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Guide to the Few Family Papers, 1861-1986 (bulk 1905-1967)

Abstract

The Few family papers includes correspondence, business and financial papers, clippings, printed material, and genealogical information. The collection was created by a various members of the Thomas and Few families, with the majority being created by Mary Reamey Thomas Few and her husband, Dr. William P. Few. The collection ranges in date from 1861-1986 (bulk 1905-1967).

Descriptive Summary

Repository
University Archives, Duke University
Creator
Few family.
Title
Few Family papers 1861-1986 (bulk 1905-1967)
Language of Material
English
Extent
19.8 Linear Feet, approx. 15,700 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Few family papers encompass two families: the Few family and the Thomas family. The majority of the collection was created by Mary Reamey Thomas Few and her husband, Dr. William P. Few. The collection is divided into four series: Correspondence, Genealogy, Miscellaneous, and Political Papers of Mary Reamey Thomas Few.

The Correspondence series is broken down into several subseries based on how the correspondence was grouped by the Few family. The majority of the correspondence was written by and to members of the Few and Thomas families, including letters between Dr. and Mrs. Few prior to their marriage as well as letters from Mrs. Few to her parents while she was an undergraduate at Trinity College (Durham, N.C.). Other subjects in the correspondence series include family and business matters and social conditions in Durham.

The Genealogy series includes research notes and information accumulated by Mrs. Few as well as applications for membership in several historical and genealogical societies.

The Miscelleanous series includes financial and business papers, Lyne Starling Thomas' business papers, printed material, clippings, and address/memo books.

The Political Papers series consists of correspondence, memorabilia, pamphlets, clippings, photographs and printed materials amassed by Mary Reamey Thomas Few in her capacity as a leader in the Republican Party.

The collection ranges in date from 1861-1986 (bulk 1905-1967).

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

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 University Archives to use this collection.

Portions of these materials are restricted by donor request.

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

The family correspondence was sorted and grouped by Kendrick and/or Randolph Few, sons of Dr. William and Mary Few. At processing, the letters were sorted by date within each grouping for easier patron access and use. Each grouping is a sub-series named for the creator of the correspondence, if applicable.

Mary Few's correspondence varies in content, depending on the recipient. The letters to her parents detail her life as an undergraduate at Trinity College in Durham, with references to her classes, professors, friends and social activities. She writes of her visits to Ben Duke's house to visit his daughter Mary and going "automobiling." Some of her social activities included traveling throughout North Carolina with college friends, joining her classmates for dinner at the home of James Southgate (Trinity College trustee), and attending religious meetings and theatrical productions. Of note are Mrs. Few's letters home regarding the 1905 visit of President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt to Trinity College. Mrs. Few's letters continue through her time at Columbia University, Southern Seminary in Buena Vista, Va., and finally her return to Durham after her marriage to Dr. Few. The later letters focus largely on family matters, including her sons and Dr. Few's travels.

The letters exchanged between Dr. and Mrs. Few provide some insight into their long-distance courtship but largely focus on family matters. The remaining family-related correspondence also pertains to family matters but also business matters as well. The general correspondence subseries contains letters written mainly to Mrs. Few from various individuals about a wide array of topics, including business ventures and genealogy.

1904-1905 Feb.
Box 1
1905 March-April
Box 1
1905 May-June
Box 1
1905 Oct.
Box 1
1905 Nov.
Box 1
1905 Dec.
Box 1
1906 Jan.
Box 1
1906 Feb.
Box 1
1906 Nov.-Dec.
Box 1
1907 Jan.-March
Box 1
1907 May-June
Box 2
1909 Jan.-March
Box 2
1909 April-June
Box 2
1912
Box 2
1913 Jan.-Feb.
Box 2
1913 March-June
Box 2
1913 July-Aug.
Box 2
1913 Sept.-Oct.
Box 2
1913 Nov.-Dec., undetermined months for 1913
Box 2
1914 Jan.-Feb.
Box 3
1914 Mar.-Apr.
Box 3
1914 May-June, Oct.
Box 3
1914 Nov.-Dec.
Box 3
1915
Box 3
1916
Box 3
1917 Feb.-May
Box 3
1917 July-Dec.
Box 3
1918 Jan.-Apr.
Box 3
1918 May-Dec.
Box 4
1919 Jan.-July
Box 4
1919 Sept.-Dec.
Box 4
1920, 1912, 1927
Box 4
1904 Nov.-1905
Box 4
1906-1907, 1909
Box 4
1912-1918
Box 4
1908-1911
Box 4
1912-1913
Box 4
1914 March-Nov.
Box 5
1915
Box 5
1916 June-Aug.
Box 5
1916 Sept.
Box 5
1916 Oct.-1918 May
Box 5
1918 June-Nov.
Box 5
1919 March, July-Aug.
Box 5
1919 Sept.-Nov.
Box 6
1920
Box 6
1922-1927
Box 6
1933 Dec.-1934
Box 6
1935-1937
Box 6
1938
Box 6
1939-1940
Box 6
Undated
Box 6
1911
Box 6
1913-1914, 1917-1918
Box 6
1920-1924
Box 6
1925
Box 6
1926 July-Aug.
Box 7
1926 Sept.
Box 7
1927, undated
Box 7
1913
Box 7
1916
Box 7
1917
Box 7
1892, 1905-1906, 1910-1911
Box 7
1912-1913
Box 7
1914, 1916
Box 7
1912-1914, 1918
Box 7
1918
Box 7
1911
Box 7
1908
Box 7
1896, 1900-1905
Box 7
1909, 1912-1914, 1916, 1919, 1922, 1924, undated
Box 7
1935-1936, 1943-1945
Box 7
1909, 1911-1913
Box 7
1914-1915, 1917-1918, undated
Box 7
1911, 1913, 1917
Box 8
Mary A. Thomas to Mary Reamey Thomas Few [granddaughter], 1895, 1899, 1906, 1908
Box 8
Christopher Yancey Thomas to Mary Reamey Thomas Few [cousin], 1951-1958, 1962, 1965-1969
Box 8
Thomas Family to Mary Reamey Thomas Few, 1905, 1908, 1929, 1933, 1940, 1952, 1955, 1970, undated
Box 8
Thomas Family to One Another, 1901, 1951, 1959
Box 8
Ross-Duggan Family to Mary Reamey Thomas Few, 1925, 1930, 1936-1937, 1939-1940, 1943, 1956, 1960, 1965, 1970, undated
Box 8
Various Relatives to Mary Reamey Thomas Few: 1911, 1927, 1935, 1945, 1956
Box 8
Various Relatives to Elizabeth Sheffield Thomas, 1875, 1879, 1880, 1891, 1892, 1896
Box 8
Various Relatives to Elizabeth Sheffield Thomas, 1901, 1905, 1909-1918, 1921, 1927, undated
Box 8
Various Relatives to Lyne Starling Thomas, 1875, 1891, 1892, 1894, 1901, 1906, 1908, 1915
Box 8
Various Relatives to Lyne Starling Thomas, 1910-1918, undated
Box 8
1908
Box 9
1909 Jan.-March
Box 9
1909 April-June
Box 9
1909 July-Dec.
Box 9
1910
Box 9
1911
Box 9
1912
Box 9
1913
Box 9
1914
Box 9
1915
Box 9
1916
Box 10
1918
Box 10
1919
Box 10
1920-1923
Box 10
1924, 1926-1927, 1929
Box 10
1931, 1934, 1938, 1940
Box 10
Illegible postmark year
Box 10
Undated
Box 10
To Lyne Starling Thomas [father-in-law], 1915, 1917-1918
Box 10
To Elizabeth Sheffield Thomas [mother-in-law], 1913, 1915
Box 10
To Elizabeth Sheffield Thomas [mother-in-law], 1918, 1919, 1926
Box 10
To Ellie Few [sister], 1928-1933
Box 10
To Ellie Few [sister], 1937-1940
Box 10
To Benjamin Few [nephew], 1930-1937
Box 11
To Benjamin Few [nephew], 1937-1940
Box 11
To/about William Few [son], 1928-1940
Box 11
To/about Lyne Starling Few [son], 1930-1940
Box 11
To/about Kendrick Sheffield Few [son], 1930-1940
Box 11
To Randolph Reamey Few [son], 1930, 1937-1938
Box 11
To Yancy Preston Few [son], 1930, 1938
Box 11
About Joseph and Marion Few [nephews?], 1929-1930
Box 11
Benjamin Few to William Preston Few [son], 1893, 1894, 1896, 1903, 1904, 1913, 1914
Box 11
Ellie Few to William Preston Few [brother], 1898, 1911-1914, 1916
Box 11
Ellie Few to William Preston Few [brother], circa 1928-1933
Box 11
Ellie Few to William Preston Few [brother], 1936-1939
Box 11
Benjamin Few to William Preston Few [uncle], 1930-1937
Box 11
Benjamin Few to William Preston Few [uncle], 1937-1940
Box 11
Benjamin Few to Ellie Few [mother?], 1928 Oct. 3
Box 11
Few Family to William Preston Few, 1897, 1920, circa 1923-1924
Box 11
1861, 1864, 1905-1906, 1908
Box 12
1909-1911, 1913
Box 12
1914-1919
Box 12
1920, 1923-1925
Box 12
1926-1927
Box 12
1928-1929
Box 12
1930-1931
Box 12
1932-1933
Box 12
1934-1935
Box 12
1936-1937
Box 12
1938
Box 13
1939
Box 13
1940
Box 13
1941-1942
Box 13
1943-1944
Box 13
1945-1949
Box 13
1951-1954
Box 13
1955
Box 14
1956
Box 14
1957
Box 14
1958-1959
Box 14
1960-1961
Box 14
1962
Box 14
1963
Box 14
1964
Box 14
1965
Box 14
1966
Box 14
1967
Box 14
1968-1969
Box 15
1970-1971, 1986
Box 15
Undated
Box 15
1908, 1910-1911, 1936, 1944, 1948, 1951-1958
Box 15
1960-1968, undated
Box 15
1904, 1954, 1961, 1970, undated
Box 15
1897-1938
Box 15
1940-1967
Box 15
Undated
Box 15
1906-1937
Box 15
1938-1970, undated
Box 15
1926-1967
Box 16
With Photographs, 1938, 1942, 1967
Box 16
Undated
Box 16

Mrs. Few was an avid genealogist with a strong interest in her family history. This series includes research notes she accumulated as well as applications to several historical and genealogical societies. There is also a folder related to the Kendrick family, who were related to Dr. Few.

Genealogical information, accumulated over a number of years (6 folders)
Box 16
Mary Reamey Thomas Few's application to the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1905; Kendrick Few's application to the Sons of the American Revolution, 1964
Box 17
Mary Reamey Thomas Few's application to the Huguenot Society, 1940
Box 17
Mary Reamey Thomas Few's application to the North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames of America, 1923
Box 17
Kendrick Family Information, accumulated over a number of years
Box 17

This series includes material related to Mrs. Few's membership in several historical and genealogical societies, such as newsletters. It also includes printed material, clippings, poems/writings, legal and financial papers, photographs, and the business papers of Lyne Starling Thomas. Thomas was the father of Mary Few and was a lawyer in Martinsville, Va.

Huguenot Society, 1941-1970
Box 17
Magna Charta Dames, 1953-1955, 1968
Box 17
Daughters of the American Revolution, 1915, 1956-1958
Box 17
Colonial Dames, 1958, undated; Soverign Colonial Society Americans of Royal Descent, 1969
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1904-1905
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1905-1906, 1914-1916
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1897, 1900-1902
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1902, 1911, 1916, 1918, 1920, 1922
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1913-1920
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1915, 1917-1920
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1917
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1918-1920
Box 17
Lyne Starling Thomas: Business Papers, 1917, 1919, undated
Box 17
Legal and Financial Papers, circa 1879-1967
Box 18
Trinity College/Duke University-related Items, circa 1906-1970, undated
Box 18
Poems/Writings, undated
Box 18
Photographs, 1939, 1955, 1961, undated
Box 18
Printed Material, circa 1906-1969, undated
Box 18
Printed Material, 1934, 1939, 1967
Box 18
Clippings, 1885, 1920s
Box 18
Clippings, 1930s
Box 19
Clippings, 1940s-1970s
Box 19
Clippings, undated
Box 19
The Martinsville Herald, 1885 Nov. 13
Box 19
The Dukes (a play), 1963-1965
Box 19
Miscellaneous, 1899, 1905-1908, undated
Box 19
Miscellaneous, circa 1914-1965, undated
Box 19
William Preston Few scrapbook of clippings
Box 20
Address books/Memo books belonging to Mary Reamey Thomas Few, 1899, 1922, undated
Box 20
The Scribble-in Book which contains names and addresses
Box 20
1906 Trinity College/Duke University Reunion Badge
Box 20
Delegate Badge to the Deep Waterway Convention in New Orleans, La., 1906 Oct. 30-Nov. 12
Box 20

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Few became active in the affairs of the Republican Party. She served as Republican national committeewoman for North Carolina from 1944-1956 and as a member of the Republican National Executive Committee. She was a member of the Platform Committee and the Commmittee on Arrangements for the Republican National Convention in 1948 as a delegate-at-large and Platform Committee for the Convention in 1952, where she supported Dwight D. Eisenhower for the presidential nomination.

This series consists of the correspondence, memorabilia, pamphlets, clippings, photographs, and printed materials amassed by Few in her capacity as a leader in the Party. Items include materials concerning N.C. state politics, campaign strategies, political support, the New Deal and other issues; photos of Philadelphia hotels; a copy of Eisenhower's 1955 State of the Union Address; cards from prominent Republicans; and Republican Party news releases. Printed matter highlights the national conventions, and includes such items as hand-outs, souvenir volumes, buttons saying "I LIKE IKE," "I'M DAFT ABOUT TAFT," and "IT'S TIME FOR NIXON," and documents on the workings of a presidential campaign.

