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|Size||20 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 15,800 items)|
|Abstract||Daniel Augustus Tompkins (1851-1914) was an engineer, manufacturer, publisher, author, and leader in Southern industrial development. A native of South Carolina, he received a degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, N.Y., in 1873; worked in the steel industry in New York, 1873-1874, and Pennsylvania, 1874-1883; worked as agent for the Westinghouse Machine Company and as an engineer, machinist, and contractor in Charlotte, N.C.; was principal owner of three cotton mills; owned controlling interests in the Charlotte Daily Observer and the Greenville (S.C.) News; wrote a history of Mecklenburg County, N.C., and books about cotton mill operations; and worked actively in business and civic organizations. The collection contains correspondence, chiefly 1900-1914, concerning the business and civic interests of Daniel Augustus Tompkins; speeches and articles by Tompkins, mostly on economic issues; and family correspondence. Papers document Tompkins's interest in national economic issues, such as banking, currency, the tariff, immigration, labor relations, child labor, and merchant marine, and in improving the South by promoting industrial development, foreign trade, education, and betterment work, as well as his business interests and family relationships. Correspondence about national issues includes letters to and from Senator Lee S. Overman and U.S. Representative E. Y. Webb. Business letters discuss Tompkins's engineering business in Charlotte, N.C., and his cotton mills in Charlotte and High Shoals, N.C., and in Edgefield, S.C.; his work for the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition Company; and to a lesser extent, the business of the Charlotte Daily Observer and the Greenville (S.C.) News. Other letters document Tompkins's involvement in the National Association of Manufacturers and its committees, and in other business and civic organizations, including the U.S. Industrial Commission, 1900-1902; the National Council of Commerce; the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Agriculture and Mechanic Arts College (later North Carolina State University); and the Charlotte Park and Tree Commission (Charlotte, N.C.). Family correspondence includes many letters about Tompkins's personal business, especially the management of property in Edgefield, S.C.|
|Creator||Tompkins, Daniel Augustus, 1851-1914.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
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Daniel Augustus Tompkins (1851-1914) was an engineer, manufacturer, publisher, and leader in Southern industrial development. He was born and reared in Edgefield County, S.C. He attended the University of South Carolina for two years and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, N.Y., 1869-1873. He received a civil engineer's degree in 1873 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While he attended Rensselaer, he worked part-time and in the summer for the Bessemer Iron Works in Troy. After a year as a draftsman in the office of Alexander L. Holley in Brooklyn, N.Y., Tompkins worked for ten years under John Fritz at the works of the Bethlehem Iron Company in Pennsylvania. Fritz was instrumental in Tompkins's going to the Schwerte Iron Works in Westphalia, Germany, to set up American machinery. When he returned after a year in Germany, Tompkins worked for one year as master machinist for the Crystal Plate Glass Works in Crystal City, Mo., and then went to Charlotte, N.C., early in 1883. In addition to providing services as engineer, machinist, and contractor, he was the representative of the Westinghouse Machine Company of Pittsburgh, Pa.
In 1886, Tompkins began designing and building cottonseed oil mills. In addition to selling and installing steam engines and electric-generating plants, Tompkins built 500 cottonseed oil mills and 200 cotton-spinning and -weaving mills in an area extending from Texas into Virginia. He was principal owner of cotton mills at Charlotte and High Shoals, N.C., and at Edgefield, S.C.
In 1891, Tompkins purchased controlling interest in the Charlotte Chronicle . This newspaper was soon called the Charlotte Daily Observer , and in 1903 the Observer began publishing the Charlotte Evening Chronicle. Two years later Tompkins and the Observer's editor, Joseph Pearson Caldwell, acquired controlling interest in the Greenville (S.C.) News.
Tompkins was an active writer and public speaker. Many of his speeches were published in pamphlet form. His books include a two-volume history of Mecklenburg County, N.C. (1903), Cotton Mill Processes and Calculations (1899), Cotton Mill Commercial Features (1899), and Cotton and Cotton Oil (1901). In his writing and speaking, Tompkins promoted the economic progress of the South. He supported improved education in the South, especially practical education such as that provided in state agricultural and mechanical colleges. He strongly advocated diversification of the economy of the South, both of agriculture and of industry.
Tompkins was appointed to membership on the U.S. Industrial Commission by President William McKinley in 1900. The commission reported in 1902. He was seriously considered by President Taft for the post of American minister to China but was not appointed. He served North Carolina as a member of the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Agriculture and Mechanic Arts College (later North Carolina State University).
Tompkins was an active member of the National Association of Manufacturers, serving on the executive committee and chairing at various times committees on child labor, immigration, tariffs, currency, and merchant marine. He served on the child labor committee of the National Civic Federation. He was also a member of the American Cotton Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers, the Appalachian National Forest Association, the advisory committee of the National Religious Training School and Chatauqua for the Colored Race (later North Carolina Central University), the Manufacturers' Club in Charlotte, and other business and social organizations.
