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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Massey Hill Heritage Discovery Project Materials Tell The Story of One Fayetteville Neighborhood

A partial map of the Mill Villages found in Massey Hill.

Over 120 new photos, news clippings, artifacts, and oral interviews have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of the Arts Council of Fayetteville, as part of the Massey Hill Heritage Discovery Project. This project was designed to trace the history of the Massey Hill neighborhood in Fayetteville dating back into the 19th century. Located between Camden Road and Gillespie Street along Southern Avenue, Massey Hill is a neighborhood that grew up alongside the three local textile mills and inspired feelings of family and community among its long-time residents, many of whom lived their whole lives in Massey Hill.

Exterior photo of the Massey Hill Hardware Store

A photo of the Tolar-Hart Mill Water Tower in Fayetteville.

 

There is a ton of variety in this batch, giving us a vibrant image of what it was like to live and grow up in Massey Hill. Dozens of photos are included, with many highlighting life in the mills, events and celebrations that were held for holidays, and pictures of local schools and schoolchildren. A number of newspaper clippings are also found in this batch, detailing many different parts of life in Massey Hill, including interviews with local residents. One resident, Ida Belle Dallas Parker, also wrote several short stories reminiscing on her childhood and family history in Massey Hill. Finally, a number of oral histories from Massey Hill residents are included – they also discuss their personal histories growing up in Massey Hill, how they feel about the neighborhood, and what it meant to them.

Having these materials on DigitalNC is an important reminder of how we build communities in our lives and what they mean to the people who live there. To browse through other materials from the Arts Council of Fayetteville, check out their partner page or take a look at their website.


Hmong Keeb Kwm: Hmong Heritage Project Materials Now Online at DigitalNC

Ten individuals in uniform standing in a group facing forward

A photo of Hmong soldiers graduating from pilot training in November 1973

two individuals in military uniform looking at the camera

Nao Chao Lo and Nhia Thong Yang in their military uniforms, circa 2018

Over a hundred photographs, documents, artifacts, oral histories, and other materials from Hmong Keeb Kwm: The Hmong Heritage Project are now online, courtesy of the Catawba County Library. This new batch represents the first materials on DigitalNC to come from the Catawba County Library. This collection also has the honor of being the first to represent the Hmong people of North Carolina on our website.

There is a huge amount of variety in the materials in this batch. It contains dozens of photographs of physical objects to DigitalNC, including colorful embroidered material, Laotian and Thai currency, bracelets and jewelry, and more. Text materials, like personal records, newspaper clippings, and program certificates are also included. A number of photographs of Hmong individuals, their family members, and their personal lives are also found in this collection. Finally, several oral histories are also included in this collection, allowing people to tell about their experience of coming to the United States. These oral histories are both available as audio files and as written transcripts.

Having these materials on DigitalNC represents an important addition to our understanding of Catawba County, and allows us to continue in our mission to digitize materials from all communities throughout the state. To see other materials from the Catawba County Library, visit their partner page or check out their website.


The Goldsboro News-Argus is the latest newspaper title available on DigitalNC

Goldsboro News-Argus, April 26, 1957

Goldsboro News-Argus, April 26, 1957

DigitalNC is pleased to announce the addition of a special issue of the newspaper the Goldsboro News-Argus. Thanks to our partner at the Wayne County Public Library, we are glad to provide access to an issue of the paper from April 26, 1957, which honors Lieutenant Seymour Johnson, U.S. Navy.

Lt. Seymour Johnson portrait

Lt. Seymour Johnson portrait

A native of Goldsboro, Lt. Johnson died in a plane crash near Norbeck, Maryland, on March 5, 1941. Johnson was “one of the first young men from Goldsboro to adopt aviation in the armed forces as a career.” He had been a test pilot for five years and his “friends in Goldsboro often heard reports that he safely brought to port airplanes which had developed mechanical trouble and it seemed all but impossible to land them.” The Air Force base in Goldsboro was named for Lt. Johnson in 1942.

The remainder of the issue provides news about Goldsboro and the Air Force base, frequently emphasizing how glad the town is to welcome those associated with the base.

To view this issue of the Goldsboro News-Argus, click here. To learn more about the Wayne County Public Library, visit their partner page here or their website here.


W.S. Clark Store Accounting Ledgers Now Online at DigitalNC

ledger page for Mrs. Judge Howard with products and prices

A snapshot from the 1899 Millinery Book Ledger

A new batch of materials from Edgecombe Community College in Tarboro, North Carolina is now online and available on DigitalNC. This collection contains several accounting ledgers from the late 19th century. These five account books are all from the W.S. Clark Store in Tarboro. The store, started by William Samuel Clark (1846-1923), was operated in Tarboro from the 1870s through the 1980s as a general store. By the 1950s, it operated as a department store that sold everything from furniture to clothing to groceries. It was continued for over 50 years after Clark died by his sons.

