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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 "yearbooks"

7 of Cary High School’s Most Fun-Looking Classes From the 1960s-’70s

More yearbooks are in—and they are from the golden age of yearbook graphic design! Thanks to our partner, the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, we’ve added the 1968-1972 yearbooks from Cary High School to our site.

Although the artistry of these yearbooks can’t be captured by excerpts alone (you can look at the full yearbooks here), some of the artistry of Cary High’s curriculum could be. The yearbook staff was able to make classes look fun—even if that contradicts some of the student opinions. Here are some examples that will make you want to enroll.

A student making notes on a clipboard

From The Yrac, 1968

#1: ICT

This student looks like they might be at work, but in fact, this is part of an ICT class—which stands for “industrial co-operative training.” Myra, the caption explains, is in Rex Hospital at a nursing station. From the rest of the yearbook spread, it seems like the ICT program helped students get a sense of what certain jobs were really like. 




Two band students kneeling. The one in the back (to the left) is playing the clarinet; the one in the front (right) is playing the tuba.

From The Yrac, 1969

#2: Band

Of course band is on the list! Look at those uniforms! The wrap-around marching tuba! Who wouldn’t see the appeal of goofing around with your friends while you play instruments? Then again, you always run the risk of having a trumpet played right next to your ear.





Three students inspecting underneath an open car hood

From The Yrac, 1968

#3: Auto mechanics

For those who find sitting in desks and taking notes dreary, there are always hands-on classes. The yearbook notes that these students are at West Cary, then a satellite school for first year students that was separate from the senior high school. The extra space meant more room for vocational classes.


Three students sitting at the front of a classroom. Each of them holds a guitar or similar stringed instrument.

From The Yrac, 1970

#4: Spanish

Apparently, having to sing in front of your foreign language class is a tradition that goes back decades. While some students may find the assignment harrowing, these three performers decided to adapt a favorite song, “Where have all the flowers gone?” (You can listen to a 1967 Spanish adaptation here, though it isn’t by students.)


A group of students dressed as historical figures. The caption refers to them dressing as mobsters.

From The Yrac, 1970

#5: History

Nothing brings history to life like costume role-play—or so might argue these students. The caption describes these students as “mobsters” deciding on “the fate of their fellow classmates,” but there looks to be at least one Charlie Chaplin and perhaps a soldier in there.




A student using a camera while a group of other students stand around him.

From The Yrac, 1972

#6: Yearbook

Especially for the staff members of this era, yearbook was kind of a fine art. The real perk of the job, though, was getting to use that camera.


A student in a plaid bathrobe standing in front of a garage door. They have a single curler in the front of their hair.

From The Yrac, 1968

#7: Drama

Who knows what was happening here? I suppose the caption warns you that you’re liable to see “weird” things near the drama department. Bill does not seem eager to have this photo taken.

You can see the full batch of The Yrac yearbooks here or browse our North Carolina Yearbooks collection by school and date. To see more materials from the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, you can visit their partner page and their website

Three High School Yearbooks Added to DigitalNC

A black-and-white photograph of a student emptying a garbage can. Small photos of other students are pasted on to appear as if they are falling out of the can.

A student emptying an interesting bin. From the 1972 Tuscola Mountaineer.

Two generations of high school students are represented in the three yearbooks we’ve added to our site; one from Fayetteville in the 1933 and 1934 editions of The Lafamac, and one from Waynesville in the 1972 Tuscola Mountaineer thanks to our partner, the Haywood County Public Library.

Perhaps one of the most obvious differences between these two eras is the way that the fashions and hairstyles changed. Long hair seems to be in style more for these smiling students of the 1970s. Perhaps their expressive pictures are a result of trying to stand out on a more crowded page. Their predecessors from the 1930s may not look as jolly, but at least they each have a couple of lines describing their personalities

You can see all digitized issues of the Tuscola Mountaineer here. To see more materials from the Haywood County Public Library, you can visit their partner page or their website. You can also browse our full collection of high school yearbooks in our North Carolina Yearbooks page.

Celebrate Homecoming with Harnett County Yearbooks

A homecoming queen in a tiara dabs her eye with a tissue as she holds a bouquet of flowers.

Homecoming Queen Mary Sue Godwin from the 1969 Echo

Even if you’re not a fan of cold weather, pumpkin-flavored treats, or changing leaves, you may still have a fondness for the fall football season. It’s the time of year again where students across the state celebrate their schools with the beloved tradition of homecoming.

Thanks to our partner, the Harnett County Public Library, we’ve added 23 more high school yearbooks and a few graduation programs to our digital collections. These yearbooks, which span five schools from 1948 to 1972, give us a look back to homecomings of years past. 