Daniel Augustus Tompkins never married. According to George T. Winston, whose A Builder of the New South: Being the Story of the Life Work of Daniel Augustus Tompkins was published in 1920, Tompkins planned to marry a young woman he met in Brooklyn in 1873. He corresponded with her for ten years, while they waited for her health to improve, but she died before they could be married. He corresponded and exchanged visits with, and gave financial help to his brother, Arthur S. Tompkins (b. 1854) of Edgefield, S.C.; his sister, Lalla Tompkins Graydon of Greenwood, S.C.; his stepmother Ella S. Tompkins, and his brothers and sister, Clifford Tompkins, Wallace Tompkins, and Grace Tompkins (b. circa 1887) of Edgefield, S.C. He corresponded with and helped educate Arthur's daughter Christine Tompkins, and Lalla's children, Madge Graydon Fetzer, Sterling Graydon (d. 1974), and Clinton Graydon. He also corresponded with and financially helped his cousins, Sarah Tompkins Smyly and Josephine Tompkins Willcox. Tompkins died in October 1914 at his summer home in Montreat, N.C.Back to Top
This collection consists primarily of correspondence concerning the business and civic interests of Daniel Augustus Tompkins; speeches and articles by Tompkins, mostly on economic issues; and family correspondence of Tompkins. Also included are routine letters about Tompkins's business, to and from Tompkins's private secretary, Anna L. Twelvetrees. Other items include lecture notes, genealogical material, and clippings of newspaper and magazine articles by or about Daniel Augustus Tompkins or about topics of interest to him, such as the tariff, currency reform, education, or the development of industry in the South. Most of the material dates from the last fourteen years of Tompkins's life. Very little dates from the years he worked in the steel industry or from his first seventeen years in Charlotte, N.C. See the D. A. Tompkins Collection at Duke University for material from these years.
Major topics addressed in the correspondence and the speeches include cotton mill business, mill villages, tariffs, child labor, merchant marine, building and loan associations, newspapers, politics, race relations, railroads, and roads. Letters document his interest in national economic issues, such as banking and currency, the tariff, immigration, and labor relations, and his interest in improving the South by promoting industrial development, foreign trade, education, and betterment work in cotton mill villages, as well as his attention to his own business interests and his family relationships. Business letters discuss operation of Atherton Mills and the D. A. Tompkins Co. in Charlotte, N.C.; the High Shoals Mills, High Shoals, Gaston County, N.C.; the Edgefield Manufacturing Company, Edgefield, S.C.; and to a lesser extent, the Charlotte Daily Observer and the Greenville (S.C.) News. There is considerable correspondence about betterment work Tompkins supported at High Shoals, N.C., and Edgefield, S.C. Other letters document Tompkins's involvement in the National Association of Manufacturers and its committees, and in other business and civic organizations.
Family correspondence includes many letters about Tompkins's personal business, especially the management of property he owned. There are many letters to Tompkins's brother, Arthur S. Tompkins, about property and business in Edgefield, S.C., including letters about management of Meeting Street Plantation. Also included are letters about financial help D. A. Tompkins gave to younger relatives for their education.Back to Top
Correspondence concerning the business and civic interests of Daniel Augustus Tompkins; speeches and articles by Tompkins, mostly on economic issues; and family correspondence of Tompkins. Also included is correspondence of Tompkins's private secretary, Anna L. Twelvetrees. Most, but not all, of Miss Twelvetrees's letters are routine letters related to Tompkins's business. Major topics addressed in the correspondence and the speeches include cotton mill business, mill villages, tariffs, child labor, merchant marine, building and loan associations, newspapers, politics, race relations, railroads, and roads. Letters document Tompkins's interest in national economic issues, such as banking and currency, the tariff, immigration, and labor relations, and his interest in improving the South by promoting industrial development, foreign trade, education, and betterment work in cotton mill villages, as well as his attention to his own business interests and his family relationships. Business letters discuss operation of Atherton Mills and the D. A. Tompkins Co. in Charlotte, N.C.; the High Shoals Mills, High Shoals, Gaston County, N.C.; the Edgefield Manufacturing Company, Edgefield, S.C.; and to a lesser extent, the Charlotte Daily Observer and the Greenville News. There is considerable correspondence about betterment work Tompkins supported at High Shoals, N.C., and Edgefield, S.C. Other letters document Tompkins's involvement in the National Association of Manufacturers and its committees, and in other business and civic organizations.
Family correspondence includes many letters about Tompkins's personal business, especially the management of property he owned. There are many letters to Tompkins's brother, Arthur S. Tompkins, about property and business in Edgefield, S.C., including letters about management of Meeting Street Plantation. Also included are letters about financial help D. A. Tompkins gave to younger relatives for their education.
