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.
This collection was processed in 1981 with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust and digitized in 2010 with support from Harriet T. Herring.
|Size||8.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 3500 items)|
|Abstract||Harriet Herring was a research associate at the Institute for Research in Social Science and professor in the Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Over half of these papers are letters between Harriet Herring and textile mill representatives, research colleagues, newspaper and journal editors, and politicians. Most of the rest of the papers are writings, including drafts of books, articles, speeches, and other works, and material collected during her research. The papers date from Herring's 1925 appointment as research assistant at the Institute for Research in Social Science to her retirement from the University of North Carolina in 1968. Most of the letters are of a professional nature, relating largely to research projects and other academic activities. There also are scattered personal letters, particularly from the 1960s. The topics of the writings include labor strikes in Southern cotton mills, life in mill villages in North Carolina, welfare work in mill villages, part-time farming by mill workers, tax support for public schools, industrial relations, and various other facets of Southern industrialization. Prominent correspondents include Luther H. Hodges, governor of North Carolina and U.S. Secretary of Commerce; University of North Carolina president Frank Porter Graham; University of North Carolina sociologist and Institute director Howard W. Odum; and Gerald White Johnson of the Baltimore "Sun" newspaper.|
|Creator||Herring, Harriet L. (Harriet Laura)|
|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.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Harriet Laura Herring (27 July 1892-18 December 1976), social science researcher and student of socio-industrial relations in the South, was born in Kinston, N.C., daughter of William Isler and Laura Loftin Herring. A member of the class of 1913 at Meredith College, Harriet spent 1914-1915 as a high school teacher in Scotland Neck, N.C., then two years on the staff at Chowan College, 1915-1917. She received a master's degree in history from Radcliffe in 1918 and a special certificate in industrial relations from Bryn Mawr College the following year.
Herring began her lifelong work with the industrial community and its workers as an employment manager with the Roxford Knitting Company, Philadelphia, Penn., in 1918. She returned to North Carolina and became a community worker for the Pomona Mills in Greensboro, and, in 1922, personnel director for the Carolina Cotton and Woolen Mills, a division of Marshall Field and Company in Spray. There, with the support of Luther H. Hodges, then personnel manager for Marshall Field in the Leaksville-Spray area, she instituted the first comprehensive employee welfare system for cotton mill workers in the South.
In 1925, Herring accepted the invitation of Director Howard W. Odum to join the staff of the Institute for Research in Social Science (IRSS) at the University of North Carolina. Her appointment as a research associate charged with examining reports of social ills connected with the industrialization of the South was sought by Odum in the belief that, having been "born here of the same folk," she would be an investigator acceptable to mill owners and others in positions of power and influence. IRSS's projected study of the wide-ranging effects of paternalism in the textile industry was, however, rejected by the North Carolina Cotton Manufactures Association and attacked by David Clark, editor of the Southern Textile Bulletin. As a result, Herring's initial research focused on the company's role in shaping life in the mill village. Published as Welfare Work in Mill Villages: The Story of Extra-Mill Activities in North Carolina (1929), it was but the first of many investigations of the textile industry in particular and the industrialization of the region in general she would conduct as IRSS's specialist in industrial research. During her 40-year association with IRSS, she wrote numerous articles and reports on these subjects and two more books, Southern Industry and Regional Development (1940) and Passing of the Mill Village: Revolution in a Southern Institution (1949).
Herring also contributed to IRSS's research in other areas. During the 1930s, with Odum and T. J. Woofter, Jr., she directed a group of related projects on "A State in Depression." She was coauthor of Part-time Farming in the Southeast (1937), a research monograph prepared for the Works Progress Administration, one in a series on the plight of the southern farmer. With George L. Simpson she wrote North Carolina Associated Communities: A Case Study of Voluntary Subregional Organization (1953), one of a number of community surveys prepared during the directorship of Gordon W. Blackwell. Throughout this period, Herring also served on the faculty of the Department of Sociology at UNC, teaching a course on the industrial community.
