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This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.
|Size||3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2,000 items)|
|Abstract||Lucy Maria Cobb (1877-1969) was a teacher, professional genealogist, and free-lance writer of Raleigh, N.C. The collection includes personal and professional papers of Cobb including family and genealogical correspondence, genealogical notes, primary drafts of poems, plays, children's stories, and articles by her, and the libretto (by Cobb) and music for an unpublished operetta, "The Pirate and the Governor's Daughter." Mary Louisa Cobb (1899-1976), Lucy Cobb's niece in Chapel Hill, N.C., was her most frequent family correspondent; her letters discuss family matters and report on people and events in Chapel Hill. Family correspondence also deals with Lucy's well-being as she ages, discussing dilemmas faced by an older, single woman in the late 1950s and 1960s. The Oates, Wyatt, Royster, and Whitfield families are prominent in the genealogical materials.|
|Creator||Cobb, Lucy M. (Lucy Maria), 1877-1969.|
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Lucy Maria Cobb (1877-1969) was a teacher, professional genealogist, and free-lance writer of Raleigh, N.C. Cobb was born in Lilesville, N.C., the tenth of twelve children of Baptist minister Needham Bryan Cobb (1836-1905) and Martha Louisa Cobb (1840-1888). Her eldest brother was Collier Cobb (1862-1934), who became professor of geology at the University of North Carolina.
Lucy Cobb attended Peace Institute and St. Mary's School, both in Raleigh, N.C. She graduated from the latter in 1896 and thereafter taught English and drama in the public schools of a number of North Carolina towns and of Baton Rouge, La. She occasionally taught summer terms at small colleges including Campbell College in Buies Creek, N.C., and Carolina College in Maxton, N.C. For a short time, she was also the city editor of the High Point (N.C.) Enterprise. Later she acquired training in home economics and for four years worked as county home demonstrator for Duplin County, N.C. Intermittently she took courses at the Louisiana State Normal; Campbell College; Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn.; Greensboro (N.C.) College; North Carolina College for Women (later Woman's College of the University of North Carolina) in Greensboro, N.C.; and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
In 1921 she received her A. B. degree and in 1927 an M. A. degree in English from the University of North Carolina. Her thesis was a collection of folk-songs and ballads from eleven eastern North Carolina counties. As a member of the Carolina Playmakers at the University, she wrote a play, "Gaius and Gaius, Jr.," which was published in Carolina Folk Plays (1924) and for many years was the Playmakers' most frequently produced play.
After receiving her M. A. degree, Lucy Cobb tried to secure a college teaching position. Unable to do so, she settled in Raleigh, N.C., and devoted herself to free-lance writing and to genealogical research. From time to time she took other jobs. In 1929 and 1931 she proofread at the state legislature. In 1936 (and perhaps earlier) she worked for the Federal Writers Project in North Carolina. She and Mary A. Hicks collected for the Federal Writers Project a number of folk songs, animal tales, and local legends. They adapted many of the animal tales as children's stories; and in 1938 E. P. Dutton & Company published the stories as Animal Tales from the Old North State.
Sometime before 1928 Lucy Cobb wrote the libretto for an operetta entitled "Pretty Penelope and the Perilous Pirate" (later "The Pirate and the Governor's Daughter") and based on the legendary romance between the pirate Blackbeard and Penelope, daughter of North Carolina colonial Governor Charles Eden. Lucy tried unsuccessfully for many years to get it produced although in 1955 she hired Patrick McCarty of East Carolina College (Greenville, N.C.) to orchestrate it. (Dorothy Horne of Maryville College, Tenn., had written a piano score earlier.) That same year she privately published a related play, "A Gift for Penelope."
Lucy Cobb lived in Raleigh, N.C., until 1966, when failing health forced her to move to Pine Ridge Nursing Home in Southern Pines, N.C. She died in July 1969 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
She was a member of and active in the Baptist Church, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Magna Carta Dames, the North Carolina Folklore Society, and the Raleigh Women's Club. In 1957 she received the Charles A. Cannon Award from the North Carolina Society for the Preservation of Antiquities.Back to Top
The collection includes personal and professional papers of Lucy M. Cobb including family and genealogical correspondence, genealogical notes, primary drafts of poems, plays, children's stories, and articles by her, and the libretto (by Cobb) and music for an unpublished operetta, "The Pirate and the Governor's Daughter." Mary Louisa Cobb (1899-1976), Lucy Cobb's niece in Chapel Hill, N.C., was her most frequent family correspondent; her letters discuss family matters and report on people and events in Chapel Hill. Family correspondence also deals with Lucy's well-being as she ages, discussing dilemmas faced by an older, single woman in the late 1950s and 1960s. The Oates, Wyatt, Royster, and Whitfield families are prominent in the genealogical materials.Back to Top
Chiefly correspondence with family and friends, including carbon copies of many of Lucy M. Cobb's own letters. Cobb's most frequent family correspondent is her niece Mary Louisa Cobb (1899-1976) of Chapel Hill, N.C., whose letters are scattered prior to 1957 but numerous thereafter. Mary Cobb's letters contain mostly family news and reports of people and events in Chapel Hill. The family members Mary mentions most often are: her step-mother Mary Knox Gatlin Cobb, who lives with her; her brother Collier Cobb, Junior, and his wife Emma (also called Empse) of Chapel Hill; her aunt and Lucy's sister, Penelope Cobb of Washington, D.C., and later Greensboro, N.C.; and her nieces and nephews, particularly Mary Martha Cobb Phillips (Mrs. A. Craig Phillips) of Winston-Salem, N.C., and Carol Cobb Hamilton (Mrs. Dan K. Hamilton).