Letters received by Daniel Augustus Tompkins when he was in school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and when he was working in the steel industry in New York City, Bethlehem, Pa., and at Crystal City, Mo., as well as a few other items. The 1838 item is a typed transcription of a letter, 11 June 1838, from Tompkins's grandfather James Smyly to his son, written in Greenville, Tenn., describing his trip apparently from South Carolina to Tennessee and giving instructions about farming. The 1868 item is a typed transcription of a law about turnpikes.
Letters dated 1870 and 1871 are from Eliza Mims at Ridgewood to Tompkins giving news of friends and daily life. Letters of 1873 include letters from Henry Binsse, still at Troy, N.Y., giving news of friends and professors, and from E. Keese in Edgefield, S.C., bemoaning the economic problems of the day and suggesting that the current business confusion was a scheme to make planters pay their debts. "The poor planter," according to Keese, "belongs to his factor, the factor belongs to Wall Street, & Wall Street belongs to Lucifer."
Letters, 1874-1882, are primarily from school friends describing their work and prospects or from family and friends in Edgefield, S.C. Several letters from Henry Binsse describe the operations of the North Chicago Rolling Mill, then his dissatisfaction there and efforts to find other employment. Tompkins's most frequent correspondent in Edgefield was Alvin Hart, who wrote social and business news. Letters from Tompkins's father, DeWitt Clinton Tompkins, and his brother, Arthur S. Tompkins, give family news. In 1880, there are also a few letters in German from friends in Schwerte, Germany, and in 1881 there are letters from E. A. Hitchcock about an opportunity for Tompkins in the machinery department of the Crystal Plate-Glass Company and from Senator Plumb about a possible job in Kansas. Letters from Helen Ferriday and Gertrude duBarry Holgate appear in the 1870s. Both of these women corresponded with Tompkins for many years.
Letters received by Tompkins while he was living in Charlotte, N.C., letters endorsing Tompkins's appointment to the U.S. Industrial Commission, and a few related items. The relatively few items dated 1883-1889 primarily have to do with Tompkins's work as an agent for the Westinghouse Machine Company. Letters dated 1894-1897 chiefly concern Tompkins's interest in High Shoals, N.C., where he was asked to contribute to churches, and in Edgefield, S.C., where one of his main problems was to find a use for the Edgefield Hotel building he owned. In August 1898, there are letters concerning an unsuccessful effort to have Tompkins appointed to the U.S. Industrial Commission. Many letters in 1900 concern the successful effort to have Tompkins appointed to fill the vacancy created by Ellison A. Smythe's resignation from the Commission.
Correspondence, mostly letters received, concerning the business and civic interests of Daniel Augustus Tompkins; speeches and articles by Tompkins, mostly on economic issues; and a few other items. Major topics addressed in the correspondence and the speeches include mill business, mill villages, tariffs, child labor, merchant marine, building and loan associations, and the Appalachian Forest Reserve Association. Letters discuss operation of Atherton Mills and the D. A. Tompkins Co. in Charlotte, N.C., the High Shoals Mills, and the Edgefield Manufacturing Company, and Tompkins's involvement in the National Association of Manufacturers and its executive committee, child labor committee, and merchant marine committee. There is considerable correspondence about betterment work Tompkins supported at High Shoals, N.C., and Edgefield, S.C.
Some letters in 1901 concern the work of the U.S. Industrial Commission. In 1901 and 1902, there are letters about the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition Co. in Charleston, S.C. Tompkins received a letter dated 9 Nov. 1901 from C. J. H. Woodbury, secretary of the National Cotton Manufacturers Association.
Many letters in this period document Tompkins's continuing relationship with Edgefield, S.C. Letters from his brother Arthur and to a lesser extent his brother Wallace concern the management of property D. A. Tompkins owned in Edgefield. In addition to letters about business, Arthur often wrote family news and observations of people and situations around him. In June 1906, after Jim Tillman was nominated to run for Congress, Arthur described him as a "wild man" who had broken every one of the ten commandments, and an infidel who had never owned any property. Tompkins received letters from his sister Grace beginning in December 1905 about the school she ran at the Edgefield mill and about conditions in the mill village.
Tompkins also corresponded with his sister, Lalla Graydon, and her children. In 1905, Lalla asked Tompkins to use his influence to get her husband, Ellis Graydon, appointed a judge of a new circuit of the U.S. District Court. Lalla's son, Sterling Graydon, wrote letters in 1905 to Tompkins about his work in a turbine test office in Wilkinsburg, Pa.
Letters throughout the period document Tompkins's varied business interests and activities. He received letters from A. Q. Kale about High Shoals, N.C., including reports on the school, the library, the condition of houses in the mill village, operation of the store, and news about workers, as well as the actual operation of the mill. More details about the actual operation of Tompkins's business may be found in a letter, 31 July 1906, from S. B. Sargent, general manager, to D. A. Tompkins about the D. A. Tompkins Co. machine shop and roller covering shop. Also included are letters, late in 1905 and in 1906, concerning Tompkins's acquisition and management of the Greenville News. In 1905 and 1906, after Tompkins was appointed a director of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, he received letters from Paul Morton, president, and from others about the business of the Equitable.
