UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

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Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS0321

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of materials associated with the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Included are souvenir facsimiles of the Mecklenburg County Declaration of Independence; reproductions of pen and ink drawings of Mecklenburg County landmarks; reproductions of articles and book reviews pertaining to the declaration in the Mecklenburg gazette, Harper's monthly, and other publications; a special Mecklenburg Independence Day edition of the Charlotte observer issued in 1975; and copies of various historical maps of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and environs.

Dates

  • 1775 - 1975

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Supposedly signed on May 20, 1775, in Charlotte, North Carolina, by a committee of Mecklenburg County citizens, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is reputed by some to be the first declaration of independence made in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution. Evidence confirming the original document's existence is lacking, however, and extant newspapers from 1775 make no mention of it. Though professional historians now consider the document to be fraudulent, belief in the authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was once widespread in the state. The date of the declaration appears on the North Carolina seal and flag, and "Meck Dec Day" is celebrated on May 20, though not as widely as it once was. The text of the declaration first appeared in an article by Dr. Joseph McKnitt Alexander in the Raleigh register and North Carolina gazette on April 30, 1819. In his article, Alexander reconstructed the text of the original, which was allegedly destroyed in a fire in 1800, from memory. Subsequently the same article was published in numerous other U.S. newspapers. Despite skepticism expressed by Thomas Jefferson and others, the document was by and large accepted as genuine. After the discovery in 1838 of an abbreviated list of resolutions adopted in Mecklenburg County on May 31, 1775, a wider debate began about the veracity of the Declaration. Known as the Mecklenburg Resolves, the newly discovered document raised the question of why two markedly different sets of resolutions were adopted in Charlotte only 11 days apart. Skeptics contend that the Declaration is a garbled and wrongly dated version of the original Resolves text.

Extent

2 Linear Feet

Overview

The collection consists of materials associated with the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Included are souvenir facsimiles of the Mecklenburg County Declaration of Independence; reproductions of pen and ink drawings of Mecklenburg County landmarks; reproductions of articles and book reviews pertaining to the declaration in the Mecklenburg gazette, Harper's monthly, and other publications; a special Mecklenburg Independence Day edition of the Charlotte observer issued in 1975; and copies of various historical maps of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and environs.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into three series: Series I contains papers concerning the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (including facsimiles of the document issued as part of an anniversary celebration); Series II contains papers related to the Mecklenburg County Resolves; and Series III contains reproductions of art work produced by Teresa Beth Hough and Al Fincher.

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes, 2011.
Title
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence collection
Status
Completed
Author
Robert A. McInnes
Date
March 2011
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Contact:
Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated