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 tagged "moving images"

Over 200 films from Appalachian State University now on DigitalNC

Three adults playing instruments on a stage

Appalachian Mountain Girls and the Kruger Brothers at Mountain Music Jamboree

Thanks to our partner Appalachian State University and our friends at the Southern Folklife Collection, 243 films documenting music and religious traditions in the Appalachian mountains and surrounding region are now on DigitalNC.  The digitization of the materials for preservation and online access was funded through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The films come from two collections at Appalachian: William R. and John W. Turner Concert and Dance Videos and the C. Howard Dorgan Papers.  The Turner collection consists of films and audio recordings taken at bluegrass and old time music festivals, fish park gigs, and concerts in primarily the North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia mountains.  The Dorgan collection contains films and audio taken at churches, mostly of Baptist affiliation, in Appalachia.  Sermons, singing, and revivals are all documented in the films.  

Thanks to the hard work of the staff of the Southern Folklife Collection these films are now much more accessible for both our partner’s use and a wider internet audience.  

To learn more about our partner Appalachian State University, visit their Special Collections’ page here

DigitalNC on the web: NC Hunt and Fish and the Outer Banks Fisherman

We love being sent or just stumbling upon, projects on the web that utilize materials digitized through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.  We thought since they have done such a great job highlighting us, it’d only be fair to turn around and highlight a few we’ve found recently.

Man standing in the ocean holding a fishing pole

We are still right in the middle of summer time here in North Carolina so it seems like a good time for another post on DigitalNC on the web featuring fishing.  This particular use of DigitalNC was figured out by the staff at the NCDHC due to web traffic analytics.  Last winter when we ran the numbers on our highest viewed items for 2018, we were surprised that a video of fishing was the second highest viewed item on our site in 2018. Specifically this film of Roland Martin, a well known fisherman fishing on the Outer Banks.  It is aptly titled, “Outer Banks Fisherman” and was digitized thanks to our partner the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

We decided to do some digging into why that might be and stumbled upon a really great forum – NC Hunt and Fish. Someone on there had found the video and posted it – which promoted lots of excitement on the forum and drove lots of avid fishermen to our site to view it for themselves apparently!  The video itself is a fun look at sport fishing on the NC coast in the 1980s and the forum has lots of great memories of those who themselves used to go down to the Outer Banks to fish.

If you have a particular project or know of one that has utilized materials from DigitalNC, we’d love to hear about it!  Contact us via email or in the comments below and we’ll check out.  To see past highlighted projects, visit past posts here

Discover Charlotte – A City in Motion

film title printed over charlotte sunrise

In partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library we’re pleased to share this 1968 film entitled Discover Charlotte – A City in Motion. Created by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and narrated by famous journalist and North Carolinian Charles Kurault, this promotional film boasts about Charlotte’s industrial and economic growth.

air traffic controller in tower with view of tarmac and planeIn color with an upbeat soundtrack, Discover Charlotte lauds the motion of Charlotteans, beginning with a look at the city’s role in trucking, rail, and air transport. Turning to the banking industry, the film shows people processing large amounts of checks and cash and using adding machines at lightning speed. Shots of the Charlotte Record newspaper offices include coverage of Record employees learning via Teletype that Gene Payne, the Record’s cartoonist, had won a Pulitzer. You’ll see pilots and passengers at the Charlotte Douglas airport, Arthur “Guitar Boogie” and the Crackerjacks playing at the WBT station, computers whirring in a new data processing center, workers constructing a Duke power complex, and researchers examining newly woven textiles.

Most of the film features scenes of middle and upper class white Charlotteans in work, social, or religious settings.  In Charlotte, there is “a church for every man” and there are brief views of a number of religious institutions including Covenant Presbyterian Church, Dilworth Methodist Church, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Other events and activities shown in the film include

  • Festival in the Park at Freedom Park,pit stop with race car being gassed up and tires changed
  • the Mint Museum Drama Guild rehearsing a play,
  • a wedding reception for an unnamed white couple, 
  • a Carolina v. NC State basketball game,
  • a Charlotte Checkers hockey game, and 
  • a NASCAR stock car race.

There are also views of two university campuses, Johnson C. Smith and the relatively new UNC-Charlotte.

