Collection Number: 5602

Collection Title: Eloise Vaughn Papers, 1996-2008

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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 3 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 700 items)
Abstract The Eloise Vaughn Papers, 1996-2008, consists chiefly of materials documenting the publication and promotion of the book Keep Singing: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Jesse Helms, which chronicles the loss of her and co-author Patsy Clarke's sons to AIDS in the early 1990s. There are also some materials related to the grassroots organization Mothers Against Jesse In Congress (MAJIC) that they created to thwart Senator Helms' reelection in 1996. Acquired as part of the Southern Historical Collection.
Creator Vaughn, Eloise.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
Use of audio or moving image materials may require production of listening or viewing copies.
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 Eloise Vaughn Papers #5602, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Eloise Vaughn in September 2014 (Acc. 102094).
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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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

Eloise Vaughn and Patsy Clarke, two white women, co-authored the book, Keep Singing: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Jesse Helms, chronicling the loss of their sons to AIDS in the early 1990s. Vaughn's son Mark died in 1990. Clarke's son, also named Mark, died in 1994. In the years after her son's death, Vaughn worked to provide support to many mothers who had lost children to the disease, which is how she met Clarke.

Patsy Clarke and her husband Harry Clarke, until he was killed in a 1987 plane crash, had been prominent Republican party members and long-time friends of Senator Jesse Helms. Following the death of her son, Patsy Clarke wrote a letter to Helms asking him to soften his public anti-gay stance. Helms responded saying, "I wish he had not played Russian roulette in his sexual activity." The letter angered Clarke and galvanized her drive to organize opposition to Helms. Clarke and Vaughn wrote the book and started a grassroots organization called Mothers Against Jesse in Congress (MAJIC) to thwart his reelection to the United States Senate in 1996.

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The Eloise Vaughn Papers, 1996-2008, consists chiefly of materials relating to the publication of Keep Singing: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Jesse Helms, which chronicles the loss of her and co-author Patsy Clarke's sons to AIDS in the early 1990s. Collection materials include a manuscript draft, press kits and clippings, files on the subsequent book tour, speeches, letters and cards in response to the book, and copies of Clarke's first letter to Helms and his response. There is also background information on Jesse Helms, including newspaper clippings and member and donation files relating to Mothers Against Jesse In Congress (MAJIC), a grassroots organization Vaughn and Clark created to thwart Helms' reelection to the United States Senate. Cassettes of radio interviews, 2001 and undated, are included, as well as a videotape of a 1996 commercial for MAJIC.

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Contents list

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Processing Information

This summary description was created in October 2017 to provide information about unprocessed materials in Wilson Special Collections Library.

Encoded by: Laura Smith

Updated by: Amy Morgan and Jodi Berkowitz, April 2019

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