Encyclopedia of North Carolina

Edited by William S. Powell

Jay Mazzocchi, Associate Editor

Encyclopedia of North Carolina

1328 pp., 8.5 x 10.875, 373 illus., 4 tables, 22 maps, index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8078-3071-0
    Published: November 2006

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Awards & distinctions

A Library Journal Best Reference of 2006

2007 Ragan Old North State Award, North Carolina Literary and Historical Association

A 2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

2007 Award of Merit, American Association for State and Local History

The first single-volume reference to the events, institutions, and cultural forces that have defined the state, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina is a landmark publication that will serve those who love and live in North Carolina for generations to come. Editor William S. Powell, whom the Raleigh News & Observer described as a "living repository of information on all things North Carolinian," spent fifteen years developing this volume. With contributions by more than 550 volunteer writers--including scholars, librarians, journalists, and many others--it is a true "people's encyclopedia" of North Carolina.

The volume includes more than 2,000 entries, presented alphabetically, consisting of longer essays on major subjects, briefer entries, and short summaries and definitions. Most entries include suggestions for further reading. Centered on history and the humanities, topics covered include agriculture; arts and architecture; business and industry; the Civil War; culture and customs; education; geography; geology, mining, and archaeology; government, politics, and law; media; medicine, science, and technology; military history; natural environment; organizations, clubs, and foundations; people, languages, and immigration; places and historic preservation; precolonial and colonial history; recreation and tourism; religion; and transportation.

An informative and engaging compendium, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina is abundantly illustrated with 400 photographs and maps. It is both a celebration and a gift--from the citizens of North Carolina, to the citizens of North Carolina.

Published in association with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library

About the Author

William S. Powell is professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author or editor of many reference books about the state, including the six-volume Dictionary of North Carolina Biography and The North Carolina Gazetteer, both from the University of North Carolina Press. Jay Mazzocchi is an experienced managing editor who was previously a developmental editor and writing fellow for the 24-volume American National Biography.

For more information about William S. Powell, visit the Author Page.


“The Encyclopedia of North Carolina is the culmination of the splendid scholarly career of William Powell, our state’s preeminent historian. The Encyclopedia belongs in every home and every library— it’s that important.” —William Friday

"The Encyclopedia of North Carolina is one of the most valuable reference resources produced to date, loaded with information every North Carolinian should know. The subject areas covered provide not only historical facts but also great insight about how the journey unfolded to bring us to where we are today in North Carolina. The piece on education, especially, offered me a valuable new perspective on how our education system has developed." —Howard N. Lee, Chairman, North Carolina State Board of Education

"The Encyclopedia of North Carolina, a carefully researched and beautifully written work by William S. Powell and numerous authors and editors, completes the trilogy of reference works that also includes The North Carolina Gazetteer and the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Powell and associates have captured our state and her people in a generous and encompassing work that is truly magnificent and that will be a valued addition to every library, public and private, in our state and nation. An immense project that required more than fifteen years to complete, this volume adds stature to our state and brings honor to its authors. Bravo and Thanks!" —Betty Ray McCain, former Secretary, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

"This is a book to admire and learn from. With over 2,000 carefully selected scholarly, current, and readable entries, it offers much that is essential to understanding the history, development, and modern characteristics of North Carolina." —John H. Haley, Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

"Once again William S. Powell has delivered an indispensable reference work on North Carolina. Readers of the Encyclopedia of North Carolina will be enriched, informed, and amused by this comprehensive guide to North Carolina's history, culture, and geography." —Jeffrey J. Crow, Deputy Secretary of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources