Posted by: tiffmaz | December 17, 2014

The Christmas Seal

OR_183_AmericanLungAssociationNC_ChristmasSeals_1980_1989_006This year we have added a collection of Christmas Seals to the “Carolina Christmas” digital collection. The Christmas Seals are part of the American Lung Association of North Carolina Records collection, which is part of the State Archives Organization Records. The Organization Records group consists of the records of many of the state’s private, professional, or civic organizations judged to be relevant to the history of the state. In 2007 the American Lung Association of North Carolina merged with Maryland and Virginia’s to become the American Lung Association of the Atlantic Coast. It was shortly after the merger that the State Archives became custodians of this collection. A collection of American Lung Association Christmas Seals dating from 1919 to 1999, as well as some Christmas Seals from foreign countries, have been added to “Carolina Christmas.
The Christmas Seal was developed to help in the fight against tuberculosis (TB). In the nineteenth century tuberculosis was a feared disease with no cure, it did not discriminate between rich or poor, and it ravaged its victims leaving them pale and emaciated until death finally took them. In 1871 a doctor discovered that fresh air and rest could cure TB. As news of this cure spread, so did small clinics where doctors could treat small numbers of patients and, in 1907, one such clinic sent out a plea for help. They needed to raise money or they would have to close their doors to the sick. It was in the fight to keep this small clinic alive that Emily Bissell spearheaded the origin of the American Christmas Seal and the forming of the American Lung Association. To read the full story, read either The Story of the Christmas Seal or the Crusade of the Christmas Seal.
This series from the collection consists of Christmas Seals divided by date range, two small pamphlets, a poster depicting Christmas Seals from around the world, Christmas Seals from foreign countries, and Christmas Seals signed by celebrities. To learn more about the collection see our MARS (Manuscript and Archives Reference System) catalog and use the search term “American Lung Association.”

Date Ranges









We hope you enjoy the new additions to “Carolina Christmas” and have a happy holiday season.

[This announcement comes from Andrea Gabriel, Outreach and Development Coordinator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

“A Thorn in the Union’s Side: Rose O’Neal Greenhow, Part II”

When: Noon—1:00 p.m., Monday, November 10

Where: State Archives and State Library building; 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh

Join us as archivist Debbi Blake presents the second part of her lecture about Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow. Part of the State Archives Civil War Sesquicentennial series, this presentation follows Greenhow from her imprisonment to Europe and her downing while attempting to re-enter the Confederacy.

Questions? Contact Andrea Gabriel in the State Archives at (919) 807-7326 or

About the State Archives of North Carolina

The State Archives of North Carolina State Archives collects, preserves, and makes available for public use historical and evidential materials relating to North Carolina. Its holdings consist of official records of state, county, and local governmental units, copies of federal and foreign government materials, and private collections. For more information about the State Archives, visit

About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. Cultural Resources champions North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy.  Learn more at

Posted by: tiffmaz | November 3, 2014

New Collection in North Carolina Digital Collections

Good news for American Revolutionary War researchers and enthusiasts, a new collection has just been added to the North Carolina Digital Collections.

The new collection is called Governors’ Papers, Historical, and contains early North Carolina Governors’ correspondence, beginning in April 1777. We are introducing this collection with correspondence of North Carolina’s first two Governors, Richard Caswell and Abner Nash.

Richard Caswell was the first Governor of North Carolina under the United States Constitution of 1776. His first administration began in April 1777 and he was subsequently re-elected for three consecutive one year terms, the amount allowable under the Constitution at the time. For more information about Governor Caswell and his time as Governor of North Carolina see the online finding aid or read this article at the State Library’s NCPedia.

North Carolina’s second Governor was Abner Nash. His term as governor was from April 1780 through June 25, 1781. His term in office was a difficult time for the Southern states during the American Revolution. The British had gained a strong foothold in the South and depleted many of the state’s resources. For more about Abner Nash and his term as Governor of North Carolina see the online finding aid or read the article on him at NCPedia.

