North Carolina, History/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about North Carolina, History.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.
  • Powell, William S. and Jay Mazzocchi, eds. Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006) 1320pp; 2000 articles by 550 experts on all topics; ISBN 0807830712. The best starting point for most research.


  • Clay, James, and Douglas Orr, eds., North Carolina Atlas: Portrait of a Changing Southern State U. of North Carolina Press, 1971
  • Crow; Jeffrey J. and Larry E. Tise; Writing North Carolina History U. of North Carolina Press, (1979) online
  • Fleer; Jack D. North Carolina Government & Politics University of Nebraska Press, (1994) online political science textbook
  • Hawks; Francis L. History of North Carolina 2 vol 1857
  • Kersey, Marianne M., and Ran Coble, eds., North Carolina Focus: An Anthology on State Government, Politics, and Policy, 2d ed., (Raleigh: North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, 1989).
  • Lefler; Hugh Talmage. A Guide to the Study and Reading of North Carolina History University of North Carolina Press, (1963) online
  • Lefler, Hugh Talmage, and Albert Ray Newsome, North Carolina: The History of a Southern State University of North Carolina Press (1954, 1963, 1973), standard textbook
  • Luebke, Paul. Tar Heel Politics: Myths and Realities (University of North Carolina Press, 1990).
  • Powell William S. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Vol. 1, A-C; vol. 2, D-G; vol. 3, H-K. UNC Press, 1979-88.
  • Powell, William S. Encyclopedia of North Carolina. University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0807830710.
  • Powell, William S. North Carolina Fiction, 1734-1957: An Annotated Bibliography UNC Press 1958
  • Powell, William S. North Carolina through Four Centuries University of North Carolina Press (1989), standard textbook
  • Ready, Milton. The Tar Heel State: A History of North Carolina (2005) excerpt and text search
  • WPA Federal Writers' Project. North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State. 1939. famous WPA guide to every town


  • Boyd William Kenneth. The Story of Durham. Duke University Press, 1925.
  • Lally, Kelly A. Historic Architecture of Wake County, North Carolina. Raleigh: Wake County Government, 1994. ISBN 0-9639198-0-6.
  • Payne, Roger L. Place Names of the Outer Banks. Washington, North Carolina: Thomas A. Williams, 1985. ISBN0-932707-01-4.
  • Morland John Kenneth. Millways of Kent. UNC 1958.
  • Powell, William S. The First State University. 3rd ed. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1992.
  • Powell, William S. North Carolina Gazetteer. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1968. Available as an electronic book with ISBN 0807867039 from NetLibrary.
  • Vickers, James. Chapel Hill: An Illustrated History. Chapel Hill: Barclay, 1985. ISBN 0-9614429-0-5.

Special topics

  • Bishir, Catherine. North Carolina Architecture. Chapel Hill: UNC, 1990.
  • North Carolina China Council [a regional affiliate of the China Council of the Asia Society.] North Carolina's "China Connection," 1840-1949: A Record. N.P.: North Carolina China Council, 1981. No ISBN. Catalog of a photographic exhibit shown at the North Carolina Museum of History and elsewhere, 1980-1981.

