The Edward James Parrish Papers include business and personal correspondence (chiefly 1900-1921) of Parrish and of his wife, Rosa Bryan Parrish. There are also various bills, a notebook on tobacco trade in China and Japan (1894-1900), letter books (1900-1904), photographic collections, several postcard albums, and a scrapbook created by Lily Parrish.
The papers also include Rosa Parrish's reminiscences and impressions of her life in Japan, as well as her writings on the status of women. There are also materials relating to Kichibei Murai's family and to Murai Brothers Company in Japan, close partners and friends of the Parrish family.
Photographic formats include glass plate negatives, loose prints, photo postcards, and over 20 albums. Two of the photograph albums date from the late 19th century and were owned by Kichibei Murai; they contain photographs of his residences and of banks, mines, oil fields, farms and tobacco factories in which he had an interest. Also included are black-and-white late 19th and early 20th century loose albumen and early gelatin silver prints of family members.
The photograph albums document the Parrish family's travels in Japan, China, and Niagara Falls, and include personal snapshots taken at these locations as well as in their home of Durham, N.C.; there are also many commercial souvenir photographs from Japan. The latter take the form of large finely handtinted albumen prints of Japanese scenery, landscapes, cultural sites and temples, clothing, entertainment, and transportation, housed in high-quality souvenir photograph albums; many of these feature highly decorated lacquer inlay covers, elaborate bindings. Most include captions. The studio of Kusakabe Kimbei, a noted photographer, created many of the prints and albums, and the work of other notable studios have also been identified.
Collection consists of five volumes (686 pages) of an illustrated travel diary kept by E. Ireland, a mature unmarried Scottish woman, between 20 August 1916 and 28 February 1920. The diaries document Ireland's travels throughout the United States, Canada, Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, New Britain, the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Africa, and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). Typical entries describe local inhabitants and customs, conversations with fellow travelers, and sites visited. Many entries include sketches, pasted in postcards, photographs, postage stamps, menus, passenger lists, and other ephemera.
The collection consists of correspondence (1963-1984); notes, drafts, and proofs of her books Nerves, Mourning the Death of Magic, and The Redneck Way of Knowledge; reports on the Greensboro, North Carolina shootings of Communist Worker Party members (November 1979); and the Democratic National Convention of 1980. Short stories, essays, reviews of Boyd's work, and photographs are also included. Many of the letters are long and substantive, including some retained copies of Boyd's own letters. Her report on the Greensboro shootings is based on a large number of newspaper and magazine clippings, also included in the collection, as well as interviews. Twenty cassette tapes on the Greensboro shootings; The Redneck Way of Knowledge; and Boyd's trip to China in 1983 also form part of the collection. An index to the tapes may be found at the beginning of the collection.