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 Lisa Gregory


Additional Issues of the Chowan Herald, 1983-2001, now on DigitalNC

Black and white clipping of masthead and article about Y2K glitches from January 5, 2000 Chowan Herald front page

Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library in Edenton has funded digitization of an additional 19 years of the Chowan Herald. This new content means that you can now search the entire run from the first issue in 1934 through June 2001. 

The new issues from 1983-2001 cover local political and town government news, tourism, business and residential development in the area, local events and community organizations, crime and local disasters. One of the larger construction projects represented in this timespan is the replacement Albemarle Sound Bridge. You can see news about the conception, construction, and dedication of the bridge (including an article on the partial collapse during construction which delayed its completion). (Here’s an article about the original bridge, which you can read about through earlier issues of the Herald.)

You can search and browse the entire run of The Chowan Herald on its landing page.  Other materials related to Chowan County that are available on our site, including newspapers, city directories, and more, can be searched and browsed on the county landing page.


Issues of The Front Page 1979-1986, “Newspaper for North Carolina’s Gay Community,” Now Online

The Front Page first page with masthead, headline Historic March Peaks Gay Pride Week, and photo of adults holding banner "Triangle Lesbian & Gay Pride"The first 8 years of The Front Page newspaper, from 1979-1986, are now on DigitalNC. The Front Page was published in Raleigh for twenty-six years covering “news and happenings of interest to gay people.”  The paper covered national and local news impacting and of interest to the LGBTQ+ community. There are ads for local businesses that were safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals, and a community calendar listed events. There’s also a Q&A column where letters from readers all over the state wrote in with problems or questions to recieve a broad spectrum of personal advice. 

Q-Notes, a prominent Charlotte area LGBTQ+ newspaper and the one Front Page merged with in 2006, published a retrospective of The Front Page and an interview with the Page‘s publisher Jim Baxter in the July 29, 2006 issue. Baxter penned an article in IndyWeek shortly after the paper’s final issue, and it describes parts of his career and the history of Front Page

The paper has been added with kind permission from the publishers and thanks to efforts by staff at the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Duke University. Digitization of this paper was funded by an IDEA Action Grant from UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries. Archived issues of Q-notes are available from our site, and you can view more current content at their site.


Introducing our New Satellite Location at Elizabeth City State University

White state of NC outline on blue background with the words North Carolina Digital Heritage Center EastSince 1751, North Carolina newspapers have been one of the most valuable resources for researching our state’s history. They are also one of the most prolific, and demand for newspaper digitization is an area where we struggle even making a dent.

Thanks to funding from the State Library of North Carolina and a new partnership with G. R. Little Library at Elizabeth City State University, that dent just got a little bigger. ECSU is now home to our first satellite location, and the staff there are focused on print newspaper digitization.

In addition to meeting demand, setting up a satellite location in the eastern part of the state will diminish travel time for eastern partners interested in getting papers from their collections online. All materials will be scanned on a new large format scanner by the digitization technicians at ECSU. Then, after the images have metadata, they’ll be sent to Chapel Hill where they’ll be uploaded to the newspaper site on our page.

Our ECSU colleagues are currently working on papers from Northampton and Bertie counties. We’ll be working with our easternmost partners for more materials to scan in the coming months.

Three adults in face masks look at computer screen near very large scanner, with several other adults in the background.

Zaina Goggins, Vicky Tillett, and Barry Ward work with a new scanner at ECSU Libraries.


New Materials Added to the Crystal Lee Sutton Collection from Alamance Community College

Color photograph of two smiling individuals with raised fists facing camera, Lenin's tomb with line of visitors in the background

Crystal Lee Sutton and Richard Koritz in Red Square, 1984

Crystal Lee Sutton was a union activist whose story rose to prominence after she was fired from her position at a Roanoke Rapids, N.C. textile plant, J. P. Stevens, because she supported the establishment of a union and advocated for better working conditions and pay. Her story was documented in the movie Norma Rae, and Sutton’s life changed greatly due to the fame that followed the movie’s success. She went on to support unionization efforts in a variety of industries during the rest of her life. Sutton passed away in 2009. 

On behalf of Alamance Community College we have digitized additional materials from the Crystal Lee Sutton collection, which was donated directly to the College’s Library before her death.

