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Guide to the William Woods Holden Papers, 1834-1929 and undated

Summary

William Woods Holden was a journalist and Republican governor of North Carolina during Reconstruction. He was the owner and editor of the North Carolina Standard newspaper from 1843 to 1860, during which time he and the paper were affiliated with the Democratic Party. He was elected governor as a Republican in 1868, but was impeached by the Democratic state legislature in 1870 for his efforts to combat the Ku Klux Klan. Collection consists of correspondence, memoirs, business papers, legal documents, poems, and other papers. Of note are depositions and other evidence gathered by Holden and his supporters of various members of the Ku Klux Klan, documenting their membership and activities during 1869-1870. Also includes Holden family papers, including scrapbooks and account books kept by Holden's wife and daughters.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11183
Title
William Woods Holden papers
Date
1834-1929 and undated
Extent
4.0 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The collection documents Holden's career as a journalist and politician, including his shift in party allegiance from Democrat to Republican during the Civil War. He served as the 28th and 30th governor of North Carolina.

Pre-Civil War letters deal mainly with personal and legal matters and with the Democratic convention in Charleston, S.C., 1860, and presidential election of 1860. Post-war materials concern the history of journalism in North Carolina; Holden's appointment by Andrew Johnson as provisional governor of North Carolina in 1865; his election as governor in 1868; Reconstruction policies; Ku Klux Klan activity in the state; the Kirk-Holden War; the "Ferrell Matter," a debt case in which Holden was the guarantor; Holden's impeachment as governor in 1870; his conviction by the N.C. Senate in 1871; his appointment as postmaster by Ulysses S. Grant in 1873; and life and politics in Washington during the period of Radical control. Of note are depositions and other evidence gathered by Holden and his supporters of various members of the Ku Klux Klan, documenting their membership and activities during 1869-1870.

The collection also includes Holden family papers, including scrapbooks and account books kept by Holden's wife and daughters; Holden's memoirs, recorded by his daughter Mary Holden Sherwood and edited by W.K. Boyd as part of the Trinity College Historical Society; some family photographs and materials related to the Holden homestead in Raleigh, N.C.; writings and poetry by Holden and his son, Joseph Holden; obituaries and clippings about Holden and his legacy; and other assorted personal and financial papers. Though removed from public life, Holden continued to write about public policy and government, sometimes critical of both parties, until his death in 1892.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Arranged into series: Correspondence, Political Materials, Legal Materials, Memoirs, and Personal Materials.

Using These Materials

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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.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], William Woods Holden papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Letters, 1850-1878
(7 folders)
Box 1
Holden's Duplicating Letterbook, 1878
(1 item)

Re: Holden's Postmaster duties, Raleigh, N.C.

Box 1
Letters, 1880-1929 and undated
(4 folders)
Box 1
Andrew Johnson's Proclamation of Amnesty for Holden, 1865
Box 2
Holden's appointment and proclamations as N.C. Provisional Governor, 1865
Box 2
Freedmen's Bureau miscellany, 1868
Box 2
North Carolina Governor election materials: party tickets, election certificate, convention notes, etc., 1868
Box 2
Booklet with Holden's impeachment proceedings, 1870, 1891

Booklet with printed account of Holden's impeachment from 1870, with annotations from 1891.

Box 2
Ulysses S. Grant's nomination of Holden as Postmaster, Raleigh, 1873

Certificate is in two pieces.

Box 2
N.C. Republican Convention proclamation denouncing Holden, 1881
Box 2
General papers, 1834-1893
(2 folders)
Box 2
Ku Klux Klan depositions, evidence, and other materials from the Kirk-Holden War, 1869-1871
Box 2
Holden's memoirs in the handwriting of Mary Holden Sherwood, undated
Box 2
Typescript of Holden's memoirs, edited by W.K. Boyd, 1911
Box 2
Manuscript of Holden's memoirs, edited by W.K. Boyd, 1911
(2 folders)
Box 2
William Woods Holden editorials/prose drafts and copies, 1850-1875
Box 3
William Woods Holden poetry/manuscripts drafts and copies, 1838-1920
Box 3
William Woods Holden poems/hymns printed versions, 1870s-1880s
Box 3
William Woods Holden scrapbook of clippings and published writings, 1880-1886
Box 3
Clippings re: William Woods Holden, 1850s-1900s
(2 folders)
Box 3
Joseph Holden poetry, etc.: printed versions, 1867
Box 3
Joseph Holden poetry/manuscripts: drafts, 1875 and undated
Box 3
Charles C. Holden teaching vacancies, 1890s
Box 3
Assorted souvenir photographs, undated
Box 3
William Woods Holden Raleigh homestead: photographs, auction/sale, etc., 1900s
Box 3
Family photographs and portraits, undated
Box 3
Sunday School and church memberships, etc., 1863-1887 and undated
Box 3
Historical Sketch of Edenton Street Methodist Church Sunday School, by S.F. Iden, 1912
Box 3
Financial papers, receipts, other family finances, 1850s-1890s
Box 4
Louisa Virginia Holden account book, 1894-1896
Box 4
Calling cards, undated
Box 4
Scrapbook with William Woods Holden obituaries, 1892
Box 4
L. Holden's commonplace book, undated
Box 4
Mary Holden Sherwood's scrapbook, 1909
Box 4
Lulu Holden's printed materials: Sweet Songs of Old (undated) and He Giveth His Beloved Sleep (1880)
Box 4
Miscellaneous printed materials, 1869-1916 and undated
Box 4
Louisa Holden's scrapbook, 1843
Box 5
N.C. Standard, Raleigh, newspaper index, 1858-1864
Box 6
 

Historical Note

William Woods Holden (1818-1892) was a journalist and Republican governor of North Carolina from Raleigh (Wake Co.) N.C.. He was owner and editor of the North Carolina Standard newspaper from 1843 to 1860, during which time he was a member of the Democratic Party. He served as a N.C. delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charleston, S.C., in 1860. As the Civil War progressed, Holden criticized the Confederate government and became a leader of the North Carolina peace movement. In May 1865 President Andrew Johnson appointed him provisional governor of North Carolina, serving until December 1865. In 1868 he ran and won as the Republican candidate for governor. In an effort to combat the Ku Klux Klan, Holden suspended habeas corpus and imposed martial law on Alamance and Caswell counties. He was impeached in 1870 by the Democratic state legislature on eight charges related to the rough treatment of North Carolina citizens due to his efforts to combat the Ku Klux Klan. He was convicted of six of the eight charges and removed from office in 1871. Following his removal from office, Holden moved to Washington, D.C. and resumed a career in journalism. In 1873, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him postmaster, a position he held in Raleigh until 1881.

Holden was married twice: first to Ann Augusta Young, who died in 1852 and with whom he had four children. He married Louisa Virginia Harrison, a widow with four children of her own, in 1854. He died in Raleigh in 1892.

Holden was sued by a rival newspaperman, Josiah Turner, in 1885, following Turner's arrest by Holden during his term as governor. The suit continued into the 1890s, despite Holden's being incapacitated by poor health. His wife, Louisa Virginia Holden, acted in his place and the suit was continued against her after Holden's death in 1892. Turner lost the suit in 1894.


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Provenance

The William Woods Holden papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift and purchase, between 1933 and 1975.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan Lyon, April 2016. Finding aid written by RL Staff, Katrina Martin, and Meghan Lyon, April 2016.