Announcing New Archie K. Davis Fellowships Policy and the 2019 Davis Fellows

Beginning in 2020, each of the four or five Archie K. Davis Fellowships awarded annually by the North Caroliniana Society shall be in the $4,000-$5,000 range. This change, a fewer number of fellowships and the larger amount of each stipend, reflects the desire of the Society and the Davis Family to make these awards more supportive of outstanding applicants and more in line with similar awards provided by other organizations.

Since 1988 more than 400 young scholars have received Davis Fellowships in the $500-$1200 range. This support has produced numerous articles, monographs, and books about North Carolina. Many of them won coveted awards and contributed to the launching of outstanding academic of independent-scholar careers for their authors.

The final group of Davis Fellows funded on this original scale have been selected for 2019. Their names and topics appear in the following list.

  • Evan Howard Ashford, “Cast Down Your Bucket and Cast Your Ballot”
  • Robert j. Bell, “American Influences in Iran from 1911-1963”
  • Christopher Bonner, “Moses Grandy’s Pursuit of Freedom”
  • Michael K. Brantley, “Otway Burns”
  • Heather R. Brinn, “Black Families in Transition in the Reconstruction South”
  • Georgann Eubanks “The Wild South: Lost and Found”
  • Jonathan A. Gomez, “Black Musical Transformations of the Great Migration”
  • Hannah K. Hicks, “Amazons and Viragos”
  • Lucas P. Kelly, “Bordering the Borderlands”
  • James W. Lester, Jr., “NC Mapmaker C. M. Miller”
  • James MacKay, “Flight and Freedom in Revolutionary America”
  • Elisabeth A. Moore, “Tourism in Western North Carolina Post WW II”
  • Christopher Arris Oakley, “Maritime Indians”
  • Jessica M. Parr, “Evolution of Transatlantic Black Nationalism, 1760-1860”
  • Raja Rahim, “How African American Made US College Basketball, 1937-1970”
  • Paul; Sanchez, “William Louis Poteat and Liberal Religion in the Baptist South”
  • Virginia L. Summey, “NC White Women and White Supremacy in 1898”
  • Lizabeth Wardzinski, “Tennessee Valley Authority and Postwar Development”

In addition to funding these individual scholars, the Society set aside money from the Davis Endowment for the digitization of selected printed material that will aid these men and women in their work.

Georgann Eubanks (Archie K. Davis Fellow for 2019) examines a small stand of river cane (Arundinaria gigantea) at a restoration site along Childer’s Creek in Tennessee. Her book project on endangered plants and ecosystems in six states is entitled The Wild South: Lost and Found. The scarcity of river cane is a particular challenge to North Carolina’s Cherokee artisans who use the plant to weave heritage baskets and mats according to ancient standards and patterns.

William Friday Teachers Retreat: Carolina Voices

“The event was indeed a retreat. I feel one of the biggest strengths was being appreciated and treated as a professional. The sessions were balanced and well-paced. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of activities and quality of the presenters. The title was Carolina Voices, and I believe we heard many, including our fellow teachers. This was a first-class educational experience.”

This is just one of the dozens of glowing reviews of the William Friday Teachers Retreat: Carolina Voices Exploring the Diverse History & Heritage of the Tar Heel State, held on November 11-13 at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library. A group of 32 fantastic teachers from 21 counties across North Carolina were treated to three days of lectures, scholarly discussion, immersive field trips, and more! Some highlights include a performance of Fire of Freedom: A Portrait of Abraham Galloway, a one-man show, written by Howard Craft, starring actor and writer Mike Wiley , readings from distinguished Professor Bland Simpson, a presentation by Professor Ben Frey about Cherokee life in North Carolina today, a powerful performance – “From Slavery to Civil Rights” from acclaimed Gospel singer Mary D. Williams at the historic Dickerson’s AME Church in Hillsborough, and a special teacher appreciation dinner at Chapel Hill favorite, 411 West. The weather during the Retreat could be described as dismal, but our teachers weren’t fazed as they braved a downpour for a historic tour of Hillsborough, NC with Professor Wayne Lee. Check out the rest of the agenda here.

This wonderful experience was made possible by the generous support of the North Caroliniana Society.

“This was most definitely a relaxing retreat and it reinforced my excitement for teaching. I loved all of the people who shared their experience with us. I especially loved their enthusiasm for their subject matter. When your speaker/teacher is excited about what they do, it is impossible to not feel and want to carry on that same excitement. This experience opened my eyes to the wonders of our state. It made me want to find out more about why we are the way we are, what shaped us into what we are today.”

In memory of Dr. H. G. Jones

Dr. H. G. Jones, archivist, historian, teacher, and author, died October 14, 2018, at The Arbor, Galloway Ridge at Farrington, PIttsboro, North Carolina. In 1975 he founded the North Caroliniana Society and served as its secretary-treasurer until 2010. As one part of his very considerable legacy, the Society is the only organization that encompasses the entire breadth of this state’s cultural heritage.

