Guide to the Charles N. Hunter Papers,1850s-1932 and undated
Black educator, journalist, and reformer from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Correspondence, scrapbooks of clippings, print material such as articles and reports, and other papers, all dating from the Civil War into the first few decades of the 20th century. Includes a fourth edition of Lunsford Lane's slave narrative. The material discusses and illuminates the problems experienced by emancipated blacks during Reconstruction and into the early 20th century, encompassing agriculture, business, race relations, reconstruction, education, politics, voting rights, and economic improvement for African Americans. Other topics include Durham and Raleigh, N.C. history; the temperance movement, Hunter's personal matters and family finances, the North Carolina Industrial Association, and the N.C. Negro State Fair. Significant correspondents include Charles B. Aycock, Thomas W. Bickett, William E. Borah, Craig Locke, Josephus Daniels, W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles G. Dawes, John A. Logan, Lee S. Overman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Sumner, Zebulon B. Vance, and Booker T. Washington. There is also correpondence from two early African American Congressmen, Henry P. Cheatham and George H. White. Also included is a draft of a speech given by Frederick Douglass in 1880 at the 2nd Negro State Fair.
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
- Hunter, Charles N., circa 1851-1931
- Charles N. Hunter Papers, 1850s-1932 and undated
- Language of Material
- 7.3 Linear Feet
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
The Charles N. Hunter Papers date from the 1850s to 1932 and consist of Hunter's personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks of clippings, articles, reports, and memorabilia. Correspondence relates to personal and financial matters, as well as to Hunter's various activities to improve African American education and economic well-being, particularly in the South. Specific topics touched on throughout his papers include race relations, voting rights, creating an educational system for African Americans, the temperance movement, reconstruction, African American business and agriculture, the North Carolina Industrial Association, and the North Carolina Negro State Fair. The three correspondence subseries form almost half of the Personal and Professional Papers Series. The correspondence subseries are: Business/Community Incoming Correspondence, Personal Incoming Correspondence, and Outgoing Correspondence. Among the correspondents are several African American Congressional representatives such as George H. White and Henry P. Cheatham; major political figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Alexander Logan; important African American scholars including W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington; and many North Carolina governors, in particular Zebulon B. Vance, Charles B. Aycock, Locke Craig, and Thomas Walter Bickett. Although these letters address professional and political issues, Hunter established friendships with many of the noteable correspondents. The incoming correspondence has been arranged into letters pertaining to Hunter's business or community activities and letters relating to Hunter's personal life. There are also numerous drafts and copies of outgoing correspondence that Hunter wrote.
In the Other Professional Papers Subseries, there is a variety of miscellaneous printed materials and papers that cover Hunter's career as a teacher and principal, involvement in the N.C. Industrial Association, and role in the N.C. Negro State Fair. Included in this subseries is an array of print materials that provide a view of African American life in the South. This includes commencement invitations from historically black colleges and universities, a fourth edition of Lunsford Lane's slave narrative, and newspaper clippings. The bulk of this subseries deals with the larger Raleigh area, though some items address national issues.
The Writings and Speeches Subseries includes addresses given by Hunter and others. Most noteable is a transcription of Frederick Douglass' speech given at the 2nd Annual N.C. Negro State Fair. Amongst Hunter's writings are several pieces intended for a local encyclopedia which detail historic locales and important North Carolina men. Writings cover topics such as African American voting rights and post-Reconstruction analysis. Overall, Hunter's writings provide historical sketches of important figures, events, and reprecussions with an emphasis on local history.
The Scrapbooks Series is made up of seventeen scrapbooks assembled by Hunter which contain clippings and other items concerning race relations and other social, political, and economic affairs pertaining to African Americans. They are composed principally of newspaper clippings published in North Carolina, but their scope is national as well as local. The clippings have been copied and arranged chronologically; the originals are closed to use.
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. Digitized documents are made available by Duke University Libraries for the purpose of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, such as commercial uses, researchers must contact the Rubenstein Library to request permission.
Digitized materials from this collection are made available for use in research, teaching and private study. The digital reproductions have been made available through an evaluation of public domain status, permissions from the rights' holders, and authorization under the law including fair use as codified in 17 U.S.C. § 107. Although these materials are publicly accessible for these limited purposes, they may not all be in the public domain. Users are responsible for determining if permission for re-use is necessary and for obtaining such permission. Individuals who have concerns about online access to specific content should contact the Rubenstein Library.
The papers of Charles N. Hunter are divided into five subseries: Incoming Business/Community Correspondence; Incoming Personal Correspondence; Outgoing Correspondence; Writings and Speeches; and Other Professional Papers.
