So our post on the extraordinary Joe King, aka Vinciata, and his equally extraordinary cast of cohorts will apparently never end. We have been hearing from many people about some sort of connection to Joe, ranging from some startling moments experienced by his teen aged  female models in the 1950s to charcoal drawings of someone’s parents discovered just a few weeks ago. Yesterday, someone suggested that I might want to take a look at the 1969 edition of “Pine Burr.” You might ask, as I did, what “Pine Burr” is. Well, here is what I found. “Pine Burr” was the yearbook of what was then known as Campbell College. And there I found the picture seen below.


Joe King, left, presents his Vinciata painting “Man of Tuscany”, to Campbell College, 1969. At the right (l-r) are Campbell president Norman A. Wiggins, Joe’s wife Earline Heath King and Lee Humber. I knew who the first three were, but had never heard of Lee Humber, so I did a Google search. All I wanted was a few words to tell us who he was. Here is more than a few words. But this is all you will get, because I do not have the time to write the massive book that Lee Humber deserves.

Robert Lee Humber was born in Greenville, NC May 30, 1898, the son of Lena Clyde Davis Humber and Robert Lee Humber. His father operated a machine and repair shop in a building next to their home. Lee graduated from Wake Forest College, cum laude, in 1918, having already completed most of the work for an MA and an LL.B, which were awarded in 1919 and 1921 respectively. He won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at New College, Oxford, which granted him the B.Litt degree in 1923.


Lee Humber’s father built this house in 1895. It is now the eastern outpost of the State archive and is on the National Register.

While at Oxford, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, during which time he met his future wife, Lucy Berthier, who was the executive secretary of the American University Union in Paris. After they were married in 1929, and having passed the bar, he worked for many years for an American oil company as its legal representative and head of its Paris headquarters. When the Nazis invaded France in 1940, Lee and Lucy and their three children returned to North Carolina.

As the war raged on, Lee, via his extensive contacts with diverse cultures in Europe, developed an idea that the only hope for the future of mankind lay in the establishment of a world order implemented by a world federal government. He spelled out his ideas in a pamphlet, “The Declaration of the Federation of the World”, and began lobbying the North Carolina General Assembly to adopt his idea, which they did on May 13, 1941, becoming the first legislative body in history to endorse the idea of a world government. Sixteen more state legislatures adopted his resolution and a number of others accepted his ideas in some modified form. Of course, the initiative ultimately failed, but by then, Lee was deeply involved in other important matters.

In 1943, as a member of the NC State Art Society, he first proposed the establishment of a state art museum. In 1947 he told the state legislature that an undisclosed donor would give the state one million dollars if they would match the amount to establish a state art museum, something that had never been done by any state. The legislature passed his measure and the North Carolina Museum of Art opened in April, 1956. A few years later the “undisclosed donor”, the Kress Foundation, exceeded their original offer by giving the museum a collection of art valued at two and one half million dollars. As chairman of the State Art Commission from 1951 to 1961, Lee guided the selection of old masters that would make up the museum’s initial collection.

A moderate Baptist, Lee served his church at many levels. In 1957, he was elected vice-president of the State Baptist Convention. He used that position to promote improvement in the Baptist higher education institutions, with a particular focus on Wake Forest, Campbell and Meredith Colleges.

In 1958, he won a seat in the NC state senate. For the next six years, most of his energy was directed toward the establishment of a state community college and technical institute system. In 1963-64, the Pitt Technical Institute in his home county became one of the founding institutions of the now nationally renowned North Carolina community college system.

As a member of the North Carolina Conservatory of Music committee, he helped lay the groundwork for what would become the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Lee was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Epsilon Pi Tau, Phi Delta Phi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Pi Alpha, International Platform Association, American Academy of Political and Social Science, American Judicature Society, American Society of International Law, American Legion, Rotary International, Watauga Club (Raleigh), Harvard Club, Salmagundi Art Club, Century Association (New York City), and American Club (Paris, France). He also served on the boards of Meredith and Wake Forest Colleges. He received honorary doctorates from Wake Forest, Duke and the University of North Carolina.

Lee Humber died on November 10, 1970, having accomplished more than almost any citizen of North Carolina. He was buried at Cherry Hill Cemetery in Greenville.


Some of the many other public service activities of Lee Humber:

Advisory Committee on Highway Safety (1950); Pitt County Development Commission (1957–70); North Carolina Commission on Interstate Cooperation (1959–61); Youth Fitness Commission (1961); Coastal Plain Planning and Development Commission (board of directors, 1962–65, 1969–70, and president, 1962–64); North Carolina State Capitol Planning Commission (1962–65); Tar River Basin Development Association (president, 1965–70); Governor’s Study Committee for Vocational Rehabilitation (1967–69); North Carolina Council on Prevention of Crime and Delinquency (1968–69); Pitt County Good Neighbor Council (1969–70); Greenville Citizens Awareness Committee (co-chairman, 1970). In addition, he was active in the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association (first life member, 1938–70, and president, 1950–51); North Carolina Symphony Society (executive committee, 1949–70, and board of trustees, 1955–70); Roanoke Island Historical Association (board of directors, 1955–61, and president, 1955–59); Tryon Palace Commisson (1956–70); North Carolina Conservatory of Music committee (1962–63); Heritage Square Commission (1962–67); Edenton Historical Commission (charter member and chairman, 1962–70); Advisory Committee on Topographic Mapping of North Carolina (1963); Rachel Maxwell Moore Foundation of Art (board of directors, 1963–70); North Carolina Arts Council (chairman, 1964–67); Pitt County Historical Association (president, 1964–68); and North Carolina Society for the Preservation of Antiquities (charter and life member).