Posted by: Ashley | April 18, 2012

Social Media Meets History and History Meets Science

As I mentioned yesterday, we’re doing a series of blog posts about science and technology related materials in our collections as part of our participation in the North Carolina Science Festival. In this post we’re going to look at science themed photographic collections available through the Flickr account maintained by Kim Cumber, our Non-Textual Materials Archivist.

Reginald Fessenden's Lab, Brant Rock, MA, no date, ca.1906-1910

Reginald Fessenden's Lab, Brant Rock, MA, no date (ca.1906-1910). (Click on the image to see this item in Flickr)

Reginald Fessenden – Radio’s First Voice

In this Flickr set are photos of and related to Reginald Fessenden, famous for having made the first radio broadcast in the world on Christmas Eve 1906. Fessenden, a Canadian, came to North Carolina under the auspices of the United States Weather Bureau to conduct experiments in wireless telegraphy on Roanoke Island in 1899. His work here attracted considerable publicity and corresponded in time with the experiments of the Wright Brothers in that locality. Because of Fessenden’s pioneer radio work on Roanoke Island in 1901 and 1902, his son, at the suggestion of the Fessenden National Memorial Association, deposited the inventor’s papers in the North Carolina State Archives in August of 1944 where they now reside and are available to researchers as PC.1140.

Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College

Elaine de Kooning and Buckminster Fuller's Venetian Blind Strip Dome, 1948

Elaine de Kooning and Buckminster Fuller's Venetian Blind Strip Dome, 1948 Summer Session in the Arts, Black Mountain College. (Click on the image to see this item in Flickr)

Black Mountain College was an experimental school established in 1933 by John A. Rice and others, and located in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Buckminster Fuller taught at Black Mountain College during the Summer Session of 1948 and the Summer Session of 1949, during which he gave lectures, participated in dramatic performances, and worked on two experimental dome projects. For more information about Fuller’s life and work consult the biographical sketch provided by the Black Mountain College Project. The photos in our Flickr set were selected from the Visual Materials series of the Black Mountain College Research Project Papers, collected originally by the North Carolina Museum of Art. Most of the images deal with the testing of Fuller’s first geodesic dome and a dome made from Venetian blind strips, later called the Supine Dome because it failed to rise as expected. You can also find many of these items, such as the photo of Elaine de Kooning working on Buckminster Fuller’s Venetian Blind Strip Dome featured in this blog post, and other Black Mountain College materials in the Black Mountain College collection within the North Carolina Digital Collections.

PhC68_1_493_31: Earth Day 1970, April 21-22, 1970, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC

Earth Day 1970, April 21-22, 1970, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC. (Click on the image to see this item in Flickr)

The First “Earth Day” (April 22, 1970)

The “Earth Day 1970” Flickr set includes selected images from the first Earth Day events in North Carolina. The images are from the Carolina Power and Light (CP&L) Photograph Collection (Ph.C.68) and feature events in both Chapel Hill and Raleigh. On the left you can see one of the photos from this collection, two students sitting against a tree in McCorkle Place on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can even see the sign for the long-time Chapel Hill landmark Hectors in the background.

Other science and technology related Flickr sets suggested by Kim Cumber:

  • 1st In Flight – Wright Brothers Set – The Wright Brothers, Orville (19 August 1871 – 30 January 1948) and Wilbur (16 April 1867 – 30 May 1912), are generally credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.
  • Tiny Broadwick – NC Aviation Pioneer Set – North Carolina’s own Tiny Broadwick was the first woman in the world to parachute from an airplane. All photos are from the General Negative Collection, North Carolina State Archives.
  • Carbine Williams Set – David Marshall “Carbine” Williams (1900-1975) was the inventor of the Carbine Rifle, native of North Carolina. Over 8 million Allied soldiers carried the M-1 carbine, a light, semiautomatic rifle, in World War II.
  • The Dr. George M. Cooper Photograph Collection (PhC.41) Set – This Flickr set features selected photographs that belonged to Dr. George M. Cooper (1876-1950), a pioneer public health official who was associated with the North Carolina State Board of Health for 35 years.
  • Nurses Set
  • Raleigh’s Water Supply Set – These photos depict historic Raleigh, NC, waterworks and scenes pertaining to Raleigh’s water supply.
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  1. […] this post, one of a series on science and technology archival materials that we are writing as part of the North Carolina Science Festival, we’re looking at science […]


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