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1924 Cookbook from Davie County Public Library Now Online at DigitalNC!

A 1924 cookbook from Farmington, North Carolina has been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Davie County Public Library.

Sample recipes inside the cookbook for chicken and potato salad

Compiled and published in 1924 by the Ladies Aid Society of Farmington, this cookbook includes recipes and “tested receipts” for a wide variety of dishes, including soups, seafood, meats and appropriate sauces, breads, salads, sandwiches, desserts, drinks, cakes, and more. Some of the recipes included in the photo on the right are for chicken salad and potato salad, as well as their appropriate seasonings. It also includes “miscellaneous” advice on how to prepare and preserve eggs and how to cure meat, as well as unusual home remedies for coughs (sulfur), burns (turpentine), and chapped hands (melted soap and bran). We can’t attest to whether these home remedies work or not!

This cookbook represents a valuable new addition to our knowledge about Davie County in the early 20th century, as well as the knowledge women were passing around during the 1920s. To see more materials from Davie County Public Library, visit their contributor page or visit 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 School Yearbooks from Davie County and Rockingham County Now Available Online

Early high school yearbooks from Davie County and Rockingham County are now available in the North Carolina High School Yearbooks online collection. 


The Davie County Public Library contributed yearbooks from several schools:


The library at Rockingham Community College contributed yearbooks from these schools:

Masonic Picnics in Davie County

More historic photographs of Masonic Picnics have been added to the Digital Davie exhibit on DigitalNC. The first annual Masonic Picnic was held in 1884, and over the years the picnic has raised funds to support educational opportunities for local students, Davie Training School, and the Oxford Orphanage. Some photographs from Digital Davie relating to Masonic picnics depict prominent politicians from North Carolina, such as Governors Charles Aycock and Clyde Hoey and Senators Sam Ervin and Jesse Helms.

Items in Digital Davie are shared by the Davie County Public Library.

35 Newspaper Titles, NC Aviation History on DigitalNC

Headmast for March, 1904 issue of Bower, NC's The Olive Leaf

This week we have the final 35 newspaper titles for this project up on DigitalNC! Over the past 11 months we have uploaded over 2.4 million pages of North Carolina newspapers – bringing our total number of newspaper pages on DigitalNC to 4,175,076 and our total number of titles on DigitalNC to 1,161 – all freely available to anyone! In this closing batch we have our first paper from Bower, North Carolina (which you may know as Clemmons today) and an article in the Union Republican about Stokes County’s would be Wright brother: Jacob A. Hill.

Jacob Hill, Winston-Salem Journal, March 9, 1902

Before Orville and Wilbur’s iconic first flight in 1903, the race to create a manned flying machine was fiercely competitive. One of the contenders was a man from Vade Mecum Springs named Jacob Hill. Hill was born 1862 in Davie County and had been fascinated by the flight of birds ever since he was a child. In 1901 he decided to take that curiosity a little further and solve “the problem of aerial navigation” by building his own dirigible.

Mr. Hill’s machine could have been the first piloted aircraft, but we’ll never know for sure if it could actually fly and be controlled. Momentum ran out when Hill couldn’t secure funding for his invention. According to Thomas Parramore’s First to Fly, witnesses claimed the craft could get off the ground, but couldn’t do much more than hover in place. Even though Hill’s airship became something of a local joke for a time, the legacy of his wild aspirations continues to live on in North Carolina history.

Over the past year, we’ve added millions of newspaper images to DigitalNC. These images were originally digitized a number of years ago in a partnership with That project focused on scanning microfilmed papers published before 1923 held by the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Special Collections Library. While you can currently search all of those pre-1923 issues on, we have made them available in our newspaper database as well. This will allow you to search that content alongside the 2 million pages already on our site – all completely open access and free to use.

This week’s additions include:





Kings Mountain




Mt. Airy

New Bern





Swan Quarter





If you want to see all of the newspapers we have available on DigitalNC, you can find them here. Thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries for permission to and support for adding all of this content as well as the content to come. We also thank the North Caroliniana Society for providing funding to support staff working on this project.

Happy Birthday DigitalNC!

Celebrating 10 years NC Digital Heritage Center, with confetti backgroundIt’s’s 10th birthday! Though we had hoped to be in the office celebrating, we’re still taking time to look back at years of hard work and the collaborative spirit that makes the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC) what it is!

To date, NCDHC has partnered with 273 libraries, museums, alumni associations, archives, and historic sites in 98 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and we’re growing all the time. Our website currently includes 4.2 million images and files. We share this accomplishment with every institution we’ve worked with. We’d never have gotten to 10 years without staff (permanent, temporary, and student!), our partners, or the network of colleagues all over North Carolina who have encouraged, advised, and supported our work. 

As we approached our anniversary, we realized that our website lacked a synopsis of how NCDHC came to be, and our history. So read on for a brief look at how we got started and our major milestones.

Our History

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center was one outcome of a comprehensive effort by the state’s Department of Cultural Resources (now the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources) to survey and get a broad overview of the status of North Carolina cultural heritage institutions. That effort was entitled NC ECHO (North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online) and was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (which also supports us – thanks IMLS). A major goal of NC ECHO was a multi-year needs assessment. NC ECHO staff visited hundreds of cultural heritage institutions throughout the state to collect data and interview curators, librarians, volunteers, archivists, and more. Many of our partners still remember their visits!

NC ECHO report cover with image of biplaneData collected at these site visits was combined with survey responses to reveal a “state of the state,” summarized in a 2010 report, cover pictured at right. The assessment revealed a lot but, specific to digitization, staff found that nearly three-quarters of the 761 institutions who completed the survey had no digitization experience or capacity. Members of the Department of Cultural Resources (which includes the State Library, State Archives, and multiple museums and historic sites) began brainstorming with other area institutions about a way to help efficiently and effectively provide digitization opportunities. While the NC ECHO project offered digitization grants, workshops, and best practices, an idea emerged of a centralized entity that could assist institutions that didn’t have the capacity to do the work in house. The State Library of North Carolina and UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries joined together to create such an entity: the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. The Center would be located in Chapel Hill, taking advantage of its central location and the digitization equipment and expertise already available in Wilson Special Collections Library. The State Library would provide funding, guidance, and ongoing promotion and support of the Center’s services.

At its beginning, the Center’s staff digitized small collections of college yearbooks, needlework samplers, postcards, and photographs and made them available through They went to speak with organizations interested in becoming partners, and began taking projects for digitization. Here’s a list of NCDHC’s earliest partners, who came on board during late 2009 and 2010. 

Though we’re not positive of the exact date, we believe launched on or near May 12, 2010. Here’s a look at that original site! home page at launch with numerous historic photographs.

In 2011, word about the Center spread. Staff started responding to demand from partners, incorporating newspaper digitization. In late 2012, also in response to popular demand, the Center began digitizing high school yearbooks. Yearbooks and newspapers are some of the most viewed items on DigitalNC, and they remain a significant portion of our work to this day. 

In 2013, NCDHC joined the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) as North Carolina’s “service hub.” The DPLA collects information from digitized collections all over the nation and provides it together in one searchable interface at Because of our participation, users can browse and search for collections from North Carolina alongside items from institutions around the country.

Throughout the years, we’ve tried to expand services to fit our partners’ goals. In 2015, we trialed an audiovisual digitization project that incorporated the first films into DigitalNC. Today, we partner with the Southern Folklife Collection at Wilson Special Collections Library to provide audio digitization on an ongoing basis. In 2016, we added a new partner category – alumni associations – to support more digitization of African American high school yearbooks and memorabilia. The following year, we announced a focus on digitization of items documenting underrepresented communities. We also started going on the road with our scanners! For institutions that don’t have the staff time or resources to travel to Chapel Hill, we offer to come for a day or two and scan on site.

2018 Finalist National Medal for Museum & Library Service, with image of medal2018 and 2019 saw several major milestones. We were nationally recognized as an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal finalist, and we began a major software migration. Both were a tribute to the size and extent of our operation, though in different ways. As we’ve approached our 10th anniversary we’ve focused on working with partners in all 100 of North Carolina’s counties. Whether you’re rural or metropolitan, we believe your history is important and should be shared online.

One of the ways we’re commemorating this anniversary is to ask our partners and stakeholders how they think we’ve impacted them and their audiences. Join us here on the blog in the second half of 2020 as we share these brief interviews, reflect, and celebrate. Thank you for reading, enjoy the site, and here’s to another 10 years of making North Carolina’s cultural heritage accessible online!

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.

Calling all North Carolina High School Alumni Associations


Davie County Training School Reunion (1980s) Courtesy Davie County Public Library.

