DigitalNC: North Carolina's Digital Heritage

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 "newspapers"

The Roxboro Courier from our newest partner, the Person County Public Library

An announcement from the September 28, 1927 issue, urging Roxboro farmers to attend a meeting about plans to grow many varieties of soybeans side by side to help determine which variety grows best.

More than 200 issues of The Roxboro Courier are now available from our newest partner, the Person County Public Library.  These issues, dating from 1922-1927 were published on a weekly basis. They contain stories pertaining to life in Roxboro, North Carolina, the county seat of Person County, as well as national news. In fact, the newspaper’s tagline “home first, abroad next” indicates interest in both local and national stories. Local news includes birth and death announcements, descriptions and predictions of the economic climate in and around Pearson County, information on local elections and legislation, event announcements, and more. National news stories recount all sorts of national happenings, large and small, from statements by President Coolidge, to a story about a New England champion turkey raiser.

An image from a November 23, 1927 news story about a New England champion turkey raiser.

Although the issues up on DigitalNC are from a 6 year span, The Roxboro Courier has a long history. The paper changed it’s name three times, starting out as The Courier in 1896. In 1910 it changed to The Roxboro Courier, then in 1929 to Pearson County Times, and again in 1943 to The Courier-Times, which is still running today with both an online and print version.

To learn more about the Person County Public Library, visit their website, or take a look that their DigitalNC partner page.

Six years of Washington Daily News now online

A front page headline from September 2, 1909 celebrates Frederick A. Cook’s trip to the North Pole and subsequent return to Lervik, Norway.

Issues of the Washington Daily News, contributed by the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, are now available on DigitalNC. The Washington Daily News is a newspaper published six days a week, that started in 1909. The 1,441 issues now available digitally, span 1909-1914. The paper focuses on news from Washington, a small city located in Beaufort County, North Carolina, but also includes news as from the nation as a whole. While front-page headlines tend to tackle breaking stories from the American South, the United States, and beyond, shorter pieces recount municipal issues, meetings, social gatherings, and more.

A brief update on the repair of a local school in the September 3, 1909 issue.

The Washington Daily News still exists in both print and online form, and in 1990 the paper won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of articles exploring and exposing water contamination in Washington, North Carolina.

To learn more about the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

Murphy Public Library Offers 20 Years of the Cherokee Scout

The Cherokee Scout, January 26, 1923, page 1

The Cherokee Scout, January 26, 1923, page 1

20 years of the Cherokee Scout, from Murphy, N.C., are now available online. Murphy Public Library, located in Cherokee County, is a new partner on DigitalNC and the first from the county. 

Cherokee Scout, July 27, 1923, page 4

Cherokee Scout, July 27, 1923, page 4

Like many community newspapers, the Scout contains many stories of national importance, as well as local events and activities. The Scout documents and reflects stories of importance to the community, especially crop reports, sermons, humor, poetry, and serial stories. Newspapers like these are useful for researchers of all types as they are full of names, dates, and cultural data.

Murphy’s proximity to the Georgia border also offers information about that region– making this newspaper a unique resource for researchers interested in the economic and social links between North Carolina and Georgia mountain communities.

The Cherokee Scout is still an active newspaper with 9,600 readers. You can learn more about the history of this newspaper, it’s owners, and the happenings of this Western NC community by visiting the landing page.

To learn more about Murphy Public Library, please visit the contributor page or the website. Learn more about community newspaper and find information from your community by visiting the North Carolina Newspapers Collection.

Cherokee Scout, May 29, 1931, page 2

Cherokee Scout, May 29, 1931, page 2

The Future Outlook: Documenting African American Communities in Greensboro from WWII-1970’s

The Future Outlook, July 14, 1967, page 1

The Future Outlook, July 14, 1967, page 1

The Future Outlook, a community newspaper from Greensboro, NC, is now available on DigitalNC. Thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, nearly 25 years of the paper are now online and full-text searchable. The nearly 450 editions range from 1941-1947, 1949, 1952, and 1958-1972.

The Future Outlook served an African American community in Greensboro and documents major events from their perspective. Like community newspapers throughout North Carolina, the paper documented births, deaths, and events of its readership. Economic and business activities received a lot ink over the years, highlighting prominent black leaders in Guilford County, as well as, members of clubs and professional organizations. Elections and voting related activities are also well documented. Before each election, including smaller city and county elections, the paper published extensive district maps and voting information.

The Future Outlook, June 13, 1942, page 6

The Future Outlook, June 13, 1942, page 6

Another area that might be of interest for researchers is the paper’s coverage of local educational institutions. Greensboro is home to several historically black colleges and universities, including North Carolina A&T and Bennett College. Scholars and students at these universities are heavily covered, especially in during the 1960’s. Students on the Dean’s List, scholars who received grants (like the image above), fraternities and sororities,  and university conferences cover many front pages and serve as a record of university activities.

