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Frank McNinch Papers

Filing title: 
McNinch (Frank) Papers

Frank McNinch papers
MS0426

Summary Information

Repository
J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte
Creator
McNinch, Frank R. (Frank Ramsay), 1873-1950
Creator - Artist
McNinch, Huldah Groome, 1919-2004
Title
Frank McNinch papers
ID
MS0426
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1930-1951
Date [inclusive]
1925-1951
Extent
1.0 Linear foot
Language
English
Abstract
Frank McNinch was the mayor of Charlotte, NC from 1912 to 1917, and later was appointed to serve on the Federal Communications Commission in 1930, becoming its Chairman in 1933. In 1937, President Roosevelt appointed McNinch to be the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission. The collection contains mostly the papers he generated while working for these two federal commissions.

Preferred Citation note

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Library.

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Biographical/Historical note

Frank Ramsay McNinch was born to Franklin Alonzo and Sarah Virginia Ramsay McNinch on April 27, 1873. He attended Barriers Military Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina until he was seventeen. After finishing his secondary education, he worked as a traveling salesman for businesses in Charlotte, Richmond, Virginia and New York City.

Late in the nineteenth century he began studying law on his own and then enrolled in law school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, in 1898. Having prepared himself in law prior to enrolling in law school, he only spent one year in law school and was licensed to practice law in North Carolina in 1899. He began his law career the following year in Charlotte. A few years later, in 1904 he was elected to the North Carolina general Assembly. His agenda was to promote Prohibitionism and to reform the North Carolina divorce laws to make it more difficult to obtain a divorce.

From 1917 to 1921 he served two terms as the Mayor of Charlotte and the Commissioner of Finance. He resigned as mayor in 1917 in order to accept an appointment as the regional director of the National recreation Association of America.

In the 1928 election McNinch campaigned on behalf of republican candidate Herbert Hoover, even though McNinch was a democrat. McNinch supported Hoover because the democratic candidate, Alfred Smith, was Catholic and “wet” on the issue of Prohibition. It was during this time that McNinch’s skill as an orator became noticeable to his peers.

He began his career in public service at the national level beginning in 1930 when President Hoover named him to serve as a member of the Federal Power Commission. By law, the President is required to appoint at least one member from the opposing party. In 1933, President Roosevelt appointed him to serve as its Chairman. His agenda as chairman was to ensure availability of cheap electric power. In 1935 he traveled to the World Power Conference at the Hague in the Netherlands as the delegate from the United States. McNinch had the distinction of being appointed to high federal offices by both Democratic and Republican presidents.

On October 1, 1937, President Roosevelt requested that McNinch resign from his position as the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission to take a new position as the Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission. As the new chairman, his agenda was to prevent censorship and to ensure that all had equal time on radio stations, irrespective of position or opinion. McNinch remained in the FCC until 1939, when he became the Special Assistant to the Attorney General—a position he held until 1946.

He married Mary Groome, of Greensboro, NC on June 21, 1905. With her, they had two children: Frank Ramsey McNinch, and Mary Groome Ariel McNinch. Following his wife’s death, McNinch married Huldah Groome of Greensboro, NC, on February 12, 1917. With her, he had two children: Huldah Groome and Robert Groome McNinch.

In his personal life, McNinch was a member of the Presbyterian Church, a freemason, and a member of the United American Mechanics.

McNinch died on April 20, 1950.

---------------------- Sources: Frank McNinch papers, mss 426, University of North Carolina Charlotte Library. Powell, William S., ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.

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Scope and Contents note

The Frank McNinch papers contain a small assortment of documentation primarily concerning his work with the Federal Power Commission from 1930 to 1937, and the Federal Communications Commission from 1937 to 1939. A few other files in this collection concern a few personal matters, such as an article about him published in Who’s Who, his affiliation with the Presbyterian Church, his investments with the Sharon Waer Company, and his retirement pension. There is also a file at the end of this collection concerning his death in 1950 and the administration of his estate. Frank McNinch was the mayor of Charlotte, NC from 1912 to 1917, and later was appointed to serve on the Federal Communications Commission in 1930, becoming its Chairman in 1933. In 1937, President Roosevelt appointed McNinch to be the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission. The collection contains mostly the papers he generated while working for these two federal commissions.

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Arrangement note

This collection is arranged into eight different series (some with subseries) in a mostly chronological order.

The first series contains materials of a personal nature; the second and third series contain papers generated by McNinch’s work for the Federal Power Commission and the Federal Communications Commission in the 1930s. The fourth series contains a small assortment of miscellaneous materials. Series V contains the pages of a scrapbook that date from 1935 to 1938 and mostly concern his work at the federal level. This item has its own series because it transcends the period of time when McNinch served in two different federal commissions. The sixth series contains two undated speeches that McNinch delivered to the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill—apparently at graduation ceremonies. The last two series concern McNinch’s retirement in 1945, and his death in 1950 and estate settlement.

The collection also contains ten photographs of McNinch, and two sketches (self portraits) of his daughter, Huldah Groome McNinch.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte 2010

9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC, 28223
704-687-1170
spec-coll@uncc.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Not held by UNC Charlotte Library.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Frank R. Theis, in 2008. Some material acquired from Mr. & Mrs. John M. Hunter III.

Processing Information note

Processed by Robert A. McInnes, in September 2010.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

WBT/WBTV Corporate Records, mss 324.

