One and one-quarter linear feet, 1924-1971, papers of John Paul Lucas, Jr. (1908-1979), a native of Charlotte, N.C., consists of personal and family correspondence, with attached newspaper clippings and photographs, documenting the lives of Lucas and his family: wife Maria Martin Lucas, a graduate of Winthrop College; sons John Paul Lucas III, Eugene Charlescraft “Gene” Lucas, and Maner Martin Lucas; and daughters Alice Conway “Connie” Lucas, Catherine Maner Lucas, and Maria “Mimi” Lucas.
Lucas attended The Citadel and then earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 1930. He subsequently received graduate degrees in psychology and English from North Carolina State and Princeton, then taught at the Asheville School and Clemson and worked briefly for the Chester News, Charlotte News, and Charlotte Observer newspapers. In 1940 he co-authored a novel about the Lumbee Indians, King of Scuffletown: A Croatan Romance. Lucas eventually worked as vice-president of public relations for Duke Power Company.
The collection falls naturally into three distinct periods. The first, from 1924 to 1934, contains letters of Paul, Jr., dating from his academic years. The second period, 1938 to 1945, includes correspondence of Paul, Jr., and Maria during the early years of their marriage, when they often lived apart. The final period, from 1953 to 1971, consists largely of letters written to daughter Catharine Lucas, although the other children are also represented. Topics of family correspondence are health, finances, clothing, and news, while letters written to friends discuss religion, psychology, philosophy, and writing.
Early items consist largely of correspondence between Paul, Jr., and his family—father John Paul Lucas, Sr., mother Alice Craft Lucas, sister Edith Lucas, and brother Charles Lucas. These letters were written while Paul, Jr., attended The Citadel, 20 October 1924, Duke University, 1927-1930, and Princeton, 1931-1933, and while he worked for the Chester News in South Carolina, 16 August-20 September 1932, and the Asheville School, 1933-1934. Of special interest is a letter of 12 February 1929 written by Paul, Jr., discussing a trip through South Carolina and mentioning the “absolute ignorance of the South Carolinians, including the Governor and his party, of the Federal law regarding prohibition.” Other correspondents from this period include Lodwick C. Hartley, an author, professor, and native of Batesburg, 1931-1934; Elisabeth Lewis, a student at Converse College, 1932-1933; and novelist Ovid W. Pierce, 1930-1933.
By 1939 the correspondence is almost exclusively between Paul, Jr., and Maria. Paul was in Charlotte, N.C., working for The Observer, while Maria remained in Clemson with her parents, Samuel Maner Martin and Conway Simpson Martin. Of note is Maria’s letter postmarked 21 August 1939 mentioning old family homes in Laurens County, the Belfast House and the John Garlington House. Letters and postcards exchanged between Maria and her parents are also represented during this period.
Beginning in 1953, the central figure in the collection becomes Catharine Maner Lucas, daughter of John Paul Lucas, Jr. From 1953 until 1957 her confidant was Mrs. J. Oates Sprinkle of Tryon, N.C., and included in the collection are twenty-four letters exchanged between the two. In 1956 Catharine’s circle of correspondents began to grow, and over the next six years she received letters written from several European nations and Israel by friends whom she had met while volunteering with Quaker Work Camps. Catharine began her studies at Bryn Mawr in the fall of 1957, and after graduating in 1961, moved to Berkeley, Ca. Her brother Paul III enrolled at Wake Forest in 1960 and thereafter wrote many letters home. There is occasional correspondence to and from Connie and a few letters from Mimi but none from either of the other two children, Gene and Martin.
Of interest from this period is a letter written to Catharine by Wistar G. Metz of Laurens, S.C., on 27 October 1960. Metz notes the problems faced by the textile industry and comments on Palmetto State politics leading up to the 1960 presidential election—“The election campaign is becoming most interesting in S.C. Roger Milliken, the president of the mill is engaged in a dogfight with the governor [Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings]. S.C. will likely go Democratic even though the Republicans daily gain strength here.”