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 "NCDHC East"


Seashore News Issues Tell of Bygone Beach Days

The masthead of The Seashore News

Another newspaper title from the eastern part of our state has been added to our digital collections thanks to our partner, the Outer Banks History Center. These issues of The Seashore News were published for the Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk beach communities in 1939.

One article from the June 8, 1939 issue describes a different beach scene than many of us are used to today. 

Head line reading, "Grass, Flowers, Trees Grow Well on Beach Since Cattle Removed."

“Dare County is being reborn,” it begins. “Where only a year or two ago the eye was greeted with vast stretches of bare sand and course beach grass, upon which herds of stunted cattle eked out a miserable existance [sic], today is springing to life lush vegetation, acres of wild flowers and trees and flowering shrubs of a hundred varieties.”

The article goes on to describe how the “Stock Law” passed in 1937 by the State Legislature helped eliminate the cattle, wild horses, and “scuttling flocks of mangy sheep” from the beaches. The author also claims that the beaches were a “veritable paradise of verdure” when colonists first arrived and that it was due to the livestock that the beaches became “a territory that was fast taking on the arid aspects of a desert.”

An illustration of three horses trotting over sand dunes

Whether the introduction of vegetation to the area would be considered “conservation” by today’s standards isn’t totally clear, though the NC Wildlife Resources Commission doesn’t exactly describe costal habitats as a “‘delicate garden abounding with all kinds of odiferous flowers.'”

You can see all issues of The Seashore News here, and you can browse all of our digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To learn more about the Outer Banks History Center, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Issues of The Dare County Times from 1939 now on DigitalNC

Headmast for the July 21, 1939 issue of The Dare County Times from Manteo, N.C.

Thanks to our partner, The Outer Banks History Center, we now have every issue of The Dare County Times from 1935-1945 up on DigitalNC! In these papers we have stories about the smallest school in North Carolina (only seven students!), the 100th performance of Paul Green’s The Lost Colony, and the fire that devastated much of Manteo on September 11th, 1939.

Clipping from February 17, 1939 issue showing the smallest school in North Carolina. A young female teacher and her seven students Photo from the September 15th issue. An aerial view showing a large mass of smoke covering most of the town

The Manteo fire broke out in the early hours of that September morning and destroyed 21 buildings in just three hours. Since the town had limited supplies to fight the fire, trucks from neighboring communities had to be called in to help contain the flames and one even came down from Norfolk, Virginia to offer aid. Miraculously, not a single person was injured amidst the chaos.

If you would like to see the rest of the available issues of The Dare County Times, you can find them here. You can also browse our entire collection of North Carolina newspapers and visit our contributing partners page.


More Issues of the “Bertie Ledger-Advance” Document Recent History

A blue box with the Bertie Ledger-Advance masthead

Through our partnership with the Bertie County Public Library and Martin Community College, we now have many more editions of the Bertie Ledger-Advance. This batch of the Windsor, N.C., paper ranges from January 2016 until December 2021, meaning that it covers many of the major news stories still in memory.

Newspaper clipping

March 11, 2020

Perhaps one of the most obvious topics that appears in these issues is the impact of Covid-19 in one of North Carolina’s small towns. The front-page coverage starts where you might expect: March 11, 2020.

Initial articles focus on preparedness; the March 18, 2020 issue announces Governor Roy Cooper’s mandate to close schools for two weeks and end gatherings of more 50 people. That was also the week that Bertie County declared a State of Emergency in order to receive resources for public health measures.

“The fact that we are so rural here in Bertie County gives us an edge. …We are not like Raleigh as it relates to populations,” Bertie County Emergency Services Director Mitch Cooper said.

A photo of several people standing in a parking lot outside a church. Their backs are to the camera, and they are watching another person deliver a service.

Bertie County begins holding church services outdoors (March 25, 2020)

These issues go on to document the progression of the pandemic in a rural area. On March 25, 2020, Bertie County sees its first confirmed case; the state begins “Phase 1” re-opening on May 10, 2020; Bertie and surrounding counties experience spikes in the number of cases, including one from September 10, 2020. At the end of 2020, the paper also published a recap of the year’s major stories, noting that the “Pandemic dominated headlines.”

The coverage continues through 2021, when schools are finally scheduled to reopen for in-person learning in March 2022. Through each of these stories, its clear what a huge impact Covid-19 had on the lives of Bertie County residents⁠—as it did for people across the state, the nation, and the world.

A cartoon of a pizza deliverer carrying a pizza. A sign says, "Keep calm and carry out."

March 25, 2020

To see more news stories from this batch, you can browse by date:

You can also see more issues of the Bertie Ledger-Advance here or browse our entire collection of digitized newspapers in our Newspapers of North Carolina collection. To see more materials from Martin Community College, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Nag’s Head News (From At Least One Side) Now Available

A new title has been added to our Newspapers of North Carolina Collection thanks to the Outer Banks History Center. These issues of The Nags Tale, a cleverly-named paper from Nags Head, N.C., contain coverage from July and August 1938.

On of the first major news stories on the front page of this paper is a review of the local rendition of Paul Green’s The Lost Colony, first performed about a year earlier. The play is based on the true story of the lost colony of Roanoke Island in Dare County, N.C. (neighboring Nags Head).

An illustration of a tall monument standing on a sand dune in front of a cloudy sky.

The Wright Monument, or what the caption writer calls, “the foremost wooing ground in North Carolina.”

