Viewing entries posted in September 2018

Beer History in North Carolina Newspapers

Advertising for alcoholic beverages is far from new – ads promoting the perceived benefits and refreshment of beer go back quite a ways. In honor of National Drink Beer Day, we bring you beer trivia and ads from North Carolina newspapers. Raise a glass and enjoy!

  • They were importing London Lager to North Carolina as early as 1801. From the Wilmington Gazette
  • Go local! This 1860 ad is for a well-known area brewery, the Menzler brewery, near Charlotte. From the Western Democrat.
  • The Menzler brewery wanted to cater your party – 30 gallons available! From the Western Democrat.
  • 1888 saw 6 breweries erected in North Carolina. From the Wilson Advance.
  • This 1906 beer advertisement promises good health if you drink their pure beer. From the Hickory Democrat.
  • In 1936 beer ads were still promising health benefits – Schlitz is a glass of sunshine with Vitamin D. From The Enterprise.
  • Prohibitionists often used newspapers to persuade the public, like they did with this ad from the 1940s calling on voters to reject legalization of alcohol sales in Jackson County. From The Sylva Herald.
  • Promising comfort during outdoor adventures, legal sale of beer was deemed as the progressive standpoint in this 1961 ad. From The Duplin Times.

The Carolina Journal, UNC-Charlotte’s student newspaper, is now available on DigitalNC

Over 100 issues of The Carolina Journal, the student newspaper published by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, are now available on DigitalNC, thanks to our partnership with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Spanning from 1965 to 1969, the student paper covers activities on and off campus.

The first issue of The Carolina Journal was published on September 7, 1965, just nine months after the college merged into the Consolidated University of North Carolina. The paper marked that transition period by documenting many of the changes on campus, including announcing new faculty members, the addition of intramural sports, and changes to rules and regulations. Early issues pay particular attention to the possibility of adding an honor code on campus.

"Students Pass Honor Code Amendment," November 3, 1965

“Students Pass Honor Code Amendment,” November 3, 1965




The paper grew as the semesters changed, and was eventually regularly published weekly, documenting significant events on and off campus. For example, in December 1966, the school voted to change the mascot, and several of the following issues discussed the possible outcome of that decision. Over the next several months, several bodies on campus narrowed the list of options to three: the Forty-Niners, the Chargers, or the Cougars. Hurdles for this process included a fraudulent voter (detailed in the March 8, 1967 issue) and very strong opinions about the options. The tumult was eventually resolved and the mascot stayed the same


"49er Dumped As Mascot Name," December 14, 1966

“49er Dumped As Mascot Name,” December 14, 1966

When national figures visited campus, they were featured in the paper. Stokely Carmichael visited in December 1968, and The Carolina Journal included a section in its newspaper with various photos from the event. According to the issue, the event hosted hundreds of students, and “Carmichael was greeted by raised clinched fists from the black contingent, moderate applause from the white audience, and several scattered boo’s.”

"Stokely Raps Whites, Plays Verbal Games with Audience," December 18, 1968

“Stokely Raps Whites, Plays Verbal Games with Audience,” December 18, 1968

To see more from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, visit their partner page here or their website for more information.

Additional issues of The Gastonia Gazette are online now at DigitalNC

Front page of the June 25, 1896 issue of The Gastonia Gazette

Front page of the June 25, 1896 issue of The Gastonia Gazette

Issues of The Gastonia Gazette from 1895 to 1904 have recently been transferred from microfilm to be available on DigitalNC for you to peruse. Thanks to this addition, our digital holdings for this title now span from 1893 to 1909.

The paper, “devoted to the protection of home and the interests of the county,” covers news from Gaston County and beyond. It features stories about individuals, administrative developments, local industry, and events of interest throughout the county (but particularly in Gastonia).

These issues are an addition to an already significant amount of materials from Gaston County, including many other newspaper titles from Gastonia.

Over 400 more issues of the Charlotte Post Now Available on DigitalNC

The front page for the Charlotte Post in April 1984, with a huge variety of topics on display

More issues of the Charlotte Post, from January 1980 to December 1987, are now online at DigitalNC, courtesy of Johnson C. Smith University. This new batch of over 420 issues joins an additional 400 issues of the Charlotte Post that stretches from 1971 into 1996. Founded in 1878 as a weekly publication, it is still published today and services the residents of Charlotte as “The Voice of the Black Community.”

Looking through these papers, it is easy to see why the Charlotte Post has become such an enduring institution. In nearly every paper, the Post covers local politics, national news, local events of note and more. For example, on the front page of the April 1984 paper shown above, there are articles on a new City-County Government Center to be constructed, travel records for highway patrol officials, holiday plans for local churches, an interview with the 1984 Delta Sigma Theta sorority debutante, and more.

