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Ronald G. Phelps Papers

Identifier: SC-MS-353

Scope and Contents

This collection contains Ronald G. Phelps's personal documents, yearbooks, CDs, VHS tapes, photos, copies of published items, magazines, and newspaper clippings, largely related to Wilmington and the surrounding area's history from 1929 to 2018. Ron Phelps was active in the Wilmington community and considered a local amateur historian. A large portion of the collection focuses on New Hanover High School during Phelps's attendence and the various reunion events following his graduation in 1952. In addition, there are materials covering the founding of Wilmington College and Phelps's experience serving in the U.S. Navy. This collection also includes Phelps's research on local and state individuals, places, and events, including high school and college basketball games, notable figures from North Carolina, and the Azalea Festival.


  • Creation: 1929-2018

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 University of North Carolina at Wilmington, all rights reserved (subject to exceptions). Certain items in this collections were conveyed to UNCW without the accompanying copyright. Where the donor did not convey copyright to UNCW, copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

Ronald Guyton Phelps ("Ron") was born in Wilmington, North Carolina on October 23, 1932, the son of Walter G. and Thelma Hewett Phelps at James Walker Memorial Hospital. He attended Forest Hills Elementary School, then New Hanover High School graduating in the class of 1952. He was a member of the 1951 NHHS State Championship basketball team, and upon graduation, he enrolled at Wilmington College on a basketball scholarship.

Phelps entered into the U.S. Navy March 3, 1953, completed boot camp in San Diego, CA, then completed electronics school in Great Lakes, IL. He served on three ships, the USS Bannock ATF 81, USS Exploit MSO 440, and the USS Lloyd Thomas DDE 764, a destroyer in Newport, RI. Upon discharge from the Navy on March 26, 1957 he re-entered Wilmington College and graduated in the class of 1959 after which he attended NC State. Phelps was hired by Nationwide Insurance Company where he served as a field claims man until he entered the agency sales force in October 1969, building his agency from scratch. He retired from Nationwide on October 31, 2006 after a career of nearly 45 years.

Phelps was a 32nd Degree Master Mason, a member of the Scottish Rite and of Sudan Temple. He was a life member of the Arab Shrine Club. In addition, he was a long time active member of Elks Lodge BPOE 532 and a member of the Wilmington Rotary Club. He was married to Carolyn Newton for 55 years until her death in 2017. Ron Phelps passed away on September 25, 2018.


12 Containers (Contains 2 bankers boxes, 1 document box, 4 oversize boxes, and 5 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



The Ronald G. Phelps Papers collection is arranged into 8 series: Personal Papers, Forest Hills Elementary School, New Hanover High School (NHHS), Wilmngton College, Navy and Military Documents, Sports Papers, Local Research, and Media.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by James "Steve" Shepard on February 4, 2019.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by student Kensi Laube in Fall 2019.

Ronald G. Phelps Papers
Kensi Laube
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository