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    The East Carolina Manuscript Collection was established in 1966 by the Department of History and transferred  to Joyner Library in 1976.  As a public manuscript repository it strives to serve the research needs of students and faculty of the University as well as the public in the region, the state, and the nation.  A University committee serves in an  advisory capacity to recommend direction and policies that will serve both the University community and the research public at large.

    The Collection is housed in modern, spacious facilities with a handsome, circular, cherry-paneled Research Room conducive to quiet study.  The Research Room, which serves the whole Special Collections Department, holds detailed finding aids to the East Carolina Manuscript Collection.  A professional reference staff stands available to assist researchers.  All areas of the Special Collections Department are equipped with climate controls, smoke detectors, and  zoned dry-head sprinklers to provide maximum security for all visitors, staff, and collections.

    Holdings of the Collection include letters, diaries, speeches, scrapbooks, ledgers, legal and financial records, photographs, and a vast array of other documentary materials dating from 1730s to the present.  Documents dated prior to 1800 are somewhat limited, but materials for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are abundant and cover a wide range of subject topics.  The Collection acquires materials of historical significance regardless of subject matter or geographical identification; and present holdings reflect state, national, and international themes in many subject areas.  While the Manuscript Collection does not limit acquisitions to specific topical or geographic areas, it does confine its active solicitations to five basic categories: North Carolina history, military history,  naval and maritime history, missionary history, and the history of the tobacco industry.

East Carolina Manuscript Collection Finding Aids Guides List




The Flood of the Century Collection tells the story of how  hurricanes Dennis and Floyd devastated Eastern North Carolina in September and October 1999.  The storms and the floods that followed displaced over 4,200 people, forcing many  into public shelters.  They resulted in an estimated $6 billion in property damages.  Residential property owners lost over $345 million, while farmers lost livestock worth over $200 million.  The collection tells the story of how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State of North Carolina, numerous local communities, and out-of-state volunteers united to deal with the crisis.  The collection includes photographs, oral interviews, and written reminiscences of people who experienced the storms, the flood, and their aftermath.




undefinedApproximately one half of the East Carolina Manuscript Collection's holdings pertain in some way to the state of North Carolina and its people. Family-related personal papers cover the full spectrum of North Carolina life for a span of almost 200 years.  Researchers can find information here on practically any topic of interest since 1800, including agriculture, education, politics, religion, genealogy, literary activities, scientific pursuits, coastal and environmental concerns, shipping and commerce, and social and cultural developments.

    The Collection houses the personal files of numerous public officials including many having major historical significance.  Among them are the papers of governors, congressmen, state and federal judges, government administrators, legislative leaders, and commission members.  The Collection also includes papers of a substantial number of noteworthy North Carolina women, reflecting their involvement in politics, journalism, art, government, and social reform.





A major focus of the Manuscript Collection has been the preservation of papers of individuals who served in the Armed Forces.  Holdings pertain to every American war since the Mexican War of 1846-1848, with significant concentrations of material for the Civil War, Philippine Insurrection, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.  Civil War collections reflect activities of both Confederate and Union forces fighting throughout the South.  Twentieth century military papers consist of letters, diaries, photographs, and scrapbooks of enlisted men and officers who participated in the global struggles which enveloped our nation and the periods of peace between these conflicts.





In recent years the East Carolina Manuscript Collection has become a leading academic repository for the preservation of materials pertaining to the U.S. Navy, specifically, and maritime studies in general.  The Collection has acquired a substantial body of materials pertaining to naval history stretching from 1826 to the present.  Today, this material constitutes one of the nation's premiere repositories for research into World War II naval topics.  The personal files and oral memoirs of hundreds of naval officers and enlisted personnel provide a comprehensive framework for better understanding of the nation's rich naval heritage.  To help assure the preservation of naval resources, the Collection has entered into cooperative association with such organizations as the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1941, and the Destroyer Escort Commanding Officers Association.  Among the notable maritime collections, aside from naval documentation, include nineteenth and twentieth century records of shipbuilding firms of North Carolina and other states, records of shipping and commerce, and materials pertaining to maritime transportation in general.





Another important aspect of the East Carolina Manuscript Collection is its effort to acquire and preserve the papers from missionaries who served around the world.  Among the present holdings of the Collectionare papers of missionaries representing Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Anglican, and other denominations.  Many of these dedicated men and women labored for thirty or forty years in China, Africa, Japan, Eastern Europe, Latin America and elsewhere.  The Collection now houses the letters, the diaries, papers, and oral histories which record their missionary activities and provide great insight into the cultural, political, and economic development of the countries in which they worked.





Although many of the East Carolina Manuscript Collection's tobacco collections are North Carolina related, a substantial number reflect the international scope of tobacco production and distribution.  The Collection contains the personal papers of individual tobacconists which record their experiences in China, the Middle East and Latin America.  It also contains the records of contemporary companies that reflect their involvement in the international tobacco trade, as well as documenting processing, marketing, and manufacturing operations.  Holdings include personal files of tobacconists, warehouse records, and records of processing and marketing companies.





The East Carolina Manuscript Collection intends its history memoirs to complement and supplement the documentary holdings already in the Collection.  Thus the staff normally plans oral history programs to record contemporary North Carolina leaders, U.S. Naval officers, other military personnel, missionaries, and tobacconists.  Frequently, individuals who have donated their personal papers to the Collection also participate in the oral history program.  This provides an extraordinary opportunity for researchers to access both the reminiscences and the personal papers of an individual.  The oral history collections include audio or video taped interviews and typed and edited transcriptions, thereby making available both oral and typewritten accounts of historical events.





The Edward Moseley Map of North Carolina was published in London in 1733.  It was the first accurate map of the Carolinas and it had a great influence on later eighteenth century maps of the region.  Only three original copies are known to exist.  The copy hanging in the Research Room of the East Carolina Manuscript Collection, donated by Mrs. John W. Graham of Edenton, N.C., in 1983, is the only original copy known to exist in the United States. 




        The O.W. "Sonny" Martin, Jr., Coast Guard Auxiliary Records Collection was established in 1988 prior to the 50th Anniversary of the organization.  Currently the Collection holds over 225 cubic feet of records including newsletters, photographs, reports, audiovisual material, meeting minutes, programs, educational publications, statistics, and directories documenting the Auxiliary's wide variety of activities from 1939-2000.  Evolving from such World War II activities as patrolling the coast and providing port security, current activities range from search and rescue to giving certified marine examinations.  The Auxiliary also publishes Aids to Navigation and provides educational opportunities for the Auxiliary membership and the public. 

  For further information about the holdings, contact  Dale Sauter, the Manuscript Curator.

Coast Guard Auxiliary Records Database


Regulations For Use OfThe Collection

     As is customary in a research facility, materials do not circulate and must be used under controlled conditions. To be admitted to the Collection, each researcher must register at the Service desk, provide photographic proof of identification and agree to the Special Collections Department Research Room Rules.  Researchers may not bring coats, purses, briefcases, or other personal belongings into the Research Room, nor use pens and ink.  Researchers may store such possessions in the lockers outside the Research Room or on the coat rack next to the lockers while they are in the Research Room.  The Collection staff will provide a reasonable amount of duplication--at cost--as a service to researchers.  Collection policy prohibits the copying of restricted materials, fragile documents, entire oral history memoirs, or entire collections.   We reserve the right to examine all notes or other possessions prior to departure from the Research Room.  Researchers should remember that duplicating does not represent authorization to publish and that literary property rights are not necessarily in the public domain.  Researchers have the responsibility to adhere to U.S. copyright law.  They should also remember that even literary rights to specific documents may be retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.


  National Archives & Records Administration
  NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL)
  NC Office of Archives & History
  North Carolina Archaeology
  Making of America
  Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Location and Service Information


The Special Collections Department is located on the 4th floor Drum Section of Joyner Library.  To get there take the elevator from the 1st floor Lobby to the 3rd floor.  Follow the signs and the purple neon lights to the Special Collections Department elevator.  Take the elevator outside the entrance to the N.C. Collection to the 4th floor and the Special Collections Department.


Special Collections Department
          J. Y. Joyner Library
          East Carolina University
          Greenville, NC 27858

Hours and Contact Information:

Monday through Friday              8 am until 5 pm
Saturday                                    10 am until 2 pm

  • Service Desk:            252-328-6671
  • Fax                             252-328-0268

For campus parking information contact:

Parking and Transportation Services
305 East Tenth Street
Greenville, NC  27858
Phone (252) 328-6294