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 "memorabilia"

Three More Years of Wilson County Genealogical Society News Available

A group of adults standing in a line

The 2022 WCGS Officers

Get excited, North Carolina genealogists—three more years of Wilson County Genealogical Society newsletters are now available on our site! These issues, ranging from 2020 to 2022, offer stories of family lineages and local histories along with WCGS news.

One article from the February 2022 newsletter helpfully explains the differences between older kinds of photographs: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. The authors, James and Margaret Bailey, explain the physical processes for developing each type, which include exposing some kind of metal or glass to light and then treating it with chemicals. One notable quality about these kinds of photographs is that they represent a mirror image of reality. The article includes this example of a person wearing a ring; in the original daguerreotypes, it looks like she is wearing in on her right hand, but in the digitally-flipped image, it’s clear that she is wearing it on her left hand (possibly indicating that she is married). 

A comparison of a photograph and its mirror image. In the photo is a Black adult in a white dress standing and looking at the camera.

For more interesting tidbits, you can see the full batch of newsletters here. You can also see all materials from the WCGS (including older newsletters) here. To learn more about WCGS, visit their partner page or their website.

Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Photographs Now Online from Braswell Memorial Library

Our latest batch of materials from the Braswell Memorial Library includes a set of photographs showing the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in the 1970s and 1980s.  The Will, List of Heirs, and a Decree of Sale of Lands associated with Samuel E. Westray who died on February 15th 1894 is also included. Other documents associated with the Rocky Mount (N.C.) area are scans of a Christmas Card from James Phillips Bunn along with an invitation to the Grand Celebration Ball.

There are photographs showcasing different aspects of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad operation throughout the multiple locations across North Carolina. You can see derailed trains, individual parts of the trains, candid photographs of people near the railroad along with portraits of products being transported.

Picture of The Family Lines System train sitting still on the railroad track

The Family Lines System train          

You can view the Westray will, Bunn’s Christmas card, Grand Ball Celebration invitation and all Railroad photographs here. These materials are now apart of the NC Memory collection. To see more materials from from the Braswell Memorial Library you can visit 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

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.

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

Business and Professional Women’s Club Scrapbooks Hold Evidence of Mid-Century Advocacy

A black-and-white photo of a group of white women standing side by side

From the 1958 Goldsboro Business and Professional Women’s Club Scrapbook

Thanks to our partner, Wayne County Public Library, we’ve got several additional scrapbooks from the Wayne County Business and Professional Women’s Club. The scrapbooks range from 1948 to 1974-75 and document many of the club’s leaders, events, and impacts in the area.

A black-and-white photo of a group of white women in formal wear

From the 1950 Goldsboro Business and Professional Women’s Club Scrapbook

The Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of North Carolina (BPW/NC) began in 1919 with representatives from Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Salisbury, and Winston-Salem. It grew to encompass several more chapters, including one in Goldsboro. The clubs advocated for women’s interests in the state, like money for a women’s dormitory at UNC-CH and the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and they protested against discrimination, such as that against unaccompanied women in hotels. Today, the BPW/NC still works to “promote the general advancement of working women in North Carolina.”

In addition to photographs, the scrapbooks hold a selection of newspaper clippings, financial records, organizational literature, event programs, and ephemera. You can see the full batch of scrapbooks and club minutes here. To see more materials from the Wayne County Public Library, visit their partner page or their website

Maysville Photos and Genealogies Document N.C.’s First Female Mayor

A sepia-toned photo of a one-story brick building. A car is parked in front with a person standing nearby.

G.H. Jenkins drug store and Foscue Hardware c. 1940

We’re excited to introduce one of our newest partners, the Maysville Public Library! Maysville is located in Jones County near the Croatan National Forest, and this batch of photos and family genealogies helps give a sense of some of the town’s history. 

One fun fact about Maysville is that it was the first town in North Carolina to elect a woman as mayor. Annie Koonce Jenkins was elected in 1925 and served for six years; her legacy lives on in the large oak trees she planted that still stand today. (Technically, Katherine Mayo Cowan was N.C.’s first female mayor since she finished a term for her husband, who died in office in Wilmington in 1924. Jenkins was the first woman to be elected mayor.)

A grayscale photo of a brick building. A tall tree stands beside it. Children are on the grass in the foreground.

Maysville School c. 1940

Some of Annie Koonce Jenkins’ life is recorded in the Basil Smith Jenkins: Ancestors and Descendants history. She was born November 7, 1880 (making her 45 when she was elected mayor) and married Franklin “Frank” Mattocks Jenkins on December 23, 1902. Franklin was the first son of Basil Smith Jenkins, which probably gave Annie some extra local clout.

Annie was a teacher in Richlands, N.C. when she married Frank and came to Maysville as the head of the Maysville school. She also helped organize the Civic Leagues (now known as Women’s Clubs) of many small Eastern towns, and she served as the president of the Maysville Civic League for 14 years. 

A grayscale photo of a tall church tower.