These ledgers were donated to Edgecombe Community College by his grandson, Clark Jenkins, and then they found their way to DigitalNC. They contain transactions of the wide variety of goods that people purchased, as well as the prices of various items, and indicate when customers made payments on their accounts. For example, in 1896, a pair of slippers cost $1.35 and a straw hat cost 15 cents.

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

To learn more from the Edgecombe Community College, click here to visit their partner page or click here to visit their website.

 


New materials from McDowell County Public Library’s Greenlee Collection of Scrapbooks now online at DigitalNC!

two individuals next to a small mill powered by two mules

Cutout from the McDowell County Agriculture Scrapbook

21 new scrapbooks and 10 new yearbooks from the McDowell County Public Library are now online at DigitalNC. The scrapbooks, all of which make up part of MCPL’s Greenlee Collection of Scrapbooks, date roughly from the 1910s to the early 1990s and document various aspects of life in McDowell County. From health and safety, to forest conservation, to arts and crafts, each scrapbook focuses on one of a wide range of topics. The scrapbooks’ pages consist largely of newspaper clippings from various local papers, such as the McDowell News, and a few more regional publications like the the Charlotte Observer. The materials provide a wealth of information for anyone interested in learning about topics of interest to citizens of communities such as Marion and Old Fort over the course of the 20th century. The scrapbooks are neatly organized and generally present their information in chronological order.

"Now Let's ALL buy defense bonds" ad with large american flag

Cutout from the McDowell County military scrapbook, 1941-1945

The recent batch also features 10 more yearbooks from MCPL. These include four from Glenwood High School (1951, 1952. 1954, and 1957), two from North Cove High School (1941 and 1942). and one each from Clevenger College (1959), Old Fort High School (1968), Nebo High School (1968), and Marion High School (1968). Together the two sets of materials represent a treasure trove of resources for researchers of local history in North Carolina.

The new additions join a handful of other MCPL scrapbooks and yearbooks already online at DigitalNC. For more information, please visit the MCPL’s DigitalNC page or follow this link to their website.


WWII-era Newsletters and Railroad Photo Albums from Braswell Memorial Library Online

New materials from Braswell Memorial Library are now live on DigitalNC. Included in this batch are photo albums of trains and railroads across the United States and a newsletter produced by staff members at Sidney Blumenthal and Company’s textile mill in Rocky Mount.

A drawing of a man in a military uniform and a woman.

The May 1944 Cover of the Caromount News

When workers Blumenthal’s Caromount Mills deployed for World War II, remaining staff members created the Caromount News for Service Men and Women, a newsletter “published solely for the benefit of all former Blumenthal employees now in the service of our country.” These editions include updates for and about employees who were deployed, jokes, musings, local updates, and even a little workplace gossip. This newsletter continued to be published even after the cessation of the war; we have digitized editions through 1955. The Caromount News grew to be a community newspaper in the post-war years, capturing weddings, graduations, home purchases, town events and more in addition to workplace accomplishments and announcements.

 

Included within the bound editions of the Caromount news was a telegram from a Navy Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and accounts to the men and women of Sidney Blumenthal and Company Incorporated. In this telegram, Rear Admiral W. B. Young credits cloth made by the textile mill with saving the lives of crew members following a ship wreck on the Newfoundland coast during a blizzard. “Those who were best able to take care of themselves after 30 grueling hours in sub-zero temperature were wearing jungle cloth special winter clothing outfits. Those men possibly owe their lives to that equipment” reads the telegram.

Railfans rejoice! The other materials in this batch are all centered around railroads — functional and defunct — up and down the East Coast and even as far as Mexico and California. Documented within the albums are the first trips of several NC routes, including the Piedmont and Carolinian trains. The photos included in these eight albums span the years between 1945 and 2006.

To learn more about Braswell Memorial Library, check out their partner page or website.

 

 

 


Nine More Yearbooks from Burke County Added to DigitalNC

two page book spread with photos of football players and newspaper article clippings about football game scores

Burke County Public Library has contributed nine additional yearbooks from Burke County high schools to their online yearbooks collection, which now spans the 1940s to the late 1960s. These latest yearbooks come from Drexel High School, Francis Garrou High School, Morganton High School, Oak Hill High School, and the first yearbook in the collection from West Concord School.

Click to view the newest additions, or browse all of the high school yearbooks from Burke County.


New Partner Clemmons Historical Society Now On DigitalNC

We are excited to welcome new partner Clemmons Historical Society to DigitalNC.

