Viewing entries posted in April 2023

Tuscola High School Students Stay on Theme in 1973 “The Mountaineer”

A black-and-white photograph of students forming a human pyramid. There are five students across the bottom, four in the middle, and three on top with their hands raised, with one person standing on the side.
The Sub-Deb club from the 1973 issue of The Mountaineer. This photo is actually from a two-page spread of human pyramid photos.

One more edition of Tuscola High School’s The Mountaineer has been added to our digital collections thanks to our partner, the Haywood County Public Library. This edition is from 1973, giving us a continuous run of the Waynesville school’s campus publications from 1967-1973.

Tuscola High School’s mascot, the Mountaineers (colloquially referred to as “The Mounties”) is appropriate for this campus, which is nestled in the North Carolina mountains (as you can see in the photo to the left). According to the school’s website, the school is “affectionately referred to as ‘The Hill’ due to our commanding view of the Smoky and Balsam Mountain ranges.”

In addition to the sweeping mountain views, a common sight in the 1973 edition of The Mountaineer is students arranging themselves into the shape of mountains. Apparently, this was the hottest formation for taking your club photo—especially if you got to be on the top.

A black and white photo of six students on their hands and knees forming a human pyramid.
The 1973 chorus officers

Who can say why so many students felt the need to literally climb on top of each other this year? Maybe they were trying to camouflage in their mountainous surroundings. Perhaps it is a social commentary on relationships or teamwork. Though we may never know for sure, there are plenty of examples in this yearbook for the intrepid researcher.

You can see all editions of Tuscola High School’s The Mountaineer here. You can also browse our entire collection of high school yearbooks by school, location, and date in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. To see more from the Haywood County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Latta family c.1810 Ledger and Other Materials Now Available Thanks to Durham County Library

A page from the
A Snapshot of from the 1812-1821 Orange County for Contria Credit Ledger

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has made available some exciting materials dating back to 1812 with help from our partners at the Durham County Library!

The Latta Family Account Ledger [1812-1821] details the accounts of residents in and around Orange County at the time and includes many well known early Durham families such as the Lattas, Rigsbees, Mangums, Holloways, and Leighs.

Minutes from the School Committee of District No. 27 in Durham County from 1897 were found in between the pages of the ledger. A special item is a handwritten letter from an unidentified person writing to their sister about their time at Fish Dam School. There are also several Allen-Owen Company Receipts [1910] found alongside the ledger and a handwritten sermon.

This batch of materials is openly available for research and covers a range of topics. Genealogists looking for family histories can benefit as well as folks interested in education, entrepreneurism or religion. To learn more about the area please visit the Durham County Library website.

Chowan Scrapbooks Capture Student Activities from 1920s and ’80s

A set of distinctive scrapbooks from Chowan University (née Chowan College) in Murfreesboro has just been added to our site. These scrapbooks span a long range of the school’s history beginning in the 1920s and then jump ahead to the 1980s.

A black-and-white photo of a group of students standing together outside and holding pendant flags. They are wearing long skirts and sweaters.
A photo from Chowan College Scrapbook [1924-25]

The oldest scrapbook of the collection shows a bit of Chowan’s origin story as a women’s college. Though it’s not a formal yearbook, someone took the time to write in the names of students, their home towns, nicknames, birthdays, ambitions, and happy memories of them. They even pasted a little picture next to some of their entries. For instance, Jewel Askew was from Lewiston, N.C., her friends called her “Juke,” her birthday was December 5 (she was a Sagittarius), and her ambition was to have a “rose garden” (unclear why that’s in quotes or what the hidden meaning there might be). She must have had some good times with the scrapbook’s owner, since one of them wrote beside her entry, “Dear pal, don’t forget the ireeb-eus [?] of Feb. 14-16, 1925.”