Letters from Marshall Cushing, secretary of the National Association of Manufacturers, advised Tompkins of Executive Committee meetings, informed him about the business of the Association, and about positions the Association took on issues, including tariff and reciprocity in 1904, a printers' strike in 1905, an anti-injunction bill in 1905, an eight-hour bill in 1906, labor, immigration, and railroad rate legislation. In a letter, 29 October 1905, A. R. Smith of the Merchant Marine League of the United States asked for a meeting to explain the goals of the league. In 1906, Tompkins corresponded with various people as chairman of the Merchant Marine Committee of the National Association of Manufacturers.
A letter, 9 August 1905, from Wu Ting Fang, in Peking, China, explains why the Chinese were boycotting American goods. A letter, 11 December 1905, from John Foord, of the American Asiatic Association, describes his effort to initiate amendments to the Chinese Exclusion Acts.
Other letters document Tompkins's involvement in local civic organizations and activities, including the Southern Manufacturers Club, the Greater Charlotte Club, the Charlotte Park and Tree Commission, and the Engineering Society of the Carolinas. In the summer of 1906, Tompkins corresponded with Dr. Richard H. Lewis of the State Board of Public Health and with others about an investigation of sanitary conditions at Elizabeth College in Charlotte after an outbreak of typhoid fever there.
Also included are a few letters of December 1905 and 1906 about a proposed Appalachian Forest Reserve.
Correspondence of D. A. Tompkins, including both incoming letters and carbon copies of typed outgoing letters; speeches by Tompkins; and other items. Also included are routine letters about Tompkins's business, to and from Tompkins's private secretary, Anna L. Twelvetrees. Tompkins's letters from this period document his interest in national economic issues, such as banking and currency, the tariff, immigration, and labor relations, and his interest in improving the South by promoting industrial development, foreign trade, and betterment work in cotton mill villages, as well as his attention to his own business interests and his family relationships.
In February 1908, Tompkins exchanged letters with Senator Lee S. Overman of N.C., about banking and currency, which were addressed in the Aldrich and Bailey bills pending in Congress. Tompkins also wrote letters about the Ocean Mail bill and the need for more American deep sea ships and foreign trade.
The tariff was one of Tompkins's major interests in 1908 and 1909, as evidenced by letters exchanged with H. E. Miles of the NAM. Also included are letters in March and April 1909 to and from Senator Overman and H. E. C. Bryant about tariff bills. On 25 May 1909, Tompkins gave an address to the American Cotton Manufacturers Association at Richmond, Va., advocating establishment of a tariff commission. In a letter of 8 June 1909 to W. E. Gonzales, Columbia, S.C., Tompkins explained his view that there was little practical difference between a protective tariff which incidentally raised revenue and a revenue tariff which incidentally protected.
Letters of early 1907 indicate that Tompkins was to be chairman of the immigration committee of the National Association of Manufacturers. Letters from Senator Lee S. Overman in 1907 discuss immigration legislation. Other letters concern unsuccessful efforts to get President Roosevelt to appoint James Reynolds to an Immigration Commission.
Tompkins defended child labor in a letter of 24 January 1907 to J. P. Caldwell. Tompkins said the public should suspend judgement until the conclusion of an investigation by a child labor commission with representatives of the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Federation of Labor, and other organizations. Tompkins corresponded with officers of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and with Ralph Easley of the National Civic Federation about the child labor investigation. Also included are letters from F. C. Nunemacher, about the work of the NAM Child Labor Committee. A letter, 6 November 1907, from Oscar Straus, Secretary of Commerce and Labor, to Mr. Neill, Commissioner of Labor, describes Tompkins's distress over the methods used by child labor investigators. Additional letters in late 1907 discuss federal child labor investigators from the mill owners' viewpoint. The report of the Child Labor Committee is filed at 2 May 1908.
Tompkins sent and received letters about the business of several national business organizations. His correspondence reflects the fact that he served as chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers' currency committee and, beginning in January 1909, on the executive committee of the National Council of Commerce. He received numerous letters about National Association of Manufacturers committee appointments, minutes of meetings, positions on economic issues, and routine business. R. H. Edmonds, on 30 September 1909, asked Tompkins for the names of Southern men for an organization to support an American merchant marine.
Tompkins's concerns about Southern development are seen in a speech, 3-4 October 1907, at the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers, on "Southern Development and American Deep Sea Shipping" and in an exchange of letters in late September and early October between Tompkins and Governor Glenn about freight rate discrimination. A letter of 21 November 1907 from Tompkins to Isabel McIlwain demonstrates Tompkins's New South loyalties. He wrote that "loyalty to the South has come to be a sentiment rather than a thing of much consequence." He said that loyalty to the South had been important during Reconstruction but now the best loyalty to any section was to be loyal to the whole United States.
