Viewing entries by Sophie Hollis

Issues of the Carolina Jeffersonian are now online

A black-and-white photo of a nearly empty street in Smithfield. The image is blurry, so only the large buildings on either side are clear.
A view of Smithfield, where issues of the Carolina Jeffersonian were scheduled to be dropped by plane (April 10, 1925).

Thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and funding from the Library Services and Technology Act, we’ve added issues of the Carolina Jeffersonian newspaper from Raleigh, N.C. This batch of the weekly newspaper includes issues from 1924-25.

Before you start paging through this paper, it’s important to know that the Jeffersonian is most likely named in honor of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America—and the reasoning will be obvious once you see any one of these issues. The editors of this paper are extremely sympathetic toward the Ku Klux Klan, frequently covering news (and sometimes just praise) of the hate group.

The issues could have good use for genealogists however. Beginning in the December 4, 1924 edition, the paper begins a list (alphabetical by county) of former Confederate soldiers receiving pensions. It also frequently uses the names and photographs of Klan speakers and connected public figures.

You can see all issues of the Carolina Jeffersonian here. You can also browse our entire collection of digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To see more materials from UNC Chapel Hill, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Introducing Our New Primary Source Teaching Sets

A classroom of white children sitting at desks and looking at the camera. Standing in the back of the room is their teacher/principal in a suit and tie.
Sixth grade students at West Elementary School in Kings Mountain, 1959-60. Contributor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum

We are very excited to announce that our site has expanded to include four new sets of primary source teaching resources available for any teachers, researchers, or curious explorers to use. Each of these sets focuses on a particular topic in North Carolina history and includes a curated selection of 15-20 primary sources from our 300+ partners around the state. Within each set is a blend of visual materials (photographs, videos), written materials (newspaper articles, speeches, letters), and audio materials (interviews, oral histories) from the DigitalNC collections.

Each set also comes with short context blurbs for each item, as well as general background information, a timeline, a set of discussion questions, and links to genre-specific worksheets (ex. How to Analyze a Newspaper Clipping). While some of these topics are more concentrated in particular regions, our goal is to connect these broad themes in history to local examples that students can recognize. Here’s a look at the four initial primary source sets:

A black-and-white photo of a Black teenager on the left facing a white teenager on the right. Both are standing in profile against the hallway of a high school.
From the 1971 Gohisca yearbook from Goldsboro High School. Contributor: Wayne County Public Library

Racial Integration in K-12 Schools

Time period: 1950s-1980s

While you may be familiar with some of the national stories around school integration after Brown v. Board of Education, this teaching set samples North Carolina yearbooks, photographs, newspapers, and oral histories to ground this topic in familiar places. It draws primarily on our collections from historically Black high schools, many of which were closed during this period (though their alumni associations remain strong!). This collection also implements local materials from the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Supreme Court case over busing.

A cartoon of two adult women sitting on a couch. The caption reads, "Your being gay doesn't shock me, but I can't see how I can break the news to your Aunt Doris and her roommate."
A cartoon from The Front Page in Raleigh, N.C. (1980). Contributors: Duke University & UNC Charlotte

Analyzing Political Cartoons

Time period: 20th century

This set was inspired by the popular NCPedia page, “Analyzing Political Cartoons,” which explains some of the strategies for understanding cartoons in their historical context. Here, we’ve selected examples from over a century of newspapers that include topics such as the 1898 Wilmington Coup, women’s suffrage, economics, and a few contemporary political issues. Each example comes with a bit of historical context and some background on the newspaper itself.

A black-and-white photo of textile workers marching down a public street. Near the front, a group of protestors holds a sign that reads, "United Textile Workers of America, Affiliated with A.F. of L. Local, RANLO 2118."
Textile workers marching in Gastonia, N.C. in 1929. Contributor: Gaston County Museum of Art & History

Textile Workers & Labor Movements

Time period: 1920s-30s and 1970s

North Carolina’s history of labor is inextricably tied to the legacy of the textile industry. This set uses photographs, memorabilia, speeches, and newspaper clippings of two famous examples—the Loray Mill strike of 1929 and the activism of Crystal Lee Sutton—to weave together an understanding of North Carolina’s economy and culture through one of its major industries of the 20th century.

A postcard depicting the American Tobacco Company factory in Reidsville. In the top two corners are enlarged packets of Pall Mall and Lucky Strike cigarettes.
A postcard from the American Tobacco Company cigarette plant in Reidsville, N.C. Contributor: Rockingham County Public Library


Time period: 20th century

It would be impossible to fully understand the history of North Carolina in the 20th century without talking about the tobacco industry. This set uses photographs, newspapers, videos, and oral histories to explore the lives of tobacco farmers and factory workers as well as the major families who controlled the vast tobacco wealth. Additionally, it includes examples of how the industry affected culture, including a new generation of advertising that attempted to combat public health concerns.

You can explore these four teaching sets for yourself here on our teaching and learning resource page. You can also go directly to our item analysis worksheets here, which include levels for both beginning and advanced learners. If you’d like to give us feedback on these teaching resources, you can contact us here.

The Mooresville Enterprise Brings Presidential Nomination News

The masthead of The Mooresville Enterprise

As news of the 2024 presidential election ramps up, more issues of The Mooresville Enterprise added to our site bring us news from a 100-year-old primary race. This batch of the Enterprise, spanning from 1910-1917, was made available thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as funding from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

An illustration of Woodrow Wilson speaking to a crowd. He is holding pages of a speech that say, "Prices climb faster than we can push our earnings up." The caption reads, "Woodrow Wilson, scholar and statesman, Democratic candidate for president."

As divisive as our current political landscape looks, the presidential election of 1912 might give it a run for its money. The seated president, William Howard Taft, was a Republican that succeeded the popular Theodore Roosevelt (with Roosevelt’s blessing). However, Taft was apparently too conservative of a president for Roosevelt’s taste, so Roosevelt decided to challenge him in the Republican primary—with no success.

The Enterprise article begins, “The Republican National Convention at Chicago Saturday night at 9:10 nominated President Taft as the candidate for president on the first ballot, the Roosevelt forces having declined to vote in the convention. The scenes depicted in the telegraph dispatches indicate that the Taft forces had everything their way from the beginning.”

So, instead of running as a Republican, Roosevelt split off and ran as the candidate for his new party, the Progressive party. The Progressives later became known as the Bull-Moose party, perhaps in relation to Roosevelt’s attempted assassination, after which he spoke for 90 minutes with a bullet in his chest and declared, “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”

On the other side, Democrats nominated New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was able to unseat Taft and win the presidency in a landslide with 435 electoral votes (Roosevelt bested Taft 88-8). And, in the background of the race—with no electoral votes—was Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs. Debs continued to rally against Wilson after his defeat, especially once Wilson brought the U.S. into the First World War. As a pacifist, Debs was put in prison under the federal Espionage Act for “anti-war” speeches, and he campaigned for president again from his cell in 1920.

While this election was clearly full of drama, contemporary voters might laugh at some of the top national issues at stake in 1912. Some of the listed tenets of the Republican platform included “Favors limiting hours of labor of women and children and protection of wage earners in dangerous occupations,” “Favors parcel post,” “Believes that federal government should assume part control of Mississippi river and help prevent flood disasters,” and “Favors ample equipment of life saving on ships.” Both the Democrats and Republicans seemed to be on the same page about trust-busting and monopolies, one of the biggest issues of the early 20th century (though Democrats criticized Republican’s anti-trust record). And the Progressive/Bull Moose party seemed to be based on whatever Theodore Roosevelt wanted—including women’s suffrage, which he may have understood as his path to a third term.

You can see all available issues of The Mooresville Enterprise here and explore all of our digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To see more materials from UNC Chapel Hill, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Our First Yearbook From St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines

A black-and-white portrait of a nun with round glasses.
Mother L. Jannin (1942)

Thanks to a thoughtful community member, we’ve recently digitized our first yearbook from the small Catholic school St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines, once located in Asheville, N.C. This yearbook, which was recovered from an estate, shows the close-knit students at the all-women’s school in 1942.

According to Carolina Day School’s history page (which apparently absorbed the school in the 1980s), St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines was originally formed by French nuns in 1908 (Genevieve is the patroness saint of Paris in the Catholic tradition). It morphed over the next few decades into a women’s junior college, then two separate schools for boys and girls (St. Genevieve’s Prep and Gibbons Hall), then again into the combined St. Genevieve-Gibbons Hall School. This yearbook is from the Junior College of St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines. Today, one of the few remaining landmarks of St. Genevieve’s is the grotto, which was transferred to Carolina Day School’s campus in 2008.

