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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DigitalNC’s newest newspaper title, The AC Phoenix, is available now!

The AC Phoenix serves the African American communities in and around North Carolina’s Triad region. Based in Winston-Salem, this paper has decades of experience sharing local and national news with its readers. There’s more to come, but this first batch includes issues from 1987 to 1989, and from 2007 to 2015.

Rodney Sumler started The AC Phoenix in 1983, and intended to use it to support African American individuals and businesses in the Triad. The paper bloomed in the following years, becoming a staple in the Triad region.

"Expressions 1987" from the December 1987 issue

“Expressions 1987” from the December 1987 issue

Most issues include local and national news, emphasizing the local. They include articles about individuals and groups including churches, businesses, schools, and others. Editors encourage their readers to contribute, opening their advertisement space to congratulatory notes and including their version of a “Dear Abby” column. Many include a photo spread at the center of the issue, featuring photos from a recent community event or to fit with a certain theme.

Photos from the 2014 Slave Dwelling Project, in the May 2014 issue

Photos from the 2014 Slave Dwelling Project, in the May 2014 issue

The AC Phoenix has been a great resource for the Triad community for decades, and DigitalNC is proud to increase access to the paper through our website, thanks to our partners at N.C. A&T University. Check out these new issues on DigitalNC here, and visit N.C. A&T here for more information.  To view The AC Phoenix’s website, go here.  


New Batch of Yearbooks from Central Piedmont Community College Digitized and Available on DigitalNC

A new batch of several yearbooks are now available and online at DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Central Piedmont Community College. Dating periodically from 1962 to 1978, a few of these yearbooks date back to when CPCC was actually two institutions – the white Central Industrial Education Center and the black Mecklenburg College. Several of the yearbooks also specifically focus on CPCC’s Dental Hygiene Department.

Miss Mecklenburg and her attendants in the 1963 Homecoming Parade Float “Growing Flame in the Charlotte Community”

Dental hygiene students learning proper brushing techniques in class

The first yearbooks in the batch, The Echo, from when CPCC was still Mecklenburg College, show what it was like to be a student at the time. Featuring student portraits and class activities, the yearbooks illustrate the dedication they had to teaching their students. The above photo shows Miss Mecklenburg and her attendants celebrating the 1963 Homecoming Parade in their float, “Growing Flame in the Charlotte Community.”

In July 1964, Mecklenburg College became Central Piedmont Community College, which still stands today. The later CPCC yearbooks, editions of The Violet Ribbon and Ordontos, are published for the Hygiene Department, highlighting their instructors, the department head, and students. Focusing on one department, these yearbooks are a valuable resource into an important part of the CPCC community.

To see more from Central Piedmont Community College, check out their partner page or visit their website. Click here to view other digitized material from CPCC, including other yearbooks, course catalogs, and scrapbooks noting CPCC’s history.


DigitalNC Website Improvements Coming Soon

A big change is coming to DigitalNC.org in the next few weeks. We want to give you a sneak peek

Over the past ten months we’ve been working hard to migrate the images and information found on DigitalNC.org to a new system called TIND. The parts of the website that look like this:

Screenshot of search results on the current DigitalNC website.

will soon look like this instead:

Screenshot of search results in TIND.

Why did we make this change? The company behind our current software had decided to withdraw support for sites like ours. In addition, we wanted to move to software that would be better at searching and browsing, and that could successfully share information out to search engines and other systems. We’ve been so pleased to collaborate with TIND staff, and we are excited about the possibilities opened up by this move. Oh, and one other important change – you will now be able to search across all of the yearbooks on DigitalNC.org! This was one of the most requested features for a new system, and we’re happy to deliver.

Banners across our website will give you a heads up before we integrate the new system completely into DigitalNC.org, but you can try it out here. If you run into any challenges or have any positive feedback, please drop us a line at digitalnc@unc.edu. We’d love to hear your thoughts.


Genealogical History of Gaston County Families Now Online

A new family genealogy history from Gaston County has been added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Gaston County Museum of Art & History. The book, Our Kin, Being a History of the Hoffman, Rhyne, Costner, Rudisill, Best, Hovis, Hoyle, Wills, Shetley, Jenkins, Holland, Hambright, Gaston, Withers, Cansler, Clemmer and Lineberger Families, was originally published in 1915, but has been reprinted by the Gaston County Historical Society several times since and is now digitally available for all to read.

