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Parks Helms papers

Identifier: MS0406

Scope and Contents

This collection consists largely of material generated from Parks Helms' work on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners from 1992-2008. It also includes papers he generated with his work in several organizations, including the Arts and Science Council, the Commission for the Future of Justice and the Courts in North Carolina, the North Carolina Courts Commission, the Judicial Selection Task Force, the North Carolina Bar Association and Charlotte Center City Partners. There is also a small amount of material from his time in the North Carolina General Assembly from 1974-1984. In addition, the collection has papers from several of Helms' speeches throughout his career and items relating to his many campaigns for public office.


  • Creation: 1980 - 2005


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Parks Helms papers are the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. 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

Harold Parks Helms was born in 1936 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where he would continue to reside for the majority of his life. He grew up in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlotte and graduated from the now closed Charlotte Technical High School on Louise Avenue. Helms then went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts and Law Degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After college he began work at a law firm and now serves as President of the firm Helms, Henderson and Porter in Charlotte. Helms began his public service career in 1974 when he was first elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives, a body that he served in for the next ten years. In 1988 he ran for Lt. Governor of North Carolina but did not win the election. Nevertheless, he continued to be interested in politics and won a seat on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners in 1992. He served on this Board for the next 16 years, spending much of the time as its Chairman. Over his long career in public office, Parks Helms served on several other governmental organizations including the Commission for the Future of Justice and the Courts in North Carolina, the North Carolina Courts Commission, the Arts and Science Council, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Center City Partners and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Helms has also served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Central Carolinas, President of the Charlotte Jaycees, Director of Goodwill, the Board of Associates of Meredith College and the Board of Directors of Sykes Enterprises. Finally, he has held positions on several legal organizations, including the Legislative and Law Reform Committee, the Judicial Selection Task Force, the Task Force on the Quality and Value of Legal Service and as Vice President of the North Carolina Bar Association. He ended his work in government in 2010 and now continues to serve as the President of his law firm in Charlotte. He played a major part in the transformation of Charlotte into the major metropolitan area that it is now and led the Democratic Party to its return to prominence in Mecklenburg County politics, where it continues to dominate today.


50 Linear Feet


Papers documenting Helms' service on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, the North Carolina General Assembly, Arts and Science Council, Charlotte Center City Partners, Drug and Alcohol Fighting Back Commission and the North Carolina Bar Association. Includes correspondence, meeting minutes, budget information and speech material. Also includes a series of subject files related to Mecklenburg County government.


The collection is divided into nine series, three of which (Legal, Local Government and Campaigns) are further divided into subseries. The nine series are: Correspondence, Legal, Local Government, Campaigns, Speeches, Education, Budget, Assorted and General Assembly.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Parks Helms, 2009.

Related Materials

Arts and Science Council (Mss 448). Charlotte Chamber of Commerce (Mss 222). Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (Mss 77). Mecklenburg County Board of Education (Mss 2).

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2016 by Andrew Pack.

Parks Helms papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

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 NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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(704) 687-1170
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