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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How DigitalNC materials are being used across the web: Tornado Talk

We love hearing about ways that materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center have impacted research and recreation.  We thought since they have done such a great job highlighting us, it’d only be fair to turn around and highlight a few we’ve found recently.  

Photograph of damage from a tornado in Vaughn, NC

From the front page of the October 9, 1969 issue of the Warren Record

Today we’re focusing on a website that is on a very relevant topic to North Carolinians this time of year – the weather, and specifically, tornadoes.  It’s called Tornado Talk and according to the site itself, “Tornado Talk aims to be your #1 source for tornado history. Join us on this on-going project to compile a user friendly and interactive database with tornado summaries, personal accounts, and video productions of major tornado events.”  It is an incredibly in depth website and includes a calendar with tornado dates and each tornado that is focused on includes information about it’s path and links to primary sources about the destruction.  DigitalNC was featured in a recent post about a tornado that hit Vaughan, NC near Lake Gaston on October 2, 1969 and a paper we digitized, the Warren Record, featured articles about the destruction that followed in the tornado’s path.  To read more about the tornado and see the pages from the paper featured, check out Tornado Talk’s post here:

Vaughan-Lake Gaston, NC F2 Tornado – October 2, 1969

If you have a particular project or know of one that has utilized materials from DigitalNC, we’d love to hear about it!  Contact us via email or in the comments below and we’ll check out.  


More issues of the Greensboro High School student newspaper are available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, the Greensboro History Museum, additional issues of the student newspaper from Greensboro High School, High Life, are now available on DigitalNC. Newly available issues cover the years 1923-1926, 1937-1941, 1957, and 1976-1978. The paper features information from the high school, now Grimsley High School, and the surrounding Greensboro community.

As a school newspaper, written by students and for students, High Life focuses on its students’ activities. Seniors are featured each May, and several of these special issues include “Last Will and Testament” sections where those leaving the school “give” things to the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. For example, “Bill Hancock is to receive Ed McDowell’s dramatic trend,” and “R. D. Apple reluctantly relinquishes his long-held position on the mound to Hampton Shuping.”

Greensboro High School Seniors of 1938, May 31, 1938

Greensboro High School Seniors of 1938, May 31, 1938

The students’ comic traditions continue in some of the articles included throughout the paper.

One student published an account of having the measles:

"Home With Measles or How Did I Get in This Fix?," May 30, 1941

“Home With Measles or How Did I Get in This Fix?,” May 30, 1941

Decades later, an unnamed student announced her addiction to the television network HBO:

"Girl Is HBO Addict," May 25, 1978

“Girl Is HBO Addict,” May 25, 1978

To see more from the Greensboro High School student newspaper, click here. To learn more about the Greensboro History Museum, visit their website or their DigitalNC partner page.


3 more scrapbooks from Cleveland County Memorial Library now online at DigitalNC


Ezra Bridges Cleveland County Scrapbook

A page from Ezra Bridges’ Cleveland County scrapbook

Ezra Bridges Cleveland County Scrapbook

A page from Ezra Bridges’ Cleveland County scrapbook
















A new batch of 3 scrapbooks from the Cleveland County Memorial Library are now online at DigitalNC. The scrapbooks, at least one of which was compiled by longtime Cleveland County educator, Ezra Bridges, document various aspects of life in Shelby, NC and the larger Cleveland County area during the second half of the 20th century. Most of the materials within relate to activities concerning both the public school system and the African American community in Cleveland County. The scrapbooks’ pages hold a wide range of items ranging from newspaper clippings, to correspondence, to funeral programs, to postcards, to photos, and more.

To learn more about our partner, Cleveland County Memorial Library, please visit their DigitalNC partner page or take a look at their website.

Commencement programs and other select materials from Shaw University now available online at DigitalNC

Shaw University Admissions 1892

Image from a Shaw University admissions flier, 1892

A new batch of materials documenting the history of Shaw University, a historically black liberal arts institution in Raleigh, NC, are now online and available for use at DigitalNC.  The materials consist of commencement programs, annual reports, and an admissions flier from the 1890s and early 1900s as well as a program for a missionary training conference held at Shaw University in 1946. The earlier set of documents provides insights into the recruitment efforts, budgetary concerns, and graduation ceremonies of the university. Similarly, the 1946 program documents the results of a teaching partnership between the university and the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

The materials are currently held by UNC Libraries. To learn more, visit UNC’s partner page or Shaw University’s website.


New Materials from Rockingham County Public Library Include News Clippings, Booklets, and More

cover of an economic packet for encouraging economic investment in Madison-Mayodan, NC.

The Madison-Mayodan, N.C. Story

A new batch of materials from our partner, Rockingham County Public Library, adds scrapbooks of news clippings, books and booklets about Rockingham County History, images, and more to DigitalNC. Included are two volumes collecting “Remember When” columns from The Madison Messenger, which recount historic events from the town’s past and the “Madison-Mayodan Story” which was a packet put out by the Chamber of Commerce to encourage investment in the community in 1960.  It includes statistics about industry in the town, as well as some great photographs.  

The full batch can be seen at the links below.  


Learn more about Rockingham County Public Library by visiting their partner page or their website.  

Beer History in North Carolina Newspapers

Advertising for alcoholic beverages is far from new – ads promoting the perceived benefits and refreshment of beer go back quite a ways. In honor of National Drink Beer Day, we bring you beer trivia and ads from North Carolina newspapers. Raise a glass and enjoy!

