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Irwin Holmes Papers

Title: Irwin Holmes Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1939-2012
Extent of Materials: 3 Hollinger boxes, 1 flat box (2.50 linear feet)
Location: NC Room Cabinet 20; online exhibit at
Date of Accession: 2013
Relationship of donor or materials to the DCL/NCR
Processor: Cale McCammon
Subject Headings: College integration–North Carolina.
Holmes, Irwin.
North Carolina State University–Tennis.
Scope and Content: The Irwin Holmes papers consist of four scrapbooks (most compiled by his mother Althea Holmes), plus newspaper and magazine articles, programs,  photos, and DVD montages of Holmes’ fiftieth birthday party, which depict his life from childhood almost to the present. The materials illuminate his academic and athletic career at Hillside High School and North Carolina State University and feature his parents, his wedding and married life, the birth of his and Meredythe’s children, and the children’s weddings. Spanning the time from the 1940s pre-Brown v. Board era to Obama in the White House, they show Holmes at the forefront of a society in transition.
Related Materials:
Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
Biographical /
Historical Note:
Irwin Robert Holmes, Jr., was born to Althea and Irwin Robert Holmes, Sr., on July 26, 1939. Holmes graduated third in his class from Hillside High School in 1956. He was the first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University (in engineering, 1960), to play on an Atlantic Coast Conference team (the tennis team, which he co-captained his senior year), and to win a varsity letter in the ACC. After graduating, he attended Drexel University, where he received a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1966. In 1964, he married Meredythe Johnson, with whom he had three children: Irwin Robert Holmes, Kimberlee Holmes, and Sherri Holmes.
Condition Notes:
Organization of Collection: 1. Miscellaneous Papers and Audiovisual Materials
2. Scrapbooks
Container List
Box 1
Miscellaneous Papers
1. Family Life Scrapbook I: Loose Papers 1959, undated
2. Family Life Scrapbook I: Loose Photographs 1930s-1950s
IH051 Carol (Irwin’s sister?), Irwin Holmes, “Alice’s friend,” and Bus (nickname for Irwin’s father?)
IH052 Bus, “Alice’s friend,” and Carol
IH053 undescribed
IH054 undescribed
IH055 School portrait of Holmes as young boy
IH056 School portrait of Carol as young girl
IH057 Meredythe Holmes(?) cooking
3. Family Life Scrapbook II: Loose Papers 1964-1987, 2010
4. Family Life Scrapbook II: Loose Photographs 1970s-1990s
IH070 undescribed
IH071 Holmes with family
IH072 Daughter (presumably Kimberlee) and unknown woman
IH073 unknown woman
IH074 Holmes at beach
IH075 Holmes with daughters
5. Fiftieth Birthday Party Program 1989
6. Miscellaneous Photographs 1950s-1990s
IH058 Holmes as boy
IH059 Daughter ‘s wedding (presumably Sherri Holmes)
IH060 Daughter ‘s wedding (presumably Sherri Holmes)
IH061 Meredythe Johnson wedding photo
IH062 Meredythe Johnson wedding photo
IH063 unknown
IH064 Meredythe Holmes(?) crying at daughter’s wedding (presumably)
IH065 Carol, daughter of Althea and Bus, holding Kim (Irwin Holmes’ daughter), 1968
IH066 Irwin Holmes and Carol Holmes with others at wedding
IH067 unknown woman in wedding dress (Althea?)
IH068 duplicate of IH012
IH069 unknown women
7. Newspaper Articles 1972, 1985, 2006-2007
8. North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering of the University of North Carolina Seventy-First Annual Commencement Program 1960
9. North Carolina State University Alumni Magazine 2006, 2012
10. North Carolina State University Black Alumni Society Newsletter 2006
11. North Carolina State University Scrapbook: Front Cover and Loose Photographs 1956-1960
IH028 Holmes portrait photo
IH029 Reverse duplicate of IH014, Holmes playing tennis
IH046 Holmes graduation portrait, 1960
IH047 Holmes portrait photo
IH048 Holmes at graduation, May 29 1960
IH049 Duplicate of IH031, Holmes with cousin Charles at graduation, 1960
12. North Carolina State University Scrapbook: Loose Papers 1958, 1960, 1963
13. “School Days” Scrapbook: Front Cover and Loose Photographs 1949-1956
IH001 Irwin Holmes as a young boy
IH002 Family members, man on left presumably Irwin’s father, woman in middle possibly Althea
IH003 Family and Holmes as boy in Washington, 1949
IH004 Undescribed family members, Woman in middle possibly Althea
IH019 Holmes and Betty Joe Goodloe at the Youth Wants to Know Party
IH020 School dance(?) portrait of Holmes and Ann Davis
IH021 School dance(?) portrait of Holmes and Carolyn Grubbo(?)
