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 April 2022


Over 30 Newspaper titles from Asheville, Raleigh, Maxton, and more!

Header from December, 1906 issue of Our Mountain Home from Asheville, N.C.

This week we have another 32 titles up on DigitalNC! Eleven of these papers are from Asheville, including a few with a focus on the organized labor movement.

When people think of North Carolina, unions aren’t typically the first thing that come to mind, which makes sense since the state has the second lowest union representation rate in the country at 2.6%, only beating South Carolina by about 1%. However, in the first half of the 20th century, the labor movement was alive and well, that is until North Carolina officially became a Right-To-Work state in 1947, greatly limiting the power of unions in the state. In the 1950s, the unionization rate was 9% and it has been on the decline ever since.

March 30, 1901 issue of The Workman from Asheville, detailing the Socialist Party of Asheville's platform

The Workman, March 30, 1901

Clipping from July 30, 1931 issue of The Asheville Banner providing a diplomatic stance on the organized labor movement

The Asheville Banner, July 30, 1931

Over the next year, we’ll be adding millions of newspaper images to DigitalNC. These images were originally digitized a number of years ago in a partnership with Newspapers.com. That project focused on scanning microfilmed papers published before 1923 held by the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Special Collections Library. While you can currently search all of those pre-1923 issues on Newspapers.com, over the next year we will also make them available in our newspaper database as well. This will allow you to search that content alongside the 2 million pages already on our site – all completely open access and free to use.

This week’s additions include:

  1. The Elkin Tribune (Elkin, N.C.) – 1914-1920
  2. The Progress (Enfield, N.C.) – 1922-1924
  3. The North Carolina Times (Louisburg, N.C.) – 1848
  4. The Monroe Enquirer (Monroe, N.C.) – 1909-1942
  5. The Morganton Herald (Morganton, N.C.) – 1889-1890
  6. Rocky Mount Mail (Rocky Mount, N.C.) – 1873-1876
  7. Person County Courier (Roxboro, N.C.) – 1887-1889
  8. Johnston Courier (Smithfield, N.C.) – 1878
  9. Madison County Record (Marshall, N.C.) – 1902-1910
  10. The French Broad News (Marshall, N.C.) – 1907-1911
  11. Law’s Lash (Moravian Falls, N.C.) – 1911-1914
  12. The Lash (Moravian Falls, N.C.) – 1914-1930
  13. The Murphy Advance (Murphy, N.C.) – 1889
  14. Murphy Bulletin (Murphy, N.C.) – 1886-1888
  15. Union and Scottish Chief (Maxton, N.C.) – 1892-1893
  16. Scottish Chief (Maxton, N.C.) – 1893-1894
  17. Maxton Scottish Chief (Maxton, N.C.) – 1894-1898
  18. Southern Illustrated Age (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1875
  19. North Carolina Christian Advocate (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1856-1861
  20. The Eclectic (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1892
  21. The Special Informer (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1892
  22. Anti-Saloon Advocate (Asheville, N.C.) – 1905
  23. The Freeman (Asheville, N.C.) – 1933
  24. Asheville Life (Asheville, N.C.) – 1930
  25. Asheville Herald (Asheville, N.C.) – 1933
  26. The Asheville Banner (Asheville, N.C.) – 1931
  27. The Good Roads Bulletin (Asheville, N.C.) – 1900
  28. The Workman (Asheville, N.C.) – 1901
  29. Our Mountain Home (Asheville, N.C.) – 1906
  30. The Church Advocate (Asheville, N.C.) – 1943
  31. Mountain Home-Journal (Asheville, N.C.) – 1891
  32. Western North Carolina Methodist (Asheville, N.C.) – 1891-1892

If you want to see all of the newspapers we have available on DigitalNC, you can find them here. Thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries for permission to and support for adding all of this content as well as the content to come. We also thank the North Caroliniana Society for providing funding to support staff working on this project.