Correspondence, 1943-1944
Box 21
Correspondence, 1945-1947
Box 21
Correspondence, 1948-1951
Box 21
Correspondence, 1952 Feb.-Aug.
Box 21
Correspondence, 1952 Sept.-Dec.
Box 21
Correspondence, 1953-1970, undated
Box 21
Addresses and Writings, 1943-1965
Box 21
Addresses and Writings, 1948-1956, undated
Box 21
Christmas Cards [arranged alphabetically], A-L
Box 21
Christmas Cards [arranged alphabetically], M-R
Box 21
Christmas Cards [arranged alphabetically], S-W
Box 22
Dwight D. Eisenhower Postcards, undated
Box 22
Dwight D. Eisenhower Photograph, undated
Box 22
Dwight D. Eisenhower Talking Photo Commemorating his Inauguration, 1953
Box 22
Dwight D. and Mamie Eisenhower Photograph [color], undated
Box 22
Dwight D. Eisenhower and Mary Reamey Thomas Few Photograph, undated
Box 22
Richard M. Nixon, Mary Reamey Thomas Few and Randolph Reamey Few Photograph, [1952?]
Box 22
Philadelphia, Pa. Photographs, circa 1948
Box 22
National Republican Convention [Philadelphia, Pa.] Photograph, circa 1948
Box 22
Hotel Walt Whitman [Camden, NJ], Photograph, circa 1948
Box 22
Valley Forge [Pa.] Photographs, circa 1948
Box 22
Robert Alphonso Taft Photograph [autographed], undated
Box 22
Clippings, 1944-1964, undated (2 folders)
Box 22
Printed Material, 1942-1944
Box 22
Printed Material, 1945-1946
Box 22
Printed Material, 1947-1949
Box 22
Printed Material, 1950-1951
Box 22
Printed Material, 1952 Jan.-July
Box 23
Printed Material, 1952 Aug.-Dec.
Box 23
Printed Material, 1953
Box 23
Printed Material, 1954-1964, undated
Box 23
National Republican Congressional Convention Campaign Speech Kit, 1954
Box 23
Annual Assay Commission, 1953
Box 23
25th Republican National Convention Program [Chicago, Il.], 1952 July 7
Box 23
Republican Almanac, 1948
Box 23
Miscellaneous, 1948
Box 23
Convention Name Tags, Badges, and Pins
Box 24
Elephant Figurines
Box 25
Campaign Buttons
Box 26
Campaign Ribbons, Banners, Stickers and Tickets
Box 26
Eisenhower License Plates
Box 26
Oversize Photograph of Douglas MacArthur
Box 26

Historical Note

Mary Reamey Thomas Few was born on July 12, 1885 in Martinsville, Va. to Lyne Starling and Elizabeth Sheffield Thomas. Educated by private tutors throughout her childhood, she entered Trinity College (Durham, N.C.) in 1902 and graduated magna cum laude in 1906. While at Trinity College, Mrs. Few as a member of the first staff of The Chronicle and also served on the staff of The Archive. Additionally, Mrs. Few was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority. In 1907, she earned a M.A. in English from Columbia University. She taught at the Southern Seminary in Buena Vista, Va. until the end of the 1910 session. On August 17, 1911, she married Dr. William Preston Few.

Born in Greenville, S.C. on December 29, 1867, the son of Benjamin Franklin and Rachel Kendrick Few, William Preston Few attended Wofford College, Spartanburg S.C. (A.B., 1889), and Harvard University (A.M., 1893; Ph.D., 1896). Dr. Few came to Durham in 1896 as Professor of English at Trinity College. He was named Dean of the College in 1902, and President in 1910, succeeding John C. Kilgo. Dr. Few was President of Trinity College/Duke University from 1910-1940.

President and Mrs. Few had five sons: William Few (1/4/1912-12/9/1979), Lyne Starling Few (10/18/1913-12/19/2004), Kendrick Sheffield Few (8/1/1917-7/27/1996), Randolph Reamey Few (10/6/1920-10/14/2008), and Yancy Preston Few (1922-1939). Dr. Few died on October 16, 1940. Mrs. Few died on January 8, 1971.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

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

Provenance

The political papers portion of the Few Family Papers was received as a purchase in 1978. The rest was received by the University Archives in 1972 and between 1990-1991.

Processing Information

Processed by Kimberly Sims, June 2010

Encoded by Kimberly Sims, July 2010

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.