March Madness

[This blog post comes from Kim Cumber, our Non-Textual Materials Archivist.]

Lorenzo Charles, whose last second dunk won the 1983 NCAA Tournament for North Carolina State University — one of college basketball’s greatest upsets of all time – is captured in that mid-air moment on a negative preserved for all time at the North Carolina State Archives.

That and the many other iconic images documenting games that helped make the NCAA tournament a cultural phenomenon are all part of the Raleigh News & Observer newspaper’s “photo morgue” which contains most of the original pictures shot by N&O photographers 1938-1999.  The collection numbers over a million images and is comprised of original negatives, some of which were reproduced in the newspaper, but a great many of which were not printed and have not been seen since they were shot.  From early Dixie Classic coverage and the first years of Everett Case’s ACC through the glorious “Cardiac Pack” season of 1983 and into the modern era of college basketball’s total domination by the ACC, the N&O Negative Collection documents the action and the coaches, players, characters and stars.

Many scholars have used the State Archives N&O Negative Collection to inform their research and enhance their work.  Acclaimed sports writer Sam Walker worked extensively in the collection for his recently published ACC Basketball: The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Blue Blood: Duke-Carolina – Inside the Most Storied Rivalry in College Hoops by Art Chansky also utilized the collection.  And it is not just authors and academic researchers who have access to the collection, it is also widely used by the general public – sports enthusiasts, alumni who want reminders of past triumphs on the hardwoods, restaurant owners who want interesting photographs to greet their patrons, and former NC State pep band members who want to relive those once-in-a-lifetime evenings on the brickyard in March of 1983.

The Raleigh News & Observer Negative Collection has been placed by the N&O in the North Carolina State Archives for safekeeping and public access.  This wonderful partnership is made possible by the N&O’s vision and willingness to share their unique resource with the world and the relationship ensures the long-term preservation and public availability of this huge and invaluable collection of images. Copies of any of the images can be purchased in either analog or digital format from the State Archives.  The N&O newspaper maintains copyright to the images and has a simple, user-friendly process whereby those who want to publish images from the collection can request and obtain permission from the N&O to do that.  The N&O Negative Collection is open to the public and we welcome anyone to come see the treasures in it.