You can browse all of the materials contributed through North Carolina Community Contributors here. You can also take a look at all of our digital yearbooks by school name, location, and date in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection.

Issues of The Arrow Point to Technological Innovations of Textile Mills

The masthead of The Arrow. Around the title is the image of an arrow that says, "Management, co-operation, employees" and "Aim high and strive to hit the mark."

A new title has been added to our North Carolina Newspapers collection thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as funding from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Issues of The Arrow, a labor-focused paper from Spray, N.C., are now available on our site. These weekly issues span from 1923-24 and cover news related to local textile mills.

A black-and-white photo of an adult in a work shirt standing next to dye vats in a textile mill. The vats have long white fibers running out of them up to the ceiling.
John W. Price standing with his dye tub innovation (February 1, 1923).

One of the frequent front-page features of The Arrow are announcements of new machines that made work in the mills a little more efficient. These stories are usually celebrations of regular employees who invented a helpful change. For example, this feature on John W. Price explains how he designed a mechanism that helped keep the warp from tangling during the dying process (warp yarns are the base threads into which the weft is woven to make fabric). The subheading of this article says, “Means great saving,” which seems to apply specifically to the time it will save other mill workers in their parts of the assembly line.

A black-and-white photo of an adult in a white button-down shirt, slacks, and tie standing in front of a large roller machine.
M. W. Hayden with his blanket splitting and rolling machine (June 7, 1923).

Another tech feature that makes its way onto The Arrow‘s front page is M. W. Hayden’s invention, which the paper calls “a labor saver and a time saver.” This machine rolled and cut blankets (a process that mill workers were previously doing by hand), creating “increased accuracy in the splitting process” and automatically rolling them onto brass bars. The article claims that the machine “turns out forty yards of cloth per minute” and that the splitting knife rotates 800 times in that same span. Hayden was also apparently the inventor of a similar paper rolling machine.

To see more mill tech features (including a “mixing and blending machine“), you can check out all available issues of The Arrow. You can also browse our entire collection of digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To see more materials from UNC Chapel Hill, you can take a look at their partner page and their website.

More Perquimans Papers Publicize Hometown Charm

The mast head of The Perquimans Weekly
A cartoon of a woman in a sun hat, sunglasses, and bathing suit holding beach supplies. She is standing on a beach under the sun. The caption at the top reads, "Summer's arrived!"
From the June 24, 1999 issue of The Perquimans Weekly.

This year, the arrival of summer has brought another batch of The Perquimans Weekly newspaper from Hertford, N.C. These papers are available thanks to our partner, the Perquimans County Library, and thanks to our staff at our Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) location, who digitized them. This batch expands the digital availability of The Perquimans Weekly into the 21st century with issues from 1994-2003.

One of the enduring qualities of this paper is the way it focuses on “Perquimans County and its people,” as the masthead claims. In this span of years, the paper’s sections include “Community,” “Perspectives,” “Religion,” and “Schools,” almost all of which are comprised of hyper-local stories, including “Fifth graders study ways to prevent pollution” and “Cable service poor, residents say.” There’s even a prominent business feature on three young entrepreneurs selling lemonade in front of the courthouse. As mentioned in a previous blog post, there is also frequent coverage of baseball star Jim “Catfish” Hunter, a pitcher for Kansas City and then the New York Yankees from 1965-1979.

A color photo of two children sitting at a lemonade stand and a third child holding a cardboard sign that reads, "Lemonade, 50 cents."
“Young entrepreneurs” from July 15, 1999. The three salesmen are Aaron Lane, Justin Maarschalkerweerd, and Zack Harrell.

You can see all available issues of The Perquimans Weekly here, and you can browse all of our digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To see more materials from the Perquimans County Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Best Yearbook Names from Forsyth County Ranked

A huge batch of 65 yearbooks is now on our site thanks to our partner, the Forsyth County Public Library. These yearbooks span 60 years, from 1913 to 1973, and include some of the high schools of Winston-Salem that are now closed. This batch also has one edition of The Yellow Jacket (1955) from Carver High School and The Maroon and Gold Yearbook (1953) from Atkins High School, two of the few historically Black high schools in the state that remained open through school integration.

