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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Six Months Later and We’re Not Done: Underrepresented Voices on DigitalNC

About six months ago we asked our partners to help us increase the diversity of voices shared on DigitalNC. We had an outpouring of interest, and partners have shared a number of rich collections from the African American and LGBTQ communities. Here’s an update of what has been added to DigitalNC as a result of this call.

Excerpt of a census page that includes school house census details and student names.

This 1903 Census Report for Morton Township, Alamance County, lists names, ages, and the names of parents of African American students. 

Alamance County Public Libraries shared a wide variety of materials documenting African American communities in that county. Two groups of photographs, the Heritage of Black Highlanders and Asheville YWCA Photograph Collection, are parts of larger collections held by University of North Carolina at Asheville

Several partners added African-American newspapers to those already shared online at DigitalNC. 

We’ve also been working with University of North Carolina at Charlotte to share issues of Q-Notes, which covers updates, events, and issues of the LGBTQ community.

Diversifying DigitalNC isn’t a one-time event – it’s ongoing every day. If your institution has or will be targeting collections that document racial, ethnic, or geographic communities who are underrepresented on DigitalNC, and you’re interested in sharing these materials online, get in touch.


NCDHC Strategic Themes, 2017-2019

We’re pleased to announce the Digital Heritage Center’s first set of strategic themes, which we’ve just released. These themes reflect what we’ve heard from partners and other institutions around the state over the last year. They join our longstanding but slightly revised Mission and Values statements.

If you’ve followed our work for awhile, these themes will be familiar. But there are nuances here that will drive some of our newer initiatives, such as scanning on location and increasing the diversity of voices available through DigitalNC.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to working hard to help our partners share North Carolina’s cultural heritage.

NCDHC 2017-2019; empower cultural heritage professionals by offering services and training;, strengthen community identities through history and culture; increase access to information for all through freely available online resources


Newspaper serving Lumbee Tribe members in Robeson County, The Carolina Indian Voice, is now available

Headline from the September 24, 1998 issue of The Carolina Indian Voice.

Almost ten years of The Carolina Indian Voice, a newspaper out of Pembroke, North Carolina, are now up on DigitalNC thanks to our partner the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Carolina Indian Voice was established in 1973 and was published on a weekly basis until 2005. Issues from 1996-2005 are now available digitally. The paper primarily served the interests of members of the Lumbee Tribe living in Robeson County, who make up more than a third of the population of Robeson County and almost 90% of the town of Pembroke.

The paper includes articles and editorials concerning local issues such as politics, social events, civic projects, and more. Although there is a strong focus specifically on issues relevant to members of the Lumbee Tribe, the paper also covers news and events pertaining to American Indians throughout the state of North Carolina and nationally.

Image from the 1998 First Annual Fall Pow Wow in Hoke County as seen in the November 11, 1998 issue of The North Carolina Indian Voice.

Headline from the February 25, 1999 issue of The North Carolina Indian Voice.

The paper also focuses on advocacy with many articles covering struggles against the discrimination American Indians face regarding employment, education, and housing in the United States.

To browse through issues of The North Carolina Indian Voice click here. To see more materials from our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, visit their partner page.


Henderson Institute graduation programs from 1924 onward

A student’s photograph taped into a commencement booklet from 1933

Graduation programs and invitations from the Henderson Institute, provided by the Henderson Institute Historical Museum, are now available on DigitalNC. the Henderson Institute was a high school started in 1887 by the Freedmen’s Mission Board of the United Presbyterian Church. It was closed after the 1969-1970 school year due to integration. Through the years that the school was open, it was the only secondary school open to African Americans in Vance County. Part of the original school building now houses the Henderson Institute Historical Museum.

The collection of 19 graduation programs and invitations date from 1924 through the school’s final 1970 graduation. Although each program is structured differently, many include the full names of the members of the senior graduating class along with a schedule of events.

Also in this collection are five theater programs from the Henderson Institute. These include programs for student productions of The People Versus Maxine Lowe, Rest Assured, and Once in a Lifetime.

Click here to browse through the programs. To learn more about the Henderson Institute Historical Museum, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.


We Want to Come to You! New On Location Digitization Service Begins

On Location Digitization Services icon with young boy riding in a toy car

Logo image courtesy the Braswell Memorial Library! “Ricky in Toy Car” 

Have you been interested in working with the Digital Heritage Center but find it difficult to get to Chapel Hill, or have concerns about having your materials off site? We want to come to you! We’ll be working with two or three cultural heritage institutions over the next nine months to try out on-location scanning.  If you’d like to nominate your institution, read on and use the nomination form linked at the end of this post.

What We Do

Here’s what nominated institutions will receive as part of this process.

  • We will bring our scanners, computers, and staff to your institution to digitize and describe materials from your collections. We would be there for one full weekday, at a minimum.
  • We’ll host the scanned images and associated metadata on DigitalNC.org, and give you copies of the original scans to use in any non-profit context.
  • Optionally, we can do a presentation for staff and/or the public related to any of the following topics:
    • The Digital Heritage Center’s services (for staff at your institution and/or other local cultural heritage institutions)
    • A demonstration of what we’re doing while we’re there (for staff at your institution)
    • The variety of resources you can find on DigitalNC.org and other fantastic digital collections in North Carolina (staff or the public)

What We’ll Need from Partners We Visit

If you’re chosen, we’d need:

  • At least one conference call before arrival to clarify expectations, work with you on scheduling, and talk through the materials you’d like scanned.
  • Description and a light inventory of the items we’ll be scanning, if there isn’t one already available.
  • Some assembly and preparation of the materials you’ve chosen. This might include physically pulling all of the content together before we arrive and removing staples if the materials are stapled at the top corners.
  • A designated staff contact regularly available to ask questions regarding what we’re scanning while we’re there, and to help with logistics like getting equipment in and out of the building, etc.
  • An indoor location that has:
    • at least two power outlets,
    • internet connectivity,
    • a work area large enough for 2 scanners and 4 laptops as well as extra room for materials handling,
    • seating for four people, and
    • is away from the public so we can get the most scanning accomplished in our limited time (ideal but not required).

Additional Guidance for Nominations

  • We’ll be giving priority to nominations from institutions furthest from Chapel Hill and to new partners. If you are a prospective partner, please check to make sure you’re eligible.
  • The materials have to be owned by your institution.
  • The materials should cover North Carolina subjects, events, and people.
  • For these on-location sessions, we’re accepting nominations for the following types of items:
    • photographs (prints) and/or postcards
    • looseleaf print materials up to 11×17”
    • bound items may be considered, but in very limited numbers and only if transporting them to Chapel Hill would be impossible
  • Materials can be fragile but should be stable enough to withstand gentle handling and placement on a flatbed scanner.

We’ll review nominations according to the following criteria, so you may want to address these in your nomination form:

Category Point Value
New partner 1
New town 1
New county** 2
Materials document an underrepresented
     community or population
1
Materials are well described/inventoried 5
Majority of materials date from 1945 or earlier        1
Materials are believed to be unique 1

** We have yet to work with any institutions in the following counties: Alexander, Bertie, Bladen, Camden, Caswell, Chowan, Clay, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Graham, Greene, Henderson, Hoke, Jones, Mitchell, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Swain, Tyrrell, Yancey

Use this nomination form to submit!

We’ll start reviewing nominations on September 30 and will notify selected institutions shortly thereafter. If a selected institution ends up not being able to host us, we’ll continue down the list.

We’re excited about trying out this new service. Please contact us with any questions and share this with any institutions you think might be interested.


Yearbooks and city directories for Cumberland County now available

Page 56 from the 1969 Smithsonian

A superlative from the 1963 LAFAMAC

14 more Fayetteville yearbooks and 12 more city directories from our partner Cumberland County Public Library are now available on DigitalNC. The yearbooks include 7 editions of The LAFAMAC by Fayetteville High School from 1963-1969, and 7 editions of The Smithsonian by E. E. Smith Senior High School from 1956, 1963, 1964, and 1966-1969. These yearbooks join previously digitized editions. The city directories in this batch cover Fayetteville from 1937, 1939, 1941, 1954-1955, 1957, and 1963-1969.

The LAFAMAC shows a glimpse at student life at the primarily white Fayetteville High School (now called the Terry Sanford High School) with The Smithsonian doing the same at the primarily black E. E. Smith Senior High School. Both yearbooks include student portraits, superlatives, events, and activities. Both schools continue to serve the Fayetteville area today.

To browse through materials from Cumberland County Public Library take a look at their partner page. To learn more about Cumberland County Public Library visit their website.


Over 1000 issues of The Farmville Enterprise digitized

Issues of The Farmville Enterprise, provided by our partner the Farmville Public Library, are now on DigitalNC. The Farmville Enterprise is a weekly paper that was established in 1910, and continues to serve the Farmville, North Carolina community to this day. Farmville is a town located in Pitt County, just west of Greenville, that currently has just over 5,000 residents. The digitized portions now available cover 1914-1941.

The headline of the special November 11, 1918 issue of The Farmville Enterprise announcing the end of WWI. Usually the paper was published on Fridays, but for this date there was an exception.

An advertisement in the March 19, 1915 issue of the Farmville Enterprise for a screening of The Battle of Gettysburg, a silent film that has no surviving copies.

The Farmville Enterprise carried items of local interest such as local news stories, birth and death notices, event coverage, and advertisements, as well as national and international stories. The newly digitized selections contains news stories about many profound events ranging from coverage of WWI to effects of the Great Depression and the start of WWII. These stories are placed next to stories concerning the everyday goings on within the Farmville community.

Click here to browse through issues of The Farmville Enterprise. To see more digitized materials from the Farmville Public Library, visit their partner page. To learn more about the Farmville Public Library, take a look at their website.


More than 60 high school yearbooks added to DigitalNC

Faculty portraits in the 1963 Longhorn by Woodington High School.

More than 60 high school yearbooks provided by Eastern Carolina University are now up on DigitalNC. The schools represented are located across central and eastern North Carolina and include schools from Pitt County, Franklin County, Stokes County, Washington County, Hertford County, Lenoir County, Martin County, Halifax County, Wilson County, and Johnston County. The dates of these yearbooks range from 1927-1970. Together, they give an overview of secondary education across the state, with many of the editions covering the time surrounding desegregation efforts. These yearbooks include individual and class portraits as well photographs documenting activities, clubs, sports, and academics.

Senior portraits from the Kay Aitch Ess 1927 yearbook by Grainger High School

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

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


Boy Scout Memories Saved in Scrapbook from Wilson County

A scout making a fire in 1925 as seen on page 17

Boy Scout troop on page 78

A scrapbook provided by the Wilson County Public Library documents the adventures of Boy Scouts in Wilson County from 1925-1932. This scrapbook contains images of swimming, hiking, tent life, boating, troop portraits, and more. Many images contain handwritten identifications noting the date, activity, location, or individuals in the images.

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, so this scrapbook documents early BSA groups in Wilson County. Boys of all ages seem to have taken part, with many activities looking similar to Scouting that takes place today. One image from 1929 shows boys swimming using the “buddy system” where each camper is in charge of monitoring the swimming of their buddy. This system is a safety protocol still advocated by the Boy Scouts today.

To take a look at the scrapbook click here. To see more materials from Wilson County Public Library visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

Scouts swimming using the “buddy system” in 1929 as seen on page 76


Amazing panoramic WWI images from Randolph County Public Library now available!

North Carolina Brigade at Camp Stewart, El Paso, Texas

Panoramic photos of Company K and the 120th Infantry, provided by Randolph County Public Library, are now online at DigitalNC. These photos, taken from 1914-1919, show Company K, which was comprised of men from Asheboro, and the larger North Carolina Brigade in a variety of locations.

Company K, 120th Infantry 30th (Old Hickory) Division at Camp Jackson, S.C.

The locations of the photos include Camp Sevier and Camp Jackson, both located in South Carolina, and Camp Stewart in El Paso, Texas. One photo of Camp Sevier shows an aerial shot of soldiers in formation along with camp structures and buildings. Many of these photos include some identifying information including names of soldiers or commanding officers in the photo. The panoramic nature of these photos gives the viewer a unique sense of these camps and required us to use special photo equipment reserved for digitizing large materials!

120th Infantry at Camp Sevier, S.C.

Click here to browse the photos. To see more materials from Randolph County Public Library visit their partner page or take a look at their website.

Company K, 120th Infantry 30th Division at Camp Sevier, S.C.