Tag Archives: events

See North Carolina’s Original Copy of the Bill of Rights

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources press release – you can find other press releases on www.ncdcr.gov.]

Award-Winning Constitutional Scholar Highlights Bill of Rights, How North Carolina Saved the Constitution

North Carolina's copy of the Bill of Rights, 1789

See North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights from Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 14 to Dec. 18, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Image credit: State Archives of North Carolina.

RALEIGH, N.C. — In honor of the Bill of Rights’ 225th anniversary on Dec. 15, you will have a rare opportunity to see North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights from Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 14 to Dec. 18, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Admission is free. To protect the fragile document from light, it is on view for a very limited time.

In addition, the museum will offer free programs about the Bill of Rights on Dec. 14. Linda R. Monk, a nationally award-winning author, journalist and constitutional scholar, will present The Bill of Rights: How North Carolina Saved the Constitution. (Did you know North Carolina was the only state to refuse to ratify the U.S. Constitution until a bill of rights was added?) Monk’s work has been featured on PBS, Voice of America, MSNBC, C-SPAN and NPR, and she writes commentary for newspapers nationwide.

After Monk’s program, State Archivist Sarah Koonts will briefly highlight the saga of North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights, from its theft by a Union soldier during the Civil War to its recovery by the FBI in 2003.


History à la Carte: The Bill of Rights: How North Carolina Saved the Constitution

Wednesday, Dec. 14, noon-1 p.m.

Register at NCMOH-programs.com and purchase a boxed lunch — or just bring your own. Beverages provided. For information, call 919-807-7982.

Linda R. Monk, J.D., Constitutional Scholar and Author

North Carolina’s role in ratifying the U.S. Constitution helped result in James Madison sponsoring the first 10 amendments in Congress. Ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, that Bill of Rights upholds the key freedoms Americans cherish to this day.

Monk, a graduate of Harvard Law School, has twice won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for public education about the law. She served as series advisor for the PBS documentary “Constitution USA with Peter Sagal.”

Monk uses an accessible, narrative style to explore truths about our constitutional democracy. She conveys this depth of knowledge in a manner that is relevant and understandable to average citizens. Monk also presents seminars and lectures for audiences that include the Pentagon, National Archives, Fulbright Scholars and the Smithsonian Institution.


North Carolina’s Original Copy of the Bill of Rights

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 1 p.m.

Sarah Koonts, Director, Division of Archives and Records

North Carolina’s state archivist will briefly trace the intriguing history of North Carolina’s official copy of the Bill of Rights. The journey started when a Union soldier stole it from the State Capitol in 1865 and ended in 2003, when it was recovered in an undercover FBI sting operation. After legal battles in state and federal courts, North Carolina won possession of the document in 2005 and ownership in 2008.

North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights is one of 14 original copies of the 12 proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution prepared by three federal clerks in 1789. A copy was drafted for the legislatures of the existing 13 states to debate; the other copy was for the federal government. After the ratification of the first 10 amendments in 1791, North Carolina retained custody of its copy of the document.

For information about the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call 919-807-7900 or access ncmuseumofhistory.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or YouTube.

About the N.C. Museum of History

The N.C. Museum of History is located at 5 E. Edenton Street in downtown Raleigh. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The museum collects and preserves artifacts of North Carolina history and educates the public on the history of the state and the nation through exhibits and educational programs. Each year more than 300,000 people visit the museum to see some of the 150,000 artifacts in the museum collection. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.


About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C.  Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.


Join Us for Home Movie Day!

[This blog post was written by Kim Andersen, Audio Visual Materials Archivist in the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Home Movie Day 2016 flyerSaturday, October 15, 2016, is Home Movie Day!  And the State Archives of North Carolina is hosting Raleigh Home Movie Day for its 14th year!  Co-sponsored by the State Archives of North Carolina, AV Geeks Transfer Services, and the Film Studies Program at NCSU, Raleigh Home Movie Day is fun for the whole family.  Come join us! 

