Posted by: Ashley | July 29, 2016

Treasures of Carolina Exhibit Closes July 31

Tracing of a baby's hand from a letter written by Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

Tracing of a baby’s hand from a letter written by Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

This weekend is your last chance to see some of the State Archives’ treasures while they are on display at the North Carolina Museum of History. The exhibit Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives will close after July 31. The exhibit has been at the museum since October 24, 2015 and illustrates the history of North Carolina and the role of the State Archives in preserving and providing access to both modern records and historical materials. The exhibit includes items such as:

  • The earliest will known to exist in North Carolina, recorded in 1665 by Mary Fortsen. It is unusual because female property owners were extremely rare in the 1600s.
  • The hand-drawn map used as evidence during the 1867 trial of Tom Dula, who was indicted and hanged for murdering Laura Foster. Dula’s fate is told in the popular ballad “Tom Dooley.”
  • A Civil War letter from Martha A. E. Henley Poteet to her husband, Francis Marion Poteet, who was away at war. She enclosed a cutout of her 4-week-old daughter’s hand with the request “write to Me what to name her.”
  • A 1903 copy of the North Carolina Constitutional Reader. In 1901 rules were enacted to prevent illiterate African Americans from voting, and this book was published to help African Americans read the Constitution in case they were questioned at the polls when trying to vote.
  • Information on GIS and website preservation.
  • Audio recordings of World War I soldiers’ oral histories.
  • North Carolina’s official copy of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and 26th Amendment which allowed U. S. citizens 18 years and older to vote.

To learn more, visit the exhibit page on the North Carolina Museum of History website.

"Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina" exhibit flyer

“Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina” exhibit flyer

Posted by: Francesca | July 28, 2016

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Perdue_Proclamation_20120826

Women’s Equality Day Proclamation, 2012

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of July our theme is elections.

I can’t believe we are at the end of July and this will be our last blog post with the theme of elections. Last week, Olivia posted about the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. It comes full circle with a proclamation from the Governor. Each year, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day on August 26th because of the passing of 19th amendment. In 2012, Governor Beverly Perdue produced a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day. Please visit NCPedia for more information about the Women’s Suffrage movement in North Carolina.

Posted by: Olivia | July 20, 2016

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of July our theme is elections.

 The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote based on sex. It was ratified by the United States government on August 26, 1920. In 1971, North Carolina was one of the last states to ratify the bill.

VC_48_1_Nineteenth_Amendment_19190612_01.jpg

Cover letter for U.S. Constitution 19th Amendment, from the Vault Collection. State Archives of North Carolina.

The women’s suffrage movement in North Carolina began in 1894 with the formation of the North Carolina Equal Suffrage Association. The Association helped introduce a state amendment giving women the right to vote in the 1897 legislative session. The bill was referred to the Committee on Insane Asylums.

In March 1920, only one more state was needed to ratify the 19th Amendment. It came down to either Tennessee or North Carolina to be that state. Tennessee ratified the amendment in August. On August 17, the North Carolina Senate voted to postpone a vote on the 19th Amendment until a regular session. It wasn’t until 1971 that the North Carolina General Assembly made the gesture to endorse the 19th Amendment.

To see more about women’s suffrage in North Carolina, check out NCpedia on the subject.

The North Carolina State Archives also holds the Equal Suffrage Amendment Collection. Many of these items are digitized in the “Women in North Carolina 20th Century History” collection, including many fascinating anti-suffrage and pro-suffrage propaganda.

You can also see North Carolina’s copy of the 19th Amendment in the Treasures of Carolina exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History. The exhibit runs through July 31.

Posted by: kevin | July 13, 2016

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of July our theme is elections.

VC_48_5_Twenty_Six_Amendment_19710705_03

The 26th Amendment from the Vault Collection. State Archives of North Carolina

In 1971, North Carolina voted to ratify the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution, lowering the federal voting age from 21 years to 18 years.  The change was influenced through student activism– protests of the Vietnam War coupled with the rationalization that if a person could die for their country, they should also have the ability to vote.  With the slogan, “Old Enough to fight, old enough to vote,” on their lips, draft-age individuals made their case known.