Two scrapbook covers. On the left is a wooden one with a black etching of Johannes Gutenberg and a printing press with the greet letters Phi Theta Kappa and Iota Delta. On the right is an illustration of a man on the surface of the Earth, squatting down, and meeting the reflection of his hand.
Covers of the 1982-23 (left) and 1981-82 (right) Phi Theta Kappa scrapbooks

The more recent scrapbooks are somewhat more legible, and it’s clear that the Iota Delta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa had a dedicated artist on their side. The 1982-1983 scrapbook, which was encased in wood covers (approx. 2′-3′), had an etching of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press.

You can see the full batch of scrapbooks here. To see more materials from Chowan University, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Small Town Rock With “The Wake Weekly”

Headmast for August 31, 1967 issue of The Wake Weekly

In this batch we have hundreds of issues of The Wake Weekly and Youngsville-Rolesville Record spanning from 1963 to 1967, a period of time when pop culture was rapidly changing throughout the world.

When The Beatles made their first American television appearance in February of 1964, it seemed like millions of teens immediately ran out and bought their first guitars. Despite only having a population of around 3,000 at the time, it would appear Wake Forest was no different in that regard.

Four local men posing in suits, wigs, and sunglasses pretending to be the Beatles.
Youngsville “Beatles”
May 29, 1964

As rock ‘n roll sank its teeth into American teen culture, new groups began to pop up left and right like local crowd pleasers The Vandals, the young and talented Stephens Brothers (and Little Sister), and even Fuquay-Varina’s very own Contortions came to visit. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of these musicians making recordings during this time period, but another Wake Forest teen did wind up making it to tape.

Four boys with musical instruments and their younger sister standing in front with a microphone.
The Stephens Brothers and Little Sister
September 22, 1966
Photo of rock band The Vandals playing live in front of a crowd at a teen club.
The Vandals
August 17, 1967
Posed photo of teenage rock band The Contortions with their instruments.
The Contortions
May 19, 1966

Hjordis Christoph was attending St. Mary’s Junior College in the mid-60s and joined “…One of St. Mary’s Leading Symphonic Washtub Bands” The Cold Cuts. She is credited as playing “Hot Dog” on their 1966 LP released by the beloved JCP record label out of Raleigh. Other instruments listed on this record include sticks, crazy stick, bird cage, sponges, and rulers.

Newspaper clipping describing that Hjordis Christoph is visiting Chicago and has joined The Cold Cuts.
June 9, 1966
Front and back of The Cold Cuts 1966 LP. Front has members posing around a statue, back has what each member played on the record.
Cold Cuts LP via Popsike

These papers were provided to us by our partners at the Wake Forest Historical Museum. For information about events and planning a visit you can visit their site here.

Watauga Yearbooks Include Memories from 5 Schools

A black-and-white photo of students typing on typewriters at desks in a classroom. In the center of the image is an adult with a short afro and glasses wearing a leather jacket.
Tony Hagler, from The Musket, 1970

A batch of yearbooks from Watauga county has just been added to our North Carolina Yearbooks collection thanks to our partner, the Watauga County Public Library. This batch includes yearbooks from four different high schools in the county and one edition of Parkway from Parkway Elementary (1953).

From Blowing Rock High School, we’ve added four volumes of The Breezes from 1953 to 1956. From Cove Creek High School (in Sugar Grove), we’ve added three volumes of The Coveteer from 1952-1956. From Boone, we’ve also got 18 more editions of The Laurel from Appalachian High School (1947-1965) and seven more editions of The Musket from Watauga High School (1966-1972).

Even though these yearbooks might make it seem like high school was just yesterday, there have been at least a few changes to the curriculum since the 1960s and ’70s. For instance, the Business Department at Watauga High School was much more typewriter-centric than business programs today. Some of the classes taught in 1970 included Typing (I and II), Shorthand, Bookkeeping, General Business, and Business English. Perhaps the focus on problem-solving skills has remained the same, though—the caption for the photo above reads, “Tony Hagler, and member of one of the typing classes, seems deeply involved with the completion of his problems.”

