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Over 60 Years of Gaston College Catalogs Now Online at DigitalNC

Over 60 years and dozens of catalogs from Gaston College are now online at DigitalNC. The publications span over six decades, from 1955 to 2018. Founded in 1952, the institution was originally called Gaston Technical Institute. Run under the banner of the School of Engineering at North Carolina State College (which changed its name to NC State University in 1962), the school was later renamed to Gaston College in 1964. These catalogs cover admissions, student registration for classes, scheduling, financial aid information, and lists of programs and classes.

Because of Gastonia’s focus on industrial development and the importance of the textile industry to the area, it is no surprise that many of the classes at Gaston College originally reflected that. In the beginning, it was almost exclusively classes on civil engineering, chemical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, and mechanic and industrial engineering. It also included a curriculum for pre-textiles, which would have assisted in the study of textile chemistry, knitting technology, and textiles technology. In 1970, taking such a program would have cost you $32 to be a full time student.

Click here to browse through the catalogs. To learn more about Gaston College, visit their partner page or take a look at their website.

Genealogical History of Gaston County Families Now Online

A new family genealogy history from Gaston County has been added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Gaston County Museum of Art & History. The book, Our Kin, Being a History of the Hoffman, Rhyne, Costner, Rudisill, Best, Hovis, Hoyle, Wills, Shetley, Jenkins, Holland, Hambright, Gaston, Withers, Cansler, Clemmer and Lineberger Families, was originally published in 1915, but has been reprinted by the Gaston County Historical Society several times since and is now digitally available for all to read.

group portrait with two people in back wearing suits, and three people in front, two in dresses and one in a suit

A photo of author Laban Miles Hoffman (center) and his family, undated

The book focuses on the individual families of Gaston County, including their common ancestors dating back to the 18th century. Many of the family members noted have long descriptions of who they were, what they accomplished in life, how their family names changed over the years, and more. This copy is quite special, as it has retained notes and highlighted terms that one of the authors made in his original edition, preserved in this reprinted version.

Written by Laban Miles Hoffman of Dallas, North Carolina, this book was conceived as a history of his own family, but rapidly grew into an exploration of the histories of all the associated families in his genealogy. He includes a short preface of his own personal story, how he grew up in Lowell, North Carolina, studied at Davidson College, and later went to work in Raleigh under Governor Holden before moving to Arkansas.

As a record of ancestors for over a dozen local families, it is a valuable resource for Gaston County historians, Gaston County residents, and family descendants. We are privileged to make it available on DigitalNC. To learn more about the Gaston County Museum of Art & History, visit their partner page or their website.

New Yearbooks from Gaston County Public Library

2 Untitled 4

Above, left to right: Eagle [1956], page 78, page 80, page 67

20 new yearbooks from Gaston County Public Library are now available on DigitalNC. They cover a period from the late 1930’s to the early 1960’s and are good resources for genealogy research about the Gaston County community. While most of the yearbooks are fairly traditional, the “Eagle” from Cramerton High School has quite a few interesting and unique images of their students and teachers. Like the senior superlatives pictured above, many of the yearbooks on DigitalNC contain humorous and sometimes weird depictions of the character of North Carolina high schools.

These yearbooks represent the high schools listed below:

For more information about the Gaston County Public Library, please visit the contributor page or the website. To view yearbooks from the high school or colleges in your community, check out the North Carolina Yearbooks collection on DigitalNC.

Student handbooks from Cleveland Community College now online


Cleveland County Technical Institute Campus, 1973

Cleveland County Technical Institute Campus, 1973

Academic bulletins and course catalogs from our partner Cleveland Community College have been added to DigitalNC. In addition to course listings, the student handbooks outline the history, courses of study, accreditations, and core policies of the institution.