 

In 1970, an attempt to lower the minimum voting age was made through an amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which adjusted the age to 18 for federal, state and local elections.  This change was struck down shortly after by the Supreme Court in the case Oregon v. Mitchell, the decision claimed that the voting age could only be adjusted for federal elections and not for state or local.

The 26th Amendment was passed a year later needing three-fourths of the fifty states to ratify it (38 states).  North Carolina passed the amendment on July 1, 1971; the 38th state needed to ensure the amendment would be added to the United States Constitution.  The amendment reads, “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”

Interestingly, the amendment has never been ratified in Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, or Utah.

[This blog post comes from Matthew Peek, Military Collection Archivist for the State Archives of North Carolina, and YAIO intern Rebecca Mullins.]

The Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina is in the middle of a multi-year project to reorganize and provide better description for its World War II collections for its 75th anniversary. Mostly collected by the State Archives during the war, WWII material has been collected continuously since 1945. Every collection holds a connection to North Carolina’s role in military history and the involvement of its residents in military service.

For the summer of 2016, the Military Collection is hosting an intern as part of a project supported through the North Carolina Department of Administration’s Youth Advocacy & Involvement Office (YAIO) State of NC Internship Program. The internship project is to process, preserve, and describe WWII collections held by the Military Collection.

YAIO Military Collection intern Rebecca Mullins

YAIO Military Collection intern Rebecca Mullins.

While reorganizing a collection of U.S. Coast Guard papers, YAIO Military Collection intern Rebecca Mullins found an important document tucked in a miscellaneous file of “Personnel Duty Logs and Operational Records” for Ocracoke Lifesaving Station on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. In this miscellaneous folder was a three-page, typed document simply titled “Case of Y.P.-389.” The document, created on 1940s tissue-style typing paper (with its brittle edges and faded, typewriter ink text) would prove to make more of a stir for Military Collection Archivist Matthew Peek in a twenty four-hour period than the collection had in its entire eleven years of being housed in the State Archives. The document is a minute-by-minute case report by the Ocracoke Coast Guard Station of the sinking of YP-389 by a German U-boat in June 1942.

The boat in the document, the YP-389, was originally a steam trawler called the Cohasset, until it was requisitioned by the U.S. Navy in February 1942 for service in WWII. With the addition of one 3-inch, 23 caliber gun and two 0.30-caliber Lewis machine guns, the newly named USS YP-389 entered federal service on May 1, 1942. Modest in size, the YP-389 was manned by 24 men. The vessel was ill-matched as part of what has become known as the Battle of the Atlantic when, on the fateful morning of June 19, 1942, the German U-boat U-701 attacked YP-389.

As described in the Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine by author Kevin P. Duffus in his article “When World War II Was Fought off North Carolina’s Beaches,” U-boats “presence in American waters was not intended for ‘show’ but to help win World War II for Germany. The abbreviated name ‘U-boat’ comes from the German word unterseeboot, meaning submarine or undersea boat. However, U-boats were not true submarines. They were warships that spent most of their time on the surface. They could submerge only for limited periods—mostly to attack or evade detection by enemy ships, and to avoid bad weather. U-boats could only travel about sixty miles underwater before having to surface for fresh air. They often attacked ships while on the surface using deck-mounted guns. Typically, about 50 men operated a U-boat. The boats carried fifteen torpedoes, or self-propelled ‘bombs,’ which ranged up to twenty-two feet long and could travel thirty miles per hour.”

“Case of Y.P.-389” document

“Case of Y.P.-389” document, from the Military Collection of the State Archives of North Carolina.

