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Pamphlets, Booklets, Reports, and More from Gaston County Public Library Now Online


Photo from the advertising pamphlet “Gastonia, Your Convention City”

Back in February, some of the NCDHC staff travelled down to our partner Gaston County Public Library and set up to do two days of on site scanning.  The materials we scanned during that visit, as well as materials we brought back with us to scan in Chapel Hill, are now online.  

While on site, we scanned a chattel mortgage book from 1915, documents relating to a distillery in the area in the 1890s, and several local history books put together by students in the local schools in the 1950s and 1960s.  

Dozens of new reports, documents, and programs from Gaston County are also now available after we scanned those back in Chapel Hill.  Over 50 items in total, these documents, pamphlets, and booklets paint a greater picture of what it meant to live in Gaston County in the beginning and middle of the 20th century.

The 1976-1977 annual report from the Gastonia Housing Authority. The report includes stats on the types of houses and apartments under their management.

Many of these items are informational booklets, some published by the Gastonia Chamber of Commerce, telling readers about the population, GDP, schools, and industries throughout Gastonia. Others are specific booklets or programs from certain events. One program is from the 1974 dedication and recognition of Zoe Kincaid Brockman, a former editor of the Gastonia Gazette. There are other programs, including church programs from First Baptist and First Presbyterian in Gastonia. A few of the other booklets included in this collection also detail the towns outside Gastonia, like Mount Holly, Cherryville, Ranlo, and Lowell. These collections can be viewed here, and here.

Also included in this collection is a dozen booklets about the Gastonia Debutante Club, from 1976 to 1987. These booklets celebrate the Debutante Club and honor the individuals who helped put it on. Certain editions also include a list of members, the by-laws of the Debutante Club, a list of past Presidents, the history of the organization, and the debutantes of various years.

To see more materials and learn more about the Gaston County Public Library, you can visit their partner page or take a look at their website.

Gaston Club Yearbooks and Newspapers Now Online Courtesy of Gaston County Public Library

Page 4 from the July 28, 1950 issue of Mount Holly News.

The cover of the Gastonia Music Club’s 1942-1943 yearbook.

A batch of new materials from our partner, Gaston County Public Library, is now available on DigitalNC. The new materials include club yearbooks, high school yearbooks, selections from the newspaper Mount Holly News, and informational pamphlets and programs.

The club yearbooks include yearbooks from the Gastonia Women’s Club from the 1920s through the 1960s as well as a yearbook for the Gastonia Music Club, and the Gaston County Medical Society. Other booklets include a program for the 1945 Annual Horse Show, the Lions Club Thirtieth Anniversary Program, and a Gaston Memorial Hospital Informational Booklet.

Selections from the paper Mount Holly News come from a commemorative bound volume created in 1970, and includes a few pages of each issue of Mount Holly News from 1950. The selected pages tend to include the issue’s front page and “Women’s Activities” section.

Yearbooks from the 1960s at schools such as Dallas High School, Mount Holly High School, Highland High School, and Hunter Huss High School are now available as well.

To see more materials from our partner, Gaston County Public Library, check out their DigitalNC partner page, or take a look at 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.

12 Days of NCDHC: Day 3 – We’ll Come to You

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 3: We’ll Come to You

In 2017 we introduced a new initiative – DigitalNC on the Road! in which we pack up our scanners and laptops and travel to partners to scan items in their collections.  One of our favorite parts of being part of the NCDHC is getting to see our partners’ institutions (and get in a little NC sightseeing and tasting too!)

People sitting around a table scanning materials

NCDHC staff scanning at Johnston County Heritage Center

Several partners so far have taken us up on the offer including City or Raleigh Museum Johnston County Heritage Center, Winston Salem African American Archive, Gaston County Public Library and Graham County Public Library

The length of time we will come for is flexible.  Some partners we just visit for a day, other partners we come to for two or three days to really work through a collection.  The process to visit starts at least a month beforehand where we meet with you via the phone to discuss what collections we can work on, how many materials we can get through, and discuss initial metadata needs.  As far as resources needed once we arrive – a few tables and chairs and outlets near those tables is really it.  We have been in community rooms, board rooms, and research rooms for our scanning setups!  We welcome the public to view us and ask us any questions they might have.  Our blog post announcing the initiative gives a good overview of how the process works.  We have done photograph collections, news clippings, student history projects, and slides as part of our on site visits.  Starting in January however we’ll have new scanners that will also allow us to easily do bound materials, including yearbooks.  

Three people talking around a table of archival materials

Lisa chatting with board members from the Winston Salem African American Archive

We are also happy to come visit and just talk through the collections you have and what might be candidates for digitization back at NCDHC in Wilson Library, and if you’re ready, take some of those materials back for us.  

If you’re interested in talking with us to set up an on site visit let us know.  We’re always up for a road trip across North Carolina!  

Check back on Wednesday as we reveal Day 4 of the 12 Days of NCDHC!

