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 August 2022


Beer Busts Abound in Recently-Added Prohibition Era Newspaper

Masthead of The Clay County News

The Clay County News of Hayesville, N.C., is one of our latest newspaper titles available in our Newspapers of North Carolina collection thanks to our partner, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This first batch of 132 issues ranges from 1926-1938⁠—encompassing some of our state’s Prohibition years.

A newspaper clipping describing a beer bustSprinkled in among the cartoons of A.B. Chapin, celebrity gossip, and local society news are several articles about the alcohol stills destroyed by law enforcement. Most often, the reports list the number of gallons of beer destroyed (though exactly how they were destroyed is left to the reader’s imagination). The threshold for newsworthiness didn’t seem to depend on the number of gallons; reports range from 19 gallons destroyed (a little over the size of a modern-day keg, which holds 15.5 gallons) to 1,200 gallons destroyed

The hero of these beer busts tends to be Sherriff Kitchens, a figure as mysterious in these papers as he is dedicated to dry laws. Kitchens once went as far as the Georgia state line to track down illegal stills. All together, Kitchens and his deputies disposed of thousands of gallons of illegal alcohol and were celebrated often in the paper for it.

You can see all available issues of The Clay County News here or explore all of our digitized newspapers by type. location, and date in our Newspapers of North Carolina collection. More information about UNC Chapel Hill and their newspaper collection can be found on the UNC Libraries website and their partner page.


More Issues of the “Bertie Ledger-Advance” Document Recent History

A blue box with the Bertie Ledger-Advance masthead

Through our partnership with the Bertie County Public Library and Martin Community College, we now have many more editions of the Bertie Ledger-Advance. This batch of the Windsor, N.C., paper ranges from January 2016 until December 2021, meaning that it covers many of the major news stories still in memory.

Newspaper clipping

March 11, 2020

Perhaps one of the most obvious topics that appears in these issues is the impact of Covid-19 in one of North Carolina’s small towns. The front-page coverage starts where you might expect: March 11, 2020.

Initial articles focus on preparedness; the March 18, 2020 issue announces Governor Roy Cooper’s mandate to close schools for two weeks and end gatherings of more 50 people. That was also the week that Bertie County declared a State of Emergency in order to receive resources for public health measures.

“The fact that we are so rural here in Bertie County gives us an edge. …We are not like Raleigh as it relates to populations,” Bertie County Emergency Services Director Mitch Cooper said.

A photo of several people standing in a parking lot outside a church. Their backs are to the camera, and they are watching another person deliver a service.

Bertie County begins holding church services outdoors (March 25, 2020)

These issues go on to document the progression of the pandemic in a rural area. On March 25, 2020, Bertie County sees its first confirmed case; the state begins “Phase 1” re-opening on May 10, 2020; Bertie and surrounding counties experience spikes in the number of cases, including one from September 10, 2020. At the end of 2020, the paper also published a recap of the year’s major stories, noting that the “Pandemic dominated headlines.”

The coverage continues through 2021, when schools are finally scheduled to reopen for in-person learning in March 2022. Through each of these stories, its clear what a huge impact Covid-19 had on the lives of Bertie County residents⁠—as it did for people across the state, the nation, and the world.

A cartoon of a pizza deliverer carrying a pizza. A sign says, "Keep calm and carry out."

March 25, 2020

To see more news stories from this batch, you can browse by date:

You can also see more issues of the Bertie Ledger-Advance here or browse our entire collection of digitized newspapers in our Newspapers of North Carolina collection. To see more materials from Martin Community College, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Issues of the State Port Pilot from 1950-1962 now Online Thanks to the Southport Historical Society

Top portion of the front page of the November 15, 1961 issue of the State Port Pilot.

This November 15, 1961 front page of The State Port Pilot has a picture of the catch from a local fishing trip and an image of a Kingtown Community Directory sign that lists the names of Kingtown N.C. residents.

Issues of The State Port Pilot newspaper dating from 1950-1962 have been added to DigitalNC.org thanks to funding provided by the Southport Historical Society. These join issues from 1935-1949. 

The State Port Pilot, “a good newspaper in a good community,” documents Brunswick County NC life. Agriculture (especially tobacco) and fishing are frequent front page topics during this time period, and there are “local catch” photos at least every month. Front page news often includes information about local development, such as the construction of the Sunny Point army depot. You will also find coverage of some of the county’s most devastating events of this timer period, including Hurricane Hazel in 1954, and a National Airlines plane crash that killed 34 people in 1960. 

Black and white head shot of older white man in suit jacket with very short hair next to headline "Man Who Started State Port Pilot Passes Saturday"On the front page of issues from through April 1957 you’ll find a regular column entitled “Our Roving Reporter.” This column was written by W. B. Keziah, also known as Bill Keziah, and it was published right up until his death. According to his obituary Keziah was the newspaper’s founder who transitioned to a local reporter known for his commentary and deep love for Brunswich County. Keziah’s columns include everything from the blooming of local camellias, to visits from state and local dignitaries, to gossip, to little-known county and town history. He was a native of Waxhaw and, as a deaf individual, had attended the NC School for the Deaf in Morganton. Numerous comments about his contributions to the county can be found in issues of the Pilot published around the time of his passing.

You can view all of the issues of the State Port Pilot on the newspaper title page


Southern Pines’ “The Yankee Settler” from 1898 Now Available

Our partner, the Moore County Library, has recently contributed another newspaper title to Digital NC: The Yankee SettlerThis issue of the Southern Pines paper from March 23, 1898 has several briefs detailing local happenings as well as world news.

A newspaper clipping describing a consumption pamphletOne interesting snippet from the front page is this article advertising a pamphlet on consumption, or as we know it today, tuberculosis (TB). Back in 1898, consumption was one of the leading causes of death, and it had only just been discovered that it was caused by contagious bacteria rather than a genetic predisposition. Still, doctors were mostly at a loss for how to treat the disease; it would be another 30 years before penicillin was discovered and another 15 after that before scientists found an antibiotic that actually killed TB.

A black and white photograph of the bust of a bearded person.

James W. Tufts, 1895

Instead, medical minds and entrepreneurs of the early twentieth century tended to treat sufferers with fresh air. One such man was James Walker Tufts, who founded the nearby resort at Pinehurst. Apparently, Tufts was excited by the environment in the North Carolina sandhills, which were described in 1906:

“It is doubtful there is any place in the United States where persons brain-weary and nerve-worn rally or make as rapid progress toward health and vigor. The weather bureau in Washington has observed much warmer than points north and south in winter probably due to the sandy soil, which retains heat and, being a great absorbent of water, prevents evaporation that would otherwise cool the air.”

The resort at Pinehurst officially opened in 1896, making the area a destination for anyone prescribed restfulness and fresh air. Even without the front page news, there’s no doubt that the disease and its treatments were top of mind for residents of Southern Pines, Pinehurst, and the surrounding area. 

You can see all the materials from the Moore County Library on their partner page and their website. You can also sort through our entire collection of North Carolina Newspapers by type, date, and location.


Additional Chatham County Architectural Photographs and Funeral Programs Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Chatham County Historical Association, over 600 architectural images of Chatham County and 64 funeral programs are now available to view on our website. The architectural images are particularly interesting. They cover a broad variety of building types and ages including houses, businesses, churches, masonic lodges, and schools all the way back to the 16th century. Below is a small sample of the different types of buildings that were photographed in Chatham County.

Built circa 1850, the Haughton-McIver House is a beautiful two-story home. Some of its features include a five-bay facade, six-over-six sash windows, symmetrically molded corner boards, and a central entry composed of paneled double-leaf doors framed by transom and sidelights.

The Chatham County courthouse, built in the 1880s and still standing today, is a two-story rectangular brick structure. The structure’s dominant feature is a classical two-story portico crowned with distinctive three-stage cupola.

The former Hinton-Beckwith School, built around 1930 near Farrington, is an especially important landmark for the area’s Black community. Beginning in the earliest part of the 20th century and continuing for 40 years, the school served as a place where Black individuals in the community would go to learn. The building’s rectangular structure is set off by three recessed double-leaf entrances that are surmounted by transom and framed by rows of tall nine-over-nine sash windows. Other features include a main entrance marked by sidelights and protected by a portico.

