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Title: Letter from James B. Mason to R. W. Lassiter, September 3, 1873: Electronic Edition.
Author: Mason, James B.
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 14K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-11-11, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from James B. Mason to R. W. Lassiter, September 3, 1873
Author: James B. Mason
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 40005 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Letter from James B. Mason to R. W. Lassiter, September 3, 1873
Mason, James B.

Page 1
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Sept. 3d 1873

Hon. R. W. Lassiter
Treas. of the University of N.C.

Dear Sir:

By a certain writing signed by yourself officially, in the possession of Rev. S. Pool — one of the Committee appointed by the Bd. of Trustees in Nov. 1871, to take charge of the entire University property here — that in allotting the several Libraries as therein contained, "The care, protiction and possession of the University Library" were given to me. Under this arrangement I have had it in charge every since. Prof. Brewer , who for the past two years has been in Europe filling a Consulship at Pireaus, Greece, has returned and claims, that, as Librarian, he is entitled to its possession and management, & therefore requests of me the keys. I respectfully declined his request, for the reason that the appointment of the Committee referred to, and the placing of all the property in the possession of the same by yourself, and your allotment of the several Libraries, superseded any authority that he may claim in the premises as Librarian. I further more consider that his appointment emanated from a body less capable of conferring authority — and originated from the Faculty; and when the exercises were suspended & the Faculty

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disorganized and sought other employment, that he ceased to be Librarian except in name merely till its reorganization, especially so, since the Bd. of Trustees had deemed it proper to appoint such a Committee in whose care & possession the entire property was entrusted. I am of opinion that the resolution of the Board and the actions taken thereunder gave absolute control of the property, and to me the University Library, independent of and absolving the claims of Brewer & all other persons. If not, why the necessity of such a Committee, and the charge of the University Library being placed in the hands of the Committee & in my hands specially, in common with other of the University property here? Mr. Brewer was at that time Librarian; and this action on the part of the Trustees was taken after his appointment to a Foreign Mission. The Trustees certainly intended to give the Committee absolute charge of all the property — the University Library with the rest.
It is a difficult matter to know each man's prerogatives in connection with this property. McIver to give vent to "buncombe" when I had his boys & others up for trespassing upon certain of the property— claimed much authority as Supt. of Pub. Institution — which was foreign and without foundation in fact. But his boys were on trial! He had employed every technicality on trial to

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make good their escape. My authority for prosecuting was questioned — His son Herman, who had got into the University Library through an upper window and secured an inner key which was by him given to his father & is now in is father's possession, (this was shown on trial) and against whom I had better evidence to convict — was asked to be turned loose because of his age. Having so much authority as Supt. of Pub. Instruction &c., he was along with & gave his consent to his other son & others to go into & upon the top of the Phi. Library Building which was placed in the special charge of Mr. Pool, & upon which many of the worst trespasses were committed. But these same boys were in the same building day before & when McIver was not along — Since the trial I find no trespasses committed. I could tell you much in connection with this trial & the trespasses which for lack of time & space I omit.
I succeeded in convicting McIver's colored woman for cutting & carring away wood (good oak wood — living timber) which was carried on the premises of McIver , & as the woman was a in his employ & a single woman, I presume that the wood was used for the benefits of his family. The woman was fined $5 & cost

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which was paid by McIver .
Please let me know your opinion of the course I have pursued in respect to Brewer & the University Library. Am I not the rightful possessor?

I am & remain yours with high respect,

James B. Mason
Of the Committee