Newspapers Selected for Digitization, 2011-2012

The following newspapers were digitized from microfilm in 2011 and 2012.

Title Years Nominating Institution
The Mebane Leader 1911-1915 Alamance County Public Library
Highland Messenger (Asheville) 1840-1851 Buncombe County Public Library
The Standard (Concord) 1888-1898 Cabarrus County Public Library
Daily Concord Standard 1895-1899 Cabarrus County Public Library
Mecklenburg Jeffersonian (Charlotte) 1841-1849 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Miners’ and Farmers’ Journal (Charlotte) 1830-1834 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Catawba Journal (Charlotte) 1824-1828 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Western Democrat (Charlotte) 1856-1868 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
North Carolina Whig (Charlotte) 1852-1863 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Fayetteville Observer 1851-1865 Cumberland County Public Library
The Carolina Times (Durham) 1951-1964 Durham County Library
The Lincoln Republican (Lincolnton) 1840-1842 Gaston County Public Library
The Lincoln Courier (Lincolnton) 1845-1895 Gaston County Public Library
The Roanoke News (Weldon) 1878-1922 Halifax County Public Library
The Marion Progress 1916, 1929, 1940 McDowell County Public Library
Marion Record 1894-1895 McDowell County Public Library
Marion Messenger 1896-1898 McDowell County Public Library
The Pilot (Southern Pines) 1920-1945 Southern Pines Public Library
Sylvan Valley News 1900-1911 Transylvania County Library
The Pinehurst Outlook 1897-1923 The Tufts Archives
The Goldsboro Headlight 1887-1903 Wayne County Public Library
The Elm City Elevator 1902 Wilson County Public Library
The Wilson Advance 1874-1899 Wilson County Public Library

Introducing Our New Primary Source Teaching Sets

A classroom of white children sitting at desks and looking at the camera. Standing in the back of the room is their teacher/principal in a suit and tie.
Sixth grade students at West Elementary School in Kings Mountain, 1959-60. Contributor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum

We are very excited to announce that our site has expanded to include four new sets of primary source teaching resources available for any teachers, researchers, or curious explorers to use. Each of these sets focuses on a particular topic in North Carolina history and includes a curated selection of 15-20 primary sources from our 300+ partners around the state. Within each set is a blend of visual materials (photographs, videos), written materials (newspaper articles, speeches, letters), and audio materials (interviews, oral histories) from the DigitalNC collections.

Each set also comes with short context blurbs for each item, as well as general background information, a timeline, a set of discussion questions, and links to genre-specific worksheets (ex. How to Analyze a Newspaper Clipping). While some of these topics are more concentrated in particular regions, our goal is to connect these broad themes in history to local examples that students can recognize. Here’s a look at the four initial primary source sets:

A black-and-white photo of a Black teenager on the left facing a white teenager on the right. Both are standing in profile against the hallway of a high school.
From the 1971 Gohisca yearbook from Goldsboro High School. Contributor: Wayne County Public Library

Racial Integration in K-12 Schools

Time period: 1950s-1980s

While you may be familiar with some of the national stories around school integration after Brown v. Board of Education, this teaching set samples North Carolina yearbooks, photographs, newspapers, and oral histories to ground this topic in familiar places. It draws primarily on our collections from historically Black high schools, many of which were closed during this period (though their alumni associations remain strong!). This collection also implements local materials from the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Supreme Court case over busing.

A cartoon of two adult women sitting on a couch. The caption reads, "Your being gay doesn't shock me, but I can't see how I can break the news to your Aunt Doris and her roommate."
A cartoon from The Front Page in Raleigh, N.C. (1980). Contributors: Duke University & UNC Charlotte

Analyzing Political Cartoons

Time period: 20th century

This set was inspired by the popular NCPedia page, “Analyzing Political Cartoons,” which explains some of the strategies for understanding cartoons in their historical context. Here, we’ve selected examples from over a century of newspapers that include topics such as the 1898 Wilmington Coup, women’s suffrage, economics, and a few contemporary political issues. Each example comes with a bit of historical context and some background on the newspaper itself.

A black-and-white photo of textile workers marching down a public street. Near the front, a group of protestors holds a sign that reads, "United Textile Workers of America, Affiliated with A.F. of L. Local, RANLO 2118."
Textile workers marching in Gastonia, N.C. in 1929. Contributor: Gaston County Museum of Art & History

Textile Workers & Labor Movements

Time period: 1920s-30s and 1970s

North Carolina’s history of labor is inextricably tied to the legacy of the textile industry. This set uses photographs, memorabilia, speeches, and newspaper clippings of two famous examples—the Loray Mill strike of 1929 and the activism of Crystal Lee Sutton—to weave together an understanding of North Carolina’s economy and culture through one of its major industries of the 20th century.

