Jamestown 350th Anniversary in 1957

Source: George A. Holderness, Jr. Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #672

Staff Person: Martha Elmore


Jamestown Festival official program.

Jamestown Festival official program.

The celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Va., was just held on May 11th, 12th and 13th, 2007. For the non-Virginians or non-historians reading this, I will point out that Jamestown is considered the first successful English colony in what is now the United States of America. Every fifty years starting in 1807 a big celebration of Jamestown’s founding is held.

The East Carolina Manuscript Collection in Special Collections has several items from the 1907 Jamestown Exposition and the 1957 Jamestown Festival such as postcards and official programs. Pictured here is the cover of the official program for the Jamestown Festival of 1957. This program is found in the George A. Holderness, Jr., Papers (Collection #672). Mr. Holderness (November 10, 1900-April 1987) was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and a native of Tarboro, N.C. His papers contain correspondence, military records, and photographs concerning his naval career as well as this Jamestown Festival program and a souvenir booklet from the festival. One could surmise that he or someone in his family attended the festival.

The biggest difference between the earlier celebrations and this year’s celebration is the recent discovery of James Fort by Dr. William Kelso in 1994. Previously it was believed that the James River had washed away the fort. Many of the over 1,000,000 artifacts recovered since 1994 are now on display in the new Archaerium.