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ECU gets novelist's scrapbook on Africa

(Nov. 22, 2000)   —   A scrapbook compiled by the late novelist Inglis Fletcher about her trip to Africa in 1928 has been added to an extensive collection of documents about the author kept at East Carolina University's Joyner Library.

The scrapbook was found in Edenton where Fletcher lived from 1944 until prior to her death in 1964. Filled with photographs and written observations that the writer made while in Africa, the book served as a reference source for one or more of her early novels including "The White Leopard," published in 1931.

In presenting the scrapbook to ECU, Rosalie Boyd, director of the Shepard Pruden Memorial Library in Edenton, said the book had been stored at the Edenton library since 1986. She said it had belonged to Edenton native Frank Adams who received the book from Fletcher after winning a high school literary award in 1951.

Dr. Jonathan Dembo, ECU library's head of Special Collections, said he was grateful to get the scrapbook and said that the library's collection of Fletcher materials is the most appropriate place for it to be kept and preserved.

The library's Inglis Fletcher Papers contain more than 15,000 items related to Fletcher's personal life, her world travels and her 14 novels. Her best selling books include "Lusty Wind For Carolina" (1944), "Toil of the Brave" (1946), "Roanoke Hundred" (1948), "Queen's Gift" (1952) and "The Scotswoman" (1955) which have sold millions of copies and have been translated into seven languages.
The material in the collection include Fletcher's letters, financial papers, literary manuscripts and galley proofs, articles, speeches, notes and drafts of books, maps, pictures, clippings, genealogy and other personal items.

"It's good that the scrapbook can be reunited with the rest of her materials," said Dembo.

Fletcher, the great-granddaughter of a man from North Carolina's Tyrrell County, was born in Alton, Illinois in1883. She spent the first half of her adult life with her mining engineer husband in northern California, Washington State and Alaska.

Her search for information about her ancestors in Tyrrell County sparked her interest in North Carolina's early history. She spent six years researching and writing "Raleigh's Eden," a novel about Albemarle plantation families from 1765 to 1782. From its publication in 1942 to 1964 she wrote 11 other novels, which eventually became known as the Carolina Series, covering 200 years of the state's history from 1585 to 1789.

She donated her papers to ECU before her death. A residence hall on the ECU campus is named in her honor.