North Carolina Mutual to Transfer Historic Archival Collection to
North Carolina Central University and Duke University
John Merrick, Charles C. Spaulding and Dr. Aaron M. Moore
Durham, NC (September 15, 2009) – North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the nation’s largest and oldest life insurance company with roots in the African-American community, will sign an agreement to transfer its archival collection to North Carolina Central University and Duke University on Friday, September 25. The agreement will be signed at 11 a.m. in the Heritage Room on the 12th floor of the North Carolina Mutual offices, 411 West Chapel Hill Street in Durham. The event is open to the public and the Heritage Room will remain open until 3 p.m. for public tours.
The collection of materials highlights the historic role the company has played locally and nationally in African-American commerce. The documents will be housed in Duke’s Library Service Center, an off-site location that serves both institutions. The collection will be referred to as “The North Carolina Mutual Collection.”
The North Carolina Mutual Collection will be administered by the NCCU Archives, Records and History Center and the Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library in conjunction with the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.
The extensive collection includes thousands of business documents, newsletters, commercials, photography, and books written about the company and its founders, books written by the company, government insurance publications, plaques and awards, promotional items, and historical information about the families of two company founders, John Merrick and Dr. Aaron M. Moore, as well as trailblazer and corporate icon Charles C. Spaulding. The North Carolina Mutual Collection may contain the largest assemblage of African-American corporate material in the nation.
“Thanks to the diligence, attention to detail and dedication of employees for more than a century, North Carolina Mutual's history has been exceptionally well documented and preserved. Because the North Carolina Mutual archives are a virtual encyclopedia of information for historians and other researchers, our board of directors felt they should be where they can best be maintained and preserved. The collection will be publicly accessible and available for scholarly use. North Carolina Central University and Duke University have the facilities and the professional personnel to continue a tradition of historic preservation that began in 1898,” said James H. Speed, Jr., President and CEO of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Historical connections between North Carolina Mutual life Insurance Company, North Carolina Central University, and Duke University make this archive arrangement particularly significant. John Merrick, a founder of North Carolina Mutual, worked closely with Benjamin Duke whose family established Duke University. Duke often frequented Merrick’s barbershop. In 1966, Duke University donated the land for the NC Mutual Building. In 1909, North Carolina Central University was founded by Dr. James E. Shepard, one of the seven founders of NC Mutual Life Insurance and a prominent business leader in Durham at the turn of the twentieth century. Preservation of the archives is important to research related to the City of Durham and to Parrish Street, widely known as “Black Wall Street.”
North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the nation’s oldest and largest insurance company with roots in the African-American community, offers a wide variety of insurance products, including life, health and dental through group plans for both large and small organizations and has over 300,000 individual policyholders. Since its founding 110 years ago in Durham, North Carolina Mutual has built a reputation for financial stability and the personalized service it provides its policyholders. The company has more than $7.7 billion of insurance in force.
For additional information, please contact:
Dr. Kimberly Moore, Public Relations and External Affairs
North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company
919.682.9201 Ext 294
<--Back to Library Home
This page was last updated: July 23, 2019
Send comments to: Coordinator of University Archives and Web Liaison