A photo of author Laban Miles Hoffman (center) and his family, undated

The book focuses on the individual families of Gaston County, including their common ancestors dating back to the 18th century. Many of the family members noted have long descriptions of who they were, what they accomplished in life, how their family names changed over the years, and more. This copy is quite special, as it has retained notes and highlighted terms that one of the authors made in his original edition, preserved in this reprinted version.

Written by Laban Miles Hoffman of Dallas, North Carolina, this book was conceived as a history of his own family, but rapidly grew into an exploration of the histories of all the associated families in his genealogy. He includes a short preface of his own personal story, how he grew up in Lowell, North Carolina, studied at Davidson College, and later went to work in Raleigh under Governor Holden before moving to Arkansas.

As a record of ancestors for over a dozen local families, it is a valuable resource for Gaston County historians, Gaston County residents, and family descendants. We are privileged to make it available on DigitalNC. To learn more about the Gaston County Museum of Art & History, visit their partner page or their website.


Greensboro High School Student Magazines and Yearbooks Now Available on DigitalNC

A student speaking to a crowd of other students, 1958

A new batch of over two dozen yearbooks from Greensboro High School has been digitized and made available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Greensboro History Museum. Dating from 1910 to 1958, this collection includes annual yearbooks, a 1906 copy of the Greensboro High School Magazine, and several issues of Homespun, Greensboro High School’s literary magazine dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.

These yearbooks include individual portraits, class portraits, photos of faculty, and more. They also highlight photographs of student activities, social clubs, the school’s orchestra and band, the school’s sports teams, and more.

The 1925 Greensboro High School Hockey team

This batch also includes copies of magazines that students worked to write, edit, and publish. The Greensboro High School Magazine, the first of its kind to be uploaded to DigitalNC, was published three times a year by the students, and included editorials, short stories, and more. One student wrote about his experience riding along with Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan as he was traveling throughout the South, for example.  The school’s other magazine, Homespun, highlights the writing and literary accomplishments of the students, including smaller fictional short stories, poems, 1-act plays, and more.

Follow the links below to browse the items included in this batch:

To learn more about the Greensboro History Museum, you can find more information by visiting their partner page or taking a look at their website.


More Nash County Yearbooks from Braswell Memorial Library Now Available on DigitalNC

An exterior nighttime photo of Southern Nash High School in Bailey, N.C., 1968.

A new batch of yearbooks from Nash County are now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount, N.C. In this collection are over half a dozen yearbooks from the 1940s through the 1960s from across Nash County, including Spring Hope and Bailey, North Carolina.

These yearbooks include individual portraits, class portraits and more. They also include photographs of student activities, clubs, student proms, and school sports teams. These yearbooks highlight different parts of the student bodies including student council, bus drivers, second language studies, homecoming courts, and more.

Follow the links below to browse the yearbooks from the schools included in this batch:

These yearbooks from Nash County give us fascinating insights into what life was like for high school students in the middle of the 20th century. To see more materials from the Braswell Memorial Library, visit their partner page or check out their website.


Over 45 New Yearbooks from Randolph County Now Available on DigitalNC

An exterior shot of Asheboro High School, 1966

A new batch of yearbooks from Randolph County are now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Randolph County Public Library. Included in this collection are over 30 yearbooks from Randolph County schools across the area from the 1930s to 1960s. Also included are over a dozen yearbooks specifically from Liberty High School in Liberty, North Carolina.

Two Randleman High seniors of the class of 1965

These yearbooks contain individual portraits, class portraits, as well as photographs of student activities, sports teams, faculty and clubs. Some of the yearbooks also include class poems and class songs, class and school histories. Readers can also find “last wills and testaments”, where the graduating class leaves behind objects or memories to the next class, and class prophecies, where the students imagined where they would be in the future.

Follow the links below to browse the yearbooks from the schools included in this batch:

Students from Franklinville School gathered to take a 1966 group photo

This new batch of yearbook is a valuable addition to DigitalNC, having these yearbooks illustrate what life was like across Randolph County in the 20th century. To see more from the Randolph County Public Library, check out their partner page, or visit their website.


Dozens of New Maps from Western Carolina University Show Off the WCU Campus, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and More

Over 50 new maps and blueprints have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Western Carolina University. Stretching from 1927 to 1988, these maps detail the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains, Jackson County, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and more.

A section of the master plan to WCU, dated April 1978. E.J. Whitmire Stadium is in the top right.

There is a huge amount of variety in the maps in this batch. One map from 1930 includes planting and sectional plans for the Rock Garden Memorial at Western Carolina University. Other maps, such as the Cullowhee Quadrangle Map, were commissioned by the Tennessee Valley Authority to map entire towns like Cullowhee, Sylva, and Dillsboro and mountain ranges. Several maps were double-sided, and included local information or scenic photographs of interest on the reverse side.

This batch also introduces orthophotos to DigitalNC, the first of their kind on our website. Aerial photographs that have been scale-corrected for use in geographic information systems (GIS), these orthophotos show us how Jackson County looked from above in the 1980s. As you can see, the 1980 orthophoto featured below corresponds to how WCU was plotted out in the master plan above.

The equivalent orthophoto of the above master plan showing WCU, dated April 1980. E.J. Whitmire Stadium is in the top right.

The majority of the maps from this collection detail the Blue Ridge Parkway throughout western North Carolina and Virginia, drawn by the Department of the Interior National Park Service between 1942 and 1967. We also have the privilege to include eight segmented maps of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail from the 1980s.

All of these maps and additions represent an important addition to our collection of knowledge about the Appalachians. To see more materials from Western Carolina University, visit their contributor page or visit their website.


New Yearbooks from Mount Airy Regional Museum of History, a new partner

A new batch of yearbooks courtesy of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History are now live. These yearbooks are the first materials on DigitalNC from this partner and they are chock full of personality.

Caricature Staff Page from Maroon and Grey

A very distinct staff page from the 1954 edition of Franklin High School’s Maroon and Grey.

These yearbooks span from 1939 to 1961 and encapsulate student life in Surry County through these decades. Schools included are Franklin High School, Pilot Mountain High School, White Plains High School, Dobson High School, and Copeland High School.

"Best Sport" Superlative Winners from Windswept Echoes

Copeland High School’s 1961 “Best Sport” superlative winners.

To learn more about Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, visit their website or partner page. Links to individual yearbooks are organized by school and listed below.

Franklin High School (Mount Airy, N.C.)
Franklin Memories [1939]
Franklin Memories [1940]
Franklin Memories [1941]
Franklin Memories [1942]
Franklin Memories [1943]
The Cardinal [1947]
Keepsake [1952]
Maroon and Grey [1949]
Maroon and Grey [1948]
Maroon and Grey [1950]
Maroon and Grey [1954]
Maroon and Grey [1959]
Retrospect [1955]
Retrospect [1956]
Retrospect [1957]
Retrospect [1959]

Pilot Mountain High School (Pilot Mountain, N.C.)
The Knob [1947]
Knob Whispers [1948]
Knob Whispers [1955]
Knob Whispers [1957]

White Plains High School (White Plains, N.C.)
Plainsman [1953]
Plainsman [1959]
Plainsman [1958]
Plainsman [1957]

Dobson High School (Dobson, N.C.)
Dobsonian [1957]
Dobsonian [1958]
Dobsonian [1960]
Dobsonian [1961]

Copeland High School (Dobson, N.C.)
The Windswept Echoes [1961]


New Blueprints, Maps, and Artifacts from the Chapel Hill Historical Society Tell the Story of Chapel Hill

Almost a hundred new maps and blueprints have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Chapel Hill Historical Society. Dated from 1875 to June 2007, these maps illustrate how much the city of Chapel Hill and Orange County has changed in the last century and a half.

A map of how Chapel Hill would have appeared in 1818. Franklin St and Columbia St are featured.

This new batch contains many different types of maps and blueprints, including maps of Chapel Hill neighborhoods, site plans for individual properties, blueprints of the Chapel Hill Public Library and its additions, maps of the city’s outer limits, and township tax maps.

A color-coded map of the Glen Lennox properties circa 2008

Beyond recent maps of Chapel Hill, this batch also includes several other interesting items. One map sketches Orange County, as well as the neighboring counties that ceded land between the years of 1752 and 1849. Another sketches the state of North Carolina as it appeared in 1753, when Anson and Rowan Counties stretched to the west. Another map, from 1976, sketched Chapel Hill as it would have appeared in 1818.

Other items in the collection tell their own Chapel Hill stories. In 1925, R.L. Strowd, a local landowner, sold a number of lots throughout Orange County, and those deeds of land sales are also included in this collection. Another record of land sale is included, when Samuel Morgan sold land to Jesse Hargraves in 1845 for the cost of $4,300. This batch of items also includes a book that contains detailed maps of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area from the 1960s through the 1980s, as well as an informational pamphlet from 1953 advertising the Lake Forest neighborhood of Chapel Hill.

By adding yet more maps, blueprints and artifacts to our collection, we can learn and understand more about the city that DigitalNC calls home. To see more materials from the Chapel Hill Historical Society, visit their contributor page or check out their website.