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Joyner Library exhibit features "father" of ECU

GREENVILLE, NC   (Feb. 8, 2007)   —   The artifacts belonging to Gov. Thomas Jordan Jarvis are on display at the J.Y. Joyner Library at East Carolina University.

Jarvis, who also served as an ambassador to Brazil, is considered the “father” of ECU because of his advocacy for a teachers training college in Greenville. His advocacy led to legislation that secured a charter for the then-East Carolina Teachers Training School in 1907. The school that would become ECU opened its doors to students in 1909.

ECU’s Centennial celebration begins March 8. The exhibit at the Verona Langford North Carolina Collection is located on the third floor of Joyner Library and will be on display through April 2007.

Exhibit items include: a partner’s desk and safe belonging to Jarvis; photographs of Jarvis, his boyhood home in Currituck County, and his wife, Mary Woodson Jarvis; reproductions of sketches of the Jarvis residence on Greene Street, by former Greenville resident Sarah Speight; and facsimile images of an 1859 novel by Mary Jarvis and a 1902 booklet she authored concerning the Ku Klux Klan.

A native of Currituck County and graduate of Randolph-Macon College, Jarvis served as Lt. Governor and Governor of North Carolina from 1876 to 1884. In 1885, he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Brazil. During his stay there, he developed a life-long fondness for the red clay tile roofs that dotted the Brazilian landscape.

This influence carried over to a great degree in the construction of East Carolina’s first buildings, when Jarvis substituted the red clay tiles in place of slate as originally planned by the architect.

The North Carolina Collection is located on the third floor of Joyner. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Visit: for details.


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481