Celebrating North Carolina's Copy of the Bill of Rights

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the recovery of North Carolina's copy of the Bill of Rights, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources presented a special program on March 18, 2013.

The program included remarks by Attorney General Roy Cooper and N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby and an opportunity for members of the public to view the document. The General Assembly also held a special session to honor the occasion.

For details on the day's events check out photos on Flickr and a rundown of the day on social media.

The Document and Its Recovery

North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights was missing for more than a century. Removed from the State Capitol in 1865 by a Union soldier, the document is one of 14 original copies of the Bill of Rights President George Washington dispatched to the states for ratification. North Carolina had insisted on the inclusion of a Bill of Rights before it would join the United States of America. 

The document changed ownership a number of times, and was offered for sale back to North Carolina in 1925 and 1995. An antiques dealer and his client acquired the document and sought to sell it to the newly constructed Constitution Center in Pennsylvania. North Carolina was contacted and law enforcement officials agreed to stage a sting operation to return to North Carolina its copy of the Bill of Rights. The FBI led the operation, which was conducted in 2003.

Read more on the recovery here and check out digitized copies of other precious documents from North Carolina's early statehood period here.

History Happens Here

DCR Collections Search


N.C. Department of Cultural Resources
109 East Jones Street MSC 4601 |  Raleigh, NC 27699-4601
Phone: (919) 807-7300  | Fax: (919) 733-1620

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