Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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New Edgecombe County Memorial Library Materials Including Additional Photographs of Edgecombe County’s Historic Architecture Now Available

Thanks to our partner, Edgecombe County Memorial Library, new materials including a 1955 Leggett High School yearbook, Magazine Club of Tarboro minute books, and architecture research materials for houses in Edgecombe County are now available on our website.

This batch of photographs adds 48 new homes to our architecture research materials for historical houses and buildings in Edgecombe County. In addition to photographs of the houses, some folders contain in-depth documents about the properties including family histories, property history, appraisals, renovations, and more. The Joseph Pippen House record is an example of an information-rich folder. It included photographs and slides from before and after the house’s renovation (pictures seen below), a letter from one of Joseph Pippen’s ancestors, information on the Pippen plantation property, newspaper clippings related to the selling of the house, and detailed information about the house’s architecture.

Black and white photograph of an older looking two story house.

Joseph Pippen house before renovation

A photograph of a renovated two story house.

Joseph Pippen house after renovation

To learn more about the Edgecombe County Memorial Library, please visit their website.

To view more architecture research from Edgecombe County, view previous posts here.

For more yearbooks from across North Carolina, visit our yearbook collection.

New Partner Martin College 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.

Ebony Images Now Available on DigitalNC

Ebony Images Yearbook

Front Page of the Ebony Images Yearbook in 1977.

Digital NC is happy to announce the new additions of the Ebony Images Yearbook from the Black Student Movement at UNC-Chapel Hill. The yearbooks include the years 1977 and 1978. From organizations to the black faculty, the Ebony Images Yearbook gave a glimpse into the lives of black students and faculty on the campus of UNC.

Ebony Images Yearbook

Black Ink was a newspaper written for and by black students on the campus of UNC. Here is a snapshot of the organization in the 1977 Ebony Images Yearbook.

The Black Student Movement on the campus of UNC is a well-known organization that has been around since 1967.  Founded on a mission to embrace a culture distinct from the dominant culture at UNC, the goals of the Black Student Movement are to strive for the continued existence of unity among all its members, to voice the concerns and grievances of its members to the University, to offer outlets for expressing Black ideals and culture and to ensure that the Black Student Movement members never lose contact with the Black Community.

Still active today, you can learn more about the Black Student Movement at UNC by checking out their website here.

To see other materials from UNC-Chapel Hill, check out their partner page.


Several small town North Carolina newspapers from the 19th century now online

Front page of the Enfield Times in 1873

Much of our newspaper digitization is done from microfilm reels, which typically only have one title on a reel.  However, sometimes a paper does not take up a whole reel and to maximize efficiency, when the reel was created, other small runs of papers are included.  Often those small runs are simply a few issues of very old papers where the only extant know copies number 2 or 3 issues.  This was the case with a reel we digitized this past year for the Bladen Journal.  In addition to the Journal, 13 other titles were on the same reel and all have now been added to DigitalNC!  

The full list includes:

Enfield Times 2 issues, 1873
Tar River Beacon 2 issues, 1876
Greenville Express 2 issues, 1880-1881
Cape Fear Lance  1 issue, 1899
The Beacon  2 issues, 1888
The Enfield Progress 1 issue, 1887
Old Constitution  2 issues, 1870
 Franklinton Weekly 3 issues, 1883, 1886, 1893
The Rural Visitor  7 issues, 1898-1899
 Graham Tribune 1 issue, 1900
The Greenville Index  1 issue, 1894
The Western Reporter  1 issue, 1881

Header of the Graham Tribune 1900 newspaper

The towns the papers represent cover the eastern and western portions of the state, with the oldest issue from 1873 and the most recent from 1900 – over a quarter century of coverage from across the state.

To see more newspapers, check out our North Carolina Newspapers section of the website.  

Bertie County materials now on DigitalNC, including W.S. Etheridge HS yearbook and Hope Plantation materials

black and white brochure with a drawing of a plantation style home on it

Our second partner in Bertie County is Historic Hope Plantation, which is a foundation that runs the Hope Plantation historic site in Windsor, NC.  The Foundation was established in 1965 by Bertie County citizens concerned about the fate of the decaying Hope Mansion. According to their website, the site’s “mission is to provide educational, cultural and recreational benefits for the public by the preservation, maintenance and the administration of Historic Hope Plantation as an element of the heritage of the Roanoke-Chowan Region and as an illustration and interpretation of agrarian life in Eastern North Carolina from 1760 to 1840.”Brochure with a color picture of a table with 4 chairs around it

The majority of materials in our first batch from Historic Hope are materials relating to the running of the site, including a very large collection of brochures and programs detailing fundraisers for the museum, as well as visitor pamphlets.  The brochures tell a story themselves, showing how historic house museum interpretation has evolved over time, since the earliest one in 1956 to present day 21st century interpretation that is less decorative arts focused and more focused on telling the story of all those who lived and worked at the plantation, particularly enslaved people.  Some of the staff’s research is also included in the batch, including the court documents of those newly freed men and women who attested their cohabitation before the Civil War ended in order to gain recognition of marriage from the state, as well as research papers written by those affiliated with the site. 

Other related Bertie County materials are also included, particularly a 1954 yearbook from W.S. Etheridge High School which served the Black community of Bertie County before integration.

To learn more about Historic Hope Plantation, visit their partner page.

Issues of The Roanoke Beacon Newspaper, from 1930-1956, Added to DigitalNC

Black and white front page of English language newspaper with several headshots and photo of bridge

Front page of the August 19, 1938 issue of the Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News discussing the dedication of the Albemarle Sound Bridge.

Additional issues of The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News, published out of Plymouth, NC, are now online thanks to funding from the North Caroliniana Society. This newspaper was recommended for digitization by the Washington County Library which is part of Pettigrew Regional Library. With these additions, you can now search the newspaper from 1899 to 1956.

The News published articles about agriculture (particularly cotton and seafood), social events, politics, and the local schools. Town Topics and Society columns are a great source for the personal news of Washington County residents. There is also coverage of national and international news, which increases through World War II. During that time you’ll see articles that describe the town’s preparations in case of invasion, that recount the activities of local soldiers, and that call for frugality and the purchase of war bonds. 

Later issues in this run cover the aftermath of World War II, distribution of the polio vaccine to Washington County residents, and the debate around segregated schools. 

You can view all of the issues of The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News available on our site through the newspaper’s landing page.

Issues of the Tryon Daily Bulletin from Polk County Added Online

Black and white masthead for the Tryon Daily Bulletin

The Tryon Daily Bulletin’s tagline is the World’s Smallest Daily Newspaper. This masthead is from Aug 15, 1945, with Seth M. Vining as editor.

Issues of the Tryon Daily Bulletin from 1935-1936 and 1942-1951 have been added to DigitalNC, thanks to funding from the North Caroliniana Society. This title was recommended and advocated for by the Polk County Public Library.

The Bulletin is a physically smaller paper both in dimensions and page length, and it actually boasts the tagline “The World’s Smallest Daily Newspaper” to this day. Despite (or perhaps because of) its size, the Bulletin focus mostly on local news. You’ll find items about church, school, and sporting events, and articles about marriages, illnesses, births and deaths without many syndicated articles or ads to sift through. As a daily, the paper covered smaller details than you might normally see, as specific as a list of books added to the library. 

Black and white cartoon of standing police officer saying "move on buddy" towards a seated adult writing on a notepad

The Curb Reporter column graphic beginning in the mid 1940s.

The issues scanned from 1942-1951 cover World War II and its immediate aftermath. Unlike many of the Bulletin’s peers, the front page doesn’t focus on national news but rather the war’s impact on the local community. There are calls for donations of items for soldiers, articles announcing events for soldiers visiting from Camp Croft (which was located near Spartanburg, SC), and lists of Tryon-area soldiers and their comings and goings. The paper features a regular front page column called “Curb Reporter” which is a compiled list of brief local, national, and international news items.

You can view all of the issues we’ve scanned of the Tryon Daily Bulletin on the newspaper’s landing page. All of the items we’ve scanned on behalf of the Polk County Public Library can be found from the Library’s contributor page.

New First Baptist Church Materials Now Available

Print of the First Baptist Church steeple.

First Baptist Church, M. Williams.

