Viewing entries tagged "photos"

New Partner Materials Highlight Life in Pink Hill

A color portrait of a dance team posing in front of an old white house. The team consists of about 20 children wearing white uniforms and holding batons. The front row is holding a red banner that says "Twirlettes."
The Pink Hill Twirlettes.

Thanks to our new partner, the Pink Hill Public Library (a branch of the Neuse Regional Library), we’ve expanded our geographic coverage and added some new materials from the Lenoir County area. This batch includes an exciting variety of community-generated materials, including photographs, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, yearbooks, and two newspaper titles that are new to our site.

A color photo of a brick, one-story house and a child's yellow car toy in the front yard. The photo is taped to a piece of white paper, and below, a child has written, "This is my house. And I like it!"
From Thomas Whitfield’s 1991 masterpiece, “My Community, Pink Hill”

Two of the most delightful items in this batch (besides the adorable Twirlettes, of course) are a couple of scrapbooks made by Michael and Thomas Whitfield in the early 1990s documenting some of the major landmarks around town. In addition to short newspaper clippings and the occasional map, these two young historians took care to document the local homes and businesses. Below a photo of the fire department, Thomas writes, “Pink Hill Fire Dept, was formed before World War II. George Turner was the first fire chief in 1946.” Similarly, under a photo of a brick storefront, he writes, “Classy Cats. Owned by Ronda Stroud. Started in May 25, 1986.” These scrapbooks are great resources for anyone wondering who the Town Clerk was from 1991-1993 (Carol Sykes) or wondering who the best dog in town is (Gibbet).

You can see the full batch of Pink Hill materials here. You can also browse both Pink Hill newspaper titles, The Chronicle (1966-1971) and The Pink Hill Review (1975-1980). To learn more about the Pink Hill public library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Additional Firefighter Materials Reveal History of Women Firefighters in the City of Greensboro

Thanks to our partner, Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, a batch of over 100 records documenting the history of firefighters in Greensboro are now available on our website. The materials in this batch include photographs, scrapbooks, issues of the City of Greensboro’s City Beat, and much more. Utilizing the various materials in this batch specifically, one is able to uncover the history of firewomen in the Greensboro Fire Department.

Prior to 1884, fire protection in the City of Greensboro was dismal. Although a fire protection became law in the city in 1833, there was no guaranteed protection from fire. Improvements in fire protection only came after devastating fires such as one in 1849 that nearly ended the business community and in 1872 that destroyed a large portion of the city. After the 1872 fire, a second volunteer fire company was created and equipped with a chemical engine. While they had a chemical engine, the company had not been equipped with horses. This meant that the firemen had to pull the engine to fires by hand on the City’s unpaved streets.

The Greensboro Fire Department began as a volunteer organization in 1884 after Harper J. Elam, future founder of the Greensboro Record, noticed the city’s lack of fire protection relative to his former home city, Charlotte. In an effort to upgrade the firefighting capabilities of the city, Elam put out a call of duty for firefighters. A group composed of around 100 white business and younger men answered the call, forming Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 which was located at what was formerly known as 108 West Gaston Street.

Circa 1889, a Black volunteer fire company known as Excelsior Hose Company No. 2 was formed. Located at the City Market, the company was “well equipped with jumper, uniforms and other equipments” and always gave “good and satisfactory service in conjunction with the other companies for the city’s protection.” While segregated companies may have fought fires alongside each other at times, it was not until 1961 that the city’s fire department was integrated.

The earliest mention of “firewomen” in this batch comes from 1974. In August 1974, Fire Chief G. C. “Buck” Wuchae responds to an article for the paper stating he is not opposed to women joining the fire department nor should they fear being discriminated against by his office. The article’s writer seems to feel differently, asking the chief “But what if a woman meeting the requirements was hired and successfully completed the training—what would the fire department do with her?” Wuchae simple responds, “We would have to make some arrangements.” However, it is not until four years later, in 1978, under Greensboro Fire Chief R. L. Powell that the department actively began to recruit firewomen.

