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


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.  

 


How DigitalNC materials are being used across the web: Legeros Fire Blog

We love hearing about ways that materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center have impacted research and recreation. 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.  

Cover page of Raleigh Fire Department women's group scrapbook, features a firetruck illustration

Cover page of the Raleigh Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary 1968-1969 scrapbook, digitized for the Raleigh Fire Museum

 

Our focus today is a particularly fun one because the author of the blog is not only a heavy user of DigitalNC, but also our main contact for one of our partners, the Raleigh Fire Museum.  Mike Legeros’s Fire Blog provides a very detailed look into the history of fire departments in North Carolina, as well as keeping up to date on what’s going on in those departments today.  It also links to a Fire History page, which has resources of the history of fire departments across the country, including historic and present day photographs of fire stations.  

screenshot of city directory on the fire blog

We are particular fans of the post that explains in great detail how to use our city directories, which is one of our favorite resources on DigitalNC and one that Mike has used extensively in his research.  You can check out his tips and tricks here:  https://legeros.com/blog/burlington-and-graham-fire-alarm-box-locations-1920-21/ 

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.  

 


How DigitalNC materials are being used across the web: Tornado Talk

We love hearing about ways that materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center have impacted research and recreation.  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.  

Photograph of damage from a tornado in Vaughn, NC

From the front page of the October 9, 1969 issue of the Warren Record

Today we’re focusing on a website that is on a very relevant topic to North Carolinians this time of year – the weather, and specifically, tornadoes.  It’s called Tornado Talk and according to the site itself, “Tornado Talk aims to be your #1 source for tornado history. Join us on this on-going project to compile a user friendly and interactive database with tornado summaries, personal accounts, and video productions of major tornado events.”  It is an incredibly in depth website and includes a calendar with tornado dates and each tornado that is focused on includes information about it’s path and links to primary sources about the destruction.  DigitalNC was featured in a recent post about a tornado that hit Vaughan, NC near Lake Gaston on October 2, 1969 and a paper we digitized, the Warren Record, featured articles about the destruction that followed in the tornado’s path.  To read more about the tornado and see the pages from the paper featured, check out Tornado Talk’s post here:

Vaughan-Lake Gaston, NC F2 Tornado – October 2, 1969

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.  

 


Redevelopment and urban renewal efforts in Winston-Salem

Man on lawn mower in front of homes on Cleveland Ave. Winston Salem

Man on a lawnmower in front of homes on Cleveland Ave., 1958

Back in May, when the NCDHC staff went to Winston-Salem to do a day of on-site scanning with the Winston Salem African American Archive, the bulk of our scanning was over 200 slides that showed construction of public housing units built by the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, as well as some slides that showed the areas of “urban decay” that were replaced with these developments in initial urban renewal efforts in the city that started in the late 1940s. The housing complexes photographed include Cleveland Avenue homes (built in the mid 1950s as one of Winston-Salem’s first public housing communities), Sunrise Towers, Crystal Towers, the 14th Street Community Center, Northwood Estates, and the Castle Heights neighborhood.

Woman walking with two children down a street past a storefront

Woman walking with two children in Winston-Salem. The slide was included in a section that stated “conditions before redevelopment”. Ca. 1950

See all the slides we scanned from the WSAAA here. To learn more about the archive, visit their website.


New partner, Graham County Public Library, brings NCDHC coverage to the western edge of NC

downtown view of Robbinsville

Main Street in Robbinsville

In June, the staff from the NC Digital Heritage Center drove over 5 hours – almost to the Tennessee border! – to spend a few days scanning on site at the Graham County Public Library.  A beautiful part of the state, we not only enjoyed meeting our new partner, seeing their collections, and even getting to sit in on a mountain music lesson at the library, but also getting to know a part of NC we don’t often get to.  The majority of materials we scanned for Graham County were photographs of the logging industry and dam building that built up the western part of the state in the early to mid 20th century and the people who built the towns that supported these operations.  

Man on a bridge in front of a dam

Man standing on a bridge near Cheoah Dam

Train hauling logs

Train hauling logs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With these scans now online, we have added a new partner and new county to DigitalNC!  To learn more about Graham County Public Library visit their partner page.  


Four more issues of the Highlands High School student newspaper are on DigitalNC

cover page of the 1947 June issue

More issues of the Highlands High School student newspaper, The Mountain Trail, are now online, adding issues from 1947, 1976, 1979 and 1982.  These additions help fill in gaps in our already online coverage from 1938 to 1982.  Three of the issues are specifically the graduation issues of the paper and focus on the senior graduating class.  The June 1, 1976 issue devoted a full page to each senior.  