Filmed during the Civil Rights movement, there are only brief allusions to racial tensions. There is a snippet of white police officers talking about “riding with Negro officers,” which cuts to a group of black men and officers talking about a local march. The end of the film describes Charlotte’s participation in the Model Cities initiative and its “total attack on poverty,” efforts that were meant to eradicate urban blight that, as in many cities in America, ended up displacing and/or destroying minority-owned homes and businesses. The film ends with drawings of a planned expressway, widened streets, parks, new hotels and high rises.

This is one of a number of items Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has shared on DigitalNC. You can see more on their contributor page or learn more about their North Carolina collections on their website.

New Materials from Rockingham County Public Library, Including Yearbooks, Films, and More

The James J. Dallas home in Rockingham County.

The newest batch of materials from our partner, Rockingham County Public Library, includes two yearbooks, three books, a vertical file, several newspaper issues, and two short films. The yearbooks, from 1967 and 1968, were created by Madison-Mayodan Junior High School. The books cover the stories of Rockingham county notables John D. Robertson and James J. Dallas, as well as the Greensboro Telephone Exchange. The vertical file contains materials related to Smyrna Presbyterian Church’s centennial celebration, and the newspapers include more issues from the Fieldcrest Mill Whistle.

Lastly, video footage in this batch includes two films converted from 8mm format. The first shows the 1969 Madison Christmas Parade filmed in downtown Madison, NC. The second is a film created by Macfield Inc. that details their continuing education program for employees.

Serious student government officials seen in the 1968 Madison-Mayodan Junior High School yearbook.

To browse through the items in this batch, click the links below.

To see more materials from Rockingham County Public Library, check out their DigitalNC partner page, or take a look at their website.

1945 Film of Willsherr Lodge on Win-Mock Farm now online

A new video has been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Davie County Public Library. The original 16mm film shows Dr. S. Clay Williams Jr. walking around the garden at Willsherr Lodge on Win-Mock Farm in uniform in 1945. Click here to view the film.

A frame from the video, showing Dr. S. Clay Williams Jr walking in the garden

Win-Mock Farm is a plot of land along the Yadkin River built by S. Clay Williams, president of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, located halfway between Winston-Salem and Mocksville. The Willsherr Lodge acted as the large family home, which is very briefly visible in the film.

To learn more about Win-Mock Farm, their website is here. To see more materials from Davie County Public Library, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

May Day to Marion Anderson: Heritage of Black Highlanders Photo Collection Shared on DigitalNC

May Day, 1940s, from the Heritage of Black Highlanders Collection

This May Day, we’re pleased to introduce a collection contributed to DigitalNC from the Special Collections and University Archives at UNC-Asheville’s Ramsey Library. It’s the Heritage of Black Highlanders, a group of 216 photographs that document African Americans from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, particularly Asheville, in the early 20th to mid 20th century.

These photographs include many group and individual portraits, with a little less than half related to education (school classes, teachers, and administrators). Other photos are of important community leaders or those working for local organizations and businesses. To a lesser degree are snapshots of events and daily life, like awards being given to boy scouts, an early parade in downtown Asheville, or this visit by Marion Anderson to Stephens-Lee High School. 

If you head over to the Special Collections site at UNC-Asheville, you’ll be able to see the full scope of this collection. Ramsey Library has shared these photos with us as part of our call to increase the diversity of voices available through DigitalNC. You can see more from Ramsey Library on their contributor page or in their own collections.

“Why We Kill” and Other NC Film Board Films Added to DigitalNC

A film still from "Why We Kill."

A film still from “Why We Kill.”

Over time, we have worked with the State Archives of North Carolina, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, and UNC-Chapel Hill to digitize a number of North Carolina Film Board films. Created by Gov. Terry Sanford, the Film Board operated for a short time during the 1960s and produced films of statewide significance. Many of the films dealt with the changing nature of the state at that time, discussing social equality, poverty, demographics, environmental concerns, and more.