This batch of materials contains some of Sutton’s school report cards, correspondence to various supporters, newspaper clippings about her activism and the movie, unionization booklets, and a few photos of Sutton. There are also quite a few of her speeches, both handwritten and typewritten, including those she lists as the first speeches she gave after being fired in 1973

Due to copyright or privacy concerns, not all of the materials from the Sutton collection are online. If you are interested in those items, take a look at this list. You can contact the Alamance Community College Library for access to the items listed there.

You can view the most recent batch along with all of the items we have been able to share online on the Crystal Lee Sutton exhibit page


Issues of the Elkin Tribune from the first half of the 20th Century Added to DigitalNC

Black and white image of the May 8 1945 issue of the Elkin Tribune with bold, large text headline V-E- DAY IS HERE!We’re pleased to share that you can now search more issues of the Elkin Tribune on DigitalNC, thanks to a nomination from the Elkin Public Library. The years added span 1916-1949, but the majority of the issues are from 1942-1949, with only a few scattered issues from the earlier years.

In the issues added from 1931 you’ll see a lot of coverage of the new Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, which still operates in Elkin today. The issues from 1942-1949 cover World War II and its immediate aftermath. There are lists of individuals who served from both Surry and Yadkin counties in the May 8, 1945 issue linked at the beginning of this post. 

You can view all of the issues we’ve published from The Elkin Tribune on the newspaper’s landing page. To view all of the items we’ve worked on relating to Surry County, check out the county’s landing page


Newspapers, Maps Added to DigitalNC from the Chapel Hill Historical Society

Top half of the February 11, 1957 issue of the News Leader with a blurry black and white photo of a mule in front of a house.

The front page of the February 11, 1957 issue of the Chapel Hill News Leader features a snapshot of a mule that kept straying onto the property of the local mayor.

We’ve worked with the Chapel Hill Historical Society to share additional materials from their collections. This batch includes more issues of the following newspapers:

The issues of the News Leader discuss town and county news, as well as a hefty amount of news related to UNC-Chapel Hill. Items related to politics and education frequently take center stage on the front page.

In addition to these newspaper issues the Historical Society shared a variety of maps and plans related to Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Included are plans for a sewer project and plans for a local development called “Laketree Center.”

To view all of the items the Chapel Hill Historical Society has shared head to their contributor page


100 Counties! New Materials from the Camden County Museum Heritage Museum Now Online

Table with scanners and a laptop inside a brightly lit museum space with one person seated and scanning and two people standing and looking at a book

L-R Ashlie Brewer (NCDHC) scans while Lisa Gregory (NCDHC) looks at materials with Brian Forehand (Camden County Heritage Museum)

We have an exciting milestone to announce – with the addition of the Camden County Heritage Museum  and the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center we have now worked with at least one partner organization in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. NCDHC staff received a warm welcome in Camden County at the end of August when we traveled there to scan materials for both of these organizations.

Black English text on beige paper advertisin typhoid fever and diptheria vaccines in Camden CountyOur post today shares the materials we scanned from the Museum (stay tuned for a future post about the Welcome Center’s materials). From photos to maps to brochures to handwritten research notes, the Museum selected a variety of items that document important aspects of the county’s history. Some of the longer and more detailed items are mentioned below:

We were especially interested to read the typhoid fever and diptheria vaccine announcement shown to the right, which seems especially timely during the current pandemic. Note that the author called out the races separately and that people had to go to a specific location based on their assigned race.

You can view all of the items from the Camden County Heritage Museum on the Museum’s contributor page, or all of the materials we have related to Camden County on the Camden County page on our site.


Issues of The Roanoke Beacon Newspaper, from 1930-1956, Added to DigitalNC

Black and white front page of English language newspaper with several headshots and photo of bridge

Front page of the August 19, 1938 issue of the Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News discussing the dedication of the Albemarle Sound Bridge.

Additional issues of The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News, published out of Plymouth, NC, are now online thanks to funding from the North Caroliniana Society. This newspaper was recommended for digitization by the Washington County Library which is part of Pettigrew Regional Library. With these additions, you can now search the newspaper from 1899 to 1956.

