Author Archives: Aaron

1901 Confederate Pension Applications Online

The Digital Access Branch has begun uploading the 1901 Confederate Pension Applications to our online Digital Collections. There are over 35,000 applications in this series, and so far 4,500 are already available online. This is an ongoing project, and we will be adding more items throughout the summer and fall.

For this project, the microfilm copies of the pension applications were scanned by staff in the Collections Management Branch. There were approximately 80 reels of microfilm that became 80 digital folders with thousands of images in each one. We then exported the description from MARS and automated the creation of 35,000+ digital folders, one for each application. The folder titles contain the record group and series indicator, the MARS ID number, and the name and county of the soldier. We are currently in the process of matching the digital images from the microfilm to the correct digital folders. Once we have the images placed into individual folders, we can then easily link the images to the description from MARS and upload it all to our Digital Collections. Although the process is time-consuming, we have already exceeded our initial goal of having 10% of the applications online by the end of July.

The pension applications can provide much useful information about North Carolina Confederate veterans, such as the name; age (at time of application); place of residence; service information such as company, regiment, length of service, and wounds or disability; name of witness; and date of application. Also verification from the county pension board regarding applicant’s claim and whether the application was approved or disallowed by the state-level board of inquiry. The widows’ applications are filed under the names of the deceased soldiers. The pensions in this series resulted from a law passed by the General Assembly in 1901 to provide relief of certain Confederate soldiers and widows.

Under this new act “every Person who has been for twelve months immediately Preceding his or her application for a pension a ‘bona fide’ resident of the State, and who is incapacitated for manual labor and was a soldier or a sailor in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America, during the war between the States, and to the widow remaining unmarried of any deceased officer, soldier or sailor who was in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America during the war between the States (Provided said widow was married to said soldier or sailor before the first day April 1865)” was entitled to a pension.


Staff Profile — Jennifer Blomberg

Today we introduce Jennifer Blomberg, head of the Collections Management Branch.

Describe your job at the State Archives.

I am the Head of the Collections Management Branch for the Archives. The Collections Management Branch provides archival and records management services for public officials and the citizens of the state including duplication of records upon request, preservation reformatting of public records, and provision for storage of security microfilm. I plan, direct and oversee the preservation programs for the Archives and Records and directly supervise the Conservation, Imaging and Photography Units. I assure appropriate conservation treatments, preservation, duplication and quality assurance of microforms and photographic negatives and prints. Some of my job responsibilities include collections assessments and storage, environmental monitoring, integrated pest management, collections security, development of policies and standards for storage and disaster mitigation, preparedness and response.

What projects are you working on?

I am excited to be able to start to work on the Archive’s disaster mitigation, preparedness and response activities. I will be working on an evaluation and revision of the current plan, evaluating supplies, and implementing training for staff on disaster mitigation and disaster response actions.

How long have you worked at the State Archives/Records Center?

I am a fairly recent hire for the State Archives. I have only been in my current position, and at the Archives, for about five months now.

Describe your educational or career background prior to working here.

I have a Masters of Library and Information Science with a specialization in Archives, Preservation and Records Management from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Information Sciences. I hold a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Delaware with a concentration in Conservation and Collections Care.

I have worked at various cultural institutions including museums, art galleries, historical societies, libraries and conservation labs doing a wide variety of preservation conservation functions. Prior to coming to the Archives, I worked at Duke University in their conservation lab and preservation department.

Staff Profile — Kurt Brenneman

Today we present Kurt Brenneman from the Government Records Section.

Tell us about your job.

One of seven Records Management Analysts, we assist state agencies and local governments with compliance with the public records laws of the State of North Carolina. We develop records retention and disposition schedules, present workshops, receive local government minutes for microfilming, and consult with government officials on records management issues.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on records retention and disposition schedule updating with state agencies; assisting the City of Charlotte with the microfilming of its digital minutes; and presenting a workshop on management of public records to state agency staff.

How long have you worked here?

5 months

Describe your educational or career background prior to working here.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English from Temple University and a Master’s of Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the consultative aspect of the job. We are a resource for state and local government officials and they often pose fascinating questions. I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues to arrive at answers to those questions!

What skills or traits do you think are needed to be successful at your job?            

Attention to detail, technology, patience, interest in state and local government, collaboration, logical thinking.

Is there an aspect of your job that you never thought you would end up doing?

Legal research, legal reading, and having to think about how statutes and regulations affect records management.

What work-related accomplishment are you most proud of?      

