New materials from Braswell Memorial Library are now live on DigitalNC. Included in this batch are photo albums of trains and railroads across the United States and a newsletter produced by staff members at Sidney Blumenthal and Company’s textile mill in Rocky Mount.
When workers Blumenthal’s Caromount Mills deployed for World War II, remaining staff members created the Caromount News for Service Men and Women, a newsletter “published solely for the benefit of all former Blumenthal employees now in the service of our country.” These editions include updates for and about employees who were deployed, jokes, musings, local updates, and even a little workplace gossip. This newsletter continued to be published even after the cessation of the war; we have digitized editions through 1955. The Caromount News grew to be a community newspaper in the post-war years, capturing weddings, graduations, home purchases, town events and more in addition to workplace accomplishments and announcements.
Included within the bound editions of the Caromount news was a telegram from a Navy Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and accounts to the men and women of Sidney Blumenthal and Company Incorporated. In this telegram, Rear Admiral W. B. Young credits cloth made by the textile mill with saving the lives of crew members following a ship wreck on the Newfoundland coast during a blizzard. “Those who were best able to take care of themselves after 30 grueling hours in sub-zero temperature were wearing jungle cloth special winter clothing outfits. Those men possibly owe their lives to that equipment” reads the telegram.
Railfans rejoice! The other materials in this batch are all centered around railroads — functional and defunct — up and down the East Coast and even as far as Mexico and California. Documented within the albums are the first trips of several NC routes, including the Piedmont and Carolinian trains. The photos included in these eight albums span the years between 1945 and 2006.