MC 00073 Guide to the Bertram Whittier Wells Papers, 1849-2004 (Bulk, 1901-2004)

This collection is divided into three series: (1) James R. Troyer Biography, (2) Bertram Whittier Wells and Maude Barnes Wells House, and (3) Additional Artifacts.In series 1, some materials have been divided into two categories: materials produced by Wells himself, and materials produced by James R. Troyer in the course of his research about Wells. However, the dates on the folders can be somewhat misleading. Since much of the material is made up of Troyer's notes and research, the dates emanate from the date when Troyer's research was done, not the dates or events he was investigating. For example, the date 1890 was attributed to a news article, because it was a photocopy of this article, but a transcription or notes taken from this same article would be dated 1970. Wherever possible, the materials are arranged according to subseries and then chronologically.Series 2 originated from papers found at the Rockcliff Farm house after B. W. and Maude Barnes Wells had vacated the property and had both died. Most of the items were loose in boxes, but some original file names have been maintained where possible and practical. The materials have been divided into subseries including personal (encompassing household papers, personal correspondence, items found in B. W. Wells's studio, and other material of a personal nature), professional (encompassing work and affiliations begun before he retired in 1954 and all publications and notes regarding botany and/or ecology), B. W. Wells Association, Rockcliff Farm Interpretive Area project, and photographs.Series 3 contains artifacts added to the collection after the conclusion of an exhibit on B. W. Wells displayed in 2007.
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The James R. Troyer Biography series is primarily composed of materials Troyer compiled in working on his biography of B. W. Wells, titled Nature's Champion: B. W. Wells, Tar Heel Ecologist. These papers include some authored by B. W. Wells and others, including notes, by James R. Troyer, all regarding B. W. Wells's personal and professional pursuits.
Personal, 1919-2003
[Box 1, Folder 1] Art, List of Wells's Paintings, 1981-1987
[Box 1, Folder 2] Art, McLean Mural and North Carolina Art Society, 1936-1989
[Box 1, Folder 3] Associations, B. W. Wells Association, 1982-2002
[Box 1, Folder 4] Associations, North Carolina Wild Flower Preservation Society, 1951-1968
[Box 1, Folder 5] Associations, North Carolina Wild Flower Preservation Society, 1968-1972
[Box 1, Folder 6] Correspondence, 1951-1960
[Box 1, Folder 7] Correspondence, 1962-1981
[Box 1, Folder 8] Honors, Correspondence, 1962-1982
[Box 1, Folder 9] Honors, Honorary Degree Certificate, 1963
[Box 1, Folder 10] Honors, Honorary Degree Certificate Holder, 1963
[Box 1, Folder 11] Honors, Governor's Award, 1979
[Box 1, Folder 12] Wells, B. W., Curriculum Vita, circa 1919-circa 1974
[Box 1, Folder 13] Wells, B. W., General, 1935-1992
[Box 1, Folder 14] Wells, B. W., General, 1977-1999
[Box 1, Folder 15] Wells, Edna Metz, 1938-1993
[Box 1, Folder 16] Wells, Maude Barnes, 1941-2001
[Box 1, Folder 17] Wells Family and Associates, 1978-1993
[Box 1, Folder 18] Radio, WPTF Radio, "Talk with Tom", August 31, 1993
[Box 1, Folder 19] Radio, WUNC-FM Radio, "The State of Things", April 10, 2003
Professional, 1849-2001
[Box 2, Folder 1] Research, Big Savannah, Troyer, J. R., 1951-2001
[Box 2, Folder 2] Research, Big Savannah, Wells, B. W., 1949-1966
[Box 2, Folder 3] Research, Blueberries, Troyer, J. R., 1929-1988
[Box 2, Folder 4] Research, Conservation, Troyer, J. R., 1986-1999
[Box 2, Folder 5] Research, Conservation, Wells, B. W., 1956-1972
[Box 2, Folder 6] Research, Ecology, Troyer, J. R., 1849-1974
[Box 2, Folder 7] Research, Ecology, Troyer, J. R., 1977-1988
[Box 2, Folder 8] Research, Ecology, Wells, B. W., 1951-1971
[Box 2, Folder 9] Research, Evolution, Troyer, J. R., 1922-1987
[Box 2, Folder 10] Research, Insect Galls, Troyer, J. R., 1916-1984
[Box 2, Folder 11] Research, Insect Galls, Wells, B. W., 1921-1966
[Box 2, Folder 12] Research, Popularization, Troyer, J. R., 1922-1987
[Box 2, Folder 13] Teaching, Courses, circa 1980s
[Box 2, Folder 14] Teaching, New College at Teachers College, Columbia University, 1931-circa 1980s
[Box 2, Folder 15] Teaching, North Carolina State University, 1925-1987
[Box 2, Folder 16] Teaching, Students, 1943-circa 1980s
[Box 3, Folder 1] Publications, "Discovering North Carolina," Correspondence, 1933
[Box 3, Folder 2] Publications, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, Iden, Susan, 1912-1986
[Box 3, Folder 3] Publications, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, First Printing, 1936-1980s
