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As we chip away at newspaper digitization with the North Carolina Newspapers digital project, we often marvel at the amount of work left to be done. We’ve made great progress so far — digitizing well over 60,000 pages in the past year and a half — but there are many millions more to go. However, we sometimes come across especially rare titles that remind us that we should be grateful for those papers that we do have: there are many historic papers from North Carolina that simply have not survived.
We recently worked on some rare, early papers from Nash County from the collections of the Braswell Memorial Library (Rocky Mount, N.C.) and the North Carolina Collection
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For each of these titles, the issues available online now represent the only known copies of these papers. This was a period when newspapers came and went with great frequency, but it’s clear that there were definitely more than one or two issues printed for each of these titles. For example, the issue of The Rattler we put online is labeled as Volume 1, Number 40, meaning that at least 39 issues of this important Populist Party paper are either hidden away in private collections or lost to history.