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 "yearbooks"

Shaw University yearbooks from 1949, 1960, and 2010-2015 now available

From the 2015 The Bear yearbook

More yearbooks from Shaw University are now online on DigitalNC.  The 2015 volume celebrates the 150th anniversary of Shaw, which was the first black college in the South founded in 1865 shortly after the Civil War ended.  

To learn more about Shaw University and see other materials we have from them online, visit their partner page here. To see more yearbooks from colleges and universities across the state, view our Yearbook Collection.



Recent UNC Pembroke yearbooks now available

A 2016 yearbook photographer and a 1985 yearbook photographer shown side by side in the 2016 edition of The Indianhead

Students preforming a play in 2016 and in 1985

Six years of The Indianhead, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke yearbook, are now up on DigitalNC. These yearbooks span 2011-2016 and show images of sporting events, performances, clubs and activities, and student life. These recent yearbook also have different themes for each year. The 2016 edition’s theme is “back to the future,” and many of the pages juxtapose images of Pembroke from the 1985 yearbook with photos from the 2015-2016 academic year. Looking through the pages, one can see changes and similarities between clubs, classes, and activities through the years. DigitalNC has digitized yearbooks from UNC Pembroke that date back to 1942, so you can search through the collection and see even more changes over time.

To view the newest editions of The Indianhead, take a look at the links below:

To see more materials from University of North Carolina at Pembroke, please view their partner page, and learn more about UNC Pembroke by visiting their website.

Newest Fayetteville State University yearbooks now online

Five editions of The Fayettevillian, the Fayetteville State University yearbook, from 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2016, are now available on DigitalNC. These recent additions join many previously digitized Fayetteville State yearbooks. The earliest Fayetteville yearbook on DigitalNC is from 1927, and was published by the State Normal School, which eventually became Fayetteville State University. The collection also spans many different yearbook names, from The Smithsonian, to The Bronco, to the yearbook’s current name, The Fayettevillian.

The most recent yearbooks feature a mix of color and black and white images that show events, performances, sports teams, clubs, and aspects of campus life.

To see the newest additions, visit the links below:

To see more materials from our partner, Fayetteville State University, visit their partner page, and learn more by taking a look at their website.

New additions to high school yearbooks from Wayne County

A home economics club meeting captured in the 1967 Gohisca

Yearbooks from five high schools in Wayne County are now available on DigitalNC. Included in this batch are five years of The Chieftain by Nahunta High School from 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, and 1960, two years of Gohisca by Golsdboro High School from 1966 and 1967, two years of Valhalla by Southern Wayne High School from 1966 and 1967, the 1966 Nuhosca by New Hope High School, and the 1966 Governor by Charles B. Aycock High School.

A superlative from the 1966 Valhalla

These yearbooks feature student portraits, photographs of classes and clubs, fun senior superlatives, and 1950s and ’60s fashion in full swing.

A superlative from the 1956 Chieftain

To view the most recent additions visit the links below:

To learn more about our partner, Wayne County Public Library, visit their partner page or take a look at their website.


Six Additional Charlotte Yearbooks from 1966 Added to DigitalNC

Title page of the Tomahawk Yearbook, West Mecklenburg HS, 1966

Tomahawk Yearbook, West Mecklenburg HS, 1966

We have a 50 year embargo for high school yearbooks on DigitalNC, to be considerate to alumni privacy concerns. In practice, this means that each year we can inch forward with a new round of volumes.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library recently brought us six yearbooks from six different high schools all dating from 1966.

And don’t miss the rest of an extensive set of yearbooks and other materials that Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has already shared online at DigitalNC, as well as The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story, their own rich site of Charlotte history.

African American High School yearbooks from Huntersville now online

Group portrait of students in the National Honor Society from “The Trojan” 1963.

Four yearbooks from Torrence-Lytle High School, provided by Davidson College, are now available on DigitalNC. Torrence-Lytle High School opened in the fall of 1937 as Huntersville Colored High School. In 1953, the name was changed to honor two men who helped initially establish the school. Franklin Lytle was born a slave but became a prominent farmer and educational advocate, and helped acquire land for Huntersville Colored High School. Isaiah Torrence, also a farmer and a proponent of African American education, helped raise money to build Huntersville Colored High School. Torrence-Lytle High School was closed after the 1966 school year due integration mandates, and all of the students were reassigned to racially integrated schools.

Students in Advanced Biology class from “The Trojan” 1966.

The yearbooks available are from 1958, 1963, 1965, and 1966. Included are pictures of graduating seniors, class portraits, clubs and activities, sports teams, superlatives, classroom scenes, and a few candid shots of student life. These yearbooks provide an interesting look at an African American high school moments before integration. Like all of the yearbooks on DigitalNC, they are fully text-searchable.

Group portrait of Student Council members from “The Trojan” 1963.

To view these yearbooks, visit the links below:

To see more contributions from Davidson College, including other yearbooks, visit their partner page, and to learn more about Davidson College, visit their website.

New yearbooks from Benson Museum of Local History are full of character


The Tatler [1964], page 1

Our partner, Benson Museum of Local History, has contributed two more yearbooks that are now available online.

