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John M. (John Montgomery) Belk papers

Identifier: MS0060

Scope and Contents

This collection documents exclusively Belk's tenure as mayor of Charlotte (1969-77). The bulk of the collection dates from his last term (1975-77). [NOTE: papers from his previous terms were apparently discarded by City Hall personnel.]


  • Creation: 1970 - 1977
  • Creation: 1975 - 1977


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

John Montgomery Belk was born in Charlotte on March 29, 1920. His father, William Henry Belk, founded Belk Stores Services, Inc., a chain of department stores headquartered in Charlotte. Belk joined the company in 1941 after receiving a B.A. in Economics from Davidson College and became president of the company in 1955. In 1971 he married Claudia Watkins of Charlotte. Belk has served in many civic groups. He was president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and has participated on the boards of directors in such organizations as the Friends of UNC Charlotte and Wachovia Bank and Trust. He succeeded Stanford R. Brookshire as mayor in 1969. Belk died at his home in Charlotte on August 17, 2007. [For additional information about Belk and Belk stores, see Belk: A Century of Retail Leadership (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988).]


3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Official papers as mayor of Charlotte (1969-77), dating primarily from his last term. Includes correspondence, reports, and speeches relating to the administration of city government, especially community development, roads, and mass transit.


The John M. Belk Papers are divided into the following series: Series 1, SUBJECT FILES (1970-77), organized by headings designated by the mayor, consists primarily of correspondence between the mayor and the administrative units such as city departments, City Council, Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, and mayor appointed committees; and citizens. Also included is correspondence and other information concerning Belk's participation in state and national municipal organizations. Issues of particular concern are thoroughfares within and around the city, mass transit, preservation of aesthetic character, and zoning. The files contain no information on civil rights or desegregation. Series 2, GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE (1974-77), consists almost exclusively of the mayor's Reading File, a chronological file of his outgoing correspondence. (Copies of most of these letters are also included in the Subject Files). Includes welcome and thank you letters and other routine correspondence. Series 3, SPEECHES (1971-77). Series 4, PHOTOGRAPHS (1975).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

On permanent deposit by the North Carolina Division of Archives and History and the City of Charlotte, 1980 and 1988.

Related Materials

Fred D. Alexander Papers (Mss 91) ; Stanford R.Brookshire Papers (Mss 41) ; Kenneth R. Harris Papers (Mss 21).

John M. (John Montgomery) Belk papers
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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 NC 28223 United States

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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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