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Guide to the Daniel Augustus Tompkins Papers, 1774-1976


Engineer, author, and entrepreneur, of Charlotte (Mecklenburg Co.), N.C. Collection contains letters and papers relating to Tompkins' work in the Pennsylvania steel industry, specifically with the Bethlehem Iron Works, his career as an industrial engineer in North Carolina with the Westinghouse Machine Company, his personal life, his activities as co-owner of the Charlotte Observer and his disputes with the editor, J. C. Hemphill, his patents and inventions, his business activities and involvement with the textile, brick, and other industries, and the settlement of his estate. Includes ledgers and a stockholders' minute book of the D. A. Tompkins Company.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Daniel Augustus Tompkins papers
Tompkins, Daniel Augustus, 1851-1914
11 Linear Feet, 6432 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

Collection consists of personal, business, legal, and financial papers of Daniel Augustus Tompkins (1851-1914), Charlotte businessman. Correspondence, 1874-1884, is principally with his fiancee, Harriet Brigham, discussing personal matters; his work and colleagues at the Bethlehem Iron Works, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where Tompkins was employed as a machinist, 1874-1881; economic conditions relating to Bethlehem Iron Works; life in boarding houses; social and cultural life in Bethlehem; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; his organization of a savings and loan association; John Fritz, mechanical engineer at Bethlehem Iron Works; and his work as an engineer and sales agent in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Westinghouse Machine Company.

A ledger, 1881-1886, contains accounts for public committees in Bethlehem including fire, street, lock-up, lamp, health, police, ordinance, finance, and market; and accounts, 1883-1884, for selling steam engines for the Westinghouse Machine Company. Scattered papers, 1884-1914, generally pertain to Tompkins's investments, and to his dispute over editorial policies with James Calvin Hemphill, editor of the Charlotte Observer, in which Tompkins owned a majority interest.

Included are a cashbook, 1913-1914; notes and bills receivable and payable, 1889-1918; notes, 1906-1907, about gas engines; a journal, 1910-1914; and a ledger, 1907-1914.

Papers, 1915-1921, consisting of correspondence, legal and financial papers, scattered minutes, and financial statements, generally relate to the settlement of the Tompkins estate and his investments in the Charlotte Observer; the Observer Printing House; the Greenville (S.C.) News; the Atherton Mills of which Tompkins was a founder; the High Shoals Company; other cotton mills in North and South Carolina, especially Parker Cotton Mills Company, Victor-Monaghan Mills, Hampton Cotton Mills and Issaqueena Mills; the Troy Oil Mill; the D. A. Tompkins Company, manufacturers, engineers, and contractors with machine and roller covering shops; the Switzerland Company, developers of the resort community of Little Switzerland, North Carolina; the Charlotte Sanatorium, a general hospital; banking investments; and the Johnson Publishing Company.

There are also correspondence and other papers dealing with the writing of a biography of Daniel Augustus Tompkins by George Tayloe Winston entitled A Builder of the New South: Being the Story of the Life Work of Daniel Augustus Tompkins (New York: 1920); and with bequests to Edgefield, South Carolina, for their library and for the installation of manual training and home economics in the public schools.

Accounts for the estate consist of a journal, 1914-1926; cashbooks, 1914-1926; and a trial balances book, 1913-1918. There are also accounts for the D. A. Tompkins Company including a cashbook, 1907-1917; a ledger, 1907-1917; and a minute book, 1906-1916. Accounts for the Troy Oil Mill Company are a cashbook, 1914-1917; a general ledger, 1905-1917; and a ledger, 1914-1916.

Papers after 1921 are chiefly those of Sterling Graydon (d. 1974), nephew of Daniel Augustus Tompkins, executor of the Tompkins estate, and owner of the Angus Brick Company, Ninety Six, South Carolina. Included are personal correspondence of Graydon and of his wife, Nell (Saunders) Graydon, concerning family matters, politics, economic conditions, the management of the Tompkins estate, and Graydon's ownership of the Angus Brick Company; papers relating to Graydon's stock investments, especially during the 1950s; papers dealing with Nell (Saunders) Graydon's historical writings on South Carolina; information on the Cokesbury (South Carolina) Historical Commission and the campaign to preserve the town; accounts relating to the Angus Brick Company, consisting of ledgers, 1930-1945, and cash journals, 1934-1945; a personal cash journal of Sterling Graydon, 1930-1948; and a ledger of Clint T. Graydon, 1930-1935.

The collection also contains printed material and pictures.