Song list

Songs that fit each graduating senior from the June 1976 issue

class news

The lower grades had news in the paper too. This is from the September 1979 issue.

To learn more about our partner Highlands Historical Society, visit their partner page.  You can read previous posts on the Mountain Trail here and visit our North Carolina Newspapers page to view more papers from across the state.


Charlotte Post is now available

front page of the February 18, 1993 Charlotte Post

Front page of the February 18, 1993 issue of the Charlotte Post, with a focus on Black History Month

Issues of the Charlotte Post, an African American newspaper out of Charlotte, are now online, thanks to partner Johnson C. Smith University.  The Charlotte Post was founded in 1878 and is a weekly publication.  It still is published today, with the tagline, “The Voice of the Black Community.”  

The first issues that we are making available online on DigitalNC cover 1988-1990, 1993, and 1996.  Issues affecting the black community in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the wider nation are all discussed in the 30 plus pages of each issue of the paper, from politics, including the runs of several black politicians in local and state government, as well as Jesse Jackson’s run for president in 1988, issues with the Charlotte Mecklenburg school district, especially for black students, and a multitude of other topics, many of which will seem not so different from the topics of today.

To view more materials from Johnson C. Smith University, go here.  To view more of our newspapers, visit here.


Student newspapers from the Henderson Institute now on DigitalNC

Title page of the April 1943 edition of The Campus Herald

Ten issues of the student newspaper from the Henderson Institute are now on DigitalNC.  The Henderson Institute was founded in 1891 with the goal of educating the black community.  It was funded by the United Presbyterian Church.  The school closed in 1970 but maintains an active alumni group and our partner, the Henderson Institute Historical Museum stands on the original grounds of the school in Henderson, NC.   

Editorial in 1941 paper about US view of race relations

Editorial in the 1941 Campus Herald discussing the inconsistency of the US policy abroad and at home

The topics covered in the paper include events happening at the school, topics of study in classes at the school, as well as important events in the black community both locally and nationally.  The issues of the paper span 1937 through 1969, showing the evolution of the school in the middle of the 20th century, including some very interesting papers from the World War II era where there is discussion by the students of the juxtaposition of the United States push for liberty abroad while race relations on the home front remained fraught.  The early papers published in the 1930s were done under the direction of the English department but later issues appear to be have been produced by a specific group of the student body independently at the school.  

1969 student council

The introduction of Student Council at the Henderson Institute in 1969

To learn more about the Henderson Institute Historical Museum visit their partner page or their website.  To see more newspapers from across North Carolina, visit our newspaper page.  


Van Eeden books now online

Van Eeden pamphlet published in 1913
Yesterday, on April 18, a new historical marker was unveiled in Pender County honoring the farming community of Van Eeden.  Van Eeden was located north of Burgaw and was owned by Hugh MacRae, who tried to start a farm colony with Dutch settlers there in the early 1900s that was named for Frederik Van Eeden, a Dutch psychiatrist and author, who helped MacRae recruit Dutch immigrants.

We digitized a pamphlet that was put out in the Netherlands to promote the colony in 1913.  The pamphlet is in Dutch and English.

The colony was not very successful, but in the late 1930s, it fulfilled a new purpose.  Alvin Johnson, the founder of the New School in New York, was working hard to bring as many Jewish refugees from Germany as possible, but was having difficulty working through the rules of the State Department.  He found a loophole in the law though; there was no quota on those who came as farm workers.  Working with MacRae, Johnson brought several Jewish families to Van Eeden to escape the Nazis.  Susan Block wrote a book about the experience of those families who came from Germany and adjusting to life on a farm in eastern North Carolina titled Van Eeden, which we digitized as well.  

To learn more about our partner Pender County Public Library, visit their partner page.  And to learn more about Van Eeden, visit the great libguide built by Pender County Public Library.  


A Visit from Wayne County Public Library

A few weeks ago, our partner Wayne County Public Library brought three over-sized materials for us to scan here at the NCDHC while they waited.  The items were a beautiful map of Goldsboro from 1881, and two posters related the building campaign for a memorial building in honor of those from Wayne County who died in World War I.  

1881 map of Goldsboro, NC

While we scanned these items, folks from UNC Communications stopped by to see us in action.  You can see the footage they shot of our scanning processes here.

Learn more about our partner Wayne County Public Library on their partner page, or on the Wayne County Public Library website.