Her continuing investigation of social welfare questions and her commitment to the industrialization of the state and the region influenced her activities outside the institute and the university. She participated in the work of the North Carolina Conference for Social Service, serving as secretary from 1928 to 1931. She was frequently a consultant to the state government of North Carolina. On leave from the IRSS, she served as state superintendent of reemployment during the 1930s, and later she produced a section-by-section study entitled Industrial Development in North Carolina , issued by the State Planning Board in 1945. Governor William B. Umstead appointed her to the Commission of Reorganization of State government (1953-1957). With other members of the institute staff, she provided the leadership for the state Commission on Revenue Structure's Conference on Economic and Social Factors in the Development of North Carolina (1955-1956). In addition, she was active in politics on all levels; in 1960, she was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
After retiring from UNC in 1965, she continued to live in Chapel Hill for several years as professor emeritus of sociology. She then returned to the Kinston area. At the time of her death at age 84, Herring was working on a social history of industrial communities through the ages.Back to Top
Over half of these papers are letters between Harriet Herring and textile mill representatives, research colleagues, newspaper and journal editors, and politicians. Most of the rest of the papers are writings, including drafts of books, articles, speeches, and other works, and material collected during her research. The papers date from Herring's 1925 appointment as research assistant at the Institute for Research in Social Science to her retirement from the University of North Carolina in 1968. Most of the letters are of a professional nature, relating largely to research projects and other academic activities. There also are scattered personal letters, particularly from the 1960s. The topics of the writings include labor strikes in Southern cotton mills, life in mill villages in North Carolina, welfare work in mill villages, part-time farming by mill workers, tax support for public schools, industrial relations, and various other facets of Southern industrialization. Prominent correspondents include Luther H. Hodges, governor of North Carolina and U.S. Secretary of Commerce; University of North Carolina president Frank Porter Graham; University of North Carolina sociologist and Institute director Howard W. Odum; and Gerald White Johnson of the Baltimore "Sun" newspaper.Back to Top
Personal and professional communications between Herring and researchers, colleagues, mill owners, and others interested in southern industrialization and the textile industry. Correspondence with individuals in the fields of publishing and politics is also frequent. Topics include Herring's research at IRSS on life in mill villages; the history of the southern textile industry; her observations of labor strikes in Gastonia, Marion, and Greensboro, N.C., and in Danville, Va.; and the need for industrial education in secondary and vocation schools in North Carolina. There are also discussions of Herring's writings.
Of particular interest are reports of interviews by Herring with mill workers, mill executives, and others, and first-hand descriptions of living and working conditions mill villages across North Carolina. Most of this material went into Herring's Welfare Work in Mill Villages (1929). Also noteworthy are the personal (often marked "confidential") descriptions, most by local ministers, of strikes and union activities between 1929 and 1933 in piedmont North Carolina and the Danville, Va., area.
Later correspondence makes frequent references, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, to her academic responsibilities--service on committees, correspondence with former students, and preparation for classes. Also included are letters concerning Herring's memberships in the North Carolina League of Women Voters, the North Carolina State Planning Board, and the Governor's Council on Unemployment and Relief in North Carolina, and letters relating to her active participation on the state and national levels in the Democratic Party in the 1950s and 1960s. There are also some family letters from the 1960s.
There is correspondence for most years with Luther H. Hodges, governor of North Carolina and U.S. Secretary of Commerce, a lifelong friend of Herring's whom she met early in her textile mill research. Other prominent correspondents include University of North Carolina President Frank Porter Graham, 1928-1934, about Herring's work on mills and mill villages; Howard W. Odum, University of North Carolina sociologist and director of IRSS, about research projects; and Gerald White Johnson, writer from the Baltimore Sun newspaper, about scholarly and personal concerns.
Arrangement: by title.
Principally typed versions of books, articles, monographs, book reviews, and course materials by Harriet Herring. There are occasional outlines and notes towards these works. Most of the writings, some of which were not published, related in some way to the textile industry or to public services, although there are a few pieces about topics outside of Herring's professional interests.
