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NC Mutual presents archives to Duke, NCCU

North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company will transfer its historical archives to Duke and North Carolina Central University, the company announced Friday.

The documents consist of commercials, documents, newsletters, photography and books written about the company and its history. This includes information about the families of two original founders, John Merrick and Dr. Aaron Moore, as well as Charles Spaulding, who was the general manager for the company in the early 1900s.

The archives will be housed in the Library Service Center, an off-site location that serves as a document storage facility for both schools as well as for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The move is scheduled to take place next month and the archives’ contents are expected to be catalogued by the end of this year and converted to digital form by the end of 2010, The (Durham) Herald Sun reported Friday.

The collection may be the largest assortment of business material from a black-founded business in the United States, according to a news release from NC Mutual.

“The North Carolina Mutual Collection” will be administered jointly by the Duke University Libraries, the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture and the North Carolina Central University Archives, Records and History Center.

“Thanks to the diligence, attention to detail and dedication of employees for more than a century, North Carolina Mutual’s history has been exceptionally well documented and preserved,” James Speed, president and CEO of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, said at an event Friday celebrating the signing of the transfer agreement. President Richard Brodhead and NCCU Chancellor Charlie Nelms were also present at the event.

The collection serves as a history of Durham’s “Black Wall Street,” a thoroughfare of black commerce located on Parish Street in the heart of downtown, providing access to home mortgages, small business loans and insurance to what W. E. B. DuBois once hailed as a model black middle class.

Founded in 1898, NC Mutual is the oldest and largest insurance company founded by blacks in the United States and the oldest remaining insurance company founded in North Carolina. Currently, NC Mutual has more than $12 billion of insurance in force, and surplus exceeding $18 million, according to the company’s Web site.

NC Mutual was located on Parish Street until 1966, when it moved to its current Chapel Hill Street location, which Duke donated to the company.

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