Also included in this batch are issues dating from 1941-1947, documenting the entirety of World War II and community reactions to it. Stories, advertisements, and political messages cover the pages during this period. The paper featured stories about locals who were working for the war effort, like Margaret Lanier. Lanier was a secretary in the Press Division of the Office of Facts and Figures. The Future Outlook published the photo on the left of her posing with seven new poster designs to be distributed for Flag Day in June 1942. In addition, there are many of the iconic war advertisements, posters and cartoons, featuring African American men and women.


The Future Outlook, September 12, 1942, page 4

The Future Outlook, September 12, 1942, page 4

The Future Outlook, September 26, 1942, page 4

The Future Outlook, September 26, 1942, page 4


To view all of the issues of the Future Outlook, please visit the following link. To view more community newspapers like this one, please visit the North Carolina Newspapers Collection and limit by “Community Papers.” You can also learn more about this partner, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, by visiting the contributor page or visiting the website.

New Partner! The State Port Pilot from Margaret & James Harper, Jr. Library in Brunswick County

The State Port Pilot, January 8, 1936, page 6

The State Port Pilot, January 8, 1936, page 6


DigitalNC is happy to welcome a new partner, the Margaret and James Harper, Jr. Library. Located in Southport, Brunswick County,  this partner adds to our growing list of contributors representing coastal communities.

This partner’s first contribution is a decade of editions of a community newspaper. The State Port Pilot documents community life in Southport and the surrounding areas from 1935-1945. The paper could be an excellent resource for those interested in agriculture at the coast, with many of the stories, advertisements, and images dealing with tobacco farming in that part of the state. This resources is also full-text searchable, allowing for quick research by name and location.

The Pilot also is unique in its advertising techniques, especially during the 1930’s. Full page ads address readers directly with clean simple statements that changed each week. 

To learn more about the Margaret and James Harper, Jr. Library, please visit the contributor page or the website. To find a digitized newspaper from your community, browse the North Carolina Newspapers Collection.


The State Port Pilot, May 8, 1935, page 4

The State Port Pilot, May 8, 1935, page 4

Over 100 issues of The Franklin Times now available

A column in the Feb 11, 1910 issue urging boys from Franklin County to enter an upcoming corn growing competition.

Over 100 issues of The Franklin Times, provided by our partner, Louisburg College, are now up on DigitalNC. These issues are from 1909-1911, and were published on a weekly basis. Louisburg is the seat of Franklin county, and The Franklin Times reports on news taking place in Louisburg, Franklin County, North Carolina, and the United States. In fact, the tagline printed at the top of the paper reads “the County, the State, the Union.” Although some large national news stories are covered, many of the issues focus primarily on Louisburg and Franklin County. For example, one weekly column, “The Moving People,” tracks “those who have visited Louisburg the past week” and “those who have gone elsewhere for business or pleasure.” The column lists individuals who returned from trips and those who visited from afar. This is indicative of the paper’s local interest. Local meetings, contests, municipal issues, social events, and more are recounted each week.

Part of the “Moving People” column from the February 11, 1910 issue.

The Franklin Times was established in 1870, but still runs weekly with a print and online version. The Franklin Times website states, “it is the only newspaper published in the county and its content is focused on local government, local schools, the communities and the people who call this rapidly growing area home.” Although many years have passed, the focus of the paper remains the same.

To see more materials from Louisburg College, visit their partner page, or website.

World War I materials on DigitalNC


Company H, WWI, 1st North Carolina Infantry of the National Guard, departed Waynesville’s train depot on June 26, 1916. They guarded the Mexican border and returned to Waynesville in February 1917. In July 1917 they then were sent to France during WWI.  Courtesy of Haywood County Public Library.

Last Thursday, April 6, 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.  Over the next year, many cultural heritage institutions around the country are highlighting the materials they hold related to the “Great War.”  We wanted to highlight some of the fantastic local North Carolina materials we have digitized for our partners that document the World War I perspective from North Carolinians’ eyes.


Service records, photographs, news clippings and letters back home from communities across the state are digitized here on DigitalNC.  From Wilson County, we have a set of records from 70 men that served in the war that the United Daughters of the Confederacy collected and a scrapbook that includes letters from a Robert Anderson before he was wounded in action and died in France. From Stanly County, we have an enlistment record that includes the amount Harvey Jarvis Underwood was paid to serve, and a history of the service records of Stanly County men who served in the war.  From the Grand Lodge of the Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, the NCDHC digitized a list of all the North Carolina masons who died in World War I.

Several scrapbooks from Elon University detail the students’ view of the war as well as what college life during World War I looked like here in North Carolina.  

Headline from Page 2 of the April 12, 1917 edition of the Roanoke News









The richest source of information on World War I and North Carolina on DigitalNC may very well be the many local newspapers we’ve digitized that contain the local perspective on the war, including some quite subdued headlines announcing the US’s entry.  DigitalNC also hosts several World War I camp and hospital newspapers including the Trench and Camp from Camp Greene and the Caduceus, the paper of the Base Hospital at Camp Greene.  Both are from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

To view more materials from World War I, check out a search of our collections here.  And to learn more about World War I materials from across the state, visit the institutions highlighted in this blog post from our colleagues over at the State Archives of North Carolina.

