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Kenneth Wilson Whitsett Papers

Filing title: 
Whitsett (Kenneth Wilson) Papers

Kenneth Wilson Whitsett papers

Summary Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte
Whitsett, Kenneth Wilson, 1894-1983
Kenneth Wilson Whitsett papers
Date [inclusive]
1.5 Cubic feet
Papers of Kenneth Wilson Whitsett, a Charlotte historian, artist, and co-founder of Pictorial Engraving Co. In 1934 Kenneth and two of his brothers, Lemuel and Theron, established the Pictorial Engraving Company. He painted murals for the Charlotte City Club and the Orange County Historical Museum in Hillsborough. He was one of the original members of the board of directors for the Mint Museum of Art (1934-1938).

Preferred Citation note

Kenneth Wilson Whitsett Papers. J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Biographical/Historical note

Kenneth Wilson Whitsett, (1894-1983), f. Lemuel Whittsett and m. Roberta Caldwell, a native Charlottean and World War I veteran, was a renowned artist and engraver. Whitsett attended the Baird School in Charlotte, North Carolina and studied at the Art Institute in Chicago. He worked an architectural draftsman for Hook & Rogers Architects and as a cartoonist for the Charlotte Observer. After attending the Art Institute, Whitsett worked for the Bureau of Engraving in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was one of Charlotte's first commercial artists. In 1924 he established the Charlotte Engraving Company with Curtis B. Johnson. In 1929, Charlotte Engraving merged with Bierman Engraving, forming the largest engraving plant south of Washington, D.C. In 1934 Kenneth and two of his brothers, Lemuel and Theron, established the Pictorial Engraving Company. He painted murals for the Charlotte City Club and the Orange County Historical Museum in Hillsborough. He was one of the original members of the board of directors for the Mint Museum of Art (1934-1938). By 1944, Kenneth Whitsett had developed both a friendship and client relationship with Harry Golden through the printing of the Carolina Israelite. In 1948, he designed the sets and costumes for the symphonic drama, Shout Freedom! The Pictorial Engraving Company changed its name in 1996 to Pictorial EDGE.

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Scope and Contents note

Papers of Kenneth Wilson Whitsett, a Charlotte historian, artist, and co-founder of Pictorial Engraving Co. Includes nineteenth-century papers of his mother's family, the Caldwell's of Croft in northern Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; of his immediate family in Alamance County; and of his maternal grandmother's family, the Templetons. Also includes World War I correspondence of Whitsett and his brother; photographs of former slaves of the Rosedale Plantation; Caldwell and Whitsett family photographs; photographs of early twentieth-century Charlotte, North Carolina; and a small amount of material relating to the Pictorial Engraving Co., including an engraving plate.

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Arrangement note

Series 1, Correspondence, contains correspondence for the Caldwell Family (1851-1929, n.d.), Templeton Family (1837-1869), and Whitsett Family (1848-1976). Series 2, Subject Files, contains miscellaneous non-correspondence material. Series 3, Photographs, contains Caldwell and Whitsett family photographs, including images of former slaves of the Rosedale Plantation.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte May 2002

9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC, 28223

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gifts of Ms. Holly Whitsett Mceachin, 2000.

Processing Information note

Processed by David Rhoton and James Kusik, May 2002.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Pictorial Engraving Company--Photographs.
  • Rosedale (N.C. : Plantation)--Photographs.

Family Name(s)

  • Caldwell family
  • Templeton family
  • Whitsett family

Geographic Name(s)

  • Charlotte (N.C.)
  • Charlotte (N.C.)--Social life and customs

Personal Name(s)

  • Whitsett, Kenneth Wilson, 1894-1983


  • Slaves--North Carolina--Mecklenburg County--Photographs
  • World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, American

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Collection Inventory


Scope and Contents note

This series contains the correspondence for three families: Caldwell Family, Templeton Family, and Whitsett Family

