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.

RSS Subscribe By Mail UNC Social Media Statement

Viewing entries posted in February 2019

Over 150 photos from the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History now online at DigitalNC

NC Granite workers

Workers atop a large piece of granite at the North Carolina Granite Corporation

A new batch of over 150 photos from the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is now online at DigitalNC. The photos document the operations of the North Carolina Granite Corporation of Mount Airy, NC roughly between 1900 and 1970. The NCGC, which operates what has been recognized as the largest open-faced granite quarry in the world, was founded over 125 years ago. Most of the photos originate in the period during which John Davis Sargent served as the superintendent and later president of the company (1910-1945). He is present in many of the depicted scenes.


The newly digitized images fall into four major categories: quarry operations, aerial views, quarry personnel, and building projects. Perhaps the most striking of the four are the aerial photos, which give one a sense of the scale of operations at the NCGC.

NC Granite Aerial

Aerial view of the North Carolina Granite Corporation, circa 1915-1945

The personnel and operations photographs are fascinating as well, for they allow one a glimpse into the backbreaking and dusty world of stonework during early 20th century.

NC Granite workers

Quarry workers at the North Carolina Granite Corporation

The NCGC constituted an important source of white granite in the Eastern US throughout the 20th century and the stone produced at the Mount Airy quarry can be seen in countless buildings and monuments in the area. Some prominent examples include Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, NC (pictured below), the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the Arlington Memorial Bridge, which bridges the Potomac River between Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia. Many houses, churches, monuments, and municipal buildings across North Carolina also feature Mount Airy granite, photos of which constitute a major portion of those now online at DigitalNC.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

For more information, please see the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History website or visit their contributor page here at DigitalNC. 

Nike Missile Program materials from Alamance County Public Libraries now available online at DigitalNC

Nike Missile Pamphlet

Nike Missile Program pamphlet

Interested in Cold War history?

A new batch of materials from Alamance County Public Libraries (ACPL) is now online at DigitalNC. The materials, which include several publicity scrapbooks, three photo albums, and a collection of loose photographs, detail the Western Electric Company’s involvement in the US Army’s Nike Missile Program during the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout that period, the Western Electric Company manufactured guidance equipment for the Nike missiles, which were part of a large anti-ICBM defense network then under development by the US Military. The company operated a major manufacturing facility in Burlington, NC, a plant that features heavily in the ACPL materials. In 2016, the old plant was officially listed as part of the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service.

White Sands 1952

WE equipment at White Sands Missile Range, NM, 1952

The scrapbooks were donated to ACPL by longtime Western Electric employee Raymond Donnell (1921-2002) and include a wealth of press clippings, memos, and photographs concerning the Tarheel Army Missile Plant in Burlington, NC and Western Electric’s missile-related activities in general.  Many of the clippings relate to the political battles surrounding the Nike Program and the program’s effects on Burlington and the surrounding area.

BTN Headline January 30 1954

Burlington Times News, January 30, 1954

The photographic materials relate both to Western Electric’s production of missile guidance equipment and the US Military’s use of it. Many of the photographs provide views of the working environment at the Tarheel Army Missile Plant during 1953, while the three albums detail various tests at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and facilities at the Kwajalein Pacific Missile Test Range.

We Workers 1953 Tarheel

Workers at the Tarheel Army Missile Plant, 1953

The newly digitized materials are an addition to the considerable amount of ACPL materials already online at DigitalNC. Visit ACPL’s DigitalNC partner page here or head to their website for more information.


19th Century Business Ledgers and Scrapbook from the Cumberland County Public Library now online at DigitalNC

Cumberland Ledger 1873

Cover of a ledger/scrapbook from the Cumberland County Public Library, 1873-1875

A trio of nineteenth-century business ledgers from the Cumberland County Public Library are now online at DigitalNC. The ledgers date from the 1830s, the 1850s, and the 1870s, respectively, and can help teach us more about the daily lives of North Carolinians during the nineteenth century. Particularly interesting is the first ledger, which dates from 1832-1834 and documents the business dealings of the merchants Womack and Goodwin in Pittsboro. Operating as general merchants, the firm served the local community with wares ranging from lace, to nails, to sugar, and everything in between.

Pittsboro Ledger 1832

Page From the Womack and Goodwin Business Ledger, 1832

The second ledger dates from 1852 to 1854 and documents the transactions of an unidentified merchant who conducted business in Cumberland County, Randolph County, and elsewhere. It includes transactions with several prominent Randolph County personalities, including Isaac Holt Faust (1818-1864), a wealthy estate owner who enslaved people, and Pinckney Davenport II (1811-1867), a local moonshine distiller. A selection of papers from the family of Foust’s daughter can be found in the Harris and Foust Family Papers, part of the Southern Historical collection at UNC’s Wilson Library.

Isaac Holt Foust Account 1853

Isaac Holt Foust Account in the 1852-1856 Ledger

The third ledger includes more account information, attributable either to one JB Hockaday or one NA Stedman Jr. of Fayetteville, and dates from 1873-1875. The first 21 pages of this ledge are pasted over with unidentified drawings and newspaper clippings, mainly consisting of prose and poetry.

For more materials from the Cumberland County Public Library, please visit their website or their contributor page here at DigitalNC.

Issues of The Charlotte Post from 1996 and 1997 are available

Cover page from December 5, 1996

Cover page from December 5, 1996

Even more issues of The Charlotte Post are available on DigitalNC now, these ones dating from 1996 and 1997. They add to an already sizable collection extending from 1930 to 1996. These 25 latest issues continue the themes of the previous decades, sharing news from the African American communities in and around Charlotte, North Carolina.

This latest batch of The Charlotte Post continues with great coverage of local, national, and even international news. Issues share news about businesses, celebrities, politics, sports, cars, entertainment, and many more.

"Black church's history at Afro Center," September 12, 1996

“Black church’s history at Afro Center,” September 12, 1996

"Jordan pitching cologne," October 3, 1996

“Jordan pitching cologne,” October 3, 1996

"And justice for all," April 17, 1997

“And justice for all,” April 17, 1997

These issues are available thanks to our partners at Johnson C. Smith University. You can view these and other issues of The Charlotte Post here. To learn more about Johnson C. Smith University, click here, or visit their partner page here.

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.

Five women seated on a float that says "A growing flame in the Charlotte Communi[ty]"

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

nurses seated at desks miming brushing teeth

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 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 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! 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, but you can try it out here. If you run into any challenges or have any positive feedback, please drop us a line at 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.

group portrait with two people in back wearing suits, and three people in front, two in dresses and one in a suit

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.