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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Viewing entries posted in March 2018

Over 350 New Photos From The Forest History Society Now Online at DigitalNC

A 1928 plot of land carved out to be “light burned” annually

Over 350 new photos have been digitized and uploaded to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Forest History Society. Located in Durham, North Carolina, their organization is dedicated to the preservation of materials about forest history and conservation. While their mission is to promote and collect materials about forest and environmental preservation around the world, these photos are specifically about North Carolina’s history of forest and wildlife conservation.

The back of a firefighting truck

A photo of firefighters creating a firebreak, a strip of open space that slows or stops the spread of a fire

These newly digitized photographs were taken from the late 1920s to early 1940s, by various photographers for the NC Department of Conservation and Development. They include images of fire control conferences and forester’s meetings, fire lines and fire line equipment, and much more. Many of the later photographs include construction of lookout towers across the state and angles from the top of those towers. Taken in dozens of counties across the state, these photographs give us views of the state and views of firefighting that we don’t often get to see, and show us how dangerous firefighting was at that time. For example, in the photo on the right, the men creating a firebreak were dressed in suits and ties instead of fire-protective gear.

A 1940 photo of CCC Camp P-73 from the Riegel Tower in Brunswick County

To browse through these materials, visit the Forest History Society’s partner page, or check out their website.

New Materials from Rockingham County Public Library, Including Yearbooks, Films, and More

The James J. Dallas home in Rockingham County.

The newest batch of materials from our partner, Rockingham County Public Library, includes two yearbooks, three books, a vertical file, several newspaper issues, and two short films. The yearbooks, from 1967 and 1968, were created by Madison-Mayodan Junior High School. The books cover the stories of Rockingham county notables John D. Robertson and James J. Dallas, as well as the Greensboro Telephone Exchange. The vertical file contains materials related to Smyrna Presbyterian Church’s centennial celebration, and the newspapers include more issues from the Fieldcrest Mill Whistle.

Lastly, video footage in this batch includes two films converted from 8mm format. The first shows the 1969 Madison Christmas Parade filmed in downtown Madison, NC. The second is a film created by Macfield Inc. that details their continuing education program for employees.

Serious student government officials seen in the 1968 Madison-Mayodan Junior High School yearbook.

To browse through the items in this batch, click the links below.

To see more materials from Rockingham County Public Library, check out their DigitalNC partner page, or take a look at their website.

Fans Share Their Stories: Taneya Y. Koonce, Genealogist and Researcher

We are one of 29 finalists for the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Now through April 13, IMLS is asking the people who have been impacted by the Digital Heritage Center to share their stories. If you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us or share via social media by tagging us on Facebook (@NC Digital Heritage Center) or on Twitter (@ncdhc).

Today’s story comes from Taneya Y. Koonce, a native North Carolinian, information professional, and a well known genealogist. She shares her research and methods on Taneya’s Genealogy Blog and her new Koonce surname site. One of her projects includes indexing names from digitized yearbooks to help improve searchability by transcribing names. Taneya shared the thoughts below in support of our Medal application and we reshare them today with her permission.

Screenshot of the home page for the yearbook index, including a description of the site and search boxes.“My interest in the NCDHC stems from my passion for researching family history and genealogy. I am a native North Carolinian and over the past 12 years I have been an active participant in the online genealogy community as I’ve researched not only my own family tree, but aided in the research of many others. I have high visibility in the genealogy community and maintain leadership roles in the national USGenWeb Project, a volunteer-driven group that provides free resources to individuals researching their family heritage. I am currently the Assistant State Coordinator in the North Carolina-focused component of the project (the NCGenWeb) and work closely with researchers from across the country who have family roots in the state. I spearhead several projects designed to further maximize the reach and impact of the NCDHC work (such as an online index to graduating seniors listed in the yearbooks from the digitized yearbook collection), and have become intimately familiar with the Center’s collections.

“When the NCDHC began, I was immediately excited by their emergence and the potential for the wealth of resources that would be made more broadly available to those with North Carolina-related family history and historical interests. The digitization of state materials offers increased access for many such as myself, who are unable to visit the physical locations where these resources are housed. The breadth of material the NCDHC makes available – yearbooks, newspapers, images & memorabilia, city directories, and audio-visual resources, are a cross-cutting representation of the many format types historians, educators, and genealogists leverage for our respective fields of inquiry. Staff at the Center also incorporate industry-leading approaches to content delivery; such as the reader used for displaying historic newspapers which is an adaptation of the Library of Congress (LOC) platform for their monumental site. The NCDHC is just one of the few institutions that have adopted the LOC reader; a move which embodies the Center’s willingness to offer innovative solutions to site visitors. NCDHC participates in the Digital Public Library of America, contributes code to GitHub, and most recently has been purposeful in expanding the diversity of collection materials. These efforts are demonstrative of the Center’s strive for excellence. The Center has worked with steady focus to expand the geographical representation of the digital collection and currently has material from libraries, archives, schools, and cultural institutions from across the entire state – a quite admirable feat. Through their social media platforms, the Center also regularly engages in discourse with their constituents, providing timely and thoughtful replies to submitted questions; I’ve found their customer service to be at the highest caliber.”

