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Richard L. Casanova papers

Identifier: MS0153

Scope and Contents

This collection contains professional and personal papers of Richard L. Casanova. His papers reflect not only his professional interest in paleontology, but his personal interest in Charlotte history, particularly the controversy surrounding the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and Shakespeareana. Of note is correspondence between Casanova and his wife during and after World War II, as well as wartime memorabilia.


  • Creation: 1565 - 1994
  • Creation: 1877 - 1993


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

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

Richard Louis Casanova was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 4, 1918 to John Frederick and Martha Franklin Casanova. In 1927, his family moved to New York City. During World War II, Casanova served in Europe with the U.S. Army 503rd Parachute Regiment. He married Mary Elizabeth Carson of Iredell County, N.C., on December 30, 1944 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. After the war, Casanova served with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Panama, 1946-47. As a paleontologist, he worked with Ward's Natural Science Establishment of Rochester, N.Y., from 1948 to 1949. He moved to North Carolina in 1950, where he served as director of the Paleontological Research Laboratory in Statesville until 1961. The Casanovas then moved to Charlotte, where Richard served as director of Geo-Tech Archives, editor of Fossils Quarterly, and as a consultant to the Schiele Museum in Gastonia; Elizabeth taught in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools until her retirement in 1980. He wrote An Illustrated Guide to Fossil Collecting (1957), as well as numerous articles. They were the parents of four children. Elizabeth died on March 3, 1994 in Charlotte, while Richard died on March 31, 1994, also in Charlotte. They were buried in the Taylorsville City Cemetery in Taylorsville, N.C. [For additional biographical information, see series 7, Family and Personal Memorabilia.] [SOURCES: Who's Who in the South and Southwest, volume 6 and 1975/76 edition; Leaders in Americans Science, 4th edition; and biographical material in series 7 of this collection.]


3 Linear Feet


Papers of a local scientist, author, and collector. Includes personal and professional correspondence; manuscript and typed copies of his writings on fossil collecting, the history of paleontology, and local history; files relating to his editorship of the Fossil Quarterly; and material pertaining to Shakespeare, including 18th century British newspapers, memorabilia from the 300th birthday celebration in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1864, and scripts, publicity stills, and programs of various 20th century productions in the United States and Great Britain. Also contains photographs and ephemera concerning Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and extensive files on the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, including reproductions of original documents from the Southern Historical Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill. Also includes correspondence (1939-47) of his wife, Elizabeth Carson Casanova of Statesville, as a student at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, while working in Washington, D.C., and as a Red Cross employee in England during World War II, and during the early years of their marriage.


The collection is divided into 7 series, 3 of which are further divided into subseries. The series are as follows: Writings (1941-1989), Correspondence (1939-1994), Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (1775-1975), Shakespeariana (1685-1985), Collectibles (1500s-1800s), Family and Personal Memorabilia (1926-1994) and Photographs (1942-1986.)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Richard L. Casanova, 1976-1993.

Related Materials

Mecklenburg Declaration Papers, UNC-Chapel Hill, SHC #501 ; Kenneth Whitsett Papers, MS0270.

Processing Information

Processed by Alan Litehizer, 1993-1994.

Richard L. Casanova papers
Alan Litehizer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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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