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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Currituck County Yearbooks Now Online!

Thanks to our partner, the Currituck County Public Library, several issues of yearbooks from local Currituck County High Schools are now available on our website. This batch includes yearbooks from 1943-1970 from Dr. W. T. Griggs High School in Poplar Branch, N.C. and Joseph P. Knapp High School in Currituck, N.C.

The cover of the 1957 issue of the yearbook for Dr. W. T. Griggs High School in Poplar Branch, N.C.

For more information about the Currituck County Public Library, please visit their website.


Forsyth County Yearbooks Now Available!

Thanks to our partner, the Forsyth County Public Library, a new batch of yearbooks is now available on our website. The yearbooks are from the years 1969-1971 from North Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The cover of the 1969 issue of the North Forsyth High School yearbook.

For more information about the Forsyth County Public Library, please visit their website.  To view previous blog posts on yearbooks from Forsyth County, visit here.  


Congressman Tim Valentine Scrapbooks Online Now

Photo of Tim Valentine standing in the middle young farmers in Capitol Hill.

Tim Valentine (third from right) and young farmers, February 9, 1984 to April 6, 1984.

DigitalNC is happy to announce the addition of nine scrapbooks about U.S. Congressman Itimous “Tim” Thaddeus Valentine to our online scrapbook collection. These items were made available to digitize by our partners at Nash Community College and we are grateful to them for their contribution.

Tim Valentine represented the 2nd district of North Carolina, an east central district that formerly included Durham and Raleigh, in the U.S. Senate from 1983-1994. These scrupulously maintained scrapbooks span the first two years of his position, beginning from January 8, 1983 until September 20, 1984. His congressional appointment was marked by a highly publicized electoral race with civil rights activist and attorney Henry McKinley “Mickey” Michaux. Michaux would have become North Carolina’s first black congressman of the twentieth century if Valentine hadn’t narrowly defeated him in a contested runoff, causing much of Valentine’s freshman year to be devoted toward gaining ground with black voters.

Labeled a Democratic conservative during the 80’s, Valentine’s voting favored moderation, as when voting against the nuclear freeze (which he later supported) but voting for a $5 billion jobs package. Most of the images in these nine scrapbooks are newspaper clippings relating to Valentine, his political rivals, or his politics. These scrapbooks also feature ephemera, such as a certificate awarded to Valentine to highlight his support of Adult Continuing Education Week and a holiday card from President Reagan and Mrs. Reagan.

A note to readers: these scrapbooks contain many clippings stacked on top of another- therefore if it looks like there are duplicates of pages, there are! The duplicated pages should have the covered clippings exposed (you may notice a bone folder in some of the images) for full ability to read the contents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a look at all the scrapbooks mentioned, click here. To view all material from Nash Community College, click here. To get more information on Nash Community College, please visit their homepage here.


More Northampton County Newspapers Now Online

Masthead for The Northampton County Times-News.

The Northampton County Times-News, November 17, 1966.

DigitalNC is happy to announce that additional newspapers from Northampton County, N.C. are ready to view online. With the contributions from our partners, Northampton County Museum, we were able to fill gaps and add a new title, The Northampton County Times-News, to our online collection. Specific additions include:

Photo of a powder puff football player in uniform.

Powder puff quarterback, Shamra Daniels, October 14, 1965.

While we shed light onto the The Patron and Gleaner and Roanoke-Chowan Times in a recent blog post, we have yet to expand on one of the succeeding titles, The Northampton County Times-News. 

In circulation from 1960 to 1974, The Northampton County Times-News published from Rich Square and Jackson every Thursday, but served all towns in Northampton County. Highlighting both local and global news, this title served its various communities with periodicals such as the Farm Review & Forecast and consistently updated (not to mention wittily titled) want ads. Football reigned in this area as a popular sport for all ages and genders to participate in and, as such, was frequently reported on.

For a full view of all Northampton County titles mentioned, click here. To view more of The Northampton County Times-News, click here. And if you would like information on the Northampton County Museum, you can visit their homepage here.

Photo of Punt, Pass, Kick (a children's football competition) winners and their trophies.

Punt, Pass, Kick Winners, October 7, 1965.


The Zebulon Record, Now On DigitalNC

Masthead for The Zebulon Record.

The Zebulon Record, June 20, 1941.

DigitalNC is proud to now host The Zebulon Record, the first contribution by our partners at Little River Historical Society. Just over 1,400 issues from this Wake County, N.C. publication are ready to view online, adding to our newspaper coverage of the greater Raleigh area.

Covering the years 1925-1956, The Zebulon Record focused on local agriculture, a main segment of Zebulon’s economy since its foundation in the early 1900’s. Tobacco, the largest local crop, is widely covered. Notices to farmers of agricultural events, such as a Boll Weevil Plague in 1941, were frequently reported. In 1932, Zebulon even held a national campaign known as the Yard and Garden Contest in an attempt to beautify the area as well as garner tourist attraction through the community’s “civic spirit and love of beauty”.

Article in The Zebulon Record titled "Eastern Belt Opens With Much Tobacco In Fields" accompanied by a photo of farmers gathering around tobacco leaves.

Eastern Belt Opens With Much Tobacco In Fields, August 24, 1951.

As cars became the norm around Zebulon in the 1950s, many cartoons promoting driving etiquette graced the cover of The Zebulon Record due to Zebulon’s reputation as a “speeder’s haven”. As a challenge by President Eisenhower to reduce automobile accidents, S-D Day, or Safe Driving Day, was officially observed on December 1st in Zebulon. The winning driver of the day would be awarded an “expert driving” certificate as well as 10 gallons of gas. Perhaps due to unfortunate reasons, the issue following December 1st never announced the S-D Day winner.

Comic on a then made-up telephone advancement that would enable each participant to see each other's faces while talking over the phone.

Face-to-face telephone comic, January 15, 1932.

For a closer look at all The Zebulon Record articles mentioned as well as unmentioned, click here. For more information on the Little River Historical Society, please visit their home page here.


DigitalNC works from home: expanding photograph descriptions

As work from home continues for all of us at the Digital Heritage Center, we are getting the opportunity to dive into some long shelved cleanup projects from our migration into the TIND content management system.

One that we are excited to work through right now is creating better, individualized, description on sets of photographs that previously were only described in a single record.  In our previous content management system, ContentDM, there was a hierarchy built into the system that supported parent and child records that had different metadata.  So for example, a batch of photographs that one wanted to title at the parent level as “Wilson, NC Businesses” could also have individual child records that had titles such as “Food Lion, 1975.” 

screenshot of a content management system

 The object description (minimized here) is the child level record and applies only to the main image seen above, while the description is the parent level record and applied to every image on the right.

 

 View of a “compound object” photograph set in the new system – the separated out descriptions are mostly lost here.

When we moved into our new content management system, those individual titles were dropped down to a file description that did not go in the main record or was easy to view.  As a result, we made the decision to break up those batches of photographs so that each one shows up individually in a search with its own set of metadata.  That has required pulling down a spreadsheet of the parent level metadata and then converting it to apply individually to each photograph and re-uploading it into TIND.  This has also allowed us to add useful metadata such as geolocation coordinates to images of particular places which could be useful someday if we enable mapping technology in our content management system. While a bit tedious, we believe this is broadening access to some really great photographs from our partners and made them more accessible on our site. 

Search results

Search results view for a group of photos now individually listed – previously were all grouped under one vague title

Screenshot of a metadata record for a tobacco warehouse

This photograph now has more specific metadata describing it, including geo-coordinates, which makes it more useful to users.

Projects like this keep us busy working from home despite being a digitization shop – maintenance is always an important part of this work and this unexpected time away from our scanners is giving us the ability to focus on our existing materials a lot closer. 

Want to see all our image collections in DigitalNC?  Visit Images of North Carolina here.


Happy Birthday DigitalNC!

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti backgroundIt’s DigitalNC.org’s 10th birthday! Though we had hoped to be in the office celebrating, we’re still taking time to look back at years of hard work and the collaborative spirit that makes the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC) what it is!

To date, NCDHC has partnered with 273 libraries, museums, alumni associations, archives, and historic sites in 98 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and we’re growing all the time. Our website currently includes 4.2 million images and files. We share this accomplishment with every institution we’ve worked with. We’d never have gotten to 10 years without staff (permanent, temporary, and student!), our partners, or the network of colleagues all over North Carolina who have encouraged, advised, and supported our work. 

As we approached our anniversary, we realized that our website lacked a synopsis of how NCDHC came to be, and our history. So read on for a brief look at how we got started and our major milestones.

Our History

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center was one outcome of a comprehensive effort by the state’s Department of Cultural Resources (now the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources) to survey and get a broad overview of the status of North Carolina cultural heritage institutions. That effort was entitled NC ECHO (North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online) and was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (which also supports us – thanks IMLS). A major goal of NC ECHO was a multi-year needs assessment. NC ECHO staff visited hundreds of cultural heritage institutions throughout the state to collect data and interview curators, librarians, volunteers, archivists, and more. Many of our partners still remember their visits!

NC ECHO report cover with image of biplaneData collected at these site visits was combined with survey responses to reveal a “state of the state,” summarized in a 2010 report, cover pictured at right. The assessment revealed a lot but, specific to digitization, staff found that nearly three-quarters of the 761 institutions who completed the survey had no digitization experience or capacity. Members of the Department of Cultural Resources (which includes the State Library, State Archives, and multiple museums and historic sites) began brainstorming with other area institutions about a way to help efficiently and effectively provide digitization opportunities. While the NC ECHO project offered digitization grants, workshops, and best practices, an idea emerged of a centralized entity that could assist institutions that didn’t have the capacity to do the work in house. The State Library of North Carolina and UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries joined together to create such an entity: the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. The Center would be located in Chapel Hill, taking advantage of its central location and the digitization equipment and expertise already available in Wilson Special Collections Library. The State Library would provide funding, guidance, and ongoing promotion and support of the Center’s services.

At its beginning, the Center’s staff digitized small collections of college yearbooks, needlework samplers, postcards, and photographs and made them available through DigitalNC.org. They went to speak with organizations interested in becoming partners, and began taking projects for digitization. Here’s a list of NCDHC’s earliest partners, who came on board during late 2009 and 2010. 

Though we’re not positive of the exact date, we believe DigitalNC.org launched on or near May 12, 2010. Here’s a look at that original site!

DigitalNC.org home page at launch with numerous historic photographs.

In 2011, word about the Center spread. Staff started responding to demand from partners, incorporating newspaper digitization. In late 2012, also in response to popular demand, the Center began digitizing high school yearbooks. Yearbooks and newspapers are some of the most viewed items on DigitalNC, and they remain a significant portion of our work to this day. 

In 2013, NCDHC joined the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) as North Carolina’s “service hub.” The DPLA collects information from digitized collections all over the nation and provides it together in one searchable interface at dp.la. Because of our participation, users can browse and search for collections from North Carolina alongside items from institutions around the country.

Throughout the years, we’ve tried to expand services to fit our partners’ goals. In 2015, we trialed an audiovisual digitization project that incorporated the first films into DigitalNC. Today, we partner with the Southern Folklife Collection at Wilson Special Collections Library to provide audio digitization on an ongoing basis. In 2016, we added a new partner category – alumni associations – to support more digitization of African American high school yearbooks and memorabilia. The following year, we announced a focus on digitization of items documenting underrepresented communities. We also started going on the road with our scanners! For institutions that don’t have the staff time or resources to travel to Chapel Hill, we offer to come for a day or two and scan on site.

2018 Finalist National Medal for Museum & Library Service, with image of medal2018 and 2019 saw several major milestones. We were nationally recognized as an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal finalist, and we began a major software migration. Both were a tribute to the size and extent of our operation, though in different ways. As we’ve approached our 10th anniversary we’ve focused on working with partners in all 100 of North Carolina’s counties. Whether you’re rural or metropolitan, we believe your history is important and should be shared online.

One of the ways we’re commemorating this anniversary is to ask our partners and stakeholders how they think we’ve impacted them and their audiences. Join us here on the blog in the second half of 2020 as we share these brief interviews, reflect, and celebrate. Thank you for reading, enjoy the site, and here’s to another 10 years of making North Carolina’s cultural heritage accessible online!


Quarantine Club: A Retrospective of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Through North Carolina Students

A section of Annie Gordon Floyd's scrapbook. She was a student at Elon College during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and created a page in her scrapbook using a clipping from a newspaper describing influenza related deaths of classmates.

Page 31 of Annie Gordon Floyd’s scrapbook, a student at Elon College during the influenza pandemic of 1918. The newspaper clipping is Annie’s obitual; she died of influenza.

Here at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as well as across the globe, graduating students are leaving their school years behind without the normal pomp and circumstance. After years of late-night study sessions and racing to beat the assignment submission clock on Sakai, who would have thought that a pandemic would get between them and their walk across the commencement stage? While achieving a degree is a reason to celebrate regardless of location, perhaps 2020 graduates and all self-isolating students can relate to the experiences of an older group of students- those affected by the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Cutting through the spring of 1918 to 1919, the influenza pandemic was a worldwide health issue not unlike today. In North Carolina, industries were halted and quarantine was enacted (and extended). Universities, too, established their own versions of quarantine. Thanks to the institutions we work with here at DigitalNC, we have digitized yearbooks, scrapbooks, and college publications that offer a glimpse into the thoughts of students during this equally tumultuous time in history.

A page from the 1918 Queens College yearbook showcasing a photo and member list of the "Quarantine Club"

Quarantine Club, The Edelweiss, 1918.

