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Harry L. Dalton papers

Identifier: MS0036

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a variety of materials, including biographical and genealogical materials, business records, correspondence, diaries, manuscripts and ephemera, newspaper clippings, publications, photographs, and subject files. It is an extensive collection of materials reflecting the activities, interests, and accomplishments of a noted Charlotte business executive and patron of the arts. The collection documents a wide range of his activities, including his military service in World War I, service with the War Production Board during World War II, business leadership, investment activities, patronage of libraries and art museums in North Carolina, and art and manuscript collecting. The papers also document his involvement in Charlotte civic and social organizations and his travels with his wife in Europe.


  • Creation: 1776 - 1990
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1915 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright retained by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for personal papers and records of Harry L. Dalton. For authors of other materials in this collection, copyright may be retained by the authors or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. It is the sole responsibility of users of this collection to observe all copyright laws, permissions and restrictions applicable to the materials contained in the collection.

Biographical Note

Harry Lee Dalton was born in Winston, North Carolina on June 13, 1895 to Corine McCanless and Rufus I. Dalton. A graduate of Trinity College (now Duke University), he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War I. At the end of the war Dalton entered the textile business as a salesman, and this experience led to his service as a textile advisor with the War Production Board during World War II. Dalton had a successful career in banking and finance and served as an officer and investor in numerous companies, including American Viscose Corporation, American Credit Corporation and Wachovia Bank. His other business interests included investments in oil extraction ventures, mainly through the Ancora Corporation. Along with his wife, Mary Keesler, Dalton collected art, rare books, and manuscripts, and made many contributions to art museums and libraries, most notably the Duke University Library, the Mint Museum, and the library of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dalton died in Charlotte on July 26, 1990. [For additional biographical information, see John L. Sharpe III, The Life of Harry L. Dalton, 2 volumes (Edinburgh: Pentland Press, 1986-89). For information on his contributions to UNC Charlotte, see the University Archives, especially the Chancellor's Subject Files, RG 5-0-1; the Major Donors File in the Library Director subgroup, RG 14-1-3; and the files of the Special Collections Librarian, RG 14-9.]


30 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers of a Charlotte business executive, bibliophile, and benefactor of art museums and libraries in North Carolina. Includes personal and business correspondence, biographical and genealogical materials, subject files, diaries, manuscripts and ephemera, personal and family papers, publications, newspaper clippings, and photographs. The personal papers document Dalton's patronage of the Duke University Library, the Mint Museum, and the library of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; his service with the U.S. Army during World War I, with the War Production Board during World War II, and with the Defense Orientation Conference; membership in Charlotte clubs and societies; and his travels in Europe with his wife, Mary Keesler Dalton. Also included are papers Mary Keesler Dalton and the Dalton family. The manuscripts contain items related to Auguste Allard, Bernardo de Galvez, Marie Joseph Marquis de Lafayette, King Louis XVI, and Daniel O'Connell. The business records document Dalton's career as an executive and investor in various businesses, especially in banking, oil extraction, and the textile industry. Companies represented in the files include the American Viscose Corporation, American Credit Corporation, Ancora Corporation and Wachovia Bank.


The collection is arranged into two major series, Business Records and Personal Papers, each of which have several subseries.

The first series, Business Records, is arranged into the following subseries: Correspondence, Speeches, Subject Files, General and Subject Files, Oil Business.

The second series, Personal Papers, is arranged into the following subseries: Correspondence, Diaries, Manuscripts, Personal and Family Papers, Publications, Subject Files, Newspaper Clippings and Photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Harry L. Dalton, 1978; Transfer of items in collection folder, 1990; Gift, October 2000 (accession 00-068).

Separated Materials

P17:6 P36/1 Portrait print of Harry L. Dalton, n.d. ; Tresspassing notice (box 31:8)

Processing Information

Processed by James Kusik, Deborah Lunsford, David Rotan, 2001.

Harry L. Dalton papers
James Kusik
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

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

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
Schedule an Appointment