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.
The addition of April 2008 was processed with support from Elizabeth Moore Ruffin.
|Size||7.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 6,300 items)|
|Abstract||Zebulon Baird Vance, a native of Buncombe County, N.C., was governor of North Carolina, 1862-1865 and 1877-1879, and United States senator, 1879-1894. The collection is chiefly political correspondence, 1877-1894, concerning state and national politics, Democratic Party actions, and constituent affairs. Topics include political patronage; railroad matters, especially of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad and the Western North Carolina Railroad; state institutions; tariff and internal revenue laws; the Danville, Va., race riot of 1883; the Blair education bills of 1886 and 1888; presidential elections; the rise of the North Carolina Farmers' Alliance; and the remonetization of silver. There are also business papers related to Vance's real estate, nickel mining, and lumber interests in Buncombe and Mecklenburg counties, N.C. Scattered Civil War items pertain to the secession crisis, Vance's brief service as a colonel of the 26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, and his gubernatorial activities. After 1894, materials are chiefly of the business and personal correspondence of Vance's oldest son, Charles N. Vance, especially concerning his business interests in the Jellico Mining Company. Some 1895 letters relate to Kemp P. Battle's attempt at writing a biography of Zebulon Vance. Additions to the collection include chiefly correspondence of Zebulon Baird Vance and his son Charles N. Vance, photographs of the Vance family, and various legal papers and land deeds. Correspondence concerns constituent affairs, political appointments, and other political issues of the 1890s. Letters from Vance's second wife, Florence S. Vance, to Charles N. Vance (1894) concern Zebulon's declining health, and additional correspondence and legal papers relate to an inheritance dispute between Charles and his stepmother Florence. Also included is a 28 July 1863 letter from Confederate soldier William T. Dickinson to Governor Vance describing casualties suffered by the 11th North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg; more correspondence with Kemp P. Battle; letters and other items relating to North Carolina governor and senator Thomas Jordan Jarvis; and a 27 December 1862 letter written by Vance to South Carolina Governor Milledge L. Bonham asking him to send a letter from Colonel J.W. Hayne that was accidentally omitted from previous correspondence and congratulating Bonham on his recent promotion.|
|Creator||Vance, Zebulon Baird, 1830-1894.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
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.
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Zebulon Baird Vance was born in Buncombe County, N.C., on 13 May 1830, one of seven children born to Margaret Baird (1802-1878), daughter of Hannah (Erwin) and Zebulon Baird, and David Vance (1792-1884), son of Priscilla (Brank) and David Vance. He attended Washington College and the University of North Carolina, where he earned a law degree. In 1853, Vance married Harriet Newell Espy (1832-1878), called Hattie. She was the only child of Mary Louisa (Tate) and Thomas Espy. Harriet and Zebulon Vance had five sons, one of whom died in infancy. In 1880, after Hattie's death, Vance married Florence Steele Martin, a widow with one son.
At 24, Vance ran for and won a seat in the North Carolina State House of Commons; in 1856, he was defeated in bids for State Senate and Congress, but was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1858. As a supporter of the Union and states rights, he resigned his position when North Carolina appeared to be leaning toward secession.
During the Civil War, Vance was a captain in the 14th North Carolina Infantry Regiment and a colonel in the 26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. In 1862, he was elected governor of North Carolina, where his efforts on the behalf of his constituents earned him the nickname "War Governor of the South." He was reelected in 1864, arrested by Federal troops in 1865, and later returned to the practice of law. In 1870, the state legislature elected him to the United States Senate, but since he was still under parole, he could not serve. He was reelected as governor in 1876 and United States Senator in 1879, in which capacity he served until his death on 14 April 1894.Back to Top
Papers of North Carolina governor and United States senator Zebulon Baird Vance of Buncombe County, N.C., are chiefly political correspondence, 1877-1894, concerning state and national politics, Democratic Party actions, and constituent affairs. Topics include political patronage; railroad matters, especially of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad and the Western North Carolina Railroad; state institutions; tariff laws and internal revenue laws; the Danville, Va., race riot of 1883; the Blair education bills of 1886 and 1888; presidential elections; the rise of the North Carolina Farmers' Alliance; and the remonetization of silver. There are also business papers related to Vance's real estate, nickel mining, and lumber interests in Buncombe County and Mecklenburg County, N.C. Scattered Civil War items pertain to the secession crisis, Vance's brief service as a colonel of the 26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, and his gubernatorial activities. After 1894, materials are chiefly of the business and personal correspondence of Vance's oldest son, Charles N. Vance, especially concerning his business interests in the Jellico Mining Company. Some 1895 letters relate to Kemp P. Plummer Battle's attempt at writing a biography of Zebulon Vance.
