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 tagged "campuspublications"

Wake Forest University Handbooks Document Major Moments in the School’s History

Wake Forest University is a school that’s proud of its traditions—and nothing illustrates the history of those traditions like student handbooks from the past 100 years or so. Thanks to our partnership with WFU, we’ve just uploaded a batch of those handbooks from 1906 through 2010.

A photo of four Wake Forest College students gathered at the entrance to a dorm. They are standing under a rounded entryway of a brick building with tall, white columns by the door.

Students outside a dorm, 1956

Beginning on the original campus in Wake Forest, N.C. (where the school was founded in 1834), these handbooks follow students and faculty through several of the school’s major milestones, including a move to Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1956.

This photo, from the 1956 handbook, is from the first year that students were at the Winston-Salem campus. Except for the fashion, this might look like a familiar scene to many current WFU students.

The handbook reads, “Among Wake Forest’s oldest and most cherished traditions are the magnolias. The tree’s beautiful white blossoms have for many become almost synonymous with the name Wake Forest. The former campus in the village of Wake Forest was covered with magnolias, and that tradition has been transplanted here with all the others. The trees are plentiful on the new campus and are placed in prominent positions.” In fact, there is still an area of campus know as the “mag quad” (short for “magnolia”) near the first-year dorms where the trees are supposedly grown from old campus saplings.

A photo of Wait Chapel surrounded by scenic tree branches

Wait Chapel, 1956

Throwing things way back to 1913, it’s easy to see the school’s early connections to the Baptist Church. The 1913-14 student handbook is presented by the College Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A), and it’s clear that participation in church activities was a big part of life as a student. Bible study is encouraged for all students, and “Attendance upon Daily Prayers and upon Sunday morning service is required.” The 1913-14 handbook is also truly the size of a person’s hand—a trend that has been abandoned with regard to contemporary “handbooks.”

Another big change for Wake Forest came in 1942, when the school began admitting women. This was due to the decline in enrollment as young men went to fight in the Second World War. You wouldn’t know it based on the language in the 1942-43 handbook, which uses phrases like, “each new man will be assigned to an adviser” and “New men who enjoy singing with their fellow students and who can carry a tune are not only asked but urged to report for the first practice.” Though there is mention of social societies holding “smokers,” to which they invite “all the women, half the men, and a faculty member.”

Also in the 1942-43 handbook? An ad for Shorty’s—the original restaurant in Wake Forest, N.C.

A student holding their head in their hands while studying, apparently stressed.

A student studying, 1962

In 1961, the school formally ended racial segregation, extending admission to students of color (however, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of this in the 1961 handbook or even the 1962 handbook). Instead, there’s a photo that depicts a tradition that, again, many Wake students of today will find familiar.

To see the full batch of Wake Forest University handbooks, click here. To learn more about Wake Forest University as it is today, you can visit their partner page or their website

Student Handbooks & Catalogs Available from Roanoke-Chowan Community College

We’re excited to introduce one of our newest partners: Roanoke-Chowan Community College! Our first batch of materials from them is a selection of student handbooks, course catalogs, and Learning Resource Center (LRC) guides representing 50 years of the school’s history. The items range from 1968-2018 and offer a glimpse into the ways that the school has supported students over the years.

The school was founded in 1967 as Roanoke-Chowan Technical Institute. Since then, it has gone through two re-namings and has grown to offer about 20 curricular programs, including visual arts, business, nursing, and cosmetology. One notable landmark for the school was in 2001, when the Board appointed Mary C. Wyatt as President, making her the first Black woman to be a community college president in North Carolina. 

Perhaps one of the most entertaining items in this batch is a handbook called An Introduction to the LRC at Roanoke-Chowan Technical Institute. While the material covers all of the questions that you might expect students to have about the library, AV center and Learning Laboratory, what you might not expect is the absolutely delightful tour guide that walks you through those resources.

A cartoon of a cat holding up one finger   A cartoon of a cat looking around quickly   A seated cartoon cat writing with a pencil on a stack of paper

Another one of the items⁠—perhaps notable for its quaintness⁠—is a guide to using the Dynix Public Access Catalog at the library. (Note: there are actually a couple of Dynix guides in this batch). The handbook explains how to conduct searches and gives examples of how related search topics might also appear in results. There is also a sort of meta illustration of someone using a computer, which gives the handbook some extra personality.

