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

Over 600 Issues of the Mount Airy News Now Online at DigitalNC

A May 1926 edition of the Mount Airy News. Articles include a local citizen celebrating their 90th birthday and information about Mount Airy High School

Twelve years and over 600 issues of the Mount Airy News have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Surry Community College. These scans are brand new, with DigitalNC now containing March 1917 through September 1929. While the Mount Airy News is now published six days a week, the newspaper was only published once a week at this point in time. The Mount Airy News services Mount Airy and Surry County, and joins fellow Surry County newspapers including the Chatham Blanketeer and the Elkin Tribune.

An article announcing a meeting between NC Governor Morrison and VA Governor Trinkle

Looking through the Mount Airy News today, we can learn a lot about what concerned the people of Surry County nearly a hundred years ago. In one October, 1922 issue, the main headline was a meeting between North Carolina Governor Cameron Morrison and Virginia Governor Elbert Lee Trinkle to talk about building roads between Mount Airy and the nearby towns of Sparta, NC, and Stuart, VA, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Mount Airy. Looking through the pages, we can see praise for local teachers and school board members, an article about local farmers joining a cooperative association, and an editorial piece denouncing women who are uninformed voters, when they recently earned the right to suffrage.

Reading these articles gives us an idea of what life was like in Surry County and Mount Airy at the time, and it is invaluable to us. To browse through other materials from Surry Community College, take a look at their partner page, or check out their website.

Nearly Twenty More Years of the Warren Record Now Available on DigitalNC

A 1986 article about a rise in black bear sightings in Warren County

Nearly twenty years and over 600 issues of the Warren Record have been newly digitized on DigitalNC. While our collection previously only included issues from the years 1929-1938 and from 1959-1970, this new addition includes over a dozen years stretching from 1970 to 1989, which helps our collection become that much closer to being complete. Published since 1896, the Warren Record is a weekly newspaper that serves the readers in Warrenton and Warren County, NC. Many of the articles include local news concerning citizens or Warren County. For example, the 1986 article above was about the alarming increase in black bear sightings in Warren County and advice for readers about what to do in case they see one.

A 1970 article about the changing census in Warrenton from 1960 to 1970.

Many articles written in this time period were about other municipal issues, like elections, political developments, and census data. In the August 1970 article on the left, the Record announced that Warrenton’s population had dropped 7%, from 1124 residents in 1960 to 1046 ten years later. Warren County’s population also heavily dropped that decade, with its 22% drop being the largest on a percentage basis of any county in the state.

A 1989 article about the advent of cable television coming to Warrenton and Norlina.

Other articles were simply about local developments that could interest residents of Warren County. In the May 1989 article on the right, the Record announced that Warrenton and Norlina would be receiving cable television within the next year. People living in nearby Henderson already had cable, and the same company would be rolling out 12 channels to customers at a cost of $8 per month, with an extra dollar for every additional television.

To browse through other materials from the Warren County Memorial Library, visit their partner page or visit their website here.


More issues of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot Now Online at DigitalNC

A September 1948 article about the success of the Farmer’s Day celebration.

Three more years and nearly 4000 pages of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot have been newly added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Wilkes County Public Library. While the collection previously held editions of the Journal-Patriot from 1933 to 1947, these new editions brings our holdings to the year 1950. Based out of North Wilkesboro in the northwest part of the state, the Journal-Patriot services Wilkes County.

Published three times a week, the Journal-Patriot covers local headlines, often local municipal developments or political events. The annual Farmer’s Day celebrations were always very popular, with the newspaper regularly advertising them to attract residents. In 1948, the celebration had a parade that was two miles long, and featured an address by former Governor (and later Senator) J.M. Broughton. These Farmers Day celebrations were famous throughout Wilkes County, with the 1949 celebration having a record crowd at that time, and a record of nearly 125 floats, units, or groups on the roster.

An October 1949 article about that year’s Farmers’ Day celebration

Having this new influx of pages from the Journal-Patriot helps us increase our representation of newspapers from the mountainous parts of the state. To browse through other materials from the Wilkes County Public Library, take a look at their partner page, or visit their website.

Over 350 New Photos From The Forest History Society Now Online at DigitalNC

A 1928 plot of land carved out to be “light burned” annually

Over 350 new photos have been digitized and uploaded to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Forest History Society. Located in Durham, North Carolina, their organization is dedicated to the preservation of materials about forest history and conservation. While their mission is to promote and collect materials about forest and environmental preservation around the world, these photos are specifically about North Carolina’s history of forest and wildlife conservation.

