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America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee Record Group
MARS ID 198
1937, 1972-1987, undated
North Carolina. America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee.
State Archives of North Carolina
Available for research
Processed by David B. Chiswell, September 2008;
Finding Aid by David B. Chiswell, January 2009;
Encoded by Aaron Cusick, June 2013
Between 1984 and 1987 North Carolina commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of the Roanoke Voyages. Supported by Sir Walter Raleigh with the assistance of Queen Elizabeth I, the first expedition was sent to explore the coastal and sound regions of what is now North Carolina. Subsequent voyages attempted to found a military colony on Roanoke Island and an ongoing civilian settlement. While these objectives were only partially realized (the settlement is remembered as the Lost Colony), the voyages led the way for England to establish permanent colonies in America in the following century.
Through a joint resolution, the General Assembly of 1955 laid the foundation for a three-year celebration of the historical events. A body known as America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Commission was established to initiate plans toward a commemoration on the scale of a national or world's fair exposition, or as deemed appropriate. Consisting of not less than twenty-five nor more than fifty members, appointees to the commission were to be chosen by the governor on the following merits: capacity to deal with problems involved in a celebration of national scope, and knowledge of and interest in early American history. The resolution stipulated, however, that the commission's non-resident membership not exceed twenty percent. The commission's ex officio members were to include North Carolina's entire delegation to Congress.
In 1973 the legislature repealed the resolution creating the anniversary commission and established America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee in its place. Charged with advising the secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in planning and implementing the commemorations, the anniversary committee consisted of four ex officio members and ten gubernatorial appointees who served staggered terms. Their successors served terms of four years. Those serving ex officio included the secretary of the Department of Natural and Economic Resources, the mayor of Manteo on Roanoke Island, and chairmen of the Roanoke Island Historical Association and the Dare County Board of Commissioners. The governor was authorized to appoint a member of the committee to serve as chairman. In 1977 the designation of the secretary of the Department of Natural and Economic Resources was changed when that department was reorganized as the Department of Natural Resources and Community Development.
In 1978 the American Quadricentennial Corporation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was created to provide private support for programs planned and executed by America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee. To ensure coordination between the two bodies, the president of the corporation also functioned as the chairman of the anniversary committee.
The executive director and staff of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee reported directly to the secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources. Staff operations, however, were affiliated directly with the department's Division of Archives and History. During the years of planning, the following major objectives were sought by the division and committee: to conduct and promote solid historical and archaeological studies of England's first attempt to colonize America; to encourage the preservation and public exhibition of historic sites and artifacts associated with the expeditions; to cooperate with other agencies and organizations in developing better facilities in coastal North Carolina in anticipation of the celebration and the anticipated tourism afterwards; and to promote the state's heritage and attractions.
These aims had notable results, including the following: publication of a series of pamphlets and monographs on the region's history; a scholarly symposium on Sir Walter Raleigh and publication of the papers presented; an archaeological search for the sites of English colonists and Indian villages on Roanoke Island; addition of a number of historical markers on Roanoke Island and in England; and an exhibit of sixteenth-century artifacts and manuscripts, "Raleigh and Roanoke," jointly produced by the British Library and the North Carolina Museum of History and shown in London, Raleigh, and New York. Additionally, ELIZABETH II--a replica of a sailing ship of the period--was built and docked at a new state historic site located in Shallowbag Bay, the harbor for the town of Manteo. The anniversary committee also supported or endorsed many other projects, including a British-American Folk Festival and a nationally televised epic drama entitled ROANOKE, which was aired as a three-part miniseries. Commemorations were scheduled to end on 18 August 1987, the four- hundredth birthday of Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents born and baptized in America.
REFERENCES: S.L., 1955, Resolution 43. S.L., 1973, c. 476, ss. 74-76. S.L., 1977, c. 771, s. 4. G.S. 143B-85 through 143B-86 . America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee. AMERICA'S FOUR HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE: FINAL REPORT, by John D. Neville. Raleigh, . Pp. 1-93. Department of Cultural Resources. [Budget]. Raleigh, 1979/80. ---. DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL RESOURCES. Raleigh, 1984. P. 17. Poff, Jan-Michael, ed. ADDRESSES AND PUBLIC PAPERS OF JAMES BAXTER HUNT, JR., GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA, VOLUME II, 1981-1985. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1987. Pp. 38, 316-317, 412-413, 479-480, 503-504. Powell, William S. NORTH CAROLINA THROUGH FOUR CENTURIES. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. Pp. 15-17, 33-50, 543-544.
