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The Hill: Newly Digitized Volume Documents a Lost Community in Catawba County

The Hill, Page 1

The Hill, Page 1

Partnering with the Hickory Public Library in Catawba County, NC, DigitalNC has published a copy of “The Hill,” a volume documenting the history and people from the Ridgeview Community in Hickory.

The Ridgeview Community, better known as “the Hill,” was once a bustling community full of close-knit families, active churches, and Black-owned businesses. The area was hub of activity in the late 1930’s, with many physicians’ offices, beauty and barber shops, restaurants, and entertainment.  Most of the homes and business were demolished between 1950’s and the 1980’s, but the volume documents many of the photographs and memories that some Hickory residents still hold.

Drucella Sudderth Hartose, The Hill, page 8

Drucella Sudderth Hartose, The Hill, page 8

The volume is comprised of the research and memories of Drucella Sudderth Hartsoe, a community leader in Catawba county who has steadily worked to make Hickory a better place. She was president of the Progressive Club and took the initiative to send her daughter to Hickory High School as the first African American student. Hartsoe moved to the hill in the 1940, a time when the area was thriving with activity and personally been a part of the history.  Many of the photos and research come from her family history and direct experiences.

The volume also documents historical moments in the community, like participation in civil rights activities. One example is picture below, in which members of the Ridgeview Community traveled to Washington D.C. to march with Dr. Martin Luther King in August, 1963.


The Hill can also serve as a useful genealogical tool for those interested in families and property from the area. It contains many images, family names, and death dates of community members both old and young. This is especially true for those in the religious community, as the volume draws heavily on church records. It also documents the street addresses and locations of businesses that have long since been demolished. In addition, the volume contains many names and images of those who went to school in the Ridgeview Community, especially those who participated in extra curricular activities, like band and sports.

The Hill, page 81

The Hill, page 81

The Hill, page 58

The Hill, page 58

Information ranges from the community’s founding in 1903 through publication in 2001.

To learn more about the Hickory Public Library and its collection, please visit the contributor page or the homepage.

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

12 Days of NCDHC: Day 10 – Community Scanning Days

This holiday season join us here on the blog for the 12 Days of NCDHC. We’ll be posting short entries that reveal something you may not know about us. You can view all of the posts together by clicking on the 12daysofncdhc tag. And, as always, chat with us if you have questions or want to work with us on something new. Happy Holidays!

Day 10: Community Scanning Days

color image of three individuals facing camera and smiling, in traditional Hmong dress

Hmong New Year festival in Newton, North Carolina. The photograph was scanned at a community scanning day hosted by Catawba County Library and the Historical Association of Catawba County.

Community scanning days are a popular way for many of our partners to bring historical materials into their collection from their community without needing to take physical possession of the objects.  Instead, the community is invited to come in with their personal collections related to the town, or a particular historic event, or from a particular group, and have it photographed or scanned.  Information about the object, as well as information about the owner, is recorded at the time of scanning as well.  Then, depending on the infrastructure at the institution, the digital files and associated metadata are saved for research in the reading room or somehow made accessible online.  Community scanning days are often a really good way to engage the community with their local history collection while at the same time filling in holes in that collection.  

Where does the NCDHC come in?  Well, we can help with these events in a variety of ways.  One way is to come and offer technical support the day of the event, including bringing our scanners and doing a lot of that work.  We are also happy to consult with partners who are planning such events and pass along metadata templates and scanning specifications we would suggest using.  We can take the images and metadata from the scanning day and host those on DigitalNC.  If you are interested in us hosting the materials, we do ask that you talk to us before your scanning day so we can be sure the image quality and metadata collected fit with our system.  This page on our site is a good run down of what we’ll provide during and after scanning days.  

We have had the pleasure of working with several institutions already with community scanning days, including the Hmong Keen Kwm: Hmong Heritage Project by Catawba County Library and the Massey Hill Heritage Discovery Project by the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.  

If your institution is looking to do a similar scanning project, please get in touch!  

Check back on Friday as we reveal Day 11 of the 12 Days of NCDHC!

Additional Oral Histories from Hmong Keeb Kwm: Hmong Heritage Project Now Online at DigitalNC

Chia Yang shows a pillow from her home in Vietnam during oral history interview.

Chia Yang displaying a pillow during an oral history interview.

Nearly a dozen oral histories from Hmong Keeb Kwm: The Hmong Heritage Project are now online, courtesy of our partner, the Catawba County Library. The project, designed to preserve the local histories of the Hmong people living in North Carolina, yielded over a hundred digitized materials and oral histories, which we are privileged to host online. This batch oral histories represent the second half of the Hmong Keeb Kwm materials already hosted on DigitalNC.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, several Hmong community members came forward and volunteered their stories in order to preserve the story of how they came to Catawba County and North Carolina. The people interviewed often tell their life stories, how they came to the United States, and how they are involved in the local Hmong community. Many also include their experiences during the Vietnam War.

Please note that many of these oral histories are not in English. However, transcriptions in English are available to download. First, navigate to the bottom of the video’s page, then click the “Download” button, then “Download” under “Action”.

Having these oral histories digitized on DigitalNC represents an important part of our understanding of Catawba County and its residents. To see other materials from the Catawba County Library, visit their partner page or check out their website. To learn more about Hmong Keeb Kwm: The Hmong Heritage Project, please take a look at the exhibit page.

Hmong Keeb Kwm: Hmong Heritage Project Materials Now Online at DigitalNC

Ten individuals in uniform standing in a group facing forward

A photo of Hmong soldiers graduating from pilot training in November 1973

two individuals in military uniform looking at the camera

Nao Chao Lo and Nhia Thong Yang in their military uniforms, circa 2018

Over a hundred photographs, documents, artifacts, oral histories, and other materials from Hmong Keeb Kwm: The Hmong Heritage Project are now online, courtesy of the Catawba County Library. This new batch represents the first materials on DigitalNC to come from the Catawba County Library. This collection also has the honor of being the first to represent the Hmong people of North Carolina on our website.

There is a huge amount of variety in the materials in this batch. It contains dozens of photographs of physical objects to DigitalNC, including colorful embroidered material, Laotian and Thai currency, bracelets and jewelry, and more. Text materials, like personal records, newspaper clippings, and program certificates are also included. A number of photographs of Hmong individuals, their family members, and their personal lives are also found in this collection. Finally, several oral histories are also included in this collection, allowing people to tell about their experience of coming to the United States. These oral histories are both available as audio files and as written transcripts.

Having these materials on DigitalNC represents an important addition to our understanding of Catawba County, and allows us to continue in our mission to digitize materials from all communities throughout the state. To see other materials from the Catawba County Library, visit their partner page or check out their website.

Hickory Newspapers Now Online

Newspapers from across the state continue to be added at rapid pace to DigitalNC.  The Press and Carolinian and the Hickory Democrat, two newspapers printed in Hickory, NC are now available online.


The Press and Carolinian, which was a merger between The Press and The Carolinian papers in Hickory in 1887, covers general news of the day both in Hickory and across the country.  In their inaugural issue following their merger, the editors state to their readers that, “Our purpose is to spread, not to suppress the truth, and in this we ask the aid of all…We intend to make the Press and Carolinian not only a welcome visitor in every household but an indispensable luxury.”  While they claim an air of neutrality, the paper has a definite Democratic slant to its reporting and promoted the Democratic party ticket headed by Grover Cleveland in 1892. Other topics regularly reported on include big issues of the day such as union strikes, tariff disagreements, and an overall focus on the economic conditions of the country.  The issues available in DigitalNC cover 1887 until 1892.  The Press and Carolinian was recommended for digitization by the Catawba County Library.

HickoryDemocratfrontpageThe Hickory Democrat is a much flashier looking newspaper than the Press and Carolinian, with issues from 1906 until 1915 available online.  On the byline they inform their readers that they provide access to “All the News While It Is News.”  One particular feature of the Democrat that makes it stand out is the prevalence of political cartoons on every front page of the paper, relating to both state and national news items.   The Hickory Democrat was recommended for digitization by the Hickory Public Library.








Visit our Newspaper Collection for more North Carolina newspapers from DigitalNC.


Newspapers Selected for Digitization, 2013

The following newspapers were digitized from microfilm in 2013.

TitleYearsNominating Institution
The Enterprise (Williamston)1901-1932Martin Memorial Library
Forest City Courier1919-1931Rutherford County Public Library
Danbury Reporter1872-1945Danbury Public Library
Elkin Tribune1930-1940Elkin Public Library
Central Times (Dunn)1891-1895Harnett County Public Library
County Union (Dunn)1897-1899Harnett County Public Library
Democratic Banner (Dunn)1901-1902Harnett County Public Library
Rocky Mount Herald1934-1938Braswell Memorial Library
Press and Carolinian (Hickory)1887-1892Catawba County Library
Hickory Democrat1906-1915Hickory Public Library
Polk County News (Columbus)1902-1921Polk County Public Library
The Carolina Times (Durham)1965-1972Durham County Library
Erwin Chatter (Cooleemee)1944-1954Davie County Public Library
Cooleemee Journal1965-1970Davie County Public Library
Alamance Gleaner (Graham)1875-1880Alamance County Public Library

The following newspapers were digitized from microfilm in 2013.

