North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company Archives

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Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company Archives 1850, 1888-2000s, bulk 1920-2008

Collection #RL.00936 | 230 Linear Feet; 0.1 Gigabytes

The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company was founded in Durham, N.C. in 1897, and was dissolved in 2022. Its archives document the company's founding and development, and contribute to the historic record on African American businesses and entrepreneurship in the South and in the United States. Dating from 1850 to 2008, the material covers nearly every aspect of N.C. Mutual's operations, management, and milestones. Includes corporate office files, including the records of five company presidents; annual statements; reports; surveys; memos; legal and financial papers; original life insurance policies; training material; programs; ephemera and artifacts; and a large number of historical photographs of male and female staff and their families, offices, buildings, and Durham scenes dating back to the late 1890s. Significant businessmen represented in the papers include founders John Merrick and Aaron Moore; and presidents Bert Collins, Joseph Goodloe, William Kennedy Jr., William Kennedy, III, Charles C. Spaulding, Asa T. Spaulding, and current president James H. Speed. Throughout there are numerous images and narratives about the many women workers and administrative staff who held positions at the company dating back to the turn of the 20th century. The collection is especially rich in print material, including many issues of three company publications: The Mutual (1903-1929), The Whetstone (1924-1998), and The Weekly Review (1925-1998). It is also notable for its assemblage of material on United States African American history, including much information on other companies, and public relations material dating from the earliest years to present times, including advertising ephemera, advertising campaigns, and other related items. Other materials document North Carolina Mutual's outreach to the African American community throughout its history to counter racism, unemployment, and diseases by means of public health programs, church affiliations, mentoring, and scholarship programs. Over one hundred selected digitized photographs and a few documents are also available online. Acquired and curated jointly by the North Carolina Central University's University Archives, Records and History Center and the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.

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