Materials in University Archives and the Southern Historical Collection are accessed in the 4th Floor Reading Room in Wilson Library. Links are provided in the boxes below to online finding aids that very generally list the contents of record collections. Using your browser's search tool (Control + F for PC, Command + F for Mac), search within these finding aids to identify relevant portions of collections for your research. For example, search "Coker", "Arboretum", "Botany", "Botanical", "Garden", "Land", "Estate", etc. You can also use known dates of interest to identify portions of chronological records like correspondence and minutes.
The collections listed below constitute only a small sample of record collections with materials related to W.C. Coker or the Botanical Garden. Click here to search across our online finding aids for other relevant collections.
Please be sure to review the "Registering and Requesting Materials" tab of this guide before visiting Wilson Library to conduct research.
University Archives is home to the unpublished, inactive records of the University, including academic and administrative departments and student groups. The following four collections in University Archives have materials that are especially relevant for research on W.C. Coker and/or the North Carolina Botanical Garden:
North Carolina Botanical Garden of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1952-1997 (#40072): This is a fairly large collection (nearly 12,000 items). Most of the records related to the establishment of the Garden are in Series 1 (Administrative Files).
Department of Botany of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1922-1989 (#40078): This collection consists of only a single box, with two folders specifically related to the Botanical Garden.
General Faculty and Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1799-2011 (#40106), Subseries 4.4. Buildings and Grounds Committee, 1919-2002: Coker was the first chair of the Building and Grounds Committee, beginning his appointment in 1913. The Agendas and Minutes and Correspondence folders from the 1950s-1970s contain scattered records related to the establishment of the Botanical Garden.
North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation Records, 1952-1989 (#40178): This small collection contains records relating to the early history of the Botanical Garden.
The Southern Historical Collection collects unpublished personal and institutional papers pertaining to the history and culture of the American South. One of the most useful collections for this course is sure to be the William Chambers Coker Papers, 1884-1956 (#03220). Coker's correspondence is likely to shed the most light on his life and work. His notebooks may contain information on the properties that later become part of the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
Besides the Coker Papers, the Southern Historical Collection also has the papers of the following three people involved with the establishment of the Botanical Garden:
John Nathaniel Couch Papers, 1924-1985 (#03810): The Botanical Garden is not mentioned in the finding aid for this collection, but Couch was extensively involved with the establishment of the Garden. Check Series 1 (General Correspondence) for records documenting Couch's involvement with the establishment of the Garden as well as letters to and from W.C. Coker.
William Lanier Hunt Papers, 1880s-1996 (#05286): Series 1 (Correspondence) and Series 5 (Plans and Real Estate Materials) are most likely to have materials related to Coker and the Botanical Garden. Also use the search strategies described in the box above to identify relevant records in the voluminous Series 9 (Subject Files).
H. R. Totten Papers, 1912-1973 (#03843): See especially Series 2 (General Correspondence) and Series 6 (Real Estate). Folders 174 and 183 in Series 7 (UNC Papers) contain records related to the establishment of the Botanical Garden and the Building and Grounds Committee, respectively.