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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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Viewing entries posted in January 2012


A Finer Carolina


From 1952 to 1959 the Carolina Power and Light Company (CP&L) hosted a “Finer Carolina” contest, in which cities and towns in the CP&L service area vied for cash awards by engaging in community improvements. From a history of CP&L I learned that over the seven years the competition was held 4,600 projects were undertaken, including those aimed at “beautifying residential areas, improving cultural opportunities, upgrading municipal facilities, stimulating business, and attracting new industry”.

Some materials on DigitalNC are evidence of the participation of North Carolina’s communities, such as this 1954 scrapbook from the town of Burgaw documenting their Finer Carolina activities. The year 1954 was a banner year for the contest, according to a front-page article in the February 25, 1954 issue of the Raeford News-Journal. During this year there were 160 entries, including Raeford, N.C., competing for $6,750 in prizes. The Architectural History of Randolph County, N.C., also mentions the Finer Carolina contest, as the city of Asheboro took home the winning prize in 1954, as well as 1955, 1956, and 1958. But perhaps these awards weren’t such a boon for Asheboro after all, as the history describes the city’s improvement projects as resulting in “the nearly total destruction of the city’s nineteenth-century heritage”.

Items featured in this post are shared on DigitalNC by Pender County Public Library and Randolph County Public Library.


Saint Augustine’s at 145

Happy birthday to Saint Augustine’s College (now Saint Augustine’s University) in Raleigh, which is celebrating the 145th anniversary of its founding with full program of Founder’s Week activities.

A large collection of student yearbooks from Saint Augustine’s are available on DigitalNC, and we’ve recently added materials from the vertical files at the Harrison Library in Raleigh, which include many documents related to Saint Augustine’s College, including programs, pamphlets, and brochures.

Pender County Jaycees Scrapbooks Now Online

We’ve just finished digitizing a dozen scrapbooks from the Pender County Public Library documenting the diverse activities of the Burgaw Jaycees, primarily in the 1950s. The scrapbooks contain photographs, newspaper clippings, and a few documents related to the work of the Jaycees.

I especially like the “For a Finer Carolina” volume, compiled in 1954 in celebration of the town’s Diamond Jubilee (the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of Burgaw). The scrapbook includes photos from parades, contests, and celebrations and is an interesting look at life in southeastern North Carolina in the mid 20th-century. It also includes this great photo of “Carolina Beach’s Famous Whale Float.”


Rocky Mount Weekly Reporter, 1884

Whenever we start a new digitization project in the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, we like to work with materials that are in the best possible condition, in order to preserve the often fragile original items and to get the highest quality image we can. How, then, did we end up with this?

This is the only known surviving issue of The Weekly Reporter, a newspaper published in Rocky Mount in the 1880s.  This issue was printed on this date in 1884.  These are the best images we could get without having expensive conservation work done on the paper.  Even with all of the fading, folding, torn pages, and stains from old attempts to tape it together, the images capture a fair amount of detail.  If you look closely, you can make out parts of the social column, selections from jokes and stories reprinted from other pages, and some ads for companies and products ranging from the Rocky Mount Iron Works to “Mexican Mustang Liniment.”
This paper is in the Local History & Genealogy section of the Braswell Memorial Library (Rocky Mount, N.C.).

Friday the 13th

This Friday the 13th you’d be hard pressed to do more to ward off ill luck than this golfer, who took a string of horseshoes and not just a rabbit’s foot but an actual live rabbit out on the course with him.

The photo, taken January 13th, 1933, is from the great collection held by the Tufts Archives (Pinehurst, N.C.).

Target Practice

Hopefully the flu shot you received this winter was a little less dramatic than the immunization — complete with targets on each arm — administered to Cpl. Paul “Tiny” Evensen at the Overseas Replacement Depot in Greensboro in 1944.

From The ORD News, September 14, 1944.
[Update, January 2015. This newspaper can be viewed online in the Greensboro Historical Newspapers collection, hosted by UNC-Greensboro.]

North Carolina Newspapers on Twitter

If today’s headlines have you down, trying reading old news instead. The NC Digital Heritage Center makes its first foray into Twitter with @ncnewspapers, where we’ll be tweeting a historic headline every day from that day in history. The stories we feature will span the full range of North Carolina history from the 19th and 20th centuries. It’s a fun way to peek into our state’s past, and a great introduction to the wealth of material available in these historic papers.


1840s Charlotte Newspaper Now Online

More than 150 issues of the Mecklenburg Jeffersonian, a weekly paper published in Charlotte in the 1840s, are now available as part of the North Carolina Newspapers collection.
The Jeffersonian was a staunchly Democratic paper, and a strong supporter of North Carolina native James K. Polk in his successful bid for the Presidency in 1844.  In addition to the editorials and long excerpts from political speeches, the Jeffersonian includes the myriad notices, advertisements, and general miscellany that make these old papers such fascinating and valuable resources.
I especially like the distinctly Charlottean logo, featuring a flag bearing the date of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and a beehive.
The Jeffersonian was nominated for digitization by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.