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 Sophie Hollis


Seashore News Issues Tell of Bygone Beach Days

The masthead of The Seashore News

Another newspaper title from the eastern part of our state has been added to our digital collections thanks to our partner, the Outer Banks History Center. These issues of The Seashore News were published for the Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk beach communities in 1939.

One article from the June 8, 1939 issue describes a different beach scene than many of us are used to today. 

Head line reading, "Grass, Flowers, Trees Grow Well on Beach Since Cattle Removed."

“Dare County is being reborn,” it begins. “Where only a year or two ago the eye was greeted with vast stretches of bare sand and course beach grass, upon which herds of stunted cattle eked out a miserable existance [sic], today is springing to life lush vegetation, acres of wild flowers and trees and flowering shrubs of a hundred varieties.”

The article goes on to describe how the “Stock Law” passed in 1937 by the State Legislature helped eliminate the cattle, wild horses, and “scuttling flocks of mangy sheep” from the beaches. The author also claims that the beaches were a “veritable paradise of verdure” when colonists first arrived and that it was due to the livestock that the beaches became “a territory that was fast taking on the arid aspects of a desert.”

An illustration of three horses trotting over sand dunes

Whether the introduction of vegetation to the area would be considered “conservation” by today’s standards isn’t totally clear, though the NC Wildlife Resources Commission doesn’t exactly describe costal habitats as a “‘delicate garden abounding with all kinds of odiferous flowers.'”

You can see all issues of The Seashore News here, and you can browse all of our digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To learn more about the Outer Banks History Center, you can visit their partner page and their website.


News From Washington Enlivens Our Latest Title From Maxton, N.C.

The masthead of The Scottish Chief

Another newspaper title has been added to our Newspapers of North Carolina collection courtesy of our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This batch of The Scottish Chief, presumably named for the part of Maxton, N.C., that lies in Scotland County, contains issues from 1915 to 1956.

A cartoon of the Capitol building with stars on either sideOne of the ongoing columns in the paper is “This Week in Washington,” which recaps national news from the Capitol. Some of the articles are all business, like the April 5, 1933 column describing President Roosevelt’s efforts to aid farmers. Others are more light-hearted; the one from December 24, 1934 that begins:

“Lest the reader of this column get the impression that nothing but serious matters of weighty moment are talked about in Washington, here are a few paragraphs of casual gossip heard in the corridors of public buildings and on the street corners.”

The gossip edition also has a section called “Interesting Women” that lists some of the jobs women in Washington were doing, such as advocating for uniform labor laws across states, increasing job opportunities for women, and selecting the supply of books sent to sea with the Navy. 

To see more of “This Week in Washington” and other news from Maxton, you can look at all digitized issues of The Scottish Chief here. You can also browse our entire Newspapers of North Carolina collection by location, type, and date. To learn more about UNC Chapel Hill and its collections, visit the UNC Libraries website and their partner page.


11 Silliest Rules From Wake Forest’s Women’s Student Handbooks

A black-and-white photo of six people seated together, engaging in conversation

The house hostesses of Wake Forest, 1963-64

When Wake Forest College (now Wake Forest University) started admitting women in 1942, they decided that female students would need their own set of rules about conduct. Now, thanks to our latest batch of materials from ZSR Library at WFU, it’s easy to see what those rules were. As you might expect from a once Baptist institution, many of them clash against contemporary student life; for instance, women were almost never allowed to have a car on campus, and drinking alcohol was punishable by suspension or expulsion.

But beyond some of these more predictable rules are several that depict a campus that would be almost unrecognizable to students today. Here are some of the silliest examples from 1945-1971 (all of which the author of this post, a 2019 alumna, is happy to have avoided).

1. Typewriters must not be used before 7:00 in the morning or after 11:30 at night. (1945-46)

Presumably, this is about the noise of typewriter keyboards keeping other students awake, but it also serves as a reminder that academic all-nighters haven’t always been the norm.

2. No man, not even a father, may go to a student’s room except with the knowledge of the house hostess. (1946-47)

You would have to know which of the ladies in the photo above was in charge of your dorm and ask for permission. This was also true for things like visitors, day trips, and coming home late.

A photograph of 10 women in white dresses standing in a line. Three children stand in front in the middle.

The Magnolia Court, 1955-56

3. Sometimes you may receive an unexpected caller or phone call in the parlor when you are not properly dressed. On these occasions you should slip into a raincoat and a pair of shoes before going out into the parlor. And if your hair is in rollers be sure to put on a scarf. (1965-66

A classic problem with an undeniably specific solution.

4. The identification card is not replaced under any circumstances, even if it is lost, stolen, or destroyed through no fault of the student. (1955-56)

This would probably send a chill through many of today’s demon deacons. I would wager that the number of today’s students who keep up with their student ID from freshman orientation through graduation is in the single digits.