Pre 1920

  • Eric Anderson, Race and Politics in North Carolina, 1872-1901 (Louisiana State University Press, 1981).
  • Beatty Bess. "Lowells of the South: Northern Influence on the Nineteenth-Century North Carolina Textile Industry, 1830-1890". Journal of Southern History 53 (Feb 1987): 37-62. online at JSTOR
  • Billings Dwight. Planters and the Making of a "New South": Class, Politics, and Development in North Carolina, 1865-1900. UNC Press, 1979.
  • Bolton; Charles C. Poor Whites of the Antebellum South: Tenants and Laborers in Central North Carolina and Northeast Mississippi Duke University Press, 1994 online edition
  • Cathey, Cornelius O. Agricultural Developments in North Carolina, 1783-1860. UNC Press, 1956.
  • Clayton Thomas H. Close to the Land. The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1820-1870. UNC Press, 1983.
  • A. Roger Ekirch, "Poor Carolina": Politics and Society in Colonial North Carolina, 1729-1776 (University of North Carolina Press, 1981)
  • Escott Paul D., and Jeffrey J. Crow. "The Social Order and Violent Disorder: An Analysis of North Carolina in the Revolution and the Civil War". Journal of Southern History 52 (August 1986): 373-402. in JSTOR
  • Escott; Paul D. Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900 University of North Carolina Press, (1985) online
  • Fenn, Elizabeth A. and Peter H. Wood. Natives and Newcomers: The Way We Lived in North Carolina Before 1770 University of North Carolina Press 1983
  • Gilpatrick; Delbert Harold. Jeffersonian Democracy in North Carolina, 1789-1816 Columbia University Press. (1931) online edition
  • Gilmore; Glenda Elizabeth. Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 U of North Carolina Press, 1996 online edition
  • Griffin Richard W. "Reconstruction of the North Carolina Textile Industry, 1865-1885". North Carolina Historical Review 41 (January 1964): 34-53.
  • Harris, William C. "William Woods Holden: in Search of Vindication." North Carolina Historical Review 1982 59(4): 354-372. ISSN 0029-2494 Governor during Reconstruction
  • Harris, William C. William Woods Holden, Firebrand of North Carolina Politics. Louisiana State U. Press, 1987. 332 pp.
  • Johnson, Charles A. "The Camp Meeting in Ante-Bellum North Carolina". North Carolina Historical Review 10 (April 1933): 95-110.
  • Johnson Guion Griffis. Antebellum North Carolina: A Social History. UNC Press, 1937
  • Kars, Marjoleine. Breaking Loose Together: The Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina UNC Press, 2002 online edition
  • Kruman Marc W. Parties and Politics in North Carolina, 1836-1865. Louisiana State University Press, 1983.
  • Leloudis, James L. Schooling the New South: Pedagogy, Self, and Society in North Carolina, 1880-1920 University of North Carolina Press, 1996 online edition
  • McDonald Forrest, and Grady McWhiney. "The South from Self-Sufficiency to Peonage: An Interpretation". American Historical Review 85 (December 1980): 1095-1118. in JSTOR
  • McDonald Forrest, and Grady McWhiney. "The Antebellum Southern Herdsmen: A Reinterpretation". Journal of Southern History 41 (May 1975): 147-66. in JSTOR
  • Morrill, James R. The Practice and Politics of Fiat Finance: North Carolina in the Confederation, 1783-1789. UNC Press, 1969 online edition
  • Mabel Newcomer; Economic and Social History of Chowan County, North Carolina, 1880-1915 Columbia UP, 1917 online edition
  • Nathans Sydney. The Quest for Progress: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1870-1920. UNC Press, 1983.
  • O'Brien Gail Williams. The Legal Fraternity and the Making of a New South Community, 1848-1882. U. of Georgia Press, 1986.
  • Opper Peter Kent. "North Carolina Quakers: Reluctant Slaveholders". North Carolina Historical Review 52 (January 1975): 37-58.
  • Perdue Theda. Native Carolinians: The Indians of North Carolina. Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985.
  • Ramsey Robert W. Carolina Cradle. Settlement of the Northwest Carolina Frontier, 1747-1762. UNC Press, 1964.
  • Risjord, Chesapeake politics
  • Joseph Carlyle Sitterson. The Secession Movement in North Carolina (1939) 285 pages
  • Louise Irby Trenholme; The Ratification of the Federal Constitution in North Carolina Columbia U. Press, 1932 online edition
  • Watson Harry L. An Independent People: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1770-1820. UNC Press 1983.
  • Woodward C. Vann. Origins of the New South, 1877-1913. Louisiana State U. Press, 1951

