MC 00166 Guide to the Charles Dearing Papers, 1900-1963

This collection consists of three series. The Correspondence series contains letters arranged chronologically. The documents are subdivided into two groups, according to the person with whom Dearing corresponded. The Subject Series are arranged under four subject headings: history of grapes, packaging, publications, and strawberries. The third series, Research Data, contains a number of subseries, which are arranged in subseries chronologically, by the location of crop in the field, or by subject.
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The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically in two groups. The first group of general correspondence, 1928-1935, is primarily with Dr. Auchter, Chief of the Office of Horticultural Plants and Disease, and Mr. C. E. Schoenhals, the Senior Administrative Assistant at the Office of Horticultural Plants and Disease. The second group, 1924-1963, is between Dearing and George M. Darrow, Senior Pomologist of the USDA. Most of the correspondence was concerning research about strawberries at Willard and the strawberry industry in general. After Dearing retired in 1951, there are a few letters between his successor, Jesse W. Sumner, and George Darrow.
General, 1928-1951
[Box 1, Folder 1] [no date]
[Box 1, Folder 2] 1928-1929
[Box 1, Folder 3] 1930
[Box 1, Folder 4] 1931
[Box 1, Folder 5] 1932
[Box 1, Folder 6] 1933
[Box 1, Folder 7] 1934
[Box 1, Folder 8] 1935-1951
Darrow-Dearing, 1924-1963
[Box 1, Folder 9] 1924-1927
[Box 1, Folder 10] 1928
[Box 1, Folder 11] 1929
[Box 1, Folder 12] 1930
[Box 1, Folder 13] 1931-1932
[Box 2, Folder 1] 1935
[Box 2, Folder 2] 1936-1937
[Box 2, Folder 3] 1938-1941
[Box 2, Folder 4] 1941-1963
The Subject files consist of four folders: history of grapes, packaging, publications, and strawberries. The history of grapes folder contains a group of index cards that describe various types of grapes and their history. The packaging folder includes a letter, envelope, brochure and samples from the Elkin and Hall Company, pertaining to the packaging of berries. The publications folder contains promotions, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets regarding the muscadine grape industry and Charles Dearing. It also includes pamphlets written by Charles Dearing for the USDA Farmers' Bulletin, cards from the Atlantic Coast Line promoting muscadine grape jelly, and newspaper clippings about the North Carolina grape industry. In the strawberries folder, there are announcements of Strawberry Day, recipes, newspaper clippings, correspondence, research data, and an outline from the Strawberry Research Conference.
[Box 2, Folder 5] History
[Box 2, Folder 6] Packaging
[Box 2, Folder 7] Publications
[Box 2, Folder 8] Strawberries
The Research Data series is the result of agricultural experiments that took place at the Coastal Plain Test Farm at Willard. The Research is focused on grape research, especial the muscadine and scuppernong varieties. Individual portions are arranged chronologically, by the location of the crop in the field, or by subject. Dearing's original arrangement of the research data has been maintained, despite occasional overlap of data.
The Early Grape Research subseries consists of early grape research completed by both Charles Dearing and his predecessor E. F. Cole. Cole conducted the earliest research between 1904 and 1910. There is material regarding the history and culture of the scuppernong grape, and the introduction of the muscadine grape in North Carolina. With the research notes, there are also maps, investigation reports, field reports, memorandums, contracts, vineyard location notes, nursery lists, and a small sample of grape seeds. Dearing took over the research in 1910 and completed experiments and official reports on the muscadinia investigations. He also wrote reports on the different trips he took in the Southeast, including New Smyrna, Florida.
The Pocket Notes subseries consists of 206 pocket sized notebooks, arranged chronologically. The notebooks, which contain grape research data from 1905 to 1921, have data on grape vines, parentage, pollination methods, condition of the vines, characteristics, and general notes.
The Series-Section Notes are organized according to location of Dearing's research in the field. The information includes date of description, seedling cross, flower cluster, flowers, fruit cluster, berries, seeds, and remarks.
The Block Notes contain research organized by areas of land called blocks. Information is organized by block number, then arranged chronologically. Notes about individual and multiple blocks are included, as is material about distributions, pollinations, plantings, inventories, and nursery lists. Additional block notes can be found in the C.A. Magoon subseries of the Research Data series.
