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More Issues of The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News Now Available

Title heading for the Roanoke Beacon January 3, 1930 issue.

The Roanoke Beacon, January 3, 1930.

Thanks to our partners, Washington County Library and Pettigrew Regional Library, 760 issues of The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News are now available on our website. This batch covers from January 3, 1930 to December 28, 1944. These issues highlight local and national news stories such as the United States entrance into World World II, a list of residents stationed in Hawaii during the Attack on Pearl Harbor, and birthday party celebrations in the community.

Excerpt from the December 11, 1941 issue of the paper discussing America's entrance into World War II.

The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News, December 11, 1941.

Excerpt from the paper's December 11, 1941 issue discussing the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News, December 11, 1941.

The newspaper was first published in 1889 under the title The Roanoke Beacon. In 1929, the paper consolidated with The Washington County News and the name was changed to The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News. Thirty years later in 1959, the paper reverted back to its original title, The Roanoke Beacon. The paper continues to publish under this name today. 

Excerpt from the June 17, 1932 issue of the newspaper detailing the 80th birthday of a town resident.

The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County Newspaper, June 17, 1932.

To view more issues of The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News, please visit here.
To learn more about the Washington County Library, please visit their website.
To learn more about the Pettigrew Regional Library, please visit their website.

News From Washington Enlivens Our Latest Title From Maxton, N.C.

The masthead of The Scottish Chief

Another newspaper title has been added to our Newspapers of North Carolina collection courtesy of our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This batch of The Scottish Chief, presumably named for the part of Maxton, N.C., that lies in Scotland County, contains issues from 1915 to 1956.

A cartoon of the Capitol building with stars on either sideOne of the ongoing columns in the paper is “This Week in Washington,” which recaps national news from the Capitol. Some of the articles are all business, like the April 5, 1933 column describing President Roosevelt’s efforts to aid farmers. Others are more light-hearted; the one from December 24, 1934 that begins:

“Lest the reader of this column get the impression that nothing but serious matters of weighty moment are talked about in Washington, here are a few paragraphs of casual gossip heard in the corridors of public buildings and on the street corners.”

The gossip edition also has a section called “Interesting Women” that lists some of the jobs women in Washington were doing, such as advocating for uniform labor laws across states, increasing job opportunities for women, and selecting the supply of books sent to sea with the Navy. 

To see more of “This Week in Washington” and other news from Maxton, you can look at all digitized issues of The Scottish Chief here. You can also browse our entire Newspapers of North Carolina collection by location, type, and date. To learn more about UNC Chapel Hill and its collections, visit the UNC Libraries website and their partner page.

Washington High School Homecoming Queens Rule on in Added Yearbooks

Four students standing side by side with flowers

 Washington High School Homecoming Queens, 1945

Two yearbooks from Washington High School in Raleigh, N.C. have been added to our site thanks to our partner, the Olivia Raney Local History Library. One is a standard edition of The Echo from 1943; the other is a special edition, The Echo Nostalgic Reflections, from 1977

Among the pages of Nostalgic Reflections are a few spreads of Washington High School royalty: homecoming queens throughout the years. Some of the listed winners are Margaret Smith Cooper (1941), Daisy Debnam (Miss Washington High 1946), Ressie Curry (Miss Washington High 1947), Juanita Freeman (1948), Lula Poe (1949), Sarah Frances Sewell (1950), Mary E. Williams (1951), and Mildred McKay (1952). 

A car carrying the homecoming court and queen of Washington High School, 1941

Miss Margaret Smith Cooper, Queen 1941

Portrait of Mildred McKay in a crown with flowers

Mildred McKay, Queen 1942

Next to the homecoming spreads are photos from the alumni dance (1976), as well as championship game information from the school’s football program

Curiously, there doesn’t seem to be any information about who succeeded Mildred McKay as homecoming queen in 1943 in The Echo—school events seem to have been a lower priority for the yearbook’s editors than academics, clubs, and favorite poems

You can see all yearbooks from Washington High School here. To find out more about Olivia Raney Local History Library, visit their partner page or the Wake County website.

