Writing North Carolina History

By Jeffrey J. Crow; Larry E. Tise | Go to book overview

1
Colonial North Carolina, 1585-1764

by William S. Powell

To review what has been written about North Carolina during the 179-year period between 1585 and 1764 is a monumental undertaking for several reasons. Not only is that a very long period of time during which great and impressive events occurred, but it also anticipates that one must have at least passing acquaintance with what has been written about the period from 1585 until the present, which is a staggering 394 years. Touching even lightly on the publications of nearly four hundred years about events in North Carolina during that long-removed century and three-quarters anticipates a bibliographical and a historical knowledge of great proportions. To such I make no claim. By contrast, the next greatest period of time being reviewed by any of my colleagues at this symposium is a mere forty-four years, and he has nearly two hundred fewer years of writing time to survey. The briefest time span to be considered is one of only fifteen years ( 1861 to 1876) that ended just a century ago.

The enormity of the assignment became apparent when I took stock of the entries in the card catalog of the North Carolina Collection at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Under the appropriate subject headings I discovered approximately seven hundred cards representing books, monographs, pamphlets, scholarly and popular articles, theses and dissertations, biographies, bibliographies, and source books on this period. I can claim familiarity with only a small portion

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