The News published articles about agriculture (particularly cotton and seafood), social events, politics, and the local schools. Town Topics and Society columns are a great source for the personal news of Washington County residents. There is also coverage of national and international news, which increases through World War II. During that time you’ll see articles that describe the town’s preparations in case of invasion, that recount the activities of local soldiers, and that call for frugality and the purchase of war bonds. 

Later issues in this run cover the aftermath of World War II, distribution of the polio vaccine to Washington County residents, and the debate around segregated schools. 

You can view all of the issues of The Roanoke Beacon and Washington County News available on our site through the newspaper’s landing page.


Issues of the Tryon Daily Bulletin from Polk County Added Online

Black and white masthead for the Tryon Daily Bulletin

The Tryon Daily Bulletin’s tagline is the World’s Smallest Daily Newspaper. This masthead is from Aug 15, 1945, with Seth M. Vining as editor.

Issues of the Tryon Daily Bulletin from 1935-1936 and 1942-1951 have been added to DigitalNC, thanks to funding from the North Caroliniana Society. This title was recommended and advocated for by the Polk County Public Library.

The Bulletin is a physically smaller paper both in dimensions and page length, and it actually boasts the tagline “The World’s Smallest Daily Newspaper” to this day. Despite (or perhaps because of) its size, the Bulletin focus mostly on local news. You’ll find items about church, school, and sporting events, and articles about marriages, illnesses, births and deaths without many syndicated articles or ads to sift through. As a daily, the paper covered smaller details than you might normally see, as specific as a list of books added to the library. 

Black and white cartoon of standing police officer saying "move on buddy" towards a seated adult writing on a notepad

The Curb Reporter column graphic beginning in the mid 1940s.

The issues scanned from 1942-1951 cover World War II and its immediate aftermath. Unlike many of the Bulletin’s peers, the front page doesn’t focus on national news but rather the war’s impact on the local community. There are calls for donations of items for soldiers, articles announcing events for soldiers visiting from Camp Croft (which was located near Spartanburg, SC), and lists of Tryon-area soldiers and their comings and goings. The paper features a regular front page column called “Curb Reporter” which is a compiled list of brief local, national, and international news items.

You can view all of the issues we’ve scanned of the Tryon Daily Bulletin on the newspaper’s landing page. All of the items we’ve scanned on behalf of the Polk County Public Library can be found from the Library’s contributor page.


Additional Materials from the Crystal Lee Sutton Collection at Alamance Community College Now Online

photograph of woman with long hair and a serious face behind a podium with sign that says Real vs ReelAlamance Community College houses and cares for a wide variety of materials and artifacts documenting the career of Crystal Lee Sutton, a labor activist who came to national prominence when her story was fictionalized in the movie Norma Rae. Before her passing, Sutton donated the collection to the College and we have helped digitize another batch to share on DigitalNC. You can read about the first batch we worked on in this blog post written in May 2021.

black and white cartoon of large angry person with knife standing over people with lowered heads

“No matter how thin you slice it … It’s still baloney.” Pro-union booklet with J. P. Stevens as the antagonist.

This batch contains ephemera related to Sutton’s part in the strike at J. P. Stevens, Inc. and the fame she received in the wake of Norma Rae.  You’ll find materials about the Stevens strike as well as about unionizing efforts at other companies. There is also pro- and anti-union propoaganda, like the booklet featured at right. 

Of particular note is Sutton’s handwritten description of her treatment at Stevens and the organizing activities that took place at the plant. This first-hand account includes a transcript at the end. 

Sutton spent her career advocating for unionization, frequently speaking about the impact of her efforts and of the movie at schools, festivals, and union chapter meetings. She diligently clipped newspaper articles about union activity around the country.  

There are additional items within the collection that could not be shared online due to copyright and/or privacy concerns. This list gives an inventory of these items, which can be viewed in person at the Alamance Community College Library. In the list you’ll find research papers students wrote about Sutton, correspondence written to Sutton (including correspondence from Sally Field and Gloria Steinem), documents related to lawsuits Sutton was involved in, and a script and publicity shots related to Norma Rae.

To see everything we’ve digitized in this collection, visit the Alamance Community College contributor page on DigitalNC. More information about the Alamance Community College Library can be found on the Library’s home page.