Maysville Baptist Church c. 1940

Meanwhile, Frank took turns on the Board of Aldermen and Jones County Board of Education as well as serving as postmaster and town marshal. Both Frank and Annie were also active in the Baptist Church, where he served as Superintendent of Sunday School and the Chairman of the Board of Deacons while she taught adult Sunday School classes. 

It’s evident from this batch of materials that the Jenkins family was an important one in Maysville, as several landmarks bear their name. But there are many other families included in these histories and photographs as well. You can explore the full batch of materials here. To learn more about Maysville Public Library, you can visit their partner page or their website

Posters From Durham County Library Celebrate Festival of the Eno

An artistic print of large green trees alongside a green river

As residents of Durham, nature fans and music listeners may already know, the annual Festival for the Eno is quickly approaching. And while the Eno River Association has several past and present posters available, our latest batch of materials from our partner, the Durham County Library, includes some of the older vintages.

An artist's print of a river otter standing up on it's back legs

This poster, from the 1982 festival, features an alert river otter, a species found across the state of North Carolina. While sightings of otters are usually rare (they tend to be secretive and their total population is somewhat low), they are playful animals.

In the 1990s, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, there was an effort to re-expand the territory of river otters into the western part of the state, where they were seen in the 1930s. To do this, the NC Wildlife Resource Commission trapped and relocated several to western river systems. They also brought several otters to West Virginia, which was trying to restore its otter population.

In exchange for otters, the West Virginia gave North Carolina wild turkeys, which brings us to the 1985 poster:An artist's print of a wild turkey against a blue background

The wild turkey is also a native North Carolinian, but the population declined quickly in the early 1900s due to overhunting and habitat loss. In 1985 (during restoration efforts), the total population was estimated at 14,000; in 2020, it was estimated that our state was home to 270,000 turkeys. Today, turkeys are classified as “Big Game,” and their hunting season is strictly limited.

Other posters from the earlier years of the Festival for the Eno feature fish, people in costumes, and other landscapes. Some of the informational posters have lists of performers and activities as well. 

You can see the full batch of maps and posters from the Durham County Library here. To find out more about them, you can visit their partner page or their website. The 43rd Annual Festival for the Eno will be held on July 2 and 4, 2022 in Durham, N.C. 

High Point area newspapers and furniture catalogs now online

Front Page Newspaper

Front Page of The High Point Enterprise on July 21, 1969, after Neil Armstrong lands on the moon.


Front Page of the “Hi – Lites”, a report from the High Point Chamber of Commerce in 1958.

Digital NC is happy to announce new materials from the Heritage Research Center at the High Point Public Library and High Point Museum. The latest items include yearbooks, newspapers, annual reports, furniture catalogs and so much more!  

Known as the furniture capital of the world for its many furniture companies, High Point has made a name for itself when it comes to buying and selling furniture. Included in this collection are catalogs from several different companies such as the Union Furniture Company, The Sign of Distinction in Your Home catalog from Globe Furniture Company, and many more. You can also find toy catalogs from the Fil – Back Sales Corporation in the collection as well. Along with the furniture catalogs, annual reports from the town of High Point are also available. Reports such as “Hi – Lites” and “Focal Point” provide details on what is happening within the High Point Community.  

Also included in the materials are yearbooks from T. Wingate Andrews High School, “Reverie”. The yearbooks cover the years 1969 – 1971 and explore student life at Andrews High School such as clubs, faculty, and homecoming festivities.  

Finally, Digital NC has also made available 3 issues of The High Point Enterprise from July 1969. The issues cover Neil Armstrong’s historic landing on the moon in 1969 and discussion about the importance of his travels.  

Special thanks to our partner Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library and the High Point Museum for these wonderful materials! To view more from the HR Center, visit them here and here from High Point Museum.

Be sure to check out our newspapers, yearbooks, and memorabilia collections from partners throughout NC.  

New Materials Added to the Crystal Lee Sutton Collection from Alamance Community College

Color photograph of two smiling individuals with raised fists facing camera, Lenin's tomb with line of visitors in the background

Crystal Lee Sutton and Richard Koritz in Red Square, 1984

Crystal Lee Sutton was a union activist whose story rose to prominence after she was fired from her position at a Roanoke Rapids, N.C. textile plant, J. P. Stevens, because she supported the establishment of a union and advocated for better working conditions and pay. Her story was documented in the movie Norma Rae, and Sutton’s life changed greatly due to the fame that followed the movie’s success. She went on to support unionization efforts in a variety of industries during the rest of her life. Sutton passed away in 2009. 

On behalf of Alamance Community College we have digitized additional materials from the Crystal Lee Sutton collection, which was donated directly to the College’s Library before her death.

This batch of materials contains some of Sutton’s school report cards, correspondence to various supporters, newspaper clippings about her activism and the movie, unionization booklets, and a few photos of Sutton. There are also quite a few of her speeches, both handwritten and typewritten, including those she lists as the first speeches she gave after being fired in 1973

Due to copyright or privacy concerns, not all of the materials from the Sutton collection are online. If you are interested in those items, take a look at this list. You can contact the Alamance Community College Library for access to the items listed there.

You can view the most recent batch along with all of the items we have been able to share online on the Crystal Lee Sutton exhibit page