north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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     Albert Ray Newsome, North Carolina historian, was born in Marshville June 4, 1894, to Richard Clyde and Julia Ross Newsome. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at the top of his class in 1915, at which time he began teaching in the state’s public schools. In 1919 Newsome joined the history faculty at Bessie Tift College in Georgia. After two years there, he enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he pursued a doctorate in history and served as a part-time instructor. Two years later Newsome returned to his alma mater in Chapel Hill as an assistant professor in the history department.

     In 1926, Newsome accepted an appointment to become the Secretary of the North Carolina Historical Commission, the precursor to the Office of Archives and History. His achievements in that office included the passage of the first comprehensive public records law, acquisition of the title to the Fort Raleigh property on Roanoke Island, encouragement of local historians, and active editorship of the North Carolina Historical Review. His involvement with the state’s public records law extended to his 1932 publication of The Preservation of Local Archives: A Guide for Public Officials. Newsome was also active in national organizations, and played a key role in the establishment of the Society of American Archivists. He was elected as that group’s first president, serving from 1936 to 1939.

     Newsome returned to the University of North Carolina in 1934 to chair the history department and teach American history. He held that position until his declining health dictated his retirement. The catalog of publications that he wrote or edited is extensive and varied. Newsome is best remembered for the comprehensive text North Carolina: The History of a Southern State, co-authored by Hugh Talmadge Lefler and first published in 1954.

     A. R. Newsome married Frances Vaughn on June 4, 1917, and together they had two daughters, Jennie Wells and Julia Frances. On behalf of his family, one of Julia’s son’s, Christopher Quackenbush, established the Albert Ray Newsome Distinguished Professorship for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997.


References:
Kim McCudden, “Family Salutes Newsome’s Devotion To North Carolina History,” Carolina Alumni Review (September/October 1997)
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, IV, 367-368—sketch by Carl Hamilton Pegg
Mary Rushing, “Dr. Albert Ray Newsome,” Monroe Enquirer Journal, March 29, 1968
Alva Stewart, “The Man Who Taught Us Our History,” The State (August 1989)
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north carolina highway historical marker program


A. R. Newsome

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