IH026 Holmes playing basketball for the Hornets team #33
IH027 National Honor Society group photo
14. “School Days Scrapbook: Loose Papers 1949-1960, 1972, 1992
15. Timeline of African Americans at North Carolina State University 2006
Audiovisual Materials
16. “Grannies on the Vineyard” DVD, Discs One and Two circa 1989
17. Fiftieth Birthday Party DVD, Discs One and Two 1989
18. “Time Pieces” for Fiftieth Birthday Party DVD, Disc One 1989
Box 2
“School Days” Scrapbook 1946-1959
Compilation of photographs and newspaper clippings primarily concerning Holmes’ academic and athletic life at Hillside High School and North Carolina State University.
IH005 School safety patrol at train station
IH006 Undescribed photo of Holmes with schoolmates
IH007 School photo Holmes as boy
IH008 School photo of Holmes as boy, November 1946
IH009 “Youth Wants to Know Forum President, Irwin and the speaker,” 1957
IH010 National Honor Society group photo
IH011 Holmes and Johnnie “Skeepie” Scarborough among a group of peers
IH012 Holmes and Johnnie “Skeepie” Scarborough holding trophies at the Southeastern Junior Tennis Tournament, Holmes won and Skeepie was runner-up
IH013 Duplicate of IH012
IH014 Holmes playing tennis
IH015 Undescribed, possibly father with young Holmes
IH016 Holmes holding tennis racket, June 1956
IH017 Holmes performing a serving shot
IH018 Sherrill Schooler wedding gown portrait
IH022 two boys undescribed
IH023 man and woman on couch undescribed
IH024 girl at typewriter undescribed, December 1959
IH025 two women with suitcases undescribed, 1956
Box 3
North Carolina State University Scrapbook 1956-1960
Compilation of photographs, newspaper clippings, and letters primarily concerning Holmes’ time at North Carolina State University and his graduation.
IH030 Holmes at dance with woman (Ann Davis?)
IH031 Holmes with cousin Charles Grisby(?) at graduation, May 29 1960
IH032 Holmes shaking hands with college chaplain at graduation, May 29 1960
IH033 Holmes with aunt Alice Holmes Dolphy(?) at graduation, May 29 1960
IH034 Holmes with parents Althea and Bus at graduation, May 29 1960
IH035 Holmes with woman at graduation (can’t read handwriting), May 29 1960
IH036 Holmes with Carol at graduation, May 29 1960
IH037 Holmes with father at graduation, May 29 1960
IH038 Holmes with two female family members at graduation, May 29 1960
IH039 Holmes with Uncle John at graduation, May 29 1960
IH040 Holmes with aunt Alice and Uncle John at graduation, May 29 1960
IH041 Holmes with cousin Charles and Carol at graduation, May 29 1960
IH042 NC State University building at graduation, May 29 1960
IH043 portrait photo of Meredythe Adele Johnson (Holmes’ wife), circa 1964
IH044 photo of house
IH045 Meredythe Johnson among group of people on porch
IH050 Holmes with other tennis players (Livas? And Scarborough)
Box 4
Family Life Scrapbook I 1939-1967
Contains photographs and newspaper clippings of Holmes’ childhood in Reidsville and Durham, N.C., his family and school life.
Family Life Scrapbook II 1969-1986
Contains photographs and newspaper clippings concerning the later part of Holmes’ family life and the lives of his children.


Updated January 29, 2014.