On October 2, 1978, after 129 years, Dee Ann Clapp, Melanie Trado, and Sandra K. Pearman became the Greensboro Fire Department’s first firewomen after completing a 13-week training class with other trainees. Fire Chief Powell states his satisfaction with the success of their training stating, “I have no doubt at all that they (the women) are now ready to operate out of our fire stations and do the job well” and that one of the women was one of the top in the class. Clapp, Trado and Pearman were assigned to separate platoons at Station 8. In 1984, six years after joining the Greensboro Fire Department, Dee Ann Clapp makes history again as the first woman to receive the State of North Carolina’s “Outstanding Young Firefighter” award.

Information about the early history of the Greensboro Fire Department was compiled from the May 3, 1899 issue of The Greensboro Patriot, The History of the Greensboro Fire Department page, and newspaper clippings from this batch.

To view more materials from the Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, please visit their contributor page linked here.

To learn more about the Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, please visit their website linked here.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please view our North Carolina Newspapers collection linked here.

Look Forward to Summer Travel with Chapel Hill Girl & Boy Scouts

Six teenagers laying in a line on a sandy beach. They are all wearing bikinis, and several have on sunglasses and hats.
Girl Scouts at Sunset Beach, 1978.

More materials from Boy Scout Troop 835 and Girl Scout Troop 59 from Chapel Hill, N.C., are now available on our site thanks to the Chapel Hill Historical Society. This batch primarily includes photographs of the two troops’ trips during the 1970s.

Over the decade, the two groups did quite a bit of globetrotting, including visits to Newfoundland, Williamsburg, Sunset Beach, Philmont Scout Ranch, Camp Graham, Savannah, the New River, Fort Bragg, the Appalachian Trail, Glacier National Park, and Pisgah Forest, among others. Looking through these albums might make you want to set out on a summer adventure yourself.

A photo of the side of a low mountain covered in dirt and shrubs. At the base is a row of white tents. A lone scout in a red plaid shirt is walking in the foreground.
A scout at Philmont, July 1976.

One of the most iconic destinations is, of course, Philmont, which many former scouts would probably recognize. Located in New Mexico, the ranch has long been a testing ground for wilderness survival skills and troop bonding. Based on the camp’s photo archive, it doesn’t look like a whole lot has changed since these troops visited.

You can see the full batch of materials here, including photographs, certificates, a pennant flag, a scrapbook, and some artwork. You can also see previous batches of materials from Troop 835 and Troop 59 on the partner page of the Chapel Hill Historical Society. To learn more about CHHS and their materials, you can also visit their website.

New Materials Feature the History of the Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc.

Thanks to our newest partner, the Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., nearly 300 materials that relate to the history of the council are now available on our website. The materials in this batch include scrapbooks, rosters, meeting minutes, programs for a variety of events, awards, photographs, and much more.

The Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. was chartered on December 1, 1965. Since that time, they have been leading, developing, and advocating for African American women, their families, and communities through collaborative efforts of advocacy, volunteerism, service, and leadership. Programs highlighted in this batch include the annual Bethune Recognition Luncheon, Harambee Breakfast, and Mother’s Day program.

“Harambee,” a Swahili term that originated in Kenya, means a community pulling and working together. But it also signifies determination, togetherness, love, and importance of knowing yourself according to member Dr. Louise J. Gooche. Although the breakfast program was created by Dr. Dorothy Irene Height earlier, it was not until 1994 that Louise Weeks introduced the Harambee Breakfast concept to the Durham Section. To this day, members of the Durham Section along with affiliated members gather together in beautiful African attire to enjoy food, hear stories, and recognize their members.

NCNW logo. Below "NCNW" are images of Black individuals in sepia tone. Below those images are the words "Commitment. Unity. Self Reliance."

To learn more about the Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., please visit their contributor page or website.

To view more materials from the Durham Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. please click here.

Southwestern Community College Materials Showcase Student Talents

A black-and-white illustration of a campus building against a mountain range.

A batch of materials from our new partner, Southwestern Community College, is now online. This collection includes photographs of the school when it was known as Southwestern Technical Institute, scrapbooks from campus organizations, blueprints for some of the school’s buildings, yearbooks, and issues of the student literary magazine.

