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HIST 3000: History of Capitalism in the USA: Home

Explores the history of the US economy from the 18th century to the 21st century.

Research Guide for History of Capitalism in the USA

The J. Murrey Atkins Special Collections at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is dedicated to supporting the teaching, research, and public service missions of the university by acquiring, organizing, preserving, and making available to a wide audience rare and unique materials in certain defined categories.

Among those resources are many that relate to the topics discussed in HIST 3000 - History of Capitalism in the USA.

This guide is not intended to be a complete finding aid to the collections.  It serves as a preliminary research tool, providing a brief description of holdings.  More detailed descriptions of the sources listed below are available in Special Collections and through the Library's online catalog.  The catalog contains bibliographic records for the majority of the manuscript collections held in Special Collections as well as books and other printed material available at UNC Charlotte.  The catalog is accessible through the Internet at  Finding aids for these sources are also available through the Special Collections website at  Please note that some collections may not yet have finding aids available and that this site is a work in progress.

Manuscript Collections

Manuscript Collections consist primarily of unpublished documents such as literary manuscripts, letters, diaries, cartoons, photographs, architectural drawings, and organizational, church and governmental records.  Also included are some printed materials, microforms, audio recordings, films and other items.  Atkins Library's Manuscript Collections focus on materials related to the people and history of the greater Charlotte region, with particular attention to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.

While using manuscript collections, please help us preserve our materials by following a few rules:

1.  Only use pencil when using Special Collections materials.

2.  Use only one folder at a time.

3.  Handle documents with care.

4.  Keep the documents in the same order.

5.  Do not place personal items on top of Special Collections materials.

Oral Histories

New South Voices ( provides access to more than 700 transcripts of interviews, narratives, and conversations documenting life in the Charlotte, North Carolina region in the twentieth century, including the experiences and language of recent immigrants to the area.  The interviews were conducted by UNC Charlotte faculty, students and staff as well as several community organizations.  These interviews are part of the Oral History Collection of the Department of Special Collections at J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte.

Suggested Manuscript Collections

The following is a list of manuscript collections that could be used for your class.

Arthur & Farrar Family Papers
Materials created & collected by James Harrison Arthur (1901-78), his wife Katherine Miller Arthur (1914-74), & his uncle Benjamin Franklin Arthur Jr. (1863-1944). Consists primarily of correspondence & subject files of James & Katherine, residents of Gaston County, N.C. Also includes daily expense records (1926-73); business correspondence (1925-74) related to James's work as a textile mill accountant in North Carolina & South Carolina; & papers (1877-1901) of Dr. James Park McComb relating primarily to his gold mining activities in Charlotte.

Blumenthal Family Papers
The collection contains primarily the papers and photographs of I.D. and Herman Blumenthal and also records from the Radiator Specialty Company, and the Blumenthal Foundation.

Beaumert Whitton Papers pt. 1 and pt. 2
Personal, family, and business papers of a long-time Charlotte resident and construction company executive. Includes some records of the Southeastern Construction Company, the family firm, including photographs of projects in Cuba (circa 1917) and in North Carolina and South Carolina (1920s-1960s); records of other businesses the family owned; and including minutes and scrapbooks (circa 1948) of the Charlotte Planning Board.

Concord Telephone Company Records
Corporate records of the Concord Telephone Company, of Concord, North Carolina, predominantly through the twentieth century.

Piedmont and Northern Railway Records
Records of the Piedmont and Northern Railway Company (incomplete), which operated in North Carolina and South Carolina, 1910-1969. Materials include operating reports and balance sheets, stockholder information, publications, legal documents, correspondence, and photographs.

WBT/WBTV Corporate Records
This collection contains the records of WBT radio, WBTV television, and the Jefferson-Pilot Communication Company of Charlotte, North Carolina from the 1920s to approximately the year 2009. There are also records from the Columbia Broadcasting System and a variety of syndicated television shows.

Blythe and Isenhour, Inc. Records
Records of a general contractor founded in 1909 and operating until 1989. Twenty seven volumes include job books (1922-86), ledgers (1909-42), cashbooks (1923-47), and a time book (1909-10).

