Ten Letters From Special Collections

Ten Letters From Special Collections, an online exhibit highlighting letters from ten manuscript collections in Randall Library Special Collections to coincide with Synergy, UNCW's Common Reading Experience for the Fall 2012 semester.

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Description of letter and
link to  Manuscript Collection

Dear Pa,

We have been in a fever of excitement
here since we heard ... 


Thomas Armstrong's son Edward writes home about hearing the news of the fall of Fort Sumpter and his plans to leave UNC and enter the Army of the Confederacy. Edward joined the NC 3rd Regiment, was wounded in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, VA, on May 12, 1864, and died on June 7, 1864.

MS 001
Thomas J. Armstrong Papers

Dear Bill,

Thank you very much for the kind
things you had to say about me ...

Dr. William M. Randall, President of Wilmington College, discusses the difficulties of hiring good faculty and his belief that a four year college is needed in Wilmington.

Dr. William Madison Randall Papers


Dearest Bethell,

Beside being busy, I have put off
answering your letter ...

Poet Will Inman writes his longtime friend Eloise Bethell that he cannot come up with a better name for her painting. Both graduates of New Hanover High School Inman and Bethell frequently corresponded and collaborated on projects.  Inman usually included an original poem with his letters, as he did in this example.
MS 136
Literary output of Will Inman

Dr. Adin Sherman,

Allow me to drop a few lines to you.


John Schrank, who in 1912 attempted to assassinate former President Theodore Roosevelt, writes to a former doctor and thanks him for his friendship. Schrank was never tried but judged to be insane and sentence to life in prison.

MS 148
John F. Schrank Letters


Dear Mr. Vice President,

As a Republican, I have always been
impressed with your sincerity, ...

Wilbur Jones complains to Vice President Ford about comments Ford made concerning the Committee to Re-elect the President (Nixon CRP, 1972). Ford, Jones writes, painted everyone who worked for the committee with "an undeserved, dark freakish taint." In 1972 Jones headed the New Hampshire CRP and was not involved in the Watergate scandal.  Eight months after writing this letter Jones was working as an Advance Representative to President Ford.

MS 163
W. D. Jones Political Memorabilia


To His Excellency Abraham Lincoln
President of the United States,


When the forces of the United States,
arrived at this place, they found ...


A 12 page letter from Rev. Alfred A. Watson, Rector of St. James' Protestant Episcopal Church in Wilmington, to President Abraham Lincoln. Watson complains about being forced to leave his church and the way the US Army troops treated the church. In the letter he asks President Lincoln for compensation for damages to the church. The letter is dated April 12, 1864, two days before Lincoln was assassinated. It is believed the letter was sent.

MS 169
St. James' Protestant Episcopal Church Papers


Lieber Vati,

Man sagt mir, morgen sei
der Tag der Väter.

(Translation and Transcription)
Dear Dad,

They told me that today is the
day of the fathers. ...

A Father's Day letter from Ralph Brauer to his father, June 12, 1943. Brauer emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1937 with his father Friedrich Brauer.  Brauer was a faculty member at UNCW, retiring in 1986 as the director of the Institute for Marine Biomedical Research. Letter translated by Wiebke Meyer Scheel. 

Dr. Ralph Werner Brauer
Personal Papers



Dearest Dad,

Today is Victory! 


From his hospital bed in France recuperating from wounds received in battle, John J. Burney writes his father on V - E Day. He writes about the celebration going on outside the hospital and his wish to join in. Burney returned to Wilmington after the war, practiced law and was elected to the NC State Senate. In 1969 he introduced the bill to incorporate Wilmington College into the UNC system. The Burney Center on UNCW campus is named in John Burney's honor.

MS 211
John Jay Burney Jr. Personal Papers


Dear Mother:

I do hope that all are well, ...

In this news filled letter to her mother, Jessie Rehder writes about her job, finding a new place to live and her plans to work on her novel.

Rehder Family Papers


Dear Family,

Guess what I'm eating?


Wilmington native Stuart Marks spent his early years in the Belgian Congo, son of medical missionaries. He later earned a PHD in Biology and returned to Zambia with his wife Martha. In this letter to her in laws, Martha talks about having home baked bread and life in the village.

Stuart Alexander and Sandy Cole Marks Collection


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