Viewing entries posted in April 2018

New Batch of Course Catalogs from Johnson C. Smith University

Image from the cover of the 2006-2007 JCSU catalog.

Cover of the 1994-1995 JCSU catalog.

A new batch of catalogs from Johnson C. Smith University is now available on DigitalNC. Johnson C. Smith University is a historically Black four-year research university located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was established in 1867 as Biddle Memorial Institute but changed its name to Biddle University in 1876, and to Johnson C. Smith University in 1923. Currently JCSU serves over 1,600 students and offers 24 different undergraduate degree programs and a graduate Master of Social Work degree program.

Catalogs in this batch cover two spans of time. The first run of catalogs covers 1878-1909 when the school was Biddle University. The more recent run covers JCSU from 1964-2009. School catalogs include course offerings as well as information such as academic schedules, school history, and more. These newly digitized catalogs join previously digitized JCSU catalogs and bulletins from the 1920s-1960s.

In addition to these catalogs, make sure to take a look at other materials from JCSU including yearbooks and maps. To learn more about Johnson C. Smith University, visit their DigitalNC partner page or their website.

Brand New Issues of the Roxboro Courier Now Online at DigitalNC

A December 1935 article about President FDR’s visit to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Eight more years and over 300 issues of the Roxboro Courier are now available, courtesy of our partner, the Person County Public Library. Previously, our collection only held issues dating from 1922-1927, but this expands our collection to include issues to 1935. The paper itself has a storied history, changing its name several times since it started as the Courier. Later on, in 1943, its name changed again, when it consolidated with the Person County-Times to become The Courier-Times, which still runs today.

The Courier has a large number of national and international headlines, reflecting its tagline of “Home First, Abroad Next”. Locally, the Courier mentions political developments and elections, bonds and public votes, and news about local residents, including birth and death announcements. Nationally, the Courier followed important stories, including news about Presidential elections and what politicians were doing, and what news was happening around the country. On occasion, international news also made the Courier, as in the example on the right, when Italy’s Premier Benito Mussolini invaded and occupied Ethopia.

To browse through other materials from the Person County Public Library, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.

Van Eeden books now online

Van Eeden pamphlet published in 1913
Yesterday, on April 18, a new historical marker was unveiled in Pender County honoring the farming community of Van Eeden.  Van Eeden was located north of Burgaw and was owned by Hugh MacRae, who tried to start a farm colony with Dutch settlers there in the early 1900s that was named for Frederik Van Eeden, a Dutch psychiatrist and author, who helped MacRae recruit Dutch immigrants.

We digitized a pamphlet that was put out in the Netherlands to promote the colony in 1913.  The pamphlet is in Dutch and English.

The colony was not very successful, but in the late 1930s, it fulfilled a new purpose.  Alvin Johnson, the founder of the New School in New York, was working hard to bring as many Jewish refugees from Germany as possible, but was having difficulty working through the rules of the State Department.  He found a loophole in the law though; there was no quota on those who came as farm workers.  Working with MacRae, Johnson brought several Jewish families to Van Eeden to escape the Nazis.  Susan Block wrote a book about the experience of those families who came from Germany and adjusting to life on a farm in eastern North Carolina titled Van Eeden, which we digitized as well.  

To learn more about our partner Pender County Public Library, visit their partner page.  And to learn more about Van Eeden, visit the great libguide built by Pender County Public Library.  

Over 600 Issues of the Mount Airy News Now Online at DigitalNC

A May 1926 edition of the Mount Airy News. Articles include a local citizen celebrating their 90th birthday and information about Mount Airy High School

Twelve years and over 600 issues of the Mount Airy News have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Surry Community College. These scans are brand new, with DigitalNC now containing March 1917 through September 1929. While the Mount Airy News is now published six days a week, the newspaper was only published once a week at this point in time. The Mount Airy News services Mount Airy and Surry County, and joins fellow Surry County newspapers including the Chatham Blanketeer and the Elkin Tribune.

An article announcing a meeting between NC Governor Morrison and VA Governor Trinkle

Looking through the Mount Airy News today, we can learn a lot about what concerned the people of Surry County nearly a hundred years ago. In one October, 1922 issue, the main headline was a meeting between North Carolina Governor Cameron Morrison and Virginia Governor Elbert Lee Trinkle to talk about building roads between Mount Airy and the nearby towns of Sparta, NC, and Stuart, VA, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Mount Airy. Looking through the pages, we can see praise for local teachers and school board members, an article about local farmers joining a cooperative association, and an editorial piece denouncing women who are uninformed voters, when they recently earned the right to suffrage.

