Guide to the John Franklin Heitman Papers, 1863 - 1911


John Franklin Heitman (1840-1904) was professor of Trinity College in Randolph County from 1883 to 1892, and Acting President of the school from 1884-1887. He later served as Headmaster of Trinity High School from 1892 to 1895. He also published several periodicals during his career. The John Franklin Heitman Papers contain correspondence, bound volumes, printed material, and financial and legal documents. Topics include college finance, the U.S. Government's sponsorship of education for Cherokee Indians, the Civil War, publications such as the North Carolina Education Journal and the North Carolina Home Journal, Trinity College administrative issues, and Trinity High School administrative issues. Major correspondents include Julian S. Carr and John W. Alspaugh. English.

Collection Details

Record Group
John Franklin Heitman papers
1863 - 1911
Heitman, J. F. (John F.)
2.6 Linear Feet, 1500 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Collection Overview

The John Franklin Heitman Papers contain correspondence, bound volumes, printed material, and financial and legal documents. Much of the material dates from the 1884-1887 period in which Heitman served as Acting President of Trinity College. Topics include college finance, the U.S. Government's sponsorship of education for Cherokee Indians, the Civil War, publications, Trinity College administrative issues, and Trinity High School administrative issues. Major correspondents include Julian S. Carr and John W. Alspaugh.

This collection is arranged into two series. The first, Correspondence, dates from 1863 to 1894, with one letter from 1911. It includes both personal and professional correspondence, and is arranged chronologically. The second series, Bound Volumes and Other Material, includes a Civil War diary, grade books from Trinity High School, financial and legal documents related to Trinity College, and publications edited by Heitman, as well as a sampling of other types of print materials. This series is arranged alphabetically by topic.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

No restrictions.

warning Use & Permissions

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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], John Franklin Heitman Papers, University Archives, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence, 1863-1911

The bulk of the correspondence dates from 1883 to 1887, when Heitman was Acting President of Trinity College, Randolph County. Issues include fund-raising and support of the college. Major correspondents include Julian S. Carr and J. W. Alspaugh, members of the committee of management that helped Heitman run the college from 1884 to 1887. As Trinity was one of the schools that contracted with the U.S. Government to educate Cherokee Indian youths, this series also contains correspondence between Heitman and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Treasury. Other correspondence is from applicants for positions and applicants for admissions to Trinity, correspondence regarding room and board, and letters from parents and prospective students.

Other correspondence includes letters written during Heitman's Civil War days; correspondence concerning advertising, printing, and publicizing the North Carolina Educational Journal, as well as correspondence from subscribers, authors, and publishers; correspondence regarding Trinity High School, and a few family letters. Heitman's correspondence ends in 1894, but the collection contains one letter from 1911, from Heitman's wife to one of his daughters.

The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Box 1
Folder 1
1874, 1880-September 1883
Box 1
Folder 2
October 1883-December 1883
Box 1
Folder 3
January 1884
Box 1
Folder 4
February 1884
Box 1
Folder 5
March 1884
Box 1
Folder 6
April 1884
Box 1
Folder 7
May 1884
Box 1
Folder 8
June 1884-July 1884
Box 1
Folder 9
August 1884-September 1884
Box 1
Folder 10
October 1884-December 1884
Box 1
Folder 11
January 1885-February 1885
Box 1
Folder 12
March 1885-April 1885
Box 1
Folder 13
May 1885
Box 1
Folder 14
June 1885
Box 1
Folder 15
July 1885
Box 1
Folder 16
August 1885
Box 1
Folder 17
September 1885
Box 1
Folder 18
October 1885
Box 2
Folder 18A
November 1885-December 1885, undated
Box 2
Folder 19
January 1886
Box 2
Folder 20
February 1886
Box 2
Folder 21
March 1886
Box 2
Folder 22
April 1886
Box 2
Folder 23
May 1886
Box 2
Folder 24
June 1886
Box 2
Folder 25
July 1886
Box 2
Folder 26
August 1886
Box 2
Folder 27
September 1886
Box 2
Folder 28
October 1886
Box 2
Folder 29
November 1886-December 1886, no date
Box 2
Folder 30
January 1887-March 1887
Box 2
Folder 31
April 1887-May 1887
Box 2
Folder 32
June 1887
Box 2
Folder 33
July 1887-1888
Box 2
Folder 34
Box 2
Folder 35
Box 2
Folder 36
Box 2
Folder 37
1911, undated
Box 2
Folder 38

