Encyclopedia of North Carolina

Illustration from 1924 biology textbook

Even before William S. Powell wrapped up work on the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography we knew that he was planning an encyclopedia. We looked forward to it more than most, knowing that it would be a reference tool that we would use almost every day in the North Carolina Collection. We were right. Decades in the making (Powell says in the introduction that he first had the idea for the book shortly after the end of World War II), the Encyclopedia of North Carolina is finally here.

The Encyclopedia has everything that we knew it would — succinct, authoritative articles about historic places and events — but it also has so much more, covering North Carolina culture in all of its rich variety. There are entries for “Headache Powders,” “Revivals,” “Hoi Toiders,” “Grits,” and even an entry for “Mooning,” written by William S. Powell himself. Combined with the North Carolina Gazetteer and the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, both of which were also edited by Powell, North Carolina now has a reference shelf that puts a wealth of information at our fingertips.