A postcard depicting the American Tobacco Company factory in Reidsville. In the top two corners are enlarged packets of Pall Mall and Lucky Strike cigarettes.
A postcard from the American Tobacco Company cigarette plant in Reidsville, N.C. Contributor: Rockingham County Public Library


Time period: 20th century

It would be impossible to fully understand the history of North Carolina in the 20th century without talking about the tobacco industry. This set uses photographs, newspapers, videos, and oral histories to explore the lives of tobacco farmers and factory workers as well as the major families who controlled the vast tobacco wealth. Additionally, it includes examples of how the industry affected culture, including a new generation of advertising that attempted to combat public health concerns.

You can explore these four teaching sets for yourself here on our teaching and learning resource page. You can also go directly to our item analysis worksheets here, which include levels for both beginning and advanced learners. If you’d like to give us feedback on these teaching resources, you can contact us here.

Company News from Erlanger Mills

Headmast from Lexington, NC paper The Er-Lantern

Here we have issues of Lexington’s The Er-Lantern spanning from 1958 to 1971. Similar Spray’s Fieldcrest Mill Whistle and High Point’s Sew It Seams The Er-Lantern was a company paper depicting everyday life around the Erlanger Mills village.

Photo of a group of women and young girls standing on bleachers indoors. Captioned "Fashion Show" and taken by H. Lee Waters
September, 1969

Opened in 1914, Erlanger Mills was created by Charles and Abraham Erlanger as a source of cotton for their Baltimore underwear company, which originally produced the one-piece “union suits.” By the 1920s, the company’s 250-ace complex included over employee 300 houses, multiple churches and schools, a hospital, and even its own baseball team. The village was officially annexed into Lexington in 1942 and the mill was sold to Gastonia’s Parkdale Mill Inc. in 1972. In 2008, the village was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

photo of a woman looking up at a bulletin board on the wall in the Erlanger Mills factory
November, 1960
Ten men in 1917 style baseball uniforms standing in a row with their coach, in a suit and hat, kneeling in front
Charlotte News and Evening Chronicle
February 21, 1917

Photographer H. Lee Waters, who took many of the photos featured in the paper, has a collection of village-life snapshots on their website here.

These papers were provided to us by our partners at the Davidson County Public Library.

Fans Share Their Stories: Professor Bobby Allen, UNC-Chapel Hill

We are one of 29 finalists for the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Now through April 13, IMLS is asking the people who have been impacted by the Digital Heritage Center to share their stories. If you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us or share via social media by tagging us on Facebook (@NC Digital Heritage Center) or on Twitter (@ncdhc).

Today’s story comes from Professor Robert C. Allen, Professor in the Department of American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and faculty lead of the Community Histories Workshop. Dr. Allen shared the thoughts below in support of our Medal application and we reshare them today with his permission.

Looking down a main street in Gastonia, NC, showing a line of striking men and women while crowds watch from the sidewalks.

Textile Workers Marching in Gastonia, NC, 1929. From the Gaston County Museum of Art & History

“Since 2013, I have been working closely with the N.C. Digital Heritage Center on ‘Digital Loray,’ the most ambitious public humanities program ever undertaken by UNC. This project uses the adaptive reuse of an iconic industrial structure—in this case, Gastonia’s Loray Mill, one of the largest cotton mills built in the state—as a catalyst for a long-term community history and archiving initiative. The ‘heart of this open-ended project is an archive of more than 2500 digital objects, brought together in a single interface from the UNC North Carolina Collection and other Wilson Library collections, other institutional archives, community cultural heritage organizations, churches, and individual community contributors.

“The NC Digital Heritage Center was absolutely instrumental in our ability to undertake this kind of deeply collaborative community history work. It worked with the Gaston County Museum of Art and History—the primary cultural heritage organization in the county—to identify, digitize, and publish material from its collection that could be ‘added’ to Digital Loray. Three community members had saved many documents, photographs, maps, mementos, and other material from the mill at the time of its closing in 1993. Working with the N.C. Digital Heritage Center, we encouraged them to donate this material to the Gaston County Museum of Art and History, which, in turn, allowed the center to facilitate the digitization and publication of these unique artifacts…

In short, I could not extend my teaching, graduate training, and the work of my unit into communities in North Carolina without the invaluable assistance of the N.C. Digital Heritage Center. But I am not the most important beneficiary of its effectiveness and leadership: it enables hundreds of small museums, public libraries, historical societies, and other cultural heritage organizations to add a digital dimension to their work and, in doing so, to preserve and share the histories of their communities. These perennially threatened local organizations can undertake what otherwise would be impossibly expensive and technically complex digitization projects without the need for technical specialists or third-party software and hosting solutions.

“The N.C. Digital Heritage Center should be a model for other states. It deserves much more attention on a national level than it has received, particularly in the realms of public history, digital history, public humanities, and digital humanities. I have reviewed and attended presentations about ‘sexier’ and much better resourced projects over the past few years, but none I think has had a greater or longer-lasting impact than the quiet but profoundly important work of my colleagues in the N.C. Digital Heritage Center. I congratulate them and thank them for all they do to make my university a great resource for the people of North Carolina.

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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