We have identified a segment of DNA in the region 6,500 nucleotides upstream from a cell‐cycle‐dependent human H4 histone gene (pF0108A) which exhibits properties of an enhancer element. This distal element is not required for cap site initiation from the F0108A H4 histone gene. When the enhancer element is present in the genome as a stable integrated sequence, either in its natural upstream location or in a construct where the element is moved just upstream from the proximal promoter sequences, a 25‐fold increase in the level of human H4 histone RNAs is observed. This increased level of mRNA reflects an increase in the rate of transcription. The enhancer effect is also observed when the distal element is inserted in inverse orientation with respect to this gene. In addition, the far upstream element can increase expression of a prokaryotic chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) gene under control of the simian virus 40 (SV40) early promotor, indicating that the ability to influence transcription is not confined to the gene with which it is normally associated. The ability of the histone gene distal enhancer element to function in both mouse and human cells indicates that transacting regulatory factors encoded by either the human or murine genome are capable of mediating the functional properties of this element, further supporting the cross‐species compatibility of regulatory sequences and molecules that influence transcription of human histone genes.