These yearbooks detail the lives and activities of students from Benson High School in Johnston County. This high school has regularly demonstrated creativity and character in its yearbooks and these do not disappoint. Resources like these are great tools for genealogical research and lesson planning. They could also serve as vintage look books for those interested in the fashion and hairstyles of the 1960’s.

The new yearbooks are linked below:

Another interesting feature of these yearbooks is their

The Tatler [1964], page 71

The Tatler [1964], page 71

condition. Both of these editions of the Tatler are well used and contain the many handwritten notes by the original owner and friends. The 1964 copy contains notes on nearly every page! Many of the yearbooks that our partners contribute are in pristine condition, serving as excellent original documents; however, these copies from the Benson Museum contain the life and character of their owners– a unique aspect for digitized archival collections. The image pictured at the top is an example.

You can learn more about Benson High School and the Benson Museum of Local History by viewing the contributor page or the website. To see more high school yearbooks, perhaps from your community, please browse the North Carolina Yearbooks Collection and limit your search by High School Yearbooks.

McDowell County high school yearbooks now available

The 1966 Nebo High School baseball team

Several yearbooks from various high schools in McDowell County, provided by McDowell County Public Library, are now on DigitalNC. Included are editions of The Nushka from 1963-1966 by Glenwood High School, editions of The Marionette from 1963-1966 by Marion Junior High School, editions of The Hylander from 1963-1967 by Marion High School, the 1966 Pioneer by Nebo High School, editions of The Arrowhead from 1963-1967 from Old Fort High School, and editions of The Pines by Pleasant Gardens High School from 1964, 1966, and 1967. The yearbooks join many previously digitized yearbooks from these schools. These yearbooks include photographs of clubs, activities, dances, sports, and more.

A sock hop at Marion Junior High in 1966

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

See how UNC School of Dentistry students relaxed in 1984

Impressions [1984], page 5

Impressions [1984], page 5

Some may think that Dental School is all work and no play, but that was certainly not the case at UNC School of Dentistry during the 1980’s! Thanks to the North Carolina Collection at UNC Chapel Hill Libraries, the 1984 edition of the Impressions yearbook is now available online!

Check out the photos below for a window into the fun had by dentists in training!

Impressions [1984], page 9

Impressions [1984], page 9

Impressions [1984], page 31

Impressions [1984], page 31

Impressions [1984], page 41

Impressions [1984], page 41

Impressions [1984], page 61

Impressions [1984], page 61

Impressions [1984], page 72

Impressions [1984], page 72

To learn more about the history of UNC School of Dentistry through the materials published on Digital NC, please click the following link. To learn more about the University of North Carolina at Chapel and see other digitized items from the North Carolina Collection, please visit the contributor page or the homepage for the North Carolina Collection.

Catamounts to Camels: College Mascots in North Carolina

Mascots are a complicated phenomenon. They inspire a spectrum of reactions: ridicule, ambivalence, or fierce loyalty. With thousands of yearbooks online, all of us here at the Digital Heritage Center have probably spent more time looking at yearbooks than anyone else you’re likely to meet. Mascots are a common theme.

I’ve been working on today’s post for quite some time; unable to find a history or comprehensive list of mascots in North Carolina I decided to compile one myself. So here’s a stab at a college mascot overview, drawn from yearbooks and other campus publications. Let me know what I’ve missed or gotten wrong!


In the early 20th century, schools frequently chose children as mascots or sponsors, whether for a sports team or for a particular class. The earliest example we’ve found on DigitalNC is from a 1910 publication by Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) in Wilson, which shows Elizabeth Settle Caldwell as the Senior Class sponsor.

Elizabeth Settle Caldwell, First North Carolina Mascot? From the 1910 Pine Knot yearbook, Atlantic Christian College.

Ms. Caldwell was the daughter of Jesse Cobb Caldwell, the college president. From what we’ve been able to tell, children mascots were frequently younger siblings of students, teachers, or others associated with the school. Students mention that Ms. Caldwell brought “solace to many a lonely, homesick heart” and this may be why children were chosen – to foster a feeling of family and comfort among students. We’ve seen several references to mascots being elected or being chosen through competition, although what this might be we haven’t been able to discover. The trend of choosing children as mascots seems to continue through the 1960s. The latest one we found is Dawn, the Senior Class mascot at Peace College (now William Peace University) in 1966.


Animal mascots span schools across the state, whether it’s Rameses at UNC-Chapel Hill or WCU’s Catamount. The bulldog and different types of cats win out as most frequently adopted. Pictures of live animal mascots start to appear in yearbooks in the early 1900s, and continue today although much less frequently. For a variety of reasons, including concerns expressed by animal rights activists, schools have shifted away from actual animals to students dressing up like animals, as you’ll see later on in this post. 

“Buc” is described here as East Carolina University’s first mascot. From the 1959 Buccaneer yearbook.