Leaksville Woolen Mills Records
Material relating to the history of a West Charlotte mill. Includes photocopies of a promotional piece (1900) and a notebook (1919-20) involving construction of mill #2, an historical essay by former executive vice president James P. Wilson, photographs, interviews with former employees, and a letter (1988) by major league baseball player Whitey Lockman describing his youth at Leaksville. 

Textile Mill Supply Records
Records (mostly minute books and books of stock certificates) of the Textile Mill Supply Company, the Industrial and Hardware Supply Company, and the Industrial and Textile Supply Company, of Charlotte, NC from 1898 to 1997. The collection also includes records of the TMS Realty Company, whose purpose was to administer the land holdings of its parent company.

Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Records
Films from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

Suggested Oral Histories

Interview with J. Norman Pease

Noted architect Colonel J. Norman Pease gives details of early Charlotte development and his relationship and opinion of the leaders who helped shape Charlotte.
Interview with Stanford R. Brookshire
Stanford Brookshire gives his early recollections of coming to Charlotte, how the city changed, and highlights some of his achievements as mayor of Charlotte during the 1960s.
Interview with Harvie C. Jordan
Harvie Jordan, Sr. gives a detailed look at the printing business and graphic arts business in Charlotte and surrounding areas. Mr. Jordan briefly talks about the Great Depression and World War II.
Interview with Lois Y&le
Lois Moore Yandle grew up in North Charlotte in the mill village surrounding the Highland Park #3 Mill. She provides vivid descriptions of life in this close-knit community including details of the housing, working conditions in the textile mills, and the North Davidson Street business district.
Interview with Herman Blumenthal
Long-time Charlotte resident and civic activist Herman Blumenthal discusses the Jewish experience in Charlotte beginning upon his arrival in the 1930s. He describes the small Jewish community centered around the synagogue and recalls prominent families. Blumenthal talks about the postwar changes in the Charlotte Jewish community, including increased population and a growing acceptance in mainstream social and civic organizations.
Interview with Virginia Oates
Virginia Oates was a child living in the Homestead Mill village, which was built by the Leaksville Woolen Mills in the 1920s. Virginia gives details about the mill village from 1930 when her family moved there.
Interview with Julius Whitener Abernethy
Julius Abernethy was one of the most wealthy North Carolinians at the time of this interview, yet he was one of the least known and unassuming. At the time of this interview his estimated worth was between 20 and 30 million dollars. Abernethy quit school around the 6th or 7th grade & began his career trading pocket knives, guns, and horses.


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Rare Book Collection

The Rare Book Collection contains rare and unique published works focused in American and British Literature, Children's Literature and regional history, as well as a broad range of other topics.

There are quite a number of books in the Rare Book Collection which could be used for this class.  All of these can be found in the Library Catalog.  A few of the books which highlight businesses and development in the Charlotte area are:

Charlotte, the center: list of Charlotte manufacturers located in the city of Charlotte, N. C. January 1, 1930 - HD9728 C43 C43 193

Charlotte city directory - all call numbers begin with F264 C4, but there is more than one, e.g. F264 C4 A17, F264 C4 C5194 1887 - The earliest are in Special Collections (through 1931), the 1932-1954 editions are in Local Documents, and the later years are on in Compact Shelving or on the Eighth floor.  Charlotte city directories for 1875-1963 are also available at

History of Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte: from 1740 to 1903 - F262 M4 T8

History of Mecklenburg County: from 1740 to 1900 - F262 M4 A3

Hornets' Nest: the story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County - F262 M4 B5

Sorting out the New South City: race, class and urban development in Charlotte, 1875-1975 - F264 C4 H28 1998

Charlotte, NC: the global evolution of a new South city - HC108 C33 C54 2010

Piedmont and Northern: the great electric system of the South - HE5425 N8 F48

Jones Construction: looking back, moving forward - HD9715 U54 J227 1989

Century of Progress: the Concord Telephone Company, 1897-1997 - HE8841 C6 H68 1997

Crown of the Queen City, the Charlotte Chamber from 1870 to 1999 - HF296 C34 C53 1999