This collection contains correspondence, writings, and related materials of Dan Tompkins.
Tompkins became editor of the Jackson County Journal in 1912, and remained in that capacity for the next thirty-one years, except for the period 1917-1918, when he served in World War I. He served as mayor of Sylva, NC, for twelve years; judge, in 1935; registrar of voters, in 1937; judge of elections, in 1943; and three terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives. In 1947, he ran unsuccessfully for the Lieutenant Governor nomination of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Tompkins helped organize the Sylva Chamber of Commerce and served as its first president.
Tompkins married Emily Weigle of Augusta, GA. The couple had no children. Dan Tompkins died in September, 1950.
The correspondence is mostly of a political nature. There are letters expressing support for Tompkins in his campaigns, as well as letters of inquiry made by Tompkins on behalf of constituents. Subjects within the correspondence include: letters from U.S. Congressman Zeb Weaver from 1940-1942, regarding the possibility of a defense plant to be built in western North Carolina; Cherokee concerns; and support of Tompkins’s protest against the discontinuation of the Southern Railway passenger service from Asheville, NC, to Murphy, NC (see letters dated June 2, 1947 and after).
Specific letters in the collection include:
January 10, 1936, from Josephus Daniels, regarding an embassy appointment
September 26, 1942, from John Parris to his parents, regarding his new job as a war correspondent for United Press Associations (later United Press International)
September 30, 1946, from the Library of Congress, regarding citizenship for Native Americans
January 4, 1947, from E.L. McKee, Chairman of the Jackson County Democratic Party, regarding a bill to shift tax collections from the sheriff to the county auditor
May 16, 1947, from former President Herbert Hoover, regarding boys clubs
August 12, 1947, from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, acknowledging Tompkins's filing for Lieutenant Governor.
Writings by Tompkins included "Tompkins Taunts", which were his opinions expressed as aphorisms and which appeared in his newspaper, the Jackson County Journal. There are also editorials, articles, and stories by Tompkins.
Included in the related items are biographical data, legal papers, copies of the state and national government bills, and teacher certificates of Emily Tompkins.
For more information about Dan Tompkins, see the William F. Tompkins Add. (MSS 80-73) and the master's thesis by Suelle Reece Austin, Dan Tompkins, Mountain Editor.
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