Participation is simple!  Rifle through your attics, dig through your closets, call up Grandma, and find your family’s home movies!   Then come on down to the State Archives with up to two old reels (8mm, Super8mm, or 16mm film) or video tapes (VHS or Video8/Hi8), and we will screen at least one of them for you and the audience to enjoy!  Point out people and places you recognize! As a BONUS, you’ll later get a digital transfer (downloadable file e-mailed to you or DVD mailed to you) of the home movie that you shared with us on the screen.

If you do not have any films or videos to bring, that’s OK!  You can just show up and watch the films of others.  It’s not just historically significant – it’s fun!

And did you know that original films can long outlast DVDs or video tape transfers if you properly take care of them? Don’t throw your films away!  HOME MOVIE DAY will not only provide a wealth of free entertainment but is also an opportunity for you to learn about the long-term benefits of film versus video and digital media.  Motion picture archivists will be on hand to answer all your questions and tell you how to properly store your films and plan for their future.

If you are still considering cleaning house and getting rid of your old home movies and videos, please just don’t throw them out yet!  The State Archives collects and preserves old moving images of North Carolina, and while the bulk of our current holdings consist mainly of films and tapes relating to state government, we have a growing body of amateur film and are looking for more because home movies can often include glimpses of important places, and historically significant events and happenings that are not documented anywhere else.   Home movies are an essential record of our past, and they are among the most authoritative documents of times gone by.

So come to Home Movie Day, learn, participate, and/or just enjoy the antics of your friends and neighbors caught on film.  THE EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (AND parking is free)!


Saturday October 15th, 2016

1 – 4pm



State Archives of North Carolina Auditorium

109 East Jones Street

Raleigh NC 27601


Please contact Kim Andersen (AV Materials  Archivist, State Archives), kim.andersen@ncdcr.gov, 919-807-7311, with any questions about Home Movie Day and/or film and video donations.  And for more information about Raleigh Home Movie Day 2016 in general, please contact Skip Elsheimer (Owner, A/V Geeks),  skip@avgeeks.com; and/or Devin Orgeron (Professor, Film Studies, NCSU), devin_orgeron@ncsu.edu.

Liberty or Death! Finding Revolutionary War Era Sources at the State Archives of North Carolina


On October 8, 2016, join the staff of the State Archives for a day-long educational opportunity focused on researching in Revolutionary War era records at the State Archives of North Carolina. The event will last from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm, include talks on six different record series and an overview, have a catered lunch break and be held in the auditorium of the library and archives building at 109 East Jones Street.

Registration by mail until September 23, 2016.  The registration fee is $20.00 for the general public and $18.00 for members of the Friends of the Archives.

The lectures are part of National Archives week and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources It’s Revolutionary! programming.

For registration flyers and more information contact the Archives at 919-807-7310.


Registration form

State Library and Archives Building — Auditorium

109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Saturday, October 8, 2016

9:00 am — 9:30 am

Check-in:  Coffee and snacks by The Friends of the Archives, Inc.

9:30 am — 9:35 am


9:35 am —10:00 am

Revolutionary War North Carolina overview: Vann Evans

10:00 am — 10:45 am

County Records: Josh Hager

10:45 am — 11:00 am

Break: Sponsored by The Friends of the Archives, Inc.

11:00 am —11:45 am

Secretary of State and General Assembly Session Records: Doug Brown

11:45 am — 12:30 pm

Treasurer and Comptroller’s Records: Alison Thurman

12:30 pm —1:30 pm

Lunch catered by Pharaoh’s at the Museum

1:30 pm — 2:15 pm

Military Collection: Matthew Peek

2:15 pm — 3:00 pm

Private Collections: Debbi Blake

3:00 pm — 3:30 pm

English and British Archives: Vann Evans

3:30 pm — 3:45 pm

Questions and finis



“Searching for African American Ancestors”: A Workshop

Mother and two sons, portrait. Scanned from glass plate by Wm. H. Zoeller.

Mother and two sons, portrait. Scanned from glass plate by Wm. H. Zoeller.

“I was born on a plantation near Fayetteville, North Carolina and I belonged to J.B. Smith. His wife was named Henrietta. He owned about thirty slaves. My father was named Romeo Harden, and my mother was named Alice Smith . . . Grandfather was named Isaac Fuller.”