This subseries contains a variety of correspondence that reflects the wide array of community and business organizations with which Hunter associated. There is a significant amount of material concerning the education of blacks in rural North Carolina during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including letters from the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Wake County, Zebulon Judd, and Edward Moses. Contains material demonstrating Hunter's instrumental role in the North Carolina Industrial Association, which was responsible for organizing the N.C. Negro State Fairs in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Correspondence from each of the three founders of North Carolina Mutual (J. Merrick, A.M. Moore, and C.C. Spaulding), and this collection includes material regarding early business practices within N.C. Mutual. Hunter often wrote to a wide variety of government officials, and received letters from senators, representatives, and heads of departments (not limited to Sen. Blache K. Bruce [1879, 1886], Franklin D. Roosevelt  and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. [as Asst. Secretaries of the Navy]). Hunter also kept up frequent correspondence with the presidents of North Carolina's historically black colleges and universities, such as Shaw University, Negro Agricultural and Technical College of N.C. (currently N.C. A & T University), State Normal School of North Carolina (currently the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and St. Augustine's College. Contains material demonstrating Hunter's efforts as an advocate for black agricultural laborers, as well as his political efforts to encourage black voter turnout, census enumeration, and the outcomes of U.S. Senate confirmations of presidential appointments. This subseries also includes correspondence from Booker T. Washington [1886, 1909, 1914] regarding funding for black schools, John H. Smyth (U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia) following a request for a contribution to the N.C. Negro State Fair, and W.E.B. DuBois  soliciting help in an upcoming sociological study, among many others.
Contains a large quantity of incoming correspondence from family, friends, and former students, including significant correspondence with nephew, Edward Hunter, and daughters, as well as Hunter's son-in-law and former minister, James K. Satterwhite. Also contains some material pertaining to personal financial matters.
Contains various drafts of letters written by Hunter to various individuals. Includes drafts of letters to Mary Church Terrell, U.S. presidents, and North Carolina education administrators.
A variety of papers such as pamphlets, programs, receipts, gradebooks and other school records, and ephemera such as program tickets and invitations. The earliest item dated in the 1850s is a blank slave life insurance application from the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company (Raleigh, N.C.). Also of note is the fourth edition of a slave narrative attributed to former slave Lunsford Lane of Raleigh, N.C., originally published in 1841. Many of the documents relate to the N.C. Negro State Fair. Includes biographical sketches of Hunter, as well as papers concerning the 1907 Jamestown Negro Exhibit and the N.C. Industrial Association. Documents are sorted chronologically and foldered by decade within the boxes.
Contains a varied assemblage of lectures, addresses, reports, biographical sketches, obituaries, and other compositions, chiefly written by Charles Hunter. Unless otherwise indicated, the author is Hunter. When possible, original titles are transcribed and dates are given. Arranged in alphabetical order by title.
Topics include a brief history of the North Carolina Negro State Fair and funding for the Berry O'Kelly School. Other speeches feature historical facts of Raleigh and topics of racial uplift. Speeches addressed to the Constitutional Convention of North Carolina, the North Carolina legislature, local schools and school systems, members of the Howard Band of Hope, the Union Brothers and Victor Fire Company, the National Negro Business League, and the Right Worthy Grand Ledge of North Carolina among others.
Untitled essays cover African American history nationally, in the South, and in North Carolina.
Seventeen scrapbooks containing clippings and other items concerning race relations and other social, political, and economic affairs pertaining to African Americans. Assembled by Charles Hunter, they were taken chiefly from newspapers published in North Carolina, but their scope is national as well as regional and local. A wide range of topics and views are represented in the clippings, which include editorials from across the political spectrum (including both views with which Hunter was likely sympathetic and some with which he almost certainly was not); news articles about criminal accusations against African Americans and the lynchings and mob violence that often followed; accounts of North Carolina Negro State Fairs and various exhibitions and events for and about African Americans; articles describing the opening ceremonies and commencement speeches at African American high-schools and colleges; a number of articles and letters to the editor written by Charles N. Hunter himself, generally expressing his views on race relations; many articles about local, state, and national politics, particularly concerning the role of African Americans in state and national politics (and especially focusing on the disenfranchisement of African Americans in Southern states); and various religious, inspirational, and motivational texts - along with a great deal of other material relating to the African American experience at the turn of the 20th century.
The original scrapbooks have been disbound and photocopies have been made of all the clippings. The copies have been arranged chronologically for ease of use. Copies of the indices to the original scrapbooks - detailing the arrangement of the clippings in their original context - have also been retained.
Many of the clippings were pasted onto ledger sheets that had previously been used for Hunter's school and financial records. Some pages of these records were still intact and legible. These records have also been preserved and are included in this series. The news clippings date from 1866-1932 (with some undated entries organized by topic); the financial and school records to which they were pasted date from 1886-1913.
Photocopies of the pages of clippings from Hunter's scrapbooks. Whenever possible, these copies should be used instead of the originals.
The original pages from Hunter's disbound scrapbooks.
[Access RESTRICTED due to fragile nature. Use copies available in boxes 7-8.]
