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 "photos"


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


New Batch of CHHS Materials Spans Many Areas of Chapel Hill & Carrboro History

Our latest batch of materials from the Chapel Hill Historical Society has a little something for everyone! Whether you’re interested in the histories of local churches, municipal records, or Carrboro’s Centennial (in 2011), we’ve got materials for you to see.

A typed piece of paper unfolded over two pages of a composition notebook

A typed note inviting community members to visit the Carrboro Library

One exciting piece of local history appears in the scrapbook from the Carrboro Civic Club, which formed a committee to build a public library in Carrboro. The scrapbook contains notes from committee members about the financial aspects and personnel of the project, as well as an early draft of library rules. “Practice good citizenship regarding books,” it warns.

An architectural drawing of Carrboro Elementary School

Carrboro Elementary School as imagined by Croft and Hammond in 1957

Another cool addition is this book of architectural drawings and specifications for the Carrboro Elementary School. The plans were made in a partnership between the Board of Education; Dr. W. E. Rosenstengel, a professor of education at UNC Chapel Hill; and Croft & Hammond Architects from Asheboro, N.C. The introduction indicates that they planned to enroll 480 students and eventually grow to 720 (with 30 students per classroom). For comparison, Carrboro Elementary has 540 enrolled students for the 2021-22 school year.

Part of a typed letter and a few cartoons depicting ways that litter is spread in a community

Some of the ways that litter is spread, according to the National Council of State Gardening Clubs

Finally, if you’re interested in how anti-littering campaigns were waged in the 1970s, there’s this letter from the National Council of State Gardening Clubs, Inc. As part of the “Keep America Beautiful” project, the Council’s leaders identified the seven main ways that litter appears in communities and illustrated some changes that needed to happen to reduce them. 

“There is every likelihood that this marriage of behavioral science and techniques will produce offspring reaching into all facets of community life and improving the whole climate in which human beings live as neighbors,” editor Christopher C. Gilson writes.

These three items barely encompass the variety of materials that’s been added, so you can do even more exploring yourself by looking through the whole batch. To see more materials from the Chapel Hill Historical society, you can visit their partner page or their website. The run of Chapel Hill News Leader newspaper issues from 1958-59 that was uploaded with this batch is also available.


Additional Massey Family Materials Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner Matthews Heritage Museum and funding from a North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) grant, additional Massey family letters, papers, and photographs from the late 1800s and early 1900s are now available on our website.

The photographs in this batch are of several Massey family members at different ages including Daisy Massey, Edgar Herbert Massey, Mary E. Renfrow Massey, and Dr. Henry V. Massey. One interesting photograph shows what is believed to be Edgar Herbert Massey and Mary Renfrow Massey in a horse drawn carriage.

Two individuals sitting in a horse drawn cart.

The letters, spanning from 1863 to 1904, are mainly addressed to Daisy and Mary Massey from other family members and friends. One letter in this batch stood out as particularly interesting (pages two and three of the letter are below).

On December 18, 1902, an individual named Jeb wrote a letter to Daisy Massey. From the letter, it appears that the two were courting or in a relationship. In the letter, Jeb begs Daisy to consider moving to Washington and becoming mistress of his house. He writes, “[…] I believe I could persuade you to come over here and be mistress of my house. Really I do believe I could keep you from getting home sick and fancy you would like Washington far better than the Sunny South. Will you please do give this subject your honest and careful thought and prayer. I can make no big promises for I have nor riches to boast of, but can promise you the very best and true happiness and peace. On my part for you should never hear a cross or unkind word from my lips.” In the final section of the letter, Jeb points out that they are approaching a crossroads where Daisy will have to decide whether they get married or end the relationship. Daisy Massey’s response to the letter is unknown.

To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.

To learn more about the Matthews Heritage Museum, please visit their website.

To view more materials from the Matthews Heritage Museum, please click here.