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)

  • Charlotte (N.C.)--Politics and government
  • United States--Politics and government

Personal Name(s)

  • McNinch, Frank R. (Frank Ramsay), 1873-1950

Subject(s)

  • Administrative agencies--United States
  • Mayors--North Carolina--Charlotte

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Collection Inventory

Personal Materials 

Marquis’s Who’s Who 1934-1935 

Box
1
Folder
1

Prohibition and religious matters 

Box
1
Folder
2

Sharon Water Company 1925-1949 

Box
1
Folder
3

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US Federal Power Commission 

Box
1
Folder
4

Correspondence 1933-1937 

Box
1
Folder
5-6

President F.D. Roosevelt 

Box
1
Folder
7-8

Speeches 1934-1937 

Box
1
Folder
9

Speeches, undated 

Box
1
Folder
10

Travel expenses 1935 

Box
1
Folder
11

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US Federal Communications Commission 

Box
1
Folder
12

Correspondence 1937-1938 

Box
1
Folder
13

President F.D. Roosevelt. 

Box
1
Folder
14

Speeches and articles 1937-1939 

Box
2
Folder
2
Box
1
Folder
15

Speeches, and articles, undated. 

Scope and Contents note

Includes an article (Radio Guide, date unknown), "Radio - Pandemonium if uncontrolled," part of the "Great American think about radio" series of editorials.

Box
1
Folder
16

Miscellaneous 

Box
1
Folder
17

Britain Day Celebration program 1918 December 30 

Scope and Contents note

Charlotte-area observance of Britain Day was held at the suggestion of the United States Government. Planning and arrangements were made by a Committee of Citizens appointed by then Mayor Frank McNinch and the Charlotte War Camp Community Service. Honored guests and speakers included Liert.-Col. G. G. Woodwark of the British Army, Mayor McNinch, Commander Arthur Blackwood of the Royal British Navy, and music provided by the Oasis Temple Band, Highland Pipers' Band, and vocalists, Maggie Teyte and Marion Green.

Personal correspondence 

U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt Press News 

Scope and Contents note

Pieced together copy, undated, of an issue of the ship's newsletter.

James A. Farley Testimonial Dinner--Invitation and guest list 

Scope and Contents note

The occasion was a testimonial dinner for James (Jim) Aloysius Farley (1888-1976) at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Farley served as Chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and as Postmaster General simultaneously under the first two administrations of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Class of 1902, University of North Carolina, 1902-1910--Bulletin number six 

Scope and Contents note

Published by the Alumni Association of Class of 1902. Mrs. F. R. McNinch, Charlotte N.C. is listed on page 6. She was Frank McNinch's first wife, Mary, a poetry writer in N.C. "Recently moved into new home on Hawthorne Lane. F. R., Jr., has a little sister, Mary Groome, born December 28, 1909."

Mary Groome M'Ninch poetry 

Scope and Contents note

Three poems published in the Charlotte Observer, 1908-1909. Titles given as HARVEST HYMN, WHEN MASSA GOES A-COURTIN', AND BETROTHED.

Newspaper clippings regarding death of McNinch wives 

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Scrapbook 1935-1938 

Box
1
Folder
18-19

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Speeches to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 

Box
1
Folder
20

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Retirement & Pension 1945-1948 

Box
1
Folder
21

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Death & Estate Settlement 1950-1951 

Scope and Contents note

Includes last will and testament, dated November 2, 1948, and deed to Elmwood Cemetery plot in Charlotte, NC.

Box
2
Folder
3
Box
1
Folder
22

Photographs circa 1930-1935 

Box
P45
Folder
11
item
P/1-12
Box Folder item

Portrait of Frank McNinch, by Blank & Stoller 

P45 11 P426/1

Portraits of Frank McNinch 

P45 11 P426/2-4

Frank McNinch delivering a speech at a podium 

P45 11 P426/5

Frank McNinch talking to an unidentified man 

P45 11 P426/6

Frank McNinch seated at a desk in his office 

P45 11 P426/7

Frank McNinch seated at a table with five other (unidentified) men. McNinch is second from the left. 

P45 11 P426/8

Frank McNinch seated at a table with four other (unidentified) men. McNinch is seated in the middle. 

P45 11 P426/9

Frank McNinch speaking to an unidentified man, ca. 1935. 

P45 11 P426/10

Sketches of Huldah Groome McNinch, daughter of Frank McNinch. 

Scope and Contents note

Handwritten note on bottom of one of the pictures reads, "Daughter of Frank McNinch, Huldah Groome McNinch (Jr), artist, poet, historian"

P45 11 P426/11-12
Box Folder Photographs-Prints

McNinch House 

Scope and Contents note

Four photos of the McNinch Home built in 1925 on Sharon Lane, Charlotte, NC. It is a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmark.

P45 11 P426/13-16

Jack & his grandpa McNinch 

Scope and Contents note

John (Jack) M. Hunter, III and Frank McNinch sitting on steps, circa 1940. Jack was the child of Mary Groome McNinch (1909-1974) and John Merritt Hunter, Jr (1908-1994).

P45 11 P426/17

Young Frank McNinch 

Scope and Contents note

Photo taken July 4th, 1898, in Creighton, Ga., age 25.

P45 11 P426/18

Frank McNinch and unknown gentleman 

P45 11 19-20

Federal Power Commission 1937 October 1 

Scope and Contents note

Photograph of McNinch and four colleagues taken on Oct. 1, 1937 when he left his position as Chairman of the Federal Power Commission to become the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. The photo was signed with personal comments by McNinch's successor to the FPC, Clyde L. Seavey. Also signing with personal notes were Basil Manly, Claude L. Draper, and John W. Scott, all with the FPC.

2 1 P426/21

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Oil paintings on canvas, by Huldah McNinch 

Scope and Contents note

There are two self-portraits by daughter, Huldah. There is a still-life with goblet, plants and fruit table setting. There is also a landscape of a grove of trees. Among the oil paintings are four portraits of women that are not identified. All of the paintings are unframed.

Oversize
Art portfolio

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