Finding Aid of the Fessenden National Memorial Society Records, <date calendar="gregorian" era="ce" normal="1927/1980">1927 - 1980</date>, ORG.5048

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Finding Aid of the Fessenden National Memorial Society Records, <date calendar="gregorian" era="ce" normal="1927/1980">1927 - 1980</date>, ORG.5048

Abstract

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932), a radio pioneer, performed experiments on Roanoke Island and Hatteras Island, North Carolina, between 1901-1902. He is considered by many to be the "father of voice radio." Plans to memorialize his work in the area began in 1941. Members were recruited for the Fessenden National Memorial Association under the leadership of D. Victor Meekins. These plans were well underway by 1963. However, when Meekins died a year later in 1964, the group became inactive. Meekins' son Roger tried to resurrect the group, but in 1980, transferred the land they had set aside for their proposed memorial to the Roanoke Island Historical Association, the producers of America's longest running outdoor symphonic drama, .
The Fessenden National Memorial Society Records contains materials related to the Fessenden National Memorial Society and includes correspondence, meeting minutes, membership lists, bank statements, deeds, photographs, and press releases related to the , a destroyer escort built for the U. S. Navy during World War II.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Fessenden National Memorial Society Records
Call Number
ORG.5048
Creator
Fessenden National Memorial Society
Date
1927-1980
Extent
0.24 cubic feet
Language
English
Repository
Outer Banks History Center

Series Quick Links

  1. Collection Contents

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], 33MSS-48, Fessenden National Memorial Society Papers, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, N.C., U.S.A.

Collection Overview

This collection contains materials related to the Fessenden National Memorial Society. It contains correspondence, meeting minutes, bank statements, news clippings and press releases. There is also a folder of photographs that contains images of Fessenden, his estate, Wistowe, in Bermuda, as well as the , a destroyer escort built for the U. S. Navy during World War II. There are also land surveys of the "Fessenden Tract" done for the Roanoke Island Historical Association in 1980.

Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged topically.

Biographical and Historical No

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932), who was born in Brome County, Quebec, Canada, was a radio pioneer and is considered by many to be the "father of voice radio." In 1886, Fessenden went to work for Thomas Edison at the Edison Machine Works, who, at that time, was laying electrical conduits in the streets of New York. He was offered a job testing the quality of the interconnections of the conduits. Once the job was completed, Edison offered him a job in one of his laboratories and eventually made him chief chemist. In 1890, he began to concentrate on electrical engineering, with his interests turning to wireless radio. During his lifetime, he introduced the potential of several concepts and applied them to radio in ways that many now take for granted. Over an 18 month period in 1901-1902, Fessenden spent time on both Roanoke Island and Hatteras Island, North Carolina, conducting experiments to find a successful system to transmit and receive the sound of voice using continuous waves. He constructed 50 foot towers on Roanoke Island, Hatteras Island and Cape Henry (Virginia), in order to conduct his research. By March 1902, he had demonstrated a successful transmission and reception of voice with his devices. He sent a 127 word message from Cape Hatteras to Roanoke Island. By Christmas Eve, 1906, he had refined his system enough to make the first public demonstration of a voice radio broadcast. He passed away at his estate in Bermuda in 1932.

Plans to memorialize his work in the area began in 1941. Members were recruited to the Fessenden National Memorial Association under the leadership of D. Victor Meekins. These plans were well underway by 1963. However, when Meekins died a year later in 1964, the group became inactive. Meekins' son Roger tried to resurrect the group, but in 1980, transferred the land they had set aside for their proposed memorial to the Roanoke Island Historical Association, the producers of America's longest running outdoor symphonic drama, .

Contents of the Collection

Collection Contents
Finding Aid
1:1.1
Correspondence
1:2.1
Minutes and Membership Lists
1:2.2
Press releases, news stories, and <title xlink:type="simple" render="italic">USS Fessenden</title>: Most stories by Catherine Allyn Smising, including her correspondence
1:2.3
Deeds, Legal Documents, and Resolutions
1:2.4
Bank Statements
1:2.5
Newspaper Clippings, Biographical Sketches
1:2.6
Photographs
1:2.7
Program, Fessenden Memorial Exercices,Aug. 24, 1941
1:2.8
<title xlink:type="simple" render="italic">A Grassroots Employment Plan</title> by Reginald K. Fessenden
1:2.9
Misc. Research Notes
1:2.10
Survey of the Fessenden Tract for the Roanoke Island Historical Association, surveyed by W. W. Meekins, Jr. Associates,May 1980
1:2.11

Subject Headings

  • Fessenden, Reginal Aubrey, 1866-1932
  • Meekins, D. Victor, 1897-1964
  • Fessenden (Destroyer escort)
  • Fessenden National Memorial Society
  • Roanoke Island (N.C.)
  • Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Roger Meekins.

    Processing Information

  • Processed by Outer Banks History Center Staff
  • Encoded by Kelly Grimm, August, 2009