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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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North Carolina Manual

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

Title page of the first edition of the North Carolina Manual, 1874. Image from North Carolina Manual was first published in 1874 by the North Carolina secretary of state as a volume of nearly 400 pages entitled Legislative Manual and Political Register of the State of North Carolina. Another edition was printed in 1903, and thereafter it appeared biennially. The title North Carolina Manual was first used in the 1917 edition.

Athough always intended to provide information for state legislators, the manual also has been useful to the general public, especially the news media, historians, and government officials. With the exception of the three editions between 1903 and 1907, the manual has contained biographical sketches of North Carolina's members of Congress, state legislators, state executive and administrative officials, and state and federal court judges. Most of the early volumes included retrospective material; the 1905 issue, for example, listed the governors since 1663 and the secretaries of state since 1777. The 1913 edition, compiled by R. D. W. Connor, secretary of the North Carolina Historical Commission, contained more than 1,000 pages and for the first time presented a substantial amount of information about North Carolina's political history in one volume. This edition also gave election returns for presidents and governors from 1836 to 1912, as well as the votes on various conventions and constitutional amendments. Information found in the 1913 Manual was verified, updated, extended, and expanded in North Carolina Government, 1585-1974, edited by John L. Cheney Jr.

Subsequent editions of the North Carolina Manual have been expanded to include state symbols, election statistics, maps and charts, information on higher education, historical perspectives of the counties, photographs (both color and black and white), census figures, and other information.

Additional Resources:

"The North Carolina Manual." North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State. (accessed May 23, 2016).

Resolution In Relation To A " North Carolina Manual." Laws and resolutions of the State of North Carolina, passed by the General Assembly at its session of 1873-'74. Raleigh [N.C.]: Josiah Turner, Jr. 1874. (accessed October 8, 2012).

Connor, R. D. W., editor. A Manual of North Carolina Issued by the North Carolina Historical Commission for the Use of the Members of the General Assembly Session 1913. Raleigh: E. M. Uzzell & Co., State Printer, 1913. (accessed October 8, 2012).

Image Credits:

Howerton, W.H. The Legislative Manual and Political Register of the State of North Carolina. Raleigh [N.C.]: Josiah Turner, Jr. 1874. (accessed October 8, 2012).