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 August 2016


The Foothills View, a Boiling Springs community paper, now online

You can now learn lots of intimate details about the lives of those in the Boiling Springs area in the early 1980s in The Foothills View, a community newspaper digitized by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, courtesy of our partner Gardner Webb University.  Issues from the 1981 to 1984 are now online.  The paper, which was published weekly, included national and local news sections, as well as detailed community comings and goings for each of the local communities around Boiling Springs, such as Lavonia, Trinity, and Mt. Pleasant.

A tongue in cheek look at some of the letters to the editor The Foothills View got in their mailbag.

A tongue in cheek look at some of the letters to the editor The Foothills View got in their mailbag.

News about Earl Scruggs, a Boiling Springs native, visiting home in 1984

News about Earl Scruggs, a Boiling Springs native, visiting home in 1984

News out of Mt. Pleasant on March 19, 1981

News out of Mt. Pleasant on March 19, 1981

To view more materials from our partner, Gardner Webb University, visit their partner page here.  And to view more newspapers from across North Carolina, visit our North Carolina Newspapers Collection.


“Why We Kill” and Other NC Film Board Films Added to DigitalNC

A film still from "Why We Kill."

A film still from “Why We Kill.”

Over time, we have worked with the State Archives of North Carolina, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, and UNC-Chapel Hill to digitize a number of North Carolina Film Board films. Created by Gov. Terry Sanford, the Film Board operated for a short time during the 1960s and produced films of statewide significance. Many of the films dealt with the changing nature of the state at that time, discussing social equality, poverty, demographics, environmental concerns, and more.

Recently, we added several more films, held by UNC-Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Collection, and listed below. DigitalNC now hosts 14 of the 19 films created by the Film Board.*

This last film, Why We Kill, is and will likely remain one of the most riveting items in our collection. During this film, actor Chris Connelly, himself guilty of multiple driving infractions, sits down with five North Carolinians who caused fatalities or have had multiple run-ins with the law while speeding and/or driving under the influence of alcohol. It’s a frank discussion that is alternatively saddening and mystifying, as various levels of remorse come through. While watching, there are moments during which it’s striking how driving habits and social trends have changed over time, especially when the men discuss how much alcohol contributes to impairment. Connelly’s questions try to tease out the drivers’ ideas about decreasing accidents and discouraging dangerous driving.

This version of Why We Kill isn’t precisely the final version that was released. It was created by merging an audio track from UNC-Chapel Hill with visuals digitized from films at the State Archives of North Carolina. This is a great example of how local collections can complement each other, working together for a more complete picture of North Carolina’s history.

We’ll be posting several more blog posts in the coming weeks which will introduce the other films from our partners now viewable on DigitalNC.

*The remaining films are: Land of Beginnings; Minority Report: Vote and the Choice is Yours; Minority Report: We’re Not Alone; Nine Months To Go; The Outer Banks (possibly lost)


Newest Additions to the North Carolina Sights and Sounds Collection, Part 2

Here at the Digital Heritage Center, we’re able to scan or photograph almost all kinds of two dimensional items and even a goodly number of those in three dimensions. However, audiovisual materials are sent off site for digitization to a vendor and, as such, it’s a service we’ve only been able to offer annually. We just concluded our second round of audiovisual digitization and, like last year, our partners came forward with a wide variety of film and audio nominations. This is the second in a series of posts about the accepted nominations, with links to the items in the Sights and Sounds collection.

State Archives of North Carolina

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One of the best parts of “Wildlife Babies” is the footage of baby ducks jumping out of their bird house into a lake.

Appropriate for this election season, the State Archives has shared a number of short spots from the 1968 Governor’s race in which Robert W. Scott compares his policies and campaign tactics to those of his opponent, Jim Gardner. Scott’s criticisms of Gardner and his campaign echo some of what we hear today, and are also reflective of pressing issues in the state at the time, ranging from criticisms about Gardner’s attendance record to “misleading” campaign literature in which Scott was shown standing next to an African American man. There is also footage of a campaign speech made by Scott in Greenville, North Carolina, shortly before election day.

In addition to these are shared a number of films from the Wildlife Resources Commission. Many show both freshwater and saltwater fishing, both for sport and science. If you need your baby animal fix, you can check out “Wildlife Babies,” an award-winning feature that shows baby birds and mammals of North Carolina.