Additions to the collection include correspondence of Zebulon Baird Vance and his son Charles N. Vance, photographs of Vance family members, and various legal papers and land deeds. Correspondence chiefly concerns constituent affairs, political appointments, and other political issues of the 1890s such as the silver question and public education in N.C. Letters from Vance's second wife, Florence S. Vance, to Charles N. Vance (1894) concern Zebulon's declining health, and additional correspondence and legal papers related to an inheritance dispute between Charles and his stepmother Florence. Also included is a 28 July 1863 letter from Confederate soldier William T. Dickinson to Governor Vance regarding casualties suffered by the 11th North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg; more correspondence with Kemp P. Battle; letters and other items relating to North Carolina governor and senator Thomas Jordan Jarvis; and a 27 December 1862 letter written by Vance to South Carolina Governor Milledge L. Bonham asking him to send a letter from Colonel J.W. Hayne that was accidentally omitted from previous correspondence and congratulating Bonham on his recent promotion.Back to Top
Scattered family letters, wills, and documents of Harriet Espy and her parents Mary Louisa (Tate) and Thomas Espy, including two 1851 letters to Harriet from her cousin A.S. Merrimon. Two letters, 1859, between J.F. Hardy and Z.B. Vance about settling a dispute between Vance and David Coleman.
Two letters written by Vance while a member of the United States House of Representatives, describing attitudes in Congress toward the prospect of war; nine letters, 1861-1862, written by Vance to his wife from army camps in Virginia and North Carolina; 19 letters and telegrams, 1863-1865, on the progress of the war and government in North Carolina; five post-war letters on personal business and an inquiry about state finances and Confederate notes in Vance's possession from his successor Jonathan Worth. Included is a letter from R.F. Hoke to Z.B. Vance, 2 October 1863, referring to military maneuvers in North Carolina, and a letter from James Green Martin, Confederate general, to Zebulon Vance, 9 October 1863, responding to a prior Vance letter in which Vance claimed Green had violated the law by not allowing free trade to North Carolina citizens.
Scattered personal and family letters, including a history of the Espy family and three 1866 letters on the presidency of the Western North Carolina Railroad and the establishment of a line of Wilmington-to-London steam ships.
Most of the letters for these years are routine governor's correspondence: requests for letters of introduction or recommendation, invitations, patronage, pardons, paroles, problems with state agencies, and requests to make speeches. There is scattered personal correspondence, including letters from Harriet Vance to her sons and to Harriet Vance from her husband and friends before her death in November 1878. In 1877, there is substantial correspondence about the construction, management, appointments, and political effects of the railroads in which the state owned stock. Politics is the subject of many letters: the presidential election, the selection of a North Carolina Supreme Court justice, the mechanics of electing Vance as United States senator, and related Congressional and local races. There are letters from several candidates and reports from counties all over the state.
During Vance's first three years in the Senate, two types of letters predominate: those asking for jobs or recommending others for jobs and those from constituents asking for help in dealing with the government about pensions, patents, pardons, claims, government and military promotions and transfers, and admission to federal institutions. There are also requests for fish, seeds, government publications, and copies of Vance's own speeches. Letter relating to patronage and constituent problems, along with invitations and requests to make speeches, make up the bulk of Vance's correspondence throughout his senatorial career.
Scattered correspondence on the tariff and operation of internal revenue laws appear during these years. Constituent letters, especially requests for Vance's tariff speeches, continue, as well as letters on state and national politics. In 1884, Vance wrote notes after serving on a Senate committee investigating the Danville race riot. In November 1884, after Cleveland's election, there are many letters from those seeking an office in the new administration.
When a Democratic president, Cleveland, was elected for the first time in 28 years, Vance's constituents flooded him with requests for jobs and pleas that he support their candidate for some post. The voluminous correspondence consists almost entirely of this constituent mail, including letters from Virginia, Tennessee, Idaho, Alabama, Washington, Florida, and other states. Only two letters mention Vance's reelection to the Senate in January.
The bulk of the 1886 letters are requests for and comments on Vance's speeches, especially his April anti-civil service speech. There is some routine personal and constituent correspondence.
Routine constituent, patronage, and personal letters continue. In 1887 and 1888, the tariff and internal revenue laws are again the issues that most concern Vance's correspondents, and there are many requests for and comments on Vance's January 1888 tariff speech. Numerous letters on state and national politics continue, along with requests that Vance make campaign appearances throughout North Carolina. There is also mail on the politics in the territories of Washington, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
The 1889 correspondence consists entirely of routine patronage, constituent, and personal letters.
