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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 "scrapbooks"

High Point scrapbooks featuring articles from Piedmont Triad newspapers

5 scrapbooks from the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library are now available. These intricately constructed scrapbooks are packed full of articles from newspapers published in the Piedmont Triad (the areas in and surrounding Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point). These scrapbooks hold articles from 1955-1959 and recount local news stories. Each page contains a matrix of carefully placed news clippings that are often overlapping or folded. Multiple images of each page were digitized to capture the full text of as many articles as possible. These scrapbooks were hand-indexed by the compiler and are now fully text searchable as well. Some of the newspapers represented in these scrapbooks are the High Point Enterprise, the Greensboro Daily News, and The Beacon.

A page in volume 40 contains a variety of articles from the High Point Enterprise concerning municipal issues. Multiple images of this page were captured so more of the articles are readable.

To view these scrapbooks, visit the link below:

These scrapbooks join several previously digitized High Point scrapbooks. To view these, and other materials from the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library, view their partner page, and take a look at their website.

Journals, Photos, and a Scrapbook from Davie County Public Library

A page from Mary Jane Heitman’s scrapbook that includes photographs and memorabilia along with a handwritten poem musing about the future.

New materials from Davie County Public Library are now up on DigitalNC, including a set of 6 journals by James McGuire Jr., a collection of photographs of Arden Farms in Forsyth County, and a scrapbook compiled by Mary Jane Heitman.

James McGuire Junior’s journals take the form of Gude’s Pepto-Mangan Physician’s Memorandum books. Each page corresponds to a day of the year, and includes a short medical fact, often related to Gude’s Pepto-Mangan medicine, along with a space to write. James McGuire Jr., a prominent business man in Mocksville, North Carolina, wrote many short entries recounting topics such as the weather, travel, social engagements, shopping lists, and finances. The memorandum books themselves most likely originated from James’ father, Dr. James McGuire, a physician.

Mary Jane Heitman’s scrapbook tells the story of her life in photographs, news articles, postcards, handwritten musings, and illustrations from 1891-1927. Mary Jane Heitman was a teacher and historian from Mocksville, North Carolina, and her scrapbook recounts with fondness both her time as a student and a teacher. Each page is poetically constructed, and photographs and descriptions of friends and relatives are distributed throughout. The last page of the scrapbook includes a written tribute by one of her students from Salem Academy that was added after her death in 1962.

To see more materials from Davie County Public Library, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

James McGuire Junior’s entry from February 20, 1902 that describes the weather as cloudy with sleet at night.


High Point Scrapbooks now up on DigitalNC


From the title page of the High Point Centennial Festival Celebration program

Five scrapbooks provided by the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library are now up on DigitalNC. These scrapbooks collect newspaper clippings that focus on municipal issues in and around High Point, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Each scrapbook covers topics in chronological order, with the first volume starting with articles from early 1951, and the last volume ending with articles from 1954. Many newspapers are represented in these scrapbooks including The High Point Enterprise, Greensboro Daily News, and The Beacon.


From the cover of the High Point Centennial Festival Celebration program

Also collected in volume 29, is a program from High Point’s 1951 centennial celebration, which focused on a “Dramatic Historical Spectacle” called “Then & Now” that told the history of High Point. The program also contains many advertisements for High Point businesses, including many furniture companies for which High Point continues to be known today.

Click here to take a look at these 5 scrapbooks, and learn more about the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library by visiting their partner page and website.

1920s student survey and other new Stanly County Museum materials


An excerpt from student Cora Belle Lee’s survey

New materials from Stanly County Museum are now up on DigitalNC. Included in this batch is a student survey from the 1920s, a 1944 ledger from the Albemarle Canteen, an attendance register from the Efird School, an Albemarle City Directory Supplement Edition from 1937, four issues of American and Efird Mills News & Views, and two scrapbooks.

The student survey from a girls boarding school in the 1920s gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the girls at the school, and includes information like each student’s favorite expression, flower, song, dish, and their “greatest desire”. Greatest desire responses ranged greatly from girl to girl and included, “to be a nurse”, “love and be loved”, “to see Europe”, “to get married”, “play a piano”, “go out west”, “to be a stage acteur”, “to be a missionary”, and “to go home (now)”. These questions also give us insight into the personalities of the individual girls. While some answered the questions dutifully, others had a bit of fun filling in their answers. In one survey, a girl responded that the color of her hair was white and that she was 8 ft tall. A few girls, in what must have been an inside joke, responded that their “first date with a boy” was in “1492”, with one girl responding “Aug. 9, 1922. (a real date)”. This fun notebook would be a good resource for investigating popular songs, slang, and dishes of the period, and it offers a wonderful personal connection to the girls at this school.