The first set of materials from them is a big batch that documents the history of Clemmons. The Clemmons Historical Society provided numerous pieces of correspondence, pictures, scrapbooks, and yearbooks. Can you read German? Checkout the “Bethlehem Diary Excerpts” from the late 1700’s. Stagecoach enthusiasts can view pictures of the “Hattie Butner Stagecoach” as it appeared post-restoration in 1994. If you want to see what teenage life was like in Clemmons in the 1940’s & 50’s take a look at a collection of yearbooks from that era. There are many more documents and pictures that help to frame the long history of Clemmons and you can find them all here

dark green scrapbook cover that says Clemmons 1953

Clemmons Scrapbook from 1953

 

Black and white drawing of a Hattie Butner Stagecoach, with "clemmons, North Carolina" beneath

Drawing of Hattie Butner Stagecoach on a Fund Raising Note Card

To learn more about our new partner, please visit their partner page or their website for more information.


Newly Digitized Materials from Winston Salem’s African-American Community Now Online

 

Vacation Bible School Group Photo

A group photograph taken at Shiloh Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School. June 1958.

We have added materials that capture some of Winston Salem’s rich African-American history from 1930 to 1990, courtesy of the Winston Salem African American Archive.

Included in this batch are several editions of The Columbian, the student newspaper for Columbian Heights High School, and articles from other local papers highlighting notable community members and events.

One such community member, Joseph Bradshaw was a veteran, social worker, educator and local historian, committed to preserving Black history in the city and beyond. Other articles detail firsts in Winston Salem’s African-American community: William Samel Scales opened the first black-owned bonding agency and later served as the president of Forsyth Savings and Trust. Naomi McLean opened the first black business and stenographer school in Winston Salem. Carl Matthews began the Winston-Salem sit-in on February 8, 1960. Other articles detail the 1947 Local 22 Tobacco Workers strike at the R.J. Reynolds Factory.

Color portraits of Mary Hairston and Dr. Rufus Hairston

Color portraits of Mrs. Mary Hairston and Dr. Rufus S. Hairston. Dr. Hairston was Winston Salem’s first African-American pharmacist.

Also included in these materials are color portraits of Dr. and Mrs. Rufus S. Hairston and a scrapbook of materials collected by Mrs. Hairston. The Hairstons were both alumni of Slater Industrial Academy, now known as Winston Salem State University, and active members of their community. Dr. Hairston was Winston Salem’s first African-American pharmacist, an alumnus of Shaw University, president of the National Pharmaceutical Association, and was appointed WSSU’s first alumni board of trustee member. Mrs. Hairston served as one of the first presidents of the Winston Salem Chapter of Moles, a national professional organization of women of color, and was a founding member of the Winston Salem Chapter of The Links, Inc. She was also involved in the development of Winston Salem’s first library for African-Americans and later worked in the WSSU library.

To learn more about the Winston Salem African American Archive, visit their website or partner page.


Substantial and Varied Collection from Rockingham County Now Online

The latest materials digitized from Rockingham County Public Library are online now, and oh are they wide-ranging. Included in this batch are church bulletins, postcards, audio recordings, local histories, genealogical records, and even an intricate cross stitch of Rockingham County’s not-quite-neighbor, Person County.

Many of these items recount the history of the towns of Leaksville, Draper, and Spray before the three were consolidated into a single town, Eden N.C., in 1967. One of these is the book Leaksville-Spray, North Carolina: A Sketch of its Interests and Industries, which is one of only two copies known to exist today. It gives extensive details about textile and other manufacturing industries in the area during the early twentieth century.

Morehead Cotton Mills Co.

Leaksville’s Morehead Mills was founded by future governor John Motley Morehead, also known as “the Father of Modern North Carolina.”

Other materials included in this batch were created well after Leaksville, Draper, and Spray were incorporated as Eden. The song “The Ballad of Leaksville, Spray, and Draper,” written by Leaksville native John Marshall Carter, laments the merger of the three cities with its chorus of, “I can’t believe that they’ve done this to me, I can’t conceive that they’ve killed history.” This song along with “Olden Days” were digitized from an original 45 rpm record.

Header for the Farmer's Advocate Newsletter

“Published Sporadically But Enthusiastically” reads the tagline on the first edition of the Farmer’s Advocate Newsletter.

Also digitized were 70 editions of The Farmer’s Advocate Newsletter from the Historic Jamestown Society — a group dedicated to the preservation of the stories and structures of Jamestown N.C. — spanning from 1975 to 2018.

Rockingham-area genealogists may find some gems in the records of family reunions, vital statistics, church publications, or cemetery survey included in this batch.

All of the items from the most recent batch can be accessed here. To learn more about the Rockingham County Public Library, visit their partner page on DigitalNC or their website.