Yearbooks and other types of school memorabilia are some of the most popular types of items we digitize. They bring out nostalgic feelings, in addition to being sources of information about individuals and communities.

Some of the most prolific preservers of school memorabilia are High School Alumni Associations, and we’re pleased to announce that the Digital Heritage Center will now work with them to help share their collections online.

For the last 6 years, the Digital Heritage Center has served cultural heritage institutions throughout North Carolina. While many Alumni Associations may not have a brick and mortar presence, they are often entities with long histories and an active and coordinated membership. We are looking forward to helping them share their history online, along with the libraries, archives, museums and other institutions we currently partner with.

It’s important to us that users of can get in touch with the institutions that hold the collections we digitize over time. To that end, we’re happy to work with Alumni Associations that are organized and persistent. To participate, the Alumni Association must be associated with a North Carolina high school and have at least a few of these characteristics:

  • have contact information (phone, email, address) belonging to the association and not just held by an individual or individuals,
  • have been in existence longer than 5 years,
  • be incorporated as a 501(c) organization,
  • hold regular meetings or events,
  • maintain an online presence (an updated website or active Facebook page),
  • operate with some sort of governance structure.

If you’re part of an Alumni Association and are interested in becoming a partner, please read about how to participate and get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you!


Cove Creek High School Class of 1949 Reunion (1997) Courtesy Watauga County Public Library.

Architectural Drawings and North Carolina Map Now Online

Architectural drawings of Cooleemee Plantation House and a 19th century map of North Carolina from Davie County Public Library have been added to DigitalNC.

Cooleemee Plantation House architectural drawing of the main floor plan.

Cooleemee Plantation House architectural drawing of the main floor plan.

The Cooleemee Plantation House is between Lexington and Mocksville, North Carolina alongside the Yadkin River. Built based on drawings in Godey’s Lady’s Book, the house was completed in 1854. The Hairston family has owned Cooleemee and the plantation since 1814, and in 1978 Cooleemee was dedicated a U.S. National Historic Landmark due to its architecture. There are five architectural drawings of the Cooleemee Plantation House, completed in 1941 by John Erwin Ramsay. One (above) shows the main floor plan, another shows the second floor plan, two depict the front, back, and side of the house, and the last has details of doors, columns, cornices, and ceilings. There are also two photographs of the exterior and interior of the house as part of the plans.

Colton's Map of the State of North Carolina, 1888.

Colton’s Map of the State of North Carolina, 1888.

Also from Davie County Public Library is Colton’s Map of the State of North Carolina. This large fold out map of North Carolina was published in 1888. It depicts North Carolina divided by county (as well as parts of South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia) and shows mountains and rivers as well as cities, towns, and roads.

To see more items from Davie County Public Library, visit their contributor page or website.

Dog Days of Summer: DigitalNC Edition

After seeing excellent “Dog Days of Summer” blog posts from our friends at NC State and Duke, we couldn’t resist following up with a few of our favorites from the many dog photos on DigitalNC.

No North Carolina-related dog feature would be complete without a Plott Hound. This photo from the Haywood County Public Library shows not just any Plott Hound, but the original: “Dan” was the first Plott Hound to be registered after the United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1946.


The prize for cutest dog photo on DigitalNC has to go to this one, puppies in a basket, from the William Hoke Sumner collection at UNC-Charlotte.


This young man with a pack of Basset Hounds is heading to a dog show in Pinehurst in 1935. Photo from the Tufts Archives.


No hunting party would be complete without a dog. This photo, from the Davie County Public Library, shows a group at the Coollemee Plantation.


As this 1951 photo from the Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount attests, there is no better reading companion than a dog.



And no dog loved books more than Jim the Library Dog, a fixture on the front seat of the Rockingham County Bookmobile as it traveled around the county in the 1930s. Photo from the Rockingham County Public Library. You can see Jim in action in the silent film showing the bookmobile that we recently shared online.



But our favorites have to be the dogs we spot occasionally in old yearbooks. Apparently UNC-Chapel Hill was a hotbed of canine education in 1977. We found two dogs in the Yackety Yack from that year. The photo at top is identified as Sarah Abercrombie, a senior from Dixmont, Maine, while the bottom photo shows Poco Medford, a graduate student from Carrboro. We trust that both Sarah and Poco put their education to good use and went on to long and distinguished careers.



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This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features the latest news and highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from organizations across North Carolina.

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