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 Spencer Bevis

New Yearbooks and More from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Now Online

Several new high school yearbooks from Mecklenburg County are now online on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner institution, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Included are copies of various yearbooks around the county, all from 1967. The yearbooks contain individual school portraits, group portraits, and photographs of sports, activities, and their school groups.

To view the yearbooks, visit the links below:

Also new to our collection is a program from the 2017 Theresea C. Elder Trailblazer Awards Brunch, held in Charlotte. Created by Mrs. Elder in 2005, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Heritage Committee was formed to “research, collect and disseminate” historical information about the African-American community in the Charlotte Mecklenburg community. The 2017 brunch honored the Charlotte Post Publishing Company, the minority owned and operated news organization in North Carolina and South Carolina. The 2017 keynote speaker at the event was Mary C. Curtis, a columnist, journalist, national politics correspondent and speaker.

To see more from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, click on their partner page or visit their website to learn more.

Pamphlets, Booklets, Reports, and More from Gaston County Public Library Now Online


Photo from the advertising pamphlet “Gastonia, Your Convention City”

Back in February, some of the NCDHC staff travelled down to our partner Gaston County Public Library and set up to do two days of on site scanning.  The materials we scanned during that visit, as well as materials we brought back with us to scan in Chapel Hill, are now online.  

While on site, we scanned a chattel mortgage book from 1915, documents relating to a distillery in the area in the 1890s, and several local history books put together by students in the local schools in the 1950s and 1960s.  

Dozens of new reports, documents, and programs from Gaston County are also now available after we scanned those back in Chapel Hill.  Over 50 items in total, these documents, pamphlets, and booklets paint a greater picture of what it meant to live in Gaston County in the beginning and middle of the 20th century.

The 1976-1977 annual report from the Gastonia Housing Authority. The report includes stats on the types of houses and apartments under their management.

Many of these items are informational booklets, some published by the Gastonia Chamber of Commerce, telling readers about the population, GDP, schools, and industries throughout Gastonia. Others are specific booklets or programs from certain events. One program is from the 1974 dedication and recognition of Zoe Kincaid Brockman, a former editor of the Gastonia Gazette. There are other programs, including church programs from First Baptist and First Presbyterian in Gastonia. A few of the other booklets included in this collection also detail the towns outside Gastonia, like Mount Holly, Cherryville, Ranlo, and Lowell. These collections can be viewed here, and here.

Also included in this collection is a dozen booklets about the Gastonia Debutante Club, from 1976 to 1987. These booklets celebrate the Debutante Club and honor the individuals who helped put it on. Certain editions also include a list of members, the by-laws of the Debutante Club, a list of past Presidents, the history of the organization, and the debutantes of various years.

To see more materials and learn more about the Gaston County Public Library, you can visit their partner page or take a look at their website.

Newsletters from Richmond Community College Now Available on DigitalNC

Two new scanned documents from Richmond Community College are now available on DigitalNC. These newly digitized documents are a 1984 newsletter to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the college, and the 1985 Spring Quarter Schedule for the school, at the time named Richmond Technical College.

The 1984 booklet celebrated the 20th anniversary of Richmond Technical College. In April 1984, a four-day-long Open House was held at the RTC campus, with entertainment, displays from local businesses and industries, demonstrations of RTC’s computer systems, and North Carolina Governor Robert Scott speaking as president of the NC Community College System. It also acted as an informational booklet, including which classes would be offered the following year, which degrees and curricula were offered at the school at the time, and new equipment the campus had received.

The 1985 Spring schedule also contained news and information on campus activities, tuition, and dates and times for classes. One of the programs they advertised was their computer-aided graphic design curriculum, where students could “print a picture of Einstein”, then “command the computer to reverse the image.” (see right) At the time, it cost a resident of North Carolina $51 for a full-time student’s tuition.

To learn more information about Richmond Community College, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

Moore County Historical Association contributes Southern Pines High School yearbooks as a new partner

Southern Pines High School 1951 buildings

From the 1951 Southern Pines yearbook, showing the new school building.


A new batch of yearbooks from Southern Pines High School are now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of new partner, the Moore County Historical Association. Included in this collection are over a dozen yearbooks from Southern Pines High School from 1951 to 1969.

These yearbooks give us a glimpse into what the high school experience was like for the students in Southern Pines at that time. These yearbooks feature individual and class portraits, photographs of activities, school clubs, and sports teams from Southern Pines High School, and more.

To see more from the Moore County Historical Association, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

19th century papers from Davidson College trustees are now online

A bond certificate addressed to Jonathan D. Johnson, who purchased $100 Confederate dollars in March 1864.

