Guide to the W. H. Pegram Papers, 1876 - 1928


William Howell Pegram (1846-1928) was a student, professor, and administrator at Trinity College (N.C.). He moved with the school from Randolph County to Durham County (N.C.), and remained active as Trinity College evolved into Duke University. The W.H. Pegram Papers include correspondence, notebooks, writings, clippings, and other material. His relationship with Braxton Craven, both professionally and personally, is detailed. Among the subjects in the collection are Pegram's main academic interest, chemistry, and the administration of Trinity College in both Randolph and Durham counties. English.

Collection Details

Record Group
W. H. Pegram papers
1876 - 1928
Pegram, W. H. (William Howell), 1846-1928
1.75 Linear Feet, 1700 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Collection Overview

The W. H. Pegram Collection includes correspondence, notebooks, writings, clippings, and other material related to Pegram's career at Trinity College and later Duke University. The first series, Personal, is a brief series containing clippings and other material regarding Pegram's career and his death in 1928. The second series Correspondence, contains letters to and from Pegram, mainly regarding administrative issues at Trinity College. There are also some letters of thanks from former students. This series is arranged chronologically. The third series is Notebooks, and contains notebooks used by Pegram for a variety of purposes: to record the attendance and grades of his students, to prepare Sunday school lessons, to work on chemistry problems, and to write essays. The notebooks are arranged by title or subject, when available, then date. The fourth series, Writings, contains several essays prepared by Pegram, as well as shorter pieces. This series is also organized by title, when available, and then date. The last series, Trinity College, contains a variety of materials related to the history of the school. These materials are not all directly related to Pegram, but they provide a historical context for his other materials. It contains clippings, articles, financial papers, and print materials about the school. These papers are organized alphabetically.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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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], W. H. Pegram Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Clippings - Career, 1885-1921, [undated]
Box 1
Folder 1
Memorial, 1928
Box 1
Folder 2
Box 1
Folder 3
Box 1
Folder 4
Box 1
Folder 5
Box 1
Folder 6
Box 1
Folder 7
Box 1
Folder 8
Box 1
Folder 9
Box 1
Folder 10
Box 1
Folder 11
Box 1
Folder 12
Box 1
Folder 13
"The Advancement of Chemistry in the Schools of North Carolina," [undated]
Box 1
Folder 14
"Early History of Trinity College," [undated]
Box 1
Folder 15-16
"Education and Religion," [undated]
Box 1
Folder 17
Electrochemistry Report, circa 1906
Box 1
Folder 18
Examination and Grade Book, circa 1899-1905
Box 1
Folder 19
Grade Book, September 1916
Box 2
Folder 20
Grade Book and Other Notes, [undated]
Box 2
Folder 21
Grade Book and Roll of Classes, 1873-1883
Box 2
Folder 22
"How to Prepare and Teach the Sunday School Lesson," [undated]
Box 2
Folder 23
Notes on Chemistry and Grade Book, [undated]
Box 2
Folder 24
"Radio Activity": Faculty Lecture, circa 1905
Box 2
Folder 25
Religious Writings, [undated, includes loose papers]
Box 2
Folder 26
"Sketches and Skeletons and Sermons," [undated]
Box 2
Folder 27
"The Study of Nature," [undated]
Box 2
Folder 28
Box 2
Folder 29
Circa 1891
Box 2
Folder 30
Box 2
Folder 31
Box 3
Folder 32-37
"The Development of the Department of Physics at Duke University," [undated]
Box 3
Folder 38
Frank C. Robbins, 1927
Box 3
Folder 39
"A Sketch of Randolph County," 1884
Box 3
Folder 40
W. F. Gill, 1917
Box 3
Folder 41
"Who Founded Trinity College?" August 1926
Box 3
Folder 42
Box 3
Folder 43-44
Article Transcripts, 1926, [undated]
Box 3
Folder 45
Braxton Craven Medal Rules, [undated]
Box 3
Folder 46
By-Laws, Trinity College Alumnae Association, [undated]
Box 3
Folder 47
Clippings, 1886-1916, [undated]
Box 3
Folder 48
Clippings - Braxton Craven, 1882-1899
Box 3
Folder 49
Dept. of Chemistry Course Descriptions, June 1910
Box 3
Folder 50
Financial Papers, 1876-1915
Box 3
Folder 51
Inn Plot drawn by W. H. Pegram, Jr., March 2, 1906
Box 3
Folder 52
Minutes of the Board of Trustees, December 8-13, 1882
Box 4
Folder 53
Box 4
Folder 54
Box 4
Folder 55
Box 4
Folder 56
Box 4
Folder 57
1920-1924, [undated]
Box 4
Folder 58
Reunion - Class of 1873, 1923
Box 4
Folder 59
Reunion - Class of 1873, 1928
Box 4
Folder 60

Historical Note

William Howell Pegram was born August 18, 1846, in Harnett County, North Carolina. He served as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. Following the war, he returned to his parents' farm and taught in the small schools of Harnett County. In 1869, he began college at Trinity College in Randolph County. He was regarded as an excellent student and worked closely with Braxton Craven, the president of Trinity College.

Pegram graduated in 1873, and beginning that fall, he began working as a tutor of Natural Science at Trinity. He became a full professor the following year. He would eventually serve as a professor of chemistry, astronomy, geology, and even English during his career, although chemistry was his passion. When Craven died in 1882, Pegram became chairman of the faculty, and from 1883 to 1910, he served as Secretary of the faculty. He was honored with an L.L.D. degree from Trinity in 1917, and made Professor Emeritus of Chemistry in 1919. He remained active with the school and the Department of Chemistry until his death, always staying interested in the students and faculty of his school. Pegram was one of very few faculty members to work with the school in all its phases, from its beginnings in Randolph County, to its move to Durham County, to its growth and change into Duke University in 1924. He was known as "The Grand Old Man of Duke University" by many of his students.

In 1875, Pegram married Braxton Craven's daughtor, Emma L. Craven. They had five children, all of whom attended Trinity: Annie M. Pegram, George B. Pegram, Irene C. Pegram, J. Edward Pegram, and William H. Pegram, Jr. William H. Pegram, Sr. passed away on April 30, 1928, ending a 55-year career with Duke University and Trinity College. He is buried at "Old Trinity," in Randolph County, near the grave of Braxton Craven.

Related Material

  • Craven (Braxton) Papers, 1839-1882 (Duke University Archives)
  • 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)
  • Craven-Pegram Family Papers, 1785-1966 (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University )

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The W. H. Pegram Papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1978.

Processing Information

Processed by Valerie Gillispie

Completed July 8, 2004

Encoded by Valerie Gillispie, July 8, 2004