Answered By: Joe Sheppard
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2024     Views: 591

The Reaves Collection, compiled by Bill Reaves, of Wilmington, North Carolina, was donated by Reaves to the North Carolina Room of the New Hanover County Public Library during the 1990s.

  • The collection came about in 1971 when Bill Reaves was an employee of the Wilmington Star-News and keeper of the "newspaper morgue."
  • When the company decided to have 100+ years of newspapers destroyed, he was, to a large extent, able to personally salvage them. The bound volumes of newspapers found their way to his home and from there began a most unusual collection of Lower Cape Fear historical and genealogical materials, a compilation which consumed the rest of his life.

Reaves spent nearly thirty years clipping the old newspapers, and then dating, cross-indexing and filing the clippings. Mr. Reaves generated individual file folders for local history subjects, local buildings, local addresses, local organizations and family (surname) files.

  • Bill Reaves then organized the clippings within some of the folders chronologically and in some cases proceeded to type up extracts of the information. The organized folders then became the basis for some of his publications. Some clippings date back to the mid and late 1800s. While the bulk of this clipping collection dates from 1860 through 1960, Reaves also added clippings from the newspapers of the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as various interesting, and often surprising, ephemera he collected as a champion of local history over the years.
  • These folders have benefited numerous museums, galleries, researchers, genealogists and historical institutions around the state and country.

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