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I is for …

Ira W. Thomas Papers

Ira W. Thomas was a Wake Forest alumnus who went on to become a Baptist minister in northwestern North Carolina. In 1872, Thomas began his ministerial career working as a teacher and itinerant minister for Baptist Churches across Alexander and Iredell Counties. He later settled in Caldwell County and went on to serve as pastor and itinerant pastor at several Baptist Churches throughout the county. In addition to his pastoral work, he also helped found the First Baptist Church of Blowing Rock, N.C. In 1874, Thomas married Julia Garvey with whom he had nine children.

Ira W. Thomas diary with newspaper clippings. 1907.
Ira W. Thomas diary with newspaper clippings. 1906/1907.

Materials in this collection demonstrate the daily activities of a North Carolina minister through a wide range of documents, including Thomas’ personal diaries and sermon notes, church records, correspondence as well as printed materials saved by Thomas, such as religious pamphlets and newspaper clippings. The Ira W. Thomas papers begin during his first ministerial positions and span across the rest of his lifetime. His diaries in particular provide insight to the life of a 19th century Baptist minister in rural North Carolina. Readers will find not only accounts of everyday life, but also Thomas’s reflections on period events and issues, such as WWI and prohibition. In many cases, Thomas refers to such events in his sermons as well as his personal writing. One letter by Thomas directly addresses prohibition. In this letter, Thomas reflects on the failure to pass prohibition laws in 1881 and speaks to his community to “lay a worthy and noble example for your boys” and vote in favor of prohibition.

I is also for … International Order of Good Templars, Wake Forest College Lodge #22

International Order of Good Templars. Wake Forest College Lodge #22
International Order of Good Templars. Wake Forest College Lodge #22 Minutes

The International Order of Good Templars is an organization whose mission is to enlighten people on a lifestyle that maintains abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. In 1874 Wake Forest College was appointed as the 22nd lodge, which remained active until 1878. During this time the lodge held several meetings and welcomed visiting members from other lodges around the country. The documents held in Special Collections includes a book of minutes as well as a record of members who joined the organization throughout the four years it was active. Following an opening ode and comments by the leading member, a typical IOGT meeting consisted of appointing new members and addressing any current issues to come before the lodge.

I is for… Washington Irving’s The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon

The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving
First Edition Issue of Washington Irving’s The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon.

For many avid readers, Irving’s The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon needs no introduction. The Sketch Book introduced several stories, such as “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”, that remain popular today. Special Collections holds a first edition issue of The Sketch Book in addition to other Irving works. Special Collections’ first edition of The Sketch Book, pictured above, was generously donated as part of the Charles H. Babcock collection.

The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon was published serially from 1819 to 1820, and contains 34 essays and short stories by Irving. The Sketch Book is Irving’s first use of the pseudonym “Geoffrey Crayon,” a name he continued to use throughout his career. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” were attributed to Diedrich Knickerbocker, a made-up Dutch historian under whose name Irving had written other works.

To see any of these works in Special Collections & Archives you are welcome to make an appointment to come to the Research Room (ZSR625).