General correspondence, commemorative souvenir information, committee and subcommittee correspondence, research reports, programs, brochures, Sir Francis Drake Conference memorabilia, photographs, and resolutions pertaining to planning and development of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (AFHAC). Includes the files of H. G. Jones, first chairman of AFHA and first president of American Quadricentennial Corporation (AQC), which were transferred on 14 February 2005 from Chapel Hill, North Carolina to the State Archives and later merged into this series. Also, includes the rough draft materials and final official report of completed by John Neville on 15 May 1989.
Correspondences, memorandums, pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, grant applications, and programs covering various celebrations held in honor of the anniversary. Series includes British American Festival, British Library Exhibition, Commission of Indian Affairs, Elizabethan Gardens and Rendezvous Festival, English Speaking Union, and Roanoke Island Historical Association materials.
Correspondences, research reports, grant proposals, legal agreements, summary reports, and memorandums consisting of information on various archaeological projects funded by the committee. Includes information on Algonkian Indians, maritime archaeology, and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.
Newspaper clippings (compiled by a clipping service) which were housed originally in multiple volumes of three-ring binders along with two boxes containing a few magazines and loose newspaper clippings. The original clippings were received from the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where they had been sent for storage once the committee's office in Chapel Hill was closed. The processed materials were sorted and alphabetized by subject matter then pasted on ledger size paper in chronological order and microfilmed. The original clippings were destroyed after microfilming, and are contained on reels S.38.5-7.
Correspondence, speeches, press kits, royal visit information, travel abroad information and other information related to all commemorative events held by AFHAC.
Correspondence, licensing agreements, trademark registration, memorandums, and other information concerning the official logo of the America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (AFHAC).
Drawings, state bid information, photographs, slides, correspondence, feasibility reports, contracts, memorandums, and research file concerning the planning, construction, launching, and dedication of Elizabeth II and historic site at Shallowbag Bay in Manteo. Elizabeth II was the brainchild of former Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. that was designed by late William Avery Baker and Stanley Potter. The ship replica was completed in early 1984 by the O. Lie-Nielsen, a shipbuilder located in Rockland, Maine.
General correspondence, county correspondence and information, and workshop material related to the committee's work.
Correspondence and memorandums from various state agencies, committee members, as well as correspondence with various offices and agencies in Great Britain (about royal visits and museum exhibitions). Also includes correspondence concerning book and pamphlet contract agreements.
Minutes and attachments concerning the committee (and the earlier version of the committee) and the nonprofit corporation. Includes also financial information and monthly status reports. The bound original minutes of the America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (AFHAC) from August 1978 thru September 1980 and American Quadricentennial Corporation (AQC) from November 1978 thru July 1981 were received from former chairman and president, H. G. Jones to William S. Powell on 6 February 1981. Both the AFHAC and AQC held jointly meetings throughout North Carolina; therefore it is necessary to file both together in chronological order. The anniversary celebration ended officially with Virginia Dare Birthday celebration in Manteo on 18 August 1987 and AQC dissolved in December 1987.
Correspondence, tax information, articles of incorporation, audit reports, minutes, prospectus, news clippings, questionnaire, committee information, memorandums, fundraising information, and membership information for the non-profit organization responsible for handling of all governmental and corporate grant funding as well as general public fundraising to support America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (AFHAC) objectives. This series was created from records found during move at old Capital Visitor Center file room in June 2004 and several files of H. G. Jones from Chapel Hill in 2005.
Souvenir program, booklets, historical publications, magazine articles, brochures, miscellaneous programs, newsletters, and tour information pertaining to various programs and activities of America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (AFHAC) in state, national, and international publications. This series was created from materials gleaned from news clippings file; loose materials transferred 21 April 1988; and materials found in old capital visitor center 2007.
Audio-visual materials created in support of the activities of the America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (AFHAC).