While compiling the metadata that is included in the Historical Governors’ papers digital collection, I was amazed at the historical significance that these documents have. The majority of these letters pertain to the founding of the United States government and the war effort during the American Revolution, including documents from the Continental Congress. There are many letters written by or to very prominent historical figures, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and John Adams just to name a few. There are also many letters from prominent North Carolina historical figures. I have included a list of many of these individuals and an accompanying NCpedia links at the end of this post for your perusal.

The addition of these documents to our online collection will enable educators, researchers and history lovers throughout our state to easily utilize primary source documents to teach and learn more about the American Revolution and the foundation of our government.

The NCpedia biographies of prominent North Carolinians found in the papers of Governors Caswell and Nash are listed below.
Ashe, John:
Ashe, Samuel:
Avery, Waighstill:
Blount, Jacob:
Burke, Thomas:
Clark, Thomas:
Cornell, Samuel:
Cray, William, Sr.:
Davidson, William Lee,:
Dry, William:
Gilchrist, Thomas: (Good story that goes with his name and this document)
Gillespie, James:
Gorrell, Ralph:
Gregory, Isaac:
Harget, Fredrick:
Hinton, John:
Hooper, William:
Houston, William Churchill:
Howe, Robert:
Iredell, James:
Irwin, Henry:
Jarvis, Thomas:
Johnston, William:
Jones, Allen:

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

North Carolina Ratified the Constitution 225 Years Ago

The signature page of North Carolina’s copy of the United States Constitution from 1789 is on loan from the State Archives of North Carolina. Click the image to see a larger version.

The signature page of North Carolina’s copy of the United States Constitution from 1789 is on loan from the State Archives of North Carolina. Click the image to see a larger version.

FAYETTEVILLE — The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex in Fayetteville will open a display on November 1 showcasing the signature page of North Carolina’s copy of the newly approved United States Constitution from 1789. This document established North Carolina as the 12th State to join the United States. The signature page will be accompanied by copies of the other pages from the document, as well as historical information on the ratification itself. The manuscript is on loan courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina and will be on display through December 14, 2014.

A ratification convention met in Hillsborough in 1788, but those delegates declined to ratify the Constitution, instead calling for a Bill of Rights and other amendments. After another version was received from Congress that included a Bill of Rights, North Carolina delegates ratified the federal Constitution on November 21, 1789 at a second ratification convention in Fayetteville.

The display at the Museum of the Cape Fear compliments an exhibit at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum. From State House to Statehood highlights some of the locations in downtown Fayetteville that featured in the 1789 visit of delegates from all over the state and chronicles past Fayetteville’s commemorations of the event.

Both the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex and the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum will offer events to commemorate the ratification anniversary. The Museum of the Cape Fear will sponsor a mini-symposium on Saturday, November 22 in the Pate Room of the Cumberland County Headquarters Library in downtown Fayetteville. The Transportation and Local History Museum will offer a tour of sites and other special events.

Visit to learn more about the museum and other programs.

About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. Cultural Resources champions North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy.  Learn more at

[This blog post was written by Kim Andersen, Audio Visual Materials Archivist in the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

What is the main question exhibit-goers ask about the Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) World War One exhibit at the State Fair?  “Where is the Christmas tree exhibit that usually sits here?”  The answer to that seems to be that there isn’t a Christmas tree exhibit this year at the State Fair.  DCR’s tribute to the North Carolinians who fought in the Great War is instead being shared in that coveted Dorton Arena location!

local volunteers and re-enactors Si Harrington and Jay Callaham in uniforms representing a WWI Navy Chaplain and a WWI US Army MP

Left to right: local volunteers and re-enactors Si Harrington and Jay Callaham in uniforms representing a WWI Navy Chaplain and a WWI US Army MP. Click on the image to see a larger view.

2014 marks the centennial of the beginning of WWI, and visitors to the North Carolina State Fair this year will find a series of displays featuring many fascinating period artifacts, music, archival footage and photographs, and more highlighting North Carolina’s role in the First World War just inside the North Side of Dorton Arena.  This North Carolina in the Great War exhibit is presented by the NC Department of Cultural Resources and is open to all State Fair goers free of charge.