5. It’s a College rule that participating in or inciting a riot (and this includes panty raids) is subject to penalty. (1965-66)

A true window into campus culture.

6. You will be considered on a date if you leave the dormitory with a boy after 7:30 p.m. However, you are permitted to go to the library or to one of the science laboratories with a boy without being considered on a date. (1970-71)

Some contemporary students may find themselves asking romantic partners to define the relationship. If only the student handbook would lay it out so clearly, as it did in 1970.

7. Telephone calls should be limited to five minutes. (1957-58)

There’s only one phone in the dorm, and everyone wants to use it.

Three students; the one sitting on the floor has hands over ears; the middle one has hands over eyes, and the standing one has hands over mouth.

Three students from the 1970-71 handbook

8. Rooms will be inspected every morning, and beds must be made by 10:30 a.m. (1957-58)

Although students who make their bed every morning by 10:30 a.m. are probably more common than students who keep up with their ID for four years, the numbers still aren’t looking great.

9. The giving and receiving of affection is a very personal thing and something you do not want to cheapen by making a spectacle of yourself. (1968-69)

This sounds more like free advice, but the entry goes on to detail what constitutes public affection (anything that makes other people uncomfortable) and a structure of punishment for each offense.

10. Bermudas may not be worn at all on the campus, to classes, cafeteria, soda shop, movies in town, eating establishments, down town shopping, in the formal parlor, or while sitting in the small parlor entertaining, or out the front door to go to the gym. (1960-61)

Strangely, this rule seems to hold—if only because Bermuda shorts for women aren’t the fashion force that they once were or because very few students are still going out to soda shops. 

11. Hose are worn when going to Raleigh. (1953-53)

How better to represent your school when galivanting around the capital? 

For more details about how the young women of Wake Forest presented themselves in this period, you can look at the full batch of women’s handbooks (and, if you’re so inclined, compare them with the general student handbooks for male students). More materials from Wake Forest University can be found on their partner page and their website


Issues of “The Christian Sun” Cover Spiritual News During the Civil War Era

The masthead of The Christian Sun

Thanks to our partner, Elon University, we’ve added another newspaper title to our Newspapers of North Carolina collection. The Christian Sun has been published around the state and elsewhere, including Hillsborough, N.C., Pittsboro, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., and Suffolk, V.A. This batch of issues ranges from 1844-1908, covering the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras. 

Although this paper comes from one of the most turbulent times of our nation, the publishers seem less interested in breaking news than in spiritual musings and agriculture. On the front page of the October 18, 1861 issue (six months after the beginning of the war), you can read stories like, “The Christian’s Harvest,” “Fate of Those Who Reject the Gospel,” “Farm and Garden: Value of a Shelter for Sheep,” and the exciting “Efforts of Chloroform on Bees.”

A few stories on the front page do make reference to the war, such as “Good for the Thirsty Soldier,” which recommends staying hydrated on long marches with cold coffee. “After a meal,” the article says, “take the coffee grounds, boil them over again, and pour off into your canteen and let it cool for your next march. It is not only nutritive and stimulating, but it will quench the thirst more effectually than water.”

A newspaper clipping entitled "News of the Day"

October 18, 1861

You’ll have to go deeper into the issue to find more detailed news about the battles, though the briefs aren’t what we’d think of as “objective” journalism by today’s standards.

“Probably [McClellan] learned that the Southerners were expecting him and were too well prepared to meet him,” the article boasts.

Perhaps because of the religious leanings of the paper, some of the best articles are completely detached from the timely “news” that contemporary readers are used to; take this pseudo-anarchical argument entitled, “Evils of Creeds. Their Origin.” from September 24, 1851, for example. This article is a bookend to an ongoing series on “Christian union” from the preceding issues, and it summarizes the conclusion that sin, the cause of division within the branches of Protestantism, is also the underlying force of human laws.

To see even more articles on Christian union, the war, and life in the South during this period, you can look at all issue of The Christian Sun here. You can also explore other titles in our Newspapers of North Carolina collection. To see more materials from Elon University, visit their partner page and their website.


Dunn’s “The Daily Record” Marks Major Moments With Bold Headlines

Many more issues of The Daily Record from Dunn, N.C., have been added to our site thanks to our partnership with the Dunn Area History Museum and Campbell University. These daily issues span from 1963-1965 and include an assortment of local, state, and national news.

One signature of The Daily Record during these years seems to be the cultivation of sensational, attention-grabbing headlines. Typically printed in fonts even bigger than the masthead, these headlines invoke the kind of high-stakes drama and mystery that you can’t just walk past. This seems to be especially true when the story involves litigation:

A newspaper headline and masthead

Clipping of a newspaper headline

Clipping of a newspaper headline

In case you’re curious, the “other woman” in the love triangle was “the attractive dark-haired wife of a St. Paul truck-diver.”

But just because the headlines are flashy doesn’t mean the rest is all fluff. Here’s one story that gets better the more you read:

Clipping of a newspaper headline

While this event in itself is certainly a newsworthy crime, the details build on the excitement set up by the headline. The subtitle of this article is “Youth Makes Escape in Souped-Up Car.” It goes on to specify a “freckled, red-haired youth” who made a “noisy getaway” in “a souped up automobile equipped with dual exhausts and loud mufflers.” To prepare for this robbery, he dressed up in “white tennis shoes, a bulky cardigan sweater, yellow shirt and black trousers.”

Lest you think this young man was a particularly talented bandit, the article notes that this branch of the First Union National Bank had been robbed three times in the past five years. He also apparently dropped $4,000 of his haul (contained in brown paper bags) as he fled from the bank.

While the entertainment value of these stories is high, the paper also has a lot of coverage of the national issues from 1963-65, which were numerous. Several issues reference the “Red Scare” of communism, the Vietnam War, Barry Goldwater’s run for President, and the tension of the Civil Rights Movement, albeit with a somewhat unsympathetic angle:

A newspaper clipping of a headline

A newspaper clipping of a headlineA headline from a newspaper clipping

You can see all issues of The Daily Record by year in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To see more materials from the Dunn Area History Museum, visit their partner page and their website. To learn more about Campbell University, you can also visit their partner page and website.


“The Roseland Enterprise” Offers Glimpse of Post-Reconstruction Advertising

Masthead of the Roseland Enterprise

Another newspaper title, The Roseland Enterprise, has been added to our North Carolina Newspapers collection thanks to our partner, the Moore County Library

A map of Roseland with instructions for how to get thereThis issue, from March 1, 1897, seems primarily focused on convincing Northern readers to move to Roseland, N.C. The Roseland Land Company, based in Boston, emphasizes the natural beauty of the North Carolina sandhills and its potential for fruit and vegetable growers.  

“Among the many advantages of the recent Civil War which the South will reap in all the coming years, and which will eventually compensate her for the enormous losses sustained by the conflict, is the development of her great natural resources⁠—her minerals and fertile lands⁠—by thousands that would never know their value but for the enforced explorations made necessary in the trying days of the sixties,” the front page begins. 

You can see the full issue here or browse our full collection of newspapers by type, date, and location. For more materials from Moore County Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Community College Leadership Development Materials Available From Randolph CC

A cartoon of two faculty members talking in a school hallway. One is referring to a poster on the wall inviting students to a keg party.

A cartoon referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (from Analyzing the Learner’s Motivational Problems)

As a follow up to a series of audio tapes that we recently digitized, we’ve added a batch of several booklets of instructional materials for community college leaders from our partner, Randolph Community College. The materials are primarily authored by George A. Baker, one of the lead researchers for the community college leadership study recorded on the tapes.

The materials range from 1985 to 2001 and cover several resources for engaging students, addressing motivations, and setting goals. One collection of papers also includes student feedback about several education courses that Baker taught.

The full batch of materials is available here. To see more materials from Randolph Community College, you can visit their website and their partner page.


Teaching With Archives: 3 Topics for Randolph CC’s Interview Series

Thanks to our partner Randolph Community College, we’ve uploaded audio tapes of 62 interviews and discussions that informed the work Cultural Leadership Inside America’s Community Colleges by George Baker and contributors. Each interview asks an outstanding community college president or leader a series of questions about their leadership style and their vision for the future of their institution.

The large collection of tapes from interviewees around the country offers a great opportunity for teaching with primary sources; here are three ideas for how these materials could be used.

1. Journalism: What makes a good interviewer?

Although the interviewers in these tapes are rarely identified by name, their interviewing styles vary. Having a team of researchers ask the same set of questions makes it easier to identify some of the strategies that each person uses to engage their subject. Here are a few examples:

2. Representation & Gender

According to the American Association for Women in Community Colleges, close to 30% of community college presidents in 2020 were women. At the time of the recorded study, the researchers note that the proportion of women was closer to 7% (according to Baker and Rouche on tape 2). The majority of these tapes features interviews with male-identifying subjects; only four of the 50 community college presidents recognized for their leadership were women (thought other women in leadership positions at Miami-Dade CC were interviewed as well). 

How do women’s answers differ from men’s in these recordings (or do they)? How do they approach the topic of representation in this setting?

3. History of Higher Education

In each of these recordings, community college leaders reveal some of the strategies that they use to attract and retain students, serve their populations well, and prepare their institutions for the future. Since this study’s findings were published in 1992, community colleges have had to adapt and reflect even more. What has changed in community college leadership over the past 30 years? How have schools shifted their approaches to serving students?

