D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

John Dawson Collection

Summary Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives
John Dawson Collection
0.2 Linear feet  ; 1 box
Physical Description
Contains scrapbook pages with photographs and clippings, loose photographs, and printed material
Located in Special Collections Row 8, Section 1

Preferred Citation

John Dawson Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville

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Biographical Note

The scrapbook in the collections seems likely to have been created by Alzen Floyd who was born in Florida on March 15, 1919. Notes in the scrapbook indicate that he visited Asheville for 3 weeks in 1938, and returned in early 1940. Floyd's 1940 registration card shows him living in Asheville and working at the J C Penny department store. Floyd served in the army for over twenty years before returning to Fort Lauderdale, where he owned and operated numerous business. After Floyd's death on May 20, 2011, Congressman Alcee L Hastings honored Floyd on the floor of the House.

See: https://alceehastings.house.gov/hastings-heroes/floyd.htm

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Scope and Contents

The origin of the materials is unknown, but the bulk of the collection comprises pages that were originally in a scrapbook. Although the cover page indicates owner of the scrapbook as Joesph F Knapp of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, text in the scrapbook suggests it was most likely created by Alzen Floyd, also from Fort Lauderdale, although during the time the scrapbook was created (1940) Floyd was apparently living in Asheville. Although both Knapp and Floyd both lived in Fort Lauderdale, no other link between the two men has been identified.

The scrapbook contains photographs, although many are missing, and includes images of the Wings Over Jordan, a choral group, as well as unidentified people. The people are predominantly African American, but one page has photos of Caucasians. Other pages includes clippings of missionaries, the J C Penney store in Asheville, Wings Over Jordan, the Henry Armstrong-Lew Jenkins boxing match, Dorothy Dix advice columns, and the 1940 election.

Also included is the June 9, 1940 issue of "This Week in the Land of the Sky" listings magazine, and a number of loose photographs. From the scrapbook captions, it does not seem likely that any of the loose photographs were originally in the scrapbook. The images are of African American's but none are identified. One is stamped, "Floyd & Johnson photo"

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives

Ramsey Library, CPO # 1500
One University Heights
Asheville, North Carolina, 28804-8504


No restrictions. Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


John Dawson (Donor) ; Alzen Floyd (Possible compiler) ; Joseph F Knapp (Named on scrapbook)

Processing Information

Originally processed by Special Collections staff, 2001-10-02 and 2002-04-22. Reprocessed and new finding aid by Colin Reeve, March 2019

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Collection Inventory

Box 1 

Folder 1: Loose Pages From Scrapbook of Uncertain Origin 

Deconstructed scrapbook totaling 40 pages, some of which are blank, and others are missing photographs. Although the cover has the name ", Joseph F. Knapp,Ft. Laud. Fl", the scrapbook is more likely the work of Alzen Floyd of Fort Lauderdale, and was created around 1940. Entries include photographs of Wings Over Jordan, an African American choir that performed in Asheville in 1940, numerous notes, and photographs of unidentified people and places. Other pages have clippings of missionaries in the South Sea Islands, the J.C. Penny store in Asheville, (where Alzen Floyd most likely worked,) Wings Over Jordan, the Henry Armstrong-Lew Jenkins boxing match in 1940, Dorothy Dix advice columns, and the 1940 Presidential election. 

Folder 2: "This Week in the 'Land of the Sky'" newsletter, June 9 - June 15, 1940 

Folder 3: Loose Photographs [Possibly originally in scrapbook, but thought unlikely] and Cartoon 

1: Floyd & Johnson studio photo of a young African American woman sitting in chair, monochrome, 5" x 7" 

2: Studio photo of young African American woman in white suit against a flowered wallpaper design, monochrome, 5" x 7" 

3: Contract print of negative strip, four small indistinct images. African American woman(at top), looking up from pouring liquid into a cup from a bottle; three lower photos of two young African American girls. On back: "Floyd" in pencil, and "#75" 

4: Contact print of two young girls on steps to a building, monochrome, 35mm 

5: African American boy dressed in white and holding cap. Date on back Jun 3 1939 

6: African American male with right hand resting against palm tree trunk. Date on back Apr 10 1939 

7: Seated, well-dressed African American man, possibly same man as #6 

8: Car in front of house 

9: African American woman and young girl 

10: Tour bus, with "Special" on destination board, possibly for "Wings Over Jordan" 

11: Post card of African American woman in flowered dress captioned, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" 

12: Hand drawn cartoon of chicken driving a tractor captioned, "Did you ever see a chicken farm?"