The back of a firefighting truck

A photo of firefighters creating a firebreak, a strip of open space that slows or stops the spread of a fire

These newly digitized photographs were taken from the late 1920s to early 1940s, by various photographers for the NC Department of Conservation and Development. They include images of fire control conferences and forester’s meetings, fire lines and fire line equipment, and much more. Many of the later photographs include construction of lookout towers across the state and angles from the top of those towers. Taken in dozens of counties across the state, these photographs give us views of the state and views of firefighting that we don’t often get to see, and show us how dangerous firefighting was at that time. For example, in the photo on the right, the men creating a firebreak were dressed in suits and ties instead of fire-protective gear.

A 1940 photo of CCC Camp P-73 from the Riegel Tower in Brunswick County

To browse through these materials, visit the Forest History Society’s partner page, or check out their website.

Thirty More Years of the Cherokee Scout Now Online at DigitalNC

A 1930 illustration to celebrate that year’s July 4 anniversary

Courtesy of our partners, the Murphy Public Library and the Nantahala Regional Library, almost 30 more years of the Cherokee Scout have been newly digitized. That brings our collection to nearly 2500 issues, stretching from 1923-1971! These are brand new to DigitalNC and we are proud to present them. Published weekly, The Cherokee Scout serves Cherokee County, where it remains a staple to its readership of nearly 10,000.

A Nov. 1938 article announcing UNC President Graham’s visit to the local Murphy Library

Because of the long time-span of papers now in our collection, it is fascinating to see what sort of issues were being discussed throughout the community’s history. For example, in 1938, UNC’s President Dr. Frank Graham visited Murphy and toured the construction of the Hiwassee Dam and the village set up by the Tennessee Village Authority to bring electricity to the county. As World War II began a few years later, many men from the county enlisted in the different branches of service.

Later, in the 1950s, many of Cherokee County’s children were vaccinated for polio. Inventor Jonas Salk was written of very fondly in the Scout, as Cherokee County had to have numerous money drives for polio in the prior decade. Unusually for newspapers in North Carolina, the Scout also included news from Georgia, including market prices in Atlanta, due to its close proximity.

An April 1955 announcing polio vaccination treatments for local Cherokee County children

Having this newspaper in our collection brings us a wealth of valuable knowledge about how Cherokee County residents interpreted important events at the time and how they were affected. To browse through other materials from the Murphy Public Library and the Nantahala Regional Library, visit their partner pages, or visit their websites here.

Maps and scrapbooks from High Point institutions now online

Five new scrapbooks from High Point have been digitized and are now available at DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library. These scrapbooks date from December 1962 to October 1965. They join previously digitized collections, dating back to 1952.

A scrapbook page from April 1964 with articles on urban renewal in High Point and a proposal for a shopping complex on N. Main St.

These scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings from the High Point Enterprise and Greensboro Daily News, arranged in chronological order. In many cases, articles were pasted and taped into the scrapbooks overlapping each other, so digitizing required taking multiple images of each page. Many of the newspaper clippings relate to local events in High Point and Greensboro, including political events and local races, decisions about local laws and town planning. Every so often, national events are also included, like the Beatles’ tour of the United States in 1964.

To view the individual scrapbooks, visit the links below:

A 1964 map of High Point and the surrounding area.

From the High Point Museum we have added ten new maps and atlases of High Point from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. The maps show roads, schools, municipal buildings, schools and local businesses in the High Point area and surrounding suburbs. Occasionally there are larger maps with information about Greensboro or Winston-Salem. Many of the maps also include facts about High Point, like the population, number of churches, list of media outlets, and photos of local businesses being highlighted.

To see more materials and learn more about the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library visit their partner page or take a look at their website.  Visit the High Point Museum’s website or High Point’s partner page to learn more about them.

New Issues from The Perquimans Weekly Now Online at DigitalNC

A few photos taken of ducks at the Perquimans River in a May 1984 article

New issues from The Perquimans Weekly are now digitized and online on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Perquimans County Library, part of the Pettigrew Regional Library. Published out of Hertford, NC, the newspaper services Hertford, Belvidere, New Hope, Winfall, and other local areas. While our collection previously contained issues from 1934-1977, these new issues increase our collection with new material from 1944-1989.