The Correlation Number subseries consists of two folders of information about the quality of different grapes. The first folder, from September and October 1913, contains charts on different grapes, and the correlation between the diameter of the berry and the number of seeds. The second folder consists of a chart tracing the berries per cluster-frequency distribution from September 1920. Also included is a chart on the best quality seedling of muscadine vines from September 30, 1919.
The C.A. Magoon Notes consist of research material and seminar notes, including muscadine grape investigations, varietal vineyard reports, and block notes prepared by Magoon. There are also handwritten seminar notes, hybrid charts, and information on cuttings, pollinations, seed listings, and plantings.
The Photographs subseries contains 28 photographs documenting Dearing's grape research from seedlings to mature vines.
Early Grape Research
[Box 2, Folder 9] Up to 1904
Research, Notes, and Reports of E. F. Cole, 1905-1909
[Box 2, Folder 10] 1905-1906
[Box 2, Folder 11] 1906
[Box 2, Folder 12] 1907
[Box 3, Folder 1] 1908
[Box 3, Folder 2] 1909
Research of Charles Dearing, 1910-1911
[Box 3, Folder 3] 1910
[Box 3, Folder 4] 1911
Reports on Muscadine Grapes, 1910-1911
[Box 3, Folder 5] 1911
[Box 3, Folder 6] 1912
[Box 3, Folder 7] January 1913-November 1913
[Box 3, Folder 8] Report of Trip by Charles Dearing, December 1913
[Box 3, Folder 9] Reports of Charles Dearing, 1914-1938
Reports of Muscadinia Investigations, 1912-1914
[Box 3, Folder 10] November 1912-November 1913
[Box 3, Folder 11] November 1913-November 1914
Pocket Notes, 1905-1921
[Box 4] Notebooks, 1905-1911
[Box 5] Notebooks, 1912
[Box 6] Notebooks, 1912-1913
[Box 7] Notebooks, 1913-1914
[Box 8] Notebooks, 1914-1915
[Box 9] Notebooks, 1915-1917
[Box 10] Notebooks, 1917-1919
[Box 11] Notebooks, 1919-1921
Series-Section Notes, 1909-1921
[Box 12, Folder 1] Parent Vines, 1908-1918
Series 3
[Box 12, Folder 2] Section 1, Row A1-C14
[Box 12, Folder 3] Section 2, Row C15-E18
[Box 12, Folder 3] Section 3, Row E19-F12
[Box 12, Folder 4] Section 3, Row F13-G35
[Box 12, Folder 5] Section 4, Row H1-I35
[Box 12, Folder 6] Section 5, Row J1-L46
[Box 12, Folder 7] Section 6, Row M1-O22
[Box 12, Folder 8] Section 6, Row 023-Q59
[Box 12, Folder 9] Series 4, Plat 3, Section 6, Number 1-57
Series 6
[Box 12, Folder 10] Plat I, Section 3, E19 x O21, Number 1-59
[Box 12, Folder 11] Plat I, Section 4, D1-G10
[Box 12, Folder 12] Section 5, Number 1-2
[Box 12, Folder 12] Section 5, Plat 1, G, H
[Box 12, Folder 12] Plat I, Section 7, H 1-6
[Box 12, Folder 13] Plat I, Section 8, Trellis I-K
Series 8
[Box 12, Folder 14] Plat II, Section 6, Trellis J1-138
[Box 12, Folder 15] Plat III, Section 6, Trellis A1-85
[Box 13, Folder 1] Plat III, Section 6, Trellis A86-139, Trellis B1-58
Series 9
[Box 13, Folder 2] Section 1, Note # 33-1 to 33-8
[Box 13, Folder 2] Section 2, Note # 33-1 to 33-5
[Box 13, Folder 2] Section 3, Note # 33-1 to 33-20
[Box 13, Folder 2] Section 4, Note # 33-1 to 34-15
[Box 13, Folder 2] Section 5, Note # 34-1 to 34-5
[Box 13, Folder 2] Section 6, Note # 34-1
[Box 13, Folder 2] Section 7, Note # 34-1 to 34-25
[Box 13, Folder 2] Section 8, Note # 34-1 to 35-4
Series 10
[Box 13, Folder 3] Section 1, Note # 35-1
[Box 13, Folder 3] Section 2, Note # 35-1 to 35-2
[Box 13, Folder 3] Section 3, Note # 35-1 to 35-45
[Box 13, Folder 4] Section 3, Note # 35-46 to 35-59
[Box 13, Folder 4] Section 4, Note # 35-1 to 35-6
[Box 13, Folder 4] Section 5, Note # 35-1 to 35-2
[Box 13, Folder 4] Section 6, Note # 35-1 to 35-25
[Box 13, Folder 4] Section 7, Note # 36-1 to 36-11
[Box 13, Folder 5] Section 9, Note # 38-1 to 38-60
[Box 13, Folder 5] Section 9, Note # 38-61 to 38-91
[Box 13, Folder 6] Section 10, Note # 39-1 to 40-135
Block Notes, 1918-1951
Individual Block Data
[Box 13, Folder 7] # 1, 3, 4, 6, 7
[Box 13, Folder 8] # 8, 9
[Box 13, Folder 9] # 10
[Box 13, Folder 10] # 10
[Box 13, Folder 11] # 11
Multiple Block Data
[Box 13, Folder 12] 1918-1939
[Box 13, Folder 13] [no date], 1940-1951,
[Box 13, Folder 14] Miscellaneous Data
Correlation Numbers, 1913-1920
[Box 14, Folder 1] 1913
[Box 14, Folder 2] 1919-1920
C. A. Magoon Research
[Box 14, Folder 3] Muscadine Grape Research
[Box 14, Folder 4] Seminar Notes
[Box 14, Folder 5] Research
Muscadine Grape Investigations
[Box 14, Folder 6] Blocks 3, 4
[Box 14, Folder 7] Block 6
[Box 14, Folder 8] Block 8
[Box 14, Folder 9] Block 10
[Box 14, Folder 10] Grape Photographs


