DigitalNC: North Carolina's Digital Heritage

Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Madison County Bookmobile Scrapbook now available on DigitalNC

Patrons visiting the Madison County Bookmobile

Patrons visiting the Madison County Bookmobile

A scrapbook compiled by Mrs. Peggy Dotterer covering the life of the Madison County Bookmobile through pictures and press clippings is now available on DigitalNC.  A former school teacher, Mrs. Peggy Dotterer started the Madison County Bookmobile in the 1950s and ran it for 15 years until her retirement in 1970.

Three days a week she traveled the mountain roads, serving 2000 regular customers. She drove 1000 miles a month, 12 months a year. The other two days she spent at Madison County Library in Marshall, 20 miles north of Asheville.

Entrance to the Madison County Public Library

Entrance to the Madison County Public Library

Weekly columns in the newspaper kept patrons up-to-date about the comings (or not comings) of the Bookmobile. In the following column Mrs. Dotterer mentions that the radio station WWNC announces her schedule every morning.

Newspaper clipping

These materials and more can be found in the scrapbook, which is available courtesy of Madison County Public Library.

Mrs. Peggy Dotterer

Mrs. Peggy Dotterer

The Seven Cleverest North Carolina Yearbook Titles

Here are our picks for the 7 cleverest North Carolina yearbook titles in our collection.

#7 “Hickory Log” Hickory High School

A clever play on words for this “log” of the year’s activities. View all Hickory High School yearbooks, courtesy the Hickory Public Library.

Hickory Log Yearbook, 1962









#6 “The Si Si” University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte was formerly known as Charlotte College. View all University of North Carolina at Charlotte yearbooks.

Si Si Yearbook, 1961









#5 “Gray Matter” Wake Forest School of Medicine

There are all kinds of clever covers for this intellectually themed, physiologically fitting title. View all Wake Forest School of Medicine yearbooks.

Gray Matter Yearbook, 1972

#4 “Hacawa” Lenoir-Rhyne University

“Hacawa” is a one-word abbreviation of Halls, Campus, Walls. In and around these centers the whole student life here. The Hacawa is an emanation from the work, play, joys, trials, and triumphs of the entire college for the year.” (1909 Hacawa, p. 8) View all Lenoir-Rhyne University yearbooks.

Hacawa Yearbook, 1921









#3 “Quips and Cranks” Davidson College

“Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles…” – L’Allegro, by John Milton

View all Davidson College yearbooks

Quips and Cranks Yearbook, 1932









#2 “Wagrub” Burgaw High School

We like this title because the students capitalized on the school name they were dealt. View all Burgaw High School yearbooks, courtesy the Pender County Public Library.

The Wagrub Yearbook, 1959









#1 “Ayantee” North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

You may need to say our the title out loud before it sinks in. This one has stumped staff in the past, making it our #1 pick. View all North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University yearbooks.

Ayantee Yearbook, 1970









Disagree with our picks? Let us know.

Watson Family Materials from Rocky Mount Online


The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center recently digitized a number of items related to the Watson family of Rocky Mount. The family is well known for their tobacco and other seeds grown on the Watson Seed Farm in Whitakers, N.C. The materials came to us from the Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount.

The items are diverse, ranging from greeting cards and wedding invitations to tobacco industry publications; and span over thirty years. Though the objects cluster around a few key players, most of the Watson family appears in at least one item; to help navigate the extended family a quick look at their family tree is very helpful. Due to the amount of overlap in naming, each family member is referred to by their full name as it appears on the family tree in descriptions of the objects. George Benedict Watson, Sr. is referred to as George Benedict Watson, and his wife Martha Anne Speight Watson is different from her daughter Martha Anne Watson.


Photographs from the M.S. Brown Collection Now Available

M.S. Brown

Self-portrait of M.S. Brown

Photos from the M.S. Brown Collection are now available on DigitalNC. The collection includes hundreds of photographs taken by Milton Steele Brown throughout the early to mid 1900s, and prominently features citizens, organizations, and events taking place in Tarboro, N.C., Rocky Mount, N.C., and surrounding Edgecombe County areas.

Grand Stands in the Baseball Field

Grand Stands in the baseball field

Known locally as “Coca Cola” Brown, M.S. Brown opened a Coca-Cola plant in Tarboro in the early 1900s and served as a town commissioner. He was active in community organizations and local government, regularly attending and assisting with various events. As an avid photographer, Brown documented Coca-Cola sponsored events, town social gatherings – such as baseball games, 4-H Club meetings, and the Gallopade Parade – and historical sites such as the Tarboro Town Commons and the Barracks.

Annual Meeting for Edgecombe County Bureau at the Baseball Field. August 24, 1946. (left and center). People at the Baseball Field during a 4-H Club Event, surrounding the Coca-Cola crates. (right)

Annual Meeting for Edgecombe County Bureau at the baseball field. August 24, 1946. (left and center). People at the baseball field during a 4-H Club Event, surrounding the Coca-Cola crates. (right)

Additionally, Brown photographed active community members, including the Tarboro Merchants Association secretary Mary Godfrey and Congressman L.H. Fountain.