Recently, we added several more films, held by UNC-Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Collection, and listed below. DigitalNC now hosts 14 of the 19 films created by the Film Board.*

This last film, Why We Kill, is and will likely remain one of the most riveting items in our collection. During this film, actor Chris Connelly, himself guilty of multiple driving infractions, sits down with five North Carolinians who caused fatalities or have had multiple run-ins with the law while speeding and/or driving under the influence of alcohol. It’s a frank discussion that is alternatively saddening and mystifying, as various levels of remorse come through. While watching, there are moments during which it’s striking how driving habits and social trends have changed over time, especially when the men discuss how much alcohol contributes to impairment. Connelly’s questions try to tease out the drivers’ ideas about decreasing accidents and discouraging dangerous driving.

This version of Why We Kill isn’t precisely the final version that was released. It was created by merging an audio track from UNC-Chapel Hill with visuals digitized from films at the State Archives of North Carolina. This is a great example of how local collections can complement each other, working together for a more complete picture of North Carolina’s history.

We’ll be posting several more blog posts in the coming weeks which will introduce the other films from our partners now viewable on DigitalNC.

*The remaining films are: Land of Beginnings; Minority Report: Vote and the Choice is Yours; Minority Report: We’re Not Alone; Nine Months To Go; The Outer Banks (possibly lost)

Newest Additions to the North Carolina Sights and Sounds Collection, Part 2

Here at the Digital Heritage Center, we’re able to scan or photograph almost all kinds of two dimensional items and even a goodly number of those in three dimensions. However, audiovisual materials are sent off site for digitization to a vendor and, as such, it’s a service we’ve only been able to offer annually. We just concluded our second round of audiovisual digitization and, like last year, our partners came forward with a wide variety of film and audio nominations. This is the second in a series of posts about the accepted nominations, with links to the items in the Sights and Sounds collection.

State Archives of North Carolina


One of the best parts of “Wildlife Babies” is the footage of baby ducks jumping out of their bird house into a lake.

Appropriate for this election season, the State Archives has shared a number of short spots from the 1968 Governor’s race in which Robert W. Scott compares his policies and campaign tactics to those of his opponent, Jim Gardner. Scott’s criticisms of Gardner and his campaign echo some of what we hear today, and are also reflective of pressing issues in the state at the time, ranging from criticisms about Gardner’s attendance record to “misleading” campaign literature in which Scott was shown standing next to an African American man. There is also footage of a campaign speech made by Scott in Greenville, North Carolina, shortly before election day.

In addition to these are shared a number of films from the Wildlife Resources Commission. Many show both freshwater and saltwater fishing, both for sport and science. If you need your baby animal fix, you can check out “Wildlife Babies,” an award-winning feature that shows baby birds and mammals of North Carolina.

Mauney Memorial Library

We are always pleased to uncover and make available more films by H. Lee Waters, and during this round of digitization the Mauney Memorial Library came forward with two such films from Kings Mountain, N.C. These two most recent films are similar in style to the many produced by Waters, available both here and through an astounding collection at Duke University Libraries. There are many shots of school children walking in front of the camera, sometimes shy, sometimes silly. Some notable features include an aerial view of Kings Mountain, views inside local stores, and a product demonstration of a refrigerator (minute 26).

We’ll be posting several more blog posts in the coming weeks which will introduce the other films from our partners now viewable on DigitalNC.

Newest Additions to the North Carolina Sights and Sounds Collection, Part 1

Here at the Digital Heritage Center, we’re able to scan or photograph almost all kinds of two dimensional items and even a goodly number of those in three dimensions. However, audiovisual materials are sent off site for digitization to a vendor and, as such, it’s a service we’ve only been able to offer annually. We just concluded our second round of audiovisual digitization and, like last year, our partners came forward with a wide variety of film and audio nominations documenting North Carolina’s history. This is the first in a series of posts about the accepted nominations, with links to the items in the Sights and Sounds collection.

Belmont Abbey College

Unidentified man, presumably from Gaston County and interviewed for the Crafted with Pride Project in 1985.

Unidentified man, presumably from Gaston County and interviewed for the Crafted with Pride Project in 1985.