To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association, please visit their website.

To view more architecture materials available on DigitalNC, please click here.

To view more funeral programs from the Chatham County Historical Association, please view our Chatham County Funeral Program Exhibit.


Scanners and Content Management Systems in North Carolina Cultural Heritage Organizations

three adults sitting around a table; one with white gloves sits behind a laptop near an open scanner while the other two look on

An NCDHC staff member works with two individuals during an on-site scanning event.

  • This post shares information about scanners and content management or online platforms used by some North Carolina cultural heritage organizations.
  • The lists are current as of this post and they are not exhaustive.
  • For more information, get in touch with us.

People frequently ask us to recomend digitization equipment as well as content management systems* or ways to display their files online.  To help connect more people to their peers, we sent our partners a survey asking them the following:

  • List the make and model of any equipment you have that scans print materials, photographs, slides, and/or negatives.
  • What local or remotely hosted software does your organization use to keep track of and/or share your digital images?

Thanks to the 45 institutions who responded, we now have a great list on hand. If you contact us we can connect you directly with those who said they’d be happy to share experiences and information. 

Keep reading for lists of all of the equipment and software mentioned listed in alphabetical order. If you work in a cultural heritage organization in NC and don’t see your digitization equipment and/or system mentioned below, leave a comment and we will add it.

*A content management system is software that will store and organize files, usually with functionality that helps people make use of the files like search, online display, etc.


Here’s the list of platforms mentioned:

Content Management Systems / Online Platforms

  • Alma Digital/ Primo VE
  • CONTENTdm
  • Cumulus
  • DigitalNC (which uses TIND, WordPress, and Open ONI)
  • DSpace**
  • Drupal
  • Ex Libris Alma Digital
  • Fedora + Hyrax**
  • Flickr
  • Internet Archive
  • Islandora
  • JSTOR Forum
  • KeepThinking Qi**
  • Laserfishe
  • LibGuides
  • Omeka
  • Pass It Down
  • Past Perfect
  • PTFS Knowvation
  • Quartex**
  • Re:discovery Proficio
  • WordPress

** Not represented in the survey responses but we know folks who use these.

Comments: Some of these are hosted by vendors; others are hosted by the organization. There are also sites listed here that might not be considered content management systems but that organizations use for online sharing. This list does not include social media sites where files might be shared, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. It also doesn’t get into details for those who have built their own systems (typically very well-resourced institutions). If you’d like some more guidance about choosing, check out this post: What Should You Do With Your Scanned Photos?


Here’s the list of equipment mentioned. 

Flatbed Scanners

  • Epson 10000XL, 11000XL, 12000XL
  • Epson DS-50000
  • Epson Perfection V19, V39, V370, V550
  • Epson Perfection V600, V700, V800
  • HP Scanjet G4050
  • HP ScanJetPro 2500 f1

Large Format Sheet-fed Scanners

  • HP DesignJet T2500

Overhead Scanners / Book Scanners

  • Bookeye 3, 5
  • Czur ET18 Pro
  • Fujitsu ScanSnap 600
  • ST600 Book Scanner
  • Zeutschel OS 12000 A1, Q1

Overhead Camera Systems

  • Phase One iXH 100MP camera + digital back
  • Sony A7R IV camera with mount

Negative and Slide Scanners

  • Hasselblad Flextight X5
  • Nikon Super CoolScan 9000 ED
  • PowerSlide 5000
  • ZONOZ FS-3 22MP All-in-1 Film & Slide Converter Scanner w/Speed-Load Adapters for 35mm

Microfilm Scanners

  • ST ViewScan 3, 4

Multi-Function Devices

  • Epson-WF-3540
  • Hewlett Packard Color LaserJet M476 copier with scanner
  • HP Officejet Pro X576dw
  • Konica Minolta bizhub 227 copier/scanner
  • Kyocera Taskalfa 4053ci
  • Savin IM 2500, MP 2004ex
  • Sharp MX-4071, MX-C304W
  • TASKalfa 3051ci
  • Xerox Documate 3220 desktop scanner
  • Xerox Workcentre 6655i, 7535

