William Preston Few records and papers, 1814-1971 and undated (bulk 1911-1940) 70 Linear Feet — 69,000 items
The William Preston Few Records and Papers contain correspondence from Few's office files as President of Trinity College and Duke University, reports, clippings, copies of speeches and manuscripts, memorandum books, bound volumes, index cards that catalog Few's office files, and other types of printed material. The files are arranged in six series. They include: Correspondence, Subject Files, Bound Volumes, Oversize Materials, Index Cards to Few Papers, and Additions.
Major subjects include education; philanthropy; the development of Trinity College, from its beginning in Randolph County, N.C., to Duke University; the development of the Duke Endowment; Trinity and Duke departmental operations; the school's relationship with the Methodist Church; and business of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
The Correspondence makes up a large part of the collection. The bulk of this correspondence is from Few's office files as President of Trinity College and Duke University. The correspondence includes incoming letters to Few's office, copies of outgoing letters, reports, minutes, telegrams, newsletters, and other materials generated or received by the President's office. Among the correspondents are: William Hayes Ackland, Alice Mary Baldwin, John Spencer Bassett, Julian S. Carr, Robert D.W. Conner, Angier Buchanan Duke, Benjamin Newton Duke, James Buchanan Duke, John Carlisle Kilgo, and Edward R. Murrow. There is also some personal correspondence dating from 1885.
The Subject Files include a wide variety of materials collected by Few's office. They include correspondence, reports, clippings and other types of printed material. Major subjects include education; philanthropy; the development of Trinity College from its beginning in Randolph County, N.C., to Duke University; the development of the Duke Endowment; Trinity and Duke departmental operations; the school's relationship with the Methodist Church; and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Included are Few's speeches made at university functions, to community groups, and at funerals. There are a number of speeches that give Few's opinions about education and the development of Duke University while he was President.
The Bound Volumes include a manuscript arithmetic primer, dated 1814, written by Alston W. Kendrick, Few's grandfather; a trigonometry textbook used by Few; a Bible; class records, 1913-1929 and undated; an incomplete set of Few's memoranda books for the years 1922-1933; and several alumni reviews.
The Index Cards to Few's Papers were apparently created by Few's office and catalog the holdings in the office files. However, not all of the materials or names referenced on the index cards can be found in the William Preston Few Records and Papers.
The Oversize Materials include folders removed from the subject files, diplomas, and a bound volume. The Additions include some correspondence, and obituaries for Mrs. William Preston Few (Mary Reamey Thomas Few), that were incorporated into the collection after it was transferred to University Archives.