Additional Trustees of Sandhills Community College Meeting Minutes Now Available on DigitalNC

The text on the image reads: the board of trustees of sandhills community college regular meeting minutes.

Thanks to our partner Sandhills Community College and funding from a North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) grant, minutes created by the Trustees of Sandhills Community College spanning from 1988 to 1996 are now available on our website. These meeting minutes cover various topics such as budgets, funding, hiring processes, new course offerings, personnel manuals, and more.

To learn more about Sandhills Community College, please visit their website.

To view more materials from community colleges around the state, please view our North Carolina Community Colleges Collection.


The Yadkin Ripple Newspaper Now Available On DigitalNC

The Yadkin Ripple header.

Thanks to funding from the State Library of North Carolina’s LSTA Grant and our partner Yadkin County Public Library, 1,204 issues spanning from 1893 to 1941 of The Yadkin Ripple are now available for viewing on our website. Starting with its first issue in 1892, The Yadkin Ripple has been publishing for over 130 years. While the paper includes national news stories, its main focus is the Yadkin community with articles on local events, community member accomplishments, weddings and deaths of community members, and other interesting articles related to the area such as murder mysteries.

In early January of 1934, The Yadkin Ripple published a story about Leoda “Oda” Mae Childress, a 20 year old woman living with foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Tilley, near Benham, North Carolina. On Saturday, December 30, 1933, the family was set to make their usual trip to Elkin, but this time Oda was feeling unwell and decided to stay home. Later in the day, responding to a frantic call from Oda, neighbors Nathan Tharpe and Kelly Brown made their way to the Tilley house. Upon their arrival, they saw that Oda had been shot. Immediately Tharpe checked for signs of life and found that Oda’s heart was beating faintly. He called for a doctor, but by the time Dr. H. C. Salmons arrived Oda had passed away.

After arriving at the Tilley house, authorities noted that there were several signs that a struggle had taken place within the house—drawers were rifled through in multiple areas of the house, a window was smashed, a chair was overturned, and the phone receiver was dangling at the end of its cord. Later, after authorities had finished at the scene, Mrs. Tilley found a note in the pocket of the apron Oda was wearing that Saturday. The note, presumably written by Oda, mentions four men coming to the house who said she had 20 minutes to give them $500 or she would die. Instead of giving the intruders the money, she writes that she instead hides the money in cellar of the family’s tobacco barn. Oda ends the letter by asking Mrs. Tilley to tell her sweetheart Andrew Smoot (who was married to another woman) goodbye and that she wished to be buried in Benham. The note had no signature, but Mr. and Mrs. Tilley verified that it was in Oda’s handwriting and that they had found the cash where she said it would be.

Something felt off to many in the community including The Yadkin Ripple writer Alan Browning, Jr. who voiced his feeling of unease in an article, asking: Why did the intruders allow her to telephone for aid? Why did they allow her to write a lengthy note to Mrs. W. W. Tilley? If the rumor that the note was dictated after she was shot, how would the intruders know about the secret hiding spot for the money? Lastly, if the rumor is true that this was a suicide, why would Oda go through such elaborate preparations before ending her own life? The paper continues for several weeks after the publishing of the initial article to report any new developments in the case to the community.

To read the articles about the Childress case in their entirety and find out what really happened to Oda, begin here.

To learn more about the Yadkin County Public Library, please visit their website.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please click here.


Additional Issues of the High Life and Greensboro Daily Workman Now Available on DigitalNC

Header for the High Life newspaper. It reads: High Life. Grimsley High School, Greensboro, NC 27410, May 20, 1968.

Thanks to our partner, Greensboro History Museum, a batch containing over 100 additional issues of Grimsley High School’s student newspaper, High Life, as well as nine issues of the Greensboro Daily Workman from the 19th century are now available on our website.

A majority of the High Life issues from this batch are from the 1960s and 1970s. During these years the hippie movement, a movement which featured long hair, advocation of nonviolence and love, as well as folk and rock music, was taking place. Like many parents during this time, one student named Marcia Quigley had a lot to say about individuals, boys in particular, keeping their hair long.

The article begins with Quigley discussing the problems of boys having long hair which include them becoming traffic hazards due to their hair dangling in front of or blowing into their eyes, long hair leading to premature baldness, and denied entry to certain buildings. Quigley then goes on to dramatically assert that boys, simply by allowing their hair to grow out, turn from being “honest, dynamic, [and] all-American” to scroungy, upstart hippies with a reputation as a rat. If attacks on their character and driving abilities weren’t enough, the writer also makes sure to include the possibility of being bullied by fellow students and adults. Quigley’s complaint in the May 20, 1968 issue of High Life can be read in its entirety here on our website.

To learn more about the Greensboro History Museum, please visit their website.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please visit our North Carolina Newspaper Collection.


Witness the Rise & Fall of Organized Labor in the Charlotte Labor Journal

A cartoon depicting a group of workers rising into one man

“The Big Idea,” 1953

Issues of the Charlotte Labor Journal and Dixie Farm News from 1935-1953 are now available in our North Carolina Newspapers collection thanks to our partner the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. According to the Library of Congress, the paper was published weekly as the “organ of the Charlotte Central Labor Union.”

The first issue we have online, from January 24, 1935, was published less than a year after the General Strike of 1934, when between 300,000 and 500,000 textile workers along the East Coast (most from North and South Carolina) protested working conditions. Despite the large turnout and national recognition, though, workers in the Southern states did not see their demands met, which made many members lose faith in their unions.

Portraits of 18 men on the National Council for the American Federation of Labor

Portraits of the AFL Council from January 24, 1935

The issues that we have online roughly follow the trajectory of organized labor in the state overall; the last issue we have is from 1953, when Operation Dixie officially ended, ultimately failing to unite textile workers into a single large union. Part of that failure stemmed from opposition by the AFL, the union behind the Charlotte Labor Journal.

To see more materials from UNC Charlotte, visit their partner page or their library website. To see more digital content about labor unions in North Carolina, click here.


70 Newspaper titles from Fayetteville, Leaksville, Milton, and more!

Title for December 24, 1868 issue of The Old North State from Salisbury, N.C.

This week we have another 70 newspapers up on DigitalNC! These titles span 32 towns and almost as many counties! This batch also includes our first additions from the towns of Waco, Pores Knob, La Grange, Leaksville, Mount Olive, and Manson!

Over the next year, we’ll be adding millions of newspaper images to DigitalNC. These images were originally digitized a number of years ago in a partnership with Newspapers.com. That project focused on scanning microfilmed papers published before 1923 held by the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Special Collections Library. While you can currently search all of those pre-1923 issues on Newspapers.com, over the next year we will also make them available in our newspaper database as well. This will allow you to search that content alongside the 2 million pages already on our site – all completely open access and free to use.

This week’s additions include:

If you want to see all of the newspapers we have available on DigitalNC, you can find them here. Thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries for permission to and support for adding all of this content as well as the content to come. We also thank the North Caroliniana Society for providing funding to support staff working on this project.


Scrapbooks from Mitchell Community College Now Available

Mitchell Community College students posing for a photo

The elected campus leaders for Mitchell Community College 1938-1939. In back, left to right: Betsy Gilliam, Nancy Sloop, and Helene Solomon. Front row, left to right: Martha Dotson (standing), Eleanor Bonner, and Dorothy Cutting. One person is unidentified.

