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Collection Number: 04448

Collection Title: Billy Arthur Papers, 1883-1997

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

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 with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1300 items)
Abstract William Joseph Eudy "Billy" Arthur, North Carolina editor, publisher, columnist, comedian, politician, and businessman. Arthur, a dwarf, toured on the vaudeville circuit, 1929-1930, then attended the University of North Carolina where he majored in journalism and was head cheerleader, 1931-1932. From the 1930s through the 1950s, he edited or wrote for several newspapers. He also represented Onslow County in the North Carolina House of Representatives, 1943-1945, and served as House reading clerk, 1955-1961. In 1962, Arthur opened a hobby shop in Chapel Hill, from which he retired in 1980. The collection includes correspondence, writings, photographs, and other materials relating to Arthur. Letters document Arthur's career as a writer, reading clerk in the North Carolina House of Representatives, comedian, and businessman. Notable correspondents include Terry Sanford, Dean Smith, Christopher Fordham, many state and national politicians, and various editors and publishers. Writings include newspaper clippings; syndicated material; and book-length manuscripts, among them a book of North Carolina humor. There is also material relating to the activities of Arthur family members and materials Arthur used in his comedy routines. In addition, there are three scrapbooks documenting all phases of Arthur's life and many photographs of Arthur, his family, and his friends.
Creator Arthur, Billy, 1911-2006.
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not available for immediate or same day access. Please contact Research and Instructional Service staff at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu to discuss options for consulting these materials.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Billy Arthur papers #4448, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Billy Arthur, Sr., of Chapel Hill, N.C., in May 1986 (Acc. 86068), May 1988 (Acc. 88048), August 1988 (Acc. 88086), December 1994 (Acc. 94179), and May 1997 (Acc. 97066), and from Billy Arthur Jr., of Chapel Hill, N.C., in April 2000 (Acc. 98607).
Received from Billy Arthur of Chapel Hill, N.C., on 14 May 1997.
Received from Billy Arthur Jr., of Chapel Hill, N.C., in April 2000 (Acc. 98607).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Processing Information

Processed by: Marion Pressler with assistance from Connie Cartledge and Angela Abbatiello, October 1986 and subsequent additions

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was revised with the support of the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

1911 Born in Charlotte, N.C., to Annis Eudy and J. A. Arthur, with the congenital disease achondro-plasia that results in dwarfism
1922-1927 Mascot for Charlotte Hornets
1925 Worked for WBT radio in Charlotte, N.C.
1928 Graduated from Charlotte Central High School
1929-1930 Toured on the vaudeville circuit on the eastern seaboard
1931-1933 Attended the University of North Carolina, majored in journalism, and was the head cheerleader, 1931-1932
1933-1940 Became city editor of the New Bern Tribune in New Bern, N.C.
1940-1953 Published News and Views in Jacksonville, N.C.
1943-1945 Served in North Carolina House of Representatives, representing Onslow County
1950 Married Edith Harris of Elizabeth City, N.C.
1951 Annis Lillian Arthur born (also a dwarf)
1952 Billy Arthur Jr., born (also a dwarf)
1954 Moved to Chapel Hill and worked as publicist for the Morehead Planetarium and wrote for The Chapel Hill Weekly
1955-1961 Served as reading clerk in the North Carolina House of Representatives
1958 Started a newspaper clipping service
1962 Opened a hobby shop in Eastgate Mall in Chapel Hill, which was bought by Trico, Inc., in 1974, but managed by Arthur
1980 Retired from hobby business
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, writings, photographs, and other materials relating to Arthur. Letters document Arthur's career as a writer, reading clerk in the North Carolina House of Representatives, comedian, and businessman. Notable correspondents include Terry Sanford, Dean Smith, Christopher Fordham, many state and national politicians, and various editors and publishers. Writings include newspaper clippings; syndicated material; and book-length manuscripts, among them a book of North Carolina humor. There is also material relating to the activities of Arthur family members and materials Arthur used in his comedy routines. In addition, there are three scrapbooks documenting all phases of Arthur's life and many photographs of Arthur, his family, and his friends.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Related Items, 1933-1994.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters and telegrams, incoming and outgoing, documenting Billy Arthur's public career as a writer, reading clerk in the North Carolina House of Representatives, comedian, and businessman. Notable correspondents include Terry Sanford (folder 6), Dean Smith (folder 10), UNC-CH Chancellor Christopher Fordham (folder 10), many state and national politicians, and various editors and publishers. Personal and family correspondence is scant.

Folder 1

1933-1955

Folder 2

1956

Folder 3

1957

Folder 4

1958

Folder 5

1960-1969

Folder 6

1970-1979

Folder 7

1980-1981

Folder 8

1982

Folder 9

1983

Folder 10

1984-1986

Folder 11

1987

Folder 11a

1988

Folder 11b

1989-1990

Folder 11c

1991-1992

Folder 11d

1993-1994

Folder 12

Undated

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Material, 1883-1985.

About 50 items

Arrangement: by type.

Correspondence, contracts, blueprints, advertisements, copyrights, a birth certificate, and a will documenting several of Arthur's business ventures and family financial matters. Of particular interest is correspondence dealing with a dispute between Trico, Inc., and Billy Arthur, Inc. (hobby shop), over Arthur's a bonus in 1979.

