Guide to the Braxton Craven Records and Papers, 1839-1882
Braxton Craven (1822-1882) served as an administrator and educator during the nineteenth century evolution of Trinity College (Randolph County, N.C.). Craven was Principal of Union Institute (1842-1851), President of Normal College (1851-1859), and President of Trinity College (1859-1863, 1866-1882). In addition, Craven actively participated in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the Order of the Masons in North Carolina. Collection includes correspondence, sermons and addresses, diaries, legal and financial papers, teaching materials, subject files, and photographs and portraits of Braxton Craven. Correspondents include John Wesley Alspaugh, Charles Force Deems, David Lowry Swain, David Settle Reid, Henry Toole Clark, and Calvin H. Wiley. Subjects include the Methodist Episcopal Church, college financial affairs, and the activities of the Trinity Guard, a unit of student-soldiers that Craven formed during the Civil War.
- University Archives, Duke University.
- Craven, B. (Braxton), 1822-1882.
- Braxton Craven Records and Papers, 1839-1882.
- 4,000 Items, , 9.2 linear feet
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult Duke University Archives.
- Correspondence, 1842-1882.
- Sermons, Speeches, and Addresses, 1841-1880.
- Diaries, 1845-1874.
- Legal and Financial Papers, 1850-1882.
- Teaching Materials, 1850-1882.
- Masonic Papers, [undated].
- Methodist Episcopal Church South, [undated].
- Photographs and Portraits, 1840-1880.
- Bible, 1839
- Oversize materials
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
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.
The correspondence of Braxton Craven that survives documents the financial struggles of Normal College and later Trinity College. During the 1850s and 1860s, the correspondence describes attempts to gain state aid to the College and the formation of a cadet corps at Trinity. Included are typed copies from the original correspondence in the North Carolina Department of Archives and History in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Methodist Church seems to dominate the correspondence after 1859, when it becomes the chief financial supporter of the College. A few surviving family letters are also present. They pertain to the illness and death of Craven in 1882. Also included is a letterbook (1870-1882) that contains copies of letters, receipts, bylaws of the Trinity Normal School, bursar accounts, and faculty salary payments. Major correspondents include John Alspaugh, member of the Board of Trustees of Trinity College, Bishop Edward R. Ames of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Calvin Henderson Wiley, John S. Brown and Governors Thomas Settle Reid, David Lowry Swain and Henry Toole Clarke of North Carolina.
Include sermons given by Craven at church services, commencements, and funerals. Some are incomplete or fragments of sermons. Also present are 14 volumes that contain drafts of sermons by Craven. The notebooks, mainly pocketsize, include Scriptural passages glued to pages, with handwritten exegeses beneath them.
Includes transcript of a speech given by Craven at dedicatory celebrations of a cotton factory in Concord, North Carolina.
Speeches given on the topic of education -- normal schools, collegiate education, female education, testing, and scholarships.
Topics include unity within the church, and the centennial of the Methodist Church.
Topics include education, labor problems, and the Masonic rites and creeds.
Although the diaries span the years of 1845-1874, entries do not appear for every year. A partial transcript has been made for a particularly detailed section of Craven's 1868 diary. Handwritten portions of diaries from 1845 and 1855 also are included. The volumes date from the years 1861 (2 volumes), 1868, 1869, 1871, and 1874. These volumes are pocketsize, and some contain ideas for sermons, notes and comments on the weather, farming, preaching, Methodist conferences, and the state of the institution. Also included in this series is a short diary which was kept in 1867 by Craven's eldest daughter, Emma L. Craven. An undated memoranda notebook kept by Braxton Craven is also present.
Personal legal papers primarily dealing with transactions of land and money to and from Craven. Topics include receipts, letters of guardianship for orphans, last wills and testaments, indentures, petitions, deeds and legal disputes in which Craven was involved While this series does span the years of 1850-1882, it does not include material from all years. Financial material pertains to the personal finances of Braxton Craven with some items related to the Craven family. Topics in this series include receipts, inventories, promissory notes, and bank ledgers. Also in this collection, are two ledgers (1872-1875) from the Shaw and Company Store, of which Braxton Craven was a partner.
Arrangement: Legal papers alphabetical by topic; financial papers chronological.
Notes from lectures given by Craven, class lists and grade books, and outlines of instruction. The lecture notes have become confused and are roughly arranged alphabetically by subject. It is difficult to ascertain whether these lectures were given at the Union Institute, Normal College or Trinity College. The class lists and grade books are from classes that Craven personally taught and are not for the entire College. The outlines of instruction are summaries of the classes which Craven was teaching during 1850.
The series also includes student papers and essays, including valedictory and salutatory speeches delivered at Trinity College in 1872 and 1873. There is also a bound volume of 15 graduation speeches from class of 1880. Topics include industrial waste, the Confederate States of America, success, time, music, government, and philosophy. Some fragments of student papers are present.
Arrangement: alphabetical; student papers chronological
Papers pertaining to the Order of the Masons, of which Craven was a member. Trinity College also had its own Lodge. Included within this series are bylaws of the Trinity Lodge, minutes of meetings, copies of Master Mason's Certificates, and a partial list of members.
This series documents Braxton Craven's involvement with the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Included in this series is a roll book of the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church, of which Craven was secretary (ca. 1870s). Inside the book are provisions for lay and clerical delegates.
Primarily formal portraits of Braxton Craven with some images of Craven's family, his wife, Irene L Craven, and his tombstone in Trinity, North Carolina. Formats include tintype, ambrotype, engraving, and silhouette.
This Hebrew Bible was printed in Germany in 1839 and was the property of Braxton Craven. Craven's daughter gave it to the Reverend B.F. Hargett, after her father's death. Hargett gave the Bible to the Reverend Wilbur G. McFarland, who died in 1955.
Caricatures of Braxton Craven are on the rear paste-down and fly-leaf.
Educator and Methodist clergyman, Braxton Craven was born in Randolph County, N.C., in 1822. Craven became licensed to preach in 1840, earned an A.B. (Hon.) in 1849 from Randolph-Macon College, and received various other degrees during his lifetime. His career included the following educational and administrative positions: Student-teacher, Union Institute (1841-1842); Principal of Union Institute (1842-1851); President of Normal College (1851-1859); President of Trinity College (1859-1863, 1866-1882). Braxton Craven died in 1882.
Duke University (Durham, N.C.) was established in 1924 and evolved from the following institutions: Brown's Schoolhouse (Randolph Co., N.C), 1838-1839; Union Institute (Randolph Co., N.C.), 1839-1851; Normal College (Randolph Co., N.C.), 1851-1859; Trinity College (Randolph Co., N.C.), 1859-1892 and (Durham, N.C.), 1892-1924).
- Clark, Henry T. (Henry Toole), 1808-1874.
- Craven, B. (Braxton), 1822-1882.
- Deems, Charles F. (Charles Force), 1820-1893.
- Reid, David Settle, 1813-1891.
- Swain, David L. (David Lowry), 1801-1868.
- Wiley, Calvin Henderson, 1819-1887.
- Duke University--History.
- Freemasons--North Carolina.
- Normal College (Randolph County, N.C.)
- Methodist Episcopal Church, South--Clergy--North Carolina.
- Trinity College (Randolph County, N.C.)
- Union Institute (Randolph County, N.C.)
- College presidents--North Carolina.
- Education--North Carolina--History--19th century.
- Randolph County (N.C.)--History.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
[Identification of item], Braxton Craven Records and Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Received from multiple sources, including transfers from other campus units prior to the founding of University Archives:
Torrence N. Thomas, Jill Katte; Completed October 2002
Encoded by Joshua McKim, 2002
Updated by Sherrie Bowser, June 2008
This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.