In 2006, the Mary B. Blount Library of Averett University transferred personal and political materials related to Harry Wooding. Harry Wooding was Mayor of Danville from 1892-1938 and was a contemporary and friend of Major William T. Sutherlin, owner of the Sutherlin Mansion in which the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History is now housed. Objects given include five oil paintings of members of the Wooding family, numerous silver pieces including several trophies engraved to Wooding, two swords, one pre-Civil War era but believed to be used by Wooding when he served in the Confederate cavalry, five walking canes, scrapbooks and photo albums. Other items in the Wooding collection are maps and family papers including Wooding’s brother’s Civil War letters, and Harry Wooding’s handwritten autobiographies. Wooding was known for his love of corncob pipes and the transfer includes a pipe stand made from the newel post from the Wooding home on Wilson Street.
These items were a gift to Averett from Frances Kipps Spencer, a descendant of Mayor Wooding and known in her own right as the inventor of Chrismons. In 1974, when the items were given to Averett, there was nowhere else to adequately store and care for the items. While the Mary B. Blount Library took great care of the collection, it did not have the means to exhibit it. The Wooding Collection is a perfect fit with the Danville Museum’s holdings and will enable it to further interpret Danville’s role during the Civil War. The Museum mounted a small exhibit of some the items in 2007 in the Alcove Gallery. After all objects and papers have been catalogued, some will be part of a larger exhibit. All objects and papers will be made available for scholarly research.
"Averett is pleased to donate these items to The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History," said Clara Fountain, former university archivist and humanities librarian. "They are an important piece of Danville's history, and we felt they were very appropriate for the museum's collection. We know the public will enjoy viewing them.”