Presentation of our workshops to local government officials across the state.

Do you have a favorite set of records?   

Electronic minutes are fascinating because of the necessity of permanent preservation.

What’s the most interesting reference question you’ve been asked?              

While working in the Search Room, a client requested any court records about a bank robber who was very active in western North Carolina in the early 20th century.

What would you want people to know about our collections or services that may not be widely known?

I would like more North Carolina municipalities, particularly small towns, to be frequent users of our services.

Civil Rights Movement Digital Collection

In celebration of African American History Month this February, we are pleased to announce a new digital collection relating to the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina from the 1950s to the 1970s. The items in this collection contain letters, speeches, reports, booklets, photographs, news clippings, court records, and proposed legislation, on topics such as school desegregation and busing, voting rights, and civil rights protests and demonstrations. The majority of the items presented here were selected from our State Agency records, with an emphasis on Governors Papers. In preparing this collection, we have made an effort to include documents that represent a range of opinions both from those who favored civil rights, and from those who opposed them. In addition to the official records of elected officials, this collection contains many letters from ordinary citizens expressing their concerns, fears, and hopes.

Among the items in this collection you can find:

  • Materials from the North Carolina Voter Education Project which sought to help the poor and disadvantaged become more active and involved in the democratic process.
  • N.C. House Bills which tried to preserve racial segregation in public schools even after the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education.
  • Reports from law enforcement officers describing various civil rights demonstrations throughout the state.
  • A telegram from NAACP representative Brenda Johnson to the Governor requesting police protection for civil rights demonstrators after violence nearly erupted in Edenton.
  • A Statement from Gov. Sanford to Good Neighbor Council about ending discrimination in training and job opportunities for African Americans.
  • Meeting minutes from the Department of Social Services Civil Rights Strategy Committee which describe objectives and plans for assuring compliance with the Civil Rights Act.
  • A transcript of a conversation between Gov. Hodges and Edward Harrigan, Vice President of F.W. Woolworth Company, regarding how the company deals with the issue of deciding whether or not to serve African American customers.
  • A statement from the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs supporting the dignified actions of student demonstrators in the sit-in movement.
  • A telegram from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Gov. Sanford asking to release protestors in Edenton who had been arrested.

This digital collection represents only a small sample of Civil Rights materials available at the State Archives. We hope to add more to this collection in the future. To see what else the State Archives has on the Civil Rights Movement, check out our Civil Rights Research Guide.

To learn more about the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina visit NCPedia.

World War I Maps Online

We are pleased to announce that our collection of World War I maps is now available online. The following overview comes from Military Collection Archivist Kenny Simpson.

The World War I map collection contains more than five hundred maps and blueprints of various types. These oversized documents were removed from the several records series of the World War I Papers within the Military Collection. Most of these series are closed, having been received by the North Carolina Historical Commission during and immediately after the war, but one, the private collections, is still being augmented and so will continue to supply maps to this collection. The bulk of the World War I maps are topographical studies of France and Belgium, either field or ordnance surveys. Other types represented include barrage maps; drawings to accompany engineers’ operational reports; sketches of railroads, roads, and bridges; depictions of trench lines, troop dispositions, and positions of balloons; aerial photographs; Corps situation maps, updated daily; and blueprints of bombproof shelters. Of particular interest are the various maps with contemporaneous annotations by the officers who used them, such as the engineering drawings from the papers of Joseph Hyde Pratt and the topographical maps carried high above the trenches in the balloon of James A. Higgs. The collection was scanned and catalogued by interns Heather Szafran (2012) and Samantha Rich (2013).

Be sure to look at our World War I Collection online for more materials including posters, photographs, and letters.

Staff Profile — Tammy James

Continuing our staff profile series, today we present Tammy James, the Imaging Unit Supervisor in the Collections Management Branch of the Collections Services Section.

Describe your current job at the State Archives.

I answer many emails and phone inquiries daily, this may involve searching for holdings, missing records, duplication orders, billing questions, and questions concerning progress of present projects.  Schedule projects for my staff, accession microfilm into our holdings. Collaborate with various Department staff.

What project(s) have you completed recently, are currently working on, or have coming up?

My unit has recently completed a very large project for SBI which included 400 cubic feet of records.

How long have you worked at the State Archives?           

I have been at the Archives for 14 years. I was a Processing Assistant IV which included microfilming, then I was a Processing Assistant V which included accessioning microfilm holdings of various types of records. I have been in my current position for 12 years.

Are you involved in any committees, special projects, DCR-wide programs, or professional organizations?

