Archiving A Congressman’s Career

Throughout his life as civil rights activist, lawyer, judge and legislator, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield has always been interested in history. He’s also a self-described “novice archivist” who has accumulated — and carefully labeled — boxes of materials from each chapter of his life.

“I’ve always been history-minded,” Butterfield said. “I’ve accumulated boxes, and I’ve labeled each box.” The result is a wide-ranging collection of papers and photographs from his family in Wilson, North Carolina, and his own career.

Butterfield has donated the collection to the University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They will become part of the Southern Historical Collection at the Wilson Special Collections Library.

Butterfield has represented North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District for nearly two decades and is a past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. He announced on Nov. 18 that he will retire from Congress at the end of the current term.

“We’re honored to welcome Congressman Butterfield’s materials to Wilson Library,” said Chaitra Powell, curator of the Southern Historical Collection. “Students, faculty and researchers will benefit greatly from his carefully kept memories.”

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