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Guide to the Belmont Mercer Farley Papers, 1787-1965, 2015

Summary

Educator from Washington, D.C. Professional papers concern academic freedom, educational television, reading and illiteracy, rural education, attacks on textbooks, federal aid to education, school construction, and strikes. Also discussed are the Ford Foundation, American anti-communist sentiment, peace and war, the U.S. military, and the atomic bomb. There is extensive material on the National Education Association, particularly on public relations and the advent of American educational broadcasting. Also included are Farley's articles, addresses, and radio program scripts, all of which regard U.S. public schools, and material pertaining to educational organization conventions that Farley attended. Personal papers chiefly consist of letters on family genealogy, with some information on public education in Missouri and California, and detailed notes and a self-published 381-page book on the family genealogy, which includes many other families in addition to the Farleys and Mercers.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.00380
Title
Belmont Mercer Farley papers
Date
1787-1965, 2015
Creator
Farley, Belmont Mercer
Extent
27.0 Linear Feet, Approximately 19,767 Items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Material in English

Collection Overview

Belmont Farley's professional papers span his career as an educator, author, and staff member with the National Education Association, and concern academic freedom, educational television, reading and illiteracy, rural education, attacks on textbooks, federal aid to education, school construction, and strikes. Also discussed are the Ford Foundation, American anti-communist sentiment, peace and war, the U.S. military, and the atomic bomb. There is extensive material on the National Education Association, particularly on public relations and the advent of American educational broadcasting. Also included are Farley's articles, addresses, and radio program scripts, all of which regard U.S. public schools, and material pertaining to educational organization conventions that Farley attended.

Personal papers chiefly consist of letters exchanged between Farley and family members on family genealogy, with some information on public education in Missouri and California. There are also detailed notes and a self-published 381-page genealogy of the Farley-Mercer families, which stretches from Pensylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Missouri, and other states, and offers detailed information on the Musser, Metzgar, Gosser, Greenlee, Youngs, Guarco, Dyer, Spangler, Cleland, Carr (Kerr), and Dinsmore families. This book was published in 1932, and updated and republished by Farley's son Thomas Farley in 2015.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Belmont Mercer Farley Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence, 1901-1965

15 boxes

Farley's professional correspondence contains letters from school superintendents as well as college professors and presidents, such as Rollo G. Reynolds, Fred Engelhardt, Uel W. Lamkin, Florence Hale, Thomas W. Nadal, Willis A. Sutton, and Eldo L. Hendricks. Persons prominent in the National Education Association, such as Willard E. Givens and William G. Carr, also corresponded with Farley, as well as the editors Bernard L. Johnson and Frank A. Weld; the Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission Frieda B. Hennock; George H. Adams, a newspaper reporter; and Franklin D. Roosevelt's son James.

Since Farley kept in close touch with relatives, there are a large number of family letters in the personal correspondence, the bulk of which begins in the 1920s. His brother Paul's letters contain some information on public education in Missouri and California.

1930-1934
Box 1
1935-1941
Box 2
1942-1959
Box 3
1901-1921
Box 3
1922-1931 July
Box 4
1931 Aug.-1934 Aug.
Box 5
1935-1940
Box 6
1941-1943
Box 7
1944-1948
Box 8
1949-1953
Box 9
1954-1956 Aug.
Box 10
1956 Sept.-1959 June
Box 11
1959 July-1961
Box 12
1962-1965
Box 13
Professional, 1925-1936
Box 14
Professional, 1937-1959
Box 15
Legal Papers
Box 15-16
Financial Papers
Box 17

3. Subject Files

20 boxes

Organized in original alphabetical file order.

A-Annual Reports
Box 17
Anti-Federal Aid to Education-Aviation
Box 18
B-Cartoons
Box 19
Church-Communism Charges
Box 20
Conference-Education
Box 21
Education-Freedom
Box 22
Friends-H
Box 23
I-JCET
Box 24
JCET-Minneapolis
Box 25
Miscellaneous-Missouri
Box 26
Missouri-Opposition
Box 27
Outline-Public
Box 28
Public-Quotation
Box 29
Reading-Russian
Box 30
S-Scrapbook
Box 31
Sears-Teacher
Box 32
Teacher-Tributes
Box 33
U-University
Box 34
University-V
Box 35
W-Z
Box 36

4. Genealogy

3 boxes
Genealogical materials
(3 boxes)
Box 39-41
Farley-Mercer family records, by Belmont Farley, 1932, updated by Thomas Farley, 2015
(1 volume, 381 pages)
Box 69

5. Printed Material

3 boxes
Clippings
Box 18
Printed Material
Box 39-40
Dissertation manuscript
Box 40
Addresses
Box 41
Writings
Box 41
Press releases
Box 42
Our American Schools, draft
Box 42
Memoirs of a Journey, Vol. II
Box 43
Volumes
Box 43
Meetings and reunions
Box 44
Articles and pamphlets
Box 45
Meetings
Box 45-46
Meetings and conferences, Washington D.C.
Box 47
Meetings and conferences
Box 48
Articles and addresses
Box 48
Conventions
Box 49-51
Articles and addresses
Box 51-67
Scrapbook, 1937
Volume F:806
Volume: dissertation
Box 68
Oversize items

Consists of black-and-white photographs; certificate for lifetime membership in the National Education Association; elementary education teaching certificate; and a diploma from Taylor University.

Oversize-folder OF1
 

Historical Note

Belmont Mercer Farley (1891-1975) was born in Missouri and began his career as a teacher and school superintendent. He then joined the Washington, D.C.-based National Education Association, working from 1929 until his retirement in 1956 in the divisions of NEA publications and public relations. He was especially active on behalf of educational broadcasting during FCC hearings in the early 1950s. In the 1920s, he researched the history of the Farley-Mercer families back to the 18th century, publishing a genealogy in 1932, which was updated and republished by his son in 2015. Farley Mercer died in April 1975.


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Provenance

The Belmont Mercer Farley Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 1968 and gift in 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff.

Encoded by Ted Holt and Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, May 2008.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 1968 and 2016-0252.