You can see the full batch of Watauga county yearbooks here. You can also browse our full collection of digitized North Carolina Yearbooks here by location, school, and year. To see more from the Watauga County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

New Materials Feature the History of the Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc.

Thanks to our newest partner, the Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., nearly 300 materials that relate to the history of the council are now available on our website. The materials in this batch include scrapbooks, rosters, meeting minutes, programs for a variety of events, awards, photographs, and much more.

The Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. was chartered on December 1, 1965. Since that time, they have been leading, developing, and advocating for African American women, their families, and communities through collaborative efforts of advocacy, volunteerism, service, and leadership. Programs highlighted in this batch include the annual Bethune Recognition Luncheon, Harambee Breakfast, and Mother’s Day program.

“Harambee,” a Swahili term that originated in Kenya, means a community pulling and working together. But it also signifies determination, togetherness, love, and importance of knowing yourself according to member Dr. Louise J. Gooche. Although the breakfast program was created by Dr. Dorothy Irene Height earlier, it was not until 1994 that Louise Weeks introduced the Harambee Breakfast concept to the Durham Section. To this day, members of the Durham Section along with affiliated members gather together in beautiful African attire to enjoy food, hear stories, and recognize their members.

NCNW logo. Below "NCNW" are images of Black individuals in sepia tone. Below those images are the words "Commitment. Unity. Self Reliance."

To learn more about the Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., please visit their contributor page or website.

To view more materials from the Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. please click here.

Yet Another Story About Tom Dula & More From Wilkes Community College

A black-and-white photograph of Wilson C. Daniels. He is wearing a Confederate Soldier uniform and holding a long sword.
Wilson C. Daniel, c. 1863, who served in the 42nd Regiment (like Tom Dula).
A portrait of Margaret Ann Wesson Tesh. She is in a dark dress belted at the waist. Gold leaf has been added to embellish her necklace.
Margaret Ann Wesson Tesh, 1868. An example of what white women might have looked like in the Reconstruction era.

We’ve got another batch of audio materials available thanks to our partner, Wilkes Community College. This set of 16 interviews and oral histories was originally recorded on reel-to-reel tapes, and they span from 1959 to 1979.

One of the recordings in this batch is a retelling of the legend of Tom Dula, popularized in 1959 by The Kingston Trio in their version of the folk song “Tom Dooley.” The general outline of the story is that Dula, upon returning home to Wilkes county after serving in the army of the Confederacy, had a relationship with at least two women, Laura (or Laurie) Foster and Ann Melton. It is suspected that this relationship triangle went bad and that Dula murdered Foster. He then attempted to flee into Tennessee. However, he was arrested and returned to North Carolina, where he was found guilty both by a jury in Iredell county and later by the North Carolina Supreme Court. He was sentenced to death in Statesville and hanged on May 1, 1868, which became the basis for the song.

The version of the story told in this recording (perhaps by Tom Ferguson, though the tape is unclear), also made in 1959, leans more into pastoral genre than other popular accounts. The speaker devotes a great deal of time to describing the home of Dula and his mother, which he says many in the area remember. He describes a lean-to on the side of the house (which he guesses was built around 1850) where Tom Dula stayed. He also describes the house as sitting among “a profusion of honeysuckle and roses.”

However, this account deserves a little bit of scrutiny, since it tends to romanticize and draw from the speaker’s imagination. The storyteller describes Dula as a musician who carried a violin around his neck and who only participated in the Civil War insofar as to entertain his fellow soldiers, though we know he was a member of the 42nd Regiment of the North Carolina Infantry. He also asserts that Dula was handsome and popular with the ladies, which, of course, makes it impossible that he was a “scoundrel” (Ferguson is not a Jane Austen fan, I take it).

A black-and-white photograph of Zebulon B. Vance. He is sitting in a suit and bowtie and he has a large mustache.
Zebulon B. Vance c. 1875 (courtesy of the Library of Congress).