[Box 3, Folder 4] Publications, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, Later Printings and Spinoffs, 1932-1998
[Box 3, Folder 5] Publications, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, Troyer, J. R., 1984-1985
[Box 3, Folder 6] Publications, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, UNC Press, 1931-1932
[Box 3, Folder 7] Publications, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, UNC Press, 1933-1938
[Box 3, Folder 8] Publications, The Natural Gardens of North Carolina, UNC Press, 1942-1967
[Box 3, Folder 9] Publications, Nature's Champion, Book Jacket, 1993
[Box 3, Folder 10] Publications, Nature's Champion, NCSU Friends of the Library Event, 2000
[Box 3, Folder 11] Publications, Originals of Wells's Offprints, 1914-1931
[Box 3, Folder 12] Publications, Originals of Wells's Offprints, 1934-1976
[Box 3, Folder 13] Publications, Photocopies of Wells's Offprints, 1915-1981
[Box 3, Folder 14] Addition, "Origin of Wet Woodland, Shrub-bog and Swamp-forest Species of the Southeastern United States," Typescript Draft by Wells, B. W., undated
Photographs, 1920-1994
[Album 4, Folder 1] Personal, Art, circa 1981-circa 1990s
[Album 4, Folder 2] Personal, Wells, B. W., circa 1960s-1977
[Album 4, Folder 3] Professional, Research, Big Savannah, 1994
[Album 4, Folder 4] Professional, Research, Conservation, 1920-1984
[Album 4, Folder 5] Professional, Research, Ecology, 1945-1981
The papers in series 2 were found and preserved by staff members at the Falls Lake State Recreation Area of the North Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation after B. W. Wells and Maude Barnes Wells had both vacated the Rockcliff Farm property.(Maude Barnes Wells left the house in 1978 after B. W. Wells died; she passed away in 2001.) They include correspondence, publications, clippings, notes, drawings, photographs, and other items related to B. W. Wells, his personal and professional pursuits, and his family, especially his second wife, Maude Barnes Wells.
Included in the papers found at the Rockcliff Farm house are records from the B.W. Wells Association, a group that works to educate the public about B.W. Wells and promote his conservation ethics. The association assists the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, the Falls Lake State Recreation Area, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to preserve, restore, and interpret Rockcliff Farm, the site of Wells's retirement after 1954. Also included are early plans and notes for the Rockcliff Farm Interpretive Area (now called the B. W. Wells Home and Interpretive Area) at Falls Lake State Recreation Area.
Personal, 1922-2002
[Box 5, Folder 1] Miscellaneous, Personal, 1950-1976, undated
[Box 5, Folder 2] Bertram Whittier Wells, Birth Certificate, 1963
[Box 5, Folder 3] Bertram Whittier Wells, Dedications and Preservation Projects, 1979-1983
[Box 5, Folder 5] Bertram Whittier Wells, Clippings, 1954-2002, undated
[Box 5, Folder 6] Edna Metz Wells Park, Raleigh, NC, 1938-1996
[Box 5, Folder 7] Correspondence, Personal, 1966, 1976-1978, undated
[Box 5, Folder 8] Correspondence, Personal, 1968-1972
[Box 5, Folder 9] Correspondence, Personal, 1975-1976
[Box 5, Folder 11] Correspondence, Personal, 1976
[Box 5, Folder 12] Address Files, undated
[Box 6, Folder 1] Travel Diary, undated
[Box 6, Folder 2] Genealogy and Gravesites, undated
[Box 6, Folder 3] Southport House, 1946-1976
[Box 6, Folder 4] 18 Enterprise Street, 1953, 1972
[Box 6, Folder 5] Falls of Neuse/Falls Lake Dam Project, Notes on Rockcliff Farm, 1965-1972, undated
[Box 6, Folder 6] Falls of Neuse/Falls Lake Dam Project, Clippings, 1960-1974
[Box 6, Folder 7] Research Triangle Development, 1957, undated
[Box 6, Folder 8] Household, Rockcliff Farm, 1955-1970, undated
[Box 6, Folder 9] Farming, Plants, and Pesticides, Rockcliff Farm, 1922-1957, undated
[Box 7, Folder 1] U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletins, 1944-1972
[Box 7, Folder 2] "Trees of North Carolina" and "Trees of Florida," Pocket Manuals, 1922, 1943
[Box 7, Folder 3] Studio, Pictures Given to Friends Painted by B. W. Wells, undated
[Box 7, Folder 4] Studio, Clippings, 1937-1972, undated
[Box 7, Folder 5] Studio, Painting Techniques, 1956-1966, undated
[Box 7, Folder 6] Studio, Still Lifes, 1943-1964, undated
[Box 7, Folder 7] Studio, Drawings, undated
[Box 7, Folder 8] Studio, Pictures on Studio Walls, undated
[Box 7, Folder 9] Studio, Oversize Art Publications, 1954-1965, undated
[Box 7, Folder 10] Oversize Photographic Portrait, undated
Professional, 1908-1978
[Flat Folder 1] Certificates and diplomas: B. W. Wells and Edna Metz Wells