Miss Mary Godfrey at her desk and Congressman L.H. Fountain (center) at Belk-Tyler's ribbon cutting.

Miss Mary Godfrey at her desk and Congressman L.H. Fountain (center) at Belk-Tyler’s ribbon cutting.

This extensive collection covers over 40 years of Tarboro and Edgecombe County history. It is an ongoing project with the Edgecombe County Memorial Library, with more images expected in the future.

UNC Library Extension Publications Now Online

Assorted UNC Library Extension Publications

English History through Historical Novels (1957), Thomas Wolfe: Carolina Student (1950), Africa: South of the Sahara (1955), The Southern Garden (1934), and Books as Windows to Your World (1956).

Interested in studying reading, writing, or politics? Check out these newly digitized UNC Library Extension publications from 1934-1958. The Library Extension Publications provided introductory essays and accompanying short study outlines based on library materials. The essays cover a wide range of contemporary literary and academic issues, either addressed in a standalone issue or in a series (e.g. “Adventures in Reading” and “Other People’s Lives”). Particularly interesting are the articles covering the political turbulence in Europe leading up to the second world war. Europe in Transition [1935] takes a brief early look at the contemporaneous rises of Mussolini and Hitler, as well as the political climate of the rest of Europe. For more on the politics of Europe at that time, check out Political Problems in Present-Day Europe 1938 and 1939.

Yearbooks now available from Chapel Hill Historical Society

1956 Hillife depiction of freshman

1956 Hillife freshman

Hillife, the yearbooks from Chapel Hill High School, are now accessible on DigitalNC.  The yearbooks online cover 1929 through 1961 and were made available by the Chapel Hill Historical Society.

To view more North Carolina yearbooks, visit the North Carolina Yearbooks collection on DigitalNC.

Tarboro’s Home Front News now Available Online

Mothers of Servicemen portraits, May 1945.

Mothers of Servicemen portraits, May 1945.

Twenty-two issues of The Home Front News are now available on DigitalNC! The Home Front News was a World War II newspaper produced by the Tarboro Rotary Club in Edgecombe County, N.C.. Edgecombe County Memorial Library provided us with issues from March 20, 1943 to the last issue on September 20, 1945.

The newspapers are full of jokes, clever rhymes, and drawings of pin-up girls. Not only did the paper provide entertainment for the soldiers overseas, but it also served as a register for births, marriages, and deaths.

There was even a dedicated Mothers of Service Men issue in May 1945 which featured portraits of over a hundred local mothers dressed in their Sunday best (pictured above). These portraits were taken by M.S. Brown, a Tarboro resident and photographer who owned the Coca-Cola factory. Brown almost always contributed at least one photograph per issue, usually a full page toward the back of the newspaper with a portrait of a community resident and caption. For more photos taken by “Coca-Cola Brown”, view the M.S. Brown Digital Exhibit.

"Now the point is, you won't get stuck if you pin me up." From September 20, 1943 issue.

“Now the point is, you won’t get stuck if you pin me up.” From September 20, 1943 issue.

Ledgers and Other Items now Online from Montgomery and Stanly Counties

The Stanly County Museum and Montgomery County Public Library recently asked us to add some items they digitized to DigitalNC. There are a range of items, from late 18th century business documents in the Forrest Family Manuscript Collection to ledgers from stores in Montgomery County, to this striking panoramic photograph of Lillian Mill.

Lillian Mill Panoramic Photograph

Here’s a list of the other items. You can also view everything from Stanly County Museum or Montgomery County Public Library.

Fairview Memorial Park Brochure
Forrest Family Manuscript Collection
Norwood Elementary School Signature Book of Ronnie Melton

East Main Street, Albemarle, NC
Farmers and Planters Hotel, South Third Street, Albemarle, NC
John Odom Ross
Panoramic View of Lillian Mill and Group Portrait
Stanly County Public Library
Sid Austin House
Miller Family Bible Page

John B. and H. Martin’s Rocky Springs Store Ledger or Day Book
Blacksmith’s Ledger
Ledger of a Store on the Little River, Montgomery County, NC [1829-1830]
Ledger of a Store on the Little River, Montgomery County, NC [1831-1838]
Stanly County School Ledger for District 47

Yearbooks from Benson Museum of Local History now online


Yearbooks from two schools in Benson, North Carolina are now available online on DigitalNC.  The yearbooks are from two different high schools, Benson High School’s The Tatler, covering 1928-1964, and Meadow High School’s Tuscarora, covering 1941-1969.


The yearbooks were made available by the Benson Museum of Local History.  To view more North Carolina Yearbooks, view our site here.

Pitt County Genealogical Quarterly now available on DigitalNC


Issues of the Pitt County Genealogical Quarterly from 1994-2013 are now available online through DigitalNC.  The quarterly, which is published by Pitt County Family Researchers, Inc., covers a wide variety of topics, from obituaries and church memberships to court cases and family bible records.

The quarterly is made available through Farmville Public Library.