Box Folder

Caldwell correspondence 1851-1881 

1 1

Caldwell correspondence 1882- May, 1892  

1 2

Caldwell correspondence April 1892- Aug. 1929  

1 3

Caldwell correspondence undated 

1 4

Templeton correspondence 1837 

OF9 4

Templeton correspondence 1837-1869 

1 5

Whitsett correspondence  

1 6

Whitsett correspondence 1855-1860 

1 7

Whitsett correspondence 1861-1880 

1 8

Whitsett correspondence 1881-1889 

1 9

Whitsett correspondence 1890-1894 

1 10

Whitsett correspondence 1894-1899 

1 11

Whitsett correspondence 1900-1917 

2 12

Whitsett correspondence Jan.-Sept. 1918  

2 13

Whitsett correspondence Oct. 1918- Oct. 1928  

2 14

Whitsett correspondence 1929-1945 

2 15

Whitsett correspondence  

2 16

Wilson, Mary to Elizabeth, record of debt 1845-1851 

OF9 4

John Holt's will, Orange county 1824 

2 17

Miscellaneous correspondence undated 

2 18

Miscellaneous correspondence  

2 19

Receipt for rations distributed to furloughed soldiers, Co. G. 1st S.C. Cavalry, Confederate Army. 1864 

OF9 4

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Subject Files 

Scope and Contents note

This series contains genealogical material, newspaper clippings, and other non-correspondence material.

Box Folder

Advertising proofs, artwork by Kenneth Whitsett. undated 

OF9 4

American Trust Company (June 1950) 

2 20

Genealogical material: Caldwell Family undated 

2 21

Genealogical material: Gracy, Sloan, and Templeton Family undated 

2 22

Genealogical material: Whitsett Family 1999 

3 23

Items from the Caldwell Family Bible undated 

3 24

Miscellaneous material 1945-1965 

    Box item
Realia   A2 Engraving plate
    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 25

Box Folder

Newspapers: Charlotte News (1954), The Skirmisher: Fourth U.S. Engineers, Camp Greene N.C. (1918), Textile Review (1957). 1918-1957 

OF9 4

Newspaper clippings 1956-1971 

3 26

Newspaper clippings: biographical info and mural design undated 

3 27

Promotional material: Sword of Gideon (July 23-Aug. 15, 1953)  

3 28

Proposed national memorial to Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1967)  

3 29

Scrap album containing artwork by Lt. Mallard and Kenneth Whitsett 1916-1918 

3 30

Snaps, photograph album undated 

3 31

Artifacts: "Handy Reference Ruler", Pictorial Engraving company 1955 

3 32

Artifacts: Two checks/money orders from the bank of Wadesborough, N.C.  

3 33

Artifacts: Two leather wallets undated 

3 34

Artifacts: Three note books 1873-1889 

3 35

Audio Cassette: In-formal interview of Holly Mceachin by Robin Brabham and Tom Hatchett from the Museum of the New South (March 27, 2000)  

4 36

Artifacts: Ribbons for various activities including the NAACP, American Legion, and United Confederate Daughters Conference 1926-1945 

4 37

Engraving plate 


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Photographs (Oversized) 

Box Folder

Bi-Centennial of Presbyterian, Pageant at fair grounds across from Sugar Creek Church 1955 

OF9 4

Rosedale undated 

OF9 4

Duplicate, J.W. Griere Store--3rd Brock W. Sixth St. "For feature story. Charlotte Observer...It is one of the first [photos] of local interest..." [see P270/33]. (circa 1926)  

OF9 4

Roberta Caldwell Whitsett, Kenneth, and Sabran 1896 

OF9 4

Sebran Henry Whitsett and Kenneth Whitsett 1896 

OF9 4

Mothers whose sons where the first to leave Charlotte for World War I, 4th Company (N.C.) Coast Artillery (Late summer of 1917)  

OF9 4

Illustration by Pictorial Engraving Company, Inc. of a "Chilean" mill 1968 

OF9 4

Photographs--Prints (P) 

Box Folder item

Rosedale House "Bought in 1848...Croft, North Carolina" 

Scope and Contents note

[writing on back dates to 1961 but photo looks older]

P23 2 P270/1

Rosedale House--Croft, N.C. "Rosedale faced the South" undated 

P23 2 P270/2-6

Sheds behind the Rosedale House (June 26, 1954) 

P23 2 P270/7

"The last of Cedars at Old Home Place, Croft N.C., Mother Birth July 13, 1870" (May 26, 1952) 