Folder 13

Advertising

Folder 14

Billy Arthur, Inc. (Hobby Shop)

Folder 15

Copyrights

Folder 16

Miscellaneous

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Writings, 1930-1988.

430 items.

Arrangement: by type.

Newspaper clippings, syndicated material, and two book-length manuscripts written by Billy Arthur. Among the clippings are columns written by Arthur for Suden's Red Fez, The Jacksonville Daily News, The Chapel Hill Weekly, and The Chapel Hill Newspaper. The manuscript Worst of Billy Arthur remains unpublished. There is also a manuscript for a book of North Carolina humor. The material from The Chapel Hill Weekly was selected by Arthur, not written by him.

Folder 17-18

Folder 17

Folder 18

Manuscript, Worst of Billy Arthur

Folder 19-25

Folder 19

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Manuscript, NC Book

Folder 26

Manuscript, NC Book, rough material

Folder 26a

Unnamed manuscript.

Folder 27

Newspapers, 1930-1959

Folder 28

Newspapers, 1960-1988

Folder 29

Newspapers, undated

Folder 30

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 1 and 2

Folder 31

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 3 and 5

Folder 32

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 6 and 7

Folder 33

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 8, 9, and 10

Folder 33a

Chapel Hill Weekly, Vol. 11-18

Folder 34

Chapel Hill Weekly, typed copies of clippings, 1960

Folder 35

Newspapers, Red Fez articles, 1948-1958

Folder 36

Syndicated material, epigrams, 1938-1959

Folder 37-39

Folder 37

Folder 38

Folder 39

Syndicated material, epigrams, undated

Folder 40

Syndicated material, medium-length material, undated

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Other Materials, 1922-1988.

About 240 items.

Arrangement: by type.

Material documenting the activities of various members of Billy Arthur's family, biographical material (mostly newspaper clippings), genealogical material, monologue material, awards and certificates, and some printed material. Arthur purchased most of the material he collected for his comedy monologues.

Folder 41

Awards and Certificates

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-4448/1

Awards and Certificates: Oversize

Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-4448/1

Awards and Certificates: Oversize

Folder 42

Biographical Material, 1930s, 1940s

Folder 43

Biographical Material, 1950s

Folder 44

Biographical Material, 1960s

Folder 45

Biographical Material, 1970s

Folder 46

Biographical Material, 1980s

Folder 47

Biographical Material, undated

Folder 48

Family Material, Mrs. Annis Eudy Arthur

Folder 49

Family Material, Miss Annis Arthur

Folder 50

Family Material, Billy Arthur Jr. (by him)

Folder 51

Family Material, Billy Arthur Jr. (about him)

Folder 52

Genealogical Material

Folder 53

Miscellaneous

Folder 54-55

Folder 54

Folder 55

Monologue Material

Folder 56

Printed Material

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Volumes, circa 1922-1962.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 6. Photographs, circa 1900-1985.

About 200 items.

Arrangement: by category.

Pictures of Billy Arthur, family, and friends. Pictures are in rough chronological order within each category. The designation N shows that a negative is on file.

Image Folder PF-4448/1-2

PF-4448/1

PF-4448/2

P-4448/1-50d. Photographs of Billy Arthur, circa 1920-1988.

Image Folder PF-4448/3

P-4448/51-67. Photographs of Billy Arthur with his family, circa 1920-1980.

Image Folder PF-4448/4

P-4448/68-89. Photographs of Annis Eudy Arthur (Billy Arthur's mother), circa 1910-1978.

Image Folder PF-4448/5

P-4448/90-92. Photographs of Billy Arthur Jr. (Billy Arthur's son), circa 1980-1982.

P-4448/93-100. Photographs of J. A. Arthur (Billy Arthur's father), circa 1900-1925.

P-4448/101-113. Photographs of family members, circa 1900-1982.

Image Folder PF-4448/6

P-4448/114-133g. Billy Arthur with others, including Dean Smith (132) and vaudeville troupe (117-119, 125, 127-128, 130-131), circa 1920-1988.

Extra Oversize Image Folder XOP-PF-4448/1

P-4448/114a: North Carolina House of Representatives, 1959

P-4448/115a: North Carolina House of Representatives, 1961

P-4448/116a: Sutton-Smith Class Spring Reunion, New Bern Consistory No. 3, 13-15 April 1918

P-4448/116b: North Carolina House of Representatives, 1943

P-4448/116c: North Carolina House of Representatives, 1945

Image Folder PF-4448/6

P-4448/134-137. Photographs of others, circa 1929-1941.

P-4448/138-144. Photographs of Billy Arthur, Inc., circa 1965-1968.

Image Folder PF-4448/7

Military-related pictures.

Image Folder PF-4448/8

Club activities.

Image Folder PF-4448/9-10

PF-4448/9

PF-4448/10

Miscellaneous photographs of Billy Arthur with family and friends.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 7. Audio Tapes, 1986 and undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of May 1997 (Acc.97066).

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of April 2000 (Acc. 98607).

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

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