This oral narrative from the formerly enslaved Sarah Louise Augustus demonstrates the complications that can arise when tracing African American ancestry today.

The State Archives of North Carolina demystifies the process in a workshop held on Saturday, July 23, at the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. In “Searching for African American Ancestors,” archivists will present tools, resources, and strategies most effective in conducting genealogical research for African Americans.

Workshop sessions include:

  • Slave Law: An Introduction, with Bill Brown, Registrar;
  • Alfred Was My Slave Name: Research Methodology, with Chris Meekins, Head, Imaging Unit; and
  • Surprising Sources for African American Research, with Debbi Blake, Head, Collections Services Section.

The workshop concludes with time for the archivists to answer questions. Register now to begin your journey!

Registration for the workshop is $25.00 and includes lunch. The workshop is limited to 50 participants and pre-paid registrations must be received by Monday, July 11.

This workshop is presented in conjunction with the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives exhibit, running at the Museum of History through July 31, 2016. The exhibit showcases one-of-a-kind documents, photographs, and other media—public records and private materials that are rarely on public view—from the State Archives of North Carolina.

The Museum of History is located at 5 East Edenton Street, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Click on the museum’s website for directions, ncmuseumofhistory.org.

For more information about this workshop, please telephone 919-807-7969 or view the Museum of History’s July program calendar.  The workshop is sponsored by the Friends of the Archives.

View North Carolina’s Original Bill of Rights June 15-19 at the N.C. Museum of History

The point of controversy eventually rested on one issue and the argument in North Carolina was vigorous, at times contentious. Conservatives led by James Iredell wanted the document left alone. Their opponents, led by Willie Jones, insisted on added protections for individual liberties.

The document protecting individual liberties that North Carolina demanded before ratifying the U.S. Constitution will be displayed Wednesday, June 15, through Sunday, June 19, in the exhibit, “Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives” at the N.C. Museum of History. Admission is free.

For a while there was heated debate about the Bill of Rights, each side rounding up more allies. The internal stalemate escalated, preventing North Carolina from taking action, but by November 1789, the state finally ratified the U.S. Constitution with the longed-for Bill of Rights as its first 10 amendments.

George Washington had a copy of the Bill of Rights created for each state. North Carolina’s copy was held in the State Capitol building when, in 1865, it was stolen by a Union soldier. Recovered in an FBI sting operation almost 150 years later, North Carolina’s official copy of the Bill of Rights resides in one of two vaults in the State Archives.

Rarely displayed because of its fragile condition, museum visitors will be able to view this document for one week in the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives exhibit at the Museum of History in Raleigh.

“The Bill of Rights belongs to the people of North Carolina,” stated Sarah Koonts, state archivist. “We are the custodians of a document that guarantees freedom and liberties to United States citizens and we are happy to have the opportunity to exhibit this treasure to the public.”

Visitors to the Treasures of Carolina exhibit will discover the important role of the State Archives of North Carolina — the state’s memory bank. From parchment documents to digital files, the State Archives collects, preserves and makes accessible over 100 million treasures chronicling the Tar Heel State, past and present.

The variety of public records and private manuscript collections in the exhibit focuses on three themes: providing evidence of civil and property rights, government transparency, and the preservation of North Carolina’s history and culture.

 A sampling of the exhibit treasures includes:

  •  The earliest will known to exist in North Carolina, recorded in 1665 by Mary Fortsen. It is unusual because female property owners were extremely rare in the 1600s.
  • An 1839 petition for United States citizenship, signed by Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker, who were born in Siam (now Thailand). They settled in Wilkes County and married sisters. Altogether, the families had 21 children.
  • The hand-drawn map used as evidence during the 1867 trial of Tom Dula, who was indicted and hanged for murdering Laura Foster. Dula’s fate is told in the popular ballad “Tom Dooley.”
  • A Civil War letter from Martha A. E. Henley Poteet to her husband, Francis Marion Poteet, who was away at war. She enclosed a cutout of her 4-week-old daughter’s hand with the request “write to Me what to name her.” The family lived in McDowell County.
  • A 1903 copy of the North Carolina Constitutional Reader. In 1901 rules were enacted to prevent illiterate African Americans from voting, and this book was published to help African Americans read the Constitution in case they were questioned at the polls when trying to vote.
  • Audio recordings of World War I soldiers’ oral histories.