Mauney Memorial Library

We are always pleased to uncover and make available more films by H. Lee Waters, and during this round of digitization the Mauney Memorial Library came forward with two such films from Kings Mountain, N.C. These two most recent films are similar in style to the many produced by Waters, available both here and through an astounding collection at Duke University Libraries. There are many shots of school children walking in front of the camera, sometimes shy, sometimes silly. Some notable features include an aerial view of Kings Mountain, views inside local stores, and a product demonstration of a refrigerator (minute 26).

We’ll be posting several more blog posts in the coming weeks which will introduce the other films from our partners now viewable on DigitalNC.


Our 200th partner institution, the Rourk Branch Library, now has materials online

The Brunswick Beacon, January 31, 1985, page 9A

The Brunswick Beacon, January 31, 1985, page 9A

Materials from 200 partner institutions across North Carolina are now officially online through DigitalNC, with the publication of The Brunswick Beacon.  Thanks to our 200th partner institution, the Rourk Branch Library in Shallotte, N.C., we now have newspaper coverage of the southern North Carolina coast.  You can read more about our 200 partner celebration on our blog or on our celebration page.

Rourk’s first addition to the collection helps us build the North Carolina Newspaper collection, with almost a decade of issues from The Brunswick Beacon.  The Beacon is a unique community newspaper with issues dating from 1985 to 1994. The newspaper contains many creative ads (like the one below) and stories relevant to the area. The paper is an excellent resource for those interested in researching the activities of coastal areas in North Carolina or for genealogists.

The Brunswick Beacon, January 10, 1985, page 11-A

The Brunswick Beacon, January 10, 1985, page 11-A

To learn more about the Rourk Branch Library please their contributor page or the website.  To learn about the community newspapers that are published on DigitalNC, check out the North Carolina Newspapers Collection.

 

 


More architecture slides from Rockingham County now online

Butler Tobacco Factory

Butler Tobacco Factory

Featured in the latest batch of architecture slides from Rockingham Community College to be digitized by DigitalNC are several well known homes, including the Hermitage, Chinqua-Penn Plantation, and the David Settle Reid house.  Also included are mills, barns, and even a saloon.  Taken in the early 1980s, these photographs include multiple exterior as well as interior views of the buildings. Some of buildings still stand today and others no longer exist, but location, owners’ names, and building dates are included in the descriptions of the photographs.

CraftonHouseinterior

Crafton House, interior view

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David Settle Reid House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can learn more about these slides and the architecture depicted  in the Guide to the Early Rockingham County Architecture Slide Collection. See more from Rockingham Community College on the contributor page and learn more on their website.


The Informer, “For Recruitment of Minority Librarians”

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First page of the March 1979 issue of The Informer newsletter.

The Digital Heritage Center has worked with over 150 libraries throughout North Carolina. It’s no surprise that DigitalNC.org boasts a good number of items that document the history of libraries in the state, including scrapbooks and photos.*

For many years libraries were purposefully segregated, with branches tacitly or overtly meant to serve an African American neighborhood or community. The Richard B. Harrison Library in Raleigh is an example of a library that was a true social force, due to the hard work and influence of librarian Mollie Huston Lee. I thought of Ms. Lee recently. I was doing some work in our scrapbook collection, when I came upon an interesting newsletter tucked into one of the Irwin Holmes scrapbooks from the Durham County Library.

Titled “The Informer,” the newsletter’s tagline is: “For Recruitment of Minority Librarians” and appears to have been published first out of Raleigh and then out of Fort Valley, Georgia. There are two (possibly two and a half) issues in the scrapbook: one dating from March 1979 (pictured at right) and the second from September 1983. The issues of The Informer in our collection give biographies and moving tributes to African American librarians, such as Ann M. Jenkins of NCCU and Edna “Pinky” Penolya Mcaden King Watkins, an NCCU graduate who worked in libraries around the country. They also list positions available in North Carolina and around the country. The Informer publisher, IESMP or “Information Exchange System for Minority Personnel,” sold a number of other publications that offered to help librarians find jobs at institutions friendly to hiring minorities.

