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 "yearbooks"

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.

Lincoln County Historical Association Yearbooks Anticipated Some of Today’s Trends

A decorative photo collage of senior year students laughing and spending time with friends

From The Acorn, 1945

It’s easy to blame lots of things on “kids these days”—has there ever been a generation that hasn’t? But the latest batch of yearbooks from the Lincoln County Historical Association might prove that some of today’s trends are older than you think.

Photo of two teenagers standing beside each other and looking into a mirror

From The Newboldlite, 1958

Photo of two teenagers standing beside each other and looking into a mirror. In the mirror, their faces are smiling.

From Le Souvenir, 1956

For example, mirror selfies seem like they would’ve come out of an era when many teenagers have cell phones and social media accounts. Not so! According to the 1958 edition of The Newboldlite from Newbold High School and the 1956 edition of Le Souvenir from North Brook High School, mirror selfies were the way to show off your fashionable outfits. Thanks to the mirror in these two “Best Dressed” superlative shots, you can get a front and back view of four of the best looks from these teen style icons.




Two students posing in front of a white house

From Le Souvenir, 1957

Two students standing together in front of a brick building

From Le Souvenir, 1954

Another trend that may surprise you is the rise of influencers 50 years before the invention of Instagram. Apparently, these four students had a natural talent for influencing before it was even a formalized role. Both superlatives are from Le Souvenir; Flora Ann and Milton are from the 1954 edition, and Jimmie and Dorothy are from the 1957 edition.


To see more superlatives and the full batch of yearbooks, click here. You can browse our entire collection of high school and college yearbooks in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection. To learn more about the Lincoln Count Historical Association, you can visit their partner page or their website.

Over 50 Yearbooks from Madison County Now Available on Digital NC!

Yearbook Cover

Front Cover of the 1940 – 1941 “The Spa” from Hot Springs High School in Madison County.

Thanks to our partnership with Madison County Public Library, Digital NC now has over 50 yearbooks from 6 different high schools. The high schools include Marshall, Mars Hill, Walnut, Hot Springs, Laurel, and Spring Creek High Schools. The yearbooks cover the 1940s – 1970s and cover a wide range of students, clubs, and faculty. Yearbook titles include “The Smoky” (1951) from Spring Creek High School, “Starlite” (1957), and “The Spa” (1940 –1941) from Hot Springs High School, and Panther Tracks (1957) from Walnut High School, just to name a few.  

To view the entire yearbook collection and other items from Madison County Public Library, visit them here. You can also visit their website here 

To view our collections of high school and college yearbooks from North Carolina, visit our collection here 

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.  

Marginalia Give an Insider’s View in Recently-Added 1968 Bulldog

Photo of a student in a dress and tiara

Miss Central of 1968, Imogene Ramsey, with autographed skirt

A photo of a student in a dress

Autographed photo of Miss Senior of 1968, Brenda Brooks

If you want to know the insider info from Central High School in Hillsborough, N.C., the 1968 Bulldog yearbook would be a good place to start. The edition that we’ve recently digitized, provided by the Orange County Public Library, is full of marginalia and personal notes from its owner and his classmates.

The notes are addressed to “dearest Archie,” likely referring to Archie McAdoo, who was involved in many of the school’s activities. According to the Senior Statistics page, Archie was a part of the Debate Club, Student Council, Band, and Cheerleading, among other clubs. He was also voted “Most Musical” and “Most Ingenuous.”

Two photos of student superlatives. The two students on the left were voted "Most Musical." The two on the right were voted "Most Athletic."Two students in front of a bookcase

Many of the messages left by classmates cover huge swaths of the pages, including a few inscriptions that cover entire pages. Clearly, Archie was well-loved.

Click here to see the full 1968 BulldogFor more from the Orange County Public Library, visit their partner page or their website.

Student Art Shines in Palmer Memorial Institute Yearbooks

Thanks to our partner the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, we’ve added five additional yearbooks from Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, N.C. These yearbooks picture students, faculty, sports, activities and more, giving readers a glimpse into student life. 

Some of the newly-added editions have wonderful examples of the experimental yearbook artistry that rose to popularity in the 1960s-’70s. The 1970 edition of The Pirate, for example, showcases hand-drawn comics for the beginnings of some sections:

A drawing of a person daydreaming about a school graduation

Senior Portraits page (1970)

Drawing of a student jumping with a basketball

Sports section front page (1970)














These drawings certainly depict another side to student life than posed school portraits, which tend to be more formulaic. Similarly, the 1969 edition of The Palmerite has similar section openers, though the artist chose a more abstract style:

Abstract drawing depicting soul music

Activities page (1969)

Abstract drawing in black and white

Organizations page (1969)














To see more original student art from the Palmer Memorial Institute, check out all of the yearbooks we’ve added:

Palmer Memorial Institute Yearbook [1935]
The Palmerite [1953]
The Palmerite [1968]
The Palmerite [1969]
The Pirate [1970]

You can see all yearbooks from Palmer Memorial Institute here. To learn more about the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, visit their website or their partner page.