Viewing entries posted in December 2022

Ads From Sylva’s “The Ruralite” in 1932 Show Some Familiar Products

A newspaper ad for Velveeta cheese with an illustration of a Velveeta blockWhat year would you guess Velveeta cheese was invented? The answer: 1918—making it 104 years old. It was bought by Kraft Foods Inc. in 1927, and that’s how we came to see this advertisement in the February 23, 1932 issue of The Ruralite from Sylva, N.C. This issue is one of the many from a batch of papers that was just uploaded to our site thanks to the Jackson County Public Library. This batch contains issues from 1926-1935—a great time period for newspaper advertising, apparently.

While Velveeta cheese (or, technically, “pasteurized prepared cheese product”) almost seems anachronistic for 1932, it isn’t the only familiar item advertised in the pages of The Ruralite. Since we’re in cold and flu season, you may be considering a trip to the drug store for a little medicine—and you might even buy the same item as your parents or grandparents.

A newspaper ad for Vick's with an illustration of a woman putting medicine underneath her nose with a dropper.It’s unclear whether today’s VapoRub is the same as 1935’s Va-tro-nol, but the cost of Vicks has certainly changed over the past 87 years. And medicine isn’t the only product that has gotten pricier; a list of goods from Sylva Supply Company, Inc. from 1932 lists “Kellog’s” corn flakes for $0.15/two boxes, Gerber’s “strained fruits and vegetables” for $0.11/can, and bath towels for $0.09 each.

There are also advertisements for Bayer aspirin and Camel cigarettes (of course). While it has changed media, perhaps advertising retains some of the characteristics it had in the 1930s.

You can see all of our digital issues of The Ruralite here or browse our North Carolina Newspapers collection by location, type, and date. To see more materials from the Jackson County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Additional Issues of Local Newspapers Available – Plus, A New Title!

Newspaper clipping, Caswell Messenger, 1926

Thanks to our partner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, new issues from five North Carolina newspapers are available on our website. These include:

There are also new issues of Oxford Public Ledger, curtesy of our partner Granville County Public Library, and The Yadkin Ripple, thanks to Yadkin County Public Library.

To browse all of our newspapers by location, date, and type, take a look at our North Carolina Newspapers collection.


Videos Offer Glimpse of Old Washington, Including Now-Demolished Patrician Inn

A marching band parading down the street in Washington, N.C., with large crowds on either side.A batch of four videos of Washington, N.C. has been added to our collection thanks to our partner, the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library. Two of the videos, which are silent but in color, show footage of Washington from 1939, including notable buildings, Warren airport, boats on the water, and tulips in bloom. They also have footage of the Tulip Festival parade, which features floats, marching bands, and several excellent costumes. Since the annual festival is no longer celebrated, these videos give us an idea of what it looked like in its most popular era.

An old-fashion sign reading "The Patrician Inn"

Speaking of bygone Washington cultural touchstones, the other two videos focus on the Patrician Inn, a popular place to stay founded by the Pickle family. One video offers a tour of the rooms, which feature several antiques and items of unique furniture. The second video provides some context to the inn’s collection in an interview with Mrs. Ellen Vincent Pickles and Emily Pickles Williams. Although the camera operator takes some artistic liberties that we probably wouldn’t see today, we do get even more footage of the treasures in the room as Mrs. Pickles tells some of her stories. 

Since the Patrician Inn has since been converted to a parking lot, we will probably never encounter the subject of one of her most intriguing stories: the ghost(s) that haunted the inn (4:47). Mrs. Pickles tells the story of a couple of guests who claimed to have seen “the most beautiful ghost that [they’d] ever seen in [their] life,” who was apparently wearing a “white wig and a blue satin jacket” and “silver buckles.” This was not the ghost that Mrs. Pickles was familiar with; her usual ghost was named Paul Bregal (spelling unclear), and he liked to snuff out her candles on the end of the mantle. He, apparently, did not wear such finery, and he usually lived in a closet rather than a guest room.

You can watch all of the videos here or explore our North Carolina Sights and Sounds collection. To see more from the Brown Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Materials From NCCU Include Student Boycott Papers, Hillside High School Memorabilia, and More

A group of three students gathered around their advisor, seated, all looking at a piece of paper.

Ex Umbra Editorial Conference [1965]

An exciting assortment of materials from our partner, North Carolina Central University, has just been added to our site! This batch includes several issues of the NCCU’s student newspaper The Campus Echo from 1970-2010, copies of the student literary magazine Ex Umbra, a university yearbook from 2011, men and women’s student handbooks, and some programs advertising the university and its departments. There are also several photographs of the Ex Umbra staff from the 1960s, as well as correspondence from the Student Government Association (SGA) boycott in 1970.

A white yearbook cover with a large, blue "72," a cartoon hornet, and the word "Hornet" written vertically.Along with materials about the university are materials from some of the historic Black high schools in Durham, especially Hillside High School. This batch has seven issues of the Hillside High School yearbook The Hornet (plus one yearbook from John R. Hawkins High School and two from the Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing). It also has several reunion programs and speeches, alumni directories, building and land records, a copy of the Hillside History Book, and two issues of the student newspaper The Hillside Chronicle. Though our partner did not have many issues of the Hillside High School student newspaper on file, we hope members of the community will be willing to contribute any issues they have saved to help make our digital collection more complete.

One especially exciting record from NCCU is the collection of boycott and student protest materials, which includes leaflets and a letter from a 1961 business boycott by the NAACP Youth Councils and College Chapters and correspondence from the 1970 SGA boycott. The 1961 boycott letter lists several recognizable stores that the NAACP YCCC successfully boycotted, and it makes an interesting mention of the role of race as an admission factor at Durham Academy. Separately, the demands of the SGA boycott (1970) are spelled out more clearly in this collection of correspondence between then-SGA President Phillip Henry and then-University President Albert Whiting. In the first document, students announce their intention to boycott classes until their “grievances and demands have been met to the satisfaction of the student body.” The organizers recommend the formation of a committee of students and faculty—where each have equal voting power—to implement solutions. For students looking for models of collective action and bargaining, these papers would be a good place to start.

A red and white cover with a majorette marching and a flag that reads, "Twenty-Seventh State Band Festival."In terms of high school materials, one unique item from this batch is the Twenty-Seventh State Band Festival Program from 1961. The festival welcomed bands to Fayetteville State Teachers College and recognized some of the band directors from around the state. Former and current band kids may appreciate the list of pieces approved for the 1962 festival as well as the (somewhat familiar) rating system below. 

You can see the full batch of photos, programs, and other documents here, and the full batch of yearbooks and literary magazines can be found here. You can also see all issues of the North Carolina Central University student newspaper here and all issues of the Hillside High School student newspaper here. To see all materials from NCCU, you can visit their partner page and their website.


50 Years Later, “Carteret County News-Times” Headlines Aren’t All That Different

Black-and-white photos of commercial streets flooded.Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like the problems of today are unique to our time and place, but this latest batch of the Carteret County News-Times (1960-1963) demonstrates that people have been working through similar problems for at least 50 years. One issue, from March 16, 1962, somehow touches on big storms flooding the area (and the difficulty of insuring coastal property), U.S. House elections, and redistricting—almost as if it were printed in 2022.

Luckily, no one died in the nor’easter that hit Morehead City and the rest of the coast in March 1962, but the storm did cause quite a bit of damage. A paper from the preceding week (March 2, 1962) pictures flooding along some of the commercial streets and describes buildings that were not up to code to withstand the storm. One commissioner reported that an insurance firm in New York abstained from insuring the area because of the building code problems. A week later, a headline reads (perhaps unsurprisingly): “Red Cross Says Best Way to Help Dare Is Give to Local Red Cross.”

Another front page story describes a bid for the 3rd Congressional District by Morehead City resident S.A. Chalk Jr. Chalk Jr. ran against incumbent David Henderson in the Democratic primary (though in a much different Democratic party than we think of today). He accused Henderson of voting for “policies that are bound to cause even further trouble,” saying, “He claims he’s conservative, but his voting records do not bear this out.” Chalk Jr. still lost the primary, apparently, as Henderson went on to represent the district until 1977.

Aside from the familiar arguments of House elections, the article also mentions that Harnett County was added to the district in 1960. And while the headlines haven’t changed much over the last 50 years, the list of counties included in the 3rd District certainly has. In 1962, the district included 10 counties: Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Harnett, Jones, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Sampson, and Wayne. In 2023, the district will expand and morph to contain parts of 15 counties: Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pitt (partly), Sampson, and Wayne (partly). For visual thinkers, an interactive map of NC’s congressional districts can be found here.

You can see the full batch of the Carteret County News-Times here and explore all of our digital newspapers in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. You can also explore more materials from the Carteret County Public Libraries on their partner page and their website.


Eight Decades of Roanoke’s “The Lost Colony” Programs Feature Some Familiar Faces

A collage of covers of the Lost Colony souvenir programs

Many North Carolinians are familiar with the story of the lost colony, a group of English colonists brought to modern-day North Carolina by Sir Walter Raleigh who mysteriously vanished. Perhaps fewer are familiar with the symphonic drama The Lost Colony, which has been performed in Manteo, N.C. since 1937. Thanks to our partnerships with Wilson Library at UNC Chapel Hill and the Roanoke Island Historical Association, we now have the souvenir programs (1937-2019) available on our site.

The Lost Colony, written by Paul Green, has been a cultural touchstone of the Outer Banks since the late thirties; several of our digitized newspapers from the area make references to it (you can read one blog post about The Nags Tale and another about The Dare County Times). Some sources say it is the longest running symphonic drama in the country.

A black-and-white headshot of actor Andy Griffith.A black-and-white headshot of Barbara Edwards Griffith.Of the many notable figures who have participated in the annual play season, one of the most recognizable and beloved is actor Andy Griffith. Griffith was born in Mount Airy, N.C. and acted in The Lost Colony for seven seasons (1947-1953), starring as Sir Walter Raleigh for the later five. He may have been the subject of one of the souvenir program’s best covers (1952), which is reused as a dedication to him in 2013 just after he died. In fact, Griffith is buried on Roanoke Island.