Description taken from: Guide to the Cataloged Collections in the Manuscript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University (1980)

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Daniel Augustus Tompkins Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1854-1876
(9 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, 1877-1909
(6 folders)
Box 2
Correspondence, 1910-1915 May
(6 folders)
Box 3
Correspondence, 1915 June - 1916 April
(6 folders)
Box 4
Correspondence, 1916 May - 1917 Jan.
(5 folders)
Box 5
Correspondence, 1917 Feb. - 1918 May
(5 folders)
Box 6
Correspondence, 1918 June - 1919
(5 folders)
Box 7
Correspondence, 1920-1931
(5 folders)
Box 8
Correspondence, 1932-1948
(5 folders)
Box 9
Correspondence, 1949-1963
(3 folders)
Box 10
Correspondence, 1964-1967
(5 folders)
Box 11
Correspondence, 1968-1973, undated
(3 folders)
Box 12
Legal Papers, 1790-1965, undated
(3 folders)
Box 12
Legal and Financial Papers: Atherton Mills, 1898-1919
(3 folders)
Box 13
Legal and Financial Papers: Charlotte Sanatorium, 1908-1919
(2 folders)
Box 13
Legal and Financial Papers: High Shoals Co., 1901-1919
(2 folders)
Box 14
Legal and Financial Papers: Observer Printing House, 1910-1916
Box 14
Legal and Financial Papers: Switzerland Co., 1909-1918
Box 14
Legal and Financial Papers: Troy Oil Mill, 1906-1917
Box 14
Legal and Financial Papers: D. A. Tompkins Co., 1889-1917
Box 14
Financial Papers, 1793-1963
(2 folders)
Box 14
Financial Papers: Cash Accounts, 1909-1914
Box 15
Financial Papers: Estate of D. A. Tompkins, 1914-1958
Box 15
Miscellany, 1821-1965
(2 folders)
Box 15
Printed Material, 1879-1973
(2 folders)
Box 16
Clippings, 1904-1976
Box 16
Pictures, undated
(4 folders)
Box 16
Volumes: Genealogy Jesse Edwards Family, 1939
Box 17
Volumes: Gas Engines, 1906
Box 17
Volumes: Notes and Bills Receivables, circa 1889-1907
Box 17
Volumes: Fetzer Booklet with charges and notations of a vote, circa 1893
Box 17
Volumes: Ledger, 1881-1886
Box 17
Volumes: D. A. Tompkins Company Checkbook on Commercial National Bank, 1913-1917
Box 17
Volumes: Graydon and Fetzer Families Ledger for Notes and Mortgages, 1916-1926
Box 17
Volumes: John R. Tompkins "Family Notes," 1903
Box 17
Volumes: D. A. Tompkins Estate. Cash Journal, 1920-1922
Box 17
Volumes: D. A. Tompkins Estate. Ledger , 1920-1922
Box 17
Volumes: Recipe Book, Handwritten, undated
Box 17
Journal, 1910-1914 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:4038
Cashbook, 1907-1917 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:4040
Trial Balances, 1913-1918 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:4041
Journal, 1914-1926 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:4042
Cashbook, 1914-1919 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:4043
Cashbook, 1919-1926 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:4044
Ledger, 1930-1942 (Ninety Six, S.C.)
Volume M:4046
Ledger, 1930-1945 (Ninety Six, S.C.)
Volume M:4048
Angus Brick Company: Cash journal, 1934-1938 (Ninety Six, S.C.)
Volume ff:4049
Angus Brick Company: Cash journal, 1938-1941 (Ninety Six, S.C.)
Volume ff:4050
Angus Brick Company: Cash journal, 1941-1945 (Ninety Six, S.C.)
Volume ff:4051
Clint T. Graydon: Ledger, 1930-1935
Volume F:4052
Troy Oil Mill Company: General ledger, 1905-1917 (Troy, S.C.)
Volume F:6692
Minute Book, 1906-1916 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume M:6693
Ledger, 1907-1914 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:6694
Ledger, 1907-1917 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:6695
Cashbook, 1913-1914 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Volume F:6696
Troy Oil Mill Company: Ledger, 1914-1916 (Troy, S.C.)
Volume ff:6697
Troy Oil Mill Company: Cashbook, 1914-1917 (Troy, S.C.)
Volume ff:6698
Oversize items
Oversize-folder 1

Historical Note

Daniel Augustus Tompkins (1851-1914) was an engineer, author, and entrepreneur, of Charlotte (Mecklenburg Co.), N.C.

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The Daniel Augustus Tompkins Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift between 1950 and 1973.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library Staff

Encoded by Noah Huffman, February 2012

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 1950-1973