Nicholson Family Papers

MSS. COLL. #116


Title: Nicholson Family Papers

Dates (inclusive & [bulk]): 1834–2004 [1929–1943]

Quantity: ½ box

Types of Material: photos and negatives; legal documents, correspondence, applications and certificates; news clippings and magazines; program notes

Accession Numbers: unknown, 1988.78.1 (photographs of Mary Webb Nicholson)

Brief Description: The Nicholson Family Papers mainly consist of printed materials and reproductions of correspondence, news clippings, and photographs.

The longest printed items in the collection are typed manuscripts of “Miscellany,” a literary production by former North Carolina state representative James Reid Cole. Published in 1897, “Miscellany” documents Cole’s experiences serving on the front line in the 2nd and 22nd North Carolina Cavalry regiments during the Civil War. After the war, Cole founded Cole’s Classical and Military School of Dallas in 1889. “Miscellany” consists of five biographical, epistolary and non-fiction works written in several voices: “A Bird’s Eye View of Johnston’s Surrender,” “A Sketch of the Life of Lt. Col. C. C. Cole,” “Look Backward,” “Reminiscences of Army Life,” and “Seven Decades of My Life.” “Miscellany” contains narrative details and dialogue that highlights families, individuals, commerce, geography and institutions in Greensboro and surrounding areas during the Civil War.

Photographs and news clippings in this collection pertain mainly to James Reid Cole’s great-niece, Mary Webb Nicholson (1905-1943) of Greensboro, who is considered to have been the state’s first female aviator. Mary Webb Nicholson, an officer in the Ninety-Nines, worked as secretary to Jacqueline Cochran before being recommended for service in the Air Transport Auxiliary in Great Britain during World War II. The collection also includes papers and photographs relating to Mary Webb Nicholson’s younger brother Frank Cole Nicholson (1910–2004), who served as a flying instructor during World War II and later worked for Piedmont Airlines.

Major Names/Subjects: Cole, James Reid, 1839–1917
Great Britain. Air Transport Auxiliary
Nicholson, Mary Webb, 1905–1943
Ninety-Nines (Organization)
United States–History–Civil War, 1861-1865–Personal narratives
Women air pilots–United States
World War, 1939-1945

Date Surveyed: 06/04/2013