October 22nd is Military Appreciation Day, and while there are costumed WWI re-enactors on hand at the WWI exhibit every day, today will spotlight all military and will include a parade on the fairgrounds with uniformed soldiers representing 250 years of armed conflict involving North Carolina soldiers.

We encourage everyone to come on out and enjoy this exhibit, talk to the re-enactors, and learn more about the history of the Old North State!  For more details on the exhibit and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, please see

Additional World War I resources are also available through the North Carolina Digital Collections and State Archives of North Carolina website.


Posted by: Ashley | October 16, 2014

From Surry Parker to the Wilmington Ten

New or updated finding aids are available on our website in these areas:

Audio Visual Materials

Parker, Surry, Photograph Collection, 1867-1942
Surry Parker (1866-1942) was a designer and builder of steam logging machinery and founder of Pinetown. This collection of negatives contains images of the Surry Parker family and business enterprises in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. (35 items, including an album with 155 black and white negatives)

Private Collections

Harris, Thomas Clarke, Papers, 1887-1934 (pdf)
Thomas Clarke Harris (ca. 1849-1934) was one of six children of the former Martha Ann Hunter (1827-1909) and Dr. Adam Clarke Harris (1823-1899), Granville County. Over his lifetime Harris worked as a store clerk, wood engraver, science museum curator (State Museum in Raleigh), civil engineer, draftsman, designer, inventor, and writer of adventure stories for boys, and of topics such as hunting and fishing, and coastal scenes and life. Consists chiefly of published stories and articles by Harris, examples of engravings and technical drawings executed by him, and numerous newspaper articles relating to inventions and designs by Harris and some articles and letters to newspaper editors that reflect his viewpoints on various topics and his explanations of technical subjects. Of particular interest are a few handwritten manuscript essays, including “Some Personal Recollections of the Ku Klux Klan by a Member of the Order, 1867 to 1870″ ; “The Carolina Banks,” dated 1903, and a typed manuscript essay, “The Making of an Agnostic.” Additionally, a small quantity of the news articles refer to Harris’s wife and son. (1 box)

Jones, Graham Papers, 1961-1965
Graham Eugene Jones (1927-1989), was press secretary to James Terry Sanford (1917-1998), Democrat and governor of North Carolina, 1960-1964. Jones was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, receiving an A.B. in Journalism in 1951. Jones was the first press secretary appointed by a North Carolina governor. The papers consist primarily of press releases, press photographs, arranged chronologically. In addition to the press photographs, there are variety of undated (period of 1959-1964), and unidentified photographs. The majority of photographs include Sanford, Sanford with family, and with other individuals and groups during his tenure as governor. There is a smaller quantity of miscellaneous files, including campaign and inaugural material, and a folder on the topic of race relations in the state. Additionally, there are three sound recordings of Terry Sanford during his campaign and during office. (17 boxes, 6 cubic feet.)

McMillan, Robert L. and Mary Lee (Swann) Papers, 1908 – 1980
Robert L. McMillan (1888-1969) was born in Richmond (now Scotland County) to Mary Amanda (Johnson) and Archibald Alexander McMillan. Founder of the law firm, McMillan and McMillan, he was a leader in Wake County and state civic, patriotic, and political functions, and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. During World War II, he was state director of the N.C. Office of Civil Defense. Long a stalwart of the Democratic Party, McMillan was chairman of his precinct for around forty years. A native of Kingstree, South Carolina Mary Lee (Swann) McMillan (1890-1981) was a daughter of Mary Frances (Lewis) and James Milan Swann. Like her husband, Mrs. Swann was a leader of state and local organizations, long active in her church and community. Her literary pursuits included writing a garden column that was featured in the Raleigh Times for twenty-three years, until 1973. She was one of the founders of the North Carolina Art Society. The McMillan papers include circular letters, reports, publications, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, American Legion materials. These date from the year 1908 to the year 1980 and relate to their private lives; their activities in the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, the Clan McMillan Society, Inc., in American, the Garden Club of North Carolina, the National Council of State Garden Clubs, the North Carolina Camellia Society, the Raleigh Garden Club, the Olla Podrida Club, the North Carolina Office of Civilian Defense, the State Recreation Commission, and so forth. The papers include also material relating to Mr. McMillan’s political activities. (19 boxes)

McNeely, James, Papers, 1838-1870 (pdf)
James McNeely (circa 1813-1887) was born in the portion of Burke County that by 1842 had become part of McDowell County. In 1847 a bond was submitted on behalf of McNeely as a McDowell County constable. McNeely also operated a tavern and a general merchandise store in Turkey Cove. In 1855 he married Catherine McCall (1836-1925). Papers include writs of execution, notes of debt, receipts, and summonses from McNeely’s service as constable of McDowell County during the late 1840s. There are also business papers, including accounts and correspondence, representing his work from 1845, possibly as a tavern owner, then in partnership with J. Young in the general merchandise concern of Young and McNeely, Turkey Hamlet, McDowell County, around 1855. (7 boxes)

Overhills Papers, 1886-1985
Extending over 30,000 acres in its heyday, the Overhills estate of the 20th century had previously been the site of a vast turpentine plantation. Located primarily in Harnett County in North Carolina’s Sandhills, this tract lost appeal by 1900 as the area’s timber and naval stores industries declined. By 1906 the land had been transformed into a hunting preserve with the prospect of becoming a premier southern hunt club. Over the next few years the enterprise changed names and hands several times. Percy Avery Rockefeller was one of several wealthy investors whose interest grew as the property took on resort amenities, including a clubhouse, golf course, passenger train service, riding stables, and dog kennels for the fox hounds. After 1919 Rockefeller, by then a primary investor, fostered development of vacation residences in “The Hill” area and sought to make the estate self-reliant through forestry and agricultural development. The estate’s name in 1922 was formalized as the Overhills Land Company and in 1938 as Overhills, Inc. and Overhills Farms, Inc. By 1938, The Hill had become a retreat primarily for the Rockefeller family, while the hunting preserve was transformed into tenant farms. Over the next few decades various agricultural businesses emerged within the tenant farm system that sustained the estate. During the early 1970s sharecropping was replaced by large-scale corporate agriculture. In 1980 the property was reduced to around 10,000 acres and the agricultural businesses merged into Overhills, Inc. The family sold the property in 1997 to the U.S. Army for use as training lands adjacent to Fort Bragg Military Reservation. The papers consist primarily of business information utilized or created by the various property managers of the Overhills estate and span the years 1886 to 1985, with a few maps dated a few years beyond. Materials represented are original property deeds and business records including contracts/licenses, product informaton; financial records such as loose bank statements, deposit slips, bills paid, returned checks, receipts, and information contained in ledgers (not a complete set), such as cash books, cash disbursements, time books, accounts ledgers, and employees’ wage information; employee and tax information; business correspondence; maps; some drawings, and miscellaneous oversized materials. Within the Overhills papers there are some materials relating to the predecessor business, the Kent-Jordan Company hunting retreat, dating from 1911 to the early 1920s. (256 boxes, ca. 95 cubic feet.)

Williams, Clyde Armstrong, Papers, 1943-1948
Clyde Armstrong Williams (1926-2010), a native of Mount Olive in Wayne County, was the son of James Henry and DeElla Blythe Williams. He attended The Citadel and North Georgia College, 1943-1944 and the former again in 1947. In late 1944 he enlisted in the U.S. Army; following training at Fort Bragg and other installations he was assigned to the 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Division. Williams was first stationed in the Philippines, then served with the occupational forces in Korea, and was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 with a Medal of Honor. After military service, Williams returned to The Citadel briefly, but soon became involved in the operation of the family farm near Mount Olive. The collection of papers includes letters written to home while Williams was at The Citadel, North Georgia College, Fort Bragg, and an unknown location in California, and also written home while stationed overseas. Some of the letters were written by his parents. There are two memoirs in the format of handwritten letters that include anecdotes and document some of Clyde’s experiences (noncombat) during his time overseas. Also included are letters written during 1945-1946 from a relative, Corporal Virginia Blythe, a member of the Women’s Air Corps, written to Mr. Williams’ mother, with numerous references to Clyde. There are approximately 25 photographic negatives, apparently taken overseas, and other miscellaneous material. (3 boxes)