The “Crafted with Pride” project, led by several cultural heritage institutions and businesses in Gaston County in 1985, sought to record and bring public awareness to the textile industry’s impact in Gaston County. During the project, a number of oral histories were collected from those who had worked in textile mills and lived in mill villages in towns like Belmont, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Dallas, Gastonia, High Shoals, McAdenville, Mount Holly, and Stanley. Belmont Abbey College has shared these oral histories on DigitalNC, as well as images and documents from the project. The oral histories touch on the toil of mill work, especially during the Great Depression, and the positive and negative cultural and social aspects of mill villages in North Carolina during the early 20th century.

Cumberland County Public Library

A girl wearing tartans at festivities surrounding Cumberland County's Sesquicentennial in 1939.

An unidentified girl wearing tartans at festivities surrounding Cumberland County’s Sesquicentennial in 1939.

Silent footage of the 1939 sesquicentennial parade in Fayetteville, N.C. combines Scottish customs, local history, and military displays from Cumberland County. This film was nominated by the Cumberland County Public Library, along with a brief advertisement soliciting support for renovation of Fayetteville’s Market House.

Duke University Medical Center Archives

Scene from "The Sound of Mucus," performed by Duke Medical School students in 1989.

Scene from “The Sound of Mucus,” performed by Duke Medical School students in 1989.

The films and oral histories nominated by the Duke University Medical Center Archives describe the history of Duke Hospital and Duke University’s School of Medicine. Included is a Black History Month Lecture by Dr. Charles Johnson, the first black professor at Duke Medicine, in which he describes his early life and his work at Duke. You can also view “The Sound of Mucus,” a comedic musical created and performed by Duke Medical students and faculty in 1989.  Two interviews conducted with Wilburt Cornell Davison and Jane Elchlepp give first hand accounts of Duke Hospital and Medical School history.

We’ll be posting several more blog posts in the coming weeks which will introduce the other films from our partners now viewable on DigitalNC.

Arts in Durham: More than Disco!

Durham has long been a center of the arts in the Triangle, with dance being no exception. The American Dance Festival (ADF) has been a part of the Durham community since 1978. The ADF began in 1934 at Bennington College in Vermont and moved to several other New England campuses, until it finally settled at Duke University, where it has remained for almost forty years. This event helped to foster the many dance and performance organizations in the area and increase the popularity of dance in the local Durham community, as well as around the Triangle.

The “Arts in Durham” television broadcast documented several studios and clubs that stemmed from this popularity during the late 1970’s. Although the ADF focused primarily on modern dance, many different genres were represented in these broadcasts, including disco, ballet, jazz, and clogging. Below are three “Arts in Durham” broadcasts from DigitalNC’s North Carolina Sights & Sounds Collection, highlighting the wonderful and weird dance styles from the Durham community.

Arts in Durham: Arthur Hall Dance Company


Arthur Hall teaching technique at the American Dance Festival.

Arthur Hall, founder of the Dance Company with his name sake, came to the ADF from Philadelphia to teach techniques based in traditional African movements. Trained under a Ghanaian instructor, Hall dedicated his life to creating a space for black dancers to practice and perform traditional and original choreography. Outside of dance, Hall created a museum, cultural center and archive in Germantown. He has been called the “father of the black arts movement in Philadelphia,” and his techniques inspired the Durham Arts community during his time with ADF.



Arts in Durham: C’est La Vie Disco


C’est La Vie Disco

Although ADF showcased professional dancers and choreographers, professional dance was not all that existed during this period in Durham. C’est La Vie Disco embraced the disco craze of the seventies in a way that amateurs and professionals alike could enjoy. Located in Durham’s old Five Point Neighborhood, C’est La Vie Disco was housed in a restaurant that made room for DJs and dancers in the evenings. The broadcast features several professional teachers, demonstrating disco techniques, but the true highlights are the intro and concluding pieces that showcase community members busting some moves.


Art in Durham: New Performance Dance Company, April 1979


Probably the most entertaining of all of the dance-related audiovisual material on DigitalNC, this broadcast features the New Performance Dance Company, once located on Chapel Hill Street in Durham. The company choreographed and performed in the area and taught classes of various styles. The broadcast features several modern performances, disco choreography, and children’s classes. Many of these dance styles are quite unique and definitely worth watching!



You can see all of the dance-related moving images at the links below or continue exploring the Arts in Durham . Many thanks to the Durham County Library for contributing these pieces of history from the Triangle.