Illustration of a person typing at a computer. Another set of hands typing at a computer is superimposed over their body.

You can see the full batch of handbooks and catalogs here. To learn more about Roanoke-Chowan Community College, visit their partner page or their website. 

Lincoln County Historical Association Yearbooks Anticipated Some of Today’s Trends

A decorative photo collage of senior year students laughing and spending time with friends

From The Acorn, 1945

It’s easy to blame lots of things on “kids these days”—has there ever been a generation that hasn’t? But the latest batch of yearbooks from the Lincoln County Historical Association might prove that some of today’s trends are older than you think.

Photo of two teenagers standing beside each other and looking into a mirror

From The Newboldlite, 1958

Photo of two teenagers standing beside each other and looking into a mirror. In the mirror, their faces are smiling.

From Le Souvenir, 1956

For example, mirror selfies seem like they would’ve come out of an era when many teenagers have cell phones and social media accounts. Not so! According to the 1958 edition of The Newboldlite from Newbold High School and the 1956 edition of Le Souvenir from North Brook High School, mirror selfies were the way to show off your fashionable outfits. Thanks to the mirror in these two “Best Dressed” superlative shots, you can get a front and back view of four of the best looks from these teen style icons.




Two students posing in front of a white house

From Le Souvenir, 1957

Two students standing together in front of a brick building

From Le Souvenir, 1954

Another trend that may surprise you is the rise of influencers 50 years before the invention of Instagram. Apparently, these four students had a natural talent for influencing before it was even a formalized role. Both superlatives are from Le Souvenir; Flora Ann and Milton are from the 1954 edition, and Jimmie and Dorothy are from the 1957 edition.


To see more superlatives and the full batch of yearbooks, click here. You can browse our entire collection of high school and college yearbooks in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. To learn more about the Lincoln Count Historical Association, you can visit their partner page or their website.

Marginalia Give an Insider’s View in Recently-Added 1968 Bulldog

Photo of a student in a dress and tiara

Miss Central of 1968, Imogene Ramsey, with autographed skirt

A photo of a student in a dress

Autographed photo of Miss Senior of 1968, Brenda Brooks

If you want to know the insider info from Central High School in Hillsborough, N.C., the 1968 Bulldog yearbook would be a good place to start. The edition that we’ve recently digitized, provided by the Orange County Public Library, is full of marginalia and personal notes from its owner and his classmates.

The notes are addressed to “dearest Archie,” likely referring to Archie McAdoo, who was involved in many of the school’s activities. According to the Senior Statistics page, Archie was a part of the Debate Club, Student Council, Band, and Cheerleading, among other clubs. He was also voted “Most Musical” and “Most Ingenuous.”

Two photos of student superlatives. The two students on the left were voted "Most Musical." The two on the right were voted "Most Athletic."Two students in front of a bookcase

Many of the messages left by classmates cover huge swaths of the pages, including a few inscriptions that cover entire pages. Clearly, Archie was well-loved.

Click here to see the full 1968 BulldogFor more from the Orange County Public Library, visit their partner page or their website.

Additional Trustees of Sandhills Community College Meeting Minutes Now Available on DigitalNC

The text on the image reads: the board of trustees of sandhills community college regular meeting minutes.

Thanks to our partner Sandhills Community College and funding from a North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) grant, minutes created by the Trustees of Sandhills Community College spanning from 1988 to 1996 are now available on our website. These meeting minutes cover various topics such as budgets, funding, hiring processes, new course offerings, personnel manuals, and more.

To learn more about Sandhills Community College, please visit their website.

To view more materials from community colleges around the state, please view our North Carolina Community Colleges Collection.

Student Art Shines in Palmer Memorial Institute Yearbooks

Thanks to our partner the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, we’ve added five additional yearbooks from Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, N.C. These yearbooks picture students, faculty, sports, activities and more, giving readers a glimpse into student life. 

Some of the newly-added editions have wonderful examples of the experimental yearbook artistry that rose to popularity in the 1960s-’70s. The 1970 edition of The Pirate, for example, showcases hand-drawn comics for the beginnings of some sections:

A drawing of a person daydreaming about a school graduation

Senior Portraits page (1970)

Drawing of a student jumping with a basketball

Sports section front page (1970)














These drawings certainly depict another side to student life than posed school portraits, which tend to be more formulaic. Similarly, the 1969 edition of The Palmerite has similar section openers, though the artist chose a more abstract style:

Abstract drawing depicting soul music

Activities page (1969)

Abstract drawing in black and white

Organizations page (1969)














To see more original student art from the Palmer Memorial Institute, check out all of the yearbooks we’ve added:

Palmer Memorial Institute Yearbook [1935]
The Palmerite [1953]
The Palmerite [1968]
The Palmerite [1969]
The Pirate [1970]

You can see all yearbooks from Palmer Memorial Institute here. To learn more about the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, visit their website or their partner page.