I am involved in the DCR Combined Campaign.  I am a member of the DCR Diversity Choir, Participated in the Leadership Development Program 2012-2013, on the Friends of the Archives Committee and EEO Committee. I am also on the Graduation Committee for the LDP.

Describe your educational or career background prior to working here.

I attended Wake Technical Community College.  I was a Team Leader of the Microfilm Unit at SMI Imaging for 17 years.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

Working with the public and answering questions about holdings, billing, vendor lists, student transcripts etc.

What skills or traits do you think are needed to be successful at your job?

Attention to detail, multi-tasking, creativity, technology, coaching, researching, monitoring, collaboration, quality control.

Is there an aspect of your job that you never thought you would end up doing?

Maintenance on equipment and freezing in the vaults.

What work-related accomplishment are you most proud of?

The Leadership Development Program.

Have you received any specialized training, certifications, awards, or recognitions?

I have received my Associates Degree in Biblical Studies and continuing the work towards my Bachelor’s Degree.  I have received Certificates in many Computer Programs being used in my job on a daily basis.

What’s the most interesting/unusual thing you’ve come across in a collection?

Nothing too interesting but at my previous job we were prepping records and found dollar bills in every folder where people pulled records to copy and paid leaving the money in the folder. Too bad we didn’t get to keep what we found, HA HA.

What’s the most interesting reference question you’ve been asked?

I recently received a call from a customer that he was having problems with his reader printer and wanted me to come out and fix it.  We don’t do maintenance on outside equipment.

Tammy James of the Collections Management Branch.

Staff Profile — Tiffanie Mazanek

Today we present Tiffanie Mazanek from the Digital Services Section.

Tell us a little about your job.

I work on a multitude of different things, but the things I work on most often are indexing our Secretary of State Land Grants, adding materials to our Digital Collections, and designing promotional materials for the State Archives.

What project(s) have you completed recently, are currently working on, or have coming up?

We just finished and published our newly designed and updated State Archives newsletter, The Charter.

The DCR Educational Committee is releasing a new search tool that will enable students and teachers to search all DCR’s digital resources. The DCR Educational Resources Portal is available on the NCDCR website and will be officially launched this late summer.

I am currently working on the Rosenwald Papers to be included in our Digital Collections as part of the Early African American Education Collection.

How long have you worked at the State Archives?

I have just reached the five year mark.

Are you involved in any committees or DCR-wide programs?      

State Archives Civil War 150 Committee and the DCR Education Committee.

Describe your educational or career background prior to working here.

My first career had nothing to do with history. I worked for 13 years at Victoria’s Secret as a store manager, leaving shortly after the birth of my daughter. After about three years out of the work force I took a job at the State Archives as a part time temporary employee working on the North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project. At the end of that project I was able to acquire a full time position. I believe my love of history, my degree in Graphic Design, and my understanding of branding and public service brings a fresh perspective to the State Archives.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

The State Archives of North Carolina has such a treasure trove of information and I enjoy getting that information out to the public, especially to our educators. I believe it is so important that our children know about the past, one can learn so much from history. I find working with our digital collections immensely satisfying, being able to get the great primary resources the State Archives has online and easily accessible to the general public via the web.

I also enjoy designing and developing promotional materials for the State Archives, being able to utilize my graphic design background to help promote an agency such as the State Archives is rewarding and fun.

What skills or traits do you think are needed to be successful at your job?

Attention to detail is a must and being able to multitask.

What’s the most interesting or unusual thing you’ve come across in a collection?

One of my job duties is to index pertinent information from the Secretary Land Grants, in this indexing I come across some fun names, just this week I came across the name Rice Coffey some other notable names include Ice Snow, and an all-time favorite Bold Robin Hood.

Do you have a favorite collection or set of records?

I really enjoy working with the Private Collections. By the end of working on a private collection I almost feel like I know the people. A good example of this is with the Burgwyn Papers.  I had the opportunity to scan, transcribe and index William Burgwyn’s diaries and many of his personal letters. The letters and diaries were primarily from the time he served in the Civil War. I found it interesting to see how he matured as the years went by. His first diary was started in 1861 and he was only 18 years old and last diary ends in 1865 at the age of 22, in this four year time frame he had lost his older brother, was seriously wounded, and captured by Union Forces, not to mention partook in numerous battles and saw many of his friends and colleagues die. Burgwyn’s papers are available in the digital Civil War Collection  as well as many other letters, some of which brought tears to my eyes.