Processed by Archives Staff and rearranged by John Tomasicchio in July 2007 under the supervision of Deirdre A. Scaggs, University Archivist.; machine-readable finding aid created by Eric Weig
James Thomas Cotton Noe papers
1893-1952, predominant 1920-1952
University of Kentucky Libraries, Special Collections
This collection is arranged in three series by subject
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
0000ua149: [identification of item], James Thomas Cotton Noe papers, University of Kentucky Archives.
0.53 cubic feet (2 boxes)
The James Thomas Cotton Noe papers are comprised of the professional papers, correspondence, and poetry of Cotton Noe.
James Thomas Cotton Noe was born on May 2, 1864 in Washington County, Kentucky, seven miles from Springfield. He attended public and private schools in Springfield up to the age of eighteen and then continued his education at Franklin College, Indiana. After receiving awards for his knowledge of Greek and Latin as well as his oratory skills, Noe graduated from Franklin College in 1887. For the next two years he taught as a principal in small high schools in both Kentucky and Indiana before attending Cornell University for graduate studies in Shakespeare, English Literature, and Philology. Receiving his Master's Degree in 1890, Noe returned to Kentucky where he taught in a district school in Marion County before becoming an instructor in English at Williamsburg Institute, now Cumberland College, in Williamsburg, Kentucky. It was in the town of Williamsburg where he met his future wife, Sidney Stanfill. The two were married on May 2nd 1894 and in that same year Noe returned to Springfield, where he began to practice law and became Police Judge.
In 1898 Noe returned to teaching, serving as principal of the Masonic Institute, 1898-1901, and the Theodore Harris Institute, 1901-1904. He then became an instructor at the Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate Tennessee, 1904-1906. Afterwards he became an instructor of English at the Agricultural and Mechanical College, which became part of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He was named the head of the Department of Education in 1912 and served the position until 1923 when the department was raised to the rank of College of Education. Noe recommended a younger applicant for the position of dean and continued on the staff as a full professor and head of a department until 1934 when he retired from active teaching and moved to Beverly Hills, California.
While connected actively with the University of Kentucky, Professor Noe taught about one hundred teachers institutes and gave more than a hundred commencement addresses. He also lectured in summers on the Lincoln and Redpath Chautauquas in twenty states and gave two addresses at Lake Chautauqua Assembly in New York. His Alma Mater conferred the honorary degree of Literature on him in 1919 and Georgetown College gave him the same degree in 1933. He was the 8th of the 21 founders of the National Poets Memorial of the United States of America and the General Assembly of Kentucky by a joint Resolution made him Poet Laureate of Kentucky in 1926. He taught literature in the summer school of Morehead State Teachers College, 1935-1936, and in 1937 he taught Kentucky literature and Romantic and Victorian Poets in the Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College at Richmond, Kentucky.
James Thomas Cotton Noe is the author of five volumes of poetry, The Loom of Life, The Blood of Rachel, Tip Sams of Kentucky, The Legend of the Silver Band, and The Valleys of Parnassus. He compiled an anthology of Kentucky poetry and an anthology of Kentucky eloquence and his poetry has appeared in more than thirty anthologies. James Thomas Cotton Noe died on November 9th, 1953 and was buried at the Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky.
The James Thomas Cotton Noe papers are comprised of professional papers, correspondence, and poetry. The professional papers range from biographical information to lectures given by James Thomas Cotton Noe, 1889-1953. The correspondence series contains letters of admiration received by James Thomas Cotton Noe as well as the lengthy communication between James Thomas Cotton Noe and Moses E. Ligion, 1920-1952. The collection of poetry written by James Thomas Cotton Noe consists of Christmas cards, booklets, and manuscripts of his published and unpublished work, 1893-1952. The collection also contains a compiled list titled "Poems of J.T Cotton Noe: Location in published works or in correspondence or collection" that has been placed in the collection file. The following books were removed from the collection and transferred to the Special Collections Library: Shadow Shapes by Edwin Carlile Litsey, Spindrift: Verses and Poems by Edwin Carlile Litsey, and The Time of Man by Elizabeth Madox Roberts.
1M49M4, Cotton Noe papers, 1915-1949, University of Kentucky Archives.
The Professional Papers series consists of scholastic and biographical information, programs and advertisements for speaking engagements featuring James Thomas Cotton Noe, programs from ceremonies honoring James Thomas Cotton Noe, and funeral speeches celebrating the life of James Thomas Cotton Noe.
The Correspondence series consists of letters written to James Thomas Cotton Noe from other educators and admirers. The series also contains the correspondence between James Thomas Cotton Noe and Moses E. Ligion, a friend and colleague from the University of Kentucky. The topics of these letters range in subject but the majority contain information on personal wellness and news about the University of Kentucky.
The Poetry series consists of poems written by James Thomas Cotton Noe. The poems vary in length, topic, and format. While the majority of these poems are in manuscript form, either published or unpublished, there are some poems written for specific events, such as inaugurations, memorial services, anniversaries, and programs sponsored by the Kentucky Education Association. The largest category of poems written for a specific event is the Christmas card collection. The Christmas cards are printed with original poems about the season or New Year and festive images on the cover or side of the card. The Christmas card for 1943 is different from the others in that it consists of both a poem about war bonds and a brief genealogical chart of the Noe family.