New Partner Martin Community College and History of Martin County

Martin Community College logo

Thanks to our new partner, Martin Community College (MCC), a North Carolina audio series focused on the history of Martin County and videos showcasing Martin Community College are now available on our website.  The recordings detail the history of Martin County beginning all the way from the Upper Paleolithic (~50,000 to 12,000 years ago) to the 1980s. Included in the chronicling of the county’s history is information on early burial practices in northeastern North Carolina (including humans and dogs), hunting practices, Indigenous culture, colonization of the area, agricultural economy of the region, transportation, and much more.

Videos in this batch feature a look at the MCC campus in the 1990s and provide information about the various programs offered by the college at the time. These programs included basic skills, equine management, and medical assisting. The remaining videos highlight the exciting MCC Stampede in the Park rodeo event. This event, which continues to be held annually, raises money for Martin Community College student scholarships. 

Title card for The Stampede in the Park, Rodeo, 1992 video. Two people standing participating in a rodeo standing in front of an advertisement. Over the picture the worlds "The Stampede in the Park, Martin Community College."

Stampede in the Park, Rodeo, 1992

Martin Community College is located in Williamston, North Carolina and was established in 1968 as Martin Technical Institute. On June 26, 1975, the college was granted community college status by North Carolina’s General Assembly. The MCC library serves not only the faculty, staff, and students of the college, but the citizens of Martin, Washington, and Bertie counties. Their local history room features books on the history of Martin as well as other surrounding counties, North Carolina history, narratives and photographs of historic buildings, and the Easter Rogerson Mizell Family Genealogy Collection.

To learn more about Martin Community College, please visit their website.

To listen or view more of North Carolina’s sights and sounds, please click here.

More Yearbooks from Washington High School Added to DigitalNC

Snippet of a two-page spread in a yearbook. It features a full color photo of students on a beach against a bright blue background. Underneath the photo, in white text, it reads: The charm of the student at play.

Cover pages, Packromak, 1964.

Thanks to our partners at George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, we now have 24 new yearbooks available on our website. They are from Washington High School and span the years 1945-1969, giving substance to what was previously only one yearbook from Washington High.

Located in Washington, N.C., the seat of Beaufort County, Washington High titled their yearbooks Packromak. They replicate many typical features of U.S yearbooks, including photos of students, faculty, dances, and clubs as well as the traditional senior class last will and testament and superlatives.

Two pages from the senior superlatives page. Clockwise from top left: Best Personalities, Carol Adams and Mike Willis, the black and white photo shows them reading Life magazine with their faces on the cover; Best Dancers, Linda Jarvis and Tommy White, the edited black and white photo shows them dancing on a turntable; Biggest Flirts, Phyllis Warner and Oden Latham, the edited black and white photo shows Phyllis in a fishbowl while Oden fishes them out; Cutest, Kathie Salle and Skipper Hudson, the edited black and white photo shows Kathie riding a stuffed dog toy and Skipper poised to shoot with a basketball in his hand.

Senior superlatives, Packromak, 1960.

For a look at all 25 Packromak yearbooks, click here. For more information about the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, visit their landing page here.

New Materials from the Lawndale Historical Society Document Early 20th Century Cleveland County

Beginning of list of ordinance for the city of Lawndale from 1907

A partial view of a list of ordinances for the city of Lawndale, NC, enacted in 1907.

Today we’re pleased to share a new batch of materials from the Lawndale Historical Society, located in Cleveland County North Carolina. Included are a variety of business records and ephemera related to the Cleveland Mill and Power Company, a hotel register, some town government records, and early twentieth century yearbooks/catalogs from Piedmont High School.

The Cleveland Mill and Power Company was founded around 1873 in Lawndale. The records in this most recent batch include the following:

Black and white head shot of John F. Schenck Sr. and article title and header

Clipping from an article written by John F. Schenck entitled “The Menace of Washington to American Industry,” published in a 1936 issue of Carolina Magazine.

John F. Schenck Sr. ran the Cleveland Mill and Power Company, was Mayor of Lawndale, and an all around influential white figure in the community. Textiles were in his blood, so to speak. His great-grandfather and grandfather both founded cotton mills. The scrapbook in this most recent batch is part diary and part manifesto – it contains many typewritten pages of his personal views on the current state of the textile industry, particularly in relation to what he saw as overreaching government regulations from the time period before, during, and after the U. S. Great Depression. There are also clippings and other ephemera.

There are a few other volumes related to town history from the same time period. The Lawndale Hotel Register has signatures dated from 1901-1910. The hotel guest’s place of origin is also included. The Town of Lawndale Minutes and Records from 1903-1925 includes town council minutes, election results, and copies of ordinances like the one at right.

There are also early volumes from Piedmont High School, dating 1905-1926. They’re a bit of a hybrid between catalogs and yearbooks, like many schools published in that time period, and they show both information about the classes offered and the students who attended. 

Black and white group portrait of high school students holding a pennant that reads Emersonian

The Piedmont High School Emersonian Literary Society, pictured in the 1925-1926 catalog.

You can view other items related to Lawndale and the Cleveland Mill on the Lawndale Historical Society’s contributor page. These materials have been shared in part thanks to a partnership with the State Archives of North Carolina sponsored by the State Historical Records Advisory Board. 

More issues of the Washington Daily News Now Up

An advertisement from the September 19, 1916 issue.

Two more years of the Washington Daily News from 1915-1916 are now online, joining previously digitized issues from 1909-1914. These issues were provided by our partner, the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library. The Washington Daily News is a newspaper serving Washington, North Carolina, a small city located in Beaufort County, North Carolina. The paper was started in 1909 and exists today under the same name.

An interesting pronouncement in the February 8, 1916 issue.

The newly digitized issues were published six days a week and covered events of  both local and national importance. Included are stories about the local and national economy, politics, notable events, businesses advertisements, town gossip, and commentary on farming and industry around Washington, North Carolina. The paper also provided Washingtonians almost daily updates about World War I which was raging abroad.

To browse through all the digitized issues of the Washington Daily News, click here. To see more materials from the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, visit their DigitalNC partner page, or take a look at their website.

An article updating Washington residents about the war front in the September 26, 1916 issue.

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.

Six years of Washington Daily News now online

A front page headline from September 2, 1909 celebrates Frederick A. Cook’s trip to the North Pole and subsequent return to Lervik, Norway.

Issues of the Washington Daily News, contributed by the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, are now available on DigitalNC. The Washington Daily News is a newspaper published six days a week, that started in 1909. The 1,441 issues now available digitally, span 1909-1914. The paper focuses on news from Washington, a small city located in Beaufort County, North Carolina, but also includes news as from the nation as a whole. While front-page headlines tend to tackle breaking stories from the American South, the United States, and beyond, shorter pieces recount municipal issues, meetings, social gatherings, and more.

A brief update on the repair of a local school in the September 3, 1909 issue.

The Washington Daily News still exists in both print and online form, and in 1990 the paper won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of articles exploring and exposing water contamination in Washington, North Carolina.

To learn more about the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

New Addition to “Wilson County’s Greatest Generation” Exhibit


Wilson County World War II Scrapbook, Page 52

The newest addition to the Wilson County’s Greatest Generation: The Memories of the World War II Veterans of Wilson County, N.C. digital exhibit is a scrapbook of newspaper clippings.

The scrapbook is a collection of newspaper clippings from various local newspapers and features citizens from Martin County and the surrounding towns, including Jamesville, Williamson, and Washington. The clippings include marriage announcements, injury and death announcements, new appointments, and overall movements of battles and the war.

Researchers might be interested in the way that smaller, local communities used the press to raise support around members of the community serving and the war effort overall. It is also a great source of genealogical information.

Check out all of the materials from Wilson County Public Library by visiting their contributor page and learn more about them by visiting their website.

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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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