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 Katie McNeirney


UNC Library Extension Publications Now Online

Assorted UNC Library Extension Publications

English History through Historical Novels (1957), Thomas Wolfe: Carolina Student (1950), Africa: South of the Sahara (1955), The Southern Garden (1934), and Books as Windows to Your World (1956).

Interested in studying reading, writing, or politics? Check out these newly digitized UNC Library Extension publications from 1934-1958. The Library Extension Publications provided introductory essays and accompanying short study outlines based on library materials. The essays cover a wide range of contemporary literary and academic issues, either addressed in a standalone issue or in a series (e.g. “Adventures in Reading” and “Other People’s Lives”). Particularly interesting are the articles covering the political turbulence in Europe leading up to the second world war. Europe in Transition [1935] takes a brief early look at the contemporaneous rises of Mussolini and Hitler, as well as the political climate of the rest of Europe. For more on the politics of Europe at that time, check out Political Problems in Present-Day Europe 1938 and 1939.

These volumes are shared from the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Tarboro’s Home Front News now Available Online

Mothers of Servicemen portraits, May 1945.

Mothers of Servicemen portraits, May 1945.

Twenty-two issues of The Home Front News are now available on DigitalNC! The Home Front News was a World War II newspaper produced by the Tarboro Rotary Club in Edgecombe County, N.C.. Edgecombe County Memorial Library provided us with issues from March 20, 1943 to the last issue on September 20, 1945.

The newspapers are full of jokes, clever rhymes, and drawings of pin-up girls. Not only did the paper provide entertainment for the soldiers overseas, but it also served as a register for births, marriages, and deaths.

There was even a dedicated Mothers of Service Men issue in May 1945 which featured portraits of over a hundred local mothers dressed in their Sunday best (pictured above). These portraits were taken by M.S. Brown, a Tarboro resident and photographer who owned the Coca-Cola factory. Brown almost always contributed at least one photograph per issue, usually a full page toward the back of the newspaper with a portrait of a community resident and caption. For more photos taken by “Coca-Cola Brown”, view the M.S. Brown Digital Exhibit.

"Now the point is, you won't get stuck if you pin me up." From September 20, 1943 issue.

“Now the point is, you won’t get stuck if you pin me up.” From September 20, 1943 issue.


Duke University School of Medicine Yearbooks Digitized

stethoscope19501950duke_0013We recently digitized yearbooks from the Duke University School of Medicine, spanning years 1950-2013. A few of these in particular stand out and offer insight into the social culture of the era. The 1950 yearbook is bursting with recently married post-war couples and their baby boomer babies, and yearbooks for decades afterwards continue to list spouse and children’s names next to the graduate’s photo.

The 1968 yearbook includes a stunning photographic essay chronicling Durham and its community, hospital patients, medical students, and the Duke campus.

The 1970 yearbook provides perspectives on the war in Vietnam and views on the social unrest and protests in the States. It includes a short article on the booming drug culture titled “Give Me Librium or Give Me Meth,” as well as a full-page photo declaring that “Smithfield is KKKK [sic] country.”

View more yearbooks from the Duke School of Medicine here. These volumes are shared online by the Duke University Medical Center Archives.


North Carolina Collection Yearbooks: Caricatures, Admirals, and More

blackgoldserial20wins_coverSeveral yearbooks from the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill are now on DigitalNC. The yearbooks include: Richard J. Reynolds High School and its predecessors Winston City High School and Winston-Salem City High School, 1910-1931; Gastonia High School, 1922; Fayetteville High School, 1923; Chapel Hill High School, 1925-1964, New Bern High School, 1927; Perquimans County High School, 1927; and 1964-1968 yearbooks from J.W. Ligon High School, a former black high school that is now Ligon Middle School in Raleigh, N.C.

blackgoldserial20wins_rebyrd2The 1931 issue of The Black and Gold from RJ Reynolds High School warrants a special mention. That year’s staff had very ambitious illustrators, as every student’s photo is accompanied by a humorous caricature that offers a hint (albeit a slightly insulting one) at the student’s personality. Clubs and societies receive similar treatment. The yearbook also reveals that the school received a visit that year from Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, a polar explorer and aviator, thanks to the school’s Fine Arts Foundation. View Admiral Byrd’s letter to the school and the many fine caricatures here.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s University Records from 1900 to 1940 now on DigitalNC

South Building and the Old Well, 1909. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.

South Building and the Old Well, 1909. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.

The University Records from 1901-1940 are now available on DigitalNC.  The University Record was a UNC publication that reported on various aspects of the University. There are annual reports on each of the schools of UNC–their enrollment, course catalogs, and other information–as well as reports on current research, Commencement programs, and general promotional materials about UNC. One of the annual publications is the President’s Report, in which the current University president describes the events of the past year and plans for the year to come.  These reports can shed light on important debates that were happening on campus in the first half of the 20th century.

The Carr Bulding, 1902. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Carr Bulding, 1902. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.

For example, in 1918, the debate surrounding the admission of women to the university was of such importance that the Chairman of the Faculty, M.H. Stacy (President Graham had died earlier in the year), closed his President’s Report with an inspiring call for the university to adapt to the times and make full provisions for the female students. He includes a letter from Mrs. T. W. Lingle, the Adviser to Women, who calls upon the university to seriously attend to the matter. “To continue to admit them in a half-hearted way, and to furnish them with classroom instruction without the other features which make up the all-round college life, is a rather doubtful kindness to them,” she writes, and Chairman Stacy recommends the expedient construction of a women’s building.

Memorial Hall and Cameron Avenue, 1903. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Memorial Hall and Cameron Avenue, 1903. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.

So was this women’s building ever constructed? The following year’s Report does not include any mention of women at all. Chairman Stacy, who had so fervently supported this women’s building, died of influenza, and Mrs. T. W. Lingle, Adviser to Women, had resigned (Mrs. M. H. Stacy, presumably Chairman Stacy’s wife, was appointed the new Adviser to Women). Though the 1919 Report discusses at length the remarkable increase in enrolled students, the fate of female students is unknown.