McEwen Family Collection
Scope and Contents
The materials in the collection pertain to members of the McEwen family, in particular James Henry McEwen, Sr.; Iris Leola Holt McEwen; Iris Holt McEwen McCrary Coupland; and Lt. John Alexander McCrary, Jr. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, including letters between members of the family, letters from family friends, and business correspondence.
The documents provide a snapshot of the early years of James Henry and Iris Leola Holt McEwen, especially Mr. McEwen's days as a teacher and school principal. Next, mostly through correspondence, the collection provides a glimpse of Iris Holt McEwen McCrary Coupland's life as a young adult, including her college years. Finally, the materials provide a glimpse of the early years of Iris Holt McEwen McCrary Coupland and her marriage to Lt. John Alexander McCrary.
- 1912 - 1962
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
The nature of the Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research of otherwise should be fully credited with the source.
Biographical / Historical
James Henry McEwen, Sr. (1894-1946) was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. McEwen of Matthews, North Carolina. He graduated from Davidson College in 1914. He married Iris Leola Holt in 1917, and the couple had two children: James Henry McEwen, Jr. (who died in 1987), and Iris Holt McEwen. The McEwen's were members of the First Christian Church of Burlington, North Carolina. Mr. J.H. McEwen, Sr. was a Burlington school teacher and principal before becoming a textile industrialist. He founded McEwen Knitting Company in Burlington in 1925. The company later became the May, McEwen, and Kaiser, Inc. Mr. McEwen was a member of the Board of Trustees of Elon College and was president of the Elon College Foundation, which was established in 1945 to provide financial assistance to the college. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Christian Orphanage (also known as Elon Homes for Children). The James H. McEwen Memorial Dining Hall on the campus of Elon University was named in his honor in 1956.
Iris Leola Holt McEwen (1893-1984) was the daughter of Maud May Holt and William Kirk Holt, a successful textile merchant in Burlington and Alamance County, North Carolina. She was a graduate of Greensboro Normal College (present-day University of North Carolina at Greensboro). Mrs. McEwen was highly regarded as a leader in civic affairs in Alamance County. Mrs. McEwen was a member of the Elon College Board of Trustees from 1948 until her death in 1984. She was a teacher in Alamance County, and she was a trustee and president of the Christian Orphanage (also known as Elon Homes for Children). She served as Chairman of the Board of Public Welfare of Alamance County. Her leadership helped to organize the first Girl Scout Council of Burlington, and she served two terms as the council's president and on most of its committees. She was a charter member of the Burlington Service League. She was named Alamance County Woman of the Year in 1962. In 1970, she was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Elon College's President Dr. James Earl Danieley. Holt Chapel was built in 1956 as part of Elon Homes for Children in memory of Mrs. McEwen's parents. The Iris Holt McEwen Library on Elon's campus (present-day McEwen Communications Building) was dedicated and named in her honor in 1972. The Iris Holt McEwen Community Service Award was established at Elon College in 1986 by three of her grandchildren.
Iris Holt McEwen McCrary Coupland (1929-2005) was the daughter of James Henry and Iris Leola Holt McEwen. She attended St. Mary's High School in Raleigh, North Carolina; Finch Junior College in New York, New York; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her first husband, Lt. John Alexander McCrary, Jr., attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated from the United States Air Force Officer Candidate School. The couple had three children: John Alexander McCrary, III, James McEwen McCrary, and Katherine McCrary. Mrs. Coupland was elected to the Elon College Board of Trustees in 1987, on which she served until 2002 when she was named trustee emeritus. Following her parents' examples of civic leadership, she was active in supporting the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Caring House, which provides housing for cancer patients. She served as Vice-President of the Burlington Service League and on the Elon Home for Children Board of Trustees. The McCrary Theatre in the Center for the Arts on Elon's campus was dedicated in honor of her and 1st husband in March of 1995. The John A. and Iris McEwen McCrary Scholarship at Elon were endowed in 1979. Lt. McCrary preceded her in death. She later married John Randolph Coupland, III.
0.5 Linear Feet (1 archival box)
Language of Materials
This collection contains miscellaneous documents about members of the McEwen family, who were prominent citizens in Burlington and Alamance County, North Carolina, and who gave generously to Elon University. The collection consists largely of personal and business correspondence. The collection is arranged alphabetically by type of material into 19 series, then chronologically within each series. To learn more about the contents of each series, please consult the section below titled "Detailed Description of the Collection." In order to distinguish between the two Iris McEwen's represented in the collection, the name "Iris Leola Holt McEwen" is used to refer to the mother and "Iris Holt McEwen McCrary Coupland" is used to refer to the daughter throughout the finding aid.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by type of material into 19 series, then chronologically within each series.
The collection is located in Belk Library Archives Satellite Shelving at Elon University. Please contact the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for further details about the location.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift. Please refer to the Correspondence Legal file for more information.
Processed by Shaunta Alvarez, June,2012
- Encoded by Shaunta Alvarez, July,2012
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
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