Reading these articles gives us an idea of what life was like in Surry County and Mount Airy at the time, and it is invaluable to us. To browse through other materials from Surry Community College, take a look at their partner page, or check out their website.

Feel Good Friday: Partners, Colleagues, and Fans Talk About the Digital Heritage Center’s Impact

We’re sending out gratitude to all of our partners, colleagues, and fans, who helped celebrate our selection as a National Medal for Museum and Library Service finalist. We’ve pulled together all of the stories in blog posts, and a selection of tweets are showcased below.

Medal winners will be announced in late April. Regardless of outcome, we’re part of a strong community and look forward to more partnerships, collaborations, and creative ideas that increase access to North Carolina’s cultural heritage.


A Visit from Wayne County Public Library

A few weeks ago, our partner Wayne County Public Library brought three over-sized materials for us to scan here at the NCDHC while they waited.  The items were a beautiful map of Goldsboro from 1881, and two posters related the building campaign for a memorial building in honor of those from Wayne County who died in World War I.  

1881 map of Goldsboro, NC

While we scanned these items, folks from UNC Communications stopped by to see us in action.  You can see the footage they shot of our scanning processes here.

Learn more about our partner Wayne County Public Library on their partner page, or on the Wayne County Public Library website.

Partners Share Their Stories: Watauga County Public Library in Boone

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 Ross Cooper, Adult Services and Reference Librarian at Watauga County Public Library. We’ve worked with Watauga County Public Library to digitize a wide variety of photographs from their “Historic Boone” collection. They have steadily increased their local capacity for digitization and now make collections available to a broader audience at Digital Watauga.

Close up of around 30 boys and girls of elementary school age in a group, all facing the camera

Boone Elementary School Students, 1913 (Detail), Shared by Watauga County Public Library

“As a Reference Librarian at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone, North Carolina, I was fortunate to have been present when, with the help of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, our institution became first involved with historic preservation and digitization. A local group called Historic Boone wished to bequeath the historic images which their group had gathered, described, and cared for over several decades into the caretaking of our library, some ten years ago. Our then-County Librarian accepted the items and made a space for them. I was privileged at about the same time to attend a North Carolina Library Association annual conference presentation in which Nick Graham and Lisa Gregory of the University of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina presented on the ways that small public libraries and other institutions with limited resources might take some small steps towards preservation, scanning, and digitized sharing of materials within their collections which hold historical significance. This led us to a few small first attempts, including a blog-format web site with a few, piecemeal, scanned images. The offer of off-site digitization by the NC Digital Heritage Center which was additionally presented at this conference eventually led our library to transport the entire photograph archives of the Historic Boone society to the University of North Carolina to be digitized and shared online via

“The wide-spread community interest engendered by this undertaking and by the readily-accessible web presence was followed by the successful application by our new Regional Director for an EZ Digitization grant funded by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The NC Digital Heritage Center provided invaluable support, advice, and encouragement as we used this generous funding opportunity to purchase scanning and computing equipment and to fund a year-long temporary part-time position for a digitization technician. Our community was fortunate at this time to have a historian, Dr. Eric Plaag, move to our area and immediately begin actively and tirelessly working with our town, our library, and the local historical society on a number of projects involving preservation and dissemination of historical material. With his generously-volunteered expert advice, the steps which we had undertaken thanks to the NC Digital Heritage Center have now taken root and grown into a locally-based initiative, Digital Watauga, which is a cooperative venture between the Watauga County Historical Society and the Watauga County Public Library. Other local organizations, including the Junaluska Heritage Association, representing our county’s oldest historically African American community, and numerous interested individuals, have contributed to making this new and growing effort a success, on behalf of all of our area’s people. It was only through the expertise, assistance, and support of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center that any of this work ‘left the ground’! As just one small portion – perhaps the small, rugged, mountainous, Northwestern portion – of the vast array of resources which have been preserved and shared by NC Digital heritage – the strides which we have made in saving and sharing our local history are a testament to the greater work which this institution has done throughout our state, an effort which extends far beyond our local area and our state’s boundaries. I cannot highly enough express my appreciation, personally and as a community member, and I sincerely and heartily endorse the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center as a perfect exemplar of the ideas and ideals which are recognized by the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service.”