New Paper, the Hertford County Herald, Now Available

An advertisement for Ahoskie Department Store in the March 9, 1923 issue.

The Hertford County Herald, courtesy of Chowan University, is the newest paper available on DigitalNC, with issues up that span the years 1914-1923. The Hertford County Herald was established in 1910, and was published in the town of Ahoskie, North Carolina. The paper, which came out every Friday, was comprised of 8 dense pages to keep residents of Hertford County informed.

The Hertford County Herald covered news primarily in Ahokie and surrounding towns in Hertford County, such as Winton, Murfreesboro, and Como. Included were stories about the economy, agricultural conditions, politics, social events and meetings, fashion trends, and more. The paper also had a section called “State News in Digest” that covered a wide range of news from across North Carolina, and advertisements from local and regional businesses.

To see more materials from Chowan University, visit their DigitalNC partner page, or take a look at their website.

Scrapbooks From New Partner, Cleveland County Memorial Library

Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt in Shelby, North Carolina, speaking at the Service With A Thought Toward Others (SWATTO) Club’s 25th anniversary celebration in 1991 as seen in a clipping from The Shelby Star.

Photograph of Ezra Agnes Bridges

Three scrapbooks, courtesy of our newest partner, Cleveland County Memorial Library, are now available on DigitalNC. These scrapbooks cover large ranges of time, from 1928 through 1999, and focus on the Bridges family along with the African American community in Shelby, North Carolina.

Included are many different  materials such a labeled family photographs, news clippings, letters, greeting cards, obituaries, funeral program, and event fliers. While many of these materials are specific to the Bridges family in North Carolina, there are also more general articles and news clippings that ran in local and national news outlets. To take a look at the scrapbooks, visit the links below:

To Learn more about our partner, Cleveland County Memorial Library, please visit their DigitalNC partner page or take a look at their website.

Partners Share Their Stories: Richmond Community College in Hamlet

Cover shows a group of men and women in casual clothing smiling at the camera. Text: Join us this fall at Richmond Tech!

Cover of the Fall 1986 College Connection.

We are one of 29 finalists for the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Now through April 13, IMLS is asking the people who have been impacted by the Digital Heritage Center to share their stories. If you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us or share via social media by tagging us on Facebook (@NC Digital Heritage Center) or on Twitter (@ncdhc).

Today’s story comes from Carolyn Bittle, Dean of Learning Resources at Richmond Community College in Hamlet. We have worked with RCC to digitize their yearbooks and other campus publications. Carolyn’s story is an example of digitization of print resources garnering attention and renewing interest in the college’s history.

I can say that since Richmond has been able to get some of our archival material digitized and online, it has increased interest from our administration.  

As a result of getting our older copies of the College Connection online, with your help, we are in the progress of “ rebirthing”  the College Connection [as RCC Connect]. The publication stopped in the spring of 2009, and now we are working on bringing it back into publication.  Hopefully, this will be available mid-March. The success stories, and class offerings were favored during its early printings, and it reached a lot of people in our two county area.  

So thank you for helping to get our publication back up! 

More Issues of The Smithfield Herald from 1901-1911 Available

More issues of the The Smithfield Herald from 1901-1911 are now available on DigitalNC courtesy of our partner, Johnston County Heritage Center. These issues join previously digitized issues from 1917-1918. The Smithfield Herald was established in 1882 and is still published in Smithfield, North Carolina, and distributed throughout Johnston County.

These early issues of The Smithfield Herald focused on local news from Smithfield and surrounding towns in Johnston County, as well as state and national news. The paper covered topics such as politics, the economy, municipal issues, and local events.

Not only did The Smithfield Herald include local and and national news stories, it also published popular novels in weekly installations. For example, the novel Beverly of Graustark by George Barr McCutcheon was carried for several months starting on June 29, 1906. Beverly of Graustark belonged McCutcheon’s series of romantic adventures set in the fictional Eastern European country of Graustark, and was made into a film in 1926 that featured an early technicolor sequence.

To see more materials from our partner, Johnston County Heritage Center, take a look at their DigitalNC partner page, or visit their website.


