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.

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Viewing entries by Alyssa Putt


WWII-era Newsletters and Railroad Photo Albums from Braswell Memorial Library Online

New materials from Braswell Memorial Library are now live on DigitalNC. Included in this batch are photo albums of trains and railroads across the United States and a newsletter produced by staff members at Sidney Blumenthal and Company’s textile mill in Rocky Mount.

A drawing of a man in a military uniform and a woman.

The May 1944 Cover of the Caromount News

When workers Blumenthal’s Caromount Mills deployed for World War II, remaining staff members created the Caromount News for Service Men and Women, a newsletter “published solely for the benefit of all former Blumenthal employees now in the service of our country.” These editions include updates for and about employees who were deployed, jokes, musings, local updates, and even a little workplace gossip. This newsletter continued to be published even after the cessation of the war; we have digitized editions through 1955. The Caromount News grew to be a community newspaper in the post-war years, capturing weddings, graduations, home purchases, town events and more in addition to workplace accomplishments and announcements.

 

Included within the bound editions of the Caromount news was a telegram from a Navy Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and accounts to the men and women of Sidney Blumenthal and Company Incorporated. In this telegram, Rear Admiral W. B. Young credits cloth made by the textile mill with saving the lives of crew members following a ship wreck on the Newfoundland coast during a blizzard. “Those who were best able to take care of themselves after 30 grueling hours in sub-zero temperature were wearing jungle cloth special winter clothing outfits. Those men possibly owe their lives to that equipment” reads the telegram.

Railfans rejoice! The other materials in this batch are all centered around railroads — functional and defunct — up and down the East Coast and even as far as Mexico and California. Documented within the albums are the first trips of several NC routes, including the Piedmont and Carolinian trains. The photos included in these eight albums span the years between 1945 and 2006.

To learn more about Braswell Memorial Library, check out their partner page or website.

 

 

 


Newly Digitized Materials from Winston Salem’s African-American Community Now Online

 

Vacation Bible School Group Photo

A group photograph taken at Shiloh Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School. June 1958.

We have added materials that capture some of Winston Salem’s rich African-American history from 1930 to 1990, courtesy of the Winston Salem African American Archive.

Included in this batch are several editions of The Columbian, the student newspaper for Columbian Heights High School, and articles from other local papers highlighting notable community members and events.

One such community member, Joseph Bradshaw was a veteran, social worker, educator and local historian, committed to preserving Black history in the city and beyond. Other articles detail firsts in Winston Salem’s African-American community: William Samel Scales opened the first black-owned bonding agency and later served as the president of Forsyth Savings and Trust. Naomi McLean opened the first black business and stenographer school in Winston Salem. Carl Matthews began the Winston-Salem sit-in on February 8, 1960. Other articles detail the 1947 Local 22 Tobacco Workers strike at the R.J. Reynolds Factory.

Color portraits of Mary Hairston and Dr. Rufus Hairston

Color portraits of Mrs. Mary Hairston and Dr. Rufus S. Hairston. Dr. Hairston was Winston Salem’s first African-American pharmacist.

Also included in these materials are color portraits of Dr. and Mrs. Rufus S. Hairston and a scrapbook of materials collected by Mrs. Hairston. The Hairstons were both alumni of Slater Industrial Academy, now known as Winston Salem State University, and active members of their community. Dr. Hairston was Winston Salem’s first African-American pharmacist, an alumnus of Shaw University, president of the National Pharmaceutical Association, and was appointed WSSU’s first alumni board of trustee member. Mrs. Hairston served as one of the first presidents of the Winston Salem Chapter of Moles, a national professional organization of women of color, and was a founding member of the Winston Salem Chapter of The Links, Inc. She was also involved in the development of Winston Salem’s first library for African-Americans and later worked in the WSSU library.

To learn more about the Winston Salem African American Archive, visit their website or partner page.


Substantial and Varied Collection from Rockingham County Now Online

The latest materials digitized from Rockingham County Public Library are online now, and oh are they wide-ranging. Included in this batch are church bulletins, postcards, audio recordings, local histories, genealogical records, and even an intricate cross stitch of Rockingham County’s not-quite-neighbor, Person County.

Many of these items recount the history of the towns of Leaksville, Draper, and Spray before the three were consolidated into a single town, Eden N.C., in 1967. One of these is the book Leaksville-Spray, North Carolina: A Sketch of its Interests and Industries, which is one of only two copies known to exist today. It gives extensive details about textile and other manufacturing industries in the area during the early twentieth century.

Morehead Cotton Mills Co.

Leaksville’s Morehead Mills was founded by future governor John Motley Morehead, also known as “the Father of Modern North Carolina.”