Over three dozen 19th century and early 20th century Presbyterian Church sermons delivered by Robert Zenas Johnston are now digitized and available on DigitalNC. Also included are reports from 19th century Presbyterian Churches, documents from Rufus Johnston, and correspondence from Mary Gibson, both citizens of Mecklenburg County. All of these documents come to DigitalNC courtesy of our partner, Davidson College as part of their Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded “Justice, Equality, Community: Reimagining Humanities Curricula” project, which is a three-year, campus-wide initiative. All materials digitized for the project by DigitalNC can be found on the exhibit page Nineteenth Century Family Papers and Plantation Records of Davidson College Trustees.

The cover of one of the notebooks used by the Presbyterian Churches of Mecklenburg County, made in roughly 1876.

Johnston’s sermons (over 550!) stretch from 1859 to 1907, until just before his death in 1908. He delivered them all across the state, from Asheville to Shelby, in different cities around Mecklenburg County, and even at the Unity Church in South Carolina. Approximately 61 of those sermons are undated, but they most likely date from the 1800s as well. In many of the earlier sermons, he discussed the Civil War on the local towns. We also have several of his student notebooks, a contract for a teaching position and pastoral position that Johnston was offered, and more.

Also included in this new collection of documents are financial records of Rufus Johnston, including receipts, bonds, and bills of payment. We also received correspondence and letters from Mary Gibson, one of which tells her brother Robert what she would like done with her property towards the end of the Civil War.

Another folder contains a few documents about Davidson College itself. One document was written by Reverend Jethro Rumple, reminiscing about life at the college in the 1840’s. Included is a small handwritten biography by Reverend Rumple about Reverend John Bunyan Shearer, the eighth president of Davidson College from 1888 to 1901. These documents help give us all a greater idea of what living as a student in those times was like. Also included in this batch is a letter written by Rumple to Brother McLaughlin about an 1878 Concord Presbytery Meeting in Statesville, North Carolina.

This collection also includes various reports to and about Presbyterian Churches across the state. A few letters are addressed to synods, while others are reports on new developments within the church. There are also several notebooks, copybooks, and ledgers used by the church.

An 1855 receipt from Rural Hill Plantation promising payment of $50.12 due the next day.

Finally, DigitalNC also received folders of papers and documents about several Mecklenburg County plantations. Stretching from the 1820s to the 1860s, many of the folders contain financial records and receipts from Rural Hill, a plantation in Huntersville that was built in 1788 by Major John Davidson. There are also documents from his grandson, Adam Brevard Davidson, who later became a Trustee of Davidson College, and financial records, ledgers and booklets from the Mt. Tirzah Plantation in Lincoln County.

To browse through these materials, feel free to visit Davidson College’s partner page, or check out their website.

World War II Scrapbooks and More from Randolph County Public Library Now Online at DigitalNC

A flyer celebrating the service of North Carolinians in the war effort, as well as information war bonds

Four new World War II era scrapbooks have now been digitized and are now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Randolph County Public Library. Stretching from 1943 to 1945, three of the scrapbooks are made up of documents, programs and news clippings about Randolph County service members in the Army and the Navy.

A 1952 advertisement supporting a local vote to construct new buildings for Randolph County schools

Many of the news clippings found in these scrapbooks are of service members being stationed overseas, where they are deployed, soldiers being labeled missing or killed in action, awards given, and more. Looking through these scrapbooks reminds us of the sacrifice that these soldiers gave in support of our state and our country.

The fourth is a scrapbook from 1952 consisting of documents and photos of buildings located throughout Asheboro. Created by Toby Samet, an art student at Asheboro High School, this scrapbook contains photos and other important papers, like a report from the city Asheboro’s 1952 campaign to clean up the city. It is a fascinating look into the past to see what Asheboro was like at that time, and what was considered important by the city.

To see more of their materials and learn about the Randolph County Public Library, visit their partner page or take a look at their website.

General Store Accounting Ledgers and More Now Online at DigitalNC

A snapshot from the 1929 Malachi Bissette General Store ledger

A new batch of materials from Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount, N.C. is now online and available on DigitalNC. This collection contains several day books and ledgers, as well as a school yearbook and a school assignment dating back to 1913.

The four day books are all accounting ledgers from the Malachi Bissette General Store run by I. H. Eatman in Bailey, N.C. in Nash County. Looking through them, it is easy to see regular customers visiting the store for the things they need, giving us a glimpse of what life was like in Nash County at that time. Dating from 1928 to 1932, these ledgers were extremely well kept and exact. They include information about who came into the store, what they purchased, and how much items cost. For example, in 1929, a notebook and paper cost 15 cents, and a shirt cost 2 dollars.

