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Colonel William Joseph Martin Collection

Identifier: DC026

Scope and Contents

The collection contains mostly correspondence. The letters written by Col. Martin discuss the University of North Carolina and his professional career. The correspondence from J. W. Scott, William McGuffy, William Dimwiddie, and Asa Gray discuss teaching positions. The Robert L. Dabney, and W. S. Plumer letters refer to religious studies. The letters from Andrew Hepburn discuss Davidson College and the presidency of the College. Written from 1867 to 1869, they are interesting reflection on the two men who later become presidents of Davidson College (Hepburn in 1877, and Martin in 1887). There is also a series of letters written from Davidson College including correspondence from Drury Lacy, discussing teaching positions. The letters from D.H. Hill also refer to teaching. In addition, there is correspondence with Martin's family, including letters written about Dr. Martin after his death. One of these letters is from North Carolina Governor R. B. Glenn describing his experiences as a student of Martin. There is also a small amount of biographical information, information about his family, a brief history of the 11th North Carolina Regiment, and a few photographs. The oversize folder contains Col. Martin's diploma from the University of Virginia.


  • Creation: 1852 - 1980

Biographical / Historical

William Joseph Martin Sr. was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1830. He was graduated from the University of Virginia in 1851. While still working on his Master's degree, he was offered and accepted a position as the Chair of Natural Sciences at Washington and Jefferson College. In 1858, he accepted the Chair of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1861, he organized the 28th N.C. Regiment for service in the Confederate States Army. He retired from the army as a colonel, and went to Columbia, Tennessee, where he founded and administered the Columbian High School. In 1870, he accepted the Chair of Natural Sciences at Davidson College. In 1887, he served as Acting President of the college and was offered the presidency as a permanent position, but he declined and chose to accept the position of vice-president instead. He was married twice, the first time to Susan A. McCoy, who died shortly after their marriage, and then to Letitia Coddington Costin. The two had ten children, six of whom died during infancy or adolescence. The surviving children were Miles Costin, William Joseph Jr., Mary Turpin (Mrs. E.H. Sloop) and Lucy Battle (Mrs. A. Currie). For additional information about his family see DC028, the William Joseph Martin, 1868-1943 Collection, 1858-1986.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 box + Oversize)



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Armand Currie

Processing Information

Processed on 11/11/1994

Colonel William Joseph Martin Collection
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections Repository