Posted by: westernregionalarchives | May 11, 2016

Students Stun with WRA Commercial

Congratulations to the winning team in the 2016 UNCA Management Class 357 Ad Competition – Gaelle Wolff, Tammy Walsh, Alex Swendsen, and David Robertson worked to create a really amazing commercial promoting the Western Regional Archives!

This year the UNCA marketing professor, Dr. Cole, had his students create commercials focusing on regional historical and cultural sites.  The groups chose which entity they wanted to work with and lucky for the WRA, Gaelle, Tammy, Alex and David chose our facility for their project.

The group met with WRA staff for a tour and quick overview of the branch and resources and then hit the ground running.  They started discussions with the archivists on how to best showcase the archives and wanted to make sure it was inviting so that more folks commercial picwould come and explore the resources.   The students selected a variety of documents and images to best reflect the WRA but also to give the allusion of the passage of time.  All of the images and documents featured in the thirty second spot came from the WRA collections and the students did the scanning, storyboard, set up the time lapse video of the building, all on their own.  Their creative concept to have the commercial advance from black and white to color to show evolution of time and documents definitely won us over and we weren’t the only ones.

A local advertising company judged the final projects for the class and the WRA group spot won the top honor!  We now have a really cool introductory commercial we can use for social media, as introductions to presentations, and so much more.  The Western Regional Archives couldn’t be more proud of the final product and are grateful to UNCA, Dr. Cole, and Tammy, Gaelle, Alex and David for their hard work and helping us achieve better outreach and audience.

Check out the the Award-winning Archives Ad here: 

Posted by: Ashley | May 10, 2016

Ruth Peeling Barbour Papers

[This blog post was written by Elizabeth Crowder, contract archivist working with Private Collections in the Special Collections Section.]

Under the supervision of Fran Tracy-Walls, private manuscripts archivist at the State Archives of North Carolina, I have arranged and described the newest addition to the Ruth Peeling Barbour Papers. This work was made possible through generous funding from Dail Barbour, Ruth Barbour’s stepdaughter. The late George Stevenson Jr. processed the original accession of the Barbour Papers. His finding aid for the collection may be accessed here:

Small head shot of Ruth Peeling ca. 1947–1948

Ruth Peeling, ca. 1947–1948. PC.1859, Ruth Peeling Barbour Papers.

Ruth Peeling Barbour was born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1924. As a student at Syracuse University, she majored in history and edited The Daily Orange student newspaper. After graduation in 1946, Barbour moved to Beaufort, North Carolina, to edit the Beaufort News. The paper subsequently merged with Morehead City, North Carolina’s Twin City Daily Times, reestablishing itself as the Carteret County News-Times. In 1952, Barbour left the News-Times to attend graduate school. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Florida State University the following year. Barbour then resumed editing the News-Times. In 1970, she married J. O. Barbour Jr., and in 1976 she stepped down from her position as editor. Barbour continued writing editorials, columns, and feature articles for the News-Times until 2000. She was also active in numerous professional, historical, and civic organizations, including the Carteret County Business and Professional Women’s Club, the North Carolina Society of County and Local Historians, and the Carteret County Salvation Army. Barbour died in Morehead City in 2014.

Ruth Peeling Barbour and Lockwood Phillips Sr. at a book signing for Cruise of the Snap Dragon, ca. July–August 1976

Ruth Peeling Barbour and Lockwood Phillips Sr., owner of the Carteret County News-Times, at a book signing for Cruise of the Snap Dragon, ca. July–August 1976. PC.1859, Ruth Peeling Barbour Papers.

Barbour did not limit herself to journalism. In addition to working for the News-Times, she published several plays and historical monographs, a novel, and a memoir. (A bibliography follows this post.) The Carteret Community Theatre, with which Barbour was long associated, produced her historical plays. Settings for her dramas included the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. North Carolina historical figures featured in the plays include pirate Edward Teach (Blackbeard), privateer Otway Burns, and Confederate spy Emeline Pigott. Barbour also featured Otway Burns in a 1976 novel entitled Cruise of the Snap Dragon. Her unpublished sequel to the novel was alternately titled “Third Cruse of the Snap Dragon” and “Captain from Carolina.” Barbour also undertook histories of the Beaufort Historical Association; of newspapers in Carteret County; of Open Grounds Farm; and of John Stewart McCormack, who advised her about naval matters for Cruise of the Snap Dragon. In 2005, she published Turning Back the Tide, an account of her journalism career in North Carolina.

