callout

Fessenden National Memorial Society Records


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' ... (more below)

Title

Fessenden National Memorial Society Records

Collection Number

ORG.5048

Date(s)

1927-1980

Box 1
Language

English

Physical Description
Cubic feet
0.24
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 Lost Colony.

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  USS Fessenden, a destroyer escort built for the U. S. Navy during World War II.

Physical Location

3A3

Creator

Fessenden National Memorial Society

Repository

Outer Banks History Center


This collection is arranged topically.


Available for research.


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.


Processed by Outer Banks History Center Staff

Encoded by Kelly Grimm, August, 2009


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,  The Lost Colony.


Formerly classified as 33MSS-48


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


Donated by Roger Meekins.


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  USS Fessenden, 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.


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