The other documents in this batch include a school assignment from 1913. Completed by Leonard Morton, he wrote about where he lived, the date, and the weather. Also included is Morton’s yearbook for the year 1919-1920 from Rocky Mount High School, as well as assorted documents, like copies of dues payments to local organizations. These present a very interesting look at what schooling was like around a hundred years ago.

Follow the links below to browse the items included in this batch:

To learn more about the Braswell Memorial Library, check out their partner page or take a look at their website.

Yearbooks from several Greensboro schools are now online at DigitalNC

An exterior photo of Rankin High School, circa 1957

A new batch of yearbooks from Greensboro are now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Included in this collection are nearly 30 yearbooks from schools across Greensboro during the first half of the 20th century. While some yearbooks are more sporadic than others, this batch does include the 1907 Annual from Greensboro High School, making it one of the oldest high school yearbooks on our entire website!

These yearbooks include individual portraits, class portraits, as well as photographs of activities, clubs, and sports. Some of the yearbooks also include notable events throughout the school year, poems dedicated to the classes, histories of the classes, and “class prophecies”, where the students imagined where they would be in the future.

A news clipping about the 1924 court case of the Greensboro Board of Education v. the Greensboro High School Senior Class of 1924



One of the most notable events found in these yearbooks is in the 1924 Reflector from Greensboro High School. In May of 1924, the senior class was actually sued by the Greensboro Board of Education, alleging that the class members had forfeited their right to graduate by reason that they had failed to maintain the high standards associated with the school. When one plaintiff was called to the stand, he said that he was “distressed with the high frivolous, jazzimated spirit of our young people. They are popularly known…as Teahounds, Cake-Eaters, and Flappers.” The jury delivered a verdict of “not guilty” to cheering and applause in the courtroom.

Follow the links below to browse the yearbooks from the schools included in this batch:

To see more from our partner who provided these yearbooks, visit UNCG’s partner page, or take a look at their website.

Over 40 Years of Salisbury High School’s yearbook The Echo from our new partner Rowan Public Library

An exterior photo of Boyden High School (later Salisbury High) circa 1928.

DigitalNC is proud to welcome our new partner, the Rowan Public Library. Located in Salisbury in Rowan County, having their content online adds to our growing list of contributors who represent the Piedmont region of our state.

Their first contribution is nearly four dozen editions of The Echo, the school yearbook from Boyden High School in Salisbury. Stretching from 1921 to 1967, this collection covers a great transitional period in the school’s history. In 1926, the school had been renamed from Salisbury High School to Boyden High School after a new building was built. It used that name for nearly 50 years, until 1971, when it reverted back to the Salisbury High School name, where it still stands today.

Looking through the collection, it is fascinating to see the changes over time. While many of the first editions of Echo were smaller yearbooks, with the 1921 annual even calling itself a magazine, they expanded over time, including many more photographs and writing more about the students, their hobbies, and what they liked to do. For example, the 1940 yearbook includes a small note about how an overwhelming majority of the students prefer Glenn Miller’s swing music over all else, “accounting for the many jitterbugs.”

To learn more about the Rowan Public Library, visit their contributor page, or their website. You can also visit their website for the Edith M. Clark History Room. To see more yearbooks from across North Carolina, you can click here.

New Yearbooks and More from Alamance County Public Libraries Now Available on DigitalNC

An exterior shot of Walter Williams High School in 1968.

A new batch of yearbooks from Alamance County is now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Alamance County Public Libraries. Included are nearly 20 yearbooks from schools across Alamance County during the middle of the 20th century. This batch also includes a 2002 booklet to commemorate and reminisce about the Class of 1944 at Aycock High School, assembled by Rachel Hawkins Cole.

These yearbooks contain individual and class portraits, class histories, honorifics and photographs of school activities, class clubs, and athletic teams. Some of the yearbooks also include important or notable events throughout the school year, poems or songs dedicated to the class, and pages dedicated to certain classes.

The booklet dedicated to the Aycock High School Class of 1944 is also included. It details the history of Aycock High School, honors various teachers and administrative figures present at the school at that time, and includes photographs of classmembers taken from that time period. It also included a program taken from a commemorative service in 2002 where classmates were invited to come together to remember their classmates and time spent at Aycock High School.

Follow the links below to browse the yearbooks from the schools included in this batch:

To see more from the Alamance County Public Libraries, visit their partner page, or check out their website.