[Box 8, Folder 1] North Carolina State University, Dept. of Botany, 1975-1978, undated
[Box 8, Folder 2] Lecture Notes, undated
[Box 8, Folder 3] Publications, 1910-1928
[Box 8, Folder 4] Publications, 1929-1976
[Box 8, Folder 5] Natural Gardens of North Carolina, Book, 1959-1973
[Box 8, Folder 6] Natural Gardens of North Carolina, Film, 1971-1976
[Box 8, Folder 7] "Biological Individuality," Paper, with Notes, 1961-1969, undated
[Box 8, Folder 8] Molecular Biology, 1967-1970, undated
[Box 8, Folder 9] Grass Balds, 1958-1960
[Box 8, Folder 10] Local Plants, Raleigh, North Carolina, undated, 1958-1960
[Box 8, Folder 11] Baldhead Island, 1969-1975
[Box 8, Folder 12] Baldhead Island, Clippings, 1937-1975, undated
[Box 8, Folder 13] North Carolina Wild Flower Preservation Society, 1949-1975
[Box 8, Folder 14] Correspondence, Professional, 1951-1971
[Box 9, Folder 1] Miscellaneous, Professional, 1931-1966
[Box 9, Folder 2] Miscellaneous, Professional, 1971-1976, undated
[Box 9, Folder 3] Checklist of the Plants of Gray's Manual, 7th Ed., Personal Copy, 1908
[Box 9, Folder 4] Geology, North Carolina, undated
[Box 9, Folder 5] Maps, General, 1967-1976, undated
[Box 9, Folder 6] Travel Brochures, 1963, undated
B. W. Wells Association, 1929-2004
[Box 9, Folder 7] B. W. Wells Association, Miscellaneous, 1929-1998
[Box 9, Folder 8] B. W. Wells Association, Finances, 1982-1993, undated
[Box 9, Folder 9] B. W. Wells Association, Pamphlets, undated
[Box 9, Folder 10] B. W. Wells Association, Correspondence, General, 1982-2001
[Box 9, Folder 11] B. W. Wells Association, Membership, 1982-1998, undated
[Box 10, Folder 1] B. W. Wells Association, Legal Documents, 1976-1982, undated
[Box 10, Folder 2] B. W. Wells Association, Newsletters, 1982-1991
[Box 10, Folder 3] B. W. Wells Association, Clippings, 1955-2004
[Box 10, Folder 4] B. W. Wells Association, Clippings, 1955-2002
Rockcliff Farm Interpretive Area Project, 1950-1994
[Box 10, Folder 5] Rockcliff Farm Project, 1950-1951
[Box 10, Folder 6] Rockcliff Farm Project, 1985-1991, undated
[Box 10, Folder 7] Rockcliff Farm Project, 1979-1985, undated
[Box 10, Folder 8] Rockcliff Farm Project, 1978-1986, undated
[Box 10, Folder 9] Rockcliff Farm Project, B. W. Wells Biography, 1981, undated
[Box 10, Folder 10] Rockcliff Farm Project, Correspondence, 1975-1994
[Box 11, Folder 1] Rockcliff Farm Project, Original Building Survey Notes and Building Plans, undated
[Box 11, Folder 2] Rockcliff Farm Project, National Historic Designation, 1979-1991
[Box 11, Folder 3] Rockcliff Farm Project, Grant Applications, 1985-1988
[Box 11, Folder 4] Rockcliff Farm Project, Schematics, 1981-1986, undated
[Box 11, Folder 5] Rockcliff Farm Project, Wells Guided Trail Write-up, 1981, undated
[Box 11, Folder 6] Rockcliff Farm Project, Maps, undated
[Box 11, Folder 7] Rockcliff Farm Project, Wells Cemetery and Outhouse, undated
[Box 11, Folder 8] Rockcliff Farm Project, Objectives and Priorities, undated
[Box 11, Folder 9] Rockcliff Farm Project, Inventories and Key Distribution, 1989, undated
[Box 11, Folder 10] Rockcliff Farm Project, Wells Trail #3, undated
[Box 11, Folder 11] Rockcliff Farm Project, John Lawrence Notecards, undated
Photographs, 1901-1987
[Album 12, Folder 1] Early Photographs, 1901, undated
[Album 12, Folder 2] Hocking County, "The Big Pine Biological Laboratory", 1911
[Album 12, Folder 3] Bertram Whittier Wells, 1926-1964, undated
[Album 12, Folder 4] Photographs of Individuals, 1926, undated
[Album 12, Folder 5] Photographs of Sybil and Others, undated
[Album 13, Folder 1] Photographs of Groups, 1926, 1964, undated
[Album 13, Folder 2] From Helen Myer, undated
[Album 13, Folder 3] Dedications, 1973, undated
[Album 13, Folder 4] Houses, Plants, and Landscapes, 1926-1987, undated
[Album 13, Folder 5] Fieldwork, 1937, undated
[Album 13, Folder 6] B. W. Wells Association, B. W. Wells Interpretive Area, 1986
Negatives and Slides, 1925-1939
[Album 13, Folder 7] Negatives, undated
[Album 13, Folder 8] Slides, undated
[Card Box 14] Glass Plate Lantern Slides and Large-Format Negatives (3" x 4"), 1925-1939, undated
Contained in this series are artifacts added to the collection after the conclusion of the B. W. Wells exhibit that was displayed in NCSU's D. H. Hill Library in 2007. The artifact materials may have originated with the Falls Lake State Recreation Area.
[Carton 15] R. B. Auto Graflex camera and carrying case, 1920s
[Carton 15] Plaque with invitation to B. W. Wells's 90th birthday, 1974
[Carton 15] John Kunkel Small, Manual of Southeastern the Flora [book], 1933
Inscribed "B. W. Wells, Dec. 11, 1933."
[Legal Box 16] Wooden box for lantern slides, stamped "Wells"
[Carton 17] Books (Accession 2012.0078)
[Carton 18] Books (Accession 2012.0078)

