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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New series of manuscripts from Edgecombe County Memorial Library dates back to 1777

The receipt for a tuition payment from the Eason Thomas Papers.

The beginning of the letter to James Johnson regarding the death of his son in 1861.

A collection of manuscripts provided by Edgecombe County Memorial Library is now available on DigitalNC. This collection is comprised primarily of personal financial papers from Edgecombe County residents dating back as far as 1777, with the most recent documents dating to 1917. The manuscripts are separated out by the name of the individual or family to which the documents pertain. Items like land deeds, receipts of payment, and court documents concerning the transfer of money and debt are frequently found in these collections. Additionally, some letters of personal correspondence are included. One striking letter was written from Redding W. Thomas and J. W. Gardner to James Johnson informing him about the death of his son Charles during the the Civil War.

These manuscripts are useful for tracking family history as well as land use and the economic activities of Edgecombe County during the last 1700s through the 1800s. Families represented include the Long, Woodard, Barnes, Thomas, Horn, Johnston, Johnson, Batts, Farmer, and Price families of Edgecombe County.

Make sure to browse through these new manuscripts on DigitalNC  and learn more about the papers on the Hugh Johnston Collection exhibit page. To see more materials from Edgecombe County Memorial Library, please check out their DigitalNC partner page and take a look a their website.

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics student newspaper now available

Stentorian newspaper masthead

You can now browse through 175 issues of The Stentorian, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics’ (NCSSM) student-run newspaper. NCSSM is a residential high school located in Durham, NC. It was founded in 1980 to provide a two-year public education to high school students focusing on science, math, and technology. 

The Stentorian covers student life and school events spanning the last four decades, from 1981 to 2017. Highlights include drama productions, additions and changes to campus, sports, student government, staff news, and prom do’s and don’t’s. The student journalism also extended beyond campus boundaries to include current events, such as this article on the history of the Islamic State, and this article on the hazards of social media.

Clipping of graduation issue front cover with photograph of students

This special graduation issue highlights the graduating senior class of 1991

With a unicorn as their mascot, the paper is filled with unicorn-themed images, stories, and Uni-pride.

Image of Mr. Unicorn, a man at microphone wearing a unicorn horn hat

Mr. Unicorn, from November 1, 1982 issue of the Stentorian.

Article clipping on the mysteries of unicorns revealed.

Unicorn article from December 1, 2005 issue of the Stentorian.

These issues provide a glimpse into the lives of the students, teachers, and staff, and the activities that defined their time at NCSSM. From a student perspective, the Stentorian gives us a not-so-long-ago history of this unique campus and the world.

These student newspapers complement the already digitized yearbooks from NCSSM. To browse through the yearbooks and newspapers available from NCSSM, check out their partner page.

New Yearbooks from Elkin High Schol Now Available

From page 85 of The Elk [1967]

The 1949-1959 and 1964-1968 editions of The Elk, a yearbook from Elkin High School, are now available on DigitalNC thanks to our partner, Surry Community College. Elkin High School is located in Elkin, North Carolina, a town in Surry and Wilkes Counties. These edition joins previously digitized editions of The Elk from 1947-1948, and 1960-1963.

Elkin School Song

The Alma Mater, from the 1951 yearbook


These yearbooks contain class photos, photos of student life, and photos of clubs, sports and activities. Some of the yearbooks contain fun extras like class prophecies, tongue in cheek “last will and testaments” from the senior class, and even the school song! Yearbooks on DigitalNC are fully text searchable, and are a great resource for genealogy.

To see more materials from our partner, Surry Community College, visit their DigitalNC partner page, or take a look at 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.

New Batch of Course Catalogs from Johnson C. Smith University

Image from the cover of the 2006-2007 JCSU catalog.

Cover of the 1994-1995 JCSU catalog.

A new batch of catalogs from Johnson C. Smith University is now available on DigitalNC. Johnson C. Smith University is a historically black four-year research university located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was established in 1867 as Biddle Memorial Institute but changed its name to Biddle University in 1876, and to Johnson C. Smith University in 1923. Currently JCSU serves over 1,600 students and offers 24 different undergraduate degree programs and a graduate Master of Social Work degree program.

Catalogs in this batch cover two spans of time. The first run of catalogs covers 1878-1909 when the school was Biddle University. The more recent run covers JCSU from 1964-2009. School catalogs include course offerings as well as information such as academic schedules, school history, and more. These newly digitized catalogs join previously digitized JCSU catalogs and bulletins from the 1920s-1960s.

In addition to these catalogs, make sure to take a look at other materials from JCSU including yearbooks and maps. To learn more about Johnson C. Smith University, visit their DigitalNC partner page or their website.

Brand New Issues of the Roxboro Courier Now Online at DigitalNC

A December 1935 article about President FDR’s visit to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Eight more years and over 300 issues of the Roxboro Courier are now available, courtesy of our partner, the Person County Public Library. Previously, our collection only held issues dating from 1922-1927, but this expands our collection to include issues to 1935. The paper itself has a storied history, changing its name several times since it started as the Courier. Later on, in 1943, its name changed again, when it consolidated with the Person County-Times to become The Courier-Times, which still runs today.

The Courier has a large number of national and international headlines, reflecting its tagline of “Home First, Abroad Next”. Locally, the Courier mentions political developments and elections, bonds and public votes, and news about local residents, including birth and death announcements. Nationally, the Courier followed important stories, including news about Presidential elections and what politicians were doing, and what news was happening around the country. On occasion, international news also made the Courier, as in the example on the right, when Italy’s Premier Benito Mussolini invaded and occupied Ethopia.

To browse through other materials from the Person County Public Library, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.