Barbour’s original gift of private manuscripts to the State Archives includes letters and clippings concerning the Cape Lookout National Seashore and the potential unionization of the North Carolina Ports Authority; manuscripts and research materials for Cruise of the Snap Dragon and its sequel; and scripts of Barbour’s plays. The recent addition to the Ruth Peeling Barbour Papers contains notes, clippings, and drafts related to Barbour’s writing for the News-Times and for independent projects, as well as a large amount of research material concerning Carteret County history.

The new accession to the Barbour Papers demonstrates her meticulousness as a writer. Drafts of Barbour’s works reveal much about her composition process. Whether writing children’s stories in the 1940s and 1950s or news articles in the 1990s and 2000s, she relied upon extensive revisions to achieve her final product. Her drafts of “Captain from Carolina” and Turning Back the Tide are heavily corrected, and they feature pages and chapters rearranged to reflect experimentation with structure and final content. In some instances, Barbour edited her prose by cutting pages in pieces and pasting text together in the order she desired.

Barbour and her sister, Margaret Hall, took a similar approach while working on Hall’s unpublished memoir of her life in rural New Brunswick, Canada. Drafts of Hall’s manuscripts bear corrections from both sisters. Barbour and Hall were faithful correspondents—many of Hall’s letters are included in the Barbour Papers—who discussed composition and publication prospects alongside family matters. Their interests and lifestyles were different, and Hall claimed that writing was Barbour’s specialty, not hers. Yet both women had a similar eye for detail and the makings of a good story.

Barbour was as thorough a researcher as she was an editor. Her interest in Carteret County’s history was comprehensive. In addition to the many notes she accumulated while researching local newspapers and Open Grounds Farm, Barbour preserved clippings, pictures, and other documents chronicling her adopted home’s past. Materials available to researchers include:

  • interviews with local residents
  • articles about shipwrecks, Fort Macon, the Morehead City train depot, and the “vanished” community of Diamond City
  • information about dog racing in Carteret County and World War II’s impact on the North Carolina coast
  • notes from early newspapers and land and court records
Unidentified Beaufort, NC, residents in the aftermath of a flood, ca. 1933

Unidentified Beaufort, NC, residents in the aftermath of a flood, ca. 1933. PC.1859, Ruth Peeling Barbour Papers.

Ruth Peeling Barbour wrote about history, but she also lived it and made it. At the helm of a local newspaper at a time when women did not commonly hold such positions, she was a pioneer. Yet Barbour’s novel is out of print, and her histories were published in limited numbers. The private manuscripts she donated to the State Archives would be an excellent resource for students and scholars of North Carolina history and literature. It is to be hoped that these papers will make Barbour and her lifetime of writing and research more widely known.


Ruth Peeling Barbour Bibliography


“Bonnie Blue Sweetheart” (1959)

“Blackbeard, Raider of the Carolina Seas” (1964)

“Otway Burns, Firebrand of 1812” (1969)

“It Happened Here” (1976)

“The Best of All” (1976)

“Prelude to Victory” (ca. 1981)

“On These Shores” (1985)



Cruise of the Snap Dragon (1976)

“Third Cruise of the Snap Dragon”/“Captain from Carolina” (unpublished, ca. post-1975)



The Inimitable J. S. M. (1981)

History of the Beaufort Historical Association, January 25, 1960–January 1, 1990 (1990)

A History of Newspapers in Carteret County, NC, 1852–1992 (1998)

Open Grounds: Then and Now (2001)

Turning Back the Tide (2005)

Posted by: Ashley | May 9, 2016

State Archives Closed May 14

Due to electrical maintenance scheduled for the State Archives and Library building on May 13-15, 2016, the State Archives of North Carolina Search Room will be closed on Saturday, May 14, 2016. We apologize for any inconvenience.

For more information about hours, events, and other news, please visit the News and Events page.

Posted by: Ashley | April 26, 2016

World War I Era Parades

[This blog post comes from Sarah Downing, archivist at the Western Regional Archives]

Parade, Asheville, NC, 1918Between 1917 and 1919 Asheville hosted a number of parades to raise money for the war effort and to bolster public sentiment and patriotism.  Record-breaking crowds assembled to watch the processions.  The Western Regional Archives recently received a donation of photographs documenting at least two of these events.

Four days after President Wilson declared war on Germany, 25,000 people lined city streets on April 10, 1917 to watch a succession 5000-strong that was followed by a mass meeting featuring patriotic songs sung by Metropolitan opera star William Wade Hinshaw.

On May 20, 1918, approximately 7,000 people participated in a parade held in conjunction with the Red Cross’s Second War Drive. It was reported that the marchers moved at a quick pace and the entire procession took less than an hour.  With a national goal of $100 million, Buncombe County’s portion to collect was $32,000, nearly 2/3 of which was raised at the rally that followed. According to the Asheville Citizen, “practically every organization in the city and county was represented in the procession, from two or three representatives to several hundreds, all entering into the spirit of the occasion with enthusiasm.”

Parade, Asheville, NC, 1918The War Savings Parade, a “monster patriotic demonstration,” was held Saturday June 22, 1918. No motorized vehicles were allowed in order to save gas.  In addition to military marchers were policemen, nurses, soldiers stationed at Kenilworth (some carried stretchers as a poignant reminder of those in the trenches in Europe), the Asheville Reserve Infantry, the Rotary Club and groups of the Central Labor Union. Industries of the Biltmore Estate were represented by marchers carrying pitch forks, hoes and rakes. Dairy workers carried bottles of milk. At the conclusion, a concert was given at Pack Square by the 31-piece Camp Wadsworth band from Spartanburg, South Carolina.

September 27, 1918 was the day of the Liberty Loan Parade.  The Asheville Chapter of the American Red Cross had a large representation since local organizations had been so supportive of the Red Cross. All participants were asked to display an American flag, no matter how small.

Asheville mayor J.F. Rankin declared a holiday on April 29, 1919 for the opening day of the drive for the Victory Liberty Loan.  Medical detachments including nurses, bands, ambulances and mounted staff from both Azalea and Kenilworth hospitals marched with the Asheville Reserve Infantry, Red Cross Canteen workers and 350 tannery men from Hans Rees & Sons.

Parade, Asheville, NC, 1918

Patriotic parades were also held in Hendersonville, Waynesville, Hickory, and towns across North Carolina and America.

[This blog post comes from Sarah Koonts, Director of Archives and Records for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

“A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty”

N.C. Constitution art. 1, sec. 35

Once separated from the rule of England, North Carolina—like other former colonies—found itself with no governmental structure. Before the end of 1776, the state had a constitution very different from today’s document. For example, the General Assembly—and not citizens—selected the governor for a one-year term. Only free men of at least twenty-one years of age could vote.  Only landowners could hold political office. The social structure of eighteenth-century America informed those men who drafted the constitution and North Carolina’s Declaration of Rights.

Portion of the Constitution of the United States as Approved by North Carolina, 1789.

Portion of the Constitution of the United States as Approved by North Carolina, 1789.

North Carolina continued to amend the constitution and eventually adopted entirely new constitutions in 1868 and 1971. The rights and protections of some of the state’s citizens were broadened while other rights remained restricted or hampered.  Over the years the structure of state government changed, increasing the power of the governor, providing for direct elections for many executive offices, reorganizing government departments and agencies, and eliminating restrictions to rights.

Part of the State Constitution of 1868.

Part of the State Constitution of 1868.

Throughout 2016 the State Archives is partnering with museums and historic sites to display historic constitutional materials around the state.  Called “To Preserve the Blessings of Liberty:  State Constitutions of North Carolina,” exhibit locations and times may be found on the State Archives’ Facebook page. The public is invited to view these documents while they are on display. The inaugural exhibit will take place at the opening of the 2016 General Assembly session.  It will feature North Carolina’s early constitutions, the original Declaration of Rights, and amendments to the state and U.S. Constitution that affected citizen voting rights.  The exhibit will be located on the main floor of the General Assembly building (16 West Jones Street in Raleigh) from 2 p.m. on April 25 through April 26 at 3 p.m.  All of the State Archives’ constitution materials housed in the vault collection are available for viewing any time in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

Posted by: Ashley | March 30, 2016

Addition to Leonidas Polk Denmark Papers, PC.1417

[This blog post was written by Fran Tracy-Walls, Private Manuscripts Archivist in the Special Collections Section.]

