Without Precedent: The Life of Susie Marshall Sharp

By Anna R. Hayes | Go to book overview
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I owe an everlasting debt of gratitude to the countless individuals who helped me, over a period of more than a decade, to document the life of Susie Marshall Sharp. It is impossible to list them all, but there are some without whom this book would not exist, and I would like to acknowledge them here in an effort to express some small portion of my appreciation.

Grants from several organizations, early in the project, gave me critical moral support as well as financial assistance. I am deeply grateful to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, and the North Caroliniana Society (Archie K. Davis Fellowship).

Members of Susie Sharp's family, ranging from her siblings to distant cousins, were uniformly generous and helpful to me. A special word, however, must be said about her sister Louise Sharp and her brother James V. (“Kits”) Sharp. Louise went out of her way not only to give me the benefit of her retentive mind but also to pave the way for me to interview numerous other relatives and friends. Kits and his wife Gwen also went out of their way, making sure I had access to Susie Sharp's papers and other materials, right up until 2004, when the successor to the old Sharp & Sharp law firm closed its doors and Kits discovered a number of interesting items that Susie or her father had placed in the firm's safe, including several family letters dating from the late 1800s. I am also indebted to Susie Sharp's nephew and his wife, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence A. Taylor, for copies of family letters and papers. To Susie Sharp's nephew Robert W. Newsom III, I am grateful for the copy of her February 15, 1976, letter to her sister Florence, recounting the untold history of the failed Mountain Farm and Jim Sharp's bankruptcy. Clara Garrett Fountain, the daughter of Susie Sharp's cousin A. Earle Garrett Jr., generously shared with me her meticulously tended archive of family papers.

None of Susie Sharp's family members ever suggested that I tailor or censor the material in this biography in any way.

Librarians and archivists are a special breed, and I have been the benefciary of their perseverance, ingenuity, and expertise. I would like to thank H. G. Jones and Robert G. Anthony Jr. for particular help and encouragement, along with the dedicated stafs of the North Carolina Collection, the Southern Historical Collection, and the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Louise Staford, in her position as librarian of the North Carolina Supreme Court Library, offered indispensable guidance and assistance, as did her successor, Tomas P. Davis. The stafs of the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, the Walter Clinton Jackson Library at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the Special Collection Archives of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University were also unfailingly helpful, as was the staf in the University of North


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Without Precedent: The Life of Susie Marshall Sharp


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