 Treasures of Carolina will run through July 31, 2016. The Bill of Rights will be displayed June 15 through June 19.


Why We Search for the Lost Colony

SWR over recreated Raleigh map

Plan to attend Monday, June 6 at 1:30 as the Friends of the Archives presents “‘Bring Them Home’: Why We Search for the Lost Colony.” This free presentation will be held at the State Library/State Archives building at 109 E. Jones St. in Raleigh.  

The story of North Carolina’s “Lost Colony” is a simple yet compelling one. A late-16th-century effort to establish England’s first permanent settlement in the New World results in failure with the fate of its 117 colonists—men, women, and children—remaining unknown. But while this was just one of many similarly unsuccessful colonies, only this “Lost Colony of Roanoke” still asserts its emotional pull on public and scholarly imaginations across the centuries.

In the last decade, archaeological and archival research has produced new evidence not only of what fate befell Sir Walter Raleigh’s Roanoke Colony, but also of the enduring effects that enterprise wrought. Brent Lane has been an active participant and curious observer on these recent efforts and their often dramatic findings. Brent discusses what is known and what must yet be discovered if our generation of Tar Heels is to fulfill the best—and probably last—hope of recovering North Carolina’s “Lost Colonists.”

Brent Lane is a professor of Heritage Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School where he is Director of the UNC Center for Competitive Economies at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. Brent works with several local, national, and international  organizations on the importance of natural and cultural heritage in conservation, education, and the economy.

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Archives, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization formed in 1977 to privately fund some of the services, activities, and programs of the State Archives of North Carolina not provided by state-appropriated funding.

Exhibit about North Carolina’s Revolutionary Politics and Signers of the Declaration of Independence

[This blog post was written by Donna Kelly, Head of the Special Collections Section.]

The Surry County Committee of Safety journal which reads both "Liberty or Death" and "God Save the King"

The Surry County Committee of Safety journal not only condemned British policies, but also declared loyalty to the Crown. To illustrate this paradox, the words “Liberty or Death” were printed in a circle surrounding “God Save the King.” From the State Archives of North Carolina (Secretary of State Records, Committees of Safety, MARS Id: 12.112).

A one-day special exhibit of documents from the State Archives will be displayed at Tryon Palace on Saturday, June 4, 2016. It focuses on North Carolina’s revolutionary politics and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Among significant documents to be displayed are Josiah Martin’s speech denouncing the Second Provincial Congress, the General Assembly’s response, an excerpt from a Surry County committee of safety journal, and a letter delivering news of America’s newfound status as an independent state. Also included is a document signed by all three delegates, just over a month after they signed the Declaration of Independence.

Leading up to the American Revolution, tensions were growing between the British government and the American colonies. At a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia an economic boycott against Great Britain was instituted and local committees of safety were set up to enforce it. In North Carolina, Provincial Congresses were held despite their denunciation by the royal governor, Josiah Martin. He dissolved the General Assembly on April 8, 1775, hoping to quell growing resistance to British rule, but he was unsuccessful.

Fifth page of the Halifax Resolves

The fifth page of the Halifax Resolves reads: “Resolved that the delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be impowered to concur with the other delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency . . .” From the State Archives of North Carolina (Secretary of State Records, Provincial Conventions and Congresses, MARS Id: 12.114).

After the violence at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts in April of 1775, and later the Patriot victory at Moore’s Creek Bridge in February of 1776, it became a foregone conclusion that any reconciliation between Great Britain and America was futile. As a result, the Halifax Resolves were adopted by the Fourth Provincial Congress on April 12, 1776, marking the first official action by a colony to declare independence. This date appears on the North Carolina state flag.

On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted that the American colonies were independent states. On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It was signed by William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and John Penn, delegates from North Carolina.

For more details see http://www.tryonpalace.org/events/it%E2%80%99s-revolutionary-documents-state-archives-north-carolina.