A variety of new High Point newspapers now online


The cover of the first issue of Elm Leaves, dated October 31, 1938

A new batch newspapers and serial publications from the High Point Museum are now up on DigitalNC. These include new issues of the High Point High School’s school newspaper, The Pointer, as well as the Junior Pointer from High Point Junior High. Also included are issues of an elementary school newspaper called Elm Leaves from the Elm Street School in High Point, issues of The High Point Scout, and issues of The Young American.

Elm Leaves, an elementary school newspaper, offers many treats including coloring pages, stories, book reviews, jokes, and poems by students.

The Young American, published in High Point, also offers stories, poems, and book reviews, but is geared towards a slightly older audience. The purpose of The Young American, as stated in its first issue, is “to entertain, direct, and express the young American,” and the magazine is dedicated, “primarily to the young man and young lady of sixteen and nineteen years.” The publishers further state that at the time of publication, a variety of magazines for younger teens and adults existed, but they found a lack of available magazines aimed at teens aged 16 to 19, and believed The Young American could fill this gap.

To look through issues of these publications, click the links below:

To see other materials from the High Point Museum, visit their partner page or website.

New Exhibit Shares Largest Collection of Digitized NC African American Newspapers

The only issue we have (so far) of a Carver High School newspaper. Mount Olive, NC, May 1950.

From our estimation, DigitalNC shares more digitized historical North Carolina African American newspapers than any other source. Contributors range from our state’s HBCUs to local libraries and museums. To help pull these titles together, we created an exhibit page through which you can search and browse eleven community papers and nine student papers. There are also links to more available on other sites.

Below we’ve re-posted the essay from the exhibit, giving you a brief history of these papers. We hope that we’ll hear from others who may be interested in sharing more of these rare resources online.


Since the publication of Freedom’s Journal in 1827 in New York City, African American newspapers have had a long and impactful history in the United States. Begun as a platform to decry the treatment of slaves, the earliest African American newspapers appealed to whites, who were politically enfranchised. After the Civil War, as newly freed African Americans claimed the right to literacy, the number of African American newspapers around the country grew exponentially and the editors began addressing blacks instead of whites. Papers turned their focus from slavery to a variety of subjects: religion, politics, art, literature, and news as viewed through the eyes of African American reporters and readers. Communication about black political and social struggles through Reconstruction and, later, the Civil Rights movement, cemented newspapers as integral to African American life. 

In North Carolina, the first African American papers were religious publications. The North Carolina Christian Advocate, which appears to be the earliest, was published from 1855-1861 by the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, followed by the Episcopal Methodist, a shorter-lived publication produced during the Civil War by the same organization. After the Civil War, the number of African American newspapers continued to grow in North Carolina, reaching a peak during the 1880s and 1890s with more than 30 known titles beginning during that time.

The longest running African American paper established in North Carolina is the Star of Zion, originating in Charlotte in 1876 and still being produced today. Other long-running papers in the state include the Charlotte Post (begun 1890), The Carolina Times (Durham, begun 1919), the Carolinian (Raleigh, begun 1940), Carolina Peacemaker (Greensboro, begun 1967), and the Winston-Salem Chronicle (begun 1974). Many of these long running papers powerfully documented black culture and opinion in North Carolina during the 1960s-1970s, with numerous editorials and original reporting of local and national civil rights news.

Occasionally overlooked sources for African American newspapers are North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and, before integration, African American high schools. You’ll find links on DigitalNC to newspapers from eight of North Carolina’s twelve current and historical HBCUs as well as two African American high schools.

While many African American newspapers have found their way into archives and libraries, it’s common to see broken runs and missing issues. You can find a great inventory of known papers from the UNC Libraries. If you work for a library, archive, or museum in North Carolina holding additional issues and would like to inquire about digitizing them and making them available online, please let us know.

Pine Knoll Shores newspaper issues through 2016 now online


A pine woods snake hatching and adult shown in the December 2016 issue of The Shoreline

Issues of the Pine Knoll Shores Newspaper, The Shoreline, from 2015 through 2016, are now online courtesy of the History Committee of the Town of Pine Knoll Shores. These issues join 4 decades of The Shoreline that were added to DigitalNC a year ago.

The Shoreline is a monthly publication that covers various aspects of life in Pine Knoll Shores, and includes articles on community events and clubs, stories about local businesses, notes from the mayor, book reviews, and more. As Pine Knoll Shores is a beach town located along Bogue Banks, there is an emphasis on the great outdoors, including  news stories and event coverage pertaining to fishing, hunting, hiking, and beach-going.

A recent article in the December 2016 issue of The Shoreline tells the story of the 1871 discovery of a new species of snake, the pine wood snake, by botanist Dr. H.C. Yarrow, in present day Pine Knoll Shores. Pine wood snakes are common throughout the southeastern coastal plain, and are completely harmless to humans and pets. They are considered in the article to be “a living piece of Bogue Banks history.”

Click here to view over 40 years of The Shoreline. To learn more about the History Committee of the Town of Pine Knoll Shores, take a look at their partner page, or website.