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William S. Powell Research Materials for Paradise Preserved


Born in 1919 in Johnston County and raised in Statesville, Bill Powell attended Mitchell College for two years before transferring to the University of North Carolina. He graduated in 1940, entered the U.S. Army, and served in the military intelligence branch in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He returned to Chapel Hill after the war to earn degrees in history and library science. He worked as a research historian at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History, became assistant librarian at the North Carolina Collection at UNC, and in 1958, he was promoted to curator. In 1973, he became a professor of history at the university. In addition to his work with the institutions ... (more below)

Title

William S. Powell Research Materials for Paradise Preserved

Collection Number

PC.5009

Date(s)

1965-1966

Box 1Box 2
Language

English

Physical Description
Items
200.00
Abstract

Born in 1919 in Johnston County and raised in Statesville, Bill Powell attended Mitchell College for two years before transferring to the University of North Carolina. He graduated in 1940, entered the U.S. Army, and served in the military intelligence branch in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He returned to Chapel Hill after the war to earn degrees in history and library science. He worked as a research historian at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History, became assistant librarian at the North Carolina Collection at UNC, and in 1958, he was promoted to curator. In 1973, he became a professor of history at the university. In addition to his work with the institutions mentioned, he has also written or edited numerous volumes of state and local history.

This collection contains materials relating to the researching and writing of Powell's book,  Paradise Preserved: A History of the Roanoke Island Historical Association.

Physical Location

2F1-2F2

Creator

Powell, William S.

Repository

Outer Banks History Center


The Paradise Lost papers are organized according to subject and by document type.


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 Sarah S. Downing.

Encoded by Christine A. Dumoulin, December, 2007


Bill Powell is widely considered the  "dean" of North Carolina historians. Born in 1919 in Johnston County and raised in Statesville, Powell attended Mitchell College for two years before transferring to the University of North Carolina. He graduated in 1940, entered the U.S. Army, and served in the military intelligence branch in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He returned to Chapel Hill after the war to earn degrees in history and library science. After one year as a librarian at Yale University, in 1948 he became a full-time research historian at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History.

In 1952, Powell became assistant librarian at the North Carolina Collection at UNC, and in 1958, he was promoted to curator. In that capacity he helped build what is now regarded as the premier research collection on state history. In 1973, he became a professor of history at the university, teaching more than 6,000 students before his retirement in 1986. Many of his students and protégés have gone on to hold significant positions at the state's libraries, archives, colleges, and universities.

While he has written or edited numerous volumes of state and local history, Powell's most important contributions are reference works that have long been regarded as foundations for North Carolina history and as models for similar works in other states.  The North Carolina Gazetteer (1968) is a geographical dictionary that lists the names, founding date, and a snippet of history on every notable place in the state.  The Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (1979-1996) spans six volumes and contains almost 4,000 biographies of people who made significant contributions to North Carolina history. Over the course of many years, Powell collected and edited entries from volunteers, as well as writing hundreds of entries himself. His  North Carolina Through Four Centuries (1989) remains a standard college textbook. The scope and quantity of his writings are unmatched and include documentary volumes on the Regulators and William Tryon, an illustrated history of UNC, a biography of John Pory, and a history of Caswell County.

The library catalog at UNC-Chapel Hill lists some 112 books and articles by Powell. For his accomplishments, he was honored with the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2000.


Formerly classified as 33MSS-9


[Identification of item], PC.5009, William S. Powell Research Materials for Paradise Preserved, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC, USA.


Collection donated by David Stick.


This collection contains materials relating to the researching and writing of Powell's book,  Paradise Preserved: A History of the Roanoke Island Historical Association. Powell describes the efforts to preserve Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island, the child Virginia Dare, the Roanoke Island Historical Association and related organizations and the outdoor symphonic drama, The Lost Colony. There are several manuscript drafts, research materials including typed note cards, hand-written notes, and writings about the Roanoke Island Historical Association and its predecessors, Virginia Dare Association and historical background of the Lost Colony. There is also a pamphlet and a booklet about Raleigh's Roanoke Colony of 1585.


  • Roanoke Colony Memorial Association
  • Roanoke Island Celebration Company
  • Roanoke Island Historical Association
  • Senator Vance Memorial Association
  • Virginia Dare Association
  • Lost Colony (Symphonic drama)
  • Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (N.C.)
  • Roanoke Colony