While about half of the four-year college mascots in North Carolina are animals, most of the others are characters that are historic, mythical, or extraordinary in nature. From what I’ve seen in NC yearbooks, humans dressing up as the school mascot really got traction in the 1960s. Initially, these costumes weren’t the fuzzy creations we think of today, but rather less complicated ensembles where the mascot’s identity (his or her face and body) was often apparent. Yosef the Mountaineer, beloved icon of Appalachian State University, was created sometime around 1942 and looked like this in the 1960s:

Yosef the Mountaineer, aka James Randle Tedder (we think). From the 1969 Rhododendron yearbook, Appalachian State University.

One of my favorites has to be this picture of Duke Blue Devil, from 1950:

The Blue Devil. From the 1950 Chanticleer yearbook, Duke University.

Perhaps it was too hard to maintain a degree of consistency as students graduated over the years, and mascot anonymity seemed like a better idea. Whatever the reason, you start to see fuzzy, oversized costumes with gigantic headpieces in the late 1970s.

The Big Costumes

Whether animal or character, plush mascots that include a single piece body suit with a large plastic or cloth-covered head is something most Americans can identify with, thanks to professional sports. Colleges in North Carolina really embraced these costumes through the 1980s. Here’s what the UNC-Wilmington Seahawk looked like in 1987:

The Seahawk. From the 1987 Fledgling yearbook, UNC-Wilmington.

Some schools have developed multiple mascots dedicated to different audiences. It seems like the difficulty with these types of costumes is how to pull off a fierce facial expression that doesn’t come off as goofy or too scary for children. I think this picture from Davidson College sums it all up:

The Davidson Wildcat and … friends. From the 1983 Quips and Cranks yearbook.

I will also take this opportunity to mention a mascot that routinely makes the “wait … what?” list – the Campbell University Fighting Camels:

The Campbell Camel. From the 1983 Pine Burr yearbook.

Even the humans and human-like creatures are clothed in oversized costumes these days. Wake Forest University’s Deacon is a dapper chap:

Wake Forest’s Deacon poses with fans. From the 1985 Howler yearbook.

In addition to the Demon Deacons and the Blue Devils, North Carolina boasts a number of  other spiritual mascots: North Carolina Wesleyan’s Battling Bishops, Belmont Abbey’s Crusaders, and Guilford College’s Quakers. Meredith College’s teams are known as the Avenging Angels (formerly just the Angels). While Elon University’s mascot is now the Phoenix, before 2000 they were the Fighting Christians:

The Elon Fighting Christian mascot with cheerleaders. From the 1986 Phi Psi Cli yearbook.

Two schools break with the animal/human tradition in North Carolina. The Brevard College Tornadoes and the Louisburg College Hurricanes. Weather phenomena mascots are always difficult to pull off. I couldn’t find one for Brevard, but Louisburg, which currently has a bird mascot, had “Louie” up until 2006:

Louie, the former Louisburg College Hurricanes mascot. From the 1996 The Oak yearbook.

Who knows when the next mascot sea change will happen. Below is a list of mascots in North Carolina; let us know if we got anything wrong. Which one is your favorite?

School Mascot Notes
Appalachian State University Yosef the Mountaineer First appeared in the yearbook in 1942
Barton College Bulldog  
Belmont Abbey College Crusader  
Bennett College   Known as the Bennett Belles
Brevard College Tornado  
Campbell University Fighting Camels The Hornets in the 1920s-1930s
Catawba College Catawba Indian  
Chowan University Hawks The Braves until 2006
Davidson College Wildcats Also a bulldog (1929) and a bobcat (1939)
Duke University Blue Devil  
East Carolina University Pirates Formerly Pee Dee the Pirate
Elizabeth City State University Vikings  
Elon University Phoenix The Fightin’ Christians until 2000
Fayetteville State University Broncos  
Gardner-Webb University Runnin’ Bulldogs  
Greensboro College The Pride Formerly the Hornets
Guilford College Quakers  
High Point University Panthers  
Johnson C. Smith University Golden Bulls  
Lees-McRae College Wily the Bobcat  
Lenoir-Rhyne University Joe and Josie Bear  
Louisburg College Hurricanes  
Mars Hill College Mountain Lion  
Meredith College Avenging Angels Formerly the Angels
Methodist University Eagles  
Montreat College Cavaliers  
Mount Olive College Trojans  
North Carolina A&T Aggie Dog (Bulldog)  
North Carolina Central University Eagles  
North Carolina State University Wolfpack  
North Carolina Wesleyan College Battling Bishops Formerly the Circuit Riders
Peace College Pacer  
Pfeiffer University Falcons  
Queens University of Charlotte Rex the Royal  
Saint Augustine’s University Mighty Falcons  
Salem College Spirits  
Shaw University Bears  
St. Andrews University Knights  
UNC Asheville Bulldog  
UNC Chapel Hill Rameses the Ram Also known as the Tar Heels
UNC Charlotte Norm the Niner  
UNC Greensboro Spartans  
UNC Pembroke Braves  
UNC Wilmington Seahawk  
UNC School of the Arts Fighting Pickle  
UNC School of Science and Math Unicorn  
Wake Forest University Demon Deacons  
Warren Wilson College Owls  
Western Carolina University Catamount “Paws”
Wingate University Bulldog  
Winston-Salem State University Ram