  • They were importing London Lager to North Carolina as early as 1801. From the Wilmington Gazette
  • Go local! This 1860 ad is for a well-known area brewery, the Menzler brewery, near Charlotte. From the Western Democrat.
  • The Menzler brewery wanted to cater your party – 30 gallons available! From the Western Democrat.
  • 1888 saw 6 breweries erected in North Carolina. From the Wilson Advance.
  • This 1906 beer advertisement promises good health if you drink their pure beer. From the Hickory Democrat.
  • In 1936 beer ads were still promising health benefits – Schlitz is a glass of sunshine with Vitamin D. From The Enterprise.
  • Prohibitionists often used newspapers to persuade the public, like they did with this ad from the 1940s calling on voters to reject legalization of alcohol sales in Jackson County. From The Sylva Herald.
  • Promising comfort during outdoor adventures, legal sale of beer was deemed as the progressive standpoint in this 1961 ad. From The Duplin Times.

The Carolina Journal, UNC-Charlotte’s student newspaper, is now available on DigitalNC

Over 100 issues of The Carolina Journal, the student newspaper published by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, are now available on DigitalNC, thanks to our partnership with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Spanning from 1965 to 1969, the student paper covers activities on and off campus.

The first issue of The Carolina Journal was published on September 7, 1965, just nine months after the college merged into the Consolidated University of North Carolina. The paper marked that transition period by documenting many of the changes on campus, including announcing new faculty members, the addition of intramural sports, and changes to rules and regulations. Early issues pay particular attention to the possibility of adding an honor code on campus.

"Students Pass Honor Code Amendment," November 3, 1965

“Students Pass Honor Code Amendment,” November 3, 1965




The paper grew as the semesters changed, and was eventually regularly published weekly, documenting significant events on and off campus. For example, in December 1966, the school voted to change the mascot, and several of the following issues discussed the possible outcome of that decision. Over the next several months, several bodies on campus narrowed the list of options to three: the Forty-Niners, the Chargers, or the Cougars. Hurdles for this process included a fraudulent voter (detailed in the March 8, 1967 issue) and very strong opinions about the options. The tumult was eventually resolved and the mascot stayed the same


"49er Dumped As Mascot Name," December 14, 1966

“49er Dumped As Mascot Name,” December 14, 1966

When national figures visited campus, they were featured in the paper. Stokely Carmichael visited in December 1968, and The Carolina Journal included a section in its newspaper with various photos from the event. According to the issue, the event hosted hundreds of students, and “Carmichael was greeted by raised clinched fists from the black contingent, moderate applause from the white audience, and several scattered boo’s.”

"Stokely Raps Whites, Plays Verbal Games with Audience," December 18, 1968

“Stokely Raps Whites, Plays Verbal Games with Audience,” December 18, 1968

To see more from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, visit their partner page here or their website for more information.

Additional issues of The Gastonia Gazette are online now at DigitalNC

Front page of the June 25, 1896 issue of The Gastonia Gazette

Front page of the June 25, 1896 issue of The Gastonia Gazette

Issues of The Gastonia Gazette from 1895 to 1904 have recently been transferred from microfilm to be available on DigitalNC for you to peruse. Thanks to this addition, our digital holdings for this title now span from 1893 to 1909.

The paper, “devoted to the protection of home and the interests of the county,” covers news from Gaston County and beyond. It features stories about individuals, administrative developments, local industry, and events of interest throughout the county (but particularly in Gastonia).

These issues are an addition to an already significant amount of materials from Gaston County, including many other newspaper titles from Gastonia.

Over 400 more issues of the Charlotte Post Now Available on DigitalNC

The front page for the Charlotte Post in April 1984, with a huge variety of topics on display

More issues of the Charlotte Post, from January 1980 to December 1987, are now online at DigitalNC, courtesy of Johnson C. Smith University. This new batch of over 420 issues joins an additional 400 issues of the Charlotte Post that stretches from 1971 into 1996. Founded in 1878 as a weekly publication, it is still published today and services the residents of Charlotte as “The Voice of the Black Community.”

Looking through these papers, it is easy to see why the Charlotte Post has become such an enduring institution. In nearly every paper, the Post covers local politics, national news, local events of note and more. For example, on the front page of the April 1984 paper shown above, there are articles on a new City-County Government Center to be constructed, travel records for highway patrol officials, holiday plans for local churches, an interview with the 1984 Delta Sigma Theta sorority debutante, and more.

An article in July 1987 highlighting the number of black candidates running for office that fall.

This new batch gives us a more complete picture of the important issues that the Charlotte Post has covered in the past as an important fixture for Charlotte’s minority community. To learn more about Johnson C. Smith University, visit their partner page or their website.

The Laurinburg Exchange Now Digitized and Available Online at DigitalNC

The front page of the Laurinburg Exchange, dated April 1916. Topics include the local County Commencement, Passion Week and the local churches, and debate teams from local schools competing in Chapel Hill.

61 issues of The Laurinburg Exchange have been newly digitized and added to DigitalNC. These are the first issues from The Laurinburg Exchange to be added to our collection, covering dates and issues from August 1889 to December 1926. Published since 1882, The Laurinburg Exchange serves the readers of Laurinburg and Scotland County to this day. The Exchange joins two other newspapers in our collection that cover Scotland County: the student newspapers for Presbyterian Junior College and St. Andrews University.

A reading list for local high school students for the years 1924-1925.

Looking through these newspapers, many of the articles are about local issues concerning the citizens and residents of Scotland County. Municipal issues, like elections and political developments, were written about especially often. Some news from throughout the state was also posted in the Exchange. However, its coverage was mostly focused on local issues – at any moment, the paper might have been notifying residents of changes in their courts or new stocked items in local businesses, or for example, warning residents about a local fever outbreak. In the photo on the right, the Exchange published a list of required books and associated course prices for local high schoolers.

Adding The Laurinburg Exchange to our collection represents a new wealth of knowledge about the lives of ordinary North Carolinians at the turn of the 20th century.