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


Mapping the path of eclipses of the past through NC newspapers

This afternoon, the western portion of North Carolina will experience a total solar eclipse and the rest of the state will experience almost a total eclipse.  A peak into the newspapers on our site show that the rhetoric around eclipses has not changed too much over the years.  

Danger to one’s eyes is still the number one warning about watching the eclipse.  The front page of the March 5, 1970 Warren Record in Warrenton shouts “Danger!” about looking directly at the eclipse that was happening on March 7.

 

The New Bern Mirror noted about the same eclipse that the safest place to watch it would be on your television.

The Mirror was not the only paper in 1970 to discuss watching on TV.  It was a topic in the Raeford News-Journal as well.

In 1923, many of the papers on DigitalNC ran a feature about the ability to watch the eclipse that year at the movie theater – a big innovation for the day.

Perhaps our favorite find – and what may be of particular interest to those out in the western portion of the state – is an article found in the January 29, 1925 issue of the Brevard News, which noted a partial eclipse visible the weekend before.  It also stated at the end that “Scientists tell us that not for 300 years will North Carolinians be able to see another one in their own state.”  So either it was a misprint or scientists have had to do some recalculations!

Wherever you watch today’s eclipse from – be careful of those eyes!  And to read more eclipse stories in DigitalNC’s newspapers, visit here.


Students help bring new light to the Wilmington riots of 1898

In July, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center was pleased to welcome a group of middle school students from Williston Middle School and Friends School Of Wilmington. With them were writers Joel Finsel and John Jeremiah Sullivan and staff from the Cape Fear Museum, all of whom worked with the students over the past semester.  This visit was the culmination of a project for the students who had studied the Wilmington riots of 1898 and worked specifically with original copies of the Daily Record, held by the Cape Fear Museum. 

Original issues of the Record, which was the black-owned newspaper in Wilmington in the late 1890s, are incredibly hard to find: their offices were destroyed during the riots.  (Learn more about the riots on NCpedia.)  The museum staff brought along their copies of the paper, as well as original copies of the reaction to the riots as found in both black-owned and white-owned papers across the country.  We scanned all of the materials on site with help from UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries’ Digital Production Center staff. Students watched and got to learn more about our work.  Now all of those materials are online not only for future students to work with, but for anyone from the general public to access.  

To learn more about the students’ work, read this great article from the Wilmington Star News . As the article states: “The project is still looking for any more copies of the Record that might turn up… Anyone who finds one is urged to email dailyrecordproject@gmail.com.”

And to view more newspapers on our site, visit our newspaper site here


New partner and new yearbooks – Winchester Avenue High School from Union County Public Library

Thanks to our new partner, Union County Public Library, DigitalNC now features 3 yearbooks [1956, 1958, and 1962] from Winchester Avenue High School, which was the black high school in Monroe, North Carolina.  Winchester first opened as a K-12 school serving the black community in the 1920s.  It was an important institution in Monroe’s black community, serving as a community center and point of pride for the many students who graduated from the school.  That all changed in March 1966 when a fire heavily damaged the school.  The high school students finished the year in the undamaged parts, but it was the end of Winchester as a high school.  As a result, with no other options,  the black students and faculty from Winchester all went to the all white Monroe High School for the 1966-1967 school year, making Monroe High the first fully integrated high school in the state.  

 

One of Winchester’s graduates is a trailblazer whose story has been highlighted very recently, Christine Darden. Darden is a retired engineer and executive from NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, and her story is one of the one’s highlighted in the book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.”  Darden [Christine Mann is her maiden name] attended Winchester School through sophomore year before transferring to the Allen School, a boarding school in Asheville in 1956.  She served as a sophomore class officer while at Winchester. 

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


Francis B. Hays tells the story of Hurricane Hazel

Included in the latest batch of Francis B. Hays scrapbooks from Granville County Public Library is one entirely about North Carolina’s devastation from Hurricane Hazel which struck in October 1954.  The scrapbook mostly contains newspaper clippings from the aftermath of the storm, which is still one of the biggest hurricanes to ever hit the state.  The focus of the clippings are not only on the Oxford area, where Hays lived, but across the state, particularly the Raleigh area and the coast, which were especially hard hit.  

To see more scrapbooks from Francis B. Hays, visit the exhibit page here and learn more about them in previous blog posts here, here, and here.  To see other Hurricane Hazel related materials on DigitalNC, visit here.  


Issues of Wake Forest University’s The Student from 1906-1935 added

Additional issues of Wake Forest University’s The Student are now online.  The additional issues cover 1906 through 1935.  The Student was typically published quarterly and featured articles, opinion columns, and stories written by the students of what was then Wake Forest College, located in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  The later issues, published in the 1930s have more of a magazine feel than the earlier issues, which are focused literary journals.  Topics covered include World War I, the depression, college life, dating, and social issues such as homelessness, the mentally infirm, and the death penalty.  Each issue includes a humor section as well.  The later issues also include a number of advertisements for both local businesses in Wake Forest and Raleigh and a number of full color cigarette ads.  

To read about previous batches of The Student we have digitized, visit here and here and here.  Visit Wake Forest University’s partner page to learn more about what they have contributed to DigitalNC.  


Student newspaper from Johnson C Smith University is now online


The University Student, Johnson C. Smith University’s student newspaper, is now available on DigitalNC with issues from 1926-1930.  Johnson C Smith University, a historically black university in Charlotte, NC was founded in 1867 as the Biddle Memorial Institute.  The name was changed to Johnson C Smith University in 1923 after a benefactress’ husband, shortly before the available run of papers were published.  The school became co-ed in 1932.    

