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Mary Semans telegram

Identifier: NCC-0246

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a Western Union telegram sent by Mary Semans on August 3, 1959 to Frank Kenan, care of County Commissioners Office in Durham, North Carolina, instructing Kenan to go "on record" that the commissioner's office did not want passenger trains discontinued on the Southern Railway. Also included is the telegram's envelope with note written by Kenan.


  • 1959


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

Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans was the great granddaughter of tobacco manufacturer Washington Duke and benefactor of multiple organizations. Semans was elected in 1951 as one of the first two women to serve on Durham's city council, and served as mayor pro tempore from 1953 to 1955. Subsequent to the August 1959 telegram, a February 3, 1961 ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court in State v. Southern Railway Company, 118 S.E.2d 21 (N.C. 1961) affirmed a lower court's ruling against the Southern Railway Company. Semans was named in the court case as part of the group headed by the North Carolina Utilities Commission opposed to the Southern Railway Company's petition for stopping all service on the Greensboro-Goldsboro line.


.08 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition


Related Materials

Frank H. Kenan Papers, 1937-1996 (UNC Chapel Hill – Wilson Library)

Finding Aid for the Mary Semans Telegram
Various processors.
October 24, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement
Various processors. Updated by Amy McDonald, 2012; Beth Morris Weiss, 2019.

Repository Details

Part of the North Carolina Collection Archives Repository

300 N. Roxboro Street
Durham NC 27701 United States