An excerpt from student Elva Jane Cathey’s survey


Candy recipies pasted directly onto the pages of the Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1918

Another unique object in this batch is an extensive scrapbook comprised of various news clippings pasted over the pages of the Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1918. It includes recipes in the first few pages, and then newspaper articles about births, marriages, and deaths in and around Albemarle.

To see the new materials click the links below:

To learn more about the Stanly County Museum, take a look at their partner page, or visit their website.

Additional McDowell County scrapbooks now available


A 1961 newspaper headline from an article about foreign language classes being introduced to the school curriculum

A new batch of scrapbooks from the McDowell County Public Library are now available on DigitalNC. These scrapbooks include three volumes about McDowell County schools and two volumes about hospitals in McDowell county. Mary Margaret Greenlee (1892-1965), an educator and historian who began her career in McDowell County, began the compilation of these scrapbooks, which were then continued and completed by her family members.

The McDowell County School scrapbooks span 1960-1992, and include newspaper clippings about school facilities, administration, student activities and clubs, and more. The Hospitals in McDowell County scrapbooks span 1908-1992 and include clippings about hospital staff, expansions, programs and news.


A newspaper clipping showing school children performing a puppet show about car safety

To view these scrapbooks, click the links below:

To take a look at other materials from the McDowell County Public Library, including the first five volumes of McDowell County school scrapbooks, visit their partner page. You can also learn more about McDowell County Public Library at their website.

Building a better Bailey — scrapbooks from Braswell Memorial Library


Johnson’s Supermarket, completed in 1956

Three new scrapbooks from the Braswell Memorial Library explore the history of Bailey, North Carolina. Two of these scrapbooks focus on improvement initiatives in Bailey in 1956, and from 1958-1959. The two scrapbooks document construction of new community buildings including a new fire house, a new Boy Scout hut, and a grocery store. Landscaping and other beautification projects are also documented with before and after shots of many improved areas around town. The scrapbooks also include promotional materials focused on getting “Baileyites” excited about these projects.

The third scrapbook includes news clippings about the Bailey Library from 1939-1975. The articles discuss new acquisitions, library open houses, book club meetings, and more.

To learn more about Braswell Memorial Library, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.


Students helping to landscape Bailey High School


Part of a bulletin urging Baileyites to attend a meeting about the improvement campaign


More Francis B. Hays Scrapbooks added to DigitalNC

Volumes 106 through 115 of the Francis B. Hays Collection of scrapbooks from Granville County Public Library are now up on DigitalNC. These scrapbooks add to the extensive collection of volumes compiled by Mr. Hays, an avid local historian from the Granville area. Each scrapbook contains a wealth of articles related to a specific subject, and many contain indexes and short histories hand penned by Mr. Hays. This batch of Scrapbooks focuses mainly on topics of commerce and transportation.


An airport advertisement from Volume 112


A newspaper article from Volume 113


A newspaper article from Volume 114

Volumes 106, 107, and 108 focus on Tobacco sale and production in North Carolina. Volumes 109 and 110 collect newspaper articles about automobiles. Volume 111 includes hand-written biographies and newspaper articles about important people in and around Oxford, North Carolina. Volume 112 focuses on airplanes, Volume 113 on railroads, and Volume 114 on the postal service. Volume 115 details the history of banking in Oxford.

For more Francis B. Hays scrapbooks, you can visit the DigitalNC page for the Francis B. Hays Collection or view our previous blog posts on the collection. You can also see more materials from the Granville County Public Library.

The Informer, “For Recruitment of Minority Librarians”


First page of the March 1979 issue of The Informer newsletter.

The Digital Heritage Center has worked with over 150 libraries throughout North Carolina. It’s no surprise that boasts a good number of items that document the history of libraries in the state, including scrapbooks and photos.*

For many years libraries were purposefully segregated, with branches tacitly or overtly meant to serve an African American neighborhood or community. The Richard B. Harrison Library in Raleigh is an example of a library that was a true social force, due to the hard work and influence of librarian Mollie Huston Lee. I thought of Ms. Lee recently. I was doing some work in our scrapbook collection, when I came upon an interesting newsletter tucked into one of the Irwin Holmes scrapbooks from the Durham County Library.