P23 2 P270/8

"The Original Old Barn at Rosedale" undated 

P23 2 P270/9-11

J.C. Cochran & Bro. Feed and Sale Stable "Corner of 4th and S. Popular St." 1889 

P23 2 P270/12

J.W. Wadsworth's Sons Co. 2nd or 3rd largest business in Charlotte in the late 19th century undated 

P23 2 P270/13

"Independence Square showing marker, the site of General Cornwall's Headquarters" undated 

P23 2 P270/14

"20th of May Celebration, Crowd awaiting Parade, March of Return of 30 Division from France-- World War I, 1919" (May 20, 1919) 

P23 2 P270/15

"The 30th Division Returns home, Charlotte Society Doing Their Bit" (May 20, 1919) 

P23 2 P270/16

Military Division returning home in a parade undated 

P23 2 P270/17-20

Cox Grit Mill "where my Caldwell-Parks ancestors carried their grain" undated 

P23 2 P270/21

"McIntyre Farm, Beatty Ford Rd. Mecklenburg County, N.C., Where 12 American boys defeated and routed a British foraging party of 500 men, Sept-Oct. 1780" undated 

P23 2 P270/22

Kenneth Whitsett watching the construction of the First Union National Bank-- S.E. corner of South Tryon and 3rd Street, Charlotte North Carolina "...However about 1930-30 some skulls and bones were dug up here and destroyed..." undated 

P23 2 P270/23

"Hunter Dairy looking west" 1962 

P23 2 P270/24

"317 N. Graham St." undated 

P23 2 P270/25

"Old Charlotte, South Church St. at R.R. Bridge" undated 

P23 2 P270/26

"S. Tryon St., Charlotte N.C." undated 

P23 2 P270/27

"Corner View, Graham at 7th" undated 

P23 2 P270/28

"Old Smoke House back yard Sander's Home, South Tryon street--now Red Fez club next door Masonic Temple...150 feet off main street...removed to make room for Oasis Patrol drill ground" undated 

P23 2 P270/29

"First home of John L. Parks...This house stood between Eastfield and Popular Tent Church" (June 1955) 

P23 2 P270/30

Cotton Wagon 1934 

P23 2 P270/31

"America's First inclosed fire engine" [postcard] undated 

P23 2 P270/32

J.W. Griere Store--3rd Brock W. Sixth St. "For feature story. Charlotte Observer...It is one of the first [photos] of local interest..." (circa 1926) 

P23 2 P270/33

Cotton field with black cotton workers standing around a weighing station while the supervisor weighs the cotton bale, "Greeting from Carolina, Down in Dixie" [Greeting card w/ enclosed photograph] undated  

P23 2 P270/34-35

Cotton Press (Nov. 1960) 

P23 2 P270/36

Cotton Press and Sissy (Nov. 1960) 

P23 2 P270/37

Company Barracks and Parades, Fort Caswell, North Carolina [postcard] 1911 

P23 2 P270/38

"Old Bradford Home" Front and side views undated 

P23 2 P270/39-40

Harry Golden undated 

P23 2 P270/41

Curtis B. Johnson undated 

P23 2 P270/42

Bill Gallon undated 

P23 2 P270/43

Jerre Whitsett, "Grand Uncle of Kenneth W. Whitsett" undated 

P23 2 P270/44

"Si (?) Alexander, last living Civil War Vet Meck. Co.; Col. Kidd, father of Ralph Kidd; Billie McKaney, grandfather of Mrs. Eli Springs..." undated 

P23 2 P270/45

"Remains of former pupils who attended School in Brick Home in background at Sugar Creek Church, was called Sessior [?] House" undated 

P23 2 P270/46

"Uncle Tom" (tintype) undated 

P23 2 P270/47

"Picture in yard of Uncle John Caldwell, Rowan County. Win Caldwell and Sarah Jane his wife. Win was born slave son of little Mary owned by my grandfather, William Caldwell. Lived most of his life with Uncle John Caldwell in Mecklenburg and Rowan County where he died about 1930-34? And buried at Sills Creek Cemetery between Thyatira[?] Church and Mooresville. Had a large family all named for the children of William Caldwell, including my mother and Uncle John's children and I've heard one of latest named for me (?). Kenneth." undated 

