D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Richmond Pearson Collection

Summary Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives
Richmond Pearson Collection
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1890-1938
Date [inclusive]
4.7 Linear feet  ; 5 boxes
Physical Description
Contains documents, photographs,(print, Ambrotype and Daguerreotype), books, audio cassette tape, and realia
Located in Special Collections, Row 8 Section 3

Preferred Citation

Richmond Pearson Collection , D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804

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Biographical Note

Ricmond Pearson was born in Richmond Hill, Yadkin County, NC on January 26, 1852, and was the son of the Honorable Richmond Mumford Pearson (1805-1878), who served as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1858 to 1878. After graduating from Princeton in 1872, and being admitted to the NC Bar in 1874, Pearson began a career as a diplomat and politician, serving as, U.S. Counsel to Verviers and Liege, Belgium (1874-77), a member of the NC legislature (1885-89), the 54th, 55th, and 56th Congresses (1895-1901). In 1901, he was appointed United States counsel to Genoa, Italy, and the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Persia (1902-07), and Greece and Montenegro (1907-09). He died in Asheville on September 12, 1923.

Richmond Pearson and his wife Margaret lived at Richmond Hill in Asheville, and had had four children, with two dying young. Richmond, Jr., died in infancy, and another son, also named Richmond, died of scarlet fever at age sixteen. The children who survived to maturity were Marjorie Noel Pearson, (1890-1972), and James Thomas Pearson, (1893-1963).

Like his father, Thomas Pearson graduated from Princeton, served in the American Expeditionary Force (1917-19), worked for the American International Corporation, New York, and the New York Evening Post, before becoming Director of Civil Service Administration for the Persian Ministry of Finance from 1922 to 1927. He then worked for the International Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. and Paris, France, and from 1937 to 1941 was Deputy general receiver, then General receiver, of Dominican customs. Between 1941 and 1947 he was vice president of the fiscal department, National Bank of Haiti, and in 1948 became Deputy Director of economic research for Central Bank of Dominican Republic. In 1951, he retired to Asheville.

Neither Thomas or Marjorie married or had children, and following their deaths, the Richmond Hill property was sold, eventually becoming a hotel before being destroyed by fire in March 2009.

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Scope and Contents

Contains documents, photographs and objects related to Richmond Pearon (1852-1923), and his children, Marjorie Noel Pearson (1890-1972), and James Thomas Pearson (1893-1963). The photographs include formal and informal images of the Pearson family, as well as a number of images of unknown people. The documents primarily relate to Richmond and Thomas Pearson, and the realia includes medals and awards presented to Thomas Pearson, and sports trophies won by Marjorie Pearson. There is a audio recording of Thomas Pearson describing Richmond Hill, the family home in Asheville.

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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.


Richmond Pearson Estate

Processing Information

Southern Highland Research Center and Special Collections staff, 1977, 2002, 2013. Review of collection and new finding aid by Colin Reeve, June 2016

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Related Materials

Oil portraits of Richmond Pearson and Richmond Pearson Jr.hanging in D. H. Ramsey Library

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Collection Inventory

Box 1: Documents and Photographs 

Folder 1: Documents 

Army discharge certificate of Thomas Pearson, Captain in the Infantry with military record on back of certificate. 

Letter dated August 20, 1912, to Richmond Pearson from Theodore Roosevelt, "The Outlook", 287 Fourth Avenue, NY 

Handwritten promissory note made to Hiram King for $3, June 25, 1885 

Draft and basis of the plan of county government adopted by the General Assembly of 1895 in the handwriting of Richmond Pearson [3 pages] 

Folder 2: Photographs 

Small oval portrait of Gabrielle (Thomas) Pearson (?-1924), wife of Richmond Pearson [pear001] 

Small round watercolor painting of mountain cabin and landscape [pear002] 

Portrait of Richmond Pearson )with photographer signature - "Moffett ") [pear003] 

Portrait of Gabrielle Pearson and (James Thomas Pearson) as infant. Geo. S. Cook, successor to D.H. Anderson, Richmond, Va., photographer [pear004] 

Richmond Pearson, Jr. as child. Geo. S. Cook, successor to D.H. Anderson, Richmond, Va., photographer [pear005] 

James Thomas Pearson, 1 year old. Lindsey's Art Parlor, Asheville, N.C [pear006] 

James Thomas Pearson as child with dog. Lindsey's Art Parlor, Asheville, N.C [pear007] 

Post card with donkey and head of (Richmond Pearson, Jr.) as child [pear008] 

"Richmond Hill" home of Pearson family. View of exterior [pear009] 

James Thomas Pearson in military dress. Captain of Ports of Haiti [pear010] 

Calling card for "Thomas Pearson, Vice President, Banque Nationale de la Republique d'Haiti, Department Fiscal." Written below: "Captain of Ports of Haiti." [pear011] 

Folder 3: Photographs 

Man in uniform (George I, King of the Hellenes, 1845-1913) Handwritten on back: "Gold Small (Cluse)" [Photographer Bohringer, Kgl. Hofphotograph., Athen [pear012] 

Thomas Pearson and his dog 'Tehran Persia' seated in front of doorway. c. 1922-27 [pear013] 

Panther Creek. "Home of Colonel Joseph Williams. Built before the American Revolution, near the 'Shallow Ford' of the Yadkin River, in Surry County, North Carolina. Colonel Joseph Williams, of Knoxville, Tennessee, father-in-law of Chief Justice Richmond M. Pearson, of the North Carolina Supreme Court, was born in this house in 1778. [pear014] 