Title Years Nominating Institution
The Enterprise (Williamston) 1901-1932 Martin Memorial Library
Forest City Courier 1919-1931 Rutherford County Public Library
Danbury Reporter 1872-1945 Danbury Public Library
Elkin Tribune 1930-1940 Elkin Public Library
Central Times (Dunn) 1891-1895 Harnett County Public Library
County Union (Dunn) 1897-1899 Harnett County Public Library
Democratic Banner (Dunn) 1901-1902 Harnett County Public Library
Rocky Mount Herald 1934-1938 Braswell Memorial Library
Press and Carolinian (Hickory) 1887-1892 Catawba County Library
Hickory Democrat 1906-1915 Hickory Public Library
Polk County News (Columbus) 1902-1921 Polk County Public Library
The Carolina Times (Durham) 1965-1972 Durham County Library
Erwin Chatter (Cooleemee) 1944-1954 Davie County Public Library
Cooleemee Journal 1965-1970 Davie County Public Library
Alamance Gleaner (Graham) 1875-1880 Alamance County Public Library

Drama in the Classified Ads in the Latest Batch of Asheboro’s “The Courier”

A newspaper clipping of the banner above the classified ad section

More issues of Asheboro’s The Courier are now available on our site thanks to our partner, the Randolph County Public Library. The new issues, digitized from microfilm, range from 1925-1937. One of the ways that these issues give us a slice of life from Asheboro in the early 20th century is through their classified ad sections.

The classified ads in the February 28, 1929 issue of The Courier have an interesting overlap with the ones we might see in newspapers or online today. Some still seem relevant, like the one selling a hot water tank, the one advertising an auction of personal property (“Household and kitchen furniture, organ, bedsteads, mattresses, quilts, sewing machine, blankets, cooking utensils, and other things too tedious to mention”), or the one searching for a lost gold watch. Others seem like they have been mostly displaced by contemporary markets, like the one selling “Good old homemade Alabama can sugar syrup,” or the one advertising a stay at a private home for “Transient visitors to Washington, D.C.” And, like any good classified ad sections, there are the unexpected; one reads: “Will pay the highest cash prices for opossum, muskrat, mink and raccoon hides.” The intended use of the hides is unspecified.

A black-and-white photo of a farmer in overalls holding a cabbage plant

Marshall Hedrick holding a cabbage plant with 52 small heads that he found in his garden. He purchased Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage seeds, but the outcome led him to believe they were not that variety. (Catawba County, 1941)

The real star of this classified ad section, though, is cabbage. Five of the ads are for cabbage plants, including the two longest. This may be partly due to the time of year and the fact that these cabbage plants are apparently frost-proof; one reads, “Frost Proof Cabbage Plants, Early Jersey and Charleston, the kind you need to head early.” Another sounds similar: “FOR SALE—Front Proof Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage plants.” A more detailed one advertises, “Over 30 Acres Frostproof Cabbage Plants not pulled over yet to select from that has not been stunted much by cold and guaranteed to reach you alive and stand the cold in Randolph county.”

But the best ad by far takes a more narrative approach. R.O. Parks’ ad begins: “In 1910 I sowed half pound cabbage seed. People laughed at me. They said cabbage plants can’t be grown in Randolph county. They grew nicely and I have some fine plants.” He goes on, sticking it to his doubters, “Since them [sic] I have been growing plants with unusual success. I sow thousand pounds of seed each year. I grow sweet potato plants and tomato plants. I will have genuine purple top Porto Rico potato plants, the first ever offered in Randolph county, ready May 1st.”

R.O. Parks, despite the hate he got for his ambitious cabbage planting, does not hold a grudge against his potential buyers; he notes that his early tomato plants are “guaranteed to please” and that “If your plants get killed by cold I will replace free.”

You can read even more classified ads, as well as the rest of the news, in the full batch of issues of The Courier here. You can also explore our full collection of digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To see more materials from the Randolph County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

70 Newspaper titles from Fayetteville, Leaksville, Milton, and more!

Title for December 24, 1868 issue of The Old North State from Salisbury, N.C.

This week we have another 70 newspapers up on DigitalNC! These titles span 32 towns and almost as many counties! This batch also includes our first additions from the towns of Waco, Pores Knob, La Grange, Leaksville, Mount Olive, and Manson!

Over the next year, we’ll be adding 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, over the next year we will also make 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:

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.

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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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