An article in July 1987 highlighting the number of Black candidates running for office that fall.

This new batch gives us a more complete picture of the important issues that the Charlotte Post has covered in the past as an important fixture for Charlotte’s minority community. To learn more about Johnson C. Smith University, visit their partner page or their website.

The Laurinburg Exchange Now Digitized and Available Online at DigitalNC

The front page of the Laurinburg Exchange, dated April 1916. Topics include the local County Commencement, Passion Week and the local churches, and debate teams from local schools competing in Chapel Hill.

61 issues of The Laurinburg Exchange have been newly digitized and added to DigitalNC. These are the first issues from The Laurinburg Exchange to be added to our collection, covering dates and issues from August 1889 to December 1926. Published since 1882, The Laurinburg Exchange serves the readers of Laurinburg and Scotland County to this day. The Exchange joins two other newspapers in our collection that cover Scotland County: the student newspapers for Presbyterian Junior College and St. Andrews University.

A reading list for local high school students for the years 1924-1925.

Looking through these newspapers, many of the articles are about local issues concerning the citizens and residents of Scotland County. Municipal issues, like elections and political developments, were written about especially often. Some news from throughout the state was also posted in the Exchange. However, its coverage was mostly focused on local issues – at any moment, the paper might have been notifying residents of changes in their courts or new stocked items in local businesses, or for example, warning residents about a local fever outbreak. In the photo on the right, the Exchange published a list of required books and associated course prices for local high schoolers.

Adding The Laurinburg Exchange to our collection represents a new wealth of knowledge about the lives of ordinary North Carolinians at the turn of the 20th century.

Rare issue of Bessemer City Messenger now on DigitalNC

Front page of the Bessemer City Messenger, dated May 25, 1895.

An issue of the Bessemer City Messenger has been newly digitized and added to DigitalNC. The issue is date May 25, 1895, making the Messenger one of the oldest newspapers we have on file. Unfortunately, not much else is known about this newspaper, including when it began or when it ended. This 1895 issue is only the second instance of the Messenger being preserved to this day. The only other copy of any issue known to exist is an 1892 edition held in the State Library of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.


Published out of Bessemer City, the Messenger served the residents of Gaston County during its circulation. Its articles take a distinctly Populist stance, celebrating Populist Party victories throughout the country in the early 1890s, while also arguing for greater distribution of wealth among workers and increased living conditions for children and women. A number of articles are also dedicated to trade protection, wheat production, manufacturing, and tariffs. For example, the article on the right is dedicated to the rapid expansion of cotton production mills in the South, with North Carolina being a particular spot for growth. While there were some notices of local events and local news among Gaston County and nearby towns in Cleveland County, the majority of this paper’s articles were dedicated to national or international events, creating an interesting dynamic when compared to other North Carolina papers of the time on our site. 


Having the Bessemer City Messenger added to our collection is an invaluable resource when it comes to learning about the lives of North Carolinians in the late 1800s. 

Labor Day in North Carolina

In 1894, Congress passed into federal law the national observance of Labor Day, a day of “rest and recreation” for the “laboring man” to reinforce his “honorable as well as useful place in the body politic.” Twenty-three states (North Carolina not among them) had already been celebrating a “labor day” in the years preceding 1894, and the tradition garnered enough Congressional attention to rise to the level of a federal holiday.

Because this tradition wasn’t broadly adopted in North Carolina until it became a federal holiday, most mentions in the state’s newspapers preceding 1894 report on other states’ celebrations like this clipping from the September 5, 1888 Daily Review out of Wilmington which warns of “red-handed and black-hearted Anarchists.”

"Monday was Labor Day in the North, East, and West."

From the Wilmington NC Daily Review

While we don’t see them as much today, parades were a near requirement of early Labor Days, with labor organizations creating floats and marching in celebration. The closing of businesses and a rest from all kinds of work were also a requirement. When North Carolina newspapers start mentioning the observance of Labor Day, there’s another recurring theme: Barbecue. One of the earliest examples we could locate, from 1907, talks about “a big barbecue and brunswick stew” served up at the fairgrounds in Raleigh.

From the Smithfield Herald

Barbecue (frequently FREE barbecue) continues to be mentioned as part of the main event. In 1912 Spencer had a “big barbecue” and a “big parade,” along with games, races, fireworks, and “a demonstration in motor plowing.”

Newspaper clipping about Labor Day celebrations in 1912

From the Mebane Leader

We hope you’re celebrating Labor Day by resting from work and enjoying delicious barbecue or the North Carolina delicacy of your choice!

Newspaper clipping of an advertisement for a Labor Day Barbecue

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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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