Thanks to our partner, Rowan Public Library, a batch containing new Rowan County high school yearbooks spanning from 1937 to 1961 are now available on our website. This batch adds three new schools to our Rowan County high school yearbooks list—Landis High School, Rockwell High School, and Granite Quarry High School.
Thanks to our partner, Rowan Public Library, a batch containing 36 yearbooks from Woodleaf High School, Cleveland High School, and Mount Ulla High School are now available on our website. These yearbooks range from 1942 to 1959.
Snapshots from The Keepsake, 1958.
To learn more about the Rowan Public Library, please visit their website.
We have added nearly 50 yearbooks to our collection thanks to our partner Rowan Public Library. These yearbooks are from two Rowan County schools — Price High School in Salisbury N.C. and China Grove High School — and are especially unique in that they capture student life at two schools that existed only for a few decades.
Price High School’s main building from the 1960 edition of the Pricean.
The 1943 Pricean Yearbook was dedicated to two teachers who joined the U.S. military.
Price High School was Salisbury’s African-American high school from 1932 until 1969, when integration led to the closing of the school and the opening of today’s Salisbury High School. Included in this batch of yearbooks are seventeen editions of The Pricean, the annual from Price High School. These yearbooks include the usual contents of high school yearbooks — superlatives, group photos, class poems — but also notable graduates and the final class’ words of farewell and gratitude to the school. They also encapsulate notable events that occurred between 1943 and 1969.
One such historic event was World War Two, which was emphasized by the 1943 Pricean’s dedication. The yearbook was dedicated to Auxillary Ruth E. Miller and Seargeant James C. Simpson, both of whom were graduates of and teachers at Price High School before joining the U.S. Army. Ruth E. Miller was the first Black member of Salisbury’s Women’s Army Auxillary Corps while James C. Simpson was the first teacher from Price High School to join the U.S. army.
China Grove High School’s yearbook, The Parrot, captures some of the early years of the merging of the Rowan County Farm Life School with the city’s main high school that took place in the summer of 1921. According to the Eura Jones, a member of China Grove High’s 1924 class, China Grove High School “was the largest rural high school in the state” in 1921, and only continued to grow. She goes on to detail the school’s continued growth, boasting “two music departments, a teacher training department, glee clubs, four societies, a dramatic club, ball teams, a home economics club, athletics, agriculture, and most of all, the construction of a new three story building to house the growing school.” The yearbooks added to our digital collection span the years from 1923 to 1961.
Plans for China Grove High School’s Expanding Campus, completed by Architect Charles C. Hook.
These yearbooks are only a fraction of the materials we have digitized for the Rowan Public Library. To learn more about the Rowan Public Library, check out their partner page or their website.
Price High’s Driver’s Education Class, Cheering Squad, and First Year Industrial Arts Class from the 1956 Pricean.
The romantic myth, first told by one of Peter Stewart Ney’s former students, says that Michel Ney escaped his own execution and fled to the United States, living out the rest of his days as the school teacher Peter Stewart Ney in North Carolina. The legend pulls in the life of the real Peter Stewart Ney, a teacher who happened to share the Marshal’s last name and who was an immigrant to South Carolina near the time of Michel Ney’s execution (though records suggest he was from Scotland rather than France). Peter Stewart Ney’s grave in Rowan county reads, “a native of France… and soldier of the French Revolution… under… Napoleon Bonaparte,” and his birth year is listed as 1769, the year Michel Ney was born. Though many storytellers have attempted to explain the ways that Michele Ney could have escaped and the similarities between the two men, historians have established that Peter Stewart Ney was not the Marshal.
Moose’s version tells how Michele Ney faked his own execution and was able to escape France by ship. Once in America, Moose theorizes that Ney could have connected with friends in Philadelphia. According to Moose, Michele Ney’s son, Eugène Michel Ney, was trained as a doctor in Philadelphia, and Peter Stewart Ney may have visited him. Moose also focuses on the oft-repeated story that Peter Stewart Ney allegedly attempted suicide when he heard of Napoleon’s death, though the source of that story is unclear.
The Ney myth runs so deeply in NC history that Peter Stewart Ney’s body was exhumed in 1887 and examined for evidence that he was the Marshal. In Moose’s telling, the lack of evidence found on the body (which was mostly decomposed) allowed the myth to continue.
Though he was not Napoleon’s lieutenant, Peter Stewart Ney did receive some acclaim as a teacher and scholar, according to Moose’s version. He developed a shorthand writing style and designed the seal and motto of Davidson College, Alenda Lux Ubi Orta Libertas. Sadly, not much is known about the early life of Peter Stewart Ney.
Nearly twenty years of yearbooks from Rowan County have now been digitized and are available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner Rowan Public Library. The yearbooks cover 1950 through 1969, come from Dunbar High School, the town’s Black high school, making them the first yearbooks digitized from the town of East Spencer, N.C. Originally named the East Spencer Negro School, which opened in 1900, the school changed its name to Dunbar High School in 1958.
These yearbooks include individual portraits, class portraits, and photographs of activities, clubs the students joined, and sports played. Some of the class portraits also included “ambitions” – jobs that the students wanted to be when they grew up, like stenographer, teacher, or social worker. A few of the yearbooks also include “last wills and testaments”, where classes would “bequeath” thanks or seats to future seniors, and “class prophecies”, where students imagined and wrote about where they might be in the future.
The Hi-Y club of 1959 at Dunbar High School.
Follow the links below to browse the various yearbooks from Dunbar High School included in this batch:
These yearbooks provide a valuable source of knowledge for what segregated school life in East Spencer, N.C. were like at that time. To learn more about the Rowan Public Library, visit their contributor page, or their website. You can also visit their website for the Edith M. Clark History Room. To see more yearbooks from across North Carolina, you can click here.
An exterior photo of Boyden High School (later Salisbury High) 1926.
DigitalNC is proud to welcome our new partner, the Rowan Public Library. Located in Salisbury in Rowan County, having their content online adds to our growing list of contributors who represent the Piedmont region of our state.
Their first contribution is nearly four dozen editions of The Echo, the school yearbook from Boyden High School in Salisbury. Stretching from 1921 to 1967, this collection covers a great transitional period in the school’s history. In 1926, the school had been renamed from Salisbury High School to Boyden High School after a new building was built. It used that name for nearly 50 years, until 1971, when it reverted back to the Salisbury High School name, where it still stands today.
Looking through the collection, it is fascinating to see the changes over time. While many of the first editions of Echo were smaller yearbooks, with the 1921 annual even calling itself a magazine, they expanded over time, including many more photographs and writing more about the students, their hobbies, and what they liked to do. For example, the 1940 yearbook includes a small note about how an overwhelming majority of the students prefer Glenn Miller’s swing music over all else, “accounting for the many jitterbugs.”
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.