Frank McNinch papers
Scope and Contents
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 Water 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 Power Commission in 1930, becoming its Chairman in 1933. In 1937, President Roosevelt appointed McNinch to be the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. The collection contains mostly the papers he generated while working for these two federal commissions.
- Creation: 1925 - 1951
- Creation: 1930 - 1951
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
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.
Biographical / Historical
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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Language of Materials
Frank McNinch was the mayor of Charlotte, NC from 1912 to 1917 and later was appointed to serve on the Federal Power Commission in 1930, becoming its Chairman in 1933. In 1937, President Roosevelt appointed McNinch to be the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. The collection contains mostly the papers he generated while working for these two federal commissions.
This collection is arranged into six 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. The fifth series consists of photographs (1930-1935) and the final series contains oil paintings on canvas by Huldah McNinch.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Frank R. Theis (2008), Mr. and Mrs. John M. Hunter III (2014) and Tony Crumbley (2016).
Processed by Robert A. McInnes, in September 2010.
- Frank McNinch papers
- Robert A. McInnes
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository
Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States