Tompkins's interest in improving conditions in mill villages is seen in letters to Kale about the importance of cleanliness and other measures to prevent typhoid fever and malaria. Tompkins was also actively involved in the search for a woman to be teacher and do betterment work at High Shoals. He received reports also on the night school at Atherton Mills and on the school taught by his sister Grace at the Edgefield Manufacturing Company. Tompkins also encouraged Grace to include a report on conditions in the mill village with her school report. In addition, he suggested and financially supported ways for Grace to make her house attractive and to make some money. He consulted with her on planting fig trees and a grape arbor. Her letters also describe her effort to sell preserved figs from the trees. Tompkins hoped her efforts would be a model for others in Edgefield.
Further interest in bettering the South is evidenced in letters, December 1907 and January 1908, about the Appalachian National Forest Association. In July 1908, Tompkins had agreed to be president of the Appalachian National Forest Association, with the agreement that he would be simply lending his name and that John Finney, the secretary of the association, would do the work required.
In January 1907, Tompkins received two letters from Governor R. B. Glenn about the governance of the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. He received several letters in 1907 and 1908 about business of the Board of the A & M College, especially about planning and constructing a power plant for the college. Most of these are from W. H. Ragan or George Winston. After George Winston resigned as President in 1908, there are letters from Ragan, Clarence Poe, and others about possible replacements.
In a letter dated 21 April 1909, James E. Shepard asked D. A. Tompkins to serve on an advisory committee for the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race, which was to be established in Durham, N.C. Additional routine letters inform Tompkins of meetings and request his support for the school.
Only a few letters address politics. Walter H. Page wrote to Tompkins, 28 July 1908, that it would be best if North Carolina supported Taft and that he did not think Bryan could win. Letters of 1909 document that Tompkins's name was put forward for office in the Taft administration. Tompkins's former employer in the steel industry, John Fritz, wrote to Tompkins about his efforts to put Tompkins in touch with President Taft. Tompkins replied to Fritz on 13 March 1909 that he thought the South had made progress in industrial development but remained alien in politics. On 23 January 1909, Marion Butler wrote to Tompkins and enclosed a copy of a letter he had sent to Taft recommending Tompkins for a cabinet post.
Included are many letters in June 1909 recommending Tompkins as American Minister to China, a move apparently started by the American Cotton Manufacturers Association. On 14 July 1909 Tompkins wrote to D. M. Parry that the trade of Southern cotton manufacturers was largely in China. Letters in early 1908 about adoption of the metric system in China as well as Tompkins's earlier correspondence with Wu Ting Fang demonstrate his earlier interest in China. Letters in July 1909 show that Crane was appointed minister to China and speculate on why Tompkins was not appointed.
Tompkins's correspondence of 1907 and 1908 shows that the national economic distress of 1907 affected his business. In November 1907, mill managers wrote to Tompkins that they were unable to get sufficient cash to operate. Tompkins wrote to Kale at High Shoals on 27 November 1907 that orders were being cancelled and recommended the mill be shut down for two weeks at Christmas.
Many letters document problems at the Edgefield Manufacturing Company. In a letter, 25 April 1907, from Charles Fisher, Edgefield Manufacturing Co., said the mill was short of labor, especially weavers. In the fall of 1908, the Edgefield Manufacturing Company went into receivership. Many letters, especially to and from Arthur Tompkins, in 1909 deal with reorganization of the company.
Early in 1907, the machinery and contracting business of the D. A. Tompkins Company was taken over by the American Machine and Manufacturing Co. Letters about the financial arrangements related to the sale of the company are found in correspondence, 1907-1909.
Letters from George Brunson, editor and manager of the Greenville News discuss finances of the paper and complaints, July 1907, from A. E. Gonzales about the News's Columbia correspondent. Tompkins occasionally wrote to Brunson about editorial positions of the paper. On 22 August 1908, for example, he wrote that he opposed abolishing the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Immigration because South Carolina needed to encourage the immigration of white people.
Beginning in the fall of 1909, there are letters about the business of the Charlotte Daily Observer. Tompkins exchanged letters with accountant Joel Hunter about the finances of the Observer and the Greenville News. Other letters discuss personnel and management problems at the Observer in the absence of J. P. Caldwell.
Other letters indicate the wide scope in Tompkins's business interests. Letters from various people request information about business. Some letters also request information or Tompkins's opinion about new machinery for cotton picking or manufacturing. Elizabeth D. L. Lewis, 26 September 1908 requested information about the cotton textile industry. G. Pandit, 3 February 1909, requested information about the cotton seed oil industry. There are many letters from job seekers. Some letters concern a sanitorium Tompkins built for a group of doctors in Charlotte in 1908.
Tompkins's personal correspondence included letters he received from Elizabeth Timlow about Cloverside School in Montclair, N.J., and from his niece Christine, who attended Cloverside School beginning in 1907. Tompkins paid Christine's expenses and arranged for her to visit friends and relatives in New York and Massachusetts on her vacations so that she would learn about the North. In 1909, Miss Timlow moved her school to Washington, D.C. Letters indicate her difficulties in establishing her school, finding a suitable building, getting students, and getting financial backing.
Tompkins's family correspondence included letters to and from his brother Arthur, and his sisters, Grace, and Lalla, as well as letters from and about cousins Josephine Tompkins and Stephen Austell Tompkins visiting in Edgefield and Charlotte. Also included are letters from Josephine and Stephen Austell's sister, Sarah Tompkins Smyly, whose daughter Grace had tuberculosis. Tompkins paid Grace Smyly's expenses at a sanitarium in Asheville.
Beginning in September 1908, Bessie Tompkins (Mrs. Edward) Fortson wrote to her Cousin Dan from Europe and North Africa, describing her travels. Included are letters from Budapest, Florence, Rome, Tunis, Seville, Milan, and London.
In 1909, Tompkins received letters from his nephew, Clinton Graydon at the University of South Carolina, requesting money or acknowledging receipt of money from D. A. Tompkins. He had received letters in 1907, from Sterling Graydon in Ithaca, N.Y., about his studying and teaching at Cornell University. He continued to receive occasional letters from Sterling Graydon giving news and asking for career advice.
Correspondence of Daniel Augustus Tompkins about his business and personal activities. Chief topics in this subseries are the business of the Charlotte Daily Observer and Tompkins's health problems. Also included are letters about national economic issues, race relations, education, child labor, and conditions in cotton mills.
Included are many letters from Tompkins to employees of the Observer about the paper's editorial policy. In a letter of 1 February 1910, for example, from Tompkins to H. E. C. Bryant, Tompkins said he wanted to avoid sensational stories based on flimsy foundations. In later letters he indicated he wanted to reduce coverage of murder and crime. In addition to letters about the editorial policy of the paper, there are letters about financial management, including a payroll report dated 30 July 1910 and a financial report from John Ross dated 22 August 1910.
Letters in the summer and fall of 1911 discuss the possible sale of the Observer as well as its circulation and editorial policy. A letter of 6 October 1911 indicates that Tompkins had sold controlling interest in the Observer. Some correspondence in 1912 concerns disputes about management and financial control of the Observer. Tompkins continued to write occasionally to the editors of the Observer about the business of the paper. In July 1913, for example, he recommended that they support the Federal Reserve bill. In May 1914, he wrote to Wade Harris, editor of the Observer that the paper was too friendly to big interests and Wall Street and too critical of Woodrow Wilson.
Tompkins received letters from H. E. C. Bryant about Bryant's resignation as Washington correspondent of the Observer, his move to Montana, and his work for the Missoulian. One is dated 28 August 1910, another 1 Dec. 1910. Bryant continued to write to Tompkins occasionally, mostly about politics and sometimes about the Observer. By 1913, he was again writing as a correspondent of the Observer.
Also included are many letters about Tompkins's health. In a letter of 2 March 1910, Tompkins wrote to Norman Marshall that he needed rest because he was not well and was threatening a nervous breakdown. Considerable correspondence is devoted to finding a restful place in the mountains to spend the summer. Houses at Blowing Rock, Little Switzerland, and Montreat are discussed in letters included here. Letters in 1912 concern Tompkins's purchase of a house at Montreat.
Because of his health problems, Tompkins wrote to business associates asking for help finding someone to look after his business interests. He wrote, for example, to F. C. Schwedtman on 20 March 1910, asking him to come to Charlotte to assist Tompkins and do much of the work relating to the Observer and to Tompkins's two mills.
Continued correspondence from Conway, Schwedtman, Krueger, and Twelvetrees discussing resolving financial problems of the American Machine and Manufacturing Company early in 1910.
Letters from Arthur Tompkins discuss business in Edgefield, S.C. Racial problems in Edgefield prompted D. A. Tompkins to write early in 1912 to Arthur about his view of the proper relations between blacks and whites. Considerable correspondence in early 1913 discusses schools and education, apparently in response to school problems in Edgefield.
In February 1912, Tompkins wrote to the mayor of Pretoria, South Africa, to the U.S. Consul in Johannesburg, to the National Association of Manufacturers, and to the Associated Press asking for information about the status and rights of blacks in South Africa. Responses from the NAM and the AP are included here. Tompkins also wrote early in 1912 about race relations, as well as about South Carolina politics and newspapers, to George Brunson, the editor of the Greenville News.