Chadbourn High School Materials Now on DigitalNC

A batch containing various materials related to Chadbourn High School’s Class of 1952 are now available on our website. The batch includes Chadbourn High School’s 1952 yearbook, the May 19, 1952 issue of The Purple and Gold student newspaper, a program for the 1952 commencement exercises, and photographs from two of the Class of 1952’s reunions.

For more yearbooks from across North Carolina, visit our yearbook collection here.

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

For more images from across North Carolina, visit our Images of North Carolina collection here.  


New Partner contributes Dismal Swamp Canal Photographs

Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center header

Thanks to our newest partner, Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, a batch of over 50 photographs of Camden County and the Dismal Swamp are now available on our website. The photographs feature a glance at the various stages of construction on the Dismal Swamp, locomotives, the Dismal Swamp locks, fishing, and individuals. These materials were scanned during our trip to Camden County to scan materials for both the Camden County Heritage Museum as well as the Welcome Center.Commercial boat on the side of a canal with several people standing on the boat and two children standing on the shore in front of it.

Of the 59 photographs that were scanned, the most riveting are ones that depict individuals on the Dismal Swamp Canal. The first photograph (above) shows a commercial boat loaded up with several passengers waiting to depart. The second picture below depicts three individuals fishing while the third shows a person rowing.Three individuals in a boat on the Dismal Swamp with a fishing net in their hands.

Person with a hat and heavy coat rowing a boat on the Dismal Swamp.

To learn more about the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, please visit their website.


100 Counties! New Materials from the Camden County Museum Heritage Museum Now Online

Table with scanners and a laptop inside a brightly lit museum space with one person seated and scanning and two people standing and looking at a book

L-R Ashlie Brewer (NCDHC) scans while Lisa Gregory (NCDHC) looks at materials with Brian Forehand (Camden County Heritage Museum)

We have an exciting milestone to announce – with the addition of the Camden County Heritage Museum  and the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center we have now worked with at least one partner organization in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. NCDHC staff received a warm welcome in Camden County at the end of August when we traveled there to scan materials for both of these organizations.

Black English text on beige paper advertisin typhoid fever and diptheria vaccines in Camden CountyOur post today shares the materials we scanned from the Museum (stay tuned for a future post about the Welcome Center’s materials). From photos to maps to brochures to handwritten research notes, the Museum selected a variety of items that document important aspects of the county’s history. Some of the longer and more detailed items are mentioned below:

We were especially interested to read the typhoid fever and diptheria vaccine announcement shown to the right, which seems especially timely during the current pandemic. Note that the author called out the races separately and that people had to go to a specific location based on their assigned race.

You can view all of the items from the Camden County Heritage Museum on the Museum’s contributor page, or all of the materials we have related to Camden County on the Camden County page on our site.


New Edgecombe County Memorial Library Materials Including Additional Photographs of Edgecombe County’s Historic Architecture Now Available

Thanks to our partner, Edgecombe County Memorial Library, new materials including a 1955 Leggett High School yearbook, Magazine Club of Tarboro minute books, and architecture research materials for houses in Edgecombe County are now available on our website.

This batch of photographs adds 48 new homes to our architecture research materials for historical houses and buildings in Edgecombe County. In addition to photographs of the houses, some folders contain in-depth documents about the properties including family histories, property history, appraisals, renovations, and more. The Joseph Pippen House record is an example of an information-rich folder. It included photographs and slides from before and after the house’s renovation (pictures seen below), a letter from one of Joseph Pippen’s ancestors, information on the Pippen plantation property, newspaper clippings related to the selling of the house, and detailed information about the house’s architecture.

Black and white photograph of an older looking two story house.

Joseph Pippen house before renovation

A photograph of a renovated two story house.

Joseph Pippen house after renovation

To learn more about the Edgecombe County Memorial Library, please visit their website.

To view more architecture research from Edgecombe County, view previous posts here.

For more yearbooks from across North Carolina, visit our yearbook collection.