Archie K. Davis Fellowship Program is Thirty and Thriving

Since the spring of 1988, approximately 400 scholars have been awarded Archie K. Davis Fellowships in a targeted research program sponsored by the North Caroliniana Society. On a competitive basis, the program’s funding has supported hands-on research by young scholars spending time in North Carolina’s historical and cultural collections, both public and private.

This spring of 2018, an additional nineteen Davis Fellows have been funded. These women and men come from this state, across this country, and abroad. Most of them are studying at the graduate level, but one is a rising senior. Several other new fellows are already working in university faculties, and one is on staff at the Smithsonian. As in the past thirty years, their research subjects are quite varied. For example, they range from environmental health of Civil War regiments, conjoined twins, opposition to Manifest Destiny, eugenics, and the Cherokee economy. The 2017-18 recipients are:

  • Richard Berman (Oxford Brookes University): Freemasonry in North Carolina.
  • John Brannon, Jr. (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities): Cherokee Syllabary and Printing.
  • Robert Colby (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): Slave Trading in the Civil War South.
  • Sara Collini (George Mason University): Enslaved Women and Midwifery.
  • Michael Hardy (independent): Richmond M. Pearson.
  • Nathaniel Holly (College of William & Mary): NC Emancipation Politics.
  • Tina Irvine (Penn State University): Americanizing Appalachia.
  • Stephanie King (University of Kentucky): Confederate Diaspora.
  • Michael Lynch (University of Tennessee at Knoxville): Manliness on the Rev. Frontier.
  • Joshua R. Shriver (Auburn University): Interpersonal Rel. and CW Soldiers.
  • Lewis M. Stern (independent scholar): Tommy Thompson, North Carolina Musician.
  • Rodney J. Steward (USC-Salkehatchie): Southern Rights Party in North Carolina.
  • Larry E. Tise (Eastern Carolina University): Maps of Colonial North Carolina.
  • Brandon K. Winford (University of Tennessee at Knoxville): Southern Regional Council.

Mr. Davis for whom these fellowships are named was a 1932 graduate of the University of North Carolina. He returned to school there after retiring from Wachovia Bank and Trust Company as chairman in 1974. His history master’s degree adviser at Chapel Hill was Dr. H. G. Jones, who founded the North Carolinina Society in 1975, the same year Mr. Davis finished his thesis. Later Dr. Jones recalled that his adult student was a fine writer who had a tendency to “chase rabbits” in his research. Mr. Davis complained that his professor was killing a good story by cutting the manuscript. Eventually this give and take produced a 1,400-page master’s thesis. In 1985 it became a biography destined to be legendary from UNC Press entitled Boy Colonel of the Confederacy: The Life and Times of Henry King Burgwyn, Jr.

In November and December 1987, Mr. Davis was retiring again, this time as chairman of the Research Triangle Foundation Board and as president of the North Caroliniana Society. His successor as president of the Society was UNC President William C. Friday who had raised a quarter of a million dollars to establish an Archie K. Davis Endowment Fund. Its annual earnings only would be available for Davis Fellowships. That first year, 1988, the new program funded five scholars, their fellowships ranging in value from $750.00 to $2,000.00.

Each fellowship, today as then, serves the special purpose of funding an individual scholar’s access to documentary materials wherever they are preserved. The resulting scholarship has produced numerous professional papers, hundreds of articles, and scores of books. In 2010, for example, the May issue of the Journal of Southern History published reviews of six of the fourteen books recently published by Davis Fellows. At the Southern Historical Association that year, fourteen former Fellows presented papers. Moreover, through 2010 the amount of money spent directly on Davis Fellowships equaled the total amount of the original quarter of a million-dollar seed money donated to the program by the Research Triangle Foundation.

Since 2010 the Archie K. Davis Fellowship Fund has continued its distinguished record of both portfolio management and distinguished scholarship about North Carolina’s cultural expression. Davis Fellows Glenda Gilmore (1991), Patrick Huber (1998), Karl E. Campbell (2002), Mark K. Bradley (2003), Elizabeth Gillespie McRae (2004), J. Vincent Lowery (2013), Warren E. Milteer, Jr. (2014 and 2016), and Thomas L. Howard, III ( 2017), have claimed the coveted Robert D. W. Connor annual prize for the best article in the North Carolina Historical Review. Two of these same Davis Fellows, Drs. Campbell and Bradley, have also won the North Caroliniana Book Award, inaugurated in 2003. Without regard to genre, this prize goes to men and women whose books are judged to have the best chance of becoming classics works of North Caroliniana. Other Davis Fellows who have won this annual award are Catherine W. Bishir, Anna R. Hayes, David Silkenat (twice), Sarah C. Tueusen, and Larry Tise.

As Archie K. Davis Fellowships embrace the next era of scholarship about North Carolina history and culture, the North Caroliniana Society is poised to support this established research program through funding, administrative services, and communication links with applicants and grantees. Especially Research and Instructional Services headed by Jason Tomberlin in Wilson Library at UNC-CH is in the vanguard of this collaboration that includes, among many other records centers, the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Historical Collection at Chapel Hill and the NC Division of Archives and History in Raleigh. Almost every year several Davis Fellows include foreign travel in their plans.