Thanks to our partner, New Bern-Craven County Public Library, several materials from First Baptist Church including five new minute books, “A” building classroom renovation plans, and a beautiful print featuring the church’s steeple are now available on our website.

These minute books cover almost 50 years of church history from 1948 to 1988. A majority of the content present in the books are financial reports, budget proposals, meeting notes, and letters. Renovations for the church’s “A” building classroom were completed by MBF Architects PA in 2014. The print was created by artist M. Williams and depicts the First Baptist Church steeple.

To learn more about the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please click here.

To view more First Baptist Church materials, please click here.


Additional Materials from the Crystal Lee Sutton Collection at Alamance Community College Now Online

photograph of woman with long hair and a serious face behind a podium with sign that says Real vs ReelAlamance Community College houses and cares for a wide variety of materials and artifacts documenting the career of Crystal Lee Sutton, a labor activist who came to national prominence when her story was fictionalized in the movie Norma Rae. Before her passing, Sutton donated the collection to the College and we have helped digitize another batch to share on DigitalNC. You can read about the first batch we worked on in this blog post written in May 2021.

black and white cartoon of large angry person with knife standing over people with lowered heads

“No matter how thin you slice it … It’s still baloney.” Pro-union booklet with J. P. Stevens as the antagonist.

This batch contains ephemera related to Sutton’s part in the strike at J. P. Stevens, Inc. and the fame she received in the wake of Norma Rae.  You’ll find materials about the Stevens strike as well as about unionizing efforts at other companies. There is also pro- and anti-union propoaganda, like the booklet featured at right. 

Of particular note is Sutton’s handwritten description of her treatment at Stevens and the organizing activities that took place at the plant. This first-hand account includes a transcript at the end. 

Sutton spent her career advocating for unionization, frequently speaking about the impact of her efforts and of the movie at schools, festivals, and union chapter meetings. She diligently clipped newspaper articles about union activity around the country.  

There are additional items within the collection that could not be shared online due to copyright and/or privacy concerns. This list gives an inventory of these items, which can be viewed in person at the Alamance Community College Library. In the list you’ll find research papers students wrote about Sutton, correspondence written to Sutton (including correspondence from Sally Field and Gloria Steinem), documents related to lawsuits Sutton was involved in, and a script and publicity shots related to Norma Rae.

To see everything we’ve digitized in this collection, visit the Alamance Community College contributor page on DigitalNC. More information about the Alamance Community College Library can be found on the Library’s home page.

New Issues of the Kings Mountain Herald Newspaper Available Thanks to Mauney Memorial Library

Black and white image of front page of English language newspaper, with photo of school children in uniforms standing on outdoor steps

May 2, 1936 front page of the Kings Mountain Herald.

Today we’re pleased to share that additional issues of the Kings Mountain Herald newspaper have been added to DigitalNC. Issues online now date from 1914-2015 (with some years missing in the 20s and early 30s). It’s one of the most complete runs of community papers available on our site.

Some of the new issues were digitized from microfilm thanks to funding from Mauney Memorial Library. When a partner would like more newspapers digitized than we can provide at no cost, they are welcome to provide funding to subsidize getting them online. The new issues from microfilm span 1918-1919, 1935-1937, 1955-1957, 1959-1965 and 1967. 

In addition to the microfilmed issues, we worked on some extremely fragile issues from 1914-1919. The Library received these as a gift in 2020 and contacted us asking about digitization. We’ve seen a lot of crumbling newspapers in our time, but these may win the prize. Take a look at the image below which shows how they looked as we gently laid them out for scanning.

Stack of yellowed English language newspapers with pieces of broken off paper on the table around the edges

The December 24, 1914 front page of the Kings Mountain Herald.

Like most of the print newspapers we scan, these were shot from above. We attempted to piece back together larger fragments. Each page was carefully turned, but there was quite a bit of “chaff.”  It’s impossible to digitize an item like this without flaking page edges but the staff at Mauney Memorial Library gave us permission to proceed for the sake of making this physical object useful. These may be the only known extant issues from those years, which document World War I and its immediate aftermath, and they are now broadly available.

You can view all of the issues of the Kings Mountain Herald, and also see all of the items digitized for Mauney Memorial Library on the Library’s contributor page.