Since there are so many yearbooks in this batch, there is a wide assortment of creative yearbook titles—some of which are stronger than others. As an alumna of R.J. Reynolds High School, I’ll admit that I have some bias toward the Black and Gold, but even I have to acknowledge that it’s a pretty generic name (in this batch alone, we’ve also got The Maroon and Gold from Atkins, the Blue and White from Old Town High School, and the Blue and Gold from Griffith High School).

Rather than opt for the usual school colors-based title, here are the top five yearbooks that aimed for something a little different.

A black cover of a yearbook with faint gold writing that says "The Keyhole" and "1949."
The Keyhole, 1949

#5: The Keyhole (Rural Hall High School)

I like that this team of young yearbook editors took a philosophical approach to their title. Like looking through a keyhole, a yearbook can only give a limited picture of what the culture and experience of Rural Hall High School was like. They continue this slice-of-life theme on the inside of the yearbook as well with this comical drawing featuring some of their classmates.

A black yearbook cover with a silver diamond. The text on the front reads, "The Iliad 1961."
The Iliad, 1961

#4: The Iliad (Southwest High School)

There’s something so quintessentially high school about being assigned The Iliad, possibly reading it, and then using it as a metaphor for the obstacles you face (a move perhaps only topped by a comparison of your personal journey to The Odyssey). This literary homage is made even better by the fact that the mascot for Southwest was the Trojan, meaning that this yearbook likely describes the siege and fall of the school by means of wooden horse.

A beige yearbook cover with the golden seal of Salem Academy in the top left. In green cursive letters, it says, "Quill Pen, 1960."
Quill Pen, 1960

#3: Quill Pen (Salem Academy)

Third place on this not-at-all subjective list was initially selected because of its overlap with the editorial column of James Mackintosh Qwilleran, a fictional detective and journalist who writes “The Qwill Pen” in the mystery series The Cat Who… by Lilian Jackson Braun. However, based on the uniforms required for yearbook photos, it does also seem possible that the students of Salem Academy really were writing with quills.

A brown, leathery yearbook cover with a brass coat of arms in the middle. Also on a brass plate are the words, "Dress Parade 1929."
Dress Parade, 1929

#2: Dress Parade (Oak Ridge Military School)

As someone with no military experience, when I initially picked this title, I had a different mental image of what the “dress parade” might include. However, given the fact that students at Oak Ridge did have to wear their uniforms on display for the yearbook, it still seems like a really fitting title. Plus, this edition has some cool woodblock prints and this one inexplicably tiny photo of a gazebo.

A blue yearbook cover with a gold emblem of a light sconce hanging above the text on the left. The words read, "Ye Olde Towne Crier, 1955."
Ye Olde Town Crier, 1955

#1: Ye Olde Towne Crier (Old Town High School)

I don’t even know where to begin with this absolute chef’s kiss of a yearbook title. I love the old-timey spelling. I love the idea that a yearbook is the modern equivalent of a person who yells out the town news. I love the font choice and the inclusion of “Ye.”

Old Town High School experimented with a couple of names before this (see Blue and White and The Log), suggesting that it might take a few tries before you can land on the perfect name. The icing on the cake is that every time I read it, I can hear the opening notes of Lil Nas X’s 2019 hit “Old Town Road” in my mind. (Sadly, Old Town High School was not located on Old Town Road, though such a road does exist in Winston-Salem).

You can decide for yourself which titles are best by looking through the full batch of yearbooks, available here. You can also browse all of our digital yearbooks from Forsyth county and beyond in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. To see more from the Forsyth County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Yearbooks from Henderson County Show Off School Uniforms

A black-and-white photo of six students wearing metallic dance uniforms and standing in a line, holding onto the hips of the person in front of them.
From the 1957 Wildcat from Dana High School

Twenty-one more yearbooks from Henderson county have been added to our site thanks to one of our newest partners, the Henderson County Education History Initiative (HCEHI), as well as the Hendersonville High School Alumni Association. These yearbooks span from 1913 to 1972 and include materials from eight different schools in the area: Flat Rock High School, Etowah High School, East Henderson High School, Fletcher High School, Hendersonville High School, Mills River High School, and West Henderson High School.

