The elected campus leaders for Mitchell Community College 1938-1939. In back, left to right: Betsy Gilliam, Nancy Sloop, and Helene Solomon. Front row, left to right: Martha Dotson (standing), Eleanor Bonner, and Dorothy Cutting. One person is unidentified.
Most of the newspaper clippings celebrate the notable happenings at the school or accomplishments of its students, such as the performance of the basketball team or the presentation of a commencement speaker. A few mark historic moments for the school, such as when W. B. Ramsey, president of the school for 14 years, resigned her post for its “strain of duties of this exacting and responsible office—always taxing on her health.”
One topic that comes up frequently in these scrapbooks is the Mitchell Community College A Cappella choir, which performed in “a dozen or more cities” in North Carolina (according to the Statesville Daily in May 1939). The Charlotte Observer called it “one of the outstanding musical organizations in the state” in an article from January 8, 1939.
Chartered in 1852, Mitchell Community College began as a Presbyterian college for women with a focus on fine arts and music. It changed to a junior women’s college in 1924. In 1932, following the growing hardships caused by the Great Depression, men were allowed onto the campus. Twenty-seven years later, in 1959, another change occurred when the college became an independent community college operated by the Mitchell College Foundation. Since 1852, the college has continued to be updated with new programs, buildings, and classes to suit the changing times and various education paths of its community.
Mitchell Community College 1987-1989 Course Catalog
To learn more about Mitchell Community College, please visit their website.
To view more of our materials from North Carolina community colleges, visit here.
A new batch of materials from our partner Mitchell Community College is now on DigitalNC. The most exciting items in the batch were almost 20 glass plate negatives taken in February 1925, likely for that year’s yearbook. There is no known copy of the yearbook still in existence from that year, so it’s a particularly exciting set. The photographs feature fabulous 1920s styles on the students of Mitchell College, which was an all women’s school in the 1920s. Group portraits, classroom photos, and staged production photographs are all included.
In addition to the negatives, scrapbooks from Mitchell Community College student government and the Statesville Junior Women’s Club are included, as are some issues of the student newspaper and alumni materials.
We’re happy to share a new batch of photographs from Mitchell Community College, located in Statesville, North Carolina. This batch includes seven photos from the Women’s History Month kickoff event with Emily Herring Wilson and related Women of Mitchell historical exhibit.
Several photos are of Wilson’s talk held at the Rotary Auditorium in the J.P. and Mildred Huskins Library. Wilson spoke about her book North Carolina Women: Making History, focusing on Mitchell’s history and women’s contributions. The remaining photos are of the related exhibit consisting of memorabilia highlighting women employees of Mitchell.
Notably, Wilson’s talk was held on March 2, 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled campus gatherings and the rest of the in-person Women’s History Month events. Later in the year, Mitchell held a new, online event for Women’s Equality Day, The Women in Leadership Panel, which is available to view on DigitalNC.
To view all digitized materials from Mitchell Community College, click here. And to learn more about Mitchell, please visit their website here.
DigitalNC has a hit a new milestone – a virtual panel held during the COVID era is now part of the NCDHC collection, thanks to our partner Mitchell Community College.
From the Google form used to sign up to attend the virtual panel
Recorded using the software Blackboard Collaborate, the panel hosted by the community college library featured four Iredell County women Dr. Porter Brannon, Dr. Camille Reese, Sara Haire Tice, and Dorothy Woodard, who answered questions about what inspires them, how they overcame obstacles along their career paths, and more. You can watch the panel yourself here.
To view more materials from Mitchell Community College, view their partner page here. To view more audiovisual materials on DigitalNC, visit our collection North Carolina Sights and Sounds.
A brochure for Mitchell College and Academy from June 1934.
Mitchell Community College began as Concord Presbyterian Female College, chartered in 1852 in downtown Statesville, North Carolina. In 1917, its name was changed to Mitchell College and in 1924 it became a junior women’s college. However, because the Great Depression brought fewer opportunities for local men to receive a college education, Mitchell College became co-educational in 1932. In 1973, Mitchell College was incorporated into the North Carolina Community College System and became known as it is known today as Mitchell Community College. They now have two locations: one in Statesville and one in Mooresville, North Carolina.
A 1990 program for the Miss Mitchell Pageant, an annual pageant that was held at Mitchell Community College.
You can view all of the materials we’ve digitized for Mitchell Community College on their contributor page. For more information about this partner, check out their website.
Student yearbooks from Mitchell Community College are now available in the North Carolina College and University Yearbooks collection on DigitalNC. The college traces its history back to 1852, when a Presbyterian college for women was established in Statesville. The college has grown and changed significantly over the years, joining the North Carolina Community College system in 1959.
There are 68 yearbooks available online, the earliest from 1908 when the school was known as Statesville Female College.
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.
One of the most noteworthy features of some of these bulletins is the register of students. Here, students are listed alphabetically by last name (possibly, one of the few places where their maiden names might be the ones recorded). The state they come from is also listed, showing that the college served women from both North and South Carolina, as well as Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, and even one student from Siam (modern day Thailand). Later registers, which focus on graduates, also list the cities that students come from.
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.