Thanks to our partner Mitchell Community College, we now have several additional scrapbooks about the school from 1929-1947. The scrapbooks primarily contain newspaper clippings from community papers, including the Charlotte Observer, the Statesville Daily, and the Winston-Salem Journal

This batch also contains a few miscellaneous items from MCC from the 1970s, including alumni newsletters and a feature in the Statesville Record & Landmark Bicentennial Edition

Most of the newspaper clippings celebrate the notable happenings at the school or accomplishments of its students, such as the performance of the basketball team or the presentation of a commencement speaker. A few mark historic moments for the school, such as when W. B. Ramsey, president of the school for 14 years, resigned her post for its “strain of duties of this exacting and responsible office—always taxing on her health.”

One topic that comes up frequently in these scrapbooks is the Mitchell Community College A Cappella choir, which performed in “a dozen or more cities” in North Carolina (according to the Statesville Daily in May 1939). The Charlotte Observer called it “one of the outstanding musical organizations in the state” in an article from January 8, 1939. 

Photo of the MCC choir in 1939

The MCC choir, 1939

To see more from Mitchell Community College, take a look at their partner page or their website. You can also view the full collections of MCC scrapbooks and alumni newsletters.


Student Art Shines in Palmer Memorial Institute Yearbooks

Thanks to our partner the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, we’ve added five additional yearbooks from Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, N.C. These yearbooks picture students, faculty, sports, activities and more, giving readers a glimpse into student life. 

Some of the newly-added editions have wonderful examples of the experimental yearbook artistry that rose to popularity in the 1960s-’70s. The 1970 edition of The Pirate, for example, showcases hand-drawn comics for the beginnings of some sections:

A drawing of a person daydreaming about a school graduation

Senior Portraits page (1970)

Drawing of a student jumping with a basketball

Sports section front page (1970)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These drawings certainly depict another side to student life than posed school portraits, which tend to be more formulaic. Similarly, the 1969 edition of The Palmerite has similar section openers, though the artist chose a more abstract style:

Abstract drawing depicting soul music

Activities page (1969)

Abstract drawing in black and white

Organizations page (1969)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see more original student art from the Palmer Memorial Institute, check out all of the yearbooks we’ve added:

Palmer Memorial Institute Yearbook [1935]
The Palmerite [1953]
The Palmerite [1968]
The Palmerite [1969]
The Pirate [1970]

You can see all yearbooks from Palmer Memorial Institute here. To learn more about the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, visit their website or their partner page.


New Additions of The Valdese News now on Digital NC

 

Newspaper Title

Title of the The Valdese News newspaper

 

Civic groups

Civic Groups in the community gathered to create food baskets for the needed in December 1938.

Digital NC is happy to announce the new addition to the newspaper collection, The Valdese News Issues from 1938  – 1950 cover small  community of Valdese, North Carolina, located in Western North Carolina. Locals were able to receive the newspaper on weekly on Thursdays until 1949 when the newspaper made a switch to a Wednesday delivery.

Local stories in The Valdese News included stories about the local schools, major improvements within the community and even community service opportunities. In December 1938, local civic groups gathered to create food baskets for the needy within the community. Organizations such as the Colonial Theatre, the Valdese Lions Clubs, and the Valdese Boy Scouts, donated items to help create the baskets for local community members. Community members were also given a special show at the Colonial Theatre as a thank you for their support.

To see other issues of The Valdese News, visit them here.

To view more from our partner, Burke County Public Library, visit there here.

Don’t forget to check out extensive collections of NC Newspapers here.


Issues of The Transfer Times and 2020-2021 Durham Technical Community College Annual Report Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Durham Technical Community College, 53 issues of The Transfer Times newsletter as well as the school’s 2020-2021 annual report are now available on our website.

These newsletters include articles about events on campus, scholarship opportunities, reminders for transfer deadlines to other universities, and stories of successful alumni. The annual report for Durham Technical Community College’s 2020-2021 school year goes into depth about the school’s 60 years of impact, their 2021-2026 strategic plan, how they worked to combat COVID-19, success stories of students, awards for students and faculty, financials, and much more. 

To learn more about Durham Technical Community College, please visit their website.

To view more materials from community colleges, please view our North Carolina Community College collection.