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More Issues of the “Bertie Ledger-Advance” Document Recent History

A blue box with the Bertie Ledger-Advance masthead

Through our partnership with the Bertie County Public Library and Martin Community College, we now have many more editions of the Bertie Ledger-Advance. This batch of the Windsor, N.C., paper ranges from January 2016 until December 2021, meaning that it covers many of the major news stories still in memory.

Newspaper clipping

March 11, 2020

Perhaps one of the most obvious topics that appears in these issues is the impact of Covid-19 in one of North Carolina’s small towns. The front-page coverage starts where you might expect: March 11, 2020.

Initial articles focus on preparedness; the March 18, 2020 issue announces Governor Roy Cooper’s mandate to close schools for two weeks and end gatherings of more 50 people. That was also the week that Bertie County declared a State of Emergency in order to receive resources for public health measures.

“The fact that we are so rural here in Bertie County gives us an edge. …We are not like Raleigh as it relates to populations,” Bertie County Emergency Services Director Mitch Cooper said.

A photo of several people standing in a parking lot outside a church. Their backs are to the camera, and they are watching another person deliver a service.

Bertie County begins holding church services outdoors (March 25, 2020)

These issues go on to document the progression of the pandemic in a rural area. On March 25, 2020, Bertie County sees its first confirmed case; the state begins “Phase 1” re-opening on May 10, 2020; Bertie and surrounding counties experience spikes in the number of cases, including one from September 10, 2020. At the end of 2020, the paper also published a recap of the year’s major stories, noting that the “Pandemic dominated headlines.”

The coverage continues through 2021, when schools are finally scheduled to reopen for in-person learning in March 2022. Through each of these stories, its clear what a huge impact Covid-19 had on the lives of Bertie County residents⁠—as it did for people across the state, the nation, and the world.

A cartoon of a pizza deliverer carrying a pizza. A sign says, "Keep calm and carry out."

March 25, 2020

To see more news stories from this batch, you can browse by date:

You can also see more issues of the Bertie Ledger-Advance here or browse our entire collection of digitized newspapers in our Newspapers of North Carolina collection. To see more materials from Martin Community College, you can visit their partner page and their website.


70 Newspaper Titles Added to DigitalNC

Headmast of July 28, 1916 issue of The Advance from Elizabeth City

This week we have another 70 titles up on DigitalNC including over 1,000 issues of The Robesonian, 1,000 issues of The Western Sentinel, 3,000 issues of The Reidsville Review, 4,000 issues of The News and Observer, and almost 4,000 issues of the Salisbury Evening Post!

In the March 8th, 1914 issue of The News and Observers we have an article detailing a practice game played by the Baltimore Orioles while in Fayetteville. This happens to be the game where a 19 year old George Herman “Babe” Ruth hit his first home run as a professional baseball player. Ruth was also given his iconic nickname “Babe” while in Fayetteville on this trip.

Article from March 8, 1914 issue of The News and Observer where Babe Ruth hit his first home run as a player for the Baltimore Orioles

The News and Observer, March 8th, 1914

Three people standing in front of the sign commemorating Babe Ruth's first home run

Image via The Fayetteville Observer

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 Newspapers.com. 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 Newspapers.com, 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:

Asheboro

Asheville

Belhaven

Brevard

Charlotte

Cherryville

Clayton

Concord

Cooleemee

Creedmoor

Durham

East Bend

Elizabeth City

Forest City

Gastonia

Goldsboro

Greenville

Kenly

Leaksville

Lenoir

Lincolnton

Lumberton

Mocksville

Mooresville

Moravian Falls

New Bern

Raleigh

Red Springs

Reidsville

Rocky Mount

Rutherfordton

Salisbury

Selma

Shelby

Smithfield

Spruce Pines & Burnsville

Statesville

Taylorsville

Washington

Waynesville

Wilmington

Windsor

Winston-Salem

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.


34 Newspaper Titles up on DigitalNC!

Headmast for May 5, 1881 issue of Railroad Ticket from Weldon, N.C.

This week we have another 34 titles up on DigitalNC! In this batch we have an article from the Durham Tobacco Plant describing the construction of a new factory being built by W. Duke, Sons & Co., which contained a machine that would revolutionize their tobacco business: The Bonsack machine.

Clipping from July 16, 1884 issue of Durham Tobacco Plant detailing the construction of a new Duke Tobacco factory, including the Bonsack cigarette rolling machine.

Durham Tobacco Plant, July 16, 1884

In 1881, Virginia native James Bonsack created the first industrial cigarette rolling machine, a task that was done meticulously by hand up until this point. Bonsack partnered with W. Duke, Sons & Co. in 1884 and supplied them with one of his machines that could roll 250,000 cigarettes in a single day, the equivalent of 48 employees. While this acquisition would make the Dukes the leading cigarette producer in the country, the automation of the process forced many skilled rollers out of work.

Factory built by W. Duke, Sons & Co. in 1884

W. Duke, Sons & Co. 1884 factory. Image via opendurham.org

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 Newspapers.com. 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 Newspapers.com, 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:

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.


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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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