Southwestern Community College is based in Sylva, N.C., in Jackson county. Today, it advertises itself as the only community college with a scientific partnership with NASA. The materials in this batch also show its history of teaching technical skills, especially on this poster showing students modifying a car into a limousine. They also feature some of the academic accomplishments of students in the Phi Theta Kappa organization, a college honor society. The Alpha Eta Nu chapter at Southwestern had the opportunity to travel around the country for conferences, evidenced by the memorabilia in their 1985 scrapbook.

An illustration of a woman with curly hair dabbing.
From “Pen and Ink,” 1991

The artistic and literary talents of past Southwestern students and faculty are also on display in the issues of the school’s literary magazine. One poem, written by Eugenia L. Johnson and apparently published in World Treasury of Great Poems (1980), is called “Me.” It begins: “Me, me, me, / Who am me / I know me.”

Amazingly, it is accompanied by this illustration of a person dabbing, a reminder that the dance move was popular long before Cam Newton (quarterback for the Carolina Panthers) did it in 2015.

You can see all of the photos, scrapbooks, blueprints, and other Southwestern CC memorabilia here, and you can browse all of the yearbooks and literary magazines here. To learn more about Southwestern Community College, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Mill Photos, Yearbooks & Family Video Show Scenes of Life in Chatham County

An adult tending to a large piece of machinery in a fabric mill.

Some photos from the Chatham County Historical Association include scenes of the Odell cotton mill that was formerly on the Haw River in Chatham County. Purchased by J.M. Odell in 1886, the mill was once at the heart of Bynum, N.C., and some of the mill’s satellite structures are still standing. The photos from this batch show the river pouring over a dam, as well as some of the machinery that was used to spin the cotton.

According to our partner, these photographs were taken in the 1950s by Arthur Hill London III, grandson of Arthur Hill London Sr. (1974-1969), who was the secretary and treasurer of the Odell Manufacturing Company at the time.

Several adults in dresses and hats talking to one another as they walk out of a house.
A still from the Siegrist family home movie, c. 1933.

These photos are only part of a batch from our partner, which also includes a set of yearbooks and an early home movie of the Siegrist family on a visit in Pittsboro around 1933. The movie shows some of the centennial celebration of the St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, scenes of a cemetery, and some footage of people gathering at a family member’s home.

One yearbook in this batch is the 1940 edition of The Seniorogue yearbook from Siler City High School. It is the second-oldest edition in our digital collection so far (after the 1939 edition), and it has a surprising amount of information about each student along with their picture, including the names of their parents.

You can see the photographs, The Seniorogue and the home video here, and the rest of the yearbooks can be found here. To see more materials from the Chatham County Historical Association, you can visit their partner page and their website. You can browse all of our North Carolina high school yearbooks by school and date in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection.

Burwell School Historic Site Materials Now Available on DigitalNC!

Thanks to our newest partner, Burwell School Historic Site / Historic Hillsborough Commission, over 50 new records are now available on our website. These materials focus primarily on Margaret Anna Robertson Burwell; the Burwell family; and The Robert and Margaret Anna Burwell School. These materials, which include diaries and letters, provide a look into 19th century life and education in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Black and white portrait of an older woman with curls. She is looking straight at the camera and is wearing a black top.

Margaret Anna Robertson Burwell

Margaret Anna Robertson Burwell, who went by Anna, is noted as an early pioneer for women’s education in North Carolina. She was born in and raised primarily by her maternal aunt, Susan Catherine Robertson Bott, in Virginia. Leading up to her arrival in the Old North State in the mid-1830s, Anna had received a good education, acquired teaching experience, married Presbyterian minister Robert Armistead Burwell, and had two children (Mary Susan Burwell and John Bott Burwell). While pregnant with their third child in 1835, Anna and her family moved to Hillsborough, North Carolina after her husband was called to be the minister of the Hillsborough Presbyterian Church.