When the YP-389 was attacked in an area off the North Carolina coast referred to as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” it sent out a distress message, as recorded by an unidentified U.S. Navy officer at the Coast Guard’s Ocracoke Station on the document discovered in the Military Collection:  “0235 [2:35 A.M.]:Y.P.-389 Called all ships in Fifth Naval District saying she was being shelled off Diamond Shoals.” The time for the initial distress call on this document contradicts official military reports of when the YP-389 was attacked, typically listed as 2:45 A.M. The document also shows interesting pieces of information about the YP-389 crew after the initial attack, and information about the rescue ships’ attempts: “0346 [3:46 A.M.]: The C.G.C.-462 [Coast Guard Cutter-462] reported that she had sighted gun flashes on her port bow and was proceeding, but had seen nothing in the last five minutes.” The document goes on to describe the search and rescue mission for the YP-389: “0513 [5:13 A.M.]: C.G.C.-481 and 462 ordered to carry out search for survivors or wreckage.”

After Rebecca Mullins conducted further research into the event surrounding Y.P.-389, she discovered that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), had surveyed the wreck site in the 1970s, but the NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary was unable to identify the wreck as the YP-389 until 2009. NOAA’s work on identification of Battle of the Atlantic sites and sunken U.S. merchant vessels will result in a Battle of the Atlantic nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

Military Collection Archivist Peek sought the assistance of the North Carolina Office of Archaeology, which connected the Military Collection with the person in charge of NOAA’s work on the YP-389. The Military Collection has provided scans of the document for NOAA, and NOAA will be utilizing this case report of the YP-389 held by the State Archives of North Carolina in its application for the National Register. The work supported through the YAIO State of NC Internship Program this summer is making such discoveries possible in relation to North Carolina’s WWII history.

Posted by: Kat | July 6, 2016

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of July our theme is elections.

"Know Your Voting Rights." North Carolina Voter Education Project Records. State Archives of North Carolina

“Know Your Voting Rights.” North Carolina Voter Education Project Records. State Archives of North Carolina

Unless you have been hiding in the archives stacks for the past twelve months, you might be aware that 2016 is a presidential election year, and during the month of July, both the Democrat and Republican parties will hold national conventions to nominate their candidates for president. In keeping with the spirit of these historic events, our featured treasure this week is the information booklet “Know Your Voting Rights,” that was published by the North Carolina Voter Education Project (N.C. VEP) in the late 1960s.

N.C. VEP was incorporated in April 1967 as a non-profit, non-partisan umbrella group designed to consolidate and coordinate the efforts of existing voter registration and education organizations in North Carolina. “Know Your Voting Rights” was one of many publications written and distributed by N.C. VEP to inform the “poor and disadvantaged” about the political process and their rights as citizens of North Carolina. Here is the introduction from page one of the booklet:

 “You must do more than just register and vote. You should find out who is the best person running for each office. You should also learn how to use your voting power correctly and what rights you have as a voter.

“This book tells you some important things about how to use your voting power correctly. This book also tells you about your voting rights. It shows you want you can do and what you cannot do on election day.”

"Know Your Voting Rights." North Carolina Voter Education Project Records. State Archives of North Carolina

“Know Your Voting Rights.” North Carolina Voter Education Project Records. State Archives of North Carolina

This booklet and other material from the North Carolina Voter Education Project can be viewed online as part of the Civil Rights digital collection at NCDC. If your summer plans bring you to Raleigh, we also encourage you to visit us at the State Archives to view the N.C. VEP records in person.

For additional information on the history of voting in North Carolina, check out these NCpedia articles on Election Law, Disfranchisement, the Grandfather Clause, Women’s Suffrage, the N.C. Democratic Party, and the N.C. Republican Party.

Posted by: Francesca | June 30, 2016

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Women looking out over mountains. Swain County, North Carolina

Women looking out over mountains. (Swain County, N.C.)

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in the hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. This month our theme will be vacations.

Is anyone else getting excited about the Fourth of July holiday? I am so thrilled to spend vacation with family and friends. One of my favorite places to visit in North Carolina is the mountains. We are very fortunate to live so close to various mountains ranges across the west coast of good ole N.C.

Women Picking Galax (Banner Elk, N.C.)

Women Picking Galax (Banner Elk, N.C.)

A great collection that highlights the mountains is the Travel and Tourism Photos Collection. The collection contains 1130 images from the North Carolina Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division Photo Files. This collection was a joint project with the State Archives of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina.

Have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

 

 

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