Guide to the Mason Crum Papers, 1885 - 1974


Mason Crum (1887-1980) served as a Professor in the Dept. of Religion at Duke University from 1930 to 1957. He studied race relations and Christianity, as well as social history of the Gullah community of the South Carolina Sea Islands. The papers contain correspondence, printed material, manuscripts of books and articles, clippings, photographs and glass slides, and and a sound recording. Major subjects include religious aspects of race relations and segregation, African American religion and churches, Gullah dialect and culture, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Lake Junaluska retreat.

Descriptive Summary

Mason Crum papers 1885 - 1974
Crum, Mason, b. 1887.
6.0 Linear Feet , 7,000 Items
University Archives, Duke University
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult University Archives, Duke University.

Collection Overview

The Mason Crum papers include correspondence, printed material, hand written and typewritten manuscripts of books and articles, clippings, photographs and glass slides, and an audio tape, with the bulk dates being 1931-1959. Crum acquired the materials over the course of his career as a professor of Biblical literature who had interests in Black history, psychology, race relations, and recent Methodist church history. His major area of research was the Gullah communities of Edisto and St. Helena, two of the South Carolina Sea Islands, with the bulk of work here dating from the 1930s; the result of the research was Gullah, published by Duke University Press in 1940. Other areas of interest were moral education, pastoral counseling, and religious pageantry. His concern with Christianity and race relations is shown by his participation in cooperative efforts, and in the teaching of one of the first Black studies courses in the South (1954).

Administrative Information

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warning Access Restrictions

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.

warning Use Restrictions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Contents of the Collection

Consists of personal and family letters; correspondence from Crum's days as a salesman, and correspondence relating to his activities as an educator and Methodist layman. Among the last is material relating to boys' camps, Methodist Church activities, the Y.M.C.A., letters to publishers, Lake Junaluska Summer School, and Crum's other interests and activities.

Arranged chronologically, with a sub-series, Subject Correspondence, 1926-1971, arranged alphabetically by subject.

Box 1 Folder 1
1931-March 1936
Box 1 Folder 2
April 1936-1937
Box 1 Folder 3
Box 1 Folder 4
Box 2 Folder 5
Box 2 Folder 6
Box 2 Folder 7
Box 2 Folder 8
Box 2 Folder 9
1948-October 1949
Box 3 Folder 10
November 1949-1950
Box 3 Folder 11
1951-February 1952
Box 3 Folder 12
March 1952-December 1952
Box 3 Folder 13
1953-April 1954
Box 3 Folder 14
May 1954-October 1959
Box 3 Folder 15
Box 3 Folder 16
Box 3 Folder 17
Box 3 Folder 18

The sub-series, Subject Correspondence, consists of one box with material on: Camp Junaluska for Boys, 1926-1930; Chi Phi fraternity, 1948-1958; correspondence and reviews concerning the publication of Gullah; Lake Junaluska properties, 1949-1958; North Carolina College Teachers of Religion, 1938-1949; correspondence and reactions to his article, "A Southerner Looks at Segregation" (1954), which was published in The Christian Advocate, November 11, 1954; correspondence concerning cooperative efforts in race relations, 1936-1954. This last contains material from state, college and university, and denominational agencies concerned with bettering race relations. Among the organizations represented are the Division of Cooperation in Education and Race Relations of the North Carolina Dept. of Public Instruction, the University of North Carolina, the Dept. of Race Relations of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, and Duke University. Committee work, conferences, and other activities are represented in the file.

Camp Junaluska for Boys, 1926-1930
Box 4 Folder 19
Chi Phi fraternity, 1948-1958
Box 4 Folder 20
Gullah publication, 1938-1971
Box 4 Folder 21
Lake Junaluska, 1949-1958
Box 4 Folder 22
North Carolina College Teachers of Religion, 1938-1949
Box 4 Folder 23
Race relations, 1936-1954
Box 4 Folder 24
A Southerner Looks at Segregation article, 1954-1955
Box 4 Folder 25

Printed materials, research notes, a diary and cashbook, and other materials. Personal records include Crum's vitae and genealogy, a diary he kept while at Harvard, and a cashbook (1885-1895) from his father's store in Orangeburg County. Academic materials consist of class rolls, 1930- 1957, course materials, including test materials and clippings concerning his course on Black History, and several student papers. Also in the subject files are records and programs for the Lake Junaluska Assembly, research notes on various topics, including race relations and the Gullah communities, and a bibliography on Black History.

Arranged alphabetically.

Bibliography of the Negro, 1860-1927
Box 5 Folder 26
Family genealogical and Mason Crum biographical information
Box 5 Folder 27
Cashbook, 1885-1895
Box 5 Folder 28
Cherokee history
Box 5 Folder 29
Clippings and reprints, 1951-1954
Box 5 Folder 30
Personal clippings, 1935-1957
Box 5 Folder 31
Columbia College
Box 5 Folder 32
Educational Psychology, 1929
Box 5 Folder 33
Religion 185, "Negro Americans," 1954-1956
Box 5 Folder 34
Religion 169-170, 1932-1933
Box 5 Folder 35
Test material, 1957
Box 5 Folder 36
Diary from year at Harvard University, 1912
Box 5 Folder 37
Assembly Programs, 1913-1929
Box 6 Folder 38
Assembly Programs, 1930-1951
Box 6 Folder 39
Camps, 1927-1931
Box 6 Folder 40
Conferences, 1917-1953
Box 6 Folder 41
Land management, Orangeville County, S.C., 1928-1948
Box 6 Folder 42
Miscellaneous documents, 1921-1960
Box 6 Folder 43
Miscellaneous published material
Box 6 Folder 44
Miscellaneous records, 1894-1930
Box 6 Folder 45
Pastor's School, 1926-1934
Box 6 Folder 46
Personal and worship notes, reflection on call to ministry
Box 7 Folder 47
Printed material
Box 7 Folder 48
Recommendations [written by others about Mason Crum], 1909-1913
Box 7 Folder 49
Race relations
Box 7 Folder 50
Religio-Psychiatric Clinic, 1957-1963
Box 7 Folder 51
Religious education, 1929-1949
Box 7 Folder 52
Study of Religion in the Colleges of N.C., ca. 1937
Box 7 Folder 53
Sermon notes, 1915-1920
Box 7 Folder 54
University of South Carolina, 1950-1951
Box 7 Folder 55
Box 7 Folder 56

Hand- and typewritten manuscripts, notebooks, bound volumes, together with research notes, for published and unpublished books and articles. Not included are the Guide to Religious Pageantry (published in 1923) and The Project Method in Religion (Ph.D. thesis, University of South Carolina, 1924). Works represented are: 1) Autobiography, tentatively titled The Young Bee Makes the Honeycomb, [1959-1960]. 2) A Boy's Life of Albert Schweitzer, undated 3) Character Building, various dates 4) Cherokee Legends of the Great Smokey Mountains, [1954-1962] 5) Child Development, writings on, various dates 6) Childhood and Character, [1929] 7) College term papers, Harvard, [1911-1912]. 8) Counseling College Students, [1930-1967]. 9) Doorways of Duke, [1950], on Duke architecture. 10) Duke University and the Things of the Spirit, undated 11) Family counseling, writings on, various dates. 12) Fiction, unpublished short stories, various dates. 13) Gullah. Duke University Press, 1940. Bound typescript and personal copy. 14) History of the Southern Christian Advocate, undated The Advocate is a South Carolina Methodist publication. 15) Life Among the Gullah Negroes, undated 16) Life and Times of Washington Duke, undated 17) A Little Girl Named Maggie, [1953, how Maggie Valley, N.C. got its name.] 18) Miscellaneous articles 19) The Negro in the Methodist Church. The Board of Missions and the Church Extension, The Methodist Church, 1951. Bound copy inscribed to Dr. and Mrs. Gross. 20) A Negro Story Nobody Knows: When Negro Methodists sat in Southern Churches (tentative title), undated [on the pre-Civil War period] 21) Writings on Religion 22) A Southerner Looks at Segregation, 1955 23) Speaking of Boys, undated (Chapter 3) 24) The Story of Lake Junaluska, 1950, and Chief Junaluska. 25) Where Your Hillbilly Music Comes From, undated

Arranged alphabetically.

Books 1-2, First draft, 1959-1960
Box 8 Folder 57
Books 3-4, First draft, 1959-1960
Box 8 Folder 58
The Young Bee Makes the Honeycomb: The Short and Simple Annals of a College Professor, Chapters 1-11, 1959-1960
Box 8 Folder 59
The Young Bee Makes the Honeycomb: The Short and Simple Annals of a College Professor, Chapters 12-20, 1959-1960
Box 8 Folder 60
A Boy's Life of Albert Schweitzer
Box 8 Folder 61
Character Building
Box 8 Folder 62
Cherokee Indians, 1953-1954
Box 8 Folder 63
Cherokee Legends of the Great Smokey Mountains, 1954-1962
Box 8 Folder 64
Cherokee Indian legends
Box 9 Folder 65
Child development
Box 9 Folder 66
Childhood and character, 1929
Box 9 Folder 67
College term papers, Harvard, 1911-1912
Box 9 Folder 68
Counseling college students, 1930-1967
Box 9 Folder 69
Doorways of Duke, 1950
Box 9 Folder 70
Duke University and things of the spirit
Box 9 Folder 71
Family counseling, 1919-1953
Box 9 Folder 72
Box 9 Folder 73
Research notes, Gullah life and visit to a Negro Church in Durham
Box 10 Folder 74
Gullah: Negro Life in the Carolina Sea Islands. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1940.
Signed by the author on the front fly-leaf and on the title page.
Box 10 Folder 75
Typed manuscript draft, Chapters 1-8, undated
Box 10 Folder 76
Typed manuscript draft, Chapters 9-14, undated
Box 10 Folder 77
Dust jacket, Duke University Press, 1940
Box 10 Folder 78
History of the Southern Christian Advocate
Box 11 Folder 75
Life Among Gullah Negroes
Box 11 Folder 76
Life and Times of Washington Duke
Box 11 Folder 77-80
A Little Girl Named Maggie or Maggie Valley: A True Story from a Great Smoky Mountain Region, 1953
Box 11 Folder 81
The Negro in the Methodist Church. New York: Board of Missions and Church Extension, The Methodist Church, 1951.
Inscribed by the author on the title page: "To: Dr. Paul Gross and Mrs. Gross from Mason Crum".
Box 12 Folder 82
A Negro History Nobody Knows; When Negro Methodists Sat in Southern Churches, holograph manuscripts, undated
Box 12 Folder 83
A Negro Story Nobody Knows: The Forgotten Chapter in Southern History, holograph manuscript, 1944
Box 12 Folder 84
Chapters 1-9
Box 12 Folder 85-86
Chapters 10-16
Box 12 Folder 87-88
Box 13 Folder 89
A Southerner Looks at Segregation, 1955
Box 13 Folder 90
Speaking of Boys, Chapter 3
Box 13 Folder 91
The Story of Lake Junaluska, 1946
Box 13 Folder 92-93
Where Your Hillbilly Music Comes From
Box 13 Folder 94