Nearly Twenty More Years of the Warren Record Now Available on DigitalNC

A 1986 article about a rise in black bear sightings in Warren County

Nearly twenty years and over 600 issues of the Warren Record have been newly digitized on DigitalNC. While our collection previously only included issues from the years 1929-1938 and from 1959-1970, this new addition includes over a dozen years stretching from 1970 to 1989, which helps our collection become that much closer to being complete. Published since 1896, the Warren Record is a weekly newspaper that serves the readers in Warrenton and Warren County, NC. Many of the articles include local news concerning citizens or Warren County. For example, the 1986 article above was about the alarming increase in black bear sightings in Warren County and advice for readers about what to do in case they see one.

A 1970 article about the changing census in Warrenton from 1960 to 1970.

Many articles written in this time period were about other municipal issues, like elections, political developments, and census data. In the August 1970 article on the left, the Record announced that Warrenton’s population had dropped 7%, from 1124 residents in 1960 to 1046 ten years later. Warren County’s population also heavily dropped that decade, with its 22% drop being the largest on a percentage basis of any county in the state.

A 1989 article about the advent of cable television coming to Warrenton and Norlina.

Other articles were simply about local developments that could interest residents of Warren County. In the May 1989 article on the right, the Record announced that Warrenton and Norlina would be receiving cable television within the next year. People living in nearby Henderson already had cable, and the same company would be rolling out 12 channels to customers at a cost of $8 per month, with an extra dollar for every additional television.

To browse through other materials from the Warren County Memorial Library, visit their partner page or visit their website here.


Partners Share Their Stories: UNC Charlotte

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 Dawn Schmitz, Associate Dean for Special Collections & University Archives at UNC Charlotte. We’ve worked with UNC Charlotte to digitize campus publications as well as, most recently, Q-Notes (mentioned and linked below). They have their own robust and growing digital collections site, which includes among other things motorsports photographs, papers documenting key figures in Charlotte history, and oral histories. Dawn’s comments are shared here today with permission.

Article text with rainbow colored picture of Charlotte skyline.

Front page article from the April 26, 2003 issue of Q-Notes.

“For several years, Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte has been working with partners in the Charlotte LGBTQ community to preserve and share their history. In 2015, Jim Yarbrough’s Pride Publishing agreed to donate to the library the entire run of Q-Notes, their high-quality and groundbreaking newspaper. We assured Jim we would do everything possible to have it digitized for the benefit of the Q-Notes staff and the entire community. But in the ensuing years, we found we were not able to raise the funding and did not have the staff to do the project in-house. We worried that we would let down the community that put their trust in us. Then, last year, NCDHC came to the rescue! When their call went out for collections to digitize that document traditionally underrepresented communities in our state, I answered it immediately to nominate Q-Notes. I think the answer “yes” came back  within 5 minutes! The digitization started right away, beginning with the first issue in 1986, when Q-Notes began publishing. As of this writing, nearly all issues have been digitized and made available on DigitalNC. Q-Notes frequently blogs to update readers as more issues have been digitized, and NCDHC has also written fabulous blog posts about Q-Notes that really capture its value for LGBTQ history. We are thrilled that this resource is being provided to the community open access, and we are so grateful to both NCDHC and Pride Publishing for making this possible. Too often, valuable resources such as Q-Notes end up behind paywalls and are essentially available only to a limited academic readership. And while Q-Notes is a treasure-trove for scholarly research about Southern queer history, it’s also vital to the broader community’s understanding of its past, including LGBTQ youth. We appreciate NCDHC and congratulate them on a well-deserved nomination for this prestigious award!”

Partners Share Their Stories: Ocracoke Preservation Society’s Past President

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 Philip Howard, past president of the Ocracoke Preservation Society. The materials we’ve worked with OPS to digitize have helped the Society’s ongoing efforts at historic preservation. 

Page includes the text "Have Fun! Fish! Hunt! Sail! Swim! Camp! Ride! Dance! Eat! Sleep! Relax!" along with photographs of people engaging in fishing and other oceanside activities.

“As a chronicler of Ocracoke Island history [through his blog and newsletter] and one of the founders and a past president of the Ocracoke Preservation Society,  I am acutely aware of the importance of access to historic documents for research. The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has digitized and placed on their web site numerous letters, brochures, booklets, photographs, and newspaper articles relevant to Ocracoke Island. These important documents are now readily available for anyone interested in Ocracoke’s history. In addition to being used in research for magazine & newspaper articles and books, they have played an important role in providing supporting documentation for the preservation of several homes and other significant structures in Ocracoke’s historic district.

One specific effort is the Society’s work on behalf of the Island Inn. A local group is hoping to purchase the property to protect it for the future and open it up for community use. Resources digitized and available on have helped them document that building’s known and hidden history.

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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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