Guide to the Mason Crum papers, 1885-1974


Mason Crum (1887-1980) served on the faculty in the Department of Religion at Duke University from 1930 to 1957, specializing in race relations and Christianity, as well as the social history of the Gullah community of the South Carolina Sea Islands. The papers contain correspondence, printed material, writings, clippings, slides, photographs, negatives, and glass slides, and and a sound recording. Subjects of interest 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, N.C. retreat. Photographs are of the Sea Islands, Lake Junaluska, Mason Crum's family, former slave Charles Baxter, and images relating to the Washington Duke family and Durham.

Collection Details

Record Group
Mason Crum papers
Crum, Mason, b. 1887
11 Linear Feet
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Materials in English.

Collection Overview

The Mason Crum papers include correspondence, printed material, hand written and typewritten manuscripts of books and articles, clippings, photographs, negatives, and glass slides, and an audio tape, dating chiefly from 1931-1959. Crum acquired the materials over the course of his career as a professor of Biblical literature who had interests in African American 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 reflected in the papers are moral education, pastoral counseling, and religious pageantry. Crum's concern with Christianity and race relations is shown by his participation in cooperative efforts in education, and in the teaching of one of the first Black studies courses in the South (1954).

Also included in the papers are photographs from the Sea Islands, from Junaluska, N.C., and more personal images of family, children, and relating to the Washington Duke family in Durham, N.C.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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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.

Nitrate negatives are closed to use; copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

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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.

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How to Cite

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

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence, 1889-1974, undated

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.

Correspondence, 1889-1937
Box 1
Folder 1-5
Correspondence, 1938-1944
Box 2
Folder 6-10
Correspondence, 1944-1951
Box 3
Folder 11-15
Correspondence, 1951-1967
Box 4
Folder 16-20
Correspondence, 1970-1974
Box 4
Folder 21
Correspondence, undated
Box 4
Folder 22
Subject Correspondence

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 23
Chi Phi fraternity, 1908, 1943-1958
Box 4
Folder 24
Box 5
Folder 25
Gullah publication, 1938-1971
Box 5
Folder 26
Lake Junaluska, 1949-1958
Box 5
Folder 27
North Carolina College Teachers of Religion, 1938-1949
Box 5
Folder 28
Race relations, 1936-1954
Box 5
Folder 29-30
A Southerner Looks at Segregation article, 1954-1955
Box 5
Folder 31

2. Subject files, 1885-1957, undated

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, undated
Box 5
Folder 32
Family genealogical and Mason Crum biographical information, 1939-1961
Box 5
Folder 33
Cashbook, 1885-1895
Box 5
Folder 34
Certificates and awards, 1957, 1969
Box 17
Folder 130
Cherokee history: Indian Gap Trail, Park Service paper, 1942-1949
Box 5
Folder 35
Clippings and reprints, 1951-1954
Box 6
Folder 36
Personal clippings, 1935-1957
Box 6
Folder 37-38
Columbia College, undated
Box 6
Folder 39
Educational Psychology, 1929
Box 6
Folder 40
Religion 185, "Negro Americans", 1954-1956
Box 6
Folder 41
Religion 169-170, 1932-1933
Box 6
Folder 42
Test material, 1957
Box 6
Folder 43
Diary from year at Harvard University, 1912
Box 6
Folder 44
Lake Junaluska
Assembly Programs, 1913-1929
Box 6
Folder 45
Assembly Programs, 1930-1951
Box 7
Folder 46-47
Camps, 1927-1931
Box 7
Folder 48
Conferences, 1917-1953
Box 7
Folder 49
Land management, Orangeville County, S.C., 1928-1948
Box 7
Folder 50
Miscellaneous documents, 1921-1960
Box 7
Folder 51
Miscellaneous published material
Box 7
Folder 52
Miscellaneous records, 1894-1930
Box 7
Folder 53
Pastor's School, 1926-1934
Box 7
Folder 54
Personal and worship notes, reflection on call to ministry, 1909-1911, undated
Box 8
Folder 55
Printed material: Workbook Manual for Marriage and the Family by John Harvey Furbay, 1942
Box 8
Folder 56
Recommendations for employment [written by others about Mason Crum], 1909-1913
Box 8
Folder 57
Race relations
Box 8
Folder 58
Religio-Psychiatric Clinic, 1957-1963
Box 8
Folder 59
Religious education, 1929-1949
Box 8
Folder 60
Study of Religion in the Colleges of N.C., circa 1937
Box 8
Folder 61
Sermon notes, 1915-1920
Box 8
Folder 62
University of South Carolina, 1950-1951
Box 8
Folder 63
Box 8
Folder 64

3. Writings, 1911-1967, undated

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 (written in response to the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education) 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.

