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Basil Lee Whitener papers, 1889-1968 150 Linear Feet — circa 297,300 Items

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Basil Lee Whitener (1915-1989) was a U.S. Representative from Gastonia, N.C. Collection includes correspondence between Whitener and his constituents, other congressmen, and government officials, legislative materials, drafts of bills, financial papers, speeches, invitations, printed material, clippings, photographs, and other papers, chiefly from congressional files (1957-1968), relating to issues of national importance during the 1960s, including the Vietnam War, crime legislation, gun control, riots, civil rights legislation, foreign aid, social security, and the Taft-Hartley Act. Correspondents include Sam Ervin, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, and Strom Thurmond.

Basil Lee Whitener Papers primarily contain the office files of Congressman Whitener when he was the U. S. Representative for the Eleventh District (85th - 87th Congresses) and Tenth District (88th -90th Congresses) of North Carolina. Although the papers span the years 1889-1968, the bulk of the papers covers Whitener's years in office, 1957-1968. Some of the early files from the 81st through the 84th Congresses, are the papers of Woodrow Wilson Jones, Whitener's predecessor in office.

luded in the papers are such Items as correspondence, printed material, invitations, speeches, clippings, financial papers, photographs, as well as legislative materials and drafts of bills. Much of this collection consists of correspondence between Whitener and his constituents, other Congressmen, and government officials.

The papers are divided into the following series:

  • Political
  • Correspondence (General)
  • Correspondence (Legislative)
  • District of Columbia
  • Judiciary
  • Judiciary Committee
  • Speeches
  • Subject
  • Case Files
  • Textile Imports
  • House of Representatives
  • Military and Veterans
  • Military Academy
  • Trips
  • Post Office
  • Grants
  • Invitations
  • General Information
  • Office Files
  • Office Information
  • Personal

By far the largest category is the Correspondence (General), even though it was weeded extensively. The Correspondence (Legislative) Series is also rather large. Both of these series contain extensive correspondence with constituents. Other large series are the Personal Series, which pertains more directly to Whitener's private and unofficial affairs, and the Office Files Series, containing files which seem to have been in active use by Whitener's office staff at the time he left office.

There are information and opinions in the collection on a variety of issues of national importance during the 1960s. Included are the Vietnam War, civil rights legislation, riots, crime legislation, gun control, foreign aid, Social Security, and the Taft-Hartley Act. Other subjects are the U. S. Congress and various bills and laws. There are a variety of letters from prominent persons, such as John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, Strom Thurmond, and Sam Ervin.

The views of Whitener on many national and state issues are revealed within the collection. He supported legislation to combat crime and civil disobedience, a strong national defense, and exerting every effort to bring the Vietnamese Conflict to a successful conclusion. The Congressman was opposed to civil rights legislation, deficit spending, foreign aid spending, and the proliferation of domestic and social programs. Concerning North Carolina issues, Whitener wanted restrictions on textile imports in order to protect jobs, and supported the concept of a balanced economy in the state. As a member of the Committee on the District of Columbia, he authored bills to curb the crime rate in the District of Columbia and a bill to establish a modern rail rapid transit system in the District. In general, Whitener seemed to exhibit the views of conservative Southern Democrats.

Specific subjects are noted in more detail in the inventory. There is some overlap of subjects among the series.

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John Sanford Martin papers, 1915-1958 and undated 12 Linear Feet — Approx. 8,602 Items

Newspaper editor from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Collection consists primarily of correspondence to and from John Sanford Martin, a newspaper editor from Winston-Salem, N.C. Letters from the 1930s to the 1940s provide information on economic and social problems in North Carolina from a number of committees on which Martin served. After 1940 there is much material on racial problems in Winston-Salem, and throughout North Carolina and the South. The correspondence from this period also reflects Martin's concern for the improvement of public education in North Carolina and his service on the North Carolina State Board of Education. Other papers relate to state and national politics, the New Deal, the Democratic Party, and the Baptist church. There are also some photographs in the collection. Significant correspondents include Josiah William Bailey, Joseph Melville Broughton, Josephus Daniels, Robert Lee Doughton, Drew Pearson, Strom Thurmond, and William Allen White.

The papers of John Sanford Martin, North Carolina newspaper editor and political figure, contain correspondence, 1912-1951, relating, for the most part, to Martin's long career as editor of the Journal and Sentinel, newspapers of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Letters pertaining to national and state politics form an important part of this correspondence and concern the presidential election of 1928 and the split in the Democratic Party in North Carolina over the candidacy of Alfred E. Smith of New York; opposition to the state sales tax in North Carolina in the 1930s; Martin's leadership in s the liberal wing of the Democratic Party in North Carolina and his attempts to bring the state party in line with the New Deal; state and national contests in the elections of 1936; an attempt by Martin and liberal Democrats to keep conservative Democrats from obtaining a federal license for a radio station in Winston-Salem; and pressures put on North Carolina Democrats to join the Dixiecrats in 1948.

Martin's professional papers, 1936-1937, deal with the purchase of the Piedmont Publishing Company, owner of the Journal and the Sentinel by the Gordon Gray family of Winston-Salem, leaders of North Carolina's conservative Democrats; the decision to retain Martin as editor of the papers; and the establishment of a working relationship between Martin and Gordon Gray.

Correspondence from the period of World War II concerns the debate over the entry of the United States into the war, politics in North Carolina during the war, activities at home, and discussions about American policy after the war, including a confidential transcript of an interview with President Harry S. Truman in 1945 on future relations with the Soviet Union and the United Nations.

Letters from the 1930s to the 1940s provide information on economic and social problems in North Carolina from a number of committees on which Martin served. After 1940 there is much material on racial problems in Winston-Salem, and throughout North Carolina and the South. The correspondence from this period also reflects Martin's concern for the improvement of public primary and secondary education in North Carolina and his service on the North Carolina State Board of Education. The collection also includes the minutes of the board of education, 1943-1953, and memoranda on school finance, legislation, integration, curricula, teacher certification and salary, textbooks, school lunches, and student loans.

Material reflecting Martin's interest in the Baptist Church includes correspondence concerning various fund raising drives within the church, Wake Forest College and its relocation in WinstonSalem, Campbell College, North Carolina Baptist Hospital, and the purchase of the Biblical Recorder by the North Carolina State Baptist Convention, 1938-1939.

Printed material in the collection pertains to temperance, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Wake Forest University, Baptists in North Carolina, politics in North Carolina and the United States, and societies of professional journalists. There are a large number of Martin's speeches and editorials covering all aspects of his career.