2. Bound Volumes and Other Material, 1863-1898

The Bound Volumes and Other Material series contains items related to the Civil War, Trinity College (Randolph County), Trinity High School (Randolph County), and Heitman's publishing career. The Civil War diary concerns the Seige of Petersburg, retreat to Appomattox, and his imprisonment on Johnson's Island. A transcription is available. Other materials include financial and legal documents, printed material, and grade record books. Materials are arranged alphabetically.

Bills, 1880-1894, undated
Box 3
Folder 39
The Carolina Wesleyan, Volume 1, No. 1, January 1, 1892

Contains an autobiography by Heitman.

Box 3
Folder 40
Diary, 1864-1865
Box 3
Folder 41
Transcript of Diary, 1864-1865
Box 3
Folder 42
North Carolina Home Journal, Volume 1, Nos. 1 and 9, 1897-1898
Box 3
Folder 43
Printed Material, circa 1880-1894

Includes ads, tickets, notices, and other materials used by Heitman in his publishing and administrative career.

Box 3
Folder 44
Printed Material, circa 1884-1894

Contains commencement programs and other announcements from Southern high schools and colleges.

Box 3
Folder 45
Account Book, 1884
Box 3
Folder 46
Financial Records, Claims, 1882-1886, undated
Box 3
Folder 47
Legal Papers, 1882-1886
Box 3
Folder 48
Class Record Book, 1894-1895
Box 3
Folder 49
Class Record Book, possibly for Trinity High School, circa 1898
Box 3
Folder 50

Historical Note

John Franklin Heitman was born on April 17, 1840 in Davidson County, North Carolina, the son of Henry and Eve McRary Heitman. He entered Trinity College in Randolph County in 1861, but left in 1862 to join the Confederate Army. He served as a captain in the Civil War. After the war, following a short period of business and teaching, he retuned to Trinity and received an A.M. degree in 1868. He then resumed teaching and became a clergyman in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and held several parishes. In 1881, he left the clergy to enter business in Chapel Hill, establishing the North Carolina Educational Journal, which he called "the organ of the North Carolina State Teachers Association."

During this time period, he met and married Emma Carr, sister of the Durham tobacco manufacturer Julian S. Carr. In 1883, he was appointed a professor at Trinity College and moved, along with the Education Journal, back to Randolph County. Much of his time over then next few years was spent in dealing with the financial problems of the school. After Marquis Lafayette Wood resigned from the presidency of Trinty in December 1884, Heitman served as an interim head of the school in his capacity as chairman of the faculty. Along with the Committee of Management--his brother-in-law Carr, J.W. Alspaugh, and James A. Gray--Heitman managed to keep the school financially afloat and increase enrollment. In 1887, a new president, John Franklin Crowell, was chosen to lead Trinity.

In 1892, Trinity College moved to Durham County, but Heitman stayed in Randolph County to become Headmaster of Trinity High School. In 1895 he was replaced as headmaster by the Board of Trustees of Trinity College. He then devoted his time to the North Carolina Home Journal, and continuing a series of articles on North Carolina history that he had begun in the North Carolina Educational Journal.

Heitman died on June 15, 1904, and is buried in Trinity Cemetery, Trinity, North Carolina, along with his wife. They had three children: Eva (Mrs. W. Bivens), Polly (Mrs. R.B. Terry), and John.

Related Material

  • Kilgo (John C.) Records and Papers, 1888-1970 (bulk 1894-1920) (Duke University Archives)
  • Trinity College (Randolph County, N.C.) Collection, 1836-1990 (Duke University Archives)

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The John Franklin Heitman Papers were received as a transfer and gift in 1967.

Processing Information

Processed by Valerie Gillispie

Completed August 10, 2004

Encoded by Valerie Gillispie, August 10, 2004