More than a Decade of Watauga Democrat Newspapers Now Up

The language lab at Appalachian State Teachers College shown in the December 29, 1960 issue.

More than a decade of the Watauga Deomcrat has been added to DigitalNC courtesy of our partner, the Watauga County Public Library. Started in 1888 and still operating today, the Wautaga Democrat is published in Boone N.C., and serves Western North Carolina. This batch covers the years 1950-1963 and joins previously digitized issues spanning 1923-1949.

According to the Watuga Democrat’s website, the paper began as a political newspaper with a mission to be “the voice of the Watauga Democrat Party,” but quickly evolved into a non-partisan publication. The paper covers local, state, and national news. Many of the stories in the newly digitized issues concern Appalachian State Teacher’s College, which became Appalachian State University in 1967.

You can see more materials from our partner the Watauga County Public Library by taking a look at their DigitalNC partner page  or by visiting their website. To see more community newspapers from many counties in North Carolina, please visit the North Carolina Newspapers Collection.

A chilly headline from January 16, 1961

Partners Share Their Stories: Mauney Memorial Library in Kings Mountain

We are one of 29 finalists for the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Now through April 13, IMLS is asking the people who have been impacted by the Digital Heritage Center to share their stories. If you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us or share via social media by tagging us on Facebook (@NC Digital Heritage Center) or on Twitter (@ncdhc).

Today’s story comes from Sharon Stack, Library Director at Mauney Memorial Library in Kings Mountain. We have worked with Mauney to digitize a variety of materials, including an H. Lee Waters film of Kings Mountain in 1942 (shown below). Even more, we have enjoyed partnering with them as they expand their own digitization capacity through an LSTA grant joint project with the Kings Mountain Historical Museum. Sharon shared these thoughts in support of our Medal application and we reshare them today with her permission.

Two men and two women seated on the ground, with their legs crossed at the ankles and feet towards the camera.

Kings Mountain High School Students from the 1953 yearbook, courtesy Mauney Memorial Library.

Unique. Special. Important.
Tucked away. Forgotten. Inaccessible.

For the Mauney Memorial Library and the Kings Mountain Historical Museum, those words describe the archival and museum holdings of our respective collections. The NC Digital Heritage Center has been a lifeboat for these collections. Our partnership is simple. When staff are traveling near Chapel Hill, NC we 
take our collections and have the Center digitize and publish them. Now, years later, collectively we have built a body of work that is reaching critical mass. With funding from an LSTA grant, we are working with the Center to host the museum and library’s photography collection. This will give Kings Mountain and North Carolina residents’ unprecedented access to the library and museum’s holdings. These materials are helping us to weave a digital story to entice and engage residents to learn more about their hometown and the fundamentals of its soul and the people and events that created it. It is an honor to write this letter of recommendation for the IMLS National Medal on behalf of NC Digital Heritage Center. Lisa Gregory and her staff take very complex processes and make it easy for the professional working in the field to digitize and publish collections. They are easy to work with, accessible for questions, and technical expertise. They go the extra mile to finding solutions to make materials available electronically. This depth of service is what sets the NC Digital Heritage Center apart. For a small town North Carolina library and museum, the Center helps us to make our collections: 

Unique. Special. Important.
Findable. Memorable. Accessible.

The NC Digital Heritage Center is deserving of this recognition of the best at work in libraries and museums today.

Gaston Club Yearbooks and Newspapers Now Online Courtesy of Gaston County Public Library

Page 4 from the July 28, 1950 issue of Mount Holly News.

The cover of the Gastonia Music Club’s 1942-1943 yearbook.

A batch of new materials from our partner, Gaston County Public Library, is now available on DigitalNC. The new materials include club yearbooks, high school yearbooks, selections from the newspaper Mount Holly News, and informational pamphlets and programs.

The club yearbooks include yearbooks from the Gastonia Women’s Club from the 1920s through the 1960s as well as a yearbook for the Gastonia Music Club, and the Gaston County Medical Society. Other booklets include a program for the 1945 Annual Horse Show, the Lions Club Thirtieth Anniversary Program, and a Gaston Memorial Hospital Informational Booklet.

Selections from the paper Mount Holly News come from a commemorative bound volume created in 1970, and includes a few pages of each issue of Mount Holly News from 1950. The selected pages tend to include the issue’s front page and “Women’s Activities” section.

Yearbooks from the 1960s at schools such as Dallas High School, Mount Holly High School, Highland High School, and Hunter Huss High School are now available as well.

To see more materials from our partner, Gaston County Public Library, check out their DigitalNC partner page, or take a look at their website.