Skip to main content

George Washington Carver Collection

Identifier: Mss-0384

Content Information

The George Washington Carver Collection was created by Kelly E. Traynham, a Clemson College cadet who visited the Tuskegee Institute with another cadet, Carroll Chipley and their chemistry instructor, William Wallace Fridy in 1933. Tranyham (1911-2005) graduated from Clemson College in 1934 with a degree in chemistry, served as a major in World War II, and worked in textile management at the J. P. Stevens Company for 26 years.

The collection includes letters from George Washington Carver to Traynham from 1933-1934, photographs showing him and Fridy with Carver, and biographical information Traynham collected regarding Carver. In addition, the collection contains photographs of him with his first wife, Mildred Crawford Traynham and his second wife, Elizabeth K. Traynham.

The collection is arranged chronologically covers the period 1933-2005, with most of the material dating from 1933-1934.


  • 1933-1934, 1940, 1990, circa 1995, 2005 and undated

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Biographical / Historical

George Washington Carver was born in Diamond, Missouri circa 1864, the son Giles and Mary Carver, both of whom were enslaved persons. He graduated from Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis, Kansas in 1880, attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa in 1890 and graduated from Iowa State Agricultural College in 1894 with an undergraduate degree in Agriculture. He earned a graduate degree in Agriculture from the same institution in 1896.

After earning his graduate degree Carver accepted an offer from Booker T. Washington to head the agricultural department at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Macon County, Alabama. While at Tuskegee he invented a mobile horse-drawn agricultural classroom and laboratory to demonstrate soil chemistry, developed alternative feed and fertilizer methods that poor farmers could use, and worked to disseminate agricultural information to farmers.

His most notable achievement was his research on crop rotation; he found that raising nitrogen-fixing plants such as peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes replaced soil nutrients that had been lost due to intensive cotton farming which resulted in higher yields when the land was returned to cotton farming. In order to encourage crop rotation, he researched alternative commercial uses for peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, developing more that 300 potential food, industrial and commercial products for peanuts alone. Most of these discoveries did not find widespread application.

Due to his research with and promotion of peanuts Carver became famous first nationally and then internationally. He was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1923 and honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Simpson College in 1928 and from Selma University in 1942. Carver died at Tuskegee on January 5, 1943.


.05 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection provides insight into George Washington Carver’s relationship with young people and on race relations in South Carolina.

The collection consists of articles and newspaper clippings relating to George Washington Carver, three letters from Carver to Kelly E. Traynham, and photographs. Two of the letters encourage Traynham to pursue his studies and develop his talents.

Acquisition Source

Donated by Elizabeth Traynham in 2010. Accession 10-041

Related Materials

Mss 0385 George Washington Carver Letters

Processing Information

The collection was processed and a finding aid created by James Cross in 2023

A Guide to the George Washington Carver Collection
James Cross
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Clemson University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Repository

230 Kappa St.
Clemson SC 29634 U.S.A. US