Dr. Dorothy May Haith was The Informer’s editor and possibly publisher, and she has had a lifelong passion for improving the profession and her community. A Shaw University and North Carolina Central University alum (she also holds degrees from Indiana University), Haith led the library at Bennett College, and also at Howard University. She has a number of publications to her name, has served on professional boards, and has given back to educational institutions by endowing scholarships. The Spring 2011 issue of Windows, published by the University Library at UNC Chapel Hill, describes a gift made to Wilson Library by Haith to honor those she felt encouraged her education (we call Wilson Library our home).

Dorothy Haith's High School yearbook photo from Booker T. Washington High in Reidsville, N.C.

Dorothy Haith’s high school yearbook photo from Booker T. Washington High in Reidsville, N.C.

Through The Informer, Haith was building a network for minority librarians through the 1970s and 1980s, offering them professional resources and personal information about their peers. Though Googling gives most of us this benefit now (as it did for me when trying to find out more about Haith), before the internet, this was a true labor and a valuable service.

Recruitment of minorities and increasing diversity continues to be a great need. What many patrons may not realize is that libraries strive to be some of the most inclusive, safe spaces in the country. Many build towards that goal in numerous ways: through concerted efforts to recruit a diverse workforce, through selection of an inclusive and various group of materials for collections, and through ensuring libraries are safe for ALL patrons. In fact, the American Library Association, the national professional organization for librarians, reinforces these goals through a code of ethics, professional development, and scholarships. As a profession, we have a long way to go, but these steps get us closer.

At DigitalNC, we hope to identify and help share more collections from our partners related to North Carolina’s minority populations in the coming year. If you work at a library or other cultural heritage institution and have collections that fit this category that you’d like to share online, we’re eager to hear from you.

*There’s also a rich Library History digital collection from the State Library of North Carolina, over at digital.ncdcr.gov.

**NCCU has numerous issues of The Informer in their collection, available at the School of Library and Information Sciences Library.


Undertaker’s record book and other resources now available from New Bern-Craven County Public Library

Undertaker's Record Book, page 15

Undertaker’s Record Book, page 15

Thanks to our partner, the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, DigitalNC is happy to publish several new items that could be extremely useful for our users.

Researchers may find use in the Undertaker’s Record Book, a unique source that documents the business and financial interactions of Merritt Whitley & Sons funeral home. The funeral home was an African American owned family operation which appeared in town records as early as 1890. The owner, Merritt Whitley, was also appointed as the County Undertaker in 1897. His sons, William O. Whitley and Hugh L. Whitley operated the funeral after their father’s death in 1910.

The record book offers a variety of unique data, documenting the years 1923-1925. In addition to the products and pricing of funeral items, such as caskets, burial clothes, embalming fluid, and cemetery transportation, the ledger also social and demographic information about the deceased. Including everything from family relations and presiding clergy to cause of death and grave location, this resource could be a wealth of information for genealogists or historical researchers.

At the links below, you can view all the new additions to DigitalNC from the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, including the multiple impressive sources from the Female Benevolent Society of New Bern:

To access more resources and manuscript items like this, please visit the North Carolina Memory Collection. To learn more about the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please visit their contributor page or check out the website.


Jackson County Public Library Contributes Issues of Two Sylva-Area Newspapers

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Announcement in the Jackson County Journal from May 25, 1939. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was scheduled to visit Sylva for the town’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

We’re pleased to welcome a new partner, Jackson County Public Library, from Sylva, N.C.! Thanks to the library, DigitalNC has recently made available issues of two area newspapers: the Jackson County Journal (Sylva, N.C.) and The Sylva Herald and Ruralite.

Here you can find issues of the Jackson County Journal ranging from 1923-1942. The final few years in this selection are dominated by World War II-related items, such as local men enlisting as soldiers, or Sylva groups’ contributions to the war effort. Town obituaries and events also make up the mix. (For example, the front page of the Journal for November 19, 1942, includes the headlines “42 Men Left for U.S. Army First of Week” and “Mrs. Morris Passed Away Last Friday.”)

The Sylva Herald and Ruralite has been publishing weekly in Jackson County from 1926 to the present. The 385 issues of this newspaper on DigitalNC span 1943-1950, beginning with the August 4, 1943 issue, which announces the launch of a new newspaper for Jackson County and explains: “the Herald Publishing Company … has purchased the 17-year-old Ruralite and combined it with The Sylva Herald. … The publishers plan to make it as newsy, and as modern as possible.” War news continues to predominate the early issues, along with announcements about local Sylva church and society news.

