Viewing entries posted in March 2023

Footballers of the Fifties Feature in Graham High School Yearbooks

A line of football players in helmets pushing each other playfully while one adult in a white jacket looks at them.
From The Wag, 1955

Even though this year’s football season has come to a close, there’s still more of the sport to be found in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. Our latest batch of 16 yearbooks from Graham High School, contributed by our new partner, the Graham Historical Museum, gives a glimpse into some of the history of high school football in North Carolina.

This photo, from the 1955 edition of The Wag, is called “Jubilant Conference Champions,” since this team was the Eastern AA champion of 1954 and the runner-up to the state championship.

A list of football scores from 1949.

It seems like the 1954 Red Devils were a bit stronger than the 1949 team, which published its season of scores in the 1950 edition of The Wag. Even though the team was victorious against Siler City, Draper, Mebane, Hartsel, Durham County, and E.M. Holt, they also took some tough losses against Roxboro and Oxford. 1949 was also apparently the year that the team faced off against Trinity in the Hosiery Bowl.

You can follow Graham High School’s football team of old and get a taste of student life in the full batch of Graham High School yearbooks here. You can also explore our full collection of digital North Carolina Yearbooks here. For more information about the Graham Historical Museum, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Get Amped for March Madness With Retro Basketball Photos

A black-and-white photo of two student basketball players on the men's team jumping in the air and reaching for a basketball.
Basketball player James Pearce (right) in the 1971 edition of The Shield
A black-and-white photo of two basketball players on the women's team jumping in the air. One is about to shoot the ball, and the other has her arms up to block.
Basketball player Bonnie Watson (right) in the 1971 edition of the Shield.

Get out your short shorts and low-top sneakers—it’s basketball season, 1970s-style. We’ve got several more photos of student basketball now that three more yearbooks from Vaiden Whitley High School have been added to our site thanks to the Wendell Historical Society.

Vaiden Whitley, now East Wake High School, is located in Wendell, N.C. in Wake County. These yearbooks show the school back in 1971-1973, also known as some of the most fashionable years for both yearbooks and student basketball uniforms.

While these games may not have been quite as exciting as some of the ones in this year’s NCAA tournament, they do illustrate North Carolinian’s longstanding cultural obsession with the sport. In 1971, the Vaiden Whitley men’s team only came out on top in 8/19 games—not quite as good as the women’s team, which won 7/13. Still, the coaches called it a “profitable season.”

A black-and-white photo of two student basketball players posing with a basketball in high top socks and short shorts.
Co-captains Jimmy Wiggins and Randy Greene (1971)

You can see all three editions of The Shield in this batch here or browse all available editions from Vaiden Whitley High School here. You can also take a look at our full digital collection of high school yearbooks, organized by school, location, and year in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection.

To see more materials from the Wendell Historical Society, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Items Available from New Community Partner: La Grange County Public Library

18 booklets, documents, brochures and more have been added to our site thanks to our new partner, LaGrange Public Library. There is a body of work written by native of the region Mary Elizabeth Gray titled, LaGrange: Origin and History. You can also read Gray’s autobiography, The Thirteenth Child on our website. There is more genealogical information available about locals in The Croom Family (Volume 1) and The Croom Family (Volume 2). You can also find information about Hickory Grove United Methodist Church, Sandy Bottom Baptist Church‘s centennial celebration, and Wheat Swamp Christian Church.

Take a look at a newspaper clipping about small town dinning, “Little Baltimore Named for Men Who Stood By Their Post”, by Dennis Rogers or check out a brochure for “The Garden Spot” of LaGrange, North Carolina.

Learn more about the history of La Grange County by visiting their partner page and their website.

Issues of UNC’s Asian Student Association Publication “East Wind” Discuss Double Consciousness and Pokémon

Black background with white writing that reads: East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice.
East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice Header, 2005.

Thanks to our partner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), additional issues of the university’s Asian Student Association publication East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice are now available on our website. These issues span from 1998 to 2006.