Politics and Vance's campaign for reelection to the Senate dominate the 1890 correspondence. Scattered letters on the subject appear as early as January. In May and June, there is correspondence on the election of a new Democratic Party chair in North Carolina. The volume of letters increases in June when North Carolinians began writing Vance outlining the political situation in various counties and suggesting campaign tactics. Correspondence also includes letters about Vance's introduction and subsequent refusal to vote for a sub-treasury bill in the Senate and his refusal to sell a residential lot in Asheville as the site for a new Baptist church. Requests from constituents continue as in previous years, but the volume is smaller and most such letters are requests for copies of Vance's speeches.
Political letters concerning Vance's reelection continue through January, when they are replaced with letters congratulating Vance on his reelection. There are scattered requests from constituents, but most of the correspondence is relates to Vance's purchase of North Carolina nickel land, sale of his Asheville property, and trip to Europe. Included are several letters from Vance to his sons while abroad.
Politics, the prospects of various presidential candidates, and the probably effect of assorted issues dominated Vance's papers of 1892. Frequent topics are the effects of the silver issue, the plight of the farmers, and various relief schemes. Letters from those seeking office under the new administration begin shortly after Cleveland's election. There are only a few constituent letters, but there are many personal letters dealing with land sales, his son Charles's business interests, and the illness of his son David.
Letters from those seeking jobs in the new administration continue throughout 1893, as do constituent letters including requests for Vance's August speech on silver. Many letters are about opposition to repealing the silver purchase act and suggestions for other solutions to the financial crisis.
Letters on the repeal of the silver purchase act and the confirmation of Elias and Simmons continue through March. There are also scattered letters from Florence Vance reporting on the Senator's health during their travels in Florida and North Carolina. Vance died two weeks after his return to Washington in April. Following Vance's death, there is much correspondence among his heirs and other interested parties, dealing with estate settlement, selection of a burial site, and authorization of a biography. There was much conflict between Vance's sons and his widow on all three points.
The few 1895 letters are mainly business correspondence of Charles Vance and letters from Kemp P. Battle on his inability to write a biography of Vance.
Settlement of Vance's estate and Charles Vance's real estate operations dominated the papers of 1896. Charles Vance attempted to obtain the Democratic Party nomination for Congress from the Asheville district, and there are numerous letters from January until his defeat in May dealing with his political prospects and the future of the North Carolina Democratic Party. In September, Charles Vance was nominated by the Democratic Party for the North Carolina House of Representatives, but was defeated in the general election.
Papers consist entirely of personal and business letters, receipts, bills, and deeds of Zebulon B. Vance Jr., including letters about David Vance's children, for whom he acted as trustee and legal guardian. Included is a program of the dedication of the statue of Zebulon Baird Vance in Raleigh.
Papers are those of Zebulon B. Vance Jr. and include personal and family letters, business papers including deeds and receipts, and scattered letters from and about his wards Ruth Vance and Espy Vance, David Vance's daughters.
Most of this material is undated family and business letters including some about Ruth and Espy Vance. There are a few incomplete political and constituent letters, notes in Vance's hand that appear to be speech outlines, and three memoranda suggesting scenes for the sculptor of the Vance monument.
Clippings on Vance's political activities, including his election campaign in 1890, his speeches, statements, etc., on the silver issue, and his 1893 battle against the confirmation of Kope Elias. Most of the clippings are dated and include the newspaper from which they were taken.
Contains clippings about other political leaders.
Clippings cover issues, primarily silver, prominent during Vance's senatorial career, but do not touch on Vance himself.
Memorial tributes and obituaries of Zebulon Baird Vance.
Miscellaneous clippings on Vance or politics, many of a sentimental character.
A mixture of government documents (Senate committee reports, reprints of speeches on the tariff, monetary reform, and nationalization of railroads), claims and petitions to Congress including a history of the French Spoilation claims, assorted advertisements, and financial reports of several banks in North Carolina and Georgia.
Scrapbook containing four articles on the territorial question printed in September 1859 and scattered issues of unrelated newspapers.
Image Folder P-3952/1-3
Photographs depict various members of the Vance family and a Zebulon Vance campaign sign. They include prints made from glass negatives that depict the exterior and interior of Vance's home Gombroon near Asheville, N.C.
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Processing note: Additions are not included in microfilm edition.
Correspondence, 1851-1923 (bulk 1865-1899) #03952, Subseries: "Addition of January 1987 (Acc. 86017) ." Folder 186-192
Mostly letters from constituents to Zebulon Vance seeking patronage, appointments, and discussing political issues. Topics discussed include the silver question, settling of the Oklahoma Territory, and public education. Also included are letters from Josephus Daniels (March 1888) discussing protective sentiment in North Carolina, an 1880 petition to cut a canal to connect the Neuse River with the Pamlico and Tar rivers, letters from Zebulon Vance Jr. at the United States Naval Academy to his mother in 1876, an 1878 letter from Walter Cushman seeking Vance's endorsement of Swiss emigration to western North Carolina, letters from Florence Vance to her son in 1894 regarding Zebulon's illness, and an 1895 letter from Kemp P. Battle to Zebulon Vance Jr. expressing his regret for abandoning his biography of Zebulon Vance.
Other Papers, circa 1880s-1890s #03952, Subseries: "Addition of January 1987 (Acc. 86017) ." Folder 193-194
Papers include an annotated text of Vance's speech on the silver question, various land grants, printed material, and the second page of an undated letter from Trinity College President John Franklin Crowell defending the rights of Native Americans against the "rapacity" of settlers.
Scrapbook contains clippings related to various political issues of the 1890s.
Image Folder P-3952/4-5
Photographs, circa 1860s-1900 #03952, Subseries: "Addition of January 1987 (Acc. 86017) ." P-3952/4-5
Photographs depict members of the Vance family including: Zebulon Vance; Harriet Espy Vance; Zebulon Vance Jr.; Kate Vance; Charles N. Vance; Mrs. Charles N. Vance; Ruth Vance Pillow; Kate Tate Vance; and Mary Ann Buie, a "Confederate Soldier Friend," of Columbia, S.C.
|Photograph Album PA-3952/1||
Photograph Album, circa 1860s-1890s #03952, Subseries: "Addition of January 1987 (Acc. 86017) ." PA-3952/1
Album contains mostly unidentified cartes-de-visite of individuals probably related to the Vance family. Identified individuals include Betty H. Davidson, May Pagan Davidson, Zeb Vance Davidson, Zeb Price, John Evans Brown, and May Taylor.
Chiefly letters from Thomas Clayton of Asheville, N.C., to Mrs. Zebulon Vance regarding payment for various household items.
Mostly letters to Senator Zebulon Vance endorsing George S. Cole and W.A. Brown. Also included is a 21 August 1893 letter from Kemp P. Battle regarding economic affairs, several letters to Vance requesting copies of his speech on the silver question, and letters to Charles N. Vance.
Mostly correspondence of Charles N. Vance including letters from his stepmother Florence Vance in 1894 regarding Zebulon's health, letters concerning his intention to run for Congress, letters endorsing Charles for a collectorship position in western North Carolina, and an 1895 letter from Vice President Adlai Stevenson. Also included are several letters of endorsement and petitions sent to Senator Thomas Jordan Jarvis, and correspondence and other papers related to a legal dispute between Charles N. Vance and his stepmother over inheritance of Zebulon's estate.
Legal Papers and Land Deeds, circa 1870s-1900s #03952, Subseries: "Addition of July 1993 (Acc. 93100) ." Folder 203
Legal papers include a 16 June 1880 marriage license issued at Louisville, Ky., for Zebulon Vance and Florence S. Martin, and a petition for dower related to an inheritance dispute between Florence Vance and her stepson Charles N. Vance. Land deeds relate mostly to property in western North Carolina and near Jonesboro, Tenn.
Notes, pamphlets, clippings, and a few undated and partial letters, as well as an 1872 diploma issued to Victoria Tate by the Charlotte Female Institute.
Civil War Letter, 28 July 1863 #03952, Subseries: "Addition of November 2006. (Acc. 100548)" Folder 205
Letter to Governor Vance from William T. Dickinson of the 11th North Carolina Infantry Regiment near Brandy Station, Va. Dickinson described casualties suffered by the regiment at Gettysburg and the march back to Virginia. He also requested appointment to a federal office in North Carolina. An annotation on the letter notes that the fading pencil was traced over in 1912 or 1922.
Letter to Governor Bonham, 27 December 1862 #03952, Subseries: "Addition of April 2008. (Acc. 100903)" Folder 206
Written by Vance to South Carolina Governor Milledge L. Bonham asking him to send a letter from Colonel J.W. Hayne that was accidentally omitted from previous correspondence and congratulating Bonham on his recent promotion.
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Processed by: SHC Staff; Amy Johnson, September 2007; Noah Huffman, January 2008; and Kiley Orchard, May 2010
Encoded by: Amy Johnson, September 2007
Revisions: Finding aid updated in January 2008 by Noah Huffman because of additions.
Additions of January 1987, July 1993, November 2006, and April 2008 have not been integrated into the original deposit. Researchers should always check additions to be sure they have identified all files of interest to them.
The addition of April 2008 was processed with support from Elizabeth Moore Ruffin.Back to Top