A color photo of representatives from several sports teams standing in a semi-circle around a cheerleader and some items in a school gym. The items include pom poms, a megaphone, a football, basketball, and baseball bat. Most of the players are wearing blue and white uniforms.
From West Henderson’s The Falcon [1970]

Though this batch of yearbooks covers so many different eras of high school throughout the 20th century, one consistent element among several editions is a focus on uniforms. The 1970 edition of The Falcon, for example, shows a representative from the school’s various teams showing off their athletic uniforms. This 1970 cheerleading uniform is a bit of a departure from the cheerleading uniforms of the 1950s, as evidenced by this squad from Mills River High (though the dance teams’ preference for shiny uniforms seems to be evergreen).

You can see all of the yearbooks in this batch here. You can also explore all of our digital yearbooks by school, location, and date in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. To learn more about HCEHI and their work, you can visit their partner page and their website. To see more materials from the Hendersonville High School Alumni Association, visit their partner page and their website as well.

Go Wild With 41 Burke County Yearbooks

A red yearbook cover with a cartoon tiger squatting and juggling balls that spell the word "Impersonator."
Cover of the 1956 Impersonator

A batch of 41 yearbooks from Burke county has just been added to our site thanks to our partner, the Burke County Public Library. This batch ranges from 1948-1973 and includes yearbooks from 11 schools: George Hildebran High School, Valdese High School, Drexel High School, Glen Alpine High School, Oak Hill High School, Morganton High School, Hildebran High School, the North Carolina School for the Deaf, Grace Hospital School of Nursing, and Salem High School.

A gold drawing of a snarling wolverine against a black background.
From the 1965 Calvacade

One thing that many of the Burke county yearbooks have in common is a shared admiration for animal mascots. In addition to the adorable tiger seen on the 1956 edition of the Impersonator from Valdese High School, you can’t overlook the endearing little guy on the front of the 1965 Calvacade from Drexel High School. (Though you may think he is a funny bear or perhaps a fox, further investigation reveals he is, in fact, a wolverine.) This set also includes a fighting eagle, a turkey, wildcats, bulldogs, and one fancy horse giving a knight a lift.

You can browse all yearbooks in this batch here or look through all of our digital yearbooks by school, location, and date in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. To see more from the Burke County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Remembering Fritz & Other Beloved Citizens of Transylvania County

A view of Brevard's West Main Street in 1925. Lining either side of the street are  two-story brick buildings and cars that resemble Model Ts.
West Main Street in Brevard, N.C., in 1925, also known as Fritz’s old stomping grounds.

More materials from the Transylvania County Library have recently been added to our site, including several issues of Brevard-area newspapers from the early 20th century, a set of telephone directories, and a couple of yearbooks. It is thanks to this batch of newspapers that the life of one of Brevard’s beloved community members was brought to light.

A short article entitled, "Fritz is dead."
From The Transylvania Times, March 10, 1932.

Fritz was “the famous Nobby Shoppe cat,” “well known among the business houses of Brevard” and “petted by everyone.” He was, according to his obituary, “the object of much admiration on account of his enormous size and his beauty.” Sadly, Fritz succumbed to illness, but his obituary shares front page real estate of The Transylvania Times with a feature on the Lindbergh baby and updates on the county tax penalty—in other words, he was a big deal. (Then again, this front page also features a story about Ralph Woodfin, a farmer who found two “freak eggs,” or an egg within an egg—known today to happen because of a counter-peristalsis contraction).

Fritz’s home, the Nobby Shoppe, was a popular women’s store on West Main Street and a frequent advertiser in The Transylvania Times. In the 1930s, the shop seemed to specialize in ladies’ hats, which sold for $1-$2.95. They also sold “frocks” and “triple crepe dresses” in an expansive selection of sizes.

A white cat lounging in a yard next to a white shed, a tall bush, and another wooden structure.
A cat lounging at the H. R. Bradley House in Transylvania County (likely not Fritz himself).

You can read more about the noteworthy community members of Transylvania County in the three newspapers just added to our site: The Transylvania Times (issues from 1887, 1932, 1953, and 1967), the French Broad Hustler (issues from 1893, 1894, and 1896), and the Brevard News (issues from 1905 and 1923).

You can explore the two editions of Brevard High School’s Brevardier (1972 and 1973) included in this batch here or browse our entire collection of North Carolina Yearbooks.

The full list of telephone directories included in this batch can be found here. These include the names and numbers of local businesses and individuals across the county from 1952-1984.

To see more materials from the Transylvania County Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

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