Viewing entries by Geoff Schilling

42 Newspapers from the North Carolina Collection

Headmast for Raleigh, N.C. paper "The Farmer and Mechanic" from October 16, 1877

Here we have new papers from the North Carolina Collection that have never been microfilmed! The North Carolina Collection originated in 1844 and is the largest traditional collection of library materials for any state. Learn more about the NCC here!

These additions include:


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

Newspapers, Yearbooks, and Newsletters from Granville County Public Library!

Six yearbook covers spanning from 1953 to 1967

Here we have materials spanning three decades from our partners over at the Granville County Public Library! These additions include issues of the Oxford Public Ledger, a student paper from Henderson High School, and yearbooks from Henderson and Dabney, N.C.!

Henderson High School football players from 1938 sitting on a set of stairs with the caption "Bulldog's Greatest Year"
The Bulldog, December, 1938
A cheerleading cone with the letter "M" painted on it sitting in a field
The Carrier, 1955
Five people hanging out the windows of a school bus with the caption "Bus Drivers"
The Carrier, 1967

To find more information about Granville County Public Library’s resources, services, or events, feel free to visit their site here!


Company News from Erlanger Mills

Headmast from Lexington, NC paper The Er-Lantern

Here we have issues of Lexington’s The Er-Lantern spanning from 1958 to 1971. Similar Spray’s Fieldcrest Mill Whistle and High Point’s Sew It Seams The Er-Lantern was a company paper depicting everyday life around the Erlanger Mills village.

Photo of a group of women and young girls standing on bleachers indoors. Captioned "Fashion Show" and taken by H. Lee Waters
Er-Lantern
September, 1969

Opened in 1914, Erlanger Mills was created by Charles and Abraham Erlanger as a source of cotton for their Baltimore underwear company, which originally produced the one-piece “union suits.” By the 1920s, the company’s 250-ace complex included over employee 300 houses, multiple churches and schools, a hospital, and even its own baseball team. The village was officially annexed into Lexington in 1942 and the mill was sold to Gastonia’s Parkdale Mill Inc. in 1972. In 2008, the village was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

photo of a woman looking up at a bulletin board on the wall in the Erlanger Mills factory
Er-Lantern
November, 1960
Ten men in 1917 style baseball uniforms standing in a row with their coach, in a suit and hat, kneeling in front
Charlotte News and Evening Chronicle
February 21, 1917

Photographer H. Lee Waters, who took many of the photos featured in the paper, has a collection of village-life snapshots on their website here.

These papers were provided to us by our partners at the Davidson County Public Library.


Folk Singers & Murder Ballads With The Watauga Democrat

Watauga County, much like the rest of Appalachian American, has a rich history of old-time music and two of the most prominent musicians from the area were Doc Watson and Frank Proffitt. In these 1964 and 1965 issues of Boone’s Watauga Democrat, we have many articles celebrating their lives and achievements.

Photo of Doc Watson sitting down and playing guitar while his son stands behind him.
Doc Watson and Son, Merle
October 15, 1964

Arthel “Doc” Watson (March 3, 1923-May 19, 2012) hails from the small community of Deep Gap, which is about 10 miles east of Boone, and was one of nine children. Despite being blind since infancy, Watson learned to play a variety of instruments at a young age including guitar, banjo, harmonica, and fiddle. By the time of his death Doc had won an astounding seven Grammys but he didn’t release his first solo recording until 1964, at the age of 41. His eponymous debut includes a version of the song Frank Proffitt made famous, Tom Dooley (or Dula), and the two were both featured on the bill for the 1964 Newport Folk Festival.

Frank Proffitt was born June 1, 1913 and would pass away a year after his Newport encounter with Watson on November 24, 1965. Proffitt resided in the north-west portion of Watauga County in Reese, North Carolina and crafted his own instruments in addition to mastering them. In 1937, folklorists Anne and Frank Warner travelled to Western North Carolina, recorded Proffitt’s version of the murder ballad Tom Dula (story told in detail here by our own Sophie Hollis) and passed it on to Alan Lomax. This version would make it into Lomax’s book Folk Song U.S.A. and became a hit in 1958 when the Kingston Trio released a cover titled Tom Dooley. This would greatly increase Proffitt’s popularity as an American folk singer and he would even go on to represent North Carolina at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

Photo of Frank Proffitt wearing a white collared shirt, playing banjo, and singing.
Frank Proffitt
September 24, 1964
Newspaper clipping detailing the Newport Folk Festival lineup which includes Frank Proffitt, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Doc Watson.
September 24, 1964
Newspaper clipping announcing the death of Frank Proffitt and describing his legacy as a folk singer, primarily his telling of the "Tom Dula" ballad.
December 2, 1965

These issues of the Watauga Democrat were brought to us by the Watauga County Public Library. You can visit their site and learn about their many events here.


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.


A Glimpse Into Small Town Life With “The Wake Weekly”

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

We now have issues of The Wake Weekly and Youngsville-Rolesville Record from 1952 and 1960 through 1962 up on DigitalNC! The scope of the paper rarely ventures outside its tri-town borders, but offers a unique look into the lives of Raleigh’s northern neighbors in the 1950s and 60s.

Newspaper clipping announcing that Karen Pearce has won the Wake Dairy Princess Pageant. She is pictured wearing a dress, sash, and crown.
June 10, 1960

In this batch we have illegal gambling parties complete with confiscated moonshine, the much-anticipated results of the Dairy Princess Pageant, writers expressing their feelings about this wild new thing called “rock ‘n roll,” and a teenage gossip column where you can learn whether Jerry Beddingfield and Nancy Pettigrew like Twist and Shout by the Isley Brothers or not. Every accomplishment was celebrated and every traffic citation documented. With a paper this intimate it’s easy to see how tight knit this community really was.

Newspaper clipping that says "One thing that really ought to come with no strings attached is a rock and roll singer's guitar."
September 21, 1962
Clipping from gossip column called "This and That" listing what teens have been up to.
June 15, 1962

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.


Issues of The Dare County Times from 1939 now on DigitalNC

Headmast for the July 21, 1939 issue of The Dare County Times from Manteo, N.C.

Thanks to our partner, The Outer Banks History Center, we now have every issue of The Dare County Times from 1935-1945 up on DigitalNC! In these papers we have stories about the smallest school in North Carolina (only seven students!), the 100th performance of Paul Green’s The Lost Colony, and the fire that devastated much of Manteo on September 11th, 1939.

Clipping from February 17, 1939 issue showing the smallest school in North Carolina. A young female teacher and her seven students Photo from the September 15th issue. An aerial view showing a large mass of smoke covering most of the town

The Manteo fire broke out in the early hours of that September morning and destroyed 21 buildings in just three hours. Since the town had limited supplies to fight the fire, trucks from neighboring communities had to be called in to help contain the flames and one even came down from Norfolk, Virginia to offer aid. Miraculously, not a single person was injured amidst the chaos.

If you would like to see the rest of the available issues of The Dare County Times, you can find them here. You can also browse our entire collection of North Carolina newspapers and visit our contributing partners page.


35 Newspaper Titles, NC Aviation History on DigitalNC

Headmast for March, 1904 issue of Bower, NC's The Olive Leaf

This week we have the final 35 newspaper titles for this project up on DigitalNC! Over the past 11 months we have uploaded over 2.4 million pages of North Carolina newspapers – bringing our total number of newspaper pages on DigitalNC to 4,175,076 and our total number of titles on DigitalNC to 1,161 – all freely available to anyone! In this closing batch we have our first paper from Bower, North Carolina (which you may know as Clemmons today) and an article in the Union Republican about Stokes County’s would be Wright brother: Jacob A. Hill.

