Author Archives: avgabriel2

Treasures of Carolina: Plan of Raleigh

The first Wednesday of each month features a document or item from the State Archives considered a treasure because of its significance to the history and culture of our state or because it is rare or unique. Sometimes the featured item just illustrates a good story. The items highlighted in this blog have been taken from the exhibit, “Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives” and its companion catalog.

Though the seat of colonial government had been established in New Bern, a new capital city was created in 1792 when state legislators voted to purchase land from Senator Joel Lane located within ten miles of Isaac Hunter’s Tavern, a popular gathering place for lawmakers at the time. This Plan of Raleigh was drawn by William Christmas, state senator and surveyor by profession.  Using a total of 400 acres, Christmas designated the axial center of the city as Union Square. It was composed of six acres and intended as the site of the future State House.

VC_5_Plan_Of_Raleigh_1792_01

Survey Plat, 1792, Map Collection, State Archives of North Carolina

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[By Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist]

Help the Military Collection Identify WWII
CBI Theater Photos

The Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina needs the public’s help in identifying a set of photographs from World War II that have no identifications or descriptions. The photographs are from the papers of Raleigh native, William C. Cutts, who served in the Pacific Theater in WWII as an aircraft fabric and dope mechanic with the 69th Depot Replacement Squadron, 301st Air Depot Group, U.S. Army Air Forces. Cutts worked as a civilian at Seymour Johnson Field in Goldsboro before being inducted into military service in 1944. As a civilian and later as an Air Force mechanic, Cutts was listed as an aircraft fabric and dope worker, which involved laying out, cutting and sewing, and treating airplane fabric to cover damaged control surfaces and airplane fuselages. He would cover and patch airplanes’ surfaces with fabric, applying paint and dope to the fabric [dope is a type of lacquer applied to fabric-covered aircraft, that tightens and stiffens fabric stretched over airframes, rendering them airtight and weatherproof].

It is unclear as to where Cutts was stationed in the Pacific Theater during the war. The photographs in Cutts’ papers are a set of original reproduction photographs of scenes in Asia made during or just after WWII. The photographs all appear to have been taken in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of WWII, in southern and eastern Asia. However, it is not readily evident from his service papers that he ever served in the CBI Theater—just in the Pacific. It is also not known if Cutts took or—more commonly as WWII servicemen did then—collected the photographic prints. Even so, the photographs show rare scenes of the CBI Theater.

Towards that end, we need the public’s help in identifying the images. All of the photographs have been uploaded into the State Archives’ Flickