Early in the First Session of the 80th Congress, in January 1947, Absalom Willis Robertson (D-VA) - for himself and Senator Harry Flood Byrd (D-VA) - introduced a Joint Resolution in the Senate that was very similar to the one introduced by Byrd late in the 79th Congress, though not an exact duplicate. (Senators Robertson and Byrd may have been emboldened by Truman's approval of the Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial and Iowa Statehood Centennial coin bills from the 79th Congress.)
As with the previous Resolution, the 1947 Resolution called for 250,000 standard silver dollars to be struck by a single US Mint facility; the proposed mintage was more than that of many of the classic-era coins but not extremely so. The name of the sponsor for the coins listed in the Resolution changed from "Jamestown Drama" to "Jamestown Corporation," but the change appears to have been an administrative update vs. a change in the coin's sponsoring organization.
All other coin provisions of the 1947 Resolution matched those contained in the 1946 Resolution, including the use of a "1947" year/date on all coins struck and an expiration date of July 1, 1948.
The Resolution's preamble was changed (shortened) a bit, however. The new Resolution included: Whereas Jamestown Island, Virginia, is the site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World, an English colony having been establishment there in the year 1607; and
Whereas at Jamestown was erected the first Anglican Church in America and here was held in 1619 the first representative legislative assembly in North America; and
Whereas this settlement, named Jamestown, served as the capital of Colonial Virginia from 1607 until the government was moved to nearby Williamsburg in 1698; and
Whereas a group of public spirited citizens of Virginia have organized a nonprofit organization known as the Jamestown Corporation for the purpose of producing a series of dramatic presentations portraying significant historical events having to do with the Jamestown Colony and the Government at Williamsburg; the rise of representative government in the New World; the fierce struggle of the American Colonist;'to free themselves and their determination to achieve here in this new land liberty under law and to guard against oppression by government, be it domestic or foreign:
The Resolution was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, but was never reported. Based on this lack of action, it would appear that end-of-session priorities were not the reason the previous Resolution was not reported by the same Committee at the end of the 79th Congress.
In this case, "Strike Two" was enough to put an end to the Jamestown Drama coin's chances at becoming a reality. It would have been an interesting minor subset within the classic series to have two coins issued, in part, to support a play written by North Carolina's Paul Green.
A few interesting notes about the Jamestown Drama:
1. The pageant was staged from July 17th through September 14th 1947 near Jamestown, VA.
2. The presentation was co-sponsored by the Jamestown Corporation and the Virginia Conservation Commission.
3. Paul Green, the author of "The Lost Colony" play that celebrates the historical significance of Sir Walter Raleigh's unsuccessful attempt to establish the Roanoke colony in present-day North Carolina, wrote the Jamestown play - "The Common Glory - A Symphonic Drama of American History." At the time, Green commented "What 'The Lost Colony' shows as getting started, namely a settlement and a creed of government in the New World, 'The Common Glory' will show as actually coming to fulfillment in democracy."
4. An amphitheatre was built beside Matoaka Lake (near Colonial Williamsburg) to host the play. The theater seated 2,600 and featured a 62-foot wide stage.
5. The pageant ran from 1947 through 1976. ("The Lost Colony" continues to be performed each summer in Manteo, NC.)
For the first part of this What If? story, see:
- What If? 1947 Jamestown Drama - Part I