Termination of the Dominican Customs Receivership at Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic, April 1, 1941. At table, (left): V. Alvarez Pina, Minister of Finance; (center) Thomas Pearson, Acting General Reciever [pear015] 

Same as above. View two, Pearson standing [pear016] 

Same as above. View three, Pearson shaking hands with Pina pear017] 

(Pearson) at unknown location [pear018] 

(James Thomas Pearson, born June 24, 1893, died April 16, 1963) standing in military uniform. A.(Best), Paris [pear019] 

(James Thomas Pearson, born June 24, 1893, died April 16, 1963) in military uniform. "From the studio of Ignatius Brock, Asheville, NC." [pear020] 

Folder 4: Photographs [Removed From Album] 

Anonymous man [pea1A001r] 

(Photograph of Gabrielle Thomas Pearson, wife of Richmond Pearson) [pea1A002r] 

(Photograph of Gabrielle Thomas Pearson, wife of Richmond Pearson) [pea1A002v] 

(Photograph of Gabrielle Thomas Pearson, wife of Richmond Pearson) [pea1A003r] 

(Photograph of Gabrielle Thomas Pearson, wife of Richmond Pearson) [pea1A003v] 

(Photograph of Gabrielle Thomas Pearson, wife of Richmond Pearson) [pea1A004r] 

(Photograph of Gabrielle Thomas Pearson, wife of Richmond Pearson) [pea1A004v] 

(Portrait of Richmond Pearson as a young man) [pea1A005r] 

(Photograph of Gabrielle [Thomas Pearson, wife of Richmond Pearson) [pea1A005v] 

Portrait of man and daughter [pea1A006r] 

Portrait of man, unknown [pea1A006v] 

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Box 2: Case Photographs 

Unknown older woman dressed in black. (Ambrotype) [pear021] 

Unknown middle-aged man wearing bow tie. (Ambrotype) [pear022] 

Two unknown children. (Ambrotype) [pear023] 

Unknown woman. (Ambrotype) [pear024] 

Unknown man. Daguerreotype [pear025] 

Unknown child. (Ambrotype) [pear026] 

Unknown child. (Ambrotype) [pear027] 

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Box 3: Realia 

Metal trophy 4.75" high. Tennis tournament, Asheville July 15, 1912, won by Susie Penniman and Marjorie Pearson 

Metal trophy [broken] 4.75" high. ACC mixed doubles, August 1913, first prize, won by Marjorie Pearson and Clarence Hobart 

Locked wooden box with glass top engraved "RP", 10.5 x 7 x 5.5". Inside is medallion and sash with typed card identifying it as, "Order of the Lion and the Sun (Grand Cross) presented to US Minister Richmond Pearson, at Teheran (1907) citation in Arabic script with French translation" 

Wooden case and glass top, 10.5 x 9.5 x 1.5", containing medals. Six medals medals are thought to be from (World War I) with English, (Arabic), and (Cyrillic) writing. Further medals are (from) Princeton University and dated 1915, and the French Legion D'Honneur 

Audio cassette tape with commentary by Thomas Pearson describing a tour of Richmond Hill, 1961 

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Box 4: Books 

"Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Court of King's Bench...., Part 4, Volume 2", James Burrow, London, 1771. Handwritten inscription, "Richmond Pearson by his Father following the last will and testament of John Stokes" 

Bible, American Bible Society, New York, 1868. Two inscriptions. "Mrs. Mary W Thomas presented by her husband (January) 1869" and "Marjorie Noel Pearson granddaughter to Mary W Thomas has this day - seventy nine years later - September 4, 1948 appropriated this Bible as her own". Includes handwritten notes on paper inserts 

Photograph album with insciption, "Mother from (?? Son) Dec 1867". Some photographs have names on back, but many seem to be stock placeholders inserted in the album 

"The Baptist Hymn and Tune Book", The Bible and Publication Society 1871. Inscribed inside and embossed on cover, "James Thomas Jr." 

Bible, with inscription dated June 28, 1895 

Photograph album [Photos removed and archived in Box 1, Folder 4] 

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Box 5: Oversized Materials 

Certificate, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull, appointing Thomas Pearson as Deputy General Receiver of Dominican Customs, March 19, 1937 

Proclamation, "To the freemen of Rowan, Randolph,and Chatham" from Joseph Pearson, in response to a "publication signed by W C Love", July 27, 1815 [Retained in frame dated March 30, 1959] 

Certificate of "Honneur et Merite", awarded to Thomas Pearson by the Repubblique d'Haiti, September 29, 1947 

Certificate, believed to be awarding the Legion D'Honneur to Thomas Pearson, October 30, 1935. {Medal is in Box 3] 

Photograph of man of military uniform with the dedication, "To the (household) of the glorious one Mr Richmond Pearson, Minister (Genipotentiary) of the Government of the United States this is presented as a token of remembrance by the Slalar-ed-Dowleh, Abul-Hassan Mirza, Kajar" [of Persia/Iran], April 25, 1905 

Sketch of unidentified man (possibly James Pearson), signed by unidentified artist, nd 

Photograph, mounted with caption, "Summer house or gazebo, built of raw oak limbs which, in the 1890's, stood on the highest point of Richmond Hill, Asheville, N.C. It was located about 1/2 mile northwest of the main Richmond Hill house and commanded a 360 degree view of the surrounding country." 

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