Cover of the 1973-1975 Cleveland County Technical Institute General Catalog

Cleveland Community College was originally established in 1965 as a unit of Gaston College under the name Cleveland County Indusrial and Adult Education Center. In 1967, it became a unit of the North Carolina Community Colleges and the name was changed to Cleveland County Technical Institute to reflect a new focus on technical education. In 1980, the institution was renamed again; it was known as Cleveland Technical College from 1980 to 1988 when its name was officially changed to its current form.

General catalogs, academic bulletins, and student handbooks from three incarnations of the institution–Cleveland County Technical Institute, Cleveland Technical College, and Cleveland Community College–can be found in this batch of campus publications; these publications range in date from 1973 to 2002. Additional student handbooks from 2003 to the present can be found on the Cleveland Community College website.


Three More Years of the Roanoke-Chowan Times Available

The masthead of the Roanoke-Chowan Times

Thanks to our partner the Northampton County Museum, we now have three additional years of The Roanoke-Chowan Times. These issues, from 1926-1928, feature local news from Rich Square, Roxobel, Seaboard, Potecasi, and Kelford, N.C., as well as other nearby towns. 

The hyper-local news sections from these issues is a big part of their charm. Often, the front page is divided into columns with the name of the town at the top. The news items range from newsworthy (as we would think of that term today) to the intimate. Here are three examples from the September 2, 1926 issue:

A newspaper clipping A newspaper clipping A newspaper clipping listing personal items










Although the personal items are fun to read in retrospect, it’s probably a relief that this kind of journalism is less common today.

Another interesting characteristic of this paper is it’s adoption of the first line of the North Carolina state song in its masthead: “Carolina, Carolina, heaven’s blessings attend her.” The paper speaks to the song’s widespread popularity in the state; the lyrics were written by North Carolina Supreme Court Judge William Gaston in 1835, but the song wasn’t officially adopted until 1927. The first instance in our records where the first line appears is in the April 23, 1903 issue—more than 20 years before it was made official.

This batch of papers is particularly exciting for us because it’s the first set of papers scanned on the new equipment at our satellite location, NCDHC East at Elizabeth City State University. 

You can see all of our issues of The Roanoke-Chowan Times here and our entire collection of digitized newspapers in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To learn more about the Northampton County Museum, you can visit their partner page or their website

40 Newspaper Titles added to DigitalNC

Headmast for August 31, 1899 issue of the Durham Daily Sun

Another 40 newspaper titles up on DigitalNC this week! In this batch are many titles from all over the state (including nine from Rutherfordton) and a little local baseball history.

Featured in the May 5, 1902 issue of the Durham Daily Sun is the very first game of the Durham Tobacconists, the baseball team that would go on to become the Durham Bulls in 1913. While they lost their inaugural match to the Charlotte team 12-2, the author is optimistic and writes that “everything may soon be going their way.” They dropped out of the season two months later.

Article from May 5, 1902 issue of the Durham Daily Sun introducing the first game of baseball team the Durham Tobacconists

Durham Daily Sun, May 5, 1902

Article from May 6, 1902 issue of the Durham Daily Sun detailing the Durham Tobacconists 12-2 loss to the Charlotte team

Durham Daily Sun, May 6, 1902

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:



Elizabeth City



High Point





Roanoke Rapids


Rutherford College


Southern Pines




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.

Military and Veterans History on DigitalNC: Best Ways to Search

Group of Soldiers Posed with Firestone Officials, from the Gaston Museum of Art & History.

Group of Soldiers Posed with Firestone Officials, from the Gaston Museum of Art & History.

This Veterans Day, we thought we’d mention some best bets for finding and searching materials on DigitalNC related to military history. Some time periods and subjects have better representation than others, so we’ve focused on the five wars that have the most related materials.  This post has been updated in 2022 to show the most recent systems for our content.

Tip 1: Search by Subject

To isolate materials that are predominantly about a particular war, you can use the subject specific links listed below.