Charles Norfleet Hunter was born of slave parentage in the early 1850s in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hunter was the son of artisan Osborne Hunter, slave of William Dallas Haywood, a member of one of Raleigh’s most prominent families. Hunter’s mother died when he was three and he was raised by an aunt. Hunter was prominent in efforts to provide better educational facilities and curriculum for African Americans in North Carolina and was instrumental in constructing several schools for African Americans in the state. He served as principal for many schools in the state and served as editor of several newspapers and publications. As a member of the North Carolina Industrial Association, he also sought to expand the opportunities for African Americans in agriculture and industry.
|circa 1851||Born of slave parents, Osborne and Mary Hunter, in Raleigh, N.C.|
|1869-1874||Employed at Raleigh Branch Freedman's Savings Bank; assistant cashier by 1874, when the bank failed|
|1875||Began teaching in Maxton, N.C.|
|1879||One of the founding members of North Carolina Industrial Association, along with brother, Osborne Jr.|
|1880||Secretary of North Carolina Industrial Association and editor of its publication, Journal of Industry|
|1881-1884||Worked as clerk in Raleigh Post Office|
|1888||Teacher in Durham Colored Graded School; editor of Progressive Educator of N.C.|
|1889||Principal of Garfield Graded School in Raleigh, N.C.; agent for A.S. Barnes and Co. publishers, New York|
|1890||Principal of Oberlin Graded School in Raleigh, N.C.|
|1892||Treasurer of North Carolina Industrial Association|
|1896||Appointed Principal of Garfield School in Raleigh, N.C.|
|1900||Brother, Osborne, Jr., died|
|1902||Partner with J. H. Lewis in Inter State Real Estate and Employment Agency, Trenton, N.J.; Principal of Oberlin School in Raleigh, N.C.|
|1903||Member of the faculty of North Carolina State Colored Normal School, Franklinton, N.C.|
|1905||Appointed Principal of Colored High School in Raleigh, N.C.; daughter, Eva, died of pneumonia and possible malaria in July; son, Charles, died of illness in December|
|1906||Appointed Principal of Chavis School in Raleigh, N.C.|
|1907||Played an active role in preparing the N.C. Negro Exhibit for the Jamestown Exposition; Colored Secretary of the N.C. Commission of the Jamestown Exposition; Secretary of Negro Development and Exposition Co. of USA; Superintendent of the Raleigh Branch of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association|
|1908||Traveling Agent of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association; Member of the North Carolina Republican Executive Committee|
|1910||Editor of Our Advance, a paper in Raleigh; Principal of Public School, Method, N.C.|
|1915||Leading figure in building of Berry O'Kelly Training School (previously known as Method School) in Method, N.C.; served as the school's principal|
|1916||Secretary of N.C. Republican Executive Committee|
|1917||Editor of Raleigh Independent|
|1918||Moved to Portsmouth, Va. in Jun.; served as foreman for laborers in the Norfolk Navy Yard|
|1921||Moved back to Raleigh, N.C.; again made editor of Raleigh Independent|
|1922||Assigned teaching position at Pleasant Hill School, Garner, N.C.|
|1923||Served as Principal of Haywood High School in Haywood, N.C. (Chatham County); Principal of Horton Public School in Pittsboro, N.C.; wife, Eliza, died after stroke|
|1924||Appointed Principal of Booker T. Washington School in Wilson's Mills, N.C. (Johnson County)|
|1926||Served as teacher in Manchester, N.C.|
|1927||Served as teacher in Bridge, N.C.|
|1928||Author of review of Negro Life in North Carolina with My Recollections|
|1931||Died in Raleigh, Sept. 4; survived by daughters, Emma Hunter Satterwhite and Lena M. Hunter|
- Aycock, Charles B. (Charles Brantley), 1859-1912.
- Bickett, Thomas Walter, 1869-1921.
- Borah, William Edgar, 1865-1940.
- Cheatham, Henry Plummer, 1857-1935.
- Craig, Locke, 1860-1925.
- Dawes, Charles Gates, 1865-1951.
- Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895--Speeches.
- Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963.
- Hunter, Charles N., circa 1851-1931.
- Lane, Lunsford, b. 1803.
- Logan, John Alexander, 1826-1886.
- Overman, Lee S. (Lee Slater), 1854-1930.
- Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
- Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919.
- Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874.
- Vance, Zebulon Baird, 1830-1894.
- Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915.
- White, George H. (George Henry), 1852-1918.
- North Carolina Industrial Association.
- North Carolina State Fair--History.
- African American business enterprises--North Carolina.
- African American farmers--North Carolina.
- African American teachers--North Carolina.
- African American teachers--Correspondence.
- African Americans--North Carolina--Durham--History.
- African Americans--Education--North Carolina.
- African Americans--North Carolina--Social conditions--To 1964.
- African Americans--History.
- Educators--North Carolina--Raleigh.
- Fairs--North Carolina--Raleigh.
- Freedmen--North Carolina.
- Racism--United States--History.
- Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
- Temperance--United States--History--19th century.
- Durham (N.C.)--History.
- North Carolina--Politics and government--1865-1950.
- North Carolina--Social conditions.
- North Carolina--Race relations.
- North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company Archives, 1850-2008 and undated (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University)
[Identification of item], Charles N. Hunter Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Charles N. Hunter Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1941.
Processed by Colby Bogie, Jessica Carew, and Carrie Mills.
Encoded by Colby Bogie, Jessica Carew, and Carrie Mills.
Updated to include digital content by Noah Huffman, April 2013
The complete 1941 accession is represented in this finding aid.
Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NC EAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.