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 by Kristen Merryman

Materials dating back to 1876 now online from Union County Public Library

In a new batch of items from partner Union County Public Library, which they digitized themselves, there are materials that date all the way back to 1876.  A catalog for Monroe High School from 1876 details all the classes one could take at the school, which was a white, private, co-educational school that advertised not only to those who lived in Monroe, but in the surrounding area, including South Carolina.  In the first section of the book it lists the enrollment at the school and hometowns of each student.  The cost for 20 weeks at the school was $10-$16 tuition plus $50 for room and board.  page listing the students enrolled at Monroe High School

Other materials from this batch include several Chamber of Commerce publications promoting Monroe, NC, a feature on the new library in Monroe, and the minutes of the Union County Medical Association from 1902 to 1922.  The Medical Association minutes are particularly interesting in mentioning about a black doctor, Dr. J.S. Massey, being a member in 1903 in what was otherwise an all white organization.  This would have been during a time of increasing segregation and aggression by whites against black in North Carolina following the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision and the 1898 race riots in Wilmington and the shift in the government in 1900 to a white supremacist Democratic leadership. 

There is also a yearbook from 1954 from Union High School that was located in Lanes Creek Township.  

To view more materials from Union County Public Library, visit their partner page.  

John Graham High School yearbooks now online, thanks to Warren County Memorial Library

Photograph of the front of a brick school building

8 yearbooks from John Graham High School in Warrenton, NC are now online, thanks to partner Warren County Memorial Library. The yearbooks span the years 1947 to 1969 and provide a glimpse into the lives of high-schoolers in the northern portion of North Carolina. The school integrated in 1966 and the yearbooks from 1967, 1968, and 1969 show the newly integrated population of the school.

John Graham High School was originally the Warrenton Male Academy, one of the first schools in the state, which opened in 1786.  In 1897, the school changed it’s name to Warrenton High School and in the early 1900s became coeducational.  The school later became public and was known as John Graham High School, after the man who took over the school in 1897.  John Graham High School during the 1900s was the white school in Warrenton, while John R. Hawkins High School was the black school.  During integration, the students of Hawkins High School were moved to John Graham High School.  John Graham’s last graduating class was in 1981.  After that, the school transitioned to a middle school and the high-schoolers moved to the new Warren County High School building.  Several well known graduates have come from John Graham High School, including Frank Porter Graham, who became a US Senator and president of UNC and R.B. House, the first chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill.  

To view more materials from Warren County Memorial Library, visit their partner page here and to learn more about the library itself, visit their website here. To see more high school yearbooks, visit our North Carolina Yearbooks collection.

The Philanthropy Journal of North Carolina is now online

front page of the Philanthropy Journal, includes a photograph of a woman being treated by a doctor

Front page of the December 1994 issue of the Journal

Thanks to our partner the Government and Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina in Raleigh, issues from 1993 to 1998 of the Philanthropy Journal of North Carolina are now on DigitalNC.  The Journal has been published since 1993.  Todd Cohen, an adjunct instructor in writing at William Peace University in Raleigh, launched a weekly philanthropy column for The News & Observer in 1991 as the newspaper’s business editor. In 1993, through The News and Observer Foundation, he created the Philanthropy Journal, the first statewide paper in the U.S. to report on nonprofits. He edited the Journal for nearly 20 years.  The Journal currently is published by the Institute for Nonprofits in a different format from the Journal of the 1990s and early 2000s, but maintains that it’s mission is to serve as a platform for nonprofits and their supporters to be reflective, think critically, and share their stories in order to build a stronger, more courageous sector.”  The issues now on DigitalNC give a good view into the nonprofit sector and the work being done across North Carolina during the mid-1990s.  

To learn more about the Journal, visit their homepage here.  To see more North Carolina newspapers, visit our newspaper site here.  

1950s and 1960s yearbooks from Chatham County Public Library are now online

Black and white photograph of the lunch room at Pittsboro High School in 1965

The cafeteria at Pittsboro High School in 1965

20 new yearbooks from Chatham County Public Library are now online here. The yearbooks come from Pittsboro High School, Chatham Central High School, Jordan-Matthews High School, and Goldston High School and cover the 1950s and 1960s.  These yearbooks join the already 25 yearbooks from Chatham County schools on DigitalNC.  

To learn more about our partner Chatham County Public Library, visit their partner page here and their website here.  To see more yearbooks from across North Carolina, visit our yearbooks page here.  

DigitalNC on the web: NC Hunt and Fish and the Outer Banks Fisherman

We love being sent or just stumbling upon, projects on the web that utilize materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.  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.

Man standing in the ocean holding a fishing pole

We are still right in the middle of summer time here in North Carolina so it seems like a good time for another post on DigitalNC on the web featuring fishing.  This particular use of DigitalNC was figured out by the staff at the NCDHC due to web traffic analytics.  Last winter when we ran the numbers on our highest viewed items for 2018, we were surprised that a video of fishing was the second highest viewed item on our site in 2018. Specifically this film of Roland Martin, a well known fisherman fishing on the Outer Banks.  It is aptly titled, “Outer Banks Fisherman” and was digitized thanks to our partner the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

We decided to do some digging into why that might be and stumbled upon a really great forum – NC Hunt and Fish. Someone on there had found the video and posted it – which promoted lots of excitement on the forum and drove lots of avid fishermen to our site to view it for themselves apparently!  The video itself is a fun look at sport fishing on the NC coast in the 1980s and the forum has lots of great memories of those who themselves used to go down to the Outer Banks to fish.

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.  To see past highlighted projects, visit past posts here

How North Carolinians reacted to the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969

50 years ago on July 19, 1969 , the Apollo 11 entered lunar orbit and hours later on July 20, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the lunar module the Eagle on the surface of the moon.  It was there Armstrong famously said “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.” The moon landing was watched with bated breath by the entire nation, which had been engaged throughout the 1960s in an intense “space race” with the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War.  The landing also fulfilled the promise President John F. Kennedy had made in a famous speech in 1962 that before the decade was out, America would go to the moon. 

Many resources on DigitalNC show how North Carolinians celebrated the moon landing and how they viewed it in relation to the space race.

black and white photograph of the moon above a poem

Poem written by the editor of the New Bern Mirror commemorating the moon landing


The front page of the New Bern Mirror published the Friday after the landing described how many of New Bern’s citizens were glued to their televisions to watch the grainy footage come back to Earth of Aldrin and Armstrong, starting off with “Like us, you’ll find it hard to believe, but there were New Bernians who didn’t have their television sets turned on Sunday afternoon and night.” and later referring to the event as the biggest thing since “Christ rose from the dead.”  The front page spread  also included a poem by the editor of the paper about the landing. 

cartoon of a man sitting at a desk and a short column about pride in the moon landing

Frank Count, a well known local columnist for the Franklin Times’ take on the moon landing.

The Franklin Times had a full page spread about the landing in their July 22, 1969 issue, pulling in not only national press materials but also including a short Frank Count column stating “Me and them…we’re mighty proud of the Ask-her-naughts and we’re mighty proud to be Americans.”  

Headline reading "Our Old Problems Remain Despite the Hope of Apollo"

Headline from the Carolina Times published after the moon landing.

Some publications took a slightly different tone; while being inspired by the scientific feat of getting to the moon, the Carolina Times, the African-American paper in Durham, noted that while it was great the United States got to the moon, on Earth there were still wars being fought, people in extreme poverty, and many other unresolved problems.  The editor closed the editorial wishing for Americans to be inspired to think differently and broader now that they knew they could reach the moon. “The moon landing undoubtedly dramatized the rapidity of change in the world and may therefore encourage new approaches, new attitudes, and new policies toward contemporary problems. In a way, this great achievement focused the mind of the entire race on a single event and said to the world what Lincoln said to the American people in 1862. ‘As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew. We must dis-enthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.'”

Photograph of astronaut's footprint on the surface of the moon

Introduction of the 1970 Junius Rose High School yearbook.

Showing the landing still had an impact a year later, a 1970 yearbook from Junius Rose High School in Greenville, NC compared the graduates of Rose High School to the astronauts who landed on the moon and commented on their next move to make “a giant leap” into adulthood as they leave high school behind.

This is just a small sampling of the many reactions in the newspapers in communities across the state, as well as other materials on our site related to interest in the space race and Cold War, which you can look at here.  The overwhelming feeling from almost all of them is a strong pride in being American and thus a part of this great scientific achievement and a sense that now anything was possible for the country.  

How DigitalNC materials are being used across the web: Bull City 150

We love being sent or just stumbling upon, projects on the web that utilize materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.  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.  

