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This webpage reproduces an item in
The North Carolina Booklet

Vol. 6 No. 3 (Jan. 1907), pp206‑208

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 p206  Robert Diggs Wimberly Connor

[one of the
Biographical Sketches of Contributors
compiled and edited by Mrs. E. E. Moffitt.]

Mr. R. D. W. Connor, whose address on the urgent need of a fire-proof state library building, delivered before the State Literary and Historical Association at its last session, and published in this number of "The Booklet," was born in the town of Wilson, September 26, 1878. He is the fourth child and the third son of Judge Henry G., and Kate Whitfield, Connor.

Mr. Connor was prepared for college in the public schools of his native town and entered the University of North Carolina in the fall of 1895. At the University he was a member of the Philanthropic Literary Society, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and The Gorgon's Head, a junior class organization. He was one of the representative speakers of his society at the commencement of 1898, and in 1899 was the winner of the debate's medal in his society. At the commencement of 1899 he was selected as one of the senior speakers. He was editor, and then editor-in‑chief of The Tar Heel, the college weekly, editor and business manager of the Hellenian, the college annual, and editor of the Magazine. In his senior year he won the John Sprunt Hill History Prize, offered for the best original essay dealing with North Carolina history. His subject was a study of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina. Mr. Connor was graduated in 1899.

After leaving the University Mr. Connor was elected a teacher in the Public High School of the city of Winston. In February, 1902, he resigned his work there to become Superintendent  p207 of the Public Schools of Oxford, but remained there only a few months, resigning in the summer of 1902 to accept the principal­ship of the Public High School of the city of Wilmington. After two years' work there he accepted work in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, where he has charge of the Loan Fund for building school houses, and is secretary of the Education Campaign Committee, composed of the late Dr. Charles D. McIver, Hon. J. Y. Joyner, Hon. Charles B. Aycock and Governor R. B. Glenn. He is also secretary of the North Carolina Teachers' Assembly, and is now serving his second term.

When the General Assembly of 1903 created the North Carolina Historical Commission, Governor Aycock appointed Mr. Connor one of the commissioners. He was elected secretary of the Commission. He was reappointed by Governor Glenn in 1905. Mr. Connor has done a little work in the history of North Carolina. To The Booklet he has contributed a sketch of Cornelius Harnett; to the Biographical History of North Carolina he has contributed sketches of Cornelius Harnett, John Harvey, Calvin H. Wiley, James C. Dobbin, Thomas J. Hadley, Richard H. Speight and John F. Bruton. More elaborate sketches of Harnett and Harvey by Mr. Connor have appeared in the Sunday editions of the Charlotte Observer. Mr. Connor is a member of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and of the Southern History Association.

On December 23, 1902, he was married to Miss Sadie Hanes, of Mocksville, N. C.

Mr. Connor is gifted with the energy to explore through the by‑paths of our State's history and his researches, should he live to continue them, will prove of great value to future historians. North Carolina has a history to be proud of and  p208 at the present time more general interest is being shown than in any former period. In the mass of authentic material that has been collected in the past twenty-five years, and especially in the last decade, and with the impetus that is being given to the youth of our state by the Captains of Education — by the strong, decisive stand taken by the Press — by the efforts of the Literary and Historical Society, the Sons of the Revolution, the Daughters of the Revolution and other like organizations, there is hope that a great historian will develop who will secure for North Carolina the place that rightfully belongs to her in the galaxy of States, showing that she had not lagged behind the other colonies in the assertion of her rights.​a

Thayer's Note:

a Twelve years after this sketch of a young man just starting his career as a historian, Connor would publish The Colonial and Revolutionary Periods (1584‑1783), Vol. I of a multi-author History of North Carolina. The volume is onsite in full.

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