Titled “The Informer,” the newsletter’s tagline is: “For Recruitment of Minority Librarians” and appears to have been published first out of Raleigh and then out of Fort Valley, Georgia. There are two (possibly two and a half) issues in the scrapbook: one dating from March 1979 (pictured at right) and the second from September 1983. The issues of The Informer in our collection give biographies and moving tributes to African American librarians, such as Ann M. Jenkins of NCCU and Edna “Pinky” Penolya Mcaden King Watkins, an NCCU graduate who worked in libraries around the country. They also list positions available in North Carolina and around the country. The Informer publisher, IESMP or “Information Exchange System for Minority Personnel,” sold a number of other publications that offered to help librarians find jobs at institutions friendly to hiring minorities.

Dr. Dorothy May Haith was The Informer’s editor and possibly publisher, and she has had a lifelong passion for improving the profession and her community. A Shaw University and North Carolina Central University alum (she also holds degrees from Indiana University), Haith led the library at Bennett College, and also at Howard University. She has a number of publications to her name, has served on professional boards, and has given back to educational institutions by endowing scholarships. The Spring 2011 issue of Windows, published by the University Library at UNC Chapel Hill, describes a gift made to Wilson Library by Haith to honor those she felt encouraged her education (we call Wilson Library our home).

Dorothy Haith's High School yearbook photo from Booker T. Washington High in Reidsville, N.C.

Dorothy Haith’s high school yearbook photo from Booker T. Washington High in Reidsville, N.C.

Through The Informer, Haith was building a network for minority librarians through the 1970s and 1980s, offering them professional resources and personal information about their peers. Though Googling gives most of us this benefit now (as it did for me when trying to find out more about Haith), before the internet, this was a true labor and a valuable service.

Recruitment of minorities and increasing diversity continues to be a great need. What many patrons may not realize is that libraries strive to be some of the most inclusive, safe spaces in the country. Many build towards that goal in numerous ways: through concerted efforts to recruit a diverse workforce, through selection of an inclusive and various group of materials for collections, and through ensuring libraries are safe for ALL patrons. In fact, the American Library Association, the national professional organization for librarians, reinforces these goals through a code of ethics, professional development, and scholarships. As a profession, we have a long way to go, but these steps get us closer.

At DigitalNC, we hope to identify and help share more collections from our partners related to North Carolina’s minority populations in the coming year. If you work at a library or other cultural heritage institution and have collections that fit this category that you’d like to share online, we’re eager to hear from you.

*There’s also a rich Library History digital collection from the State Library of North Carolina, over at

**NCCU has numerous issues of The Informer in their collection, available at the School of Library and Information Sciences Library.

Undertaker’s record book and other resources now available from New Bern-Craven County Public Library

Undertaker's Record Book, page 15

Undertaker’s Record Book, page 15

Thanks to our partner, the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, DigitalNC is happy to publish several new items that could be extremely useful for our users.

Researchers may find use in the Undertaker’s Record Book, a unique source that documents the business and financial interactions of Merritt Whitley & Sons funeral home. The funeral home was an African American owned family operation which appeared in town records as early as 1890. The owner, Merritt Whitley, was also appointed as the County Undertaker in 1897. His sons, William O. Whitley and Hugh L. Whitley operated the funeral after their father’s death in 1910.

The record book offers a variety of unique data, documenting the years 1923-1925. In addition to the products and pricing of funeral items, such as caskets, burial clothes, embalming fluid, and cemetery transportation, the ledger also social and demographic information about the deceased. Including everything from family relations and presiding clergy to cause of death and grave location, this resource could be a wealth of information for genealogists or historical researchers.

At the links below, you can view all the new additions to DigitalNC from the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, including the multiple impressive sources from the Female Benevolent Society of New Bern:

To access more resources and manuscript items like this, please visit the North Carolina Memory Collection. To learn more about the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please visit their contributor page or check out the website.

McDowell County Schools Scrapbooks


McDowell County Schools, Volume 2, page 219

Thanks to our partner, the McDowell County Public Library, 5 new scrapbooks are now available in the North Carolina Memory Collection!

The 5 scrapbooks feature newspaper clippings that, together, cover nearly a century of history of the McDowell County School System. They document the schools, students, administrators, and events in the area. Mary Margaret Greenlee (1892-1965) and her relatives complied the scrapbooks. Greenlee was a well-known educator and advocate of historical preservation in McDowell, Iredell, and Catawba counties.

These scrapbooks, which are full text searchable using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), are excellent resources for those interested in genealogical or historical research in McDowell County. They would be useful for studying change over time in the education system in North Carolina.

You can view each other digitized scrapbooks at the links below:

Visit the McDowell County Public Library’s contributor page or home page to learn more about their collections, events, and other services. To see more scrapbooks like these, browse the North Carolina Memory Collection.

McDowell County Schools Scrapbook, Volume 1, page 195

McDowell County Schools Scrapbook, Volume 1, page 195