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 Geoff Schilling


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.


40 Newspaper Titles, Blind Boy Fuller on DigitalNC

Headmast from the May 25, 1887 issue of Winston's The Friend of Home

This week we have another 40 newspaper titles and thousands of issues up on DigitalNC, including over 1,000 issues from The Messenger and Intelligencer from Wadesboro, the birthplace of Piedmont blues musician Blind Boy Fuller (read a brief biography about Fuller here). In this post we have some interesting new information regarding the blues legend’s birth!

Blind Boy Fuller dressed in a suit and hat, looking to the right, sitting on a bench holding a guitar.

Via John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (PF-20001), Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library

Blind Boy Fuller was born Fulton Allen to parents Calvin Allen and Mary Jane Walker in Wadesboro, North Carolina, but the actual date of his birth is very much up for debate. The date of July 10 seems to be generally agreed upon, but the actual year tends to differ. While there are some sources that put it at 1904, folklorist Bruce Bastin puts Allen’s date of birth at July 10, 1907 based on statements from the North Carolina State Commission for the Blind, the Social Security Board, and the Durham County Welfare records. However, his 1941 death certificate states that he was 32 years old when he died, putting the year of his birth at 1908.

Newspaper notice that reads: Forbidden to Harbor. My son, Fulton Allen, left my home on Friday night, July 22nd. He is barely 16. All persons are hereby forbidden to hire him, to feed or clothe him, or in any way to harbor him or give him help. This notice is given and those who do not heed it will be duly prosecuted. CALVIN ALLEN, Colored

Rockingham Post-Dispatch, July 28, 1921

What we found makes things a little interesting. After the family relocated to Rockingham sometime in the early 1900s, his father posted a notice in the July 28, 1921 issue of the Rockingham Post-Dispatch that would suggest that none of these are accurate. The notice supports the idea of a July birthday but implies that, being 16 years old, he would have actually been born in 1905.

Bruce Bastin is the author of Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast and Early Masters of American Blues Guitar: Blind Boy Fuller with Stefan Grossman. The Bruce Bastin and Stefan Grossman Collections are housed here at UNC as part of the Southern Folklife Collection.

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:

Charlotte

Edenton

Greensboro

High Point

Lexington

Milton

New Bern

Raleigh

Rocky Mount

Salem

Salisbury

Wadesboro

Wilmington

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 Newspaper Titles Added to DigitalNC

Headmast for Black Mountain, NC newspaper The Black Mountain News

We have another 30 titles up on DigitalNC this week! This batch brings us our first newspapers from Dallas, Fairmont, Lake Landing, Maiden, and Newland, North Carolina!

In the January 8th, 1891 issue of the Monroe Enquirer-Register we have an ad for a fledging discount store in Monroe, North Carolina called The New York Racket, which will become the shopping mall staple we know as Belk. Founded by William Henry Belk in 1888, the store would change its name to Belk Brothers in 1898 and go on to become one of the largest department store chains in the country.

1891 newspaper ad for department store called 'The New York Racket' which will become Belk

January 8th, 1891

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:

Belhaven

Black Mountain

Creedmoor

Dallas

Fairmont

Forest City

Gastonia

Iredell County

Lake Landing

Lincolnton

Maiden

Manteo

Monroe

Mooresville

Newland

Rocky Mount

Shelby

Statesville

Swan Quarter

Taylorsville

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.


70 Newspaper Titles Added to DigitalNC

Headmast of July 28, 1916 issue of The Advance from Elizabeth City

This week we have another 70 titles up on DigitalNC including over 1,000 issues of The Robesonian, 1,000 issues of The Western Sentinel, 3,000 issues of The Reidsville Review, 4,000 issues of The News and Observer, and almost 4,000 issues of the Salisbury Evening Post!

In the March 8th, 1914 issue of The News and Observers we have an article detailing a practice game played by the Baltimore Orioles while in Fayetteville. This happens to be the game where a 19 year old George Herman “Babe” Ruth hit his first home run as a professional baseball player. Ruth was also given his iconic nickname “Babe” while in Fayetteville on this trip.

Article from March 8, 1914 issue of The News and Observer where Babe Ruth hit his first home run as a player for the Baltimore Orioles

The News and Observer, March 8th, 1914

Three people standing in front of the sign commemorating Babe Ruth's first home run

Image via The Fayetteville Observer

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:

Asheboro

Asheville

Belhaven

Brevard

Charlotte

Cherryville

Clayton

Concord

Cooleemee

Creedmoor

Durham

East Bend

Elizabeth City

Forest City

Gastonia

Goldsboro

Greenville

Kenly

Leaksville

Lenoir

Lincolnton

Lumberton

Mocksville

Mooresville

Moravian Falls

New Bern

Raleigh

Red Springs

Reidsville

Rocky Mount

Rutherfordton

Salisbury

Selma

Shelby

Smithfield

Spruce Pines & Burnsville

Statesville

Taylorsville

Washington

Waynesville

Wilmington

Windsor

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.