Issues of The Transfer Times and 2020-2021 Durham Technical Community College Annual Report Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Durham Technical Community College, 53 issues of The Transfer Times newsletter as well as the school’s 2020-2021 annual report are now available on our website.

These newsletters include articles about events on campus, scholarship opportunities, reminders for transfer deadlines to other universities, and stories of successful alumni. The annual report for Durham Technical Community College’s 2020-2021 school year goes into depth about the school’s 60 years of impact, their 2021-2026 strategic plan, how they worked to combat COVID-19, success stories of students, awards for students and faculty, financials, and much more. 

To learn more about Durham Technical Community College, please visit their website.

To view more materials from community colleges, please view our North Carolina Community College collection.

More Durham Technical Community College Profiles & Handbooks Now Available

Thanks to our partner Durham Technical Community College, we’ve updated our collection of college catalog and student handbooks through the 2021-2022 school year and college profiles through the 2019-2020 school year.

A photo collage of students and activities from the Durham Technical Community College student handbook

A photo collage from the front page of the 2020-2021 Durham Technical Community College student handbook

The college catalog and student handbooks include admissions information, important dates for students, tuition information, and other financial details. They also include letters from the President of the college (William G. Ingram from 2018-2020 and J.B. Buxton from 2020-2022). The handbook portion of the documents includes information about student responsibilities, community standards, the code of conduct, and career readiness. 

The college profiles have quantitative data about enrollment and student demographics, including sex, age group, and ethnicity.  They also have information on course selection, degrees, finances, and faculty. 

To see the full collection of Durham Tech handbooks and college profiles, click here. To learn more about Durham Technical Community College, take a look at their partner page or visit their website.

Washington High School Homecoming Queens Rule on in Added Yearbooks

Four students standing side by side with flowers

 Washington High School Homecoming Queens, 1945

Two yearbooks from Washington High School in Raleigh, N.C. have been added to our site thanks to our partner, the Olivia Raney Local History Library. One is a standard edition of The Echo from 1943; the other is a special edition, The Echo Nostalgic Reflections, from 1977

Among the pages of Nostalgic Reflections are a few spreads of Washington High School royalty: homecoming queens throughout the years. Some of the listed winners are Margaret Smith Cooper (1941), Daisy Debnam (Miss Washington High 1946), Ressie Curry (Miss Washington High 1947), Juanita Freeman (1948), Lula Poe (1949), Sarah Frances Sewell (1950), Mary E. Williams (1951), and Mildred McKay (1952). 

A car carrying the homecoming court and queen of Washington High School, 1941

Miss Margaret Smith Cooper, Queen 1941

Portrait of Mildred McKay in a crown with flowers

Mildred McKay, Queen 1942

Next to the homecoming spreads are photos from the alumni dance (1976), as well as championship game information from the school’s football program

Curiously, there doesn’t seem to be any information about who succeeded Mildred McKay as homecoming queen in 1943 in The Echo—school events seem to have been a lower priority for the yearbook’s editors than academics, clubs, and favorite poems

You can see all yearbooks from Washington High School here. To find out more about Olivia Raney Local History Library, visit their partner page or the Wake County website.

South Piedmont Community College Board of Trustee Records Now Available on DigitalNC

A portion of the SPCC Board of Trustees cover. The text on the image reads: SPCC Board of Trustee Meeting

Thanks to our partner, South Piedmont Community College (SPCC), a batch including SPCC Board of Trustee minutes, board reports, and retreat records dating from August 2005 to October 2007 are now available on our website. These documents include chairman and president reports, policy information, facility planning, SPCC Board of Trustees member lists, budgets, and more.

Plan for the Old Charlotte Highway Campus for SPCC. The image shows plots of lands with a planned building on the left side. The plans were created by Morris Berg Architects.

To learn more about South Piedmont Community College, please visit their website.

To view more materials from North Carolina community colleges, please click here.