Since 1920

  • Abrams; Douglas Carl; Conservative Constraints: North Carolina and the New Deal U. Press of Mississippi, 1992 online edition
  • Badger; Anthony J. Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobacco, and North Carolina U. of North Carolina Press, (1980) [online edition
  • Bell John L., Jr. Hard Times: Beginnings of the Great Depression in North Carolina, 1929-1933. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1982.
  • Clancy, Paul R. Just a Country Lawyer: A Biography of Senator Sam Ervin. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1974. A biography of the U.S. Senator from North Carolina who helped to bring down Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon, and who defended civil liberties in many cases but also opposed the Civil Rights movement and the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • Ehle, John. The Free Men. Harper & Row, 1965. Reprinted with a new afterword by Press 53 (Lewisville, N.C.), 2007, with ISBN 0979304911.
  • Willard B. Gatewood; Preachers, Pedagogues & Politicians: The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina, 1920-1927 UNC Press, 1966 online edition
  • Gilmore; Glenda Elizabeth. Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 U of North Carolina Press, 1996
  • Grundy; Pamela. Learning to Win: Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina U of North Carolina Press, 2001 online edition
  • Hagood, Margaret Jarman. Mothers of the South: Portraiture of the White Tenant Farm Woman 1939
  • Key, V. O. Southern Politics in State and Nation (1951)
  • Odum, Howard W. Folk, Region, and Society: Selected Papers of Howard W. Odum, UNC Press, 1964.
  • Parramore Thomas C. Express Lanes and Country Roads: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1920-1970. UNC Press, 1983.
  • Pope, Liston. Millhands and Preachers. New Haven: Yale, 1976 (reprint of 1942 edition). A history of the 1929 Loray Mill strike in Gastonia, N.C., especially the role of the church.
  • Puryear, Elmer L. Democratic Party Dissension in North Carolina, 1928-1936 (University of North Carolina Press, 1962).
  • Seymour, Robert E. "Whites Only". Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson, 1991. An account of the Civil Rights movement in North Carolina, and churches' involvement in it (on both sides) in particular, by a white Baptist pastor who was a supporter of the movement. ISBN 0-8170-1178-1.
  • Taylor, Elizabeth A. "The Women's Suffrage Movement in North Carolina", North Carolina Historical Review, (January 1961):

45-62, and ibid. (April 1961): 173-89;

  • Tilley Nannie May. The Bright Tobacco Industry, 1860-1929. UNC 1948.
  • Tilley Nannie May. The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. UNC Press, 1985.
  • Tullos, Allen. Habits of Industry: White Culture and the Transformation of the Carolina Piedmont. UNC Press. 1989. online edition, based on interviews
  • Weare; Walter B. Black Business in the New South: A Social History of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company U. of Illinois Press, 1993 online edition
  • Wood; Phillip J. Southern Capitalism: The Political Economy of North Carolina, 1880-1980 Duke University Press, 1986 online edition

Primary sources

  • Lindley S. Butler and Alan D. Watson, eds., The North Carolina Experience: An Interpretive and Documentary History UNC Press, 1984, essays by historians and selected related primary sources.
  • John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585-1979: A Narrative and Statistical History (Raleigh: Department of the Secretary of State, 1981)
  • Jack Claiborne and William Price, eds. Discovering North Carolina: A Tar Heel Reader (University of North Carolina Press, 1991).
  • Hugh Lefler, North Carolina History Told by Contemporaries (University of North Carolina Press, numerous editions since 1934)
  • H. G. Jones, North Carolina Illustrated, 1524-1984 (University of North Carolina Press, 1984)
  • Alexander S. Salley, ed. Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708 (1911) online edition
  • Woodmason Charles. The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution. UNC Press, 1953.
  • Yearns, W. Buck and John G. Barret; North Carolina Civil War Documentary (University of North Carolina Press, 1980)
  • North Carolina Manual, published biennially by the Department of the Secretary of State since 1941.

Primary sources: governors and political leaders

  • Luther H. Hodges; Businessman in the Statehouse: Six Years as Governor of North Carolina UNC Press 1962 online edition
  • Memoirs of W. W. Holden (1911) complete text
  • Holden, William Woods. The Papers of William Woods Holden. Vol. 1: 1841-1868. Horace Raper and Thornton W. Mitchell, ed. Raleigh, Division of Archives and History, Dept. of Cultural Resources, 2000. 457 pp.