Creator

Wells, Bertram Whittier, 1884-1978

Quantity

9.0 Linear feet

General Physical Description note

13 archival storage boxes, 1 legalbox, 1 cardbox, 1 carton, and 1 flat folder

Location

For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff external link.

Language

English

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Initial deposit of Wells materials made by B. W. Wells in 1973. Addition made in 1981 by C. B. King. Significant addition by J. R. Troyer in 2003. Addition from Falls Lake State Recreation Area accessioned in 2006.

Acquisitions Information

Gift of B. W. Wells, C. B. King, and J. R. Troyer, 1973-2003. Transfer from Falls Lake State Recreation Area, November 7, 2006.

Processing

Processed by: Jaime L. Margalotti and Kelly Clark; machine-readable finding aid created by: Jaime L. Margalotti and Kelly Clark; updated by: Kelly Clark Policelli, 2009 April; updated by: Todd Kosmerick, 2012 February

Scope and Content Note

The Bertram Whittier Wells Papers are divided into two series documenting the life of B. W. Wells, a botanist, artist, and faculty member in the Botany Department at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University): The first series was compiled largely by Dr. James R. Troyer for his biography of B. W. Wells, and it documents the personal and professional interests of this noted botanist. A small portion of the material in series 1 was directly produced by Wells himself. The second series includes materials found inside B. W. and Maude Barnes Wells's home at Rockcliff Farm by staff members of the Falls Lake State Recreation Area (which now circumscribes all the land near the Neuse River that once belonged to Wells) after both B. W. Wells and Maude Barnes Wells had vacated the property. (Maude Barnes Wells left the house in 1978 after B. W. Wells died; she passed away in 2001.) This series contains personal and professional papers, documents and artifacts from the B. W. Wells Association and the Rockcliff Farm Interpretive Area preservation project (Now the B. W. Wells Home and Interpretive Area), materials from Wells's studio, and an array of photographs and negatives, among other items.