First draft, 1959-1960
Box 9
Folder 65-66
The Young Bee Makes the Honeycomb: The Short and Simple Annals of a College Professor, Chapters 1-20, 1959-1960
Box 9
Folder 67-68
A Boy's Life of Albert Schweitzer
Box 9
Folder 69
Character Building
Box 9
Folder 70-71
Cherokee Indians, 1953-1954
Box 10
Folder 72-73
Cherokee Legends of the Great Smokey Mountains, 1954-1962
Box 10
Folder 74
Cherokee Indian legends, undated
Box 10
Folder 75
Child development, undated
Box 10
Folder 76
Childhood and character, 1929
Box 10
Folder 77-78
College term papers, Harvard, 1911-1912
Box 11
Folder 79-80
Counseling college students, 1930-1967
Box 11
Folder 81
Doorways of Duke, 1950
Box 11
Folder 82
Duke University and things of the spirit, undated
Box 11
Folder 83
Family counseling, 1919-1953
Box 11
Folder 84
Fiction, undated
Box 11
Folder 85
Gullah: Negro Life in the Carolina Sea Islands, 1940
Research notes, Gullah life and visit to a Negro Church in Durham
Box 12
Folder 86
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 12
Folder 87
Typed manuscript draft, Chapters 1-14, undated
Box 12
Folder 88-89
Dust jacket, Duke University Press, 1940
Box 13
Folder 90
History of the Southern Christian Advocate, undated
Box 13
Folder 91
Life Among Gullah Negroes
Box 13
Folder 92
Life and Times of Washington Duke
Box 13
Folder 93-98
A Little Girl Named Maggie or Maggie Valley: A True Story from a Great Smoky Mountain Region, 1953
Box 14
Folder 99
A Little Girl Named Maggie: Paintings, 1953
Box 17
Folder 131
The Negro in the Methodist Church. New York: Board of Missions and Church Extension, The Methodist Church, circa 1951
(Inscribed by the author on the title page: "To: Dr. Paul Gross and Mrs. Gross from Mason Crum".)
Box 14
Folder 100
A Negro History Nobody Knows
A Negro History Nobody Knows; When Negro Methodists Sat in Southern Churches, holograph manuscripts, undated
Box 14
Folder 101-102
A Negro Story Nobody Knows: The Forgotten Chapter in Southern History, holograph manuscript, 1944
Box 14
Folder 103-104
A Negro Story Nobody Knows, annotated typescript and photocopy
Box 15
Folder 108
Box 14
Folder 105-107
Box 15
Folder 109
A Southerner Looks at Segregation,, 1955
Box 15
Folder 110-111
Speaking of Boys, Chapter 3
Box 15
Folder 112
The Story of Lake Junaluska, 1946
Box 15
Folder 113-115
Where Your Hillbilly Music Comes From
Box 15
Folder 116

4. Photographs

This series includes a number of images of Sea Island Gullah community scenes and people, photographed by Mason Crum in about 1935-1936, as well as a few photographs of charcoal portraits done in the Sea Islands by Winold Reiss of St. Helen. These images include 61 10" x 13" black and white prints mounted on 15" x 20" boards and individually numbered; many of these are labeled and signed by Mason Crum. Also included in this group are 48 3" x 4" glass lantern slides, very few of which overlap with the mounted prints, as well as several prints. These images depict landscapes, portraits, buildings and activities in the Gullah communities on the islands of Edisto and St. Helena's.