Their first two years in Hillsborough, the Burwell family survived on Robert’s income as a minister. With an additional child and eventually more on the way, however, Anna decided to supplement her husband’s income by teaching after a local doctor asked her to undertake the education of his daughter. You can dig deeper into Anna’s life during this period by reading her digitized diaries on DigitalNC.

The Robert and Margaret Anna Burwell School and Continued Women’s Education

With Anna’s mind set on teaching, the Robert and Margaret Anna Burwell School (also referred to as the Burwell School) was opened in 1837. From its opening to its closure in 1857, Anna taught classes, handled student accounts, managed the school as well as her household. 

During its 20 years of operation over 200 young women from North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, New York, and Florida were taught in accordance with the school’s mission to “qualify young ladies for the cheerful discharge of the duties of subsequent life […] [and] to cultivate in every pupil a sense of her responsibility for time and for eternity.” To complete their mission, The Circular [1848-1851] shows that the students took classes such as Lessons on Astronomy, Watts on the Mind, Parsing Blank Verse, Philosophy of Natural History, and Botany. 

Though the Burwell School closed in 1857, the family was not finished contributing to women’s education in North Carolina. In fact the same year the Burwell School closed, the Burwells assumed leadership of the Charlotte Female Seminary (now Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina). Fourteen years after assuming leadership of the Charlotte Female Seminary, Anna passed away at the age of 61. Possibly due to his wife’s death, Robert and their son John left Charlotte, North Carolina and assumed ownership of a different girls’ school named Peace Institute (now William Peace University in Raleigh, North Carolina). 

Property History After the Burwell Family

Following their departure, the property was rented out by the Burwell family to various individuals until 1862. In November 1862, members of the Collins Family (from Somerset Place near Edenton, North Carolina) bought the property and lived there during the Civil War. Seven years later in 1869, the property was auctioned off as a result of the Collins Family being unable to afford to keep the home. The winning bid was placed by David Parks.

From 1869 to 1895, the home changed hands between the Parks brothers, David and Charles. It is believed that during this 26 year period designer Jules Kerner was hired to raise the first floor ceilings and add the Victorian embellishments found on the interior and exterior of the home.

In 1895, Charles Park sold the property to a local dentist named John Sanford Spurgeon and his wife Carrie Spurgeon. The couple brought in even more exciting updates during their lengthy ownership which included the addition of electricity and plumbing. The home stayed in the Spurgeon family for 70 years until the children of John and Carrie decided to sell it in 1965.

The property was obtained by the Historic Hillsborough Commission, a non-profit organization established by the North Carolina General Assembly, in 1965. After acquiring the site, the Commission began to restore the existing buildings including the Burwell home, brick classroom, and “necessary house.”

Officially opened to the public since 1977, the Burwell School Historic Site continues to follow its mission to “maintain and preserve the Burwell School Historic Site; to interpret the history of 19th century Hillsborough for the enrichment of the public; and to celebrate and promote the culture and heritage of Hillsborough and Orange County.”


To learn more about the Burwell School Historic Site, please visit the Burwell School Historic Site website.

To learn more about Burwell family history, please visit the Burwell School’s Our History page.

To view more materials from Hillsborough, North Carolina, please click here to view NCDHC’s Hillsborough related records.

Information from this post was gathered from the materials uploaded in this batch, the Burwell School Historic Site’s website, previous Burwell School Historic Site site coordinator Carrie Currie, and from Ashlie Brewer’s knowledge from her internship at the site in summer 2022.

Boy and Girl Scouts of America Photographs and Scrapbooks Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Chapel Hill Historical Society, a batch containing three scrapbooks and over 100 slides featuring trips and experiences of Chapel Hill Boy Scout Troop 835 and Girl Scout Troop 59 are now available on our website.

The scrapbook topics include Troop 835 in the news; the life of Scoutmaster, Paul B. Trembley; and Troop 835’s trip to Europe in 1968. Traveling numerous places from North Carolina to Canada, the slides in this batch show stunning and silly images of the troop’s trips and experiences taken from the late 1950s to early 1990s.












