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Adelaide L. Fries papers

 Collection — Box: SFC3 [F09.090.03.01], Folder: 244
Identifier: MS0244

Scope and Contents

Includes a copy of a 4-page pamphlet by S. A. Ashe and Stephen B. Weeks, "An Important Document, The Original First Draught of the Mecklenburg Declaration, Recently Brought to Light" (1907) in which the authors contend that John McKnight Alexander confused names and dates in 1800 while trying to recollect documented events of May 31, 1775 (Mecklenburg Resolves); photocopy of the autographed inscription and title page of Fries's copy of William H. Hoyt's The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence: A Study of Evidence Showing that the Alleged Early Declaration of Independence by Mecklenburg County, on May 20th, 1775 is Spurious (New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1907) [a copy of this book is available in the library's Rare Book Collection]; letter (typewritten copy, initialed, 1916) from Fries to Stephen B. Weeks concerning comments by Traugott Bagge in which he provides limited support for the authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence; and a reprint from The Alumni Review, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1939) of the "Friends of The Library" page containing Archibald Henderson's essay on the so-called "Davie Copy" of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence held by the Southern Historical Collection. [For additional biographical information about Bagge, Fries, Henderson, and Weeks, consult William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (1979).]


  • 1907-1939


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

Adelaide Fries (1871-1949) was a North Carolina author, archivist, historian and genealogist who lived in Winston-Salem and focused primarily on Moravian history.

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was a document believed to have been created on May 20, 1775 that declared Mecklenburg county, NC free and independent of Great Britain and is often called the first declaration of independence in the American colonies. Many scholars have doubted its existence over the years and believe that the Mecklenburg county citizens (such as the children of two of the purported signers, John McKnitt ALexander and Thomas Polk) who touted its existence were instead remembering the Mecklenburg Resolves. The Mecklenburg Resolves were a series of resolutions adopted in Charlotte on May 31, 1775 that denied the authority of Parliament in the colonies and instead gave the governing power to the Provincial Congress. The Resolves did not, however, declare complete independence from Great Britain. The existence of the Resolves was proven when they were discovered in a contemporaneous copy of the South Carolina Gazette newspaper (June 13, 1775) by a researcher in 1847.



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Language of Materials



Material relating to the authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, including a letter (1916) from Fries, an archivist and editor, to Stephen B. Weeks, North Carolina collector and historian, concerning Traugott Bagge's report that "the County of Mecklenburg declared itself free and independent of England" in 1775.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ms. Joe Brickey, 1997.

Related Materials

UNC Charlotte Rare Book Collection: Fries’s pamphlet about Bagge, The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence as Mentioned in Records of Wachovia (1907) [E215.9 F91 1907]. UNC Charlotte Manuscript Collection: Richard Casanova Papers (Mss 153). Daughters of the American Revolution, Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence Chapter (Charlotte, N.C.) Records (Mss 146). Davidson Family Papers (Mss 188). Mecklenburg Historical Association Records (Mss 158). Spratt Family Papers (Mss 140).

Processing Information

Processed by Randy Penninger, October, 1997.

Papers of Adelaide L. Fries PAPERS, 1907, 1916, 1939
Finding aid written by Randy Penninger
October 1997
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

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

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

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