Other materials included in this batch were created well after Leaksville, Draper, and Spray were incorporated as Eden. The song “The Ballad of Leaksville, Spray, and Draper,” written by Leaksville native John Marshall Carter, laments the merger of the three cities with its chorus of, “I can’t believe that they’ve done this to me, I can’t conceive that they’ve killed history.” This song along with “Olden Days” were digitized from an original 45 rpm record.

Header for the Farmer's Advocate Newsletter

“Published Sporadically But Enthusiastically” reads the tagline on the first edition of the Farmer’s Advocate Newsletter.

Also digitized were 70 editions of The Farmer’s Advocate Newsletter from the Historic Jamestown Society — a group dedicated to the preservation of the stories and structures of Jamestown N.C. — spanning from 1975 to 2018.

Rockingham-area genealogists may find some gems in the records of family reunions, vital statistics, church publications, or cemetery survey included in this batch.

All of the items from the most recent batch can be accessed here. To learn more about the Rockingham County Public Library, visit their partner page on DigitalNC or their website.


Durham Urban Renewal Records Have Been Renewed

In the early days of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, we digitized thousands of records created during the Durham Urban Renewal Project. Recently, we revisited these records with the intention of making them more accessible and useful to our partners and the public.

The Durham Redevelopment Commission was established in 1958 with the intention eliminating “urban blight” and improving the city’s infrastructure as more and more personal vehicles filled the city’s streets. Durham Urban Renewal targeted seven areas — one in Durham’s downtown district and six in historically black neighborhoods including Hayti and Cleveland-Holloway. The projects in these six neighborhoods impacted approximately 9,100, or  11.7%, of Durham citizens at the beginning of the project in 1961. Although the initial timetable for the project was ten years, the project efforts went on for nearly 15 years and was ultimately never completed. By the end of the urban renewal efforts, more than 4,000 households and 500 businesses were razed and a new highway — NC 147 —  stretched through the heart of Durham.

A public library building, two stories tall with ornate columns.

Some structures included in the collection, such as the second home for the main branch of the Durham Public Library, outlived the urban renewal project and still stand today. This building is located at 311 East Main Street.

The Durham Urban Renewal Collection contains studies, reports, appraisals, property records, photographs, brochures, and clippings that span the nearly 20 years of urban renewal projects. These materials are artifacts of Durham before, during, and after urban renewal dramatically altered the city.

In an effort to make these materials as accessible and accurate as possible, we recently completed a major cleanup of the collection. Properties are now listed by complete street address. Many of the residential properties — and some commercial properties — were appraised more than once during the urban renewal process. We have consolidated all appraisals, photographs, and other records for individual properties into single listings, and text in these records are full-text searchable. We also used historical maps of the city from the years of urban renewal to provide additional information for unaddressed or mislabeled appraisals and records. In addition to the changes made to improve accessibility by address, we made efforts to ensure that the names of property owners are complete, accurate, and consistent across the collection, so that records may be located more easily in searching by the owners’ names.

The materials in the Durham Urban Renewal Collection came from Durham County Library’s North Carolina Collection and are only a portion of the materials contributed by the library to date. To learn more about the Durham County Library, visit their website or partner page.


Greensboro Area Yearbooks and Student Publications Added

New to our site is a sizable collection of yearbooks and other campus materials from Greensboro. These items came to us from our partners at the Greensboro History Museum and Greensboro Public Library, and mark the beginning of our partnership with Greensboro Public Library.

A drivers education car is sandwiched between two structures.

Drivers Education at Page High School was clearly not for the faint of heart, as evidenced here in the 1965 Buccaneer.

Included in this batch are 31 yearbooks from Greensboro, Smith, Walter Hines Page, and Bessemer High Schools spanning from 1916 to 1967. There is also a hand-written roster kept by Greensboro Senior High School that contains the names and other information such as colleges attended, marital status, and addresses of the school’s graduates from 1922 to 1966.

1954 Whirligig Inside

The inside cover of the 1954 edition of Whirligig, Greensboro High School’s Yearbook, shows “The Setting of the GHS Story 1953-1954.” This setting includes the bunny hop, a fact-filled science building, the fountain of youth, and many references to Greensboro native O. Henry.

Alongside the yearbooks are student literary magazines from Greensboro High School. These student publications — titled Greensboro High School Magazine, The Sage and Homespun  — include poems, plays, stories, and more. The earliest of these digitized in this batch is from 1907 and the most recent from 1960.

Covers from Homespun, Greensboro High School's Literary Magazine

The covers for Greensboro High School’s Student Literary magazine — Homespun — creatively depict the theme of each edition. Shown here are four covers of the magazine printed between 1927 and 1931.

Materials from Greensboro History Museum can be found here, and the materials from the Greensboro Public Library here. For more information about Greensboro History Museum, visit their website or partner page. For additional information on Greensboro Public Library, check out their partner page or website.


New Partner and New Yearbooks from Buncombe County!

A student waves in a high school hallway.

A very animated Charles D. Owen High School student featured in the 1968 edition of The Warhorse.

The first materials from our new partner Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center are online now. This batch features 28 yearbooks from Black Mountain and Swannanoa, both located in Buncombe County (N.C.).

These yearboooks are from Swannanoa High School, Black Mountain High School, and Charles D. Owen High School and capture the years 1948 to 1968.

Swannanoa and Black Mountain High Schools merged to form Charles D. Owen High School in 1955. Swannanoa and Black Mountain’s final yearbooks — the 1954 editions — are included in this collection, as is the very first yearbook for Owen High School.

All of the yearbooks included in this upload can be accessed here.

Hand-drawn high school entryway.

An illustration of Black Mountain High School featured in the 1949 Skirmisher.

 

To learn more about the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center, visit their partner page here of DigitalNC or their website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


New Yearbooks From Rowan County High Schools

We have added nearly 50 yearbooks to our collection thanks to our partner Rowan Public Library. These yearbooks are from two Rowan County schools — Price High School in Salisbury N.C. and China Grove High School — and are especially unique in that they capture student life at two schools that existed only for a few decades.

Campus Photo

Price High School’s main building from the 1960 edition of the Pricean.

Ruth E. Miller

The 1943 Pricean Yearbook was dedicated to two teachers who joined the U.S. military.

Price High School was Salisbury’s African-American high school from 1932 until 1969, when integration led to the closing of the school and the opening of today’s Salisbury High School. Included in this batch of yearbooks are seventeen editions of The Pricean, the annual from Price High School.  These yearbooks include the usual contents of high school yearbooks — superlatives, group photos, class poems — but also notable graduates and the final class’ words of farewell and gratitude to the school. They also encapsulate notable events that occurred between 1943 and 1969.

One such historic event was World War Two, which was emphasized by the 1943 Pricean’s dedication. The yearbook was dedicated to Auxillary Ruth E. Miller and Seargeant James C. Simpson, both of whom were graduates of and teachers at Price High School before joining the U.S. Army. Ruth E. Miller was the first black member of Salisbury’s Women’s Army Auxillary Corps while James C. Simpson was the first teacher from Price High School to join the U.S. army.

China Grove High School’s yearbook, The Parrot, captures some of the early years of the merging of the Rowan County Farm Life School with the city’s main high school that took place in the summer of 1921. According to the Eura Jones, a member of China Grove High’s 1924 class, China Grove High School “was the largest rural high school in the state” in 1921, and only continued to grow. She goes on to detail the school’s continued growth, boasting “two music departments, a teacher training department, glee clubs, four societies, a dramatic club, ball teams, a home economics club, athletics, agriculture, and most of all, the construction of a new three story building to house the growing school.” The yearbooks added to our digital collection span the years from 1923 to 1961.

China Grove High Architectural Drawing

Plans for China Grove High School’s Expanding Campus, completed by Architect Charles C. Hook.

These yearbooks are only a fraction of the materials we have digitized for the Rowan Public Library. To learn more about the Rowan Public Library, check out their partner page or their website.

Student Life From the 1956 Pricean.

Price High’s Driver’s Education Class, Cheering Squad, and First Year Industrial Arts Class from the 1956 Pricean.

Price High School – Salisbury, N.C.  
The Pricean [1943]
The Pricean [1947]
The Pricean [1949]
The Pricean [1952]
The Pricean [1954]
The Pricean [1955]
The Pricean [1956]
The Pricean [1957]
The Pricean [1958]
The Pricean [1959]
The Pricean [1960]
The Pricean [1961]
The Pricean [1962]
The Pricean [1965]
The Pricean [1966]
The Pricean [1967]
The Pricean [1968]
The Pricean [1969]

China Grove High School – China Grove, N.C.
The Parrot [1923]
The Parrot [1924]
The Parrot [1930]
The Parrot [1931]
The Parrot [1932]
The Parrot [1933]
The Parrot [1935]
The Parrot [1936]
The Parrot [1937]
The Parrot [1938]
The Parrot [1939]
The Parrot [1940]
The Parrot [1941]
The Parrot [1942]
The Parrot [1943]
The Parrot [1944]
The Parrot [1945]
The Parrot [1947]
The Parrot [1948]
The Parrot [1949]
The Parrot [1950]
The Parrot [1951]
The Parrot [1952]
The Parrot [1953]
The Parrot [1954]
The Parrot [1955]
The Parrot [1956]
The Parrot [1957]
The Parrot [1958]
The Parrot [1959]
The Parrot [1960]
The Parrot [1961]


