Clarence N. Cone Jr. Family Papers

ca. 1884-1995 [bulk 1932-1965]. 2 boxes (17 folders), 47 items. MSS. COLL. #119

NOTE: The numbers cited in parentheses, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.


The Clarence N. Cone Jr. Family Papers consist of printed material, photographs and audio recordings relating to miscellaneous family activities, the career and education of Clarence N. Cone Jr. (1910-1990), and Agnes McWilliam Matthew, his children’s governess.

Arrangement: This collection is organized in three series and arranged within series by document type or subject. The series are: Cone, Clarence N., 1930-1944; Matthew, Agnes McWilliam, 1884-1960; and Miscellaneous, 1944-1995.

Provenance: This collection was donated by Mrs. Elizabeth Cone in April 1994 and assigned accession number 1994.100.17.

Processing: This collection was organized and the finding aid was prepared by volunteer Alice Bailey in July 2013.


Born in 1910 to Sadie Frank (1879-1965) and Clarence Newton Cone (1876-1929), Clarence N. Cone Jr. was raised in Greensboro and studied textile production at North Carolina State College (later North Carolina State University), graduating in 1932. He married Elizabeth Gaither of Chapel Hill in 1933, and the couple had two children: Nancy (1937- ) and Barbara (1943- ). Cone worked for Proximity Manufacturing and later the Cone Mills Corporation as Vice President and General Manager, and was active in the Boy Scouts of America. Elizabeth Cone was on the Greensboro Junior League Board of Directors during the 1940s, as was her daughter Barbara in the 1960s. Around 1949, Cone and his wife commissioned a Modernist-style house, located at 910 Sunset Drive, by Greensboro architect Edward Lowenstein.

Agnes McWilliam Matthew was born 1884 in Aberdeen, Scotland, to Mary Matthew and William Matthew Mason, a journeyman. She immigrated to the United States in 1910 and was naturalized in 1922. Clarence Cone Jr. employed Matthew as his children’s governess and family companion. Her immigration papers suggest that she was also employed by his father as his governess, which is all the more likely since, beginning in 1917, city directories list her address as 804 Summit Avenue, an area in which the Cone family owned many guest houses.

Biographical Sources: The main sources used to compile this biographical note were items in the collection, particularly documents in series one and two, as well as the family tree (3:2). Also consulted were NCSU’s Biographical Dictionary of Architects & Builders, directories for the City of Greensboro from 1917 to 1960 and the Caledonia’s September 18, 1910, passenger manifest on arrival at Ellis Island (batch P00143-5 Ref. 74 Line 18).


This collection focuses mainly on Clarence N. Cone Jr. and Agnes McWilliam Matthew. Items in the Clarence Cone series document his tenure as a student of textile production at NC State College and include materials on the subject of textile production, which may be interesting from a pedagogical perspective.

The items related to Agnes McWilliam Matthew comprise the most unified series and are of the greatest historical interest. Official government and bank documents as well as photographs shed light on Matthew’s social and economic position as an immigrant governess, as well as changes in documentation of travel overseas.

If the collection has a weakness, it is the lack of information about Clarence Cone Jr. himself or members of his family; it does, however, shed light on Agnes McWilliam Matthew’s legal and financial status as a governess.


1. Cone, Clarence N.  6 folders (12 items).  1930-1944.

This series mainly contains printed materials relating to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering, including a yearbook and commencement program. The most unique item is the textile analysis workbook, which contains woven fabric samples with hand-colored diagrams; several other textile books are also in the series.

2. Matthew, Agnes McWilliam.  4 folders (15 items).  1884-1960.

This series consists of photographs and financial, birth, and citizenship documents relating to Agnes McWilliam Matthew. Particularly striking are the handwritten birth certificate from 1884 and Matthew’s 1920 certificate of registration. Other items include Matthew’s certificate of naturalization, her passports, which span from 1926 to 1960, and her immunization forms. Five booklets of black and white photographs are primarily of the Cone family, Matthew herself, and outdoor scenes.

3. Miscellaneous.  7 folders (20 items).  1944-1995 (bulk 1932-1960).

This series consists of internally unrelated material including Junior League Annual Reports and weight loss systems (printed material and audio recordings). Of somewhat greater relevance are the portraits, which include photographs of Cone Jr.’s close friends Romeo LaForte and Paul Scerlock. Of the greatest informational value in the series is the family tree, which documents Cone family genealogy beginning with the father of Herman Cone (Kahn) and ending in 1995 with the seventh generation.


11Cone, Clarence N.-- Agromeck (NC State yearbook, 1932)
2-- Certificates (1930-1944)
3-- Cloth Analysis Workbook (1930s)
4Cone, Clarence N.-- Commencement Program (1932)
5-- Newspaper Clipping
6-- Textile Production Instructional Texts
21Matthew, Agnes McWilliam-- Citizenship & Immigration Documents (1884-1960)
2-- Financial Documents (1950-1960)
3-- Passports (1926-1960)
4-- Photographs
31Miscellaneous-- Book plate
2-- Family Tree (1995)
3-- Irving Park P.T.A. (1954)
4Miscellaneous-- Junior League (1944-1960)
5-- Junior League (1961-1974)
6-- Portraits
7-- Weight Reduction systems