You can use the Advanced Search (see below where to find in the search window) to narrow your search.

screenshot of search results on the DigitalNC page with a red arrow pointing to where the advanced search is

Use the Advanced Search to further narrow your query

If you click one of the links above and then go into the Advanced Search, you can use more terms to further narrow your search.  Using “partial phrase” is the best option to get the widest set of options that might fit that term.  (see the graphic below that illustrates this)

You can also do a full text search that combines (1) your research interest (perhaps a name, a topic, or an event) in conjunction with (2) the name of a particular war. This may yield a lot more results, depending on your research interest, but it could also zero in on your target faster.

Only interested in photographs? Try this search, which is limited to photos that contain the word “military” or “soldiers” as a subject.

Tip 2: Search by Date Range

Another tactic is to search or browse items that were created during a particular war. These don’t always have that war as a subject term, but they often deal with wartime issues or society regardless.

A list of alumni and students killed or missing in action, from the 1944 UNC-Chapel Hill Yackety Yack yearbook, page 12.

A list of alumni and students killed or missing in action, from the 1944 UNC-Chapel Hill Yackety Yack yearbook, page 12.

Keep in mind that doing a full text search will be ineffective about 98% of the time when it comes to handwritten items on our site, as most do not have transcripts. This is just to let you know that you may need to read through handwritten items pulled up in one of the searches above if you believe they may contain information you’re interested in.

Our partners have shared a lot of yearbooks on DigitalNC and, while they may not be the first thing that comes to mind for military history, many colleges and universities recognized students who served. Especially for the Vietnam, Korean, Gulf, and Afghan wars, yearbooks document campus reactions and protests. You currently can’t search across all of the yearbooks available on DigitalNC; our site has high school yearbooks published up through the late 1960s, and college and university yearbooks and campus publications through 2015.

Tip 3: Newspapers!

Searching the student and community newspapers on DigitalNC can yield biographical information about soldiers, editorials expressing local opinions about America’s military action, as well as news and advertisements related to rationing and resources on the homefront.

The Newspapers Advanced Search is your friend here! You can target papers published during specific years. You can also narrow your search to specific newspaper titles.


Screenshot of the Newspapers Advanced Search page, with the search phrase “Red Cross” and limiting the results to papers published from 1914-1918.

We now have so many military newspapers on our site, we have a whole exhibit dedicated to them, which you can view by going to our Military Newspapers in North Carolina page. 

The titles include:

  • Air-O-Mech, published by servicemen stationed at Seymour Johnson Field, 1943-1944
  • Cloudbuster, published at UNC-Chapel Hill to share news about the Navy pre-flight school held on campus, 1942-1945
  • Hot Off the Hoover Rail, published by the community of Lawndale for servicemen from their city, 1942-1945
  • The Caduceus, published by the Base Hospital at Camp Greene (Charlotte, N.C.), 1918-1919
  • The Caromount, published the community at Caromount Mills in Rocky Mount “solely for the benefit of all former Blumenthal employees now in the service of our country,” 1943-1955 (later years published for the mill community itself rather than those in the military)
  • The Home Front News, published by the Tarboro Rotary Club for servicemen from their city, 1943-1945
  • Trench and Camp, published by The Charlotte Observer for Camp Greene, 1917-1918

Bonus Resource: Wilson County’s Greatest Generation

One of the largest exhibits on our site is Wilson County’s Greatest Generation, an effort by the Wilson County Historical Association to document the service men and women of Wilson County, North Carolina who served in World War II. Documentation is organized by individual, and includes personal histories, photos, clippings, and other ephemera.

We hope this information can guide you through researching military history on DigitalNC. If you have any of your own tips or questions, please let us know by commenting below or contacting us.

Newest Additions to the North Carolina Sights and Sounds Collection, Part 1

Here at the Digital Heritage Center, we’re able to scan or photograph almost all kinds of two dimensional items and even a goodly number of those in three dimensions. However, audiovisual materials are sent off site for digitization to a vendor and, as such, it’s a service we’ve only been able to offer annually. We just concluded our second round of audiovisual digitization and, like last year, our partners came forward with a wide variety of film and audio nominations documenting North Carolina’s history. This is the first in a series of posts about the accepted nominations, with links to the items in the Sights and Sounds collection.