In spite of his illness and his business problems, Tompkins continued to correspond about national economic issues. In January and February 1911, he wrote to Senators Overman and Simmons, and to H. E. Miles about a tariff commission. On 30 May 1911 he responded to a request from Oscar Underwood for information on tariffs. In 1913, Senator Overman wrote to Tompkins asking his opinion of the currency bill pending before Congress. On 11 September, Tompkins responded that he supported the bill and the Federal Reserve system.
Tompkins also continued to send and receive letters about other issues of interest to him, including the Equitable Assurance Society, building and loan associations, immigration, good roads, and child labor. Some letters to Richard Weightman and others, for example, addressed the issues of child labor and the condition of mill workers.
In June 1913, Tompkins wrote to Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, at the request of George Westinghouse, recommending purchase of Westinghouse turbine engines for Navy ships.
Correspondence about civic organizations continues. There are numerous, mostly routine, letters from Gertrude Beeks of the Welfare Department of the National Civic Federation. Also included are reports dated 30 May 1910 and 15 May 1911 on the progress of the National Religious Training School and Chatauqua for the Colored Race from James Shepard to Tompkins.
There is also some correspondence about local civic organizations, including an exchange of letters between Tompkins and Mrs. C. B. Bryant in January 1911 about the Park and Tree situation in Charlotte and the work of the Charlotte Park and Tree Commission. In January 1911, Tompkins received letters from Governor Kitchin and from W. H. Ragan about changing the name of the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.
In March 1912, Tompkins corresponded with Heriot Clarkson about the development of Little Switzerland in North Carolina.
Personal correspondence includes letters from Elizabeth Timlow about her school in Washington, D.C.; correspondence with Arthur in 1912 about paying part of the college expenses for Arthur's children; letters from Bessie Fortson from Lugano, 11 March 1910, and after she returned to the United States.
The amount of correspondence decreased gradually, the decrease becoming particularly noticeable in 1912. Tompkins did continue to correspond, however, in 1913 and 1914 about politics and business. His letters in August and September 1914 demonstrate a keen interest in the war in Europe.
Letters of 10-17 October 1914 are from Anna L. Twelvetrees to friends and relatives notifying them of Tompkins's serious illness and death. Letters of 18-31 October include letters about funeral arrangements and letters of condolence.
Letters, notes, and other materials sent by Anna L. Twelvetrees and others to George T. Winston to assist him in his preparation of a biography of D. A. Tompkins. Included are letters from Miss Twelvetrees about D. A. Tompkin's life and work; and notes and lists compiled by Miss Twelvetrees about friends and business associates of Tompkins and about the chronology of his carrer. Also included are a few letters from others, including Richard H. Edmonds, Howard A. Banks, R. M. Miller, Jr., J. L. Chambers, and Arthur S. Tompkins, and reminiscences about D. A. Tompkins. There are also letters from Miss Twelvetrees and Arthur Tompkins to Winston commenting on the draft of the book. In the last folder are some items collected by Miss Twelvetrees for Winston's use in writing the biography. These include some typed pages which appear to be transcriptions of parts of letters written in the 1870s by D. A. Tompkins but not included in this collection.
Copies of outgoing letters, most over the signature of Daniel Augustus Tompkins, and including some signed by Anna L. Twelvetrees. Each volume contains 900-1,000 letters. Also included are indexes of correspondents for each volume. Because the volumes are too large to file in document cases the five which remain intact are shelved with special volumes. Four which were coming apart were taken apart and the pages filed in order in document cases. Three which were in such poor physical condition that they could not be used or salvaged were discarded in 1979.
The letter books contain many letters about Tompkins's personal business, especially the management of property he owned. Most of the volumes contain many letters to Tompkins's brother, Arthur S. Tompkins, about property and business in Edgefield, S.C. The first two volumes include letters, 1896-1900, to his stepmother, Ella S. Tompkins, primarily about management of Meeting Street Plantation. As executor of his father's estate, D. A. Tompkins, wrote to his brother and his stepmother about the division of income and expenses of the plantation. Also included are letters about financial help D. A. Tompkins gave to younger relatives for their education. Occasional letters address other issues of concern to Tompkins: currency and credit (24 March 1897), his interest in being appointed to the United States Industrial Commission (August 1898), education for the children of mill workers (December 1898, January 1899), textile schools in state universities (August 1899), raising capital to invest in cotton mills (16 November 1899), the capacities of black Southerners (17 March 1900), and salaries and profits at Edgefield Manufacturing Company (28 July 1900). Letters written in late 1900 discuss a tour of the cotton mill region of the South organized by Tompkins for businessmen from Ohio. In early 1901 are found letters about a visit of Wu Ting Fang of China to Charlotte, N.C.
In volume S-4, a long letter, dated 2 August 1902, from D. A. Tompkins to B. E. Nicholson of Edgefield lays out Tompkins's ideas about the conditions favorable to industrial life and what was needed to make Edgefield prosperous. Another letter, dated 13 August 1902, uses pictures of High Shoals, N.C., to illustrate Tompkins's view of the industrial development of the South. Other letters in volume S-4, February 1902-October 1902, describe Tompkins's work for the Charleston Exposition, the report of the United States Industrial Commission, and Tompkins's business and civic interests in Edgefield, S.C.