Polk Denmark at L.L. Polk Historic Hwy. Marker, Polkton, N.C., 1948

Polk Denmark at L.L. Polk Historic Hwy. Marker, Polkton, N.C., 1948. From Non-textual Materials Unit, State Archives of North Carolina, Neg. 55.9.55

Private Collections are constantly expanding with new material and collections that encompass a range of historical periods. This posting highlights just one set of private papers recently processed, described, and made available to researchers: an addition to the Leonidas Polk Denmark Papers, PC.1417 (first installment received and accessioned in 1968).

The addition features Denmark’s correspondence, primarily of a genealogical nature, and material that pays homage to his illustrious grandfather, Leonidas L. Polk (among other contributions, founder of the Progressive Farmer). A modest but important part of the papers is a sketch of Denmark’s own life, with reference to his training as a pilot during World War I and his service in France during 1918 as an aerial surveillance instructor. Though the addition lacks letters and photographs of Polk’s service (see the first accession for letters), the Non-textual Materials Unit, has nine negatives that illustrate and document Denmark’s military service during World War I. (See listing below of all titles, dates, and negative numbers).

Polk Family Tree from Leonidas Polk Denmark Papers

Polk Family Tree from Leonidas Polk Denmark Papers. PC.1417. Addition, 2012. OS Box

Leonidas Polk Denmark (1892-1964) was a 1915 graduate of North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now N.C.S.U.), in the field of civil engineering. Denmark entered military service in May 1917 and was subsequently commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Engineers, and assigned to the 105th Engineers Regiment at Camp Sevier, Greenville, S.C. Later, he volunteered for the Air Service and entered training, ultimately receiving his wings, then completing aerial gunnery training as part of the first class at Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemons, Michigan. Denmark sailed for France in July 1918, and subsequently served as instructor in aerial observation for seven months at the 2nd Aviation Instruction Center, Tours, France. He returned to the United States three months after Armistice. Additionally, Denmark was one of three men selected to represent the state of North Carolina at the burial of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, November 11, 1921.

Denmark’s main professional work was with the Highway Commission, from 1937 to 1960, as chief draftsman and cartographer with the Division of Statistics and Planning. A little known fact was that Denmark over many years engaged in genealogical research as a hobby and as a side-profession. This interest was undoubtedly stimulated during the 1920s when he served as land grant clerk in the office of the Secretary of State.

List of selected Leonidas Polk Denmark Photos in the Non-Textual Materials Unit, Special Collections, State Archives of North Carolina

  • 2nd Lt. L. P. Denmark, 105th Engineers, WWI, Wake Co., N. C.    1919 (1998)    N.98.1.89
  • L. P. Denmark, with Brunet Family, Tours, France, W.W.I    ca. 1918 (1998)    N.98.2.128
  • 2nd Lt. L. P. Denmark: “In My Office”, W.W.I    ca. 1918 (1998)    N.98.2.129
  • 2nd Lt. L. P. Denmark in Flight Gear, W.W.I    ca. 1918 (1998)    N.98.2.132
  • Ralph Jordan, L. P. Denmark, and the “Sop”, France, W.W.I    ca. 1918 (1998)    N.98.2.138
  • L. P. Denmark with Unidentified Aviator, Tours, France, W.W.I    ca. 1918 (1998)    N.98.2.141
  • 2nd Lt L. P. Denmark, et al, in Atlanta, GA    1917 (1998)    N.98.2.142
  • The “Famous 14th Squadron”, W.W.I    ca. 1917 (1998)    N.98.2.146
  • 105th Engineers Corp, Camp Oglethorpe, Georgia    ca. 1917 (1998)     N.98.3.23
Posted by: kevin | March 28, 2016

Governor David Stone’s Papers


Petition to exonerate Alfred Yeomans (G.P. 33)

Papers and correspondence from David Stone’s tenure as North Carolina’s fifteenth governor (1808-1810) are now accessible online via the North Carolina Digital Collections. The newly digitized material includes letters written by famed early Americans Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Drayton.  Perhaps the most unique record is a petition for Alfred Yeomans to be exonerated of a fine for dissecting a human body.  Reputable townspeople signed their names and sent the petition to Governor David Stone to dismiss the amount owed ($100).  Read this and more in the most recent addition to the Governors’ Papers, Historical collection.

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