Biographical Note

During his long and active life, B. W. (Bertram Whittier) Wells (1884-1978) was keenly interested in the study and preservation of North Carolina's unique landscape. He spent time studying the Big Savannah in North Carolina's Pender County, a spot he made famous in his publications on "natural gardens." Wells also, unsuccessfully, worked to save the Big Savannah from development. In 2002, a similar ecological site was dedicated to Wells's memory. Wells's concern for the environment was evidenced in his teaching and work as the head of North Carolina State College's (later North Carolina State University) Botany Department, his writing, and his personal involvement in botanical and environmental associations. James R. Troyer rightly titled his book about Wells Nature's Champion.

Born in 1884, in Troy, Ohio, Wells studied botany at Ohio State University, received his doctorate at the University of Chicago, and taught at a number of universities before he came to North Carolina State College in 1919. Wells headed the Botany Department from 1919 to 1949 and continued teaching until his retirement in 1954. During his thirty-five years at North Carolina State, Wells had a significant impact on scientific study. His research interests included the insect galls of plants, the effects of salt on coastal vegetation, Bald Head Island vegetation, and the possible formation by meteorites of the Carolina Bays, in the eastern part of the state. Wells was also a vocal advocate of the teaching of evolution in the 1920s and helped to prevent the legislature from banning it in the public schools. His botanical interests led him to write a book titled The Natural Gardens of North Carolina. Originally written in 1932 and published with the help of the North Carolina Garden Club, the book is still in print from University of North Carolina Press. It provides an account of North Carolina plant life and has a particularly forward-looking position on ecology, advocating the study of plants in their natural environments.

Wells had a profound love for his retirement property, called Rockcliff Farm, located on a bend in the Neuse River. In the 1970s, the Falls of the Neuse Reservoir submerged much of the property and the famed Ziegle's Rock. The property was subsumed within the Falls Lake State Recreation Area, where, in cooperation with the B. W. Wells Association and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the homestead has been preserved. Initially conceived by the B. W. Wells Association as the Rockcliff Farm Interpretive Area (later called the B. W. Wells Home and Interpretive Area), the site is used to educate the public about B.W. Wells and promote his conservation ethics.

The Rockcliff Farm property, home, and personally constructed art studio provided Wells with an ideal setting in which to cultivate his interest in painting. Although his love for art had been life-long and he had been involved in the McLean Mural controversy during his years at State, Wells began teaching himself to paint in his 70s. Although he never sold any artwork, he frequently gave it to friends, and a number of pieces are on exhibit at the Wells historical site. Wells's second wife Maude Barnes Wells, who died in 2001, shared his love of the property. Wells's first wife, Edna Metz Wells, who died in 1938, was a respected local teacher and was honored with a Wake County, North Carolina, park named in her honor.

Although Wells died in December 1978, his contributions, particularly in North Carolina, have engendered a devoted following for his life and work. In addition to J. R. Troyer's biography of Wells, there remains a B. W. Wells Association to administer the historic site and site of his former property, as well as to pass on his botanical knowledge and environmental interests to new generations.

James R. Troyer gathered much of the material in this collection during his preparation for the book, Nature's Champion: B. W. Wells, Tar Heel Ecologist. Born in Goshen, Indiana, in 1929, Troyer received his B.A. at DePauw University, his M.A. at Ohio State University, and his Ph.D. in Botany at Columbia University, in 1954. After teaching at Yale University until 1957, Troyer began his career at North Carolina State College as an assistant professor of botany. During his 38 years at State, Troyer became a full professor with a focus on plant physiology and the history of botany, particularly in North Carolina. He has held the position of Emeritus Professor of Botany since 1995.

Access to Collection

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Mail

Special Collections Research Center
Box 7111
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7111

Telephone

(919) 515-2273

Fax

(919) 513-1787

Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item], Bertram Whittier Wells Papers, MC 00073, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.

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