Belmont Abbey College

Unidentified man, presumably from Gaston County and interviewed for the Crafted with Pride Project in 1985.

Unidentified man, presumably from Gaston County and interviewed for the Crafted with Pride Project in 1985.

The “Crafted with Pride” project, led by several cultural heritage institutions and businesses in Gaston County in 1985, sought to record and bring public awareness to the textile industry’s impact in Gaston County. During the project, a number of oral histories were collected from those who had worked in textile mills and lived in mill villages in towns like Belmont, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Dallas, Gastonia, High Shoals, McAdenville, Mount Holly, and Stanley. Belmont Abbey College has shared these oral histories on DigitalNC, as well as images and documents from the project. The oral histories touch on the toil of mill work, especially during the Great Depression, and the positive and negative cultural and social aspects of mill villages in North Carolina during the early 20th century.

Cumberland County Public Library

A girl wearing tartans at festivities surrounding Cumberland County's Sesquicentennial in 1939.

An unidentified girl wearing tartans at festivities surrounding Cumberland County’s Sesquicentennial in 1939.

Silent footage of the 1939 sesquicentennial parade in Fayetteville, N.C. combines Scottish customs, local history, and military displays from Cumberland County. This film was nominated by the Cumberland County Public Library, along with a brief advertisement soliciting support for renovation of Fayetteville’s Market House.

Duke University Medical Center Archives

Scene from "The Sound of Mucus," performed by Duke Medical School students in 1989.

Scene from “The Sound of Mucus,” performed by Duke Medical School students in 1989.

The films and oral histories nominated by the Duke University Medical Center Archives describe the history of Duke Hospital and Duke University’s School of Medicine. Included is a Black History Month Lecture by Dr. Charles Johnson, the first Black professor at Duke Medicine, in which he describes his early life and his work at Duke. You can also view “The Sound of Mucus,” a comedic musical created and performed by Duke Medical students and faculty in 1989.  Two interviews conducted with Wilburt Cornell Davison and Jane Elchlepp give first hand accounts of Duke Hospital and Medical School history.

We’ll be posting several more blog posts in the coming weeks which will introduce the other films from our partners now viewable on DigitalNC.

Digital Charlotte Event March 30 Celebrates Local Digital Libraries



If you’re in the Charlotte area and interested in local history and digital libraries, please mark March 30 on your calendars: we will be holding an event to celebrate and explore digital library efforts in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Here are the details:

Event: Digital Charlotte: Celebrating and Exploring Local Digital Library Projects
Date: March 30, 2015
Time: Talk at 6:30, followed by a reception
Location: UNC Charlotte Center City Campus, 320 E. 9th St.
Parking information:
Admission: Free and Open to the Public
Questions?: Write or call 919-962-4836

“Digital Charlotte” will feature a talk by Julie Davis, Project Director, Digital Loray, and Public Historian in Residence at the Loray Mill, who will speak about the role of public history in the redevelopment of the Loray Mill in Gastonia. The talk will be followed by a reception during which guests can see demonstrations of digital projects from local libraries including UNC-Charlotte, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Johnson C. Smith University, and Davidson College. This will be a terrific opportunity for local genealogists and history buffs to learn more about the rapidly-growing number of online resources devoted to local history. We are also encouraging Charlotte-area librarians, archivists, and students to attend and participate.

This event is being held as part of our work on a recent grant from the Digital Public Library of America. The grant funding has enabled us to expand our services for libraries, archives, and museums around the state. The DPLA is the primary sponsor of the Digital Charlotte event. Additional support is being provided by the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.

Please contact us if you have any questions. We hope to see many of you in Charlotte!

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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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