P23 3 P270/48

"Win and Sarah Jane Caldwell-Son of Little Mary-Slave of Grandfather WM [William] Caldwell. Win [was] raised as a house boy. After "Freedom" farming was hard on him, but always a happy companion for all the grandchildren. They had 14 (?) children, all named for my uncles, aunts, my mother Roberta Lee and one for me. Kenneth." undated 

P23 3 P270/49-51

Mary Lytle "Big Mary Lytle, wife of Jerry Lytle, mother of Emanuel and Frank Lytle. Slave family owned of [by] my grandfather, Capt. William Caldwell. Bought Jerry on Charlotte slave market…All tall over 6 ft. and black..." undated 

P23 3 P270/52-53

"Aunt Eadie, slave, house laundry. Whitsett family from wilson's[?] side." undated 

P23 3 P270/54

"...Aunt Erty at left with daughters. Aunt Erty was a former slave...Grandmother Jane Wilson..." undated 

P23 3 P270/55

Former slave undated 

P23 3 P270/56

Kenneth W. Whitsett…Camp Hancock [?]…Furled tents, required each day to fight off Fur germs. 52nd Co. 4th Group…Nov, Training" 1918 

P23 3 P270/57

"Back row from the left, Neve Phar Woods, Lloyd Williams, et al." undated 

P23 3 P270/58

Young sailor, unknown undated 

P23 3 P270/59

"Leloyde Dixon's picture" undated 

P23 3 P270/60

"Raymond Schlegel-Supervising Engineers, and Assistants. Consolidated Engineering Co. Camp Greene, N.C." (Sept. 17, 1917) 

P23 3 P270/61

"Mercy Hospital Easter Parade, call sister Stilla Morris, Pediatric ward." undated 

P23 3 P270/62

"On porch, Roberta C. Whitsett, Engie Lee Whitsett, Elsa Whitsett; 2nd from left Betty Whitsett (Bridges); 5th from left Harriett Whitsett; behind her LD III; next to her is Barbara (?) Whitsett (Edwards)." undated 

P23 3 P270/63

"Original Georgia Charter Members- Sons American Legion" 1934 

P23 3 (1934)

"Open House Charlotte Engraving Co., 1930-31(?). Celebrating purchase and consolidation of Bierman Engraving Co. Front Row left to right; Stark Dillard, et al." 1930-31? 

P23 3 P270/65

"Cantor Engraving Co. Ohio. James, Phila-weeks; J.B. Bickford, Providence R.I.; et al." (Aug. 1932) 

P23 3 P270/66

"The portrait Job Mallard painted. Pediment old chambers, Davidson College after Wilson election confirmed second term. He was shipped for this." undated 

P23 3 P270/67

Mural, The Story of Gold in Old Mecklenburg. Located on the south wall of the American Trust Company building, North Tryon Street Branch, Charlotte, N.C. 1949 

P23 3 P270/68-73

Religious mural, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest" in the lobby of Dilworth Methodist Church 1945 

P23 P270/74

"3x Legion" undated 

P23 3 P270/75

"Rush on 11AM Bos.; The Trebune [sic], Concord N.C." undated 

P23 3 P270/76

The American Legion's reenactment of the Unknown Soldier's Grave on stage undated 

P23 3 P270/77

"Mighty McDonald, Dewey Scott-Training. Jerre Whitsett Photo, Harvey Hunter owner." undated 

P23 3 P270/78

Photograph of a document, "Hereby certify that the bearer hereof Barbara Caldwell...attested at the Church of Southend in the county of Aneyle [sic], Scotland..." (July-May 22, 1700) 

P23 3 P270/79

An Ox undated 

P23 3 P270/80

Kenneth Whitsett at a soda fountain undated 

P23 3 P270/81

People, unidentified undated 

P23 3 P270/82-86

Places, unidentified undated 

P23 3 P270/87-89

Photos taken in Scotland of genealogical significance undated 

P23 3 P270/90-92

Advertising Sleeve, Pictorial Engraving Company undated 

P23 3 P270/93-94

Reenactments and Theatre Performances, Sword of Gideon and Shout Freedom undated 

P23 4 P270/95-140
Box Folder item

Bradford Reunion, Selwyn Farm, Charlotte North Carolina (Aug. 20, 1930). 

PL7 1 PL270/1

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