Jacob Hill, Winston-Salem Journal, March 9, 1902

Before Orville and Wilbur’s iconic first flight in 1903, the race to create a manned flying machine was fiercely competitive. One of the contenders was a man from Vade Mecum Springs named Jacob Hill. Hill was born 1862 in Davie County and had been fascinated by the flight of birds ever since he was a child. In 1901 he decided to take that curiosity a little further and solve “the problem of aerial navigation” by building his own dirigible.

Mr. Hill’s machine could have been the first piloted aircraft, but we’ll never know for sure if it could actually fly and be controlled. Momentum ran out when Hill couldn’t secure funding for his invention. According to Thomas Parramore’s First to Fly, witnesses claimed the craft could get off the ground, but couldn’t do much more than hover in place. Even though Hill’s airship became something of a local joke for a time, the legacy of his wild aspirations continues to live on in North Carolina history.

Over the past year, we’ve added millions of newspaper images to DigitalNC. These images were originally digitized a number of years ago in a partnership with Newspapers.com. That project focused on scanning microfilmed papers published before 1923 held by the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Special Collections Library. While you can currently search all of those pre-1923 issues on Newspapers.com, we have made them available in our newspaper database as well. This will allow you to search that content alongside the 2 million pages already on our site – all completely open access and free to use.

This week’s additions include:

Belhaven

Bower

Charlotte

Greensboro

Kings Mountain

Kinston

Lenoir

Monroe

Mt. Airy

New Bern

Salem

Salisbury

Shelby

Statesville

Swan Quarter

Taylorsville

Warrenton

Winston

Winston-Salem

If you want to see all of the newspapers we have available on DigitalNC, you can find them here. Thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries for permission to and support for adding all of this content as well as the content to come. We also thank the North Caroliniana Society for providing funding to support staff working on this project.


30 Additional Newspaper Titles up on DigitalNC!

Headmast for August 1, 1866 issue of Pittsboro's Semi-Monthly Record of the Pittsboro' Scientific Academy

This week we have another 30 newspaper titles up on DigitalNC! In the September 3, 1891 issue of Boone’s Watauga Democrat we have an article describing the terrible train wreck of Bostian’s Bridge in Statesville. This fatal accident sparked a legendary North Carolina ghost story, but perhaps even scarier are the boogeymen railroad companies would often create to avoid accountability: train wreckers.

By 1891 the railroad system in America had exploded, allowing for easier cross-country travel and bringing with it fresh new paranoia about disasters and scary strangers coming to your town. Blaming a wreck on some shady character was a lot easier than paying a fortune on settlements due to negligence. Almost immediately after the August 27, 1891 accident, the Richmond & Danville Railroad Company put out ads offering a $10,000 reward for the apprehension of the perpetrator, leading to many being accused and arrested (conveniently with the help of a railroad detective).

The editor at Statesville’s Landmark provides us with an incredibly detailed account of the accident and the recovery effort, complete with interviews from survivors and witnesses where they describe rotten cross-ties and rail workers throwing this evidence into the creek below the bridge. Many of those interviewed make a point to mention that there were no signs of robbery after the crash, which doesn’t exactly support the idea of this being some dastardly deed by a bandit.

Over the next year, we’ll be adding millions of newspaper images to DigitalNC. These images were originally digitized a number of years ago in a partnership with Newspapers.com. That project focused on scanning microfilmed papers published before 1923 held by the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Special Collections Library. While you can currently search all of those pre-1923 issues on Newspapers.com, over the next year we will also make them available in our newspaper database as well. This will allow you to search that content alongside the 2 million pages already on our site – all completely open access and free to use.

This week’s additions include:

Asheville

Boone

Burlington

Chapel Hill

Durham

Fayetteville

Fairfield

Gastonia

Holly Springs

Jackson

Kinston

Lexington

Lincolnton

Pittsboro

Raleigh

Salisbury

Tarboro

Winston

If you want to see all of the newspapers we have available on DigitalNC, you can find them here. Thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries for permission to and support for adding all of this content as well as the content to come. We also thank the North Caroliniana Society for providing funding to support staff working on this project.


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