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Margaret McConnell Holt Papers

Identifier: MSS 0030

Scope and Contents

The Margaret McConnell Holt Papers date from 1962 to 1984 and contain manuscripts, paste-ups, galley proofs and layouts of the booklet, Chinqua-Penn Plantation; some drawings and illustrations; correspondence; and copies of a typewritten transcript of recorded conversations.

Correspondence in this collection dates from November 1967 to June 1968. Much of the correspondence is between Margaret M. Holt and George W. Hamer, who was director of development at UNCG. There is also a large amount of correspondence between Holt and A.W. Kelley, assistant manager of the North Carolina State University printing office.

Kelley and Hamer communicated with Holt regarding the illustrations, format, layout, and printing of Chinqua-Penn Plantation. Holt enclosed some preliminary material for her book with her correspondence, including the plans for text and illustration arrangement, as well as a list of art objects for the book.

Typewritten transcripts of recorded conversations between Mrs. Beatrice Penn and Dean Mereb Mossman of UNCG are included in this collection. The conversations occurred in August 1962 and concern the building and furnishing of Chinqua-Penn, the acquisition of art objects from around the world, anecdotes about Mr. Thomas Jefferson Penn, and incidents of their lives on the estate. Quotations from them are used throughout the booklet.

A loose-leaf notebook containing the joint suggestions of Paul A. Schoellkopf and Elmore Willets, nephews of Mr. and Mrs. Penn, about the final published version of the book is also included.


  • 1962 - 1984


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Margaret McConnell Holt Margaret McConnell Holt was born in Gastonia, North Carolina on July 26, 1908. She was a graduate of the North Carolina College for Women (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) in 1930. She went on to endow a scholarship fund for the UNCG School of Music and to receive an alumni award for her ongoing support of the university.

Margaret M. Holt, in addition to compiling the research on the Chinqua-Penn Plantation included in these papers, was a well-respected artist. She was included in the thirteenth through seventeenth editions of Who's Who in American Art.

Margaret M. Holt's father, Dr. D.E. McConnell, operated a library out of his dental office; McConnell's library was the first in Gastonia, North Carolina to lend materials to borrowers. Seventy years later, Margaret and her husband, Donnel Shaw Holt, President and CEO of Cannon Mills, donated a collection of original art by North Carolina artists to the Gaston County Public Library in memory of her father.

Margaret McConnell Holt died in August of 1987.

Chinqua-Penn Plantation

Chinqua-Penn Plantation is located north of Reidsville, North Carolina. Constructed between 1923 and 1925, Chinqua-Penn Plantation served as the home of Mr. Thomas Jefferson Penn and his wife, Beatrice Penn (nee Schoellkopf) of New York. Mr. Penn worked with the Penn Tobacco Company, founded by his father, until it was sold to the American Tobacco Company. Mrs. Penn was a member of the family that developed Niagara Falls as a source of power. Together, they filled the 27 rooms of Chinqua-Penn with lavish furnishings and fine art collected during two round-the-world tours and numerous trips to Europe and Asia. In 1959 Mrs. Penn gave Chinqua-Penn to the University of North Carolina; it was opened to the public after her death in 1965. UNCG's development office next assumed responsibility for the house and nearby grounds. North Carolina State University in Raleigh received the remaining 900 acres.


0.80 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Margaret McConnell Holt, an alumna of the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG), researched and composed a booklet about the history of Chinqua-Penn Plantation, which is located north of Reidsville, North Carolina.

These papers date from 1962 to 1984 and contain manuscript copies of Chinqua-Penn Plantation and related materials.

Method of Acquisition

Transferred to University Archives from the Development Office, June 1968. Final typed copy of recorded conversation, "History of Chinqua-Penn" between Mrs. Penn and Mereb E. Mossman, gift of Naomi Albanese, in June 1977.

Related Materials

See also the Chinqua-Penn Plantation Records in North Carolina State University Library's Special Collections.

Offensive Language Statement

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Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff.
Margaret McConnell Holt Papers
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Revision Statements

  • April 20, 2021: This finding aid underwent changes in Spring 2021 after a reparative archives review. The following link leads to the legacy version of this finding aid:

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US