UNC - Chapel Hill

Archiving A Congressman’s Career

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield has donated his personal archives to the Wilson Special Collections Library.

G.K. Butterfield explains the history of some items in his memorabilia to Chaitra Powell, Elaine Westbrooks and Chancellor Guskiewicz.
U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield visits Louis Round Wilson Library to examine some of his donated collection and meet with library staff. January 3, 2022. In this photo, Rep. Butterfield explains the history of some items in his memorabilia to Chaitra Powell, Elaine Westbrooks and Chancellor Guskiewicz. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield has donated his personal archives to the Wilson Special Collections Library.

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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