Acting as an umbrella organization for all Asian American groups on campus, the Asian Student Association published East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice. In 1998, the focus of the publication was to share Asian American culture and experience with students at the University and surrounding community through educational, service, and social events. In addition, it sought to invoke change to the University’s cultural diversity course curriculum and faculty demographic to actively reflect and be representative of Asian Americans on campus.

Now named the Asian American Students Association (AASA at UNC-CH), the Association’s mission is to advance the interests and needs of the UNC-CH’s Asian/Asian American student population. To do this they provide members with resources and opportunities to define themselves Asian American’s roles as part of American culture through 1) uniting students interested in Asian/Asian American culture, 2) promoting Asian/Asian American cultural awareness, and 3) encouraging dialogue about the Asian American identity.

A frequent topic discussed in issues of East Wind is the experience of double consciousness as an Asian American. Introduced in 1903 by W.E.B. DuBois (pronounced “Do-Boys”) in The Souls of Black Folk, the concept of double consciousness, in very simplified terms, is a feeling that you have two or more social identities which makes it difficult to develop a sense of self. Melissa Lin writes about her experience and frustration with double consciousness in her article titled “The Asian American Experience” in the Spring 2001 issue of East Wind.

In her article, “The Asian American Experience,” Melissa Lin writes about her frustration and experience with double consciousness as an Asian American. A first generation Chinese American, Lin emphasizes the importance of getting to understand oneself with cultural identity being a large part of that. She recounts trying to redefine the Asian heritage that she viewed through her parents as well as her realization that being Asian American made her both different and affected how others treated her in America and Asia. Lin concludes that the Asian American experience in 2001 “can at best be to live in both spheres, continuously adapting,” so that she, along with others, can create a niche for themselves somewhere in the middle.

The same 2001 issue presents a glimpse into anime and Pokémon’s rise in popularity in the United States. Although seen as a ploy created by advertisers and the anime industry by older anime fans at the time, Pokémon reached (and continues to hold) an incredible level of popularity in the early 2000s.

Before the late 1990s/early 2000s, it was difficult to find or watch anime on cable television in the United States. The author, Melissa Loon, credits the early Pokémon explosion with pushing “anime to new heights in North America.” After the explosion, supply began to accommodate the demand with video stores, movie theaters, and basic cable beginning to offer anime as part of their selections. Whether a ploy or not, Pokémon and the anime industry remain incredibly popular in the United States with a market value in the billions.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please visit our North Carolina Newspapers Collection by clicking the link here.

To learn more about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, please visit the University’s website by clicking the link here.

To learn more about W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of double consciousness, The Souls of Black Folk (1903) can be read online for free on the Documenting the American South website by using the link here.

Information about the Asian American Students Association was gathered from the Association’s Constitution and Bylaws accessible on their HeelLife page.

More Mitchell Community College Scrapbooks Give More Glee (Club)

A black-and-white group photo of about 30 college graduates sanding together. The front row is seated on a bench.
The commercial class of Mitchell College, 1935

Ten more scrapbooks full of newspaper clippings about Mitchell Community College have been added to our site thanks to the school. Adding to our set of ten previously digitized scrapbooks, this batch spans from 1930-1950 and includes several volumes focused on the 1940s.

Like in the previous batch, these scrapbooks focus on newspaper clippings from a variety of local papers that ran news about Mitchell. For example, in 1935, The Statesville Record ran a full page honoring the 26 graduates, which lists their names and photos in yearbook style. The accompanying article notes that Mary Logan King was awarded a “ten-dollar gold piece” for typing. Her typing speed was apparently 72 words per minute, which is still impressive by today’s standards—and then you remember she was doing it on a typewriter.

A photo of twenty-five adults in tuxedos posing on a stage, preparing to sing.

