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Another 60 Newspaper Titles on DigitalNC!

Headmast for January 20, 1900 issue of Winston-Salem's Elite

This week we’ve added another 60 titles to DigitalNC. Included in this batch is the possible origin of a classic North Carolina ghost story!

The Maco Light story tells of a train conductor name Joe Baldwin who was decapitated in a tragic railway accident near the small community of Maco, North Carolina. Legend has it that the ghost of Mr. Baldwin could be seen walking the tracks at night, carrying a lantern and searching for his misplaced head, but once the railroad was removed in the 1970s he was never seen again.

Article from January 12, 1856 issue of The Southerner detailing a train accident in which Charles Baldwin is killed after suffering head injuries

The Southerner, January 12, 1856

As is the case with most folk tales, the story is passed down and embellished over the years and the origin becomes a little fuzzy. There is no record of a “Joe” Baldwin being involved in a wreck, but the January 12th, 1856 issue of The Southerner has an article detailing a train accident that took place just outside of Wilmington a week earlier. The deceased in this incident is Charles Baldwin, who suffered a fatal head injury during the crash. Given the similarities in these stories, it seems our ghost might have actually stayed in one piece.

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 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, 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:

Elizabeth City







Southern Pines










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.

Granville Newspapers Provide Samples of A+ Student Comedy

A cartoon of two students talking

A cartoon from the March 13, 1941 The Owl

Some say that high school student humor is a bit sophomoric; as evidence to the contrary, we’ve uploaded several student newspapers (thanks to our partner, the Granville County Public Library) that will at least make you smile.

First up are a couple of jokes from the Oxford High School Student PaperThe Owl. These jokes are from their “This n’ That” section of the March 13, 1941 issue.

A joke from the student newspaper       A joke from the student newspaper


This section also includes some stellar student profiles. One “Sophisticated Senior” lists her favorite pastime as “flirting” and her hobby as “catching beau.” A “Silly Sophomore” prefers to spend her time “eating” and aspires to be a “Bulls’ Eye Egg thrower.”

Excerpt from a newspaper articleFor a bit of darker humor, the 1967 senior class of J. F. Webb High School ran an extended graduation joke in the form of a “Last Will and Testament,” describing what each person left behind to an underclassman. 

Items I and II leave “appreciation,” “respect,” and “esteem” to the principal and teachers. Item III leaves “old books,” “battered lockers,” and some hangout spot called “The Cave” to the student body in general. Item IV is where things start to get personal.


Many students opted for the “I leave my book, ‘How to Get Girls to Like You,’ to my friend Tommy” joke. A few, like Ellen Franklin and Wayne White, left treasured spots. Ronnie Daniel seems to be the only one who bequeathed a “kiss, bear hug, and a love lick on the top of his head.”A letter published in the Stovall High School student newspaper

In Stovall High School’s paper, The Breeze, the back page is covered in  miscellany briefs, including “A Second Grade Letter” by Margaret Gill. Even though Margaret didn’t seem to find it funny that her ducks drink so much water, it’s certainly entertaining to read.

An excerpt from a 1958 Proconian

This 1958 issue of Chapel Hill High School’s Proconian didn’t have the established humor section of some previous issues, though it did have a sassy note commenting on current affairs.


The full list of added newspapers (some by students and some for the community) includes:

  • The Owl (Oxford, N.C.) – 1941-1959
  • The Spectator (Oxford, N.C.) – 1967-1971
  • Berea Gazette (Berea, N.C.) – 1923
  • The Breeze (Stovall, N.C.) – 1923
  • Proconian (Chapel Hill, N.C.) – 1958
  • The Granville Enterprise (Oxford, N.C.) – 1914
  • Granville County News (Oxford, N.C.) – 1929
  • Oxford Mercury (Oxford, N.C.) – 1842

To see more materials from the Granville County Public Library, visit their partner page or their website. You can browse all newspapers in our North Carolina Newspapers collection.

New student newspaper issues from Granville County Public Library now online at DigitalNC!

OHS Owl September 1946

The Oxford High School Owl, September 1946

Issues from 8 NC student newspapers are now online at DigitalNC! The issues come from several schools in Granville County and cover news topics like sports, facility renovations, and school events, as well as creative works by students and advertisements for local businesses. The recent batch includes the following newspapers:

  • The Spectator – J.F. Webb High School – Oxford, NC – 26 issues – 1965-1972
  • The Tattler – Oxford High School – Oxford, NC – 1 issue – 1921
  • The Owl – Oxford High School – Oxford, NC – 22 issues – 1946-1962
  • Senior Bulletin – Oxford College – Oxford, NC – 1 issue – 1922
  • The D. N. Hix Happening – D. N. Hix Middle School – Oxford, NC – 1 issue – 1971
  • Viking Press – South Granville High School – Creedmoor, NC – 1 issue – 1963
  • The Early Bird – Orange Street Graded School – Oxford, NC – 3 issues – 1952-1955
  • The Mary Potter Gazette – Mary Potter High School – Oxford, NC – 5 issues – 1957-1965
JFWHS Spectator February 1965

The J.F. Webb High School Spectator, February 26, 1965

The newspapers listed above constitute a new addition to the significant number of Granville County Public Library materials already online at DigitalNC. Visit their DigitalNC partner page here or head to the Granville County Library System website for more information.

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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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