Additional Materials from the Crystal Lee Sutton Collection at Alamance Community College Now Online

photograph of woman with long hair and a serious face behind a podium with sign that says Real vs ReelAlamance Community College houses and cares for a wide variety of materials and artifacts documenting the career of Crystal Lee Sutton, a labor activist who came to national prominence when her story was fictionalized in the movie Norma Rae. Before her passing, Sutton donated the collection to the College and we have helped digitize another batch to share on DigitalNC. You can read about the first batch we worked on in this blog post written in May 2021.

black and white cartoon of large angry person with knife standing over people with lowered heads

“No matter how thin you slice it … It’s still baloney.” Pro-union booklet with J. P. Stevens as the antagonist.

This batch contains ephemera related to Sutton’s part in the strike at J. P. Stevens, Inc. and the fame she received in the wake of Norma Rae.  You’ll find materials about the Stevens strike as well as about unionizing efforts at other companies. There is also pro- and anti-union propoaganda, like the booklet featured at right. 

Of particular note is Sutton’s handwritten description of her treatment at Stevens and the organizing activities that took place at the plant. This first-hand account includes a transcript at the end. 

Sutton spent her career advocating for unionization, frequently speaking about the impact of her efforts and of the movie at schools, festivals, and union chapter meetings. She diligently clipped newspaper articles about union activity around the country.  

There are additional items within the collection that could not be shared online due to copyright and/or privacy concerns. This list gives an inventory of these items, which can be viewed in person at the Alamance Community College Library. In the list you’ll find research papers students wrote about Sutton, correspondence written to Sutton (including correspondence from Sally Field and Gloria Steinem), documents related to lawsuits Sutton was involved in, and a script and publicity shots related to Norma Rae.

To see everything we’ve digitized in this collection, visit the Alamance Community College contributor page on DigitalNC. More information about the Alamance Community College Library can be found on the Library’s home page.


Photographs, Ephemera, and Dortch Family Bible From Wayne County Now Online

DigitalNC is happy to announce that a new batch of 100+ photographs and ephemera from Wayne County plus selections of William T. Dortch’s personal bible are all available to view online. We would like to thank our partners at Wayne County Public Library for making this possible.

Two of the digitized photos are large photographs from around the time of World War I, depicting soldiers in Fort Bragg, N.C. and La Bazoge, France. The other photographs and ephemera in the collection speak to everyday life in mid to late 20th century Wayne County. Much of the material comes from Goldsboro High School, such as photos of cheerleaders and a resolution from the City of Goldsboro congratulating the Cougarettes on winning the state 4-A Girls’ Tennis Championship. Other photos include youth sports teams and many school portraits from New Hope School.

The portions of the personal bible of William T. Dortch contain primary information on the Dortch family tree. The fastidious documentation of marriages, births, and deaths stretches from the 18th century all the way to the turn of the 21st century.

To view all digital content from Wayne County Public Library, click here. And to learn more about the Wayne County Public Library, please visit their contributor page or website.


Glass plate negatives and more now online from Mitchell Community College

Group of students standing in a kitchen classroom space

A new batch of materials from our partner Mitchell Community College is now on DigitalNC.  The most exciting items in the batch were almost 20 glass plate negatives taken in February 1925, likely for that year’s yearbook.  There is no known copy of the yearbook still in existence from that year, so it’s a particularly exciting set.  The photographs feature fabulous 1920s styles on the students of Mitchell College, which was an all women’s school in the 1920s.  Group portraits, classroom photos, and staged production photographs are all included.  Black and white photograph of students outside a building

In addition to the negatives, scrapbooks from Mitchell Community College student government and the Statesville Junior Women’s Club are included, as are some issues of the student newspaper and alumni materials.

Group of students in dresses pointing at two students, one in a suit and one in a maid costume

To view more materials from Mitchell Community College, visit their partner page.  To see more materials from community colleges across North Carolina, visit our North Carolina Community College Collections page.