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Collection Number: 04689

Collection Title: James M. Benson Papers, 1853-1919

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.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 160 items)
Abstract The Rev. James M. Benson (1853-1919) was a Methodist minister from 1896 or 1897 until his death in 1919. A native of Hyde County, N.C., Benson attended Trinity College and served churches throughout eastern North Carolina. Correspondence, financial and legal records, poems, essays, and sermons, financial and legal records, and arithmetic books. Correspondence concerns business matters, family deaths, and conditions at private girls' schools in the late 19th century. Financial records document a dry-goods business and the cost of private education. Poems, most by Benson, are both light-hearted and sentimental. Benson's sermons follow biblical texts.
Creator Benson, James M., 1853-1919.
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
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 James M. Benson papers #4689, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from J. Douglas Mattox, Raleigh, N.C., in January 1994.
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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Processed by: Lu Ann Jones, January 1994

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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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

According to published obituaries included in this collection, James M. Benson was born in Hyde County, N.C., in 1853, attended Trinity College, became a Methodist minister in 1896 or 1897, and served various circuits in the Eastern North Carolina Conference until shortly before he died in 1919 in Nashville, N.C. Benson married twice and was the father of six children.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

In addition to documenting the sermons and religious musings of a turn-of-the-century Methodist minister, this eclectic collection provides insight into student life at private boarding schools in late 19th-century North Carolina and the relationship between students and parents.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1853-1895.

About 50 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence of James Benson and his father, siblings, children, and friends. Included are letters from his sisters who were attending private schools in eastern North Carolina, from a brother regarding business matters, from friends offering condolences after the death of his first wife in 1890 and of his son in 1894, and letters between the Bensons and their daughter Sallie while she attended boarding school in the 1890s.

Folder 1


Folder 2


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial and Legal Items, 1852-1905.

About 30 items

Arrangement: chronological.

Accounts and receipts concerning a dry-goods business and schooling of two generations of the Benson family. Among these items is a petition from Benson and neighbors asking the Hyde County Board of Commissioners to refuse a liquor license to a shop in their community.

Folder 3


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Other Papers, circa 1870-1919.

About 70 items.

Poems, sermons, essays, and miscellaneous newspaper clippings. Included are five poems by "Jimmie Benson"; an essay on the evils of snuff-dipping; sermons inspired by biblical texts; and newspaper clippings that include the obituaries of Benson, his two wives, and his son.

Folder 4

Newspaper clippings

Folder 5

Obituaries, 1890-1919

Folder 6


Folder 7

Sermons and essays

Folder 8


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Volumes, circa 1860-1919.

5 items.

Account books, arithmetic books belonging to Reuben Benson, and James M. Benson's sermon book.

Folder 9

Account books

Folder 10-11

Folder 10

Folder 11

Arithmetic books

Folder 12

Sermon book

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