One of the most common traditions in this set of yearbooks is honoring the homecoming court—the group of young women from whom the homecoming queen is chosen. The pageantry of the event takes on various levels at each school; in this 1972 spread from Lillington High School’s Footprints, a few people appear to be arriving on horseback.

A black-and-white photo of football players clustering together on the field, presumably during a play.

Football players from the 1972 Footprints

Another popular tradition of homecoming is the big football game. Although homecoming queens tend to get a fancy portrait in the yearbook, each school seems to have a different way of celebrating its football team. In the case of Erwin High School’s The Hourglass from 1962, that celebration takes the form of action shots of each of the varsity players (plus a spread for the team photo and the coaches). Curiously, there isn’t much recorded about the actual games—who the schools played or who won.

You can see all of the yearbooks in this batch—featuring Erwin High School, Lillington High School, Dunn High School, Anderson Creek High School, and Boone Trail High School—here. You can also see the three graduation programs from Erwin High School here. To browse our entire collection of high school yearbooks, visit our North Carolina Yearbooks page. To find out more about Harnett County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website

Band, Ten Hut! Granville County Store Ledgers and Six New Yearbooks Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Granville County Public Library, we now have ledgers from Granville County’s Woodworth Store and Townesville Store available on our website as well as six new yearbooks added to our North Carolina High School Yearbooks collection! These yearbooks are from Vance County High School (1970 and 1971), Franklinton High School (1971), J.F. Webb High School (1971), and Henderson High School (1964 and 1971). 

With the start of the fall semester and football season here in North Carolina, marching bands are officially back on the field and in the stands supporting their teams and entertaining audiences with favorites such as Fight SongHey Baby, and You Can Call Me Al. While we all appreciate what marching bands adds to these sporting events, no school has shown as much appreciation for their marching band than Henderson High School.

In the school’s 1964 yearbook, an overwhelming amount of page space is given to the school’s band. Some of these photographs show the students rehearsing in the band room with band director W. T. Hearne, but a majority of them show the students in their full marching band and majorette uniforms. The photographs included in this post from the 1964 Pep Pac showcase the amazing size of their band as well as their snazzy uniforms.

To learn more about the Granville County Public Library, visit their website here.

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



Montreat College 1972 Yearbook now on DigitalNC

Just in time for their 50th! reunion, the 1972 Montreat College (then known as Montreat-Anderson College) yearbook, the 1972 Walrus Figleaf, is now on DigitalNC, joining many other past yearbooks, student newspapers, and other materials from the school.  The yearbook is a work of art, both photography and drawing, and fun to look through even if you’re not celebrating your 50th reunion this year.

Collage of black and white photographs of students at Montreat College

Black background with white outlines of drawn faces

A reminder to all partners – even if we haven’t worked with you in a while, we at DigitalNC are always happy to fill in materials gaps when more are found!  To view more yearbooks from around North Carolina, visit our North Carolina Yearbooks section of our site.  To learn more about Montreat College, visit their website here

New Yearbooks now Online from Tyrrell County Public Library

Thanks to our partner Tyrrell County Public Library, a 1949 yearbook from Tyrrell County Training School and 4 yearbooks covering 1975-1978 from Columbia High School are now online.  The 1949 yearbook is the first online from Tyrrell County Training School, which served the African American community of Tyrrell County during segregation. 

Multiple black and white head shots of adults

The staff at Tyrrell County Training School in 1949

Multiple black and white group photographs of students, the top one is of a men's basketball team, the next down is of a woman's basketball team, the next image is of the student council, and the last image is of the dramatic club.

Student organizations at Tyrrell County Training School in 1949

To view more yearbooks from across North Carolina, visit our North Carolina Yearbooks section.  To learn more about Tyrrell County Public Library, visit their website here.

Yearbooks From Our New Partner, Riverside Union High School Alumni Association, Now Available

A photo of five cheerleaders; three are standing, and three are seated in front.

Cheerleaders from The Riviera, 1967.

Thanks to the work of our new partner, the Riverside Union High School Alumni Association, we’ve added several new yearbooks from the Franklin County Training School/Riverside Union High School from 1943-1967. We’ve also included a 1955 graduation program with photos of the graduates.

A group of many students gathered closely together. Most are standing in a semi-circle around a table; six are seated at the table.

Riverside High School student council (from The Riviera, 1967).