For comparison, it might be useful to check out our collections of N.C. community college handbooks and catalogs, which you can filter by school name and year.

You can see the full batch of audio recordings here. To see more materials from Randolph Community College, you can visit their partner page or their website. Even more audio materials are available in our North Carolina Sights and Sounds collection.


Scrapbooks, Author Letters Celebrate History of Wayne County Public Library

A postcard with a black-and-white, etched art of the Brooklyn Bridge. Below is the signature of Betty Smith.

From the 1950-1976 scrapbook

The back of the postcard with a message written in blue pen.

The reverse side of the postcard

Our latest batch of materials from the Wayne County Public Library includes some seriously cool scrapbooks that document almost a century of the library’s history. Ranging from 1910 to the 1990s, these seven scrapbooks contain detailed minutes, photographs, newspaper clippings, event paraphernalia and other ephemera. 

One of the most exciting sections is the collection of letters from North Carolina authors—who also happen to be mostly women—in the 1950-1976 scrapbook. Several writers seem to have been invited for readings and events at the library, and they wrote letters back to library staff about their experiences.

A newspaper photo of Betty Smith

From the 1950-1976 scrapbook

One of the most famous writers that visited was Betty Smith, who is probably best known for her novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (there are several materials about her already on DigitalNC, including this video interview). Although she was born in New York, Smith adopted Chapel Hill as her home town later in life and is still buried in the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery. Along with the card that she sent to library staff (pictured above), the scrapbook includes a newspaper clipping with an interview of Smith where she encourages Chapel Hill to resist the push for industry and to preserve its small-town character. 

“I hate to see commercialism,” she said. “They come in and tear up trees that took 200 years to grow, and pile them up and burn them to get rid of them. Then they stick out little trees⁠—with wire holding them up. Why couldn’t we have a shortage of bulldozers!”

A typed letter with the header of the Sanford Daily Herald

The second half of a letter from Doris Betts

Another well-known author included here is Doris Betts, who served as an English and creative writing professor at UNC Chapel Hill. Betts was born in Statesville, attended UNC Greensboro and eventually settled in Pittsboro. In her literary career, she produced six novels, three short story collections, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Sir Walter Raleigh Awards and the N.C. Medal for Literature. Her archive is now part of the UNC Chapel Hill Southern Historical Collection at Wilson Library.

Other authors included in the 1950-1976 scrapbook include Inglis Fletcher, Bernice Kelly Harris, Mebane Holoman Burgwyn, Bernadette Hoyle, and Mertie Lee Powers.

You can see the full collection of scrapbooks here. To see more materials from the Wayne County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website


More Issues of “The Carolina Times” Celebrate Historic Figures

The masthead of The Carolina Times, which includes a horse's head behind the words.

Some of the missing issues of The Carolina Times from 1979-1982 have been added to Digital NC thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In these recently uploaded issues, it’s clear that the paper is committed to voicing some of the experiences of Black citizens of Durham in the late ’70s and early ’80s. One way that the paper celebrates Black history is through the “Things You Should Know” Continental Features, which briefly note the accomplishments of important historic figures. 

A cartoon of William Wells Brown's bustSome of the cartoon faces in these features may already seem familiar to you, such as novelist William Wells Brown, the white philanthropist Julius Rosenwald (known for his financial support of “Rosenwald schools”), and Nicholas Biddle, the first Black Union soldier wounded in the Civil War. Others, it seems, haven’t persisted into our collective memory as strongly, though the paper makes a case for them.

A cartoon of the head and shoulders of Mary Fields holding a gunOne such figure is Mary Fields, apparently the first Black woman to be a star route mail carrier on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service. As her feature suggests, she was sometimes known as “Stagecoach Mary” due to her usual mode of transportation. But Fields didn’t set up her own mail route until she was 60 years old; before that, she worked on board the first Robert E. Lee steamboat (made famous by its race on the Mississippi) and served as the forewoman at St. Peter’s, a Catholic mission in Montana. Other sources confirm that she was incredibly strong and stood around six feet tall.

Though she encountered conflicts in her life and work, Fields was beloved in the community of Cascade, Montana; the town apparently closed schools each year to celebrate her birthday, and she was sometimes exempt from rules governing women. She passed away in 1914 and was celebrated with one of the largest funerals in the town’s history.

Cartoon headshot of Beatrice TrammellAnother, even more mysterious figure is Beatrice Johnson Trammell. This blurb has pretty much all the information available about her that can be found with cursory internet searches, and the same is true for the others connected to her in the article. But apparently, she was known well enough in 1982 for someone to include her in the series.

You can see all available issues of The Carolina Times here or browse our North Carolina Newspaper collection by location, type, and date. For more information about UNC Chapel Hill and its library holdings, you can visit their partner page or their website