Last summer we hosted students from a middle school in Wilmington who did extensive research on the 1898 riots in Wilmington. They came along with staff from the Cape Fear Museum, who brought the issues of the Wilmington Daily Record the museum held. We scanned those newspapers on site, along with clippings from papers around the state and country with articles about the riots. To learn more about their visit, read the post we did about it during the summer during the summer here.
This fall, as a continuing part of our work with this group, we were pleased to make available 16 newspapers published in Wilmington during the 19th century, ranging in dates from 1803 to 1901. Some of the papers have several years of content available and several have just an issue or two. But together, they paint a rich picture of what life in Wilmington looked like during the 1800s and the wide variety of political viewpoints that were held in the city, and North Carolina as a whole. The papers shed light on a port town that was instrumental in the Civil War and in the politics of Reconstruction afterwards, which culminated in the infamous riots of 1898.
The news in Wilmington, as told in the Cape Fear Herald, published on Nov. 4, 1803
The sixteen papers now available are:
The Cape Fear Herald
The True Republican or American Whig
The Liberalist and Wilmington Reporter
Wilmington Advertiser and
Merchants’ and Farmers’ Gazette
Sunday Morning Mail
The New Era
The Wilmington Gazette
The Wilmington Post
The Evening Post
The Daily Review
The Weekly Star
The Wilmington Democrat
The New South
The Wilmington Dispatch
View other newspapers on DigitalNC here.
In July, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center was pleased to welcome a group of middle school students from Williston Middle School and Friends School Of Wilmington. With them were writers Joel Finsel and John Jeremiah Sullivan and staff from the Cape Fear Museum, all of whom worked with the students over the past semester. This visit was the culmination of a project for the students who had studied the Wilmington riots of 1898 and worked specifically with original copies of the Daily Record, held by the Cape Fear Museum.
Original issues of the Record, which was the black-owned newspaper in Wilmington in the late 1890s, are incredibly hard to find: their offices were destroyed during the riots. (Learn more about the riots on NCpedia.) The museum staff brought along their copies of the paper, as well as original copies of the reaction to the riots as found in both black-owned and white-owned papers across the country. We scanned all of the materials on site with help from UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries’ Digital Production Center staff. Students watched and got to learn more about our work. Now all of those materials are online not only for future students to work with, but for anyone from the general public to access.
To learn more about the students’ work, read this great article from the Wilmington Star News . As the article states: “The project is still looking for any more copies of the Record that might turn up… Anyone who finds one is urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
And to view more newspapers on our site, visit our newspaper site here.