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 2015


Patterson’s General Store Ledger from the Chapel Hill Historical Society Now Available!

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Accounts of Dr. K.G. Henry from October to November, 1910

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The Digital Heritage Center has just finished digitizing a ledger from Patterson’s General Store, which covers the store’s accounts in the years 1910 and 1911. The store was located on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. The ledger, from the Chapel Hill Historical Society, contains the names and accounts of a number of North Carolina residents and businesses. Many faculty members and administrators from the University of North Carolina were customers, including Edward Kidder Graham, Kemp Plummer Battle, and Horace Williams.

Of particular interest to us were the entries for one Professor L.R. Wilson. This is Louis Round Wilson, for whom the Wilson Library is named. Professor Wilson bought such staples as lard, beans, olive oil and eggs, as well as some tasty treats including chocolate, apples, and potato chips. One of his entries also demonstrates that the general store sold more than just food products, as he obtained matches and an umbrella from Patterson’s.

Henry “Hoot” Houston Patterson, owner of the store, was a confederate veteran, and an active member of the community . The Southern Historical Collection at UNC holds many more of Patterson’s ledgers and Preservation North Carolina has put up a historic plaque at Patterson’s house on Cameron Avenue in Chapel Hill.

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Front cover of the ledger from Patterson’s General Store

 


New M. S. Brown Photos Online: Tarboro Community Pool, Swim Meets, Bathing Beauties and More

 

M.S. Brown (center) sitting with community pool-goers.

Over 200 new photos from Edgecombe County Memorial Library’s M.S. Brown Collection have just been added online! Included in this batch of photos are shots from the Tarboro Community Pool featuring a swim meet, a Bathing Beauty Contest, and the activities of regular pool-goers around the time of the mid 1900s.

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M.S. Brown, locally known as “Coca-Cola Brown,” was an enthusiastic amateur photographer, as can be seen by the number and variety of his photographs. To learn more about Brown, see a previous blog post about his collection. To browse more photographs, visit the M.S. Brown Collection digital exhibit, made available on DigitalNC.

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More Historic Boone Photographs and Now Ephemera Available Online

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Joe C. Minor and William E. Rush collecting quarter folded copies of The Appalachian – 1956

In July 2014, we made available a variety of photographs collected by the nonprofit organization Historic Boone and housed at Watauga County Public Library. We have now added more photographs to the exhibit, including images documenting the 1949 Watauga County Centennial Celebration, photographs of Governor Holshouser, and a selection of photographs by local Boone photographer, Palmer Blair.

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Bearded Buddies at the Watauga Centennial – 1949. Photograph by Palmer Blair.

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Snow Scene by Palmer Blair. Won 3rd Award at the NCPA Convention

In addition to the photographs, there are also several postcards featuring historic buildings and landscapes in the area as well as several ephemera including: Land of OZ brochure and map, local menus, post office stamps, and publications from local schools and businesses.

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Map of the Land of Oz at Beech Mountain in Banner Elk

To learn more about Historic Boone, visit here.


More Yearbooks from Charlotte Now Online

From the 1912 Elizabeth College Yearbook, "De Hooligans"

From the 1912 Elizabeth College Yearbook, “De Hooligans”

We’ve just finished working with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to include several additional high school yearbooks as well as yearbooks from Elizabeth College on DigitalNC.

You’ll now find the 1964 yearbooks of South, East, and West Mecklenburg High Schools, as well as West Charlotte, Harding, Myers Park, and Garinger on our site. (To help with privacy concerns, we generally have a 50-year embargo on posting high school yearbooks online. So, as the new year rolls over, we can begin including another year’s worth.)

Also in this latest batch are 1905-1913 yearbooks from Elizabeth College. Elizabeth College was located in Charlotte from 1897-1915, at which point it moved to Virginia. Its records were mostly destroyed in a fire in 1921, so we’re glad the information in these volumes is now available online. The 1901 volume is also on our site, contributed by UNC-Chapel Hill.

View all of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s items.


Davidson County High School Yearbooks Now Available

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More Davidson County yearbooks from the Northwestern Regional Library System are now available on DigitalNC.org. Joining over 50 other area yearbooks, these additions primarily represent Thomasville’s Fair Grove High School, which merged with another school and became East Davidson High School in 1962. The yearbook titles include The Twig and Tiger Roar, and range from 1948 – 1961. These volumes come from the Thomasville Public Library.

Many of the Fair Grove High School yearbooks feature hand drawings for their title pages. This is the case for the 1959 issue of The Twig, which also has an “Outer Space” theme and features staff as astronauts and class officers in spaceships.

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The Twig [1959] – Fair Grove High School (Thomasville, N.C.)

Along with the Fair Grove High School yearbooks, we have also digitized the 1954 issue of The Lexicon from Lexington Senior High School, which was contributed by the Lexington Library.


Robeson Community College Photographs Now Available on DigitalNC.org

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Kay Lambert, Nursing Assistant and Sam Layell, Audiovisual

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has digitized a collection of Robeson Community College photographs, featuring special events, faculty, staff, and students at the college throughout the last several decades. These will join yearbooks, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia currently uploaded to DigitalNC.org.

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Library Card Catalog – 1981

Each image has its own details and descriptions to explore, and the images are grouped in the following categories:

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Elaine Whitfield, English and Ed Nicholson, Psychology – September 1985

 


Looking Back at DigitalNC.org in 2014

Title page from the 1956 Buccaneer, from East Carolina College, the most popular item on DigitalNC.org in 2014.

Title page from the 1956 Buccaneer, from East Carolina College, the most popular item on DigitalNC.org in 2014.

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center had a great year in 2014. We continued to work with partners around the state on digitization projects and added a wide variety of material to DigitalNC.org, making it easier than ever for users to discover and access rare and unique materials from communities all over North Carolina.

As we look back on our work over the past year, I wanted to share some of what we’ve learned by looking at our website usage statistics. Like many libraries, the Digital Heritage Center uses Google Analytics to capture information about what’s being used on our website, who’s using it, and how they got there. While there are still lots of questions remaining about usage of DigitalNC, these stats do give us a lot of valuable information.

In 2014, more than 250,000 users visited DigitalNC.org, resulting in more than 1.8 million pageviews. While people visited our website from computers located all over the world, the greatest number by far came from North Carolina. That’s what we expected and hoped to see. More than 200,000 sessions originated in North Carolina, with the users coming from 388 different locations, ranging from over 18,000 sessions in Raleigh and Charlotte to a single visit from the town of Bolivia in Brunswick County (user location is determined by the location of their internet service provider, so this may not tell us exactly where our users are located, but it’s going to be close in most cases).

What did people use on DigitalNC? We were not surprised to find that the most popular collection remains our still-growing library of yearbooks. The North Carolina Yearbooks collection received more than 125,000 pageviews alone, followed by newspapers (44,000) and city directories (11,000). And we were pleased to learn that at least somebody is reading this blog, which received nearly 2,500 pageviews last year. The most popular blog post was our announcement about the digitization of a large collection of Wake County high school yearbooks.

We were also curious to see what single items were the most popular over the past year. The winner, with 438 pageviews, was the 1956 yearbook from East Carolina University. The second most popular was also from East Carolina, the 1930 Tecoan, followed by the 1961 yearbook from the Palmer Memorial Institute and the 1922 yearbook from Appalachian State University.

Lake Hideaway, ca. 1950s, the most popular photo on DigitalNC.org in 2014.

Lake Hideaway, ca. 1950s, the most popular photo on DigitalNC.org in 2014.

The most popular image on our site was from the Davie County Public Library:  a black-and-white photo from the 1950s showing swimmers at Lake Hideaway in Mocksville. Other popular photos included a postcard showing the American Tobacco Company plant in Reidsville, N.C., a group of Stanly County students from 1912, and a portrait of Charles McCartney, the infamous “Goat Man” from the 1950s.

The variety of subjects, locations, and time periods in these photos is representative of the wide-ranging content available in North Carolina’s cultural heritage institutions and on DigitalNC.org. We are honored and excited to have a role in making this content accessible to everyone and look forward to sharing even more of North Carolina’s history and culture online in 2015.


Favorite Stops Along the Road in North Carolina

N.C. Digital Heritage Center staff members excited about their first visit to the Roast Grill.

N.C. Digital Heritage Center staff members excited about their first visit to the Roast Grill.

One of the best parts of my job is getting out of the office and travelling around North Carolina to visit some of the libraries and museums that work with the NC Digital Heritage Center. We have partners all over the state and it’s always helpful and interesting for us to see their collections in person. Of course, we have to eat along the way, and while we’re always in search of new places to try, there are a few that we return to whenever we get the chance. Inspired by the end of the year “best of” lists, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites from on the road.

I should say first that this is not supposed to be a list of the best or greatest restaurants in the state. No objective criteria were used at all, it’s simply a collection of places I’ve enjoyed and hope that some of you do, too.

Barbecue: Fuzzy’s, Madison.

Whenever we visit our partners in Rockingham County, I like to go to Fuzzy’s. It’s a classic, old-fashioned North Carolina barbecue restaurant with good food and great service. Like many barbecue places, they’ve got a variety of food available, but I can only vouch for the chopped pork sandwich, hush puppies, and sweet tea, all of which are outstanding. I also enjoy the classic, big restaurants like Stamey’s in Greensboro and Parker’s in Wilson, but Fuzzy’s is a favorite because of its comfortable, local atmosphere. In an age where unique, regional restaurants are getting harder to find, I’m going to make sure that I treasure North Carolina’s classic barbecue joints for as long as they’re around.

