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Collection Number: 05332

Collection Title: Marie Watters Colton Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size 3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 14 items)
Abstract Marie Watters Colton of Asheville, Buncombe County, N.C., represented the 51st district in the North Carolina House of Representatives, 1978-1994. A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate, Colton married Henry E. Colton. The couple lived first in Chapel Hill and later in Asheville. After her husband, an Asheville City councilman, declined to run for state office, Marie Colton campaigned for and won the seat. Colton, a Democrat, was the first female Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, serving in that role from 1991 to 1994. In recognition of her advocacy of women and children's issues, Colton was appointed to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1994. The collection includes scrapbooks related to Marie Colton's activities in the North Carolina General Assembly, 1978-1994. Scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, photographs, letters from constituents and lobbyists, notes from government officials, and other materials. Topics include corporal punishment, conservation and environmentalism, billboards, alternative medicine, tax reform, historic preservation, tourism and economic development in western North Carolina, child welfare protection, domestic violence laws, and legislative ethics reform. Newspaper clippings detail Colton's promotion of stronger sedimentation laws, years of fighting to allow local school boards to ban corporal punishment, handling of the state budget crisis in 1991, reelection campaigns, and efforts to ban highway billboard signs. Scattered throughout are legislative directories and notes on legislative sessions that demonstrate her wit and sense of humor. Also included is an audiocassette containing Colton's 1990 Speaker Pro Tem acceptance speech.
Creator Colton, Marie Watters, 1922-
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Marie Watters Colton Scrapbooks and Audiocassette #5332, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Marie Watters Colton of Asheville, N.C., in May 2007 (Acc. 100679).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Marie Watters Colton of Asheville, Buncombe County, N.C., represented the 51st district in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1978 to 1994. Colton, a Democrat, was the first female Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, serving in that role from 1991 to 1994.

A lifelong resident of North Carolina, Colton was born in Charlotte to John Piper Watters, a car salesman, and Sarah Thomas (Sadie) Watters, a free-lance writer and homemaker. Marie Colton spent her childhood in Charlotte and Chapel Hill, attending Chapel Hill High School and later Saint Mary's College in Raleigh, N.C. In December 1942, she graduated from the University of North Carolina, majoring in modern languages. During World War II, she worked as a translator for the United States Army Signal Corps.

Colton returned to Chapel Hill with her husband, Henry E. Colton, so he could attend law school at UNC. Ten years later, they moved to Asheville to further Henry's insurance business. Active in church and civic matters, Henry was elected to the Asheville City Council and served from 1969 to 1975. Marie worked on Henry's election campaigns, in addition to her work in the local PTA and on the statewide PTA Board. When Henry decided not to run for state legislature, Marie ran as the Democratic Party candidate for the North Carolina House of Representatives and won in 1978. Throughout her eight terms in office, Colton held many positions of influence, including chair of the Committee on Ethics and vice-chair of the Rules, Appointments, and Calendar Committee. She also served on a variety of House committees, such as Finance, Environment, Human Resources, and Transportation. She was a member of the Joint Legislative Committee of Governmental Operations and the Legislative Research Commission. Colton focused her legislative activities on children and family issues, environmentalism and conservation efforts, historical preservation, and the arts. Known as a children's advocate, Colton sponsored bills geared towards the elimination of corporal punishment in the schools, improved day-care services, protection of abused children, and the reduction of the infant mortality rate.

In her time as a public servant, Colton received many honors, from Legislator of the Year awards from numerous advocacy groups to White House appointments to the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In recognition of her advocacy of women and children's issues and her multilingual skills, Colton was appointed to serve as a member of the United States delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1994. She also served on the United States State Department observer team to the 1994 UNESCO fall meeting in Paris.

In addition to her bachelor's degree from UNC, Colton pursued post-graduate study at Mars Hill College and the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She served on a number of boards, including the Flat Rock Playhouse, the Brevard Music Center, Western North Carolina Tomorrow, the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the North Carolina World Trade Association, and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine. As of 2007, Marie and Henry Colton had four children and seven grandchildren.

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The collection includes scrapbooks related to Asheville, N.C., Democrat Marie Watters Colton's activities as a legislator representing Buncombe County, N.C., and first woman Speaker Pro Tempore in the North Carolina General Assembly, 1978-1994. Scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, photographs, letters from constituents and lobbyists, notes from government officials, and other materials.

Topics include corporal punishment, conservation and environmentalism, billboards, alternative medicine, tax reform, historic preservation, tourism and economic development in western North Carolina, child welfare protection, domestic violence laws, and legislative ethics reform. Newspaper clippings detail Colton's promotion of stronger sedimentation laws, years of fighting to allow local school boards to ban corporal punishment, handling of the state budget crisis in 1991, reelection campaigns, and efforts to ban highway billboard signs. Scattered throughout are legislative directories and notes on legislative sessions that demonstrate her wit and sense of humor. Also included is an audiocassette containing Colton's 1990 Speaker Pro Tem acceptance speech.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994.

14 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Folder 1-2

Folder 1

Folder 2

1978-1979 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 1-2

Folder 3

1979-1980 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 3

Folder 4-5

Folder 4

Folder 5

1983-1984 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 4-5

Folder 6-7

Folder 6

Folder 7

1985 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 6-7

Folder 8-9

Folder 8

Folder 9

1986 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 8-9

Folder 10-11

Folder 10

Folder 11

1987 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 10-11

Folder 12-13

Folder 12

Folder 13

1988 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 12-13

Folder 14-15

Folder 14

Folder 15

1989 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 14-15

Folder 16-17

Folder 16

Folder 17

1990 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 16-17

Audiocassette C-5332/1

"Marie's Speaker Pro Tem Acceptance Speech '90,", 7 December 1990 (60-minute cassette). #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." C-5332/1

Folder 18-19

Folder 18

Folder 19

1991 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 18-19

Folder 20-21

Folder 20

Folder 21

1991 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 20-21

Folder 22-23

Folder 22

Folder 23

1992 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 22-23

Folder 24-27

Folder 24

Folder 25

Folder 26

Folder 27

1993 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 24-27

Folder 28-29

Folder 28

Folder 29

1994 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 28-29

Folder 30-32

Folder 30

Folder 31

Folder 32

1994 #05332, Series: "Scrapbooks and Audiocassette, 1978-1994." Folder 30-32

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Processing Information

Processed by: Amanda T. Ross, September 2007

Encoded by: Amanda T. Ross, September 2007

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