In addition to asserting Dula’s innocence, this version of the story describes Foster as an “innocent” girl with a talent for weaving, though author John Foster West asserts that Dula, Foster, and Melton were all infected with syphilis. Sadly, little is recorded about either Foster or Melton, and—perhaps tragically—Foster’s portrait now hangs beside Dula’s in the Tom Dooley Museum.

One final surprising detail about this story is that Dula was represented by none other than former North Carolina Governor and U.S. Senator Zebulon Baird Vance. Though biographer Clement Dowd mentions that Vance did not always prepare well for his cases, the storyteller in this version lauds Vance for coming to Dula’s rescue and attributes the two convictions to the “carpetbaggers” who made up the jury.

You can listen to Ferguson’s full account of the Dula legend here, and you can explore all of the audio recordings in this batch here. You can also explore all of our digital sound clips in our North Carolina Sights and Sounds collection. To see more materials from Wilkes Community College, you can visit their partner page and their website.

The Coastland Times Issues from 1962 to 1966 Now Available on DigitalNC!

Header for The Coastland Times newspaper. It reads: The Coastland Times: with which is combined The Pilot and Herald of Belhaven and Swan Quarter. Published weekly in the interest of the Walter Raleigh Coastland of North Carolina.
The Coastland Times, May 25, 1962.

Thanks to our partner, Dare County Library, new issues of The Coastland Times are now available on our website. These issues range from 1962 to 1966. Popular topics in these issues include environmental protection of the coast, the building of bridges and roads, and the area’s popular theater scene.

In 1955, Betty MacDonald published a humorous memoir titled Onions in the Stew. The book recounts MacDonald’s move to Washington State with her two preteen daughters as a divorced working mother and their adaption to living in Washington State from 1942 to 1954. After meeting and marrying her second husband, the family settles for living on the fringe of the Western wilderness on Vashon Island in Puget Sound after being unable to find a home in Seattle or its suburbs. City folks at heart, the MacDonald family hilariously deals with adapting to life in the country.

In April 1962, the Manteo High School Senior Class performed an adaption of Onions in the Stew to a packed house. The class was under the direction of Mrs. Ida Edwards and Miss Mabel Jean Basnight. Credit for the play’s success was given to Miss Della Basnight (pictured left) for her skill in acting as the mother of two.

To view more issues of The Coastland Times, please visit the newspaper’s title page linked here.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please view our North Carolina Newspapers collection linked here.

To learn more about the Dare County Library, please visit their website linked here.

Read About the Night the Lights Went Out in “The Lighted Lamp”

A tryptic of photos of nurses helping patients. On the right is a nurse leaning over a hospital bed; in the middle is a nurse standing with an adult leaning on a walker; on the right is a nurse handing a baby to a mother in a car.
From the 1977 edition of The Lighted Lamp

A batch of 24 yearbooks from the High Point Museum and the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library is now available on our site. Several in the volumes in this batch are yearbooks from High Point Memorial Hospital, now High Point Hospital School of Nursing.

Ironically, one of the events featured in the 1977 edition of The Lighted Lamp is “the night the lights went out.” The good news is that the event refers to the spring prom rather than a night at the hospital, and the power was eventually restored. The description of the event sets the scene well, describing students preparing for the big night:

A group of adults in formalwear dancing in a dark room. In the middle are two people stepping to the left of the photo, and on the front left side are two people holding each other.
From the night the lights went out, The Lighted Lamp (1977)

“They worked really hard while at Butner making hula girls, treasure chests, and other various decorations. Afterwards, they vigorously scrubbed the carpets and the walls that had been splattered with paint. And then they had to lug all of this back to High Point in the back of an El Camino in pouring down rain.”

Sadly, once everyone arrived in their formalwear, there was no electricity, “all because of a dumb old storm.” For an hour and a half, the prom progressed in “romantic candlelight” until the power came back on.

You can see the full batch of yearbooks here, and you can browse our full collection of digital yearbooks by school, location, and year in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. To see more from High Point Museum, you can visit their partner page here and their website here. To see more from the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library, you can visit their partner page here and their website here.

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