Private Collections


Private collections within the North Carolina State Archives are notable for a variety of reasons. Few state archives in the nation contain private papers, but these materials constitute a valuable resource for those conducting study and research in many diverse areas of North Carolina and regional and national history. The State Archives of North Carolina accepts papers and records of individuals, families, businesses, and other entities. The holdings of the Archives are especially known for materials spanning the colonial era, the era of the American Revolution, the antebellum period, Civil War, Reconstruction, and the latter part of the nineteenth century. In addition, the Archives has collected substantial twentieth century materials, even as it continues to acquire 18th and 19th century papers. In all of these efforts, the Archives seeks collections that illuminate the history of North Carolina from colonial times to the present.

Overviews of these collections are available in the online catalog. In many cases, more detailed guides are available either in the Legacy Finding Aids (for older collections) or in the finding aids on our website. Select items or collections may also be available in the Digital Collections.


Reference staff members are unavailable to perform detailed research but can reproduce items or folders of material referenced in the above guides as long as the request adequately directs staff members to the appropriate box or volumes.


Researchers who have questions about the feasibility of a search request or locating finding aids for a specific collection should contact the Archives at