Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Littleton College

by Grady L. E. Carroll Sr., 2006Students and faculty at Littleton Female College, 1892. North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library.

Littleton College, a Methodist institution of higher learning in Littleton, opened in 1882. Founded as Central Institute and subsequently renamed Littleton Female College and, finally, Littleton College, the school was housed in several substantial three-story buildings. In 1905 it claimed 22 teachers. Though privately owned, Littleton was regarded as a Methodist college. Accounts of its progress were included in the church's annual North Carolina Conference Journal. The college offered courses in chemistry, physics, physiology, and psychology, among other disciplines. More then 200 students were enrolled yearly. In 1907 enrollment stood at 274 students.

Methodist minister and educator James Manly Rhodes (1850-1941) was, except for a two-year period, Littleton's president throughout its existence. The school operated until 1919 when a fire destroyed its buildings; it was never reopened.


Michael Hill, Guide to North Carolina Highway Historical Markers (1990).

O. Kelly Ingram, Methodism Alive in North Carolina (1976).

William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1970).

Additional Resources:

UNC Libraries:

Origin - location: 



My Grandmother graduated from Littleton College somewhere around 1917(?) I have a picture of her class and her college class pin. Do you have any records of her. Ruth Ives was her name.


Hi Paula,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your history and question.

I have a couple of suggestions for places to start.  First, the State Archives of North Carolina is the repository for the records of a number of no longer existing North Carolina schools and colleges.  I do not see Littleton College on their list, however you may wish to contact them to inquire about whether they have any records for the college or where records may be held.  I do note that Littleton had a fire in 1919 and never re-opened so it's quite possible that limited records may have survived.  Here is the link to the State Archives page where you'll find information about these schools and Archives' contact information:

The Southern Historical Collection at UNC Chapel Hill does have a small manuscript collection for Littleton College.  You may wish to contact them or visit the collection at UNC to see if there are materials pertaining to your grandmother's time at the school. Here is the link to information about the collection:  And here is a link to their contact information page:

Finally, there are digitized college yearbooks available online through UNC Chapel Hill, although not specifically for the year 1917.  But you may wish to check them out.  Here is the link:

I hope this information helps.  Please feel free to post back if you need additional help.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Many of the records of the Littleton Female College are housed at NC Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.


It is my understanding that my Fraternal Grandmother, Florence Emma Walters, born in 1884, Perquimans Co. N.C. attended Littleton Female College, but I cannot find a record of her attendance. Do you have any information that you can provide? Thank you


The Littleton Female College yearbooks for 1905, 1906, and 1907 (titled The Pansy) have been digitized and made available online here:

Littleton College also had a newspaper, The Visitor; some issues are available from the North Carolina Collection at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and some from the State Archives of North Carolina.

UNC-CH also has a collection of Littleton College Memorabilia, circa 1887-1900:

Good luck!

T. Mike Childs, NCpedia, N.C. Government & Heritage Library.

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at