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|Size||5.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2400 items)|
|Abstract||Born in Hillsborough, N.C., the daughter of John and Mary Strayhorn Berry, Harriet Morehead Berry graduated from the State Normal and Industrial College at Greensboro, N.C., in 1897 and taught school from 1897 to 1901. From 1901 to 1921, she was employed by the State Geological and Economic Survey. During the absence of State Geologist Joseph Hyde Pratt during World War I, Berry acted as director of the Survey. During this period, she also took over Pratt's duties as secretary of the North Carolina Good Roads Association. After losing her job with the Geological and Economic Survey in 1921, Berry became editor of industry and commerce for the Greensboro Daily News, 1922-1924. In 1924, she was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was an early supporter of John W. Davis. During 1924 and 1925, she was secretary of the North Carolina Credit Union Association. From 1925 to 1937, she was employed by the State Department of Agriculture as an editor of Market News and director of publicity for credit unions. In 1927, she was appointed state superintendent of credit unions. Bad health forced her resignation in 1937. The collection contains correspondence, circulars, press releases, articles, speeches, and clippings concerning H. M. Berry's activities in the Good Roads movement and the promotion of state roads legislation of 1921; her work with the North Carolina Credit Union Association, 1923-1931; the Democratic National Convention of 1924; and state and national party campaigns, 1920-1932. Also included are minutes of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, 1916-1923, and Berry's unfinished compilations of materials for a history of the movement.|
|Creator||Berry, H. M. (Harriet Morehead), 1877-1940.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
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H. M. (Harriet Morehead) Berry (22 July 1877-24 March 1940), leader in the good roads movement in North Carolina and a civic and political activist was born in Hillsborough, N.C., the daughter of Dr. John and Mary Strayhorn Berry. Harriet M. Berry was educated at home and at the Nash-Kollock school in Hillsborough. In 1892, she entered the State Normal School (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and graduated with honors in 1897.
Berry began her long association with North Carolina's road system in February 1901. She was hired as a stenographer to Dr. Joseph Hyde Pratt, mineralogist on the North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey. Berry quickly became involved with many phases of the survey's work. Under state geologist Joseph Austin Holmes, the North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey had taken the lead in movements to encourage conservation and, particularly to promote the building of better roads. Working with both Pratt and Holmes, Harriet Berry assumed much of the responsibility for providing the staff work on which the survey's technical investigations and its reform activities rested. In 1904, she became secretary to the survey.
In 1906, Joseph Hyde Pratt succeeded Joseph Holmes as both state geologist and as secretary of the North Carolina Good Roads Association. Working with Pratt, Berry became increasingly involved with the good roads movement. During World War I, while Pratt was in the army, she became acting head of the survey. In 1919, she led the North Carolina Good Roads Association in an attempt to create a state highway commission with authority and to fund a state system of paved roads. Despite her efforts, the General Assembly did not enact what she considered an effective law.
From 1919 to 1921, Berry canvassed the state. She spoke in 89 of the state's 100 counties and flooded the state with news releases, letters, petitions, and circulars. Her initiative increased the membership of the North Carolina Good Roads Association from 272 to 5,500 members and built its treasury from less than $2,000 to more than $12,000. Her efforts were rewarded in 1921, when the General Assembly passed a road law that created a powerful state highway commission and committed the state to the construction of a modern highway system.
Berry left the Geological and Economic survey in 1921. A change of administration and bitter feelings from the legislative fight prompted her resignation. In 1922, she joined the staff of the Greensboro Daily News as editor of the Department of Industries and Resources. While working at the newspaper, she campaigned for better schools and for the creation of an organization to advertise North Carolina's advantages for industry, tourism, and resource development. In 1924, she became the secretary of the North Carolina Credit Union Association, which encouraged farmers to form local cooperatives, pooling their financial assets to create a fund from which members could borrow at a cost substantially below bank interest rates.
In 1925, Berry joined the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, editing the department's Market News. She then served as director of publicity for credit unions. In 1927, she became the state superintendent for credit unions, continuing in that position until poor health forced her to retire in 1937.
Berry was a lifelong Democrat, serving her party on local, state, and national levels. She was a member of the state Democratic executive committee and a delegate at large to the Democratic National Convention in 1924. She was a member of the Legislative Council of Women in World War I and was a supporter of woman suffrage. She served as head of the Chapel Hill Equal Suffrage League and at one time as vice-president of the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League.
Remembered as a delicate woman of refined tastes, she was also a person of inflexible will and a skilled political infighter. She was guided by an intellectual and moral conviction prefigured in her honors address as a college senior, "The Jingle of the Guinea." In this essay, she argued that the health of a society lay in the well-being of all its members, not in the wealth of a minority. Berry died in Chapel Hill in 1940 of heart trouble. An Episcopalian, she was buried after a graveside service in the Chapel Hill Cemetery.
(Adapted from Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Volume 1, pages 144-145.)Back to Top
The collection includes correspondence, circulars, press releases, articles, speeches, and clippings concerning H. M. Berry's activities in the Good Roads movement in North Carolina and the promotion of state roads legislation of 1921; her work with the North Carolina Credit Union Association, 1923-1931; the Democratic Party national convention of 1924; and state and national party campaigns, 1920-1932. Also included are minutes of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, 1916-1923, and Berry's unfinished compilations of materials for a history of the movement.Back to Top
Correspondence, press releases, speeches, and other related material. This series contains chiefly letters received and sent by H. M. Berry dealing primarily with good roads, credit unions, politics, and North Carolina development. Correspondents include people prominent in North Carolina government or business, 1918-1940. There are also press releases, speeches, and routine business items of the North Carolina Good Roads Association.
Correspondence and other items dealing primarily with the Good Roads movement. Correspondence includes routine business of the North Carolina Good Roads Association, plans for the annual conventions, financial matters, legislative activities, and lobbying for the road bills of 1919, 1921, and 1923. Other topics include conditions of jails in Orange County, N.C., patronage and political appointments, and letters from Good Roads Associations in other states. Principal correspondents include W. A. McGirt, T. L. Gwyn, Heriot Clarkson, Hugh McRae, John Sprunt Hill, Joseph Hyde Pratt, Julian S. Carr, and others.
Letters chiefly concerned with the establishment of credit unions in North Carolina and the political campaigns of 1924 and 1932. Berry served as a delegate at large to the 1924 national Democratic Party convention. This subseries contains miscellaneous items from the convention, mostly invitations. Other items include press releases about North Carolina roads, April-May 1934.
|Separated Folder SEP-2259/1|
Correspondence chiefly about H. M. Berry's resignation as superintendent of credit unions and her work on a history of North Carolina roads.
Meeting minutes, resolutions, annual convention records, press releases, and other related records of the North Carolina Good Roads Association. Also included are speeches, circular letters, and financial statements. Folder 61 contains a volume of records for the NCGRA for 1916-1917.
Clippings from various North Carolina newspapers about good roads, credit unions, and North Carolina development. Other clippings include inspirational poetry and other topics of interest to H. M. Berry.
Letters, speeches, clippings, scrapbooks, biographical material, and related items on H. M. Berry. This subseries contains papers pertaining to the Plaque Dedication ceremony in the lobby of the State Highway Building in Raleigh for Berry on 25 October 1962 as well as speeches, clippings, and programs about this event. There are also two scrapbooks organized by Berry, one of newspaper clippings on her contribution to the Good Roads Association and related material and another of inspirational poetry, stories, and quotations of interest to Berry. Also included are articles and other collected material about Berry and her family that were used for a biography about Berry.
|Oversize Volume SV-2259/2|
Caption: "Mother of N.C. State Highway System, Chapel Hill, N.C."
Possibly H. M. Berry and four unidentified men, 26 April 1924 #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/4
On verso: "First car poultry shipped cooperatively out of eastern North Carolina"
Members of North Carolina Good Roads Association, 10 July 1917, Battery Park, Asheville, N.C. #02259, Series: "5. Pictures, 1890-1935." P-2259/5
H. M. Berry on first row, second from right
Possibly H. M. Berry on second row, third from left
Campaign literature printed below photo proclaiming "Maryland's Great Governor"
Photo is captioned "State Senate, 1935"
Processed by: Carolyn Hamby and Suzanne Ruffing, February 1996
Encoded by: Russell Michalak, April 2006Back to Top