From about 1958, Mary Knox Gatlin Cobb (sometimes called MK) and Penelope Cobb were in poor health. Consequently many of Mary's and Lucy's letters discuss the conditions of Mary Knox and Penelope. Also, beginning in 1958, many of Mary's letters to Lucy discuss her and her brother Collier's concern for Lucy's well-being and their feeling that perhaps Lucy should move to a retirement home. Mary and Collier propose the Baptist Home in Winston-Salem, N.C. But Lucy writes of her desire to remain in Raleigh, where she has many friends and where she can carry on her research. Many of these letters also discuss money matters--Lucy insisting she doesn't need all that Mary and Collier send her. Seen as a whole, these letters present a good picture of many of the dilemmas of older, single women.
In addition to the correspondence between Mary and Lucy, there are letters to Lucy from many other friends and relatives.
As well as the family correspondence described above, the papers contain a number of letters to and from college administrators, publishers, movie and play producers, and other potential underwriters of Lucy Cobb's operetta. During the period 1928-1930, Lucy writes to individuals at a number of schools and colleges in an effort to obtain a teaching position. In 1929 she also writes to Frank Brown of Duke University, Durham, N.C., asking him to help her obtain funds to do research in folklore.
The most frequent subject of Lucy Cobb's business and literary correspondence is her operetta, "The Pirate and the Governor's Daughter." From 1928 to 1962 there are letters to and from persons whom she tried to solicit to produce the operetta, including Douglas Fairbanks in Hollywood, Calif., and Florenz Ziegfield in New York City, 1929. In 1954 and 1955 there are a number of letters from Patrick McCarty of the Department of Music of East Carolina College, Greenville, N.C., whom she hired to orchestrate it.
Finally, there is some correspondence with E. P. Dutton & Company, New York City, concerning the publication of Animal Tales from the Old North State, 1936-1938. Also some correspondence with Exposition Press, New York City, concerning publication of The Preacher's Three, 1963.
Newspaper clippings chiefly related to the career of Lucy M. Cobb and to the activities of various relatives and friends.
Drafts of various published and unpublished writings by Lucy M. Cobb including poems, plays, children's stories, articles, and the libretto for an unpublished operetta entitled "The Pirate and the Governor's Daughter." There is also the music for the operetta, including a score for piano and voice by Dorothy Horne and an orchestration by Patrick McCarty. There are also two folders of miscellaneous writings by other authors.
"Traditional Ballads and Songs of Eastern North Carolina" #04019, Series: "3. Writings" Folder 20a-20e
Carbon typescript of Lucy Cobb's master's thesis.
Includes drafts of the operetta and copies of scores for piano, voice, and orchestra. See also Volume 2 (SV-4019/2).
Drafts of various children's stories and plays by Lucy Cobb; some fragmentary. Includes drafts of two of the stories in The Preachers' Three published by Exposition Press (1963).
Includes reviews of books and exhibits; biographical and historical essays; a number of articles and press releases about Campbell College at Buies Creek, N.C.; and several feature-type articles. Among the historical and biographical material is a long essay on American railroads; also short articles on Mary Slocomb and Archibald Henderson.
Includes a few ballads and songs collected by Lucy Cobb, among other items.
Includes correspondence, notes, completed applications to patriotic societies, and other papers related to Lucy M. Cobb's genealogical research. Most of these papers pertain to North Carolina families or to families with North Carolina connections.
Includes data on North Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama Cobbs, though it relates chiefly to the Cobbs of Wayne County, N.C. Also data on the Bryan, Caswell, Collier, Franck, Green, Heritage, May, Massengale (Massengille, Masengale), and Whitfield families.
Extensive research done for Cora Case Porter of Ada, Okla. Includes a good deal of correspondence, 1955-1961, with Mrs. Porter, who became Lucy Cobb's friend by virtue of this correspondence.
Notes bearing either no family name or a number of apparently unconnected family names; some may be related to the families listed above.
Includes an engraving of Needham Bryan Cobb; photographs of Archibald D. Murphey and Frederick H. Koch; one unidentified group photograph; and a number of snapshots of various Cobb houses, which Lucy Cobb used to illustrate her Cobb family history, "Cobb and Cobbs," among other items.
Image Folder PF-4019/1-2
|Oversize Volume SV-4019/2|
Processed by: SHC Staff
Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007
Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, November 2009; Nancy Kaiser, January 2021
This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.Back to Top