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America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee Records, 1982-1989

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-2019-001

Content Description

Materials in this collection are dated 1982-1989 and concern the commemoration of the three Roanoke Voyages from 1584-1587. These voyages, sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh, began with two exploratory investigations of the present-day North Carolina coast, and ended with the birth of the first English child in the New World, Virginia Dare.

This collection’s largest series are Correspondence, which includes correspondence primarily addressed to David Henderson or copies of letter from him; and Projects, which consists of Calendared, Fundraising, and Proposed Projects. The Projects section encompasses information on a variety of projects that went ahead as scheduled, as well as those rejected, and includes fundraising efforts for the projects. The majority of the materials are dated 1984-1987.


  • 1982 - 1989

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to duplicate or publish material for any collection belonging to the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room must be obtained by Library staff.

Biographical / Historical

Prior to the permanent settlement of Jamestown in 1607, Sir Walter Raleigh received a charter from Queen Elizabeth I to establish a colony in the New World on the coast of present day North Carolina in 1584. He sent two explorers, Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe in April of that year to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to learn about the area and its inhabitants. They returned two months later with encouraging reports, and brought two Native Americans back with them.

Raleigh was knighted in January of 1585, and given possession of the area his men had found. Raleigh sent his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville, to the area, which had been renamed Virginia, to establish an English colony. Following an exploration of the area, Grenville briefly established a base on Roanoke Island, and returned to England in 1586. In 1587, John White proceeded to lead setters to establish a colony in Virginia, and eventually settled on Roanoke due to its isolation. While there, the Croatoan Indian Manteo was baptized, and shortly thereafter the first English child was born in the New World, Virginia Dare. White returned to England a few days later with the promising news, but upon his return three years later, nearly all trace of the colonists had disappeared.

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of these voyages, in 1973, the North Carolina General Assembly created the America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee, and charged members with planning and carrying out celebrations and events from 1984-1987. Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. began appointing committee members in 1978, including several figures such as Andy Griffith. The American Quadricentennial Corporation was created to raise private funds for the commemorative events. All North Carolina counties were encouraged to participate by creating their own American 400th Anniversary Committees, and many, including Mecklenburg County, did just that.

The official period for the commemoration lasted from April 27, 1984, which was the 400th Anniversary of the sailing of Amadas and Barlowe, until August 18, 1987, which was the 400th Anniversary of the birth of Virginia Dare. Chaired by Charlotte attorney David H. Henderson, the Mecklenburg County Committee for America’s 400th Anniversary set forth to add a variety of local events to correspond with those put on by the State. Committee members included several prominent people in Charlotte, and community members and organizations were encouraged to come up with ideas for local events, although the State Committee had final say over the projects. Some of the local events included special Charlotte Symphony Orchestra concerts, an exhibit at the Mint Museum entitled “A Pastiche of Victorian Fashions—Dresses Using English Fabric 1840-1900,” a historical tie-in the annual Festival in the Park, a lecture series with the Charlotte colleges, and activities for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schoolchildren. There were also a variety of brochures and publications produced, Harris Teeter shopping bags with the 400th Anniversary logos, and a video created.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 document box)

0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)

Language of Materials



Between 1584 and 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh attempted to colonize the Outer Banks of North Carolinawith the Roanoke Voyages. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of these voyages, in 1973 the NorthCarolina General Assembly created the America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee, and chargedmembers with planning and carrying out celebrations and events from 1984-1987. Many North Carolinacounties, including Mecklenburg County, had local committees, who also focused on their own historiesfor the events. David H. Henderson, an attorney in Charlotte, was made Chairman of the MecklenburgCounty Committee for America’s 400th Anniversary.

This collection includes correspondence, financial records, member lists, and project records of thecommittee.


There are 11 series in this collection: Certificates; Correspondence; Event Calendars; Financials; Historical Information; Member Lists; Minutes; Newsletters; Newspaper Clippings; Projects; Promotional Materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room by David H. Henderson on an unknown date.

Related Materials

America’s 400th Anniversary. (CALL NUMBER: NCR VERTICAL FILES)

Bayes, Ronald H. North Carolina’s 400 Years: Signs Along the Way: An Anthology of Poems by North Carolina Poets to Celebrate America’s 400th Anniversary. Durham, NC: Acorn Press, 1986. (CALL NUMBER: NCR 811)

Evans, Phil, Nick Hodsdon, and Doug Barger. America’s 400th Anniversary Handbook. Manteo, NC: Storie/McOwen, 1984. (CALL NUMBER: NCR 975.601)

North Carolina, Office of the State Auditor. The American Quadricentennial Corporation, Raleigh, North Carolina [microform]: Report on Audit and Financial Statements. Raleigh: Officer of the State Auditor, 1983. (CALL NUMBER: NCR STATE DOCUMENTS MICROFICHE I26 11:A512)


Koenig, John Jr., “Lost Colony: Anniversary Recalls a Mystery Nearly 400 Years Old,” 1984.

Evans, Phillip W. “Roanoke Voyages,” 2006.

Neville, John D. “America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary,” 2006.

Daniels, Dennis F. “America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee: Commemoration of the Roanoke Voyages,” 2004.

Condition Description

The materials in this collection are in good condition.


Accession date is the date of the creation of this record. Date of transfer of materials is unknown.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of this collection was completed by Hannah Cox in 2015.

America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee Records, 1982-1989
Hannah Cox
June 2015
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Repository

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library-Main
310 N. Tryon Street
Charlotte NC 28202 USA