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 "local histories"


More architecture research materials from Edgecombe County now on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner Edgecombe County Memorial Library, another batch of architecture research materials for structures in the county are on DigitalNC.  This batch covers 58 buildings in Edgecombe County, including Norfleet Plantation, the supposed oldest house in Tarboro, and the African American Masonic Lodge in Tarboro.  Photographs, research notes, maps, and other materials are included for many of the buildings.  

Two color photographs of the same building, a white clapboard two story structure

Photographs of the African American Masonic Lodge in Tarboro

To view more architecture research from Edgecombe County, view previous posts here.  To view more architecture materials on DigitalNC, go here


New Photos from Chapel Hill Historical Society Now Online

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

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

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


Grand Lodge Minute Books and Scrapbooks Now Available

Thanks to our partner, The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, a batch of minute books and scrapbooks are now available on our website. The minute books, spanning from 1870 to 1935, come from various lodges including St. John’s Lodge No. 1, Numa F. Reid Lodge No. 344, Relief Lodge No. 431, and Yadkin Falls Lodge No. 637. They feature records of lodge meetings, finances, and references to life outside the lodge including mention of the 1898 Wilmington Massacre. 

Three men posing for a picture,

Three men from the Numa F. Reid Lodge No. 344 posing for a picture.

To learn more about The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, please visit their website

To view more Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina materials on our website, please click here


Book about the History of Wake County Now Online

Thanks to our partner, the Olivia Raney Local History Library, we now have volume 1 of Wake, Capital County of North Carolina on our website.

The title page of Wake, Capital County of North Carolina, Volume 1: Prehistory through Centennial.

This volume of Wake, Capital County of North Carolina focuses on the history of the region from the prehistoric era through the late 19th-century celebration of the centennial of the county’s founding. However, the bulk of the book starts with the history of eighteenth-century Wake County history. The work discusses Wake County’s role and experiences through its own history and in the context of major national and international events such as the Revolutionary War and the Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Image from Wake, Capital Country of North Carolina, Volume 1: Prehistory through Centennial.

The Olivia Raney Local History Library is a branch of the Wake County Public Library system. It houses a host of research materials on a variety of historical and genealogical topics related to Wake County. Interested parties can also purchase volumes I and II of Wake, Capital County of North Carolina and The Historic Architecture of Wake County, North Carolina here. For more information about the Olivia Raney Local History Library, please visit their website.


“Ode to the Infimary” a look at the 1941 Flu Epidemic in NC

A couple of weeks ago UNC’s university archivist tweeted about finding articles in the Daily Tar Heel about a flu epidemic on UNC’s campus in early 1941. Intrigued – and figuring it was in no way contained to UNC’s campus – we did some digging in other newspapers on our site to find other stories about the epidemic’s impact on other campuses in NC at the time. A topic that is feeling quite relevant now, we found mentions scattered throughout the papers in January and February 1941 (for context – what would have been a year that started with an epidemic for these students and ended with the country involved in a World War) about how students were reacting to this sudden uptick in the flu.

Several campuses seemed to have a newfound appreciation for the infirmary, with an “Ode the Infirmary” published in Mars Hill College’s student newspaper.

Text of a newspaper

From the Montreat College paper, a look “Through the Infirmary Door”Screenshot of a page of a newspaper with headline "Through the Infirmary Door"

The social lives of the Belles of Saint Mary’s were put on hold for the flu that struck campus in mid January.  Their society pages in their student newspaper detail such and the following flurry of activity as they were able to come out of quarantine.

At the high school level, reports of basketball games and academic competitions were cancelled or put on hold as school was cancelled for several days to prevent the spread of the flu virus.  Both the students at Greensboro High School and High Point School reported such.

Other social and academic events were also cancelled – all citing the epidemic as the cause.

Other college campuses did not seem to have large effects from the flu but did report on students who were travelling from other areas of the state who then had to quarantine upon arrival on campus.  For example, in an article in Montreat College’s student paper, they reported on students who had to quarantine upon arriving back to campus.

All in all, nothing quite as dramatic as what appears to have happened at UNC was going on at other North Carolina schools, perhaps another echo of what has happened in 2020.  A brief perusal of the community papers from the time show that the flu epidemic was something affecting the whole state for sure, with mentions of it in papers from as far east as Beaufort, NC and as far west as Franklin, NC in Macon County.  

clipping from newspaper

Clipping from The Beaufort News , January 16, 1941

Clipping from newspaper

Clipping from The Franklin press and the Highlands Maconian, January 23, 1941

Several articles note that this particular epidemic was moving from the western part of the state to the eastern part of the state, which was apparently unusual, and overall cases had been fairly mild (which likely explains in part why it rarely pops up as an event in history).  

January 22, 1941 issue of the State Port Pilot discussing the effects of the flu across the state.

To explore our over 1 million pages of digitized newspapers yourself, visit our North Carolina Newspapers page and read here about how colleges in NC responded to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic


Wake County Public Libraries: A Souvenir Centennial History: 1901-2001 Now Available

Thanks to our partner, Olivia Raney Local History Library, the Wake County Public Libraries: A Souvenir Centennial History: 1901-2001 is now available on our website.  In this book, Roy C. Dicks outlines the one hundred year history of the Olivia Raney Library and establishing of the Wake County Public Libraries. 