An article about the Olympic Festival Torch passing through Hertford

As a weekly published newspaper, The Perquimans Weekly was often full of local headlines, political developments in the county, and municipal updates. There were often important state and national updates included, too. In 1987, as North Carolina was celebrating its 400th anniversary, it was also holding the U.S. Olympic Festival in the Piedmont region. At this time, people carried the Olympic Festival Torch from Wilmington to Raleigh, passing through Perquimans County that July. Around 100 citizens looked at the torch as it passed through Hertford, and local figures, including the County Manager and the Executive Director of the local Chamber of Commerce spoke and celebrated it at a local program.

To browse through other materials from the Perquimans County Library, part of the Pettigrew Regional Library, check out their partner page, or visit the website for the public library.

New Issues of The Franklin Press and the Highlands Maconian Now Online

A 1952 article about NC Governor W. Kerr Scott and Dr. Clyde Erwin, state superintendent of public instruction, visiting Macon County schools

Seventeen more years and over 10,000 more issues of The Franklin Press and Highlands Maconian newspaper have been newly digitized and put online on DigitalNC, with the help of our partner, the Fontana Regional Library. The Highlands Historical Society has also helped us with making these issues available for the public. While our collection previously only contained 1924-1942, we have nearly doubled the collection, with 1943-1960 now digitized online. Based out of Franklin in Macon County, the Franklin Press and Highlands Maconian was published weekly from 1932-1968.

A full issue in January 1944 wished servicemen victory in the coming year

Many of the newly digitized articles naturally deal with World War II, such as the snippet on the left of a January 1944 paper, which was wholly dedicated to wishing servicemen and soldiers victory in the coming year. After the war ended, the paper went back to its regular local and national coverage. For example, an article in 1955 detailed how excited the townspeople were of the forthcoming 1956 film The Great Locomotive Chase was being filmed in Franklin, Clayton, and Tallulah Falls.

With this new increase in pages from The Franklin Press and Highlands Maconian, DigitalNC becomes much closer to having the entire publication of the newspaper in our collection. To browse other materials from the Fontana Regional Library or the Highlands Historical Society, click on their partner pages, or visit their websites Fontana Regional Library and Highlands Historical Society here.

Smithfield Herald Now Digitized Online

Header of the Smithfield Herald March 15, 1901 issue

138 issues of the Smithfield Herald have been newly added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Johnston County Heritage Center. These are the first issues of the Smithfield Herald digitized on DigitalNC, covering January 1917 to April 1918. Established in 1882, the Herald was at one point the oldest operating newspaper in Johnston County. It joins fellow Johnston County newspaper, the Johnstonian-Sun.

The Smithfield Herald advertised War Bonds during World War I

The Herald is published semiweekly and offers local and national headlines of interest. During this time period, the Herald contained coverage from the different fronts in World War I. The newspaper also advertised local businesses who sold war bonds to support the war effort. Many local headlines are more innocuous, though – one issue had an article on how a local woman entertained a party at a local dance hall with games and ice cream. In addition, the paper also had smaller short stories, poems or jokes.

Having the Smithfield Herald added to our collection grows our knowledge of what Johnston County was like during that time period and is an invaluable resource. To browse through other materials from the Johnston County Heritage Center, check out their partner page, or visit their website.

The Transylvania Times Now Online at DigitalNC

33 issues of The Transylvania Times have been newly added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Transylvania County Library. These are the first issues of the Transylvania Times digitzed on DigitalNC, covering from January to August 1933. The Times joins other newspapers that cover Brevard and Transylvania County, including the Brevard News, the Sylvan Valley News, and the Echo.

At that time of publication, the Times was a weekly newspaper, including local news, some national news, comic strips, brief prayers, and news about the local schools and colleges. In the article to the right, the Times announced the creation of Brevard College, a private college in Brevard, North Carolina. It was created after Weaver and Rutherford Colleges were merged to create a single co-ed Methodist Junior College on the property of the Brevard Institute. Judging from the article, the townspeople were very enthusiastic about the decision, with congratulations pouring in from as far as Charlotte. Brevard College eventually opened in the fall of 1934.

Gaining the Transylvania Times to our collection is invaluable to helping us learn about the life of North Carolinians in Appalachia in the beginning of the 20th century. To browse through other materials from the Transylvania County Library, take a look at their partner page, or check out their website.