The student newspaper was published monthly in the 1920s and not only had news about the university and Charlotte, but also news about the wider African-American academic world, with a lot of very thought provoking articles about the issues of the time, with articles discussing topics varying from “Social Hereditary” to “Is Smith the Potential Yale of the South?”

To view more resources from Johnson C Smith University, visit their partner page here.  And to view more student newspapers from across the state, visit our newspapers here.


Sail back to the 1800s with materials from our new partner, Beaufort Historical Association

Today we are highlighting the great materials from our new partner, Beaufort Historical Association.  

Two items were especially exciting in the first batch of materials, which were prioritized for their fragile condition.

One is the account book of Dr. William Cramer, a physician who ran the Apothecary Shop in Beaufort in the 1850s.  The account book lists the medicinal items that Dr. Cramer sold to the citizens of Beaufort.  

The other is the account of Mr. Cecil G. Buckman, a 19 year old local carpenter’s son who was on the schooner Ogeechee to Baltimore from Beaufort in 1873 when it ran into a storm and the ship ran aground on Hatteras Island for several days before the ship’s passengers were able to continue along their way to Baltimore.  A great account about the travails and uncertainties of ocean travel even late in the 19th century.

To learn more about our partner Beaufort Historical Association visit their partner page here


Shaw University yearbooks from 1949, 1960, and 2010-2015 now available

From the 2015 The Bear yearbook

More yearbooks from Shaw University are now online on DigitalNC.  The 2015 volume celebrates the 150th anniversary of Shaw, which was the first black college in the South founded in 1865 shortly after the Civil War ended.  

To learn more about Shaw University and see other materials we have from them online, visit their partner page here. To see more yearbooks from colleges and universities across the state, view our Yearbook Collection.

 

 


World War I materials on DigitalNC

 

Company H, WWI, 1st North Carolina Infantry of the National Guard, departed Waynesville’s train depot on June 26, 1916. They guarded the Mexican border and returned to Waynesville in February 1917. In July 1917 they then were sent to France during WWI.  Courtesy of Haywood County Public Library.

Last Thursday, April 6, 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.  Over the next year, many cultural heritage institutions around the country are highlighting the materials they hold related to the “Great War.”  We wanted to highlight some of the fantastic local North Carolina materials we have digitized for our partners that document the World War I perspective from North Carolinians’ eyes.

 

Service records, photographs, news clippings and letters back home from communities across the state are digitized here on DigitalNC.  From Wilson County, we have a set of records from 70 men that served in the war that the United Daughters of the Confederacy collected and a scrapbook that includes letters from a Robert Anderson before he was wounded in action and died in France. From Stanly County, we have an enlistment record that includes the amount Harvey Jarvis Underwood was paid to serve, and a history of the service records of Stanly County men who served in the war.  From the Grand Lodge of the Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, the NCDHC digitized a list of all the North Carolina masons who died in World War I.

Several scrapbooks from Elon University detail the students’ view of the war as well as what college life during World War I looked like here in North Carolina.  

Headline from Page 2 of the April 12, 1917 edition of the Roanoke News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The richest source of information on World War I and North Carolina on DigitalNC may very well be the many local newspapers we’ve digitized that contain the local perspective on the war, including some quite subdued headlines announcing the US’s entry.  DigitalNC also hosts several World War I camp and hospital newspapers including the Trench and Camp from Camp Greene and the Caduceus, the paper of the Base Hospital at Camp Greene.  Both are from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

To view more materials from World War I, check out a search of our collections here.  And to learn more about World War I materials from across the state, visit the institutions highlighted in this blog post from our colleagues over at the State Archives of North Carolina.


“But, this election has been unlike any other.”

Front page of The Amco News, October 1, 1960

Front page of The Amco News, October 1, 1960

“When we note the bare knuckled television fights of both candidates on the same stage, discussing the same issues, it is much like the pugilistic
contests in which the victor’s hand is raised in a decision of victory.”

“Both candidates are always screaming about making their position clear, but often they don’t”

[reactions to the Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960]

“What we saw was not impressive. It did not inspire confidence…one also realized that these two men were one step away from the presidency because they were very wealthy, were willing contestants in the dehumanizing game of politics, and were able handlers of the mass media.”

[reaction to the Carter-Ford debates in 1976]

“The name of the game is now “image-building” and opinion shaping by way of the electronic media”

“Election-year Presidential politics being what they are, have never been noted for their coming to grips with the real, people oriented, bread and
butter issues.”

[reactions to the Reagan-Carter debates in 1980]

“Perhaps there is too much of an image problem involved in a televised debate”

[reaction to the Reagan-Mondale debates in 1984]

“The November 8th election is here, and Americans are going to the voting booth to choose our next president. But, this election has been unlike any
other.  Former Presidents are calling it a “farce” and a “joke.” The American people seem to be uninterested.”

[reaction to the Bush-Dukakis debates in 1988]

Do these statements ring a bell?  Do they echo the same statements being bandied about this election year?  It appears that for at least the past 56 years, since the first televised presidential debate in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the American public has not found much confidence in what they were seeing.  So if you’re feeling downhearted about the slinging happening in the 2016 election, perusing our newspaper collection will let you know that it is nothing new.  One thing we can all probably agree on is the editorial comment from the October 15, 1960 issue of The Carolina Times from Durham as early voting starts up today in North Carolina.

“Talk about the election is great.  But a vote in the election is even better”

Talk is Great, but the Vote is Better

The Carolina Times. October 15, 1960. Page 2.