Family and their dog looking at books in the library's bookmobile.

To learn more about the Olivia Raney Local Historical Library, visit their site here


Biography of Charlotte Community Activist and Second Ward High School Yearbooks Now Online!

Thanks to our partner, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, we now have a batch of yearbooks and a digitized book available on our website. The yearbooks span the years 1966-1968 and are from Second Ward Senior High School in Charlotte, N.C. The book is a photographic history of Charlotte native T.D. Elder, entitled T.D. Elder Living Images: Charlotte’s Triumphant Warrior for Black History.

Second Ward Senior High School was established in 1923 as the first public high school for black students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. Before this school was established, black students in the area had to move to other areas in order to get a high school education. In the early 1970s, the school was closed and the building was demolished. As was the case in most Southern cities, formerly all-black high schools were usually torn down or repurposed after school segregation legally ended. Black students were then bused to formerly all-white schools in order to achieve integration. However, the legacy of the school lives on as an important symbol in the history of the black community of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. For more information about Second Ward Senior High School, visit this online exhibit by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

The cover of the 1968 edition of the Second Ward High School yearbook.

Thereasea Clark Elder was born in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 2, 1927. For over eighty years, she served her community as a nurse and community activist. In her lifetime, Elder established both the Greenville Historical Society and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Heritage Committee. A number of Charlotte institutions have been named in her honor, including the Thereasea C. Elder Community Health Leadership Academy and the Thereasea Clark Elder Neighborhood Park. For more information about Thereasea Clark Elder and her groundbreaking life and work, there is a 2014 article from the Charlotte Observer dedicated to her story, which can be accessed here.

The cover of T.D. Elder Living Images: Charlotte’s Triumphant Warrior for Black History.

For more information about the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, please visit their website.


The Tyrrell Tribune

Thanks to our partner, the Tyrrell County Public Library, several issues of The Tyrrell County Tribune are now available on our website. These issues are from the years 1939-1941 and include local news from Tyrrell County and the surrounding area.

The front page of the December 14, 1939 issue of the Tyrrell Tribune.

One interesting news story from the September 11, 1941 edition of the paper is the discussion of a possible state park being created at Cape Hatteras. Today, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is run by the National Park Service. The park was established as the first national seashore in 1953. In the same issue, one headline reports the expansion of an airport at Manteo that would be the largest on the Carolina coast.

The front page of the September 11, 1941 issue of the Tyrrell Tribune.

For more information on the Tyrrell County Public Library, visit their website.


The Tyrrell County Herald

Thanks to our new partner, the Tyrrell County Public Library, several issues of The Tyrrell County Herald are now available on our website. These issues are from the years 1928-1929 and 1944-1945. The papers mostly recount local news in the county, with a few reports on major national and international events.

All of the newspaper issues from the years 1944-1945 are dedicated to “Tyrrell County Men in the Military Service,” as a result of the country’s involvement in World War II. Each paper includes a listing of citizens who were wounded, taken prisoner, or killed in action during their military service. Several issues from this period also include a section called “Service Men Write”, in which citizens serving in the military were encouraged to write to the paper and these letters were then published for the paper’s readers to see. Most of the messages include thanks from the servicemen for the issues of the paper that they are able to read and how they remind them of home.

Front page of the May 1945 issue of the Tyrrell County Herald.

A few of these issues report on national and international events and issues that might be familiar to those familiar with 1940s history. The May 1945 issue reports on the celebration of V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, marking the end of the World War II conflict in Europe. The August 1944 issue reports that schools were deciding when to open based on the polio epidemic, in an interesting parallel to current events.

The front page of the August 1944 issue of the Tyrrell County Herald.

For more information about the Tyrrell County Public Library, visit their website.


More Issues of The Goldsboro News Now Available

Thanks to our partner, the Wayne County Public Library, we have added several issues of The Goldsboro News from the years 1927-1929 to our website. The paper included a mix of local, national, and international news stories from major world events to local festivities and events.

The November 6, 1928 edition of the newspaper (see below) largely reports on Election Day and the presidential race between Republican Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover and Democratic Governor Al Smith of New York. Ironically, the paper reports that specialists predicted that Smith would be the “easy winner” of the election. However, Hoover was elected that day to his only term in office, which would be marred by the stock market crash of 1929, less than one year later.

The cover page of the November 6, 1928 issue of The Goldsboro News.

The February 15, 1929 issue of the paper (see below) features the breaking of the news of several famous historical events. The headline for this issue centered around the infamous “St. Valentine’s Day” Massacre of seven gang members in Chicago that had occurred the day before publication. The issue also reported a happier historical event, the engagement of famed pilot Charles Lindbergh to his future wife, Anne Morrow, who would soon change her name to Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Just over one year later, Morrow would give birth to the couple’s first child, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., who was infamously kidnapped and killed by his abductors in 1932.

The cover page of the February 15, 1929 issue of The Goldsboro News.

For more information about the Wayne County Public Library, please visit their website.