What makes these souvenir programs even more interesting is that Griffith’s first wife, Barbara Edwards, was also in a starring role of The Lost Colony for several years. She played Eleanor Dare, mother of Virginia Dare (famously said to be the first English child born in the Americas). Edwards Griffith was the first native North Carolinian to play the female lead and was “the most successful actress to portray the difficult role” thanks to her “excellent voice and splendid acting ability,” according to the 1953 program.

The two were married in 1949, one of the years when they co-starred in the play. They also both seem to have left the production at the same time after the 1953 season. Afterwards, they adopted two children and stayed together until 1972. During their relationship, in 1964, Edwards Griffith apparently appeared in one episode of The Andy Griffith Show as the character Sharon.

You can see the full collection of The Lost Colony souvenir programs here. To learn more about the Roanoke Island Historical Association, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Drama in the Classified Ads in the Latest Batch of Asheboro’s “The Courier”

A newspaper clipping of the banner above the classified ad section

More issues of Asheboro’s The Courier are now available on our site thanks to our partner, the Randolph County Public Library. The new issues, digitized from microfilm, range from 1925-1937. One of the ways that these issues give us a slice of life from Asheboro in the early 20th century is through their classified ad sections.

The classified ads in the February 28, 1929 issue of The Courier have an interesting overlap with the ones we might see in newspapers or online today. Some still seem relevant, like the one selling a hot water tank, the one advertising an auction of personal property (“Household and kitchen furniture, organ, bedsteads, mattresses, quilts, sewing machine, blankets, cooking utensils, and other things too tedious to mention”), or the one searching for a lost gold watch. Others seem like they have been mostly displaced by contemporary markets, like the one selling “Good old homemade Alabama can sugar syrup,” or the one advertising a stay at a private home for “Transient visitors to Washington, D.C.” And, like any good classified ad sections, there are the unexpected; one reads: “Will pay the highest cash prices for opossum, muskrat, mink and raccoon hides.” The intended use of the hides is unspecified.

A black-and-white photo of a farmer in overalls holding a cabbage plant

Marshall Hedrick holding a cabbage plant with 52 small heads that he found in his garden. He purchased Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage seeds, but the outcome led him to believe they were not that variety. (Catawba County, 1941)

The real star of this classified ad section, though, is cabbage. Five of the ads are for cabbage plants, including the two longest. This may be partly due to the time of year and the fact that these cabbage plants are apparently frost-proof; one reads, “Frost Proof Cabbage Plants, Early Jersey and Charleston, the kind you need to head early.” Another sounds similar: “FOR SALE—Front Proof Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage plants.” A more detailed one advertises, “Over 30 Acres Frostproof Cabbage Plants not pulled over yet to select from that has not been stunted much by cold and guaranteed to reach you alive and stand the cold in Randolph county.”

But the best ad by far takes a more narrative approach. R.O. Parks’ ad begins: “In 1910 I sowed half pound cabbage seed. People laughed at me. They said cabbage plants can’t be grown in Randolph county. They grew nicely and I have some fine plants.” He goes on, sticking it to his doubters, “Since them [sic] I have been growing plants with unusual success. I sow thousand pounds of seed each year. I grow sweet potato plants and tomato plants. I will have genuine purple top Porto Rico potato plants, the first ever offered in Randolph county, ready May 1st.”

R.O. Parks, despite the hate he got for his ambitious cabbage planting, does not hold a grudge against his potential buyers; he notes that his early tomato plants are “guaranteed to please” and that “If your plants get killed by cold I will replace free.”

You can read even more classified ads, as well as the rest of the news, in the full batch of issues of The Courier here. You can also explore our full collection of digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To see more materials from the Randolph County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Read Heartwarming Teacher Dedications in 19 More High School Yearbooks From McDowell County

Three back-and-white magazine covers that have been collaged with a photo of a person who won a yearbook superlative

Superlatives from the 1958 Tyshac; from left is Donald McKinney (most popular), Pauline Crisp (most studious), and Richard Buchanan (most likely to succeed). 

Nineteen yearbooks from eight high schools in McDowell County have been digitized by our partner, the McDowell County Public Library, and added to our site. The batch includes:

A black-and-white portrait photo of a smiling teacher with short, curly hair and black glasses

Margaret B. Norris, dedicatee of the 1967 Nushka

One delightful hallmark of yearbooks from this era is the dedication to a beloved teacher or administrator. One sweet example is the dedication to Margaret Norris (who has a little bit of a Meryl Streep look) at the beginning of the 1967 edition of The Nushka. It reads, “It would be impossible to estimate the number of ways in which she has made our days a little brighter, our paths a little easier to travel, and our lives a little more worthwhile.”

Another dedication from the 1969 Pioneer celebrates “our friend” and “a man unafraid to stand for right, even though he may stand alone,” Jack Kirstein. It reads, “Dedicated to making young people better citizens, he presents himself as a living example of the love, patience, and understanding human beings must have for one another.”

You can read more heartwarming dedications in the full batch of yearbooks, available here. You can also browse our full collection of high school yearbooks by school and year in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. To see more materials from the McDowell County Public Library, visit their partner page and their website.


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