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Weather Bureau Station Wilmington, North Carolina Official Documents

Identifier: SC-MS-015

Scope and Contents

These papers consist largely of communications between the central U.S. Weather Bureau office in Washington, D.C., and the local weather observation post at Wilmington, N.C. Although the inclusive dates of this group are 1871-1912, all but one of the items fall in the years 1871-1908, with no items from the years 1883-84, 1893-94, 1899, 1905-06, and 1909-11.

These papers consist of seven topical series; items within each series are arranged in chronological order. Series 1, public services communications, reflects the varied services offered by the Weather Bureau and its observation posts. Series 2, procedural communications, is extensive, consisting of instructions from the Main Office in Washington, D.C., explaining, quite explicitly, how to perform the various tasks involved in running a post. Series 3 is made up of weather warning telegrams from Washington, D.C., to Wilmington, alerting the observer to changing weather conditions and the need to hoist or lower the appropriate signals. Unlike the other series, inclusive dates for these telegrams are 1874-1890.

The papers in Series 4 concern personnel: hiring, firings, assignments and transfers. Communications about supplies are found in Series 5 and include requests for supplies or labor, bids, and notifications of which bids to accept. Financial communications are in Series 6. Series 7 contains error sheets, notifications from Washington, D.C., of errors made in weather reports, how to correct them, and to which observer to charge the error. An eight unclassified series contains papers partially to entirely illegible without the use of special equipment.

These papers had been folded in thirds with a typed (usually) synopsis on an outer third which generally included: date issued, date received, names of addresser and addressee, and a summary of the letter. If a reply was made, a similar summarization, called a first endorsement, would be typed on the next section. If a counterreply was received, a synopsis of this was also added to the original letter on the final flap and was labeled a second endorsement. Some papers are blank sheets folded in thirds with a synopsis of a communication sent out or forwarded or returned, for which no copy was available for retention in the local files.


  • Creation: 1871 - 1912


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


8 Containers (Contains 8 document boxes)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by H.E. Taft, son of Reuben Lovette Frost, in 1972.

Related Materials

Comprehension of these papers and the weather bureau's procedures at the time these papers represent would be facilitated by reading The Weather Bureau: Its History, Activities and Organization by Gustavus A. Weber, published by D. Appleton and Company in 1922.

MS 016 Reuben Lovette Frost Private Papers, Randall Library Special Collections: These papers contain an article Frost wrote about Robert Seyboth, who served as an observer in both Wilmington and Southport, N.C. Some weather bureau documents in this collection were signed by Seyboth.

Processing Information

Originally processed by Judith Davis in 1976. In 2014, this manuscript collection was re-foldered and re-housed with current archival standard materials by Kate Edwards.

Weather Bureau Station Wilmington, North Carolina Official Documents
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Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository