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 rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.
|Size||3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 750 items)|
|Abstract||Robert Lewis Bolton, Baptist minister of New Orleans, La., and Millen, Ga. He married Lizzie Gary Griffith Compton (1882-1964), a nurse from Charlotte, N.C., in 1911. In 1935, Bolton and his family moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., where Lizzie Bolton became a travelling salesperson for The Farmer's Wife, a national magazine. Correspondence, including letters, 1903-1904, from Lizzie Gary Griffith Compton to her first husband, John Compton, a South Carolina farmer who died in 1908 or 1909. Most letters tell about family activities. The bulk of the collection consists of letters from Robert Lewis Bolton to Lizzie Gary Griffith Compton before their 4 October 1911 marriage. Most of these letters were written while Bolton was pastor at the Valence Street Baptist Church in New Orleans. Besides courtship, topics include Robert's church activities and his views on various issues, particularly his dislike for Roman Catholics and dissatisfaction with the religious life of Catholic-dominated New Orleans. Also included are sermons, notes for sermons, and sermon fragments of Bolton, and a few letters to editors and miscellaneous writings. Other papers include a few newspaper clippings relating to Bolton, some tracts and other printed Baptist materials, two family histories by Bolton's daughter Elizabeth Grier Bolton, and a photograph of Robert Lewis Bolton from the 1900s.|
|Creator||Bolton, Robert Lewis, 1883-1950.|
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Robert Lewis Bolton was born near Milner, Ga., on 15 November 1883, the fourth of five sons of farmers William Hardy and Mittie Purdue Bolton. Bolton was a frail boy, who also stuttered and had trouble pronouncing certain sounds.
A good student, after completing his work in the local school, Bolton was sent to the Gordon Institute in Barnesville, Ga. There, he became interested in debate. After graduation from Gordon, he entered Mercer University in Macon, Ga., intending to prepare himself for a career in law. At Mercer, he apparently overcame his stuttering problem by submerging himself in debate.
Attending the Y.M.C.A. conference at Blue Ridge, N.C., where he heard several Baptist ministers speak, convinced him to enter the ministry. From Mercer he went to the Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he paid his expenses with earnings from part-time ministries. In 1907, he received the Bachelor of Theology degree and accepted a position at the Valence Street Baptist Church in New Orleans, where he stayed for four years. During this time, he was also active in revivals, and, at one meeting in Fairfax, Va., he met his future wife, Lizzie Gary Griffith Compton (1882-1964), a nurse from Charlotte, N.C. After their marriage, on 4 October 1911, Bolton accepted a new pastorate in Millen, Ga., a small town near Augusta. The couple had three children: Elizabeth Grier; Robert Lewis, Jr. (d. 1964); and Louise.
With the Great Depression, Bolton's position in Millen was eliminated, and he accepted a position at a church in eastern North Carolina. By 1935, his health began to fail seriously, and he was advised to give up full-time work. In 1935, Bolton and his family moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., where Robert Lewis Bolton, Jr., was a senior at the University of North Carolina. To support the family, Lizzie Bolton became a travelling salesperson for The Farmer's Wife, a national magazine.
Robert Lewis Bolton died of a stroke in Chapel Hill on 11 December 1950.
[Source: "The Man Who Stuttered: A Biography of Robert Lewis Bolton" by Elizabeth Grier Bolton, circa 1989.]Back to Top
Several letters written to Robert Bolton from friends, 1946-1950; a Baptist newsletter from 1910; a scrapbook with clippings, photos and momentos from the 1920s; and three photographs of Bolton.Back to Top
Letters from Lizzie Gary Griffith Compton to her first husband, John Compton, a South Carolina farmer who died in 1908 or 1909. Most letters tell about Lizzie's nursing duties in Charlotte, N.C., and about family activities. There are also a few letters to John from Lizzie's parents.
Chiefly letters from Robert Lewis Bolton to Lizzie Gary Griffith Compton before their 4 October 1911 marriage. Most of these letters were written while Robert was pastor at the Valence Street Baptist Church in New Orleans. Besides courtship, topics include Robert's church activities and his views on various issues, particularly his dislike for Roman Catholics and dissatisfaction with the religious life of Catholic-dominated New Orleans. As their marriage date approached, Lizzie apparently voiced her desire to stay in New Orleans as opposed to accepting the offer of the church in Millen, Ga. In a letter dated 26 August 1911, Robert wrote: "I love the climate and I love my people and they love me--but I think I have a larger work in Ga. Remember, although I am in a great city, ... this great city is full of Catholics and they do not go to church. I like to preach to a crowd of folks. You can't get them in New Orleans."
There are only a few letters after 1911. These include letters in 1925, 1932, and 1937 that Bolton wrote to his wife to commemorate wedding anniversaries.
Also included are a small number of letters to Bolton from others, among them a few letters from those seeking his opinion on church and moral matters.
Chiefly sermons, notes for sermons, and sermon fragments of Robert Lewis Bolton. There are also a few letters to editors and miscellaneous writings.
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Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom with assistance from Matt Powell and subsequent additions, March 1993
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Updated by: Nancy Kaiser, January 2021
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.Back to Top