The James H. Pou Bailey Papers span the years 1901 to 1970 with the bulk of the papers dating from 1948 to 1965. The Law Practices: Clients Series (CLOSED), which contains papers relating to specific clients in his law practice, comprises the bulk of the collection. The papers also document Bailey's political interests and pursuit of political office, financial and legal matters pertaining to himself and family members, and his involvement in civic organizations. These concerns are documented by the Correspondence, Subject Files, Legal and Financial Papers, and Writings and Speeches Series. While the collection contains a few speeches to various organizations and civic groups, there are not as many as one might expect from a person who ran for the North Carolina State Senate three times and held the office for two terms (four years). Also, there are not many papers relating to his tenure as Judge of Superior Court from the 10th Judicial District.
The business and financial climate in North Carolina during the late 1940s to the early 1960s may be studied through the Law Practices: Clients (CLOSED) and Subject Files Series. Early efforts to promote cable television in North Carolina (1963-1964) through the Engineering Sales Corporation of Raleigh, N.C. and to encourage the use of natural gas in North Carolina (1955-1959) through the efforts of consulting engineers, Porter, Barry, & Associates of Baton Rouge, La. are delineated in this series. Both firms were legal clients of Bailey.
Of particular note are several political figures represented in the Correspondence Series, including North Carolina Senator Willis Smith and Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd. The business, professional, and personal relationship of Bailey with United States Senator from North Carolina, Jesse Helms, is reflected in the Correspondence and Law Practices: Clients Series (CLOSED). The papers particularly concern Helms's position as administrative assistant to Senator Willis Smith and the offices Helms held in the North Carolina Bankers Association (NCBA), a Bailey client. Information about policies and laws affecting banks in North Carolina are also represented in the Law Practices: Clients Series (CLOSED). The Subject Files Series contains Bailey's Senatorial Papers (1950-1954). Included is constituent mail, information pertaining to political appointments, and his service on various committees, including his chairmanship of the Interstate and Federal Relations and Judiciary Committees.
The Subject Files and Legal and Financial Papers Series disclose some of the financial interests held by Bailey and his family. Most notable are their interest in the Andrew Johnson Hotel in Raleigh, N.C. and Bailey's interest in a 360 acre farm in Johnston County, N.C. Included is information relating to the management of both enterprises. The collection also highlights father-son relationships in the correspondence between Josiah W. Bailey and James H. Pou Bailey and between James H. Pou Bailey and his son, Jim. (Correspondence Series).
The Josiah W. Bailey (Bailey's father) Papers is a related collection in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.