The reviewer notes, first and foremost, the incredibly large cast of the production, commenting, “There are 186 people in the company of ‘The Lost Colony,’ and when Sir Walter’s colony passed through an inlet that cut the banks between Nags Head and the Wright Memorial, there were only 108 people in the expedition come to lay the foundation of an empire.”

Despite the unusually large cast (which doesn’t include the crew members, the reviewer points out), the production seemed to be a hit among the residents of the island.

You can see all available issues of The Nags Tale here or browse our Newspapers of North Carolina Collection by location, type, and date. To see more materials from the Outer Banks History Center, you can visit their partner page and their website.


Three More Years of the Roanoke-Chowan Times Available

The masthead of the Roanoke-Chowan Times

Thanks to our partner the Northampton County Museum, we now have three additional years of The Roanoke-Chowan Times. These issues, from 1926-1928, feature local news from Rich Square, Roxobel, Seaboard, Potecasi, and Kelford, N.C., as well as other nearby towns. 

The hyper-local news sections from these issues is a big part of their charm. Often, the front page is divided into columns with the name of the town at the top. The news items range from newsworthy (as we would think of that term today) to the intimate. Here are three examples from the September 2, 1926 issue:

A newspaper clipping A newspaper clipping A newspaper clipping listing personal items

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the personal items are fun to read in retrospect, it’s probably a relief that this kind of journalism is less common today.

Another interesting characteristic of this paper is it’s adoption of the first line of the North Carolina state song in its masthead: “Carolina, Carolina, heaven’s blessings attend her.” The paper speaks to the song’s widespread popularity in the state; the lyrics were written by North Carolina Supreme Court Judge William Gaston in 1835, but the song wasn’t officially adopted until 1927. The first instance in our records where the first line appears is in the April 23, 1903 issue—more than 20 years before it was made official.

This batch of papers is particularly exciting for us because it’s the first set of papers scanned on the new equipment at our satellite location, NCDHC East at Elizabeth City State University. 

You can see all of our issues of The Roanoke-Chowan Times here and our entire collection of digitized newspapers in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To learn more about the Northampton County Museum, you can visit their partner page or their website


1936-1937 Issues of the People’s Rights Bulletin Now Available on DigitalNC

People's Rights Bulletin header. The subheading reads: published by the Southern Committee for People's Rights, Chapel Hill, N.C., January, 1936.

Thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, four issues of the People’s Rights Bulletin spanning 1936 and 1937 are now available on our website.

The paper was written by an organization called the Southern Committee for People’s Rights. The organization’s primary objectives during this time were to insure that all people had access to the same constitutional rights, to support constructive legislation, reduce the social tension that led to coercion and terrorization of disadvantaged people, and to oppose the program of organizations that employed “vigilante” methods to accomplish its purpose (e.g. the Ku Klux Klan).

In an effort to raise awareness of civil rights issues, the Southern Committee for People’s Rights published the People’s Rights Bulletin. In the paper they discussed cases and activities related to civil rights in the South. For example, these 1936-1937 issues feature articles discussing Memphis, T.N. teachers being denied the right to organize, Senator Robert M. LaFollette’s Senate Resolution 266, Arkansas share croppers defending their civil rights, and much more. 

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

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


1963 Issues of The Chapel Hill Conscience Now Available on Digital NC

The Chapel Hill Conscience header.

Thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, two issues of The Chapel Hill Conscience from 1963 are now available on our website.

The paper was published biweekly with special issues sometimes appearing more frequently. The Chapel Hill Conscience provided updates on the progress of groups that were working towards desegregation and ending racial discrimination in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In addition, the paper included articles which discussed psychological studies on integration, common sense positives for integration (for businessmen in particular), and establishments that practiced racial discrimination.

This clipping, taken from the August 24, 1963 issue, provided a comprehensive list of establishments in Chapel Hill to boycott due to their continued practice of racial discrimination. The establishments included Colonial Drug Store, Tar Heel Sandwich Shop, Allen’s Lunch Counter, Carolina Grill, and more. 

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

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


Extra, Extra! Get the Community Scoop From the Ocracoke School News

We’re pleased to announce that 81 issues of the Ocracoke School News from 1950-1959 are now available, including a delightful seasonal issue from 1951. In the last issue of the year, the students from Ocracoke High School complemented their news briefs with hand-drawn Christmas cartoons. Near the staff box, for example, the students added a jolly visitor.

A cartoon of Santa Claus accompanies the staff box in the Ocracoke School News

Santa Claus rides a train next to the Ocracoke School News’ staff box

The news items from the December 14, 1951 issue highlight some local events and the school’s connections to the Christian community on the island, such as the Christmas service at the Methodist Church and the P.T.A.’s Christmas Bingo Night.

The stories also speak to the size and intimacy of the community of the time. One article encourages readers to send Christmas cards to the young men in the military, and all ten members’ mailing addresses are published. Another notes three students with recent birthdays. In the “Island News” section, the staff writer calls out a particular family for talking about their vacation plans too much and details their travel information from the island to Portland, Oregon.

An article from the Ocracoke School News that wishes three students a happy birthday

An article wishing three students happy birthday

An article from the Ocracoke School News detailing the holiday travel plans of one family

An article describing the travel plans of one Ocracoke family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another article focuses on the native plant yaupon (also called yaupon holly) and its merits as a Christmas decoration since it is “full of pretty berries.” The author also notes that cedar trees grow all over Ocracoke, and that sometimes makes it known to locals as “The Christmas Tree Island.”An article from the Ocracoke School News that describes the merits of yaupon holly

This collection was digitized in partnership with The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To see more issues of the Ocracoke School News, click here. To see more newspapers from around North Carolina, visit our newspapers page.