Learn more about our contributor, the Jackson County Public Library, at their website or their contributor page. You can also find current information about The Sylva Herald and Ruralite at their website. Browse the North Carolina Newspapers Collection to see more newspapers from communities around the state.

Jackson County Milk

From the Sylva Herald and Ruralite, August 4, 1943.


Montreat Student Newspapers Now Online

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Front cover of The Aletheia, February 3, 1978. Photo by Bruce Parrish.

We have worked with Montreat College to digitize 529 issues of their student newspaper, now available at DigitalNC. The newspapers here range from 1937-2016, starting with The Dialette (in 1937) and ending with The Whetstone (the newspaper’s current name).

Montreat College, a Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, was founded in 1916 in Montreat, N.C., in the Blue Ridge Mountains. From 1959-1995, it was known as Montreat-Anderson College. Today, along with the 43-acre main campus in Montreat, the college has an 89-acre campus in Black Mountain as well as campuses in Asheville, Black Mountain, and Charlotte, N.C.

The student newspapers on DigitalNC trace the development of Montreat from its beginnings as a women’s college for teacher training; to the admission of their first male students in 1958; and through the subsequent growth of the college. The issues offer a glimpse of campus life, discussions about the integration of faith and the college experience, and various musical and arts events taking place in the area, such as a visit from Christian rap group D.C. Talk in January 1990.

Find out more about Montreat College at their website or their contributor page; or see our previous blog posts about Montreat College yearbooks and May Day celebrations. You can also search the North Carolina Newspapers Collection to find newspapers from other N.C. schools and towns.


Newest Additions to the North Carolina Sights and Sounds Collection, Part 1

Here at the Digital Heritage Center, we’re able to scan or photograph almost all kinds of two dimensional items and even a goodly number of those in three dimensions. However, audiovisual materials are sent off site for digitization to a vendor and, as such, it’s a service we’ve only been able to offer annually. We just concluded our second round of audiovisual digitization and, like last year, our partners came forward with a wide variety of film and audio nominations documenting North Carolina’s history. This is the first in a series of posts about the accepted nominations, with links to the items in the Sights and Sounds collection.

Belmont Abbey College

Unidentified man, presumably from Gaston County and interviewed for the Crafted with Pride Project in 1985.

Unidentified man, presumably from Gaston County and interviewed for the Crafted with Pride Project in 1985.

The “Crafted with Pride” project, led by several cultural heritage institutions and businesses in Gaston County in 1985, sought to record and bring public awareness to the textile industry’s impact in Gaston County. During the project, a number of oral histories were collected from those who had worked in textile mills and lived in mill villages in towns like Belmont, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Dallas, Gastonia, High Shoals, McAdenville, Mount Holly, and Stanley. Belmont Abbey College has shared these oral histories on DigitalNC, as well as images and documents from the project. The oral histories touch on the toil of mill work, especially during the Great Depression, and the positive and negative cultural and social aspects of mill villages in North Carolina during the early 20th century.

Cumberland County Public Library

A girl wearing tartans at festivities surrounding Cumberland County's Sesquicentennial in 1939.

An unidentified girl wearing tartans at festivities surrounding Cumberland County’s Sesquicentennial in 1939.

Silent footage of the 1939 sesquicentennial parade in Fayetteville, N.C. combines Scottish customs, local history, and military displays from Cumberland County. This film was nominated by the Cumberland County Public Library, along with a brief advertisement soliciting support for renovation of Fayetteville’s Market House.

Duke University Medical Center Archives

Scene from "The Sound of Mucus," performed by Duke Medical School students in 1989.

Scene from “The Sound of Mucus,” performed by Duke Medical School students in 1989.

The films and oral histories nominated by the Duke University Medical Center Archives describe the history of Duke Hospital and Duke University’s School of Medicine. Included is a Black History Month Lecture by Dr. Charles Johnson, the first black professor at Duke Medicine, in which he describes his early life and his work at Duke. You can also view “The Sound of Mucus,” a comedic musical created and performed by Duke Medical students and faculty in 1989.  Two interviews conducted with Wilburt Cornell Davison and Jane Elchlepp give first hand accounts of Duke Hospital and Medical School history.

We’ll be posting several more blog posts in the coming weeks which will introduce the other films from our partners now viewable on DigitalNC.