Dearing, Charles


7.0 Linear feet

General Physical Description note

14 archival storage box

Location note



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



Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Transferred from the Agricultural School, Horticulture Science Department on April 18, 1983.

Acquisitions Information

Transferred from the Agricultural School, Horticulture Science Department on April 18, 1983.


Processed by: Maurice Toler; Rebecca Hartman; machine-readable finding aid created by: Valerie Gillispie

Scope and Content Note

This collection includes correspondence, research notes and data, reports, publications, and photographs. The correspondence consists mainly of letters between Charles Dearing and members of the United States Department of Agriculture, primarily E. C. Auchter, Chief of the Office of Horticultural Plants and Diseases, and George M. Darrow (1889-1983), USDA Senior Pomologist. The bulk of this material concerns the muscadine grape research that was taking place in Willard, North Carolina.

Subject files include material on the history of the grape, packaging methods and publications. In addition, a section on strawberries contains announcements, recipes, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and research data.

Most of the collection contains research data from the experimental vineyard in Willard. The types of information include pollination records, plantings, breeding varieties, hybrids, inventories, nursery lists, and general notes.

Biographical Note

Charles Dearing was born in Wichita, Kansas, on March 28, 1888. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Missouri in 1909. Upon graduation, he worked as an Instructor of Horticulture at Missouri, where he remained for a year. He subsequently accepted a position as a Scientific Assistant at the United States Department of Agriculture in 1910. He worked in this position until 1918 when he became a horticulturist. During those years, he was engaged in research work with muscadine variety grape production in the Southern states and spent much time supervising experimental projects at the Agricultural Experiment Station Coastal Plain Test Farm in Willard, North Carolina. In 1920, he became Assistant Director in charge of the farm.

Dearing came to North Carolina as a representative of the United States Department of Agriculture, but he soon joined the State Department of Agriculture. He was a pioneer in developing improved varieties of muscadine grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. Under his administration, the Coastal Plain Test Farm grew in size from 232 to 411.5 acres and added new buildings and equipment. The primary subject of Dearing's research was developing the muscadine and other varieties of grapes for agricultural production. He experimented with breeding pollination, methods of cultivation, and creating new varieties. In addition to grapes, he worked with such agricultural products as strawberries and blueberries.

Dearing directed early experiments in muscadine grape breeding and introduced 15 new varieties. He also wrote a memorandum which led to the first research work in commercial blueberry production for eastern North Carolina. In addition, he assisted in strawberry research and contributed to the development of the Blakemore and Massey varieties. During his career he wrote twelve books on the utilization of the muscadine grape. Dearing retired from his position after thirty years of service on June 30, 1951, replaced by Jesse E. Sumner.

Access to Collection

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


(919) 515-2273


(919) 513-1787

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Charles Dearing Papers, MC 00166, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Access to Collection

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