All of volume 5, dated July 1901 through January 1903, is devoted to letters about Tompkins's work for the South Carolina Interstate and West India Exposition Company in Charleston, S. C. Tompkins contracted to procure exhibits for the Cotton Palace at the exposition. The purpose of the exposition was to develop export trade for southern states with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and South America. Included are many descriptions of the exhibits Tompkins tried to obtain and the work he did for the exposition.
Many letters in volume 6, October 1902-July 1903, concern Tompkins's history of Mecklenburg County and magazine articles he wrote. Also included are letters about the National Association of Manufacturers's position on labor, about the estate of Judge Henry Tompkins of Atlanta, and about Associated Press service for an evening paper in Charlotte, N.C.
Volume 7, July 1903-April 1904, contains numerous letters about the Vance Memorial Association, and about the importance of education for industry and the value of A & M colleges. Many letters concern Tompkins's business, especially the Edgefield Manufacturing Company and the responsibility of the company to pay the salary and expenses of a manager who was too ill to work.
Letters about Tompkins's scheme for cotton warehouses to store and grade cotton and issue certificates that could be traded, about his support for white immigration to the South, about his work for the Charlotte Park and Tree Commission, his efforts to be appointed a director of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, and his idea that working people should buy homes through building and loan associations are found in volume S-8, January 1905-September 1905. Similar letters are contained in volume S-9, March 1906-November 1906, as are letters about the Greenville News, about the store at High Shoals, about the labor supply for cotton mills, about the National Association of Manufacturers, and about Tompkins's business interests.
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Arrangement: alphabetical by correspondent.
Letters to and from Daniel Augustus Tompkins or his secretary, Anna L. Twelvetrees.
Arrangement: alphabetical by subject.
Handwritten or typewritten drafts of essays, articles, speeche, and other writings, the majority of which were written by Daniel Augustus Tompkins. Virtually all are unsigned. Writings by another author whose name is given are filed in folder 490. Dated essays, articles, or speeches are filed in Subseries 1.1-1.5.
Arrangement: by type.
A volume, 251 p., containing Daniel Augustus Tompkins's transcriptions of lectures on geology and notes on lectures on practical astronomy. The title page reads "Lectures on Natural Philosophy delivered by Prof. Jno. LeConte at University of S.C., written by D. A. Tompkins (Junior Class)." Lecture 19, 30 March 1869-Lecture 30, 13 April 1869 occupy pages 3-168. Notes on practical astronomy begin on p. 170. According to that page, the astronomy notes were taken at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
Pamphlets and other printed material written by or of some interest to Daniel Augustus Tompkins. Among the items written by Tompkins are a report on currency reform published, circa 1902, by the Commercial Club of Charlotte, N.C., and a pamphlet, 1909, on the tariff. Among the other items are a report, 1906, on the sanitary conditions at Elizabeth College, Charlotte, N.C., and the constitution of the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education.
Notes, correspondence, and writings about the history of the Tompkins and Smyly families. Notable items include a pamphlet, 1903, on the geneaology of the Tompkins family by Dr. C. B. Tompkins, and a history, apparently written by Anna L. Twelvetrees, of the Smyly family, which ends with a biographical sketch of D. A. Tompkins.
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Clippings of newspaper and magazine articles by or about Daniel Augustus Tompkins or about topics of interest to him, such as the tariff, currency reform, education, or the development of industry in the South. Most of the clippings are from North Carolina newspapers, especially the Charlotte Observer. In 1902, 1905, and 1909, Tompkins subscribed to a clipping service, which provided clippings from New York, Philadelphia, and Washington papers as well as from North Carolina. Clippings enclosed with letters are filed with those letters in Series I.
Photographs enclosed in letter from Isabel M. Ferris to Daniel Augustus Tompkins, 9 September 1914 #00724, Series: "3. Pictures." P-724/3-7
P-724/3: E. A. Ferris and family, Franklin Cottage, back porch, Kis-Lyn, Pa., 15 August 1914 #00724, Series 3. Pictures., Image P-724/3-7
P-724/4: Largest and smallest on farm, both of Franklin Cottage, Kis-Lyn #00724, Series 3. Pictures., Image P-724/3-7
P-724/5: Cooks, Franklin Cottage, Kis-Lyn, 15 August 1914 #00724, Series 3. Pictures., Image P-724/3-7
P-724/6: One of the poultry boys, Kis-Lyn, Pa., 15 August 1914 #00724, Series 3. Pictures., Image P-724/3-7
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Processed by: Linda Sellars, November 1993
Encoded by: Margaret Dickson, February 2006
This collection was processed with support, in part, from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access.Back to Top