62 10" x 13" black and white prints, many autographed and dated by Mason Crum, mounted on 15" x 20" boards, in two volumes, and numbered; plus one box of snapshots, lantern slides, magazine clippings and small mounted prints. Most of the mounted prints date from 1935-1936, and are landscapes, portraits, buildings and activities in the Gullah communities on the islands of Edisto and St. Helena's; also photographs of charcoal portraits done in the Sea Islands by Winold Reiss of St. Helena, family prints and portraits, and prints of old maps. Most of the remaining photographs are family snapshots, scenes at Lake Junaluska, small prints of the Sea Island photographs, approximately 48 3" x 4" glass lantern slides of Sea Island prints, and scenes at Duke University (including 5" x 7" prints for an article titled 'Doorways of Duke.')



Includes snapshots, lantern slides, clippings, small prints.

Mounted photographs 1-30, "Volume 1"
Mounted photographs 31-60, "Volume 2"

1 7" reel audio tape, Mason Crum performing "Cotton Field Ballads" said to be illustrative of a chapter in his autobiography on southern songs and ballads.

This recording has been transferred and is available on audio cassette.

Historical Note

Educator, author, Methodist minister; born Frederick Mason Crum; A.B. Wofford College, 1909; Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1925; LI.D, 1950. Professor of Biblical Literature, Duke University, 1930-1957. Author, Gullah: Negro Life in the Carolina Sea Islands (1940); The Negro in the Methodist Church (1950). Married (1914) Katherine Howell of Waterboro, S.C.; six children.

Mason Crum was born in Rowesville, S.C., the son of William C. and Nonie (Neeley) Crum. His father was a merchant, farmer, and landowner in Orangeburg County. Crum received his undergraduate education at Wofford College, Spartanburg, graduating in 1909. He then attended the School of Religion at Vanderbilt in 1910, and was principal of a school in Fort Mill, S.C. for a year. In 1911, desiring to work for a Ph.D. in order to teach at the college level, he entered Harvard for courses in psychology and philosophy. After a year's study, he returned to South Carolina and began what his autobiography calls a kind of detour in life. During the few next years, he worked as an agent for the Department of Agriculture, sold cars, and became interested in the ministry. He was ordained in the Methodist Church in 1919 and received a pastorate in Summerville, S.C. in 1920. Still desiring to teach, he was appointed Professor of Religious Education at Columbia College. From 1920 to 1930 he taught courses in Biblical literature, psychology, ethics, and education, and completed the Ph.D. program in education at the University of South Carolina, receiving the degree in 1925; his dissertation was on the Project Principle in Religious Education. He was a member and officer of the Chi Phi fraternity.

He began teaching Biblical Literature part-time at Duke University in 1930, and was appointed to the faculty two years later. While at Duke, Crum worked extensively on the question of race relations and Christianity and began studying the social history of the South Carolina Sea Islands, and especially the Gullah communities on Edisto and St. Helena. He took part in cooperative efforts in bettering race relations through education, and was active in a number of organizations. He began teaching a course in Black History, The Negro in the Religious Life of America, in 1954; the course was described as an examination of Christian churches' attempts to apply the Christian ethic to race relations, although Crum intended it as a course about Black life and culture. Crum retired from Duke in 1957, and, after moving to Florida, he volunteered his services as a pastoral counselor to a clinic associated with the Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Florida. He and his wife returned to North Carolina sometime after 1963, and took up residence at Lake Junaluska, the Methodist Church's retreat in western North Carolina, where Crum died in September, 1980.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Mason Crum Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


The Mason Crum Papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1973-1977.

Processing Information

Processed by University Archives staff. Completed August 1995, September 2003.

Encoded by Jill Katte, September 2003

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.