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Partners Share Their Stories: Ocracoke Preservation Society’s Past President

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 Philip Howard, past president of the Ocracoke Preservation Society. The materials we’ve worked with OPS to digitize have helped the Society’s ongoing efforts at historic preservation. 

Page includes the text "Have Fun! Fish! Hunt! Sail! Swim! Camp! Ride! Dance! Eat! Sleep! Relax!" along with photographs of people engaging in fishing and other oceanside activities.

“As a chronicler of Ocracoke Island history [through his blog and newsletter] and one of the founders and a past president of the Ocracoke Preservation Society,  I am acutely aware of the importance of access to historic documents for research. The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has digitized and placed on their web site numerous letters, brochures, booklets, photographs, and newspaper articles relevant to Ocracoke Island. These important documents are now readily available for anyone interested in Ocracoke’s history. In addition to being used in research for magazine & newspaper articles and books, they have played an important role in providing supporting documentation for the preservation of several homes and other significant structures in Ocracoke’s historic district.

One specific effort is the Society’s work on behalf of the Island Inn. A local group is hoping to purchase the property to protect it for the future and open it up for community use. Resources digitized and available on have helped them document that building’s known and hidden history.

Ocracoke Photographs, Letters, and Manuscripts Added to DigitalNC

Brochure for Ocracoke Island, which continues "Have the time of your life at 'Bermuda of the USA.'"

Brochure for Ocracoke Island, which continues “Have the time of your life at ‘Bermuda of the USA.'”

New materials from Ocracoke Preservation Society have been digitized and added to DigitalNC. The materials include photographs and film negatives, showing the Ocracoke community during the mid to late twentieth century, including schools, athletics, fishing, events, and people. There is also a collection of materials from Franklin Miller Cochran, a pilot and writer of Ocracoke Island. He flew passengers between the island and mainland North Carolina and wrote extensively about his experience as a pilot and citizen of the Outer Banks. His largest manuscript, The Outer Banks — Today and Yesterday, is about the history of the Outer Banks. Additionally, correspondence between Cassius M. Clay and several citizens of Ocracoke has been digitized. Other ephemera, such as brochures, maps, business cards, and post cards are also in the collection.

Learn more from our past blog post about Ocracoke and the scrapbooks we digitized. You can see more from Ocracoke Preservation Society on their contributor page or their website.

The Island Inn, Ocracoke, N.C.

The Island Inn, Ocracoke, N.C.

Scrapbooks from Ocracoke added to DigitalNC

Illustrations of local plant and animal life in Ocracoke, from "Historic Ocracoke."

Illustrations of local plant and animal life in Ocracoke.

Ocracoke Preservation Society

Ocracoke Lighthouse and plane, 1952.

Park Service plans for project in Outer Banks.

Park Service plans for project in Outer Banks, July 1952.

Nine scrapbooks from Ocracoke, North Carolina have been digitized and added to DigitalNC. From the Ocracoke Preservation Society, these scrapbooks range from the 1940s to 1980s and include photographs, newspaper clippings, brochures, booklets, drawings, letters, maps, short stories, and histories about Ocracoke. The newspaper articles are often about local people and families, events, and news such as park projects and ferries opening. The brochures and booklets are typically informational, about nature, animals, boats, and lighthouses on the Outer Banks and Ocracoke Island . The 1955-1981 scrapbook in particular features information about lighthouses and lighthouse keepers and ships and sailors. The 1956-1980 scrapbook is full of photographs from Ocracoke, including buildings, houses, ships, and the lighthouse. All of the scrapbooks are listed below:

Ocracoke Preservation Society

Ocracoke, 1952.

These materials were contributed by the Ocracoke Preservation Society, which works to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of Ocracoke Island. You can view more from the Ocracoke Preservation Society through their contributor page or on their website.

4th of July pony penning.

4th of July pony penning.

Coast Guard Station, Ocracoke.

Coast Guard Station on Ocracoke Island.

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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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