Comments: Some of these are staff use, some are available to the public, and some serve both groups. If you’re interested in what we use, take a look at this page: What We Use to Digitize Materials


30 Newspaper Titles Added to DigitalNC

Headmast for Black Mountain, NC newspaper The Black Mountain News

We have another 30 titles up on DigitalNC this week! This batch brings us our first newspapers from Dallas, Fairmont, Lake Landing, Maiden, and Newland, North Carolina!

In the January 8th, 1891 issue of the Monroe Enquirer-Register we have an ad for a fledging discount store in Monroe, North Carolina called The New York Racket, which will become the shopping mall staple we know as Belk. Founded by William Henry Belk in 1888, the store would change its name to Belk Brothers in 1898 and go on to become one of the largest department store chains in the country.

1891 newspaper ad for department store called 'The New York Racket' which will become Belk

January 8th, 1891

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:

Belhaven

Black Mountain

Creedmoor

Dallas

Fairmont

Forest City

Gastonia

Iredell County

Lake Landing

Lincolnton

Maiden

Manteo

Monroe

Mooresville

Newland

Rocky Mount

Shelby

Statesville

Swan Quarter

Taylorsville

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.


Fill-in Issues of “The Carolinian” from the 1970s-’80s Now Available

The masthead of The Carolinian Newspaper

More of “NC’s Semi-Weekly” news from Raleigh is ready for reading thanks to our partner, Shaw University. These issues of The Carolinian span from 1977 to 1984 and detail some of the major stories of Black Raleighites during this time.

Newspaper clipping with a small headshot of Kenneth WilkinsOne such story is the election of Kenneth C. Wilkins, North Carolina’s first Black Register of Deeds, in 1984. In the front-page article on his victory, Wilkins said, “Since it’s not a policy-making position, but an administrative one, a different perspective on the situation does not mean as much,” but adds that representation is still an important and inspiring step. 

Another article from October 18, 1984 advertises an upcoming visit from famed author James Baldwin, who visited the UNC Chapel Hill campus during Humanitarian Week. Baldwin planned to speak about his childhood in Harlem and his experiences as a Black American, according to the article. His visit came just a couple of years after the release of his documentary on the stations of the Civil Rights Movement in the American South, I Heard It Through the Grapevine.

You can see all available issues of The Carolinian here or browse our North Carolina Newspapers collection. You can also filter all newspapers to see our full collection of African-American newspapers. To learn more about Shaw University, you can visit their partner page and their website.


6 More Newspaper Titles Added to Our Collections

Three people standing together. The person on the left is wearing a black dress and hat; the person in the middle is wearing a suit and tie; the person on the right is in a white dress and hat.

Three textile workers pictured in the August 10, 1923 issue of The Charlotte Herald.

Six newspaper titles from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have recently come out of copyright, meaning that they are now available digitally in our Newspapers of North Carolina collection. Geographically spanning the whole state, these titles come from as far east as Fairfield, west as Hayesville, north as Leaksville and Madison, and south as Maxton

In the United States, copyright expires for some types of published materials a certain time period after their publication. In 2022, many materials published in the U. S. before 1927 are now out of copyright. Each year that boundary year moves forward by 1; in 2023 the boundary will be “published before 1928.” This is one of the reasons many sites like ours share a lot more materials published before that moving target. In addition, we have a workflow where certain types of publications from 1927-1963 undergo copyright review where we determine if they are likely to be out of copyright and low risk to publish online.

Because of the forward movement of the copyright boundary year and some other reasons related to fair use, we’ve been able to add the newspapers listed below to DigitalNC. These titles were also selected to help bolster representation of certain geographic areas on our site. In content, these issues feature many highlights, including descriptions of prohibition-era beer busts in Hayesville and a comical column of national news from Maxton.

The full list of titles includes:

You can browse all of our digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To learn more about UNC Chapel Hill’s collections, you can visit their partner page or their libraries’ website.