to create a repository for the preservation and study of the history of the American South. Partially relieved of his teaching duties to pursue this goal, Hamilton searched the South for documentation to bring back to Chapel Hill. His efforts to build the collection earned him the nickname "Ransack," but also helped make the University of North Carolina the pre-eminent center for Southern studies. By Hamilton's retirement in 1948, the SHC contained more than two million manuscripts documenting the history of the American South.Back to Top
The collection consists of of J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton's personal, family, and professional correspondence (except for his correspondence as chair of the History Department at the University of North Carolina and director of the Southern Historical Collection, which are held by the University Archives), 1885-1961; Hamilton's diaries, 1919, from when he served in the Army Educational Corps in France, and 1935-1949, which chiefly recount his extensive collecting trips around the South and his working and social life in Chapel Hill; nine scrapbooks, 1900-1961, on Hamilton, his academic and professional career, with some material relating to his military service during and after World War I and to the Southern Historical Collection; miscellaneous writings by Hamilton, many unpublished; and notes on Confederate generals. Frequent correspondents include James Sprunt; R.D.W. Connor, historian and from 1934 the first Archivist of the United States; Louis Round Wilson; historian E. Merton Coulter; David A. Shepherd, a fellow alumnus of the University of the South; A.R. Newsome; and Charles W. Dabney.Back to Top
The Correspondence Series is divided into chronological (1.1) and alphabetical subseries (1.2). Series 1.1 consists of personal and professional correspondence documenting Hamilton's life as a student at the University of the South and at Columbia University and his career as an historian and director of the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. Series 1.2 consists of correspondence regarding personal and domestic matters and also publications, university business, and reference assistance for collections in the Southern Historical Collection. Letters from Hamilton's sons, Rhoulac Hamilton and Alfred T. Hamilton, are primarily found in Subseries 1.2.
Chiefly personal and professional correspondence. Early folders contain letters and other materials from Hamilton's time as a student at the University of the South and later at Columbia University under William Dunning. The bulk of this series consists of personal letters from family, friends, fellow historians, and university administrators. There are also requests for research assistance from students, colleagues, and members of the public.
A considerable number of letters and other documents relate to Hamilton's publications, including a co-written school textbook on United States history, Our Republic (1910); Reconstruction in North Carolina (1910); Party Politics in North Carolina (1916); North Carolina since 1860 (1919); biographical studies of Robert E. Lee, Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, and Henry Ford; as well as surveys of significant manuscript collections in the Southern Historical Collection, shorter published essays, and newspaper articles. There is also substantial correspondence relating to Hamilton's participation in professional associations, including the North Carolina Historical Commission, the Southern Historical Association, and the American Historical Association.
Frequent correspondents include James Sprunt (1846-1924); R.D.W. Connor (1878-1950), historian and from 1934 the first Archivist of the United States; Louis Round Wilson (1876-1979); historian E. Merton Coulter (1890-1981); David A. Shepherd, a fellow alumnus of the University of the South; A.R. Newsome; and Charles W. Dabney. Most of the correspondence from Hamilton's sons Roulhac and Alfred T. Hamilton is filed in subseries 1.2.
Includes some letters from Hamilton to his parents, his father's will, and materials relating to graduate school and his appointment at the University of North Carolina.
Includes letters relating to an attempt to lure Hamilton to Cornell University and Hamilton's wedding to Mary Thompson.
Includes a short note from Woodrow Wilson.
Include materials relating to Hamilton's advocacy of a Constitutional Convention in North Carolina.
Correspondence regarding personal and domestic matters and also publications, university business, and reference assistance for collections in the Southern Historical Collection. Postcards from friends and messages of condolence following Mary Thompson Hamilton's death in 1959 are included. This series also contains the bulk of the correspondence from Hamilton's sons Roulhac Hamilton and Alfred T. Hamilton to their parents.
Chiefly typewritten scripts of articles, reviews, speeches, and other writings relating to southern history in general and to the history of North Carolina in particular. A short story about a ghost at the University of the South, written under the pseudonym "James Heyward" is included, as are Hamilton's notes for a project on Confederate generals and periodic bibliographies of Hamilton's work.
Diaries, 1919 and 1933-1949, chiefly recount Hamilton's extensive collecting trips around the South and his working and social life in Chapel Hill. The diaries include candid observations on donors and contributors to the Southern Historical Collection, potential and actual; Hamilton's dealings with university administrators and colleagues; impressions of places and people he encountered on his collecting trips around the South; social engagements with family and friends; and leisure activities such as golf and vacations. Also included are some 1919 diaries and typewritten letters to Mary Thompson Hamilton from France, where Hamilton served in the Army Educational Commission. The indices in Boxes 15-19 are apparently unarranged slips of paper in Hamilton's hand that index the handwritten diaries by person and place name.
The scrapbooks consist chiefly of newspaper clippings and other printed materials. Many of the clippings are undated with the newspaper unidentified. Some overlapping of dates and subject matter occur in the different volumes. Scrapbook 1, 1903-1921, contains material on Hamilton's academic and professional career, with information on his student days at the University of the South and at Columbia University, and more on his life at the University of North Carolina. Some material relates to his service with the Education and Recreation Branch of the Army during World War I.
Scrapbook 2, 1919, records Hamilton's service in France with the Army Educational Commission. Scrapbook 3, circa 1900-1948, contains many types of materials, from birthday cards to ration cards, with historical materials interspersed. Scrapbooks 4-5 contain personal and professional materials, including clippings of book reviews written while Hamilton was editor of the Greensboro News book review page. Scrapbooks 6-9 document the Southern Historical Collection.
The oversized diplomas include Hamilton's undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as honorary degrees from Washington and Lee University and the University of the South.
Office correspondence of Hamilton prior to the formation of the Southern Historical Collection. These files contain the correspondence of Hamilton with potential donors of southern materials; with people inquiring about genealogy, old stamps, and museum items; answers to Hamilton's inquiries about various papers that he collected; discussions about the library's collection; and responses to 1928 newspaper announcements launching a collection of southern historical manuscripts.
Personal and professional correspondence of Hamilton, 1929-1958. The personal correspondence, 1929-1955, contains information concerning his travels, personal affairs, recommendations and references, invitations to civic and social functions, and answers to research inquiries. The professional correspondence, 1929-1958, contains information regarding his travels for the Southern Historical Collection, obtaining papers for the Southern Historical Collection, professional meetings and speaking engagements, references and recommendations, people seeking manuscript publication, and his own publications.
Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.
Processed by: Tim Pyatt, March 1997.
Finding Aid encoded by Jackie Dean, Southern Historical Collection, 24 March 1998
Revised by: Wakefield Harper, April 2010.Back to Top