Two asides about barbecue: first, I do not take sides in the Eastern v. Western barbecue debate. Or I should say, I don’t discriminate. I am an equal opportunity North Carolina barbecue enthusiast. I’ve enjoyed great meals in Lexington as well as in Goldsboro and refuse to cast aspersions on either delicious style of preparation. And second, I never hit the road without first checking one of Bob Garner’s essential guides to North Carolina barbecue restaurants. The recent compilation, Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue, is a great resource.

Hot Dogs: Roast Grill, Raleigh.

I’ve never been anywhere quite like the Roast Grill. Tucked away on a side street a couple of blocks from the old state capitol in downtown Raleigh, with its iconic “Hot Weiners” sign out front, the Roast Grill is a classic hot dog joint that hasn’t changed a thing in decades. While I love the atmosphere at Dick’s in Wilson and have had a great chili dog at Royall’s Soda Shoppe in Elkin, the Roast Grill is in a class by itself. There’s not much on the menu (“Well, we have hot dogs,” they explained on our last visit) and they’re well known for what they don’t have (don’t ask for ketchup). But the hot dogs are terrific and the ambience is impossible to beat.

Coffeeshop / Bakery: Camino Bakery, Winston-Salem.

Located in downtown Winston-Salem, just down the street from the main branch of the Forsyth County Public Library and its outstanding local history collection, the Camino Bakery is one of my favorite places in the state for coffee and baked goods. They take their coffee and espresso seriously and have terrific food, sweet and savory, including great cookies, fantastic quiches and a tomato pie that is reminiscent of top-notch deep dish pizza.

Lunch: On the Square, Tarboro.

Just down the street from the beautiful Tarboro Town Common, On the Square is a wonderful restaurant offering seasonal American food. It’s not a secret — we got there just before the lunchtime rush, when the line stretched to the door — but it’s definitely worth seeking out next time you’re in Tarboro. I especially liked seeing historic photos on the walls from the M.S. Brown collection at the Edgecombe County Memorial Library, many of which you can now find on DigitalNC.

Lunch Buffet: Orchid Garden, Fayetteville

Tucked into nondescript parking lot a couple of miles from downtown Fayetteville, Orchid Garden has some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had. The lunch buffet offers a wide variety of traditional dishes and is a hit with both locals and military staff from nearby Fort Bragg. Last time we were there they were running a special on dungeness crab. Nearly every table in our section was digging in to the long crab legs and from the piles of shells in front of them, some of them had been at it for a while. Our server clearly thought we were crazy when we opted to skip the crab. Orchid Garden is worth seeking out if you’re in Fayetteville. If you go, don’t make the same mistake we did. Get the crab.

Dessert: French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Asheville

Last time I was in Asheville I sent of picture of the French Broad Chocolate Lounge and said that I was working from our western office. If only. In addition to their world-class chocolates, the lounge offers great coffee, several varieties of unpronounceable Mexican drinking chocolate, baked goods, as well as beer and wine. It’s the kind of place you could spend a whole day.

As we continue our work digitizing and sharing North Carolina’s unique cultural heritage, we’ll be on the road again in 2015 and would love to hear your suggestions. Use the comments below to tell us about some of your favorite spots around the state and maybe we’ll see you there in the months ahead.


More Watson Family and Braswell Memorial Library Materials Now Available!

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has digitized newly arrived Watson Family photos and materials as well as a collection of Rocky Mount High School newspapers, all from the Braswell Memorial Library (Rocky Mount, N.C.).

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Truck Load of Tobacco Weighing 23,188 LBs – October 14, 1935

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Watson Purebred Fall Grains – 1952

In April, we published a large quantity of Watson Family photographs and advertisements. The new additions include more family photos and ads, as well as images from the Watson Seed Farm Inc. fields and warehouses. Many of the Watson Seed Farm images feature Watson brothers Van Sharpe Watson, Jr. and George Benedict Watson. For reference, please refer to the Watson Family Tree, which was featured in an earlier blog post. Other images of the farm include harvesting processes, workers such as Mr. James Alston, and harvesting product such as hybrid corn seed and tobacco.

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Watson Brother Demonstrating Bagging Watson Seed – circa 1950

Braswell Memorial Library also contributed a selection of Rocky Mount High School newspapers, ranging from 1950 through 2004. Earlier volumes of the newspaper were called The Blackbird, which changed to The Gryphon in 1969.

There are now over 1,000 items from Braswell Memorial Library available online. You can view them all here.