Williams, David Marshall (“Carbine”), Letters, 1927-1934
David Marshall (“Carbine”) Williams (1900-1975), firearms inventor, was born and grew up on the farm of his family near Godwin in Cumberland County. During a raid on an illicit still in 1921, Williams was involved in a shoot-out.Though he denied shooting the deputy sheriff, he averted possible capital punishment by pleading guilty to second degree murder.While serving a projected twenty to thirty-year sentence, Williams won the admiration of the warden who saw his skill in repairing and designing guns, and assigned him to the prison machine shop. He is recognized as designer of short stroke piston, which made possible the M-1 carbine rifle. Includes twenty-six manuscript letters and one invitation sent 1923-1934 to David Marshall (“Carbine”) Williams, primarily during the time of his incarceration at the State Farm at Caledonia, Halifax County. The majority were written by a brother, Robert Wesley Williams, then a student at Elon College. Three of the letters were accessioned in 2002; and an additional twenty-four items in 2010.The letters reflect the strong support of his family. (1 box)

State Agency Records

America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee (pdf)
Between 1984 and 1987 North Carolina commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of the Roanoke Voyages. Supported by Sir Walter Raleigh with the assistance of Queen Elizabeth I, the first expedition was sent to explore the coastal and sound regions of what is now North Carolina. Subsequent voyages attempted to found a military colony on Roanoke Island and an ongoing civilian settlement. While these objectives were only partially realized (the settlement is remembered as the Lost Colony), the voyages led the way for England to establish permanent colonies in America in the following century. Through a joint resolution, the General Assembly of 1955 laid the foundation for a three-year celebration of the historical events. A body known as America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Commission was established to initiate plans toward a commemoration on the scale of a national or world’s fair exposition, or as deemed appropriate. In 1973 the legislature repealed the resolution creating the anniversary commission and established America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Committee in its place. Charged with advising the secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in planning and implementing the commemorations, the anniversary committee consisted of four ex officio members and ten gubernatorial appointees who served staggered terms.

Education and Corrections Section: Wilmington Ten Case File, 1972-1977 (pdf)
The Wilmington Ten were tried for fire bombing a grocery on February 6, 1971 in Wilmington and for conspiring to assault the firemen and police who responded to the fire. The incident occurred during a period of protests against racial discrimination and segregation. Amnesty International took up the case in 1976, and in 1980 the convictions were overturned. Includes briefs, transcripts, petitions, judgements, and related legal materials created or received by the attorney assigned to the Wilmington Ten case. (6 Boxes, 6.0 cubic feet)

Posted by: Ashley | October 15, 2014

Health and Leisure Records in the Archive

[This blog post was written by Ruth Cody, an archivist with the Records Description Unit of the Government Records Section. ]

State Board of Health nurse doing health inspections in a Cleveland County school, call number PhC_41_191_3

State Board of Health nurse doing health inspections in a Cleveland County school (undated). Call number: PhC_41_191_3. Learn more about this item on the State Archives Flickr account:

October is Archives Month, and this year the Society of North Carolina Archivists has chosen the theme “North Carolina at Play: Health and Leisure in our State.” The State Archives has many diverse records in their collections that attest to the importance of health and leisure in the lives of North Carolinians. A select few from our collections are on display in the search room until the end of October. State Agency records include photographs and pamphlets from the State Board of Health about the role of exercise in the prevention of disease, materials from the Department of Public Instruction talking about the importance of physical education in school curriculum, and photographs from Samarcand Manor showing outdoor and physical recreation as a component of rehabilitation. Organization records include a tea towel from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Lung Association, an organization founded to fight tuberculosis. Military records include a school scrapbook from Scotland County depicting the motto “America needs healthy boys and girls for defense.” There are also many photographs from the Audio Visuals Materials Unit depicting the role of physical exercise and health in the schools and the community. All of these materials and more speak to the important role that health and leisure has played in the community, the government, and the culture of North Carolina and its people from as early as 1910 to the present. Come by and check them out today.

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