45 Newspaper Titles added to DigitalNC

Headmast for July 17, 1847 issue of The Hornet's Nest from Newbern, N.C.

This week we have another 45 newspapers added to DigitalNC including our first titles from Ridgeway, North Carolina!

In the June 15th, 1920 issue of the Asheville Citizen we have an article celebrating UNC’s class of 1920 where recent graduate, and Asheville native, Thomas Wolfe reads the class poem and presents the class gift at an alumni event. It would be almost a decade until his iconic debut novel, Look Homeward, Angel, is published.

Article from Asheville Citizen where a young Thomas Wolfe participates in UNC graduation events years before becoming a published author

Asheville Citizen, June 15, 1920

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

Concord

Durham

Fayetteville

Greensboro

Highlands

Kinston

Laurinburg

Lenoir

Louisburg

Mocksville

Nashville

New Bern

Pittsboro

Polkton

Raleigh

Randleman

Reidsville

Ridgeway

Rockingham

Wadesboro

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.


Thousands of Newspapers up on DigitalNC!

Headmast for March 24, 1911 issue of Elizabeth City's Tar Heel newspaper

This week we have tens of thousands of issues up on DigitalNC! In this batch we have over 1,000 issues of The High Point Enterprise and Lenoir News-Topic, more than 4,000 issues of The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer, 5,000 issues of the Goldsboro Daily Argus, over 5,500 issues of The Kinston Free Press, 7,000 issues of the Asheville Citizen, and more!

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

Charlotte

Concord

Davidson

Durham

Edenton

Elizabeth City

Elkin

Fayetteville

Gastonia

Goldsboro

Graham

Greensboro

Halifax

Hickory

High Point

Kinston

Lenoir

Raleigh

Shelby

Wilmington

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.

 


35 Titles added to DigitalNC

Headmast from August 3, 1886 issue of Statesville American Tobacco Journal

This week we have another 35 newspaper titles up on DigitalNC including thousands of issues from the Greensboro Daily News and Charlotte Daily Observer!

In the January 7th, 1898 issue of the Charlotte Daily Observer, we have a story about a little girl who had swallowed a thimble and was saved by a new invention: the x-ray machine. Dr. Henry Louis Smith, a physics professor at Davidson College, was an early pioneer in x-ray technology. Smith’s machine was used in some of the first clinical applications, such as this, and allowed doctors to safely find and remove the foreign object from the ailing girl’s body.

Clipping from January 7, 1898 issue of Charlotte Daily Observer describing how the x-ray machine of Dr. Henry Louis Smith was able to locate a thimble that a young girl had swalloed

Charlotte Daily Observer, January 7, 1898

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

Burlington

Charlotte

Durham

Graham

Greensboro

Highlands

Milton

Salem

Southport

Spencer

Statesville

Tarboro

Thomasville

Wadesboro

Waynesville

Wilson

Windsor

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.


Another 60 Newspaper Titles on DigitalNC!

Headmast for January 20, 1900 issue of Winston-Salem's Elite

This week we’ve added another 60 titles to DigitalNC. Included in this batch is the possible origin of a classic North Carolina ghost story!

The Maco Light story tells of a train conductor name Joe Baldwin who was decapitated in a tragic railway accident near the small community of Maco, North Carolina. Legend has it that the ghost of Mr. Baldwin could be seen walking the tracks at night, carrying a lantern and searching for his misplaced head, but once the railroad was removed in the 1970s he was never seen again.

Article from January 12, 1856 issue of The Southerner detailing a train accident in which Charles Baldwin is killed after suffering head injuries

The Southerner, January 12, 1856

As is the case with most folk tales, the story is passed down and embellished over the years and the origin becomes a little fuzzy. There is no record of a “Joe” Baldwin being involved in a wreck, but the January 12th, 1856 issue of The Southerner has an article detailing a train accident that took place just outside of Wilmington a week earlier. The deceased in this incident is Charles Baldwin, who suffered a fatal head injury during the crash. Given the similarities in these stories, it seems our ghost might have actually stayed in one piece.

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:

Elizabeth City

Greensboro

Hendersonville

Oxford

Rutherfordton

Salem

Salisbury

Southern Pines

Southport

Tarboro

Taylorsville

Warrenton

Washington

Williamston

Wilson

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.