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Dallas W. Newsom and Dorothy Newsom Rankin Family papers

Identifier: NCC-0124

Scope and Contents

This collection contains clippings, subject files, printed materials, postcards, scrapbooks and miscellaneous manuscropts, ephemera, and artifacts collected by Dallas W. Newsom, Durham county manager in 1930s and 1940s, and his daughter, civic leader and local historian and preservationist Dorothy Newsom Rankin.


  • Creation: 1892-1998, 2008


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Dallas Walton Newsom was born October 24, 1873, in Littleton, Warren County, North Carolina. He attended Cedar Grove School and Littleton High School and Business Institute, assisting in the teaching of several subjects. In 1895 he entered Trinity College (now Duke University) in Durham, and was soon working as secretary to President John C. Kilgo. During his senior year he was president of his class and editor of The Trinity Archive, a literary magazine. After graduating from Trinity, Mr. Newsom spent a year in Havana, Cuba, as secretary to the U.S. Comptroller of Customs. He returned to Durham in 1901 as registrar at Trinity, and in 1907 he was appointed treasurer as well. He was also a poet and writer who composed lyrics for a town song, “In Old Bull Durham Town,” in the 1930s.

On September 14, 1905, Mr. Newsom married Tempie Battle (1881-1941), a voice teacher at the Southern Conservatory of Music. The couple had four children: D.W. Newsom, Jr. (died 1962); Routh Battle Newsom (died 1910); Dorothy Newsom Rankin (died 2002); and Tempie Newsom Prouty (died 2010).

In 1923 Mr. Newsom left Trinity and began his own real estate and insurance business. He was elected secretary and president of the Durham Real Estate Board and was active in affairs of the community and the Methodist Church. He served as a county commissioner from 1924 until 1930. On August 8, 1930, he was appointed the first county manager of Durham County, and held that post in exemplary fashion until his death on February 21, 1949.

Dorothy Newsom Rankin (1911-2002), daughter of D. W. Newsom, was a local civic leader and historic preservationist. She was married to Duke University political science professor Robert S. Rankin. She was active in Durham's cultural and musical life; among her activities in this area, she sang as an alto in, and held several leadership offices with, the Durham Civic Choral Society (now the Choral Society of Durham) for over 40 years.

Reference: Information in the above biographical note was taken from the detailed biographical introduction to Mr. Newsom’s Along the Silent Ways. This book is a collection of his poems, edited by his daughters, Dorothy Newsom Rankin and Tempie Newsom Prouty, and published in 1973, the 100th anniversary of his birth.


8.5 Linear Feet (14 boxes: 10 document boxes, 4 flat boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into the following series and subseries:

1. Dallas W. Newsom Papers

1.1 Personal Items 1.2 Clippings 1.3 Scrapbooks 1.4 Marion Eugene Newsom

2. Dorothy N. Rankin Papers

2.1 Personal Items and Research Notes 2.2 Clippings 2.3 Printed Material 2.4 Durham Civic Choral Society Materials 2.5 Photographs 2.6 Postcards 2.7 Ephemera 2.8 Artifacts

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dallas W. Newsom, Dorothy Newsom Rankin and Battle Rankin Robinson

Related Materials

D. W. Newsom Papers (Duke University – Rubenstein Library)

Dorothy Newsom Rankin Papers, 1894-1997 (Duke University – Rubenstein Library)

Robert S. Rankin Papers, 1898-1977 (Duke University – Rubenstein Library)

An online exhibit about D.W. Newsom can be viewed here:

Condition Description

Many of the clippings found in this collection were photocopied and then discarded. Scrapbooks are aging and care should be used when handling this fragile paper.

Finding Aid for the Dallas W. Newsom and Dorothy Newsom Rankin Family Papers
Todd Johnson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement
Processed by Todd Johnson. Updated by Amy McDonald, 2011; Elizabeth Shulman, 2016; Stephanie Barnwell, 2019.
  • Gift Agreement

Repository Details

Part of the North Carolina Collection Repository

300 N. Roxboro Street
Durham NC 27701 United States