Franklin County Training School began as one of many “Rosenwald schools” in North Carolina⁠—which erected 813 buildings through the project by 1932, more than any other state in the country, according to the North Carolina Museum of History. For background, “Rosenwald schools” were developed by Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Institute as a way to improve formal education for Black children in the South. The project soon received funding from Julius Rosenwald, then-President of Sears, Roebuck and Company, resulting in over 5,300 buildings in 15 states.

Although Rosenwald provided significant financial backing, much of the money for these schools came from grassroots contributions by community members. The terms of Rosenwald’s fund stipulated that communities had to raise enough money themselves to match the gift, so George E. Davis, the supervisor of Rosenwald buildings in N.C., often held dinners and events to encourage local farmers to contribute. By 1932, Black residents had contributed more than $666,000 to the project.

Though many schools built in part with Rosenwald Fund grants were designed to be small (typically one to seven teachers per school), Franklin County Training School was once the only Black public high school in the county. As a result, the student body expanded; many students lived nearby, and others were bused from farther away (102). In 1960, the original building burned down, and the school was rebuilt as Riverside Union School and then Riverside High School (103).

A yearbook photo of a young man in a graduation cap and gown

James Harris, The Riviera, 1967

“I’d say very jovial, it’s a family type atmosphere. I felt very safe,” James A. Harris, who attended the school from 1955 to 1967, recounted in 2004. “Teachers were very caring and provided not only just classroom instruction, but a lot of values. Teachers were held to a higher standard. If you look at people in the community that people looked up to, [teachers] were right behind the minister. They were held in high esteem.” (From John Hadley Cubbage, 2005.)

When North Carolina racially desegregated schools in 1969, Riverside High School was converted to Louisburg Elementary School. Today, it’s the central office for Franklin County Schools. The building itself is on the National Register of Historic Places (Reference Number: 11001011). 

To see all of the materials from the Riverside Union High School Alumni Association, you can visit their partner page or click here to go directly to the yearbooks. You can also browse our entire collection of North Carolina yearbooks by school name and year.

Additional Yearbooks—and Student Poetry—Available From Olivia Raney

A bookplate of a ship in front of a cloud with the banner "Ex Libris"

From the 1929 Oak Leaf

Did your high school graduating class have a class poem? It might’ve been borrowed from a famous poet, or it could have been written by one of your classmates. Class poems seem to be especially popular in yearbooks from the 1920-1930s, and we’ve got some good one thanks to our latest batch of yearbooks from our partner, the Olivia Raney Local History Library.

From the 1930 Latipac

The 1930 Latipac‘s poem from Raleigh High School was written by class poet Alice Beaman, who decided to focus on the bittersweet feeling of nostalgia in her poem.

“‘Tis true school days were happiest, / But they passed too quickly by,” she writes in the last stanza. Whether or not most high school students today would agree with that sentiment is up for debate.

Perhaps a feeling more relatable to graduates today appears in the first stanza: “Ah! Tho’ our hearts be sad at parting, / They will all with gladness swell, / At our victory in attaining / The goal for which we fought so well.”

From the 1929 Oak Leaf

Less concerned with rhyme scheme than Beaman was class poet Lula Belle Highsmith, who wrote the class poem for the 1929 graduating class of Hugh Morson High School (Raleigh, N.C.)

Highsmith’s poem takes a more somber tone; she writes, “And we half regret departing, / Wish we might step back a little, / But no, no, the door is closing— / We are pushed into the Future— / Let us go with lofty courage, / Ready for the work before us.”

Considering that less than 5% of students completed four years of college in 1940, these poems reflect the feelings that many young people had at the end of their formal education. The feeling of loss, or of learning yet to be had, runs parallel to the well-known poem “The School Where I Studied,” by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. One line reads, “All my life I have loved in vain / the things I didn’t learn.” 

To see more class poems and all the yearbooks in this batch, click here. To see all materials from the Olivia Raney Local History Library, visit their partner page or their website. All of our North Carolina Yearbooks can be found here.

Additional yearbooks from Chatham County Show Teacher Personalities

Thanks to our partner, Chatham County Public Libraries, we now have seven more yearbooks available from Chatham Central High School and Jordan-Matthews High School. Together, these yearbooks span from 1958-1971, a period when many high school yearbooks began to find their distinctive styles.

One fun thing from the 1961 Phantomaire from Jordan-Matthews is a slight twist on a yearbook feature that has lasted until the present day: senior quotes. While many yearbooks ask seniors to give a line or two of reflection on their time in school, the Phantomaire staff decided to preserve some of the famous words of their teachers. 

Two yearbook portraits of teachers.