As a prequel to the praise of Mitchell’s traveling choir in 1939, there is also news of Davidson College’s glee club visiting to perform. According to the news bulletin accompanying the photo, “The Davidson College Glee club is well known all over the state and a large crowd is expected to attend the concert.” It sounds like the MCC choir had a little bit of musical competition.

You can see the full collection of Mitchell Community College scrapbooks here or explore all of their materials in our North Carolina Community College Collections. For more information about MCC, visit their partner page or their website.

Southwestern Community College Materials Showcase Student Talents

A black-and-white illustration of a campus building against a mountain range.

A batch of materials from our new partner, Southwestern Community College, is now online. This collection includes photographs of the school when it was known as Southwestern Technical Institute, scrapbooks from campus organizations, blueprints for some of the school’s buildings, yearbooks, and issues of the student literary magazine.

Southwestern Community College is based in Sylva, N.C., in Jackson county. Today, it advertises itself as the only community college with a scientific partnership with NASA. The materials in this batch also show its history of teaching technical skills, especially on this poster showing students modifying a car into a limousine. They also feature some of the academic accomplishments of students in the Phi Theta Kappa organization, a college honor society. The Alpha Eta Nu chapter at Southwestern had the opportunity to travel around the country for conferences, evidenced by the memorabilia in their 1985 scrapbook.

An illustration of a woman with curly hair dabbing.
From “Pen and Ink,” 1991

The artistic and literary talents of past Southwestern students and faculty are also on display in the issues of the school’s literary magazine. One poem, written by Eugenia L. Johnson and apparently published in World Treasury of Great Poems (1980), is called “Me.” It begins: “Me, me, me, / Who am me / I know me.”

Amazingly, it is accompanied by this illustration of a person dabbing, a reminder that the dance move was popular long before Cam Newton (quarterback for the Carolina Panthers) did it in 2015.

You can see all of the photos, scrapbooks, blueprints, and other Southwestern CC memorabilia here, and you can browse all of the yearbooks and literary magazines here. To learn more about Southwestern Community College, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Contemporary Pine Knoll Shores Newspapers Celebrate the Town’s 50th Anniversary

A headline reading, "History stories: reflections on Pine Knoll Shores." In the top right corner is a circular logo acknowledging the town's 50th anniversary.

It can be easy to think of archives as guardians of the past, but our latest batch of newspapers from our partner, the History Committee of the Town of Pine Knoll Shores, shows how some of our materials are keeping with the times.

The town of Pine Knoll Shores celebrates its 50th anniversary this year (2023). In commemoration, The Shoreline began a column in 2022 recounting some of the history of the area. Beginning in the February 2022 edition, several authors, including Barbara Milhaven, Phyllis Makuck, Martha Edwards, Walter Ellis Steele Jr., Michelle Powers, Deb Frisby, Jean Macheca and Susan Phillips, contribute small histories. The first is about a visit from Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer, in 1524. In a letter to François I, then King of France, he described some of the native people he saw living along the coast (though it’s unknown whether they were in modern-day North Carolina or further north). The March 2022 edition follows up with a timeline of Pine Knoll Shores’ pre-history, from 1524-1954.

An artist's rendition of a navy ship circa 1900.
An illustration of a ship similar to the SS Pevensey, the remains of which lie near Pine Knoll Shores’ beach.

The December 2022 edition wraps up the pre-incorporation era with a careful mapping of how land was divided and sold along the coast as several of the beach towns we love today were formed. Now that we’re in the 50th anniversary year, we may get to learn even more about the beach town’s modern history—alongside articles from the present day.

You can see all issues of Pine Knoll Shores’ The Shoreline here. You can also browse our entire collection of digital newspapers by title, location, type, and date. For more information about the History Committee of the Town of Pine Knoll Shores, you can visit their partner page.

The Record Holder of the Hand Reel Contest & More From the NC Fire Fighters’ Association

Two adults standing in front of a fire truck. The one on the right is wearing a uniform.

Have you ever wondered what fire fighting was like in the 1930s and ’40s? Our latest batch of materials from the Greensboro History Museum offers a look into some of the gatherings of the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association through a set of booklets documenting their annual convention and tournament.

The convention rotated between several North Carolina cities, including Asheville, Winston-Salem, and New Bern, among others. The convention booklets contain lists of officers, transcripts of speeches from the leaders, and memorial pages dedicated to the fire fighters lost in the line of duty. They also include editions of the Association’s constitution and bylaws.

Fire fighters climbing a ladder leaning against a burning building.

The tournament part of the gathering seems to include competitive drills that test fire fighters’ abilities. The last few pages of the most recent booklet (from 1942) list the records of some of the events from previous years, including the Horse Hose Wagon Contest (tied between Kinston and Morehead City in 1916 at 27 and 2/5 seconds), the Hand Reel Contest (won by Kannapolis in 1937 in 16 and 2/5 seconds), grab races and motor contests.

In addition to the convention booklets, this batch also includes some early proceedings of the Association from 1888, which describes the organization of white, volunteer companies. Also included in this set of materials (though unrelated to fire fighting) are three more editions of the Whirligig yearbook from Grimsley High School. You can browse the full batch of materials here. To see more from the Greensboro History Museum, you can visit their partner page and their website. You can also browse our collection of North Carolina High School yearbooks to see all available editions of the Whirligig and browse our Images of North Carolina collection for more photographs of fire fighters in action.

Issues of the Bryson City Times and Smoky Mountain Times Document “Lady Mayors” and More

Black and white article text and photo of adult in glasses with checkered dress looking down at paperwork on a desk or table
From the September 21, 1967 Smoky Mountain Times

Recently added to DigitalNC are issues of the Bryson City Times (1895-1938, 1940-1945) and the Smoky Mountain Times (1947-1984, with 1963-1984 being the most complete). Fontana Regional Library and Western Carolina University are the two partners who requested that these papers be added.

Published in Swain County, the Times includes local news items related to urban development, social life, businesses, sports, relgious organizations, crime, and elections. Issues from the late 1960s – 1970s document the election of “lady mayor” Ellen Hyams. Longtime secretary at the local bank, Hyams was unanimously elected mayor by the local Board of Aldermen in September 1967. This happened right after her husband – who was serving as mayor at the time – passed away. Hyams went on to serve a second term when she was elected by a margin of 6 votes in the 1971 election.

Hyams wasn’t the first woman who wasn’t initially elected Bryson City mayor by popular vote. In the mid-1940s, Mary Moody, who was married to Mayor Bill Moody, stepped in to his position when he left to serve during World War II.

You can view all of the issues we have of the Bryson City Times and the Smoky Mountain Times via their newspaper title page.

Folk Festival Features in Black Mountain News

The Black Mountain News masthead, which shows the title against the silhouette of a dark mountain range.

Thanks to the Western Regional Archives, we’ve added more issues of Black Mountain News from Black Mountain, N.C., to our North Carolina Newspapers collection. This title was originally suggested for digitization by the Swannanoa Valley Museum. This batch includes issues from 1977-78 and 1981-83 and features some of the local happenings from the area.

A collage of photos of folk bands posing with their instrumentsOne exciting piece of news from May 19, 1983, is the announcement of a folk music festival at the site of the historic Black Mountain College. The festival, which lasted two days, featured Norman and Nancy Blake, Trapezoid, Kevin Burke and Michael O’Domhnaill, the Red Clay Ramblers, and Touchstone. Festivalgoers came from all over; the paper reports that out-of-state ticket sales outnumbered local sales three to one, with Pennsylvania attendees leading the charge. There were also crafters and dancers at the festival—and if you’d like to learn how to clog dance, here’s a tutorial from the Apple Chill Cloggers (starting around 3:50).

You can see all issues of the Black Mountain News here or browse our North Carolina Newspapers collection by location, type, and date. To see all materials from the Western Regional Archives, you can visit their partner page and their website.

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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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