Black and white photograph of a house with a porch

1 Adams Alley, a house torn down during Urban Renewal in Durham.  Adams Alley no longer exists as an address.

Today’s focus is on a website that’s associated with larger project at Duke called Bull City 150.  Durham celebrates it’s 150th anniversary this month, so it feels appropriate to highlight this project in April.  According to the website, “the mission of Bull City 150 is to invite Durhamites to reckon with the racial and economic injustices of the past 150 years and commit to building a more equitable future.”  The project does this through a variety of public history methods, including the associated website that features several videos put together by students in Documentary Studies classes at Duke.  Two of those videos, one on the important role of the Carolina Times and its’ long time editor, Louis Austin in Durham’s black community, and one on the destruction of Hayti in Durham when the Durham Freeway, Hwy 147, was built, feature materials digitized by DigitalNC.  We have the full run of the Carolina Times available here and many photographs and property surveys digitized for the Durham Urban Renewal Collection from our partner Durham County Library, are featured in the Hayti video

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.  To see past highlighted projects, visit past posts here


New partner, Fuquay Varina Museums, adds 20 yearbooks in first batch

We are excited to welcome new partner Fuquay-Varina Museums to DigitalNC.  Their first batch with us is a set of 20 yearbooks from Fuquay Varina area schools, Fuquay Springs High School, the white school, and Fuquay Consolidated High School, the African-American school for the town before integration.  The schools were combined in 1969 to form Fuquay-Varina High School, which still operates today as part of the Wake County School system.

Photographs from Fuquay Consolidated Prom

Prom photographs from the 1953 Fuquay Consolidated yearbook

Cover of the Fuquay Springs High School yearbook showing women standing outside the school

Cover of the 1959 Fuquay Springs High School yearbook


To see more yearbooks digitized on DigitalNC, visit here.  And to learn more about our partner, visit their website here and their partner page here.

How DigitalNC materials are being used across the web: History Unfolded Project at the US Holocaust Museum

We love being sent or just stumbling upon, projects on the web that utilize materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.  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.

History Unfolded events page

The museum has selected various events from 1933-1945 for people to focus their research on finding articles about.

The History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust  Project from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. is a project in which DigitalNC materials are just a small portion of a much bigger effort.  According to the project’s website “asks students, teachers, and history buffs throughout the United States what was possible for Americans to have known about the Holocaust as it was happening and how Americans responded. Participants look in local newspapers for news and opinion about 37 different Holocaust-era events that took place in the United States and Europe, and submit articles they find to a national database, as well as information about newspapers that did not cover events.”  The goal of the project is to build a crowd-sourced repository that scholars can use to better understand what those in the United States knew as the Holocaust was happening.  Digitized newspapers are a key component of the project and many of the papers we have digitized through DigitalNC have been used by participants of the project to track knowledge of Holocaust related events in local NC newspapers.  You can view everything that is from an NC newspaper here.  The earliest articles come from 1933, including an article from the Journal Patriot out of North Wilkesboro, NC that has the headline “A Dangerous Policy” regarding the Nazis’ growing policies against the Jewish people in Germany. 

screenshot of the History Unfolded Project

Article page on the History Unfolded project site showing an article from The Journal Patriot in 1933

The latest articles date to 1945 and focus on the evolving information being uncovered about the full extent of the Holocaust once the Nazis had been beaten in World War II.  As History Unfolded is a crowdsourced project you can get involved and help the museum continue to track this information in US newspapers.  To get involved yourself, visit here.     

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.  To see past highlighted projects, visit past posts here

DigitalNC on the Web: Genealogy blogs

Genealogists are probably our biggest users here at DigitalNC and we love the blog we’re highlighting today because it gives us some great insight into some of the finds one particular genealogist is making using DigitalNC.  Taneya Koonce is a fellow information science professional and also an avid genealogist.  On her personal blog, Taneya’s Genealogy Blog, she chronicles her work to trace her family’s history and the resources she uses to do so.  

Clipping from a genealogy blog about the connection of her family to Sylva, NC

A really great example of the way Ms. Koonce has used DigitalNC for her research is her post titled “And Now I Know Why” which shows how she traced why her great grandfather’s brother died in Sylva, NC, a place the family had not had any obvious connections to, which involved looking at yearbooks from Winston-Salem State University and their student newspaper, both of which can by found on Winston-Salem State University’s partner page.  

To see more posts about Ms. Koonce’s use of DigitalNC in her family history research, view all the posts tagged DigitalNC here.

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.  To read about other places on the web that feature content from DigitalNC, check out past blog posts here.