Personal photographs include a number of images of Mason Crum's family, including his ancestors, parents, sister, wife, children, as well as a former slave, Charles Baxter, and Mason Crum's childhood nurse, Julia Edwards. There are a large number of images of Lake Junaluska, including lake scenery, the Lake Junaluska Boys' Camp, groups of people, and houses, as well as surrounding areas in the Appalachian region of North Carolina. Also included are images of Mason Crum's classes at Duke and other schools; images from the "Doorways of Duke" article; images related to Washington Duke and the Duke family in Durham for "The Life and Times of Washington Duke"; clippings, an illustration, and a cover of World Outlook featuring Mason Crum and family; a number of other images identified and unidentified.

Most of the images are photographic prints, mounted and unmounted. Also included are glass lantern slides, 35mm color slides, safety film negatives, and nitrate negatives. Nitrate negatives are closed to research.

Nitrate negatives are closed to use. Copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services for assistance.

Gullah: Edisto and St. Helena Islands, 1934-1940
Edisto and St. Helena Islands: oversize prints, circa 1940, undated
Box 17
Folder 136
Sea Island Images: mounted oversize prints 1-32, 1934-1935
Box 18
Sea Island Images: mounted oversize prints 33-61, 1934-1935
Box 19
Edisto and St. Helena Islands: glass lantern slides, circa 1936

Because of their vulnerability, it is preferable to use surrogate copies instead of original glass plate slides. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

Box 21

Personal photographs

Nitrate negatives are closed to use; copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

Family photographs: Charles Baxter, Julia Edwards, "Mom" Patti: prints, 1919-1941
Box 16
Folder 117
Family photographs: Charles Baxter: negatives (NITRATE), circa 1935

Nitrate negatives are closed to use; copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

Box 20
Image UA29020032-N-0001 - UA29020032-N-0004
Family photographs: Mason Crum and ancestors, parents, sister: prints, copy negative, 1908-1941, undated
Box 16
Folder 118
Family photographs: Crum family home: oversize prints, 1905
Box 17
Folder 132
Family photographs: Mason and Katherine Crum and children: prints, 1919-1970
Box 16
Folder 119
Family photographs: Mason Crum and children: negatives (NITRATE), undated

Nitrate negatives are closed to use; copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

Box 20
Image UA29020032-N-13 - UA29020032-N-26
Family photographs: Mason Crum school photographs: oversize prints, 1902, 1908
Box 17
Folder 133
Family photographs: Mason Crum school photos: oversize prints, 1909-1910
Box 17
Folder 134
Family photographs: Crum family at home: mounted oversize print
Box 19
Mason Crum teaching, non-Duke: prints, 1911-1923
Box 16
Folder 120
Mason Crum at Duke: prints, 1932-1957
Box 16
Folder 121
Lake Junaluska: prints, copy negatives, undated
Box 16
Folder 122-123
Lake Junakuska: oversize prints, undated
Box 17
Folder 135
Lake Junaluska: negatives (NITRATE), undated

Nitrate negatives are closed to use; copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

Box 20
Image UA29020032-N-68 - UA29020032-N-71
Box 20
Image UA29020032-N-27 - UA29020032-N-34
Doorways of Duke: prints, undated
Box 16
Folder 124
Doorways of Duke: negatives (NITRATE)

Nitrate negatives are closed to use; copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

Box 20
Image UA29020032-N-35 - UA29020032-N-43
Images related to Washington Duke and family, with notes: prints and copy prints, 1940, 1945, undated
Box 16
Folder 125-126
Images related to Washington Duke and family: negatives (NITRATE), circa 1940-1945

Nitrate negatives are closed to use; copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

Box 20
Image UA29020032-N-05 - UA29020032-N-12
"Homes of Garden Club Members, Neighbors": color slides, undated
Box 16
Folder 127
Identified: other prints, 1903-1945, undated
Box 16
Folder 128
Illustration, clipping, World Outlook covers, 1908, 1943, 1950, 1974, undated
Box 17
Folder 137
Unidentified: prints. negatives, undated
Box 16
Folder 129
Unidentified: negatives (NITRATE)

Nitrate negatives are closed to use; copies are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library Research Services staff for assistance.

Box 20
Image UA29020032-N-44 - UA29020023-N-67

5. Audio tape, undated

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.

Audio tapes are stored with the Sound Recordings collection.

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.

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


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.

Manuscripts re-housed, photographs arranged, re-housed, and described by Tracy M. Jackson, January 2015.

Description updated for nitrate negatives by Paula Jeannet, October 2018.