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 Lulu Zilinskas


Mid-1800s Chatham County Superior Court Minute Docket Now Online

DigitalNC is proud to host the entire contents of a Chatham County Superior Court Minute Docket that spans from October 10, 1839 to December 3, 1866. This minute docket was provided by our partners at Chatham County Historical Association.

This minute docket is a primary source of legal cases from Chatham County, N.C. in the mid-1800s, including names of those who were called to court and what the disputes covered. Notably, this record was saved from the Chatham County Courthouse fire that occurred on March 25, 2010.

Also, you may be wondering what the object at the left corner of the docket image is; it’s a bone folder! We use bone folders to assist with digitization. In this case, you’ll find it gently holds back the pages that wouldn’t stay flat. You’ll also find weighted strings doing the same work on several other pages.

To look at the entire Chatham County Superior Court Minute Docket, click here. To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association, you can view their homepage here.


New Newspaper, Chapel Hill News Leader, Online Now

Thanks to our partners at the Chapel Hill Historical Society, DigitalNC is now home to 167 issues of the Chapel Hill News Leader. This batch includes issues from May 20, 1954 to December 29, 1955.

Covering stories in and around Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC, the Chapel Hill News Leader frequently spoke on events at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools and in 1955 federal courts ordered the admission of Black undergraduates to UNC. The Chapel Hill News Leader, leading with a now famous photo, noted the admission of Leroy Frasier, John Lewis Brandon, and Ralph Frasier, the first Black undergraduate students at UNC, on their first day of school, September 15, 1955.

To view all issues of the Chapel Hill News Leader, click here. To learn more about the Chapel Hill Historical Society, please visit their website here.


Materials Documenting the Life of Crystal Lee Sutton, Activist and Union Organizer, Now Online

A wallet-sized card printed in blue and red text. The title states "Boycott J.P. Stevens products". The rest of the card features a list of products to boycott.

Boycott J.P. Stevens Products Card, created by the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, 1980.

A large batch of materials from Crystal Lee Sutton’s personal collection have been digitized and are now available to view online. These materials were donated to Alamance Community College by Sutton herself in 2007. A big thank you to our partners at Alamance Community College for sharing these historic items with us.

Crystal Lee Sutton was a union organizer and activist, recognized as the driving force behind the unionization of J.P. Stevens plant workers in Roanoke Rapids, N.C. Her story inspired the acclaimed 1979 film, Norma Rae. Items digitized in this collection give firsthand accounts leading up to that notable unionization, including a union cheer and a timeline of events recorded in several meeting recollections with J.P. Stevens management. Employed by J.P. Stevens, Sutton was fired and then rehired for her union efforts (see a handwritten discharge order here), eventually moving from job to job. Through her life, Sutton continued to promote unionizing through features in television shows, as in the documentary Woman Alive!, and speaking engagements.

Many items in this collection also speak to the film inspired by Sutton’s life, the Academy Award winning “Norma Rae”.  Records of legal action Sutton took against the film company are present, as well as a letter to Sally Field, the actress who portrayed Norma Rae.

Other notable items in this batch include: sections of a 1977 Mountain Life & Work issue on the history and union efforts of Southern textile workers; a thought-provoking program that accompanied the film Testimony: Justice vs. J.P. Stevens; several materials from Walter M. Williams High School in Burlington, N.C.; and a dictionary of teenage slang from the 1950s.

For a complete look at the materials from The Crystal Lee Sutton Collection, click here. For more information on the collection, please contact Alamance Community College by visiting their homepage, found here.


More Davidson College Yearbooks Just Added to DigitalNC

Six Davidson College yearbooks are now available to view online thanks to our partners at Davidson College. These yearbooks are recent, spanning the years 2010 to 2015.

Davidson College is a private liberal arts college located in Davidson, N.C. While the student population is small, about a quarter of the students participate in NCAA Division I sports teams. Prominently represented throughout these yearbooks are the many student athletes and sports events.

For a look at all of the many (over 100!) Davidson College yearbooks DigitalNC hosts, click here. To learn more about Davidson College, click here.


New Chapel Hill High School Student Newspaper and More Yearbooks Now Online

DigitalNC is happy to announce that we now host 29 issues of the Chapel Hill High School student newspaper, Proconian, from the years 1944 and 1945. Along with the newspapers, this upload includes 3 Chapel Hill High School yearbooks, Hillife, from the years 1969, 1970, and 1971. This brings our collection of Hillife yearbooks to 42. We would like to thank our partners at the Chapel Hill Historical Society for making these additions possible.

The Proconian issues focus on high school life, often with attention to the Chapel Hill High School Wildcats sports events and highlights. Other school events and faculty are frequently spotlighted. As the issues encompass the end of World War II, there are brief mentions of wartime activities, such as students entering the armed forces and chemical warfare demonstrations.

Covering a completely different generation of Chapel Hill High School students, the Hillife yearbooks depict the usual fare, including photos of the graduating class, clubs, sports, and popular yearly events.

To view all the Hillife yearbooks, from 1925 to 1971, click here. To take a look at the Proconian issues by front page, click here. And to learn more about the Chapel Hill Historical Society, you can visit their home page here.


Recent Issues of the Brevard College Student Newspaper Added to DigitalNC

Over 250 issues of The Clarion, the student newspaper of Brevard College located in Brevard, N.C., are now available on DigitalNC thanks to our partners at Brevard College.  These additions span eight years, from June 2012 to May 2020. All of these issues are web editions and were distributed electronically.

Serving Brevard College since 1935, The Clarion speaks to the students on campus with articles focused on topics such as sports, clubs, events, commencement, and finals. Opinion pieces on popular news stories are also prominently featured. Injecting some fun into the routine, April Fool’s Day issues take on a satirical tone, changing their title to The Hilarion. Similarly, Halloween issues are retitled The Scarion.

As this upload includes issues from the beginning of 2020, present day readers might be interested in tracking the early articles on Covid-19 leading to the move to online instruction. Also of note is the tribute to the 2020 graduating class in the May 21, 2020 issue.

To see all of DigitalNC’s digitized content of Brevard College Student Newspapers going back to the first issues of The Clarion in 1935, click here. And to visit Brevard College’s homepage, click here.


More Yearbooks from Washington High School Added to DigitalNC

Snippet of a two-page spread in a yearbook. It features a full color photo of students on a beach against a bright blue background. Underneath the photo, in white text, it reads: The charm of the student at play.

Cover pages, Packromak, 1964.

Thanks to our partners at George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, we now have 24 new yearbooks available on our website. They are from Washington High School and span the years 1945-1969, giving substance to what was previously only one yearbook from Washington High.

Located in Washington, N.C., the seat of Beaufort County, Washington High titled their yearbooks Packromak. They replicate many typical features of U.S yearbooks, including photos of students, faculty, dances, and clubs as well as the traditional senior class last will and testament and superlatives.

Two pages from the senior superlatives page. Clockwise from top left: Best Personalities, Carol Adams and Mike Willis, the black and white photo shows them reading Life magazine with their faces on the cover; Best Dancers, Linda Jarvis and Tommy White, the edited black and white photo shows them dancing on a turntable; Biggest Flirts, Phyllis Warner and Oden Latham, the edited black and white photo shows Phyllis in a fishbowl while Oden fishes them out; Cutest, Kathie Salle and Skipper Hudson, the edited black and white photo shows Kathie riding a stuffed dog toy and Skipper poised to shoot with a basketball in his hand.

Senior superlatives, Packromak, 1960.

For a look at all 25 Packromak yearbooks, click here. For more information about the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, visit their landing page here.


More Scrapbooks from Transylvania County Communities Now Online

DigitalNC has recently increased the number of available Transylvania County scrapbooks by 9, building upon our already considerable online collection of over 200. Many thanks to Transylvania County Library for scanning these images and sending them over.

Three clubs were featured in this upload:

These scrapbooks share photos and ephemera documenting club meetings, members, and events. Many community service events are highlighted within their pages. Not only do they give a look into the history of these clubs, but they also reflect changes in the local community. Fastidiously organized, the scrapbooks detail events such as construction of new buildings and beautification projects.

A page from the Cedar Mountain Extension Homemakers Club Scrapbook [1966-1967]. It documents the meeting held on May 18th. Held at the community center, the club members listened to a program on landscaping in the home. The page has a newspaper clipping of the event, two color photos of the members at the club, a clipping of a magazine of trees and plants, and a small, black-and-white illustration of a gardener that reads "Suggestions from the TAR HEEL GARDENER".

Page 16 of the Cedar Mountain Extension Homemakers Club Scrapbook [1966-1967] shows photos from the home landscaping presentation they attended.

To search through all of the scrapbooks from Transylvania County, click here. And to view all other items from Transylvania County, check out our Transylvania County Library partner page.


New Newspaper Title, The Wilmington Sun, Now Online

176 issues of The Wilmington Sun are now available for browsing on DigitalNC. This a brand new addition to our newspaper collection and we would like to thank our partners at New Hanover County Public Library for making this possible.

Spanning October 1878 to May 1879, these newspapers give insight into the happenings of the late 19th century. During this time, The Sun published issues daily except for Mondays and select holidays. As Wilmington was quickly becoming the largest city in North Carolina at the time, each issue covered a wide range of topics, from the international to the local.

Notably, Wilmington had a thriving shipping port and railroad industry in the mid to late 1800s, so The Sun included a Markets and Shipping section. These sections list out the market activity of materials such as cotton, rosin, tar, spirits turpentine, and crude turpentine while also noting the arrival and clearance of national and international goods.

To take a look at all the new issues of The Wilmington Sun, click here. For more information about New Hanover County Public Library, you can visit their homepage here.


New Photos from Chapel Hill Historical Society Now Online

Nineteen new photos and one newspaper clipping are now available to view on DigitalNC courtesy of our partners at the Chapel Hill Historical Society. All images focus on Baum Jewelry Craftsmen, a Chapel Hill jewelry store that was located where I Love N.Y. Pizza currently resides.

Two images show the exterior of Baum Jewelry Craftsmen while three others document the staff, Walter Baum, and an award granted by The Chapel Hill Newspaper to the store for their brick architecture. The rest of the photos in this batch are various angles of West Franklin Street in the 1990s. Each photo meticulously documents the outside of I Love N.Y. Pizza, prompting a comparison of how the storefront used to look when Baum Jewelry Craftsmen occupied the space. Not only that, but these photos also show the various stores that used to line Frankin of yesteryear, such as TJ’s Campus Beverage and Caribou Coffee. Locals will also recognize glimpses of The Yogurt Pump in a few photos.

To see more photos as well as other materials from the Chapel Hill Historical Society, visit their contributor page and check out the material selections on the left-hand side. Or check out their website by clicking here.