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Needham Yancey Gulley Papers

Needham Yancey Gulley, born June 3, 1855, was the son of a farmer in Jackson County, N.C. before starting at Wake Forest College in 1874. He earned his M.A. degree in 1879 and spent the next several years as a teacher, principal, and lawyer. Gulley married Alice Wingate, daughter of Washington Manly Wingate, a former president of Wake Forest College. At the age of 26, Gulley was licensed to practice law, beginning his law practice in Franklinton in 1883. He was a successful lawyer and was even elected to the House of Representatives for a single term in 1885 to represent Franklin County.

Needham Yancey Gulley

He returned to Wake Forest College after an 1893 decision by the Board of Trustees to establish a school of law. Advertised to begin in the Fall of 1893 with Gulley as the professor, the school failed to start that year as no students appeared the whole year. Gulley persevered, travelling once a week from Franklinton to Wake Forest to lecture on law (and hopefully entice students in the profession). Only one student enrolled in the summer of 1894, but twelve joined in the Fall session and Gulley was employed as the chairman of the department of law. The department continued to grow over the next ten years and in 1905 Gulley was made Dean of the School of Law.

Gulley retired as Dean in 1935, but continued to teach law until 1938. After he retired, the Dean and Professor Emeritus settled down on a small farm near Wake Forest only to return to his teaching post in March of 1942. Post Pearl Harbor, several key men in the law school were called for service, leaving Gulley to once again teach Civil Procedure. He died at his home in Wake Forest in 1945 and is buried in the Wake Forest Cemetery.

“The Dignity of the Profession of Law”

The Needham Yancey Gulley Papers in Special Collections & Archives gives researchers a sense of what Gulley was like during his undergraduate years at Wake Forest College. A member of the Philomathesian literary society during his time at Wake Forest College, Gulley’s Papers include a notebook of his orations.  Oration titles include:

  • “The Dignity of the Profession of Law” – Delivered in the Philomathesian Hall, April 29, 1877
  • “Capital Punishment Should be Abolished” – Delivered in the Philomathesian Hall, November 19, 1877
  • “War Incompatible with Christianity” – Written for Senior Speaking 2nd Friday in December 1878, but not delivered

Well written and displaying beautiful penmanship, this notebook shows his skills in debate and foreshadows his long and distinguished career in law at Wake Forest College. Gulley left a lasting impression on his over 1,700 law students. He may be resting in the cemetery in Wake Forest, NC, but his legacy lives on in Winston-Salem. You may recognize the name from Gulley Drive on Reynolda Campus. If you would like to see the Needham Yancy Gulley Papers  you can schedule an appointment to view them in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room.

Gone With the Wind

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, published in 1936, needs no introduction. Considered an American classic by some, and controversial by others, Gone With the Wind continues to be a an important and much talked about piece of American culture. Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel in 1937 and the film adaptation won multiple Academy Awards and has been preserved by the National Film Registry. Special Collections & Archives has multiple copies of Gone With the Wind in the Rare Books collection.

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Gone With the Wind dust jacket

This particular first edition of Gone With the Wind, purchased as part of the Lynwood Giacomini acquisition, is inscribed by Margaret Mitchell “Faithfully Margaret Mitchell December 18, 1939.” Signed only three days after the December 15, 1939 Atlanta premiere of the film version of Gone With the Wind, both Mitchell and her iconic Civil War story were at the height of popularity in American popular culture.

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Inscription by Margaret Mitchell

If you are interested in viewing this edition or any other of the holdings in the Rare Books collection, please contact Special Collections & Archives for an appointment.

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