Viewing entries posted in October 2023

Wilson Library Improvement Project – Impact to NCDHC

Color photo of front elevation of a domed stone building with columned portico and text "Wilson Library Improvement Project"

Today UNC Chapel Hill Libraries announced that Wilson Library, where we are located, will be closed to the public and staff for a few years. A phased closure is expected to begin in August 2024 and last approximately three years. During this time, critical updates will be made to the building including extending sprinkler coverage, creating emergency egress stairs, and upgrading the fire alarm system. NCDHC staff and the equipment we use will be relocated during much of this time.

We wanted to make sure you know that our services will continue, though we may have to make some adjustments regarding capacity. We’ll be back in touch with updates as plans develop.

If you have questions related to NCDHC operations, feel free to contact us. You can also visit the project’s official Library page for details and updates.

6 Halloween Costume Ideas from the Archive

Scrapbook spread, Halloween themed

1. Dress up like a character from your favorite cult classic.

This is a perfect excuse to re-watch low budget movies from the ’80s!

Photo of child wearing Toxie halloween costume

Ocracoke School Halloween Carnival [1995]

2. Dress like your future self.

Pull out your cardigans, print button-downs, and homemade cookies!

Scrapbook clipping, Halloween costumes

Cedar Mountain Community Club Scrapbook [1985]

3. Embrace the classics and dress your baby like a pumpkin!

Newspaper clipping, Halloween costume, King Mountain Herald

The Kings Mountain Herald [2004]


Scrapbook page showing Halloween party, Cedar Mountain

Cedar Mountain Community Club Scrapbook [1992]


Newspaper clipping, The News-Journal, Halloween costume of baby in pumpkin

The News-Journal (Raeford, N.C.) [1984]

4. Dress like something unintentionally creepy.

On Halloween night, even something as simple as a Cabbage Patch costume can look unsettling!

Scrapbook clipping of Lib Shipman dressed in a Halloween costume

Cedar Mountain Community Club Scrapbook [1985]

Scrapbook clipping, Halloween party with people in costumes

Cedar Mountain Community Club Scrapbook [1982]


5. Relive your childhood and dress like a beloved childhood character.

Take inspiration from the Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, and Dora the Explorer costumes below!

Newspaper clipping from Albemarle High School Student Newspaper, Halloween costume

Albemarle High School Student Newspaper [1987]


Child wearing bird costume, Halloween

Ocracoke School Halloween Carnival [1995]


Newspaper clipping, Halloween costume, Dora

The News-Journal (Raeford, N.C.) [2002]

6. Match with your friends.

Pick a movie, character, or theme for everyone to follow!

Newspaper clipping, Brevard College Student Newspaper, Halloween costumes

Newspaper clipping, University of North Carolina at Asheville Student Newspaper, Halloween masks

University of North Carolina at Asheville Student Newspaper [2018]

Fun Festivities with The Wake Weekly

Headmast for Wake Forest, N.C. newspaper "The Wake Weekly"

Here we have issues of The Wake Weekly spanning a decade from 1968 to 1977. This paper focuses on small town life ten miles north of Raleigh where they take great pride in their celebrations. In addition to fireworks and parades, the town also heavily features (maybe to the horror of some) local clowns. So here’s a list of the top clowns in The Wake Weekly:

Clown with checkered pants and small top hat being interviewed for newspaper
Buppa The Clown
March 16, 1972
clown with star shirt and curly wig waving out of car window
Shriner Bob
October 2, 1975
group of children dressed as clowns
May Day Clowns
May 8, 1964
two clowns reading over a fence. one is wearing a hat and checkered shirt and the other wearing a hat and striped shirt.
Lively Clowns
November 9, 1972
two clowns riding motorbikes in a parade
Biker Clowns
July 7, 1977

New Perquimans Weekly Papers Published Presently

Thanks to our partners at Perquimans County Library and our staff at our Elizabeth City State University location, a brand new batch of the Perquimans Weekly issues have now been uploaded! The Perquimans Weekly has served Hertford and the surrounding area since 1934, posting every Wednesday for almost a hundred years. This batch spans from 2004 to 2009, and is the newest in a series of uploads that stretches back to the paper’s first year.

The title block of The Perquimans Weekly, including highlights of articles contained in this issue.

As a weekly local paper, Perquimans Weekly contained a strong focus on local events, people, and stories. These papers are full of reports on local school sports, editorials and opinion pieces on county politics, and advertisements for annual festivals. There’s also a focus on stories occurring on a state and even national level: reporters pay special mind to the 2008 election cycle, and the effects of the 2008 financial crisis can be felt throughout the period.

Still, these issues of Perquimans Weekly reflect the joy of life in Hertford. Reporters describe children going on ghost tours during Halloween, the Lady Tigers’ vollyball victories, and the meetings of the Chrome Pony Mustang Club. These articles reflect the many facets of life in the area, providing context for how Hertford has changed (yet stayed the same) throughout the decades.

A photo of two men dressed in 18th century outfits lit by candlelight with an accompanying news blurb.

This upload brings NC Digital one step closer to having a comprehensive database of the Perquimans Weekly’s entire record. You can read through NC Digital’s collection here, get up to date issues at the Perquimans Weekly website here, or visit the Perquimans Public Library website here.

Blaze into Fall with the Greensboro Fire Fighters and Yellow Fire Trucks!

Thanks to our partner, the Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, additional photographs of Greensboro Fire Department individuals, stations, trucks; copy of the Spring 1979 North Carolina Professional Fire Fighter magazine, photographs of industry buildings in the city, and more are now available on DigitalNC! Featured in this batch are photographs of the Department’s yellow fire trucks.

In the early 1970s, studies reported that yellow fire trucks were more visible than red ones. Following the publication of these studies, yellow fire trucks began to appear on streets in cities such as Greensboro. Unfortunately, painting the trucks didn’t actually improve people’s awareness of them, but instead caused an increase in vehicular accidents. This was a result of the color’s association with utility company vehicles which led to less people registering the yellow fire trucks as emergency vehicles. Later, a different study was published that found that red and white were more associated with emergency vehicles, making yellow officially out as the color of future fire trucks.

The Greensboro Fire Department had several yellow fire trucks in use from in the 1970s. However, in the late 1980s, Chief W. Frank Jones declared the department’s trucks would be returning to red, saying, “fire trucks are supposed to be red, from what children say.” The yellow fire trucks continued to be used until they had to be replaced.

Information about the yellow fire trucks was gathered from page 60 of the September 23, 1990 issue of Greensboro News & Record along with previous Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee batch materials.

To view more materials from the Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, please visit their contributor page linked here.

To learn more about the Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, please visit their website linked here.

New Issues of the State Port Pilot Now Online!

Thanks to our partners at the Margaret and James Harper, Jr. Library and the Southport Historical Society, over a decade of the State Port Pilot‘s issues are now available! This collection stretches from 1962 to 1976 and features notable news and topics both around Southport and across the country. We previously uploaded issues from 1935 to 1961, meaning there are now over two thousand issues to explore!

The title page for an issue of the State Port Pilot

The publication was founded in 1928 by Bill Keziah, who ran the company until his death in the fifties. The Pilot has run continuously since its founding and publishes a weekly issue every Wednesday. Within their pages are the lives of Brunswick County: obituaries, marriages, job postings, and advertisements. Anyone interested in Southport’s history or the sixties and seventies would be well served looking at this collection.

a photograph of a man smoking a pipe, accompanied by the text "Our roving reporter."

To learn more about this collection, you can view over two thousand issues on our website. To view more information about the Margaret and James Harper, Jr. Library or the Southport Historical Society, please visit their partner pages.

New Bulletins and Minutes Available from First Presbyterian Church of Mount Holly

Digital NC has made available new materials from the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Holly. A long-standing institution in Gaston County, the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Holly has a wealth of records for genealogists and other researchers. These latest uploads span over one hundred years and add significantly to our pre-existing Mount Holly First Presbyterian collection.

This addition includes a batch of minute books covering the years 1887-1954 and weekly bulletins from 1976-1998. Minute books include registers of communicants, baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Bulletins provide an in-depth account of church activities and the staff, teachers, and congregants involved in them. Researchers can view the entirety of our Mount Holly First Presbyterian digital exhibit here and all of our North Carolina Community Contributors collections here.

Burlington Sanborn Maps and W. J. Nicks Store Ledger Now Available!

Thanks to our partner, the Graham Historical Museum, Sanborn Insurance Maps of Burlington, North Carolina along with the 1889-1895 W. J. Nicks Store ledger are now available to view on DigitalNC!

The building that eventually became known as the W. J. Nicks Store was built circa 1851 by builder Henry Bason for the Hanner Trading Company. At the time, the commercial space was the largest in Graham with three full stories and a full basement. Some of the bricks used in the construction of the building were created by enslaved laborers.

About 40 years after its construction, in 1892, the store was bought by W. J. Nicks who later added the two story-addition seen on the south side of the building. According to the ledger, customers of the W. J. Nicks Store primarily paid with cash, but some, such as G. W. Peterson (shown above), are noted to have traded other goods such as eggs, oats, and flour.

Information about the W. J. Nicks store was obtained from NCSU’s North Carolina Architects & Builders Biographical Dictionary and the Graham Walks Walking Maps brochure published by the City of Graham Recreation & Parks Department.

To learn more about the Graham Historical Museum, visit their website using the link here.

To view more materials from the Graham Historical Museum, visit their contributor page linked here.

Introducing Our New Primary Source Teaching Sets

A classroom of white children sitting at desks and looking at the camera. Standing in the back of the room is their teacher/principal in a suit and tie.
Sixth grade students at West Elementary School in Kings Mountain, 1959-60. Contributor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum

We are very excited to announce that our site has expanded to include four new sets of primary source teaching resources available for any teachers, researchers, or curious explorers to use. Each of these sets focuses on a particular topic in North Carolina history and includes a curated selection of 15-20 primary sources from our 300+ partners around the state. Within each set is a blend of visual materials (photographs, videos), written materials (newspaper articles, speeches, letters), and audio materials (interviews, oral histories) from the DigitalNC collections.

Each set also comes with short context blurbs for each item, as well as general background information, a timeline, a set of discussion questions, and links to genre-specific worksheets (ex. How to Analyze a Newspaper Clipping). While some of these topics are more concentrated in particular regions, our goal is to connect these broad themes in history to local examples that students can recognize. Here’s a look at the four initial primary source sets:

A black-and-white photo of a Black teenager on the left facing a white teenager on the right. Both are standing in profile against the hallway of a high school.
From the 1971 Gohisca yearbook from Goldsboro High School. Contributor: Wayne County Public Library

Racial Integration in K-12 Schools

Time period: 1950s-1980s

While you may be familiar with some of the national stories around school integration after Brown v. Board of Education, this teaching set samples North Carolina yearbooks, photographs, newspapers, and oral histories to ground this topic in familiar places. It draws primarily on our collections from historically Black high schools, many of which were closed during this period (though their alumni associations remain strong!). This collection also implements local materials from the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Supreme Court case over busing.

A cartoon of two adult women sitting on a couch. The caption reads, "Your being gay doesn't shock me, but I can't see how I can break the news to your Aunt Doris and her roommate."
A cartoon from The Front Page in Raleigh, N.C. (1980). Contributors: Duke University & UNC Charlotte

Analyzing Political Cartoons

Time period: 20th century

This set was inspired by the popular NCPedia page, “Analyzing Political Cartoons,” which explains some of the strategies for understanding cartoons in their historical context. Here, we’ve selected examples from over a century of newspapers that include topics such as the 1898 Wilmington Coup, women’s suffrage, economics, and a few contemporary political issues. Each example comes with a bit of historical context and some background on the newspaper itself.

A black-and-white photo of textile workers marching down a public street. Near the front, a group of protestors holds a sign that reads, "United Textile Workers of America, Affiliated with A.F. of L. Local, RANLO 2118."
Textile workers marching in Gastonia, N.C. in 1929. Contributor: Gaston County Museum of Art & History

Textile Workers & Labor Movements

Time period: 1920s-30s and 1970s

North Carolina’s history of labor is inextricably tied to the legacy of the textile industry. This set uses photographs, memorabilia, speeches, and newspaper clippings of two famous examples—the Loray Mill strike of 1929 and the activism of Crystal Lee Sutton—to weave together an understanding of North Carolina’s economy and culture through one of its major industries of the 20th century.

A postcard depicting the American Tobacco Company factory in Reidsville. In the top two corners are enlarged packets of Pall Mall and Lucky Strike cigarettes.
A postcard from the American Tobacco Company cigarette plant in Reidsville, N.C. Contributor: Rockingham County Public Library


Time period: 20th century

It would be impossible to fully understand the history of North Carolina in the 20th century without talking about the tobacco industry. This set uses photographs, newspapers, videos, and oral histories to explore the lives of tobacco farmers and factory workers as well as the major families who controlled the vast tobacco wealth. Additionally, it includes examples of how the industry affected culture, including a new generation of advertising that attempted to combat public health concerns.

You can explore these four teaching sets for yourself here on our teaching and learning resource page. You can also go directly to our item analysis worksheets here, which include levels for both beginning and advanced learners. If you’d like to give us feedback on these teaching resources, you can contact us here.

Explore the History of North Carolina’s Furniture Industry in New High Point Documents

Drawing of three factory buildings
Drawing of High Point Furniture Co. from High Point Illustrated, published in 1906

North Carolina is renowned for its high-quality furniture production, and the Piedmont city of High Point specifically is known as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” This moniker was earned during the late-nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries, when the furniture industry was at its “high point.” Thanks to our partners at the High Point Museum, new materials now available on Digital NC give unique insight into this storied history with catalogs, Chamber of Commerce pamphlets, directories, and more. These documents roughly span the first half of the twentieth century, and provide a great deal of information on the prominent figures and companies in North Carolina’s furniture industry. Researchers can also visit High Point Museum’s Online Collections here to see more.

Couches from the Hi-Lite Illustrated catalog featuring Hi-Life of High Point, Inc. couch line in 1964

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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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