Quarantine was enacted in fits and spurts on campuses across North Carolina between 1918 and 1920. As is evident by yearbook social calendars, measures varied across universities. One campus quarantined through most of November 1918 while others were still starting up quarantine periods in February and March 1920.

Campus clubs have a dedicated slice of yearbook real estate during this time and the influenza directly impacted their activities. As the pandemic coincided with the last days of World War I, Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) were a part of many universities. The S.A.T.C. at Meredith College recounts their quarantine movements that saved faculty and students from “nervous prostration”. UNC’s S.A.T.C. found the flu less inspiring. Other students responded by creating clubs. At Queens College, Quarantine Club, seen left, first began in 1918 with the aim “to extend the quarantine”. Later, in 1920, the club edited their name to simply “Flu” Club, as seen below.

A poem by Bonita Wolff titled, "Quarantined".

“Quarantined” by Bonita Wolff, The Radiant, 1918.

Photo of the "Flu" Club members as well as their names in the 1920 Queens University of Charlotte yearbook "Wise and Otherwise".

“Flu” Club, Wise and Otherwise, 1920.

Portion of the "Meredith News and Distributor" in the Meredith College 1919 Oak Leaves yearbook. The section is titled "flu" and lists influenza related jokes.

“Flu” section of the Meredith News and Distributor by French Haynes, Oak Leaves, 1919.

Students also utilized their yearbooks to creatively vent frustrations. In 1918, Atlantic Christian College students were under quarantine from February 6th to the 27th. Student Bonita Wolff penned several poems for The Radiant, including “Quarantined”, shown above. Another funny quarantine themed poem can be found in the advertisement section of the 1920 edition of St. Mary’s Muse.

Meredith College graduate French Haynes embedded influenza jokes throughout the satirical Meredith News and Distributor, shown to the right. And in 1920, Elizabeth Gaskins spotted a deficiency in her local health care system, due in part to the influenza, and argued for the creation of a local hospital in the Greenville High School yearbook The Tau.

If anything, these yearbooks serve as a reminder that this moment is not permanent. Comparing pandemics may be apples to oranges, especially when one student called quarantine “an awful bore” in a college that was only under quarantine for a month at a time, but Mary Reed Buchanan, member of the 1919 graduating class of the women’s college Peace Institute, offers some perspective in the senior class history:

With the warm spring came the renewal of all our former pleasures. There were parties galore, and girls, will you ever forget those State College receptions? And do you remember those exciting basketball games and the serenades afterwards? The feeling of being well again and out of quarantine brightened every heart and lightened every burden.

Even though we may not be attending basketball games anytime soon, we can look to those who have gone through a pandemic before and know that life, including student life, continues on. And for those who are graduating, Mary Reed Buchanan, noted suffragette, has final words:

Clipping of the 1919 The Lotus yearbook's "Senior Class History" describing the joys of returning to life after quarantine during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Senior Class History, The Lotus, 1919.

For a look at all of DigitalNCs college and high school yearbooks, click here. Or, to view all memorabilia including scrapbooks, click here.


The Tyrrell Tribune

Thanks to our partner, the Tyrrell County Public Library, several issues of The Tyrrell County Tribune are now available on our website. These issues are from the years 1939-1941 and include local news from Tyrrell County and the surrounding area.

The front page of the December 14, 1939 issue of the Tyrrell Tribune.

One interesting news story from the September 11, 1941 edition of the paper is the discussion of a possible state park being created at Cape Hatteras. Today, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is run by the National Park Service. The park was established as the first national seashore in 1953. In the same issue, one headline reports the expansion of an airport at Manteo that would be the largest on the Carolina coast.

The front page of the September 11, 1941 issue of the Tyrrell Tribune.

For more information on the Tyrrell County Public Library, visit their website.


More Photographs from Johnston Community College Now Online!

Thanks to our partner, Johnston Community College, we have another batch of photographs up on our website. These photos span the years of 1990-1993 and focus on the campus and events at the college.

Christmas tree at the 1991 Christmas Open House

In this batch, there are several groupings of photos of buildings on campus, including the Wilson Building and Tart Auditorium. The photos also highlight the Floraculture Department at the college, as well as the construction of a parking lot in 1991. Several retirement parties are represented, including those for Dr. Phillips, Marie Creech, John Hobart, Ralph Swope, and Bennett Barnes. There are also a number of pictures of campus events, such as the annual Christmas Open House, the Small Business Expo, Miss JCC, and the Health Fair.

Flowers blooming outside of the Wilson Building in 1990

For more information about Johnston Community College, please visit their website.  To view previous posts about the Johnston Community College photograph collection we’ve been working on, go here.