It’s clear that these quotes were picked (mostly) out of love based on what teachers were known for. For example, there’s Mr. Poindexter, who was apparently known for starting sentences with the phrase, “Now, it seems to me…” Perhaps appropriately, Ms. Lane the librarian seemed to be more concerned about the volume of conversation.

Two yearbook portraits of two teachers.Some of the other teacher quotes are a bit more cryptic, such as the one word attributed to Ms. Brewer: “Throw!”

In contrast, P.E. teacher Mr. Charlton decided to stick with a classic.


The full list of yearbooks in this batch include:

Jordan-Matthews High School:

Chatham Central High School:

You can see the full batch of yearbooks here or browse all the yearbooks by school name in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. For more materials from Chatham County Public Libraries, you can visit their partner page or their website

William Hooper Court Summonses and Additional Chatham County High School Yearbooks Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Chatham County Historical Association, batches containing three Moncure and Pittsboro High School yearbooks as well as court summonses signed by William Hooper are now available on our website. These court summonses, created three years before the American Revolution began, are some of the oldest primary source documents available on DigitalNC.

During his position as Chatham County’s first Clerk of Court, William Hooper executed a myriad of legal documents. Over the years, three of these legal documents were donated to the Chatham County Historical Association where they were held until 2022. In March 2022, the historical association learned that the Hooper court summonses should have originally been transferred to the State Archives since they are responsible for the preservation of records from all counties, state agencies, and government offices in North Carolina—no matter how old the material. After contacting the State Archives, a representative came to collect the three court summonses from the association. At the State Archives the court summonses are being curated and properly preserved. To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association’s experience with the State Archives, please read the association’s post here

William Hooper was one of North Carolina’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence and the North Carolina representative member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1777. After graduating from Harvard College in 1760 at the age of 18, Hooper went on to study law under James Otis. In 1764, he temporarily settled in Wilmington, North Carolina to begin practicing law. Popular with the people of the area, he was elected recorder of the borough two years after his arrival in 1766. From May 1771 to November 1772, Hooper served as Chatham County’s first Clerk of Court despite never living in the county. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Hooper traveled across North Carolina as a lawyer, was appointed deputy attorney general of the Salisbury District, and officially entered into the political world when he represented the Scots settlement of what is currently named Fayetteville in the Provincial Assembly in 1773. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Hooper traveled across North Carolina as a lawyer, was appointed deputy attorney general of the Salisbury District, and officially entered into the political world when he represented the Scots settlement of what is currently named Fayetteville in the Provincial Assembly in 1773.

On July 21, 1774, he was elected chairman and presided over the selection of a committee to a call for the First Provincial Congress. When the Congress met, Hooper was chosen as one of three delegates that would represent the state of North Carolina at the First Continental Congress. Over the next two years Hooper served as a delegate for both the Provincial and Continental Congress on various committees including one that was in charge of stating the rights of colonies, one that reported on legal statutes affecting trade and commerce in the colonies, Thomas Jefferson’s committee to compose the Declaration of Independence, a committee for the regulation of the secret correspondence, and many more. Despite Hooper’s triumphs in the political sphere early in the revolution, his return to Wilmington in early 1777 due to contracting yellow fever began a steady decline for his political career and, consequently, his health.

Hooper attended the General Assembly, serving on multiple committees as the member for Wilmington each year from 1777 until the city was taken over by the British in 1781. Considered a fugitive by the British, Hooper hopped to various friends houses in the Windsor-Edenton area while his wife Anne and children fled to Hillsborough. Reunited in 1782 in Hillsborough, the family was permanently removed to the backcountry where they remained out of touch with national and state current events. In that same year, Hooper’s election to General Assembly as member for Wilmington was declared invalid (presumably since he was now in Hillsborough). The following year, he ran for the General Assembly’s Hillsborough seat and lost. In spite of this loss, Hooper ran again in 1784 and was this time elected. He would serve in the General Assembly as a representative for Hillsborough until 1786.

Although he enjoyed some political success since he left Philadelphia in 1777, Hooper was devastated when he was not elected a delegate to the 1788 Constitutional Convention. Certainly adding to his feelings of discontent, the convention met at Hillsborough’s St. Matthew’s Church, which was within sight and sound of Hooper’s house. As a result of what he saw as a failure, Hooper began to drown his feelings of disappointment in rum. At the age of 48, Hooper died the evening before his daughter’s marriage in 1790.


To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association’s experience with the State Archives, please read the association’s post here.

To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association, please visit their website.

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

To learn about William Hooper’s life in more depth, please view NCpedia’s entry on William Hooper.

Information in this blog post was taken from the NCpedia William Hooper entry.