Arrangement: by title.
Typewritten copies, drafts, hand-written texts, notes, and other items relating to some of Harriet Herring's writings. Herring was the author of many books, pamphlets and monographs. This subseries contains draft copies for North Carolina's New Industrial Opportunity (1945); Part-time Farming in the Southeast (1937); Southern Resources for Industrial Development (1940); chapter from her unfinished History of the Textile Industry in the South (unpublished); and numerous chapters from her best-known book, Welfare Work in Mill Villages (1929). The hand-written draft of Welfare Work in Mill Villages includes data (especially statistics) not found in the published version. It includes 15 chapters (the published work has 18), with chapters 3 and 4 missing. In addition, there is an essay entitled "Development of Welfare Work, Parts I and II" that relates to chapters 16 and 17 of the book.
Arrangement: alphabetical by title.
Drafts of term papers and/or articles (or extracts from them) that focus on community disorganization and disunity caused by social and economic change. Many of the papers analyze the social problems of cotton mill towns in North Carolina from the perspective of natives of those towns. Other topics include the Ku Klux Klan and racial segregation. Several papers are about communities in states outside the South. The authors of about half of the papers are cited, most of them being labeled either "undergraduate" or "teacher."
Arrangement: alphabetically by topic.
Copies of articles and editorials collected by Herring on topics relating to the textile industry; excerpts from sources consulted; and bibliographies, reports, notes, interviews, and tabulated statistical data. Included are reports and notes, interviews, and statistical data gathered for Welfare Work in Mill Villages.
The mill reports are typed records by Herring about each cotton mill she visited during her research for Welfare Work in Mill Villages . They begin with the name of the mill, date established, number of employees, and location. Then follows a description of "extra-mill" activities (schools, churches, athletics, medical care, housing, sanitation, company stores, insurance, utilities, and streets) available to mill workers either through the mill itself or through local welfare agencies. The reports vary from one paragraph to over five pages and often include Herring's personal opinions of mill executives and living conditions in mill villages not included in the book. Herring also kept note cards with information about individual mills: its location, number of employees, the name of company executive whom Herring called, and brief comments on whether or not the mill employees were receiving welfare benefits or had "outside" activities available to them.
Herring also interviewed mill workers, farmers, nurses, physicians, teachers, ministers, and others in mill villages across North Carolina to gather facts and background material for her book. Reports of these interviews, one or more pages in length, discuss living and working conditions in cotton mills villages. Several mill workers traced the history of their family connection as far back as the antebellum period.
This series also contains handwritten statistical data on mills.
Bibliography on Southern Labor: 1865-1931, Georgia #04017, Series: "3. Research Materials, 1928-1950." Reel M-4017/1
1 reel of microfilm
A small number of personal legal and financial items; reviews of books by Herring; minutes and reports of organizations with which Herring was associated; and a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings and other published material about Herring or topics of interest to her, especially personal accounts of strikes and union activity in North Carolina and Virginia. Most of these reports were written by Rev. Ronald J. Tamblyn of Greensboro, James Myers of the Federal Council of Churches, and an anonymous author (possibly Herring). Reports analyze strike situations at specific cotton mills in central North Carolina and Danville, Va., 1929-1933. Most reports review the causes of the strike, describe the situation of the workers during the fight for union representation, and include accounts of conversations with workers and strike leaders. Two of the reports (probably by Herring) recount the "Trial of Gastonia Strikers" in September 1929, and one of the reports (written by union officials) describes labor unrest in High Point, N.C.
|Oversize Paper Folder OPF-4017/1b|
|Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-4017/1a|
Processed by: Elaine Kaye Lanning, February 1981; William Auman, March 1984; Revised by: Carolyn Hamby, March 1996.
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Updated by: Dawne Howard Lucas, January 2022
This collection was processed in 1981 with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.
This collection was digitized in 2010 with support from Harriet T. Herring.Back to Top