New Carver College and Mecklenburg College Yearbooks Now Online

We have just added new catalogs and yearbooks from Central Piedmont Community College. CPCC is currently the East Coast’s largest community college and was founded in 1963 when two colleges — Mecklenburg College and the Central Industrial Education center — merged. These yearbooks are from the years preceding the formation of CPCC and feature the students, staff, programs, and happenings of Carver Junior College and Mecklenburg College.

Class of 1963 in caps and gowns.

Mecklenburg College’s class of 1963 from the 1964 Echo.

Carver College was a predominantly black junior college in Charlotte, North Carolina from 1949 to 1961. Carver College’s name was changed to Mecklenburg College in 1961, which it remained known as until its inclusion in the formation of CPCC in 1963.

These yearbooks capture scenes of students enjoying the campus and participating in events, organizations, and programs at the college and in the community.

Carver Junior College waving on parade float.

Carver College students on their red ribbon winning parade float from the 1957 Carveran.

To learn more about Central Community College, visit their website or partner page here on DigitalNC.

All of the materials — college catalogs and yearbooks — uploaded in this batch can be accessed here. The yearbooks included in this batch are individually linked below.
The Carveran [1957]
The Carveran [1958]
The Carveran [1959]
The Carveran [1961]
The Echo [1962]
The Echo [1963]
The Echo [1964]


New Yearbooks from Mount Airy Regional Museum of History, a New Partner

A new batch of yearbooks courtesy of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History are now live. These yearbooks are the first materials on DigitalNC from this partner and they are chock full of personality.

Caricature Staff Page from Maroon and Grey

A very distinct staff page from the 1954 edition of Franklin High School’s Maroon and Grey.

These yearbooks span from 1939 to 1961 and encapsulate student life in Surry County through these decades. Schools included are Franklin High School, Pilot Mountain High School, White Plains High School, Dobson High School, and Copeland High School.

"Best Sport" Superlative Winners from Windswept Echoes

Copeland High School’s 1961 “Best Sport” superlative winners.

To learn more about Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, visit their website or partner page. Links to yearbooks are organized by school and listed below.


A New Partner Means New Materials from Robersonville and Martin County

We are excited to welcome new partner Robersonville Public Library to DigitalNC.  With this addition, we are adding Robersonville and Martin County generally to our coverage map.  Our first batch from Robersonville includes several yearbooks from Robersonville High School, as well as Abstracts of Deed Books, Robersonville Cemetery Records, and books on the history of Martin County. 

Robersonville High School with students out front

Robersonville High School from the 1957 yearbook

The high school yearbooks cover 1954 through 1967 for Robersonville High School and give a great glimpse into what life was like for students in Martin County at the time.  Alumni who have moved out of the area will be particularly interested in these materials.  

The two books on the history of Martin County compiled by Martin County residents Francis M. Manning and W. H. Booker based on historical documents and oral histories. Martin County History Volume I chronicles more than two centuries of the county’s past, beginning with the arrival of colonists in the area that was previously only inhabited by native peoples. Martin County History Volume I explores notable events, individuals, and even inventions through 1976.

Martin County History Vol I page 252

Some of the inventions discussed in Martin County History Volume I include octagon soap, and a filleting machine.

Religion and Education in Martin County 1774-1974, also authored by these two local historians, includes information about Martin County churches, their congregants, their leadership, and even details regarding a nineteenth-century missionary movement within the county. Part two of the book details the development of the county’s school system, including photographs and details of public and private schools alike.

Williamston Academy Building 1914

Students stretch outside of the Willamston Academy in Martin County in an image from Religion and Education in Martin County 1774-1974.

Martin County genealogists may be especially interested in these new materials. Included in this collection are Abstracts of Deeds from 1774 to 1801, Will Books from 1774-1868, and two collections of cemetery records for Robersonville area cemeteries. These cemetery records including the new and old cemetery sections for the Robersonville Cemetery, the Grimes Cemetery, the First Christian Church Cemetery, and the Roberson Cemetery. These binders provide grave locations for many deceased residents as well as veterans status, dates of birth and death, and the names of plot purchasers for all included cemeteries.

Robersonville Public Library is part of BHM Regional Library, serving Beaufort, Hyde, and Martin Counties. To see more from the Robersonville Public Library, visit their partner page here on DigitalNC or check out their website.