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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.