To view more materials from the Chapel Hill Historical Society, please visit the DigitalNC Chapel Hill Historical Society material page.

To learn more about the Chapel Hill Historical Society, please visit the Chapel Hill Historical Society website.

To learn more about the history of Troop 835, please visit the Troop 835 website.

Lena Martin Photo Collection along with Wide Variety of Items Added from Edgecombe County Memorial Library

black and white photograph of a snowy downtown with adults sitting in a boat drawn by two horses
“A Boat Put in Service”

Photos, genealogical research, and a scrapbook make up this latest batch from Edgecombe County Memorial Library. The images were scanned by the library’s staff, who requested they be added to DigitalNC.

Over 500 loose photos of Edgecombe County document people, town scenes, architecture, views of the Tar River, the tobacco industry, and notable events. There are some really compelling 19th century images, including a bird’s eye view of Tarboro, Princeville during one of the Tar River floods, and the burning of the Bryan House Hotel.

The Lena Martin Pennington photo collection is an additional 384 photos of Edgecombe County dating from the late 1800s-early 1900s. Almost all of the photos were annotated by Pennington with brief descriptions.

Here are some additional items in this batch:

You can view all of the items Edgecombe County Memorial Library has shared on DigitalNC through their contributor page.

Materials From NCCU Include Student Boycott Papers, Hillside High School Memorabilia, and More

A group of three students gathered around their advisor, seated, all looking at a piece of paper.

Ex Umbra Editorial Conference [1965]

An exciting assortment of materials from our partner, North Carolina Central University, has just been added to our site! This batch includes several issues of the NCCU’s student newspaper The Campus Echo from 1970-2010, copies of the student literary magazine Ex Umbra, a university yearbook from 2011, men and women’s student handbooks, and some programs advertising the university and its departments. There are also several photographs of the Ex Umbra staff from the 1960s, as well as correspondence from the Student Government Association (SGA) boycott in 1970.

A white yearbook cover with a large, blue "72," a cartoon hornet, and the word "Hornet" written vertically.Along with materials about the university are materials from some of the historic Black high schools in Durham, especially Hillside High School. This batch has seven issues of the Hillside High School yearbook The Hornet (plus one yearbook from John R. Hawkins High School and two from the Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing). It also has several reunion programs and speeches, alumni directories, building and land records, a copy of the Hillside History Book, and two issues of the student newspaper The Hillside Chronicle. Though our partner did not have many issues of the Hillside High School student newspaper on file, we hope members of the community will be willing to contribute any issues they have saved to help make our digital collection more complete.

One especially exciting record from NCCU is the collection of boycott and student protest materials, which includes leaflets and a letter from a 1961 business boycott by the NAACP Youth Councils and College Chapters and correspondence from the 1970 SGA boycott. The 1961 boycott letter lists several recognizable stores that the NAACP YCCC successfully boycotted, and it makes an interesting mention of the role of race as an admission factor at Durham Academy. Separately, the demands of the SGA boycott (1970) are spelled out more clearly in this collection of correspondence between then-SGA President Phillip Henry and then-University President Albert Whiting. In the first document, students announce their intention to boycott classes until their “grievances and demands have been met to the satisfaction of the student body.” The organizers recommend the formation of a committee of students and faculty—where each have equal voting power—to implement solutions. For students looking for models of collective action and bargaining, these papers would be a good place to start.

A red and white cover with a majorette marching and a flag that reads, "Twenty-Seventh State Band Festival."In terms of high school materials, one unique item from this batch is the Twenty-Seventh State Band Festival Program from 1961. The festival welcomed bands to Fayetteville State Teachers College and recognized some of the band directors from around the state. Former and current band kids may appreciate the list of pieces approved for the 1962 festival as well as the (somewhat familiar) rating system below. 

You can see the full batch of photos, programs, and other documents here, and the full batch of yearbooks and literary magazines can be found here. You can also see all issues of the North Carolina Central University student newspaper here and all issues of the Hillside High School student newspaper here. To see all materials from NCCU, you can visit their partner page and their website.

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