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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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.


Issues of Northampton County Times-News Cover School Desegregation

Top portion of June 26 1969 issue of the Northampton Times-News showing photo of school construction

Front page of the June 26, 1969 issue of The Northampton Times-News.

Thanks to our partner, Northampton County Museum, issues spanning 1967 to 1969 of The Northampton County Times-News are now available on our website.

Published squarely in the middle of the desegregation of North Carolina schools, these issues detail county officials’ efforts at maintaining segregation through a policy entitled “Freedom of Choice.” Though this push back against desegregation mirrors the history of many other counties in the state, the Times-News has really detailed local reporting on the topic and doesn’t shy away from talking about race-related tensions.

In 1967, the U.S. Attorney General brought a lawsuit against Northampton County schools claiming the county failed to desegregate them as required. The lawsuit cited the continuing separation into all white and all Black schools, the latter of which were inferior in resources and infrastructure.  This front page from August 1, 1968 announces the resulting court order that mandated desegregation. With an enrollment of 74.5% Black and 25.5% white students, Northampton County Schools were required to assign students to schools based on geography. Faculty were also desegregated, and the local Black high school, Willis Hare, was closed. After the partial integration of the high schools, a plan for lower grades followed in June 1969 (above).

To view all issues issues of the Northampton County Times-News available on our website, please click here.

To view more newspapers from around North Carolina, please visit our North Carolina Newspapers Collection here.

To learn more about the Northampton County Museum, please visit 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.


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.


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.


Additional Issues of the Winston-Salem Chronicle, Including Ones that Discuss the Darryl Hunt Case, Now Available on DigitalNC

Winston-Salem Chronicle header. Above the header is bright red text saying Sunday Edition.

Thanks to our partner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a batch of fill-in issues of the Winston-Salem Chronicle spanning from 1975 to 2013 are now available on our website. Included among the issues added were February 7, 1985 and June 27, 1985. These particular issues are notable for their articles written on the Darryl Hunt, a Black Winston-Salem man who was falsely convicted of murdering (among other charges) Deborah Sykes in 1985.

The Winston-Salem Chronicle staff was among the many community members that voiced their concerns over the arrest of Darryl Hunt. In the February 7, 1985 issue of the paper, executive editor Allen H. Johnson writes a large, three page article on the case, using every inch of the pages to humanize Hunt and point out the inconsistencies of the case.

In the article, Johnson includes several interviews from community members and organizations such as Alderman Larry Little, Hunt’s uncle William Johnson, and the NAACP. In these interviews, many community members mention their shock and vehement disbelief that Hunt could have committed murder. Even Hunt’s sixth grade teacher was interviewed, saying: “‘I cried like a baby because I knew he wasn’t guilty,’ […] I know that kid and there’s no way …. I’d bet my life on it that he isn’t capable of this horrendous crime.'”

Despite inconsistencies, lack of concrete evidence, and efforts by the community, Hunt was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on June 14, 1985. In 1989 however, the North Carolina Supreme Court overturned the previous conviction due to the original prosecutors introducing false statements made by Hunt’s at-the-time girlfriend which she recanted before the initial trial. On appeal, Hunt was released on bond and offered a plea bargain where he would be sentenced to the time he had already served (five years) for a guilty plea. Hunt rejected the bargain and went through a retrial. He was again convicted and sentenced to life in prison. 

After the second conviction, Hunt’s attorneys Mark Rabil and Ben Dowling-Sendor filed for the DNA gathered from the crime scene to be tested. The results came back in October of 1994 and determined that the DNA did not match Hunt’s. Despite the results, requests for an appeal were rejected. The reasoning given for the denied appeal was that new evidence was not absolute proof that Hunt was not involved.

Ten years after learning that the DNA did not belong to Hunt, authorities ran the crime scene DNA through the state’s database. It was discovered that the DNA actually belonged to Willard E. Brown, a man who was already incarcerated for another murder. Finally, after serving 19 years in prison, Darryl Hunt was exonerated on February 6, 2004.

To read more issues of the Winston-Salem Chronicle, please click here.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please click here.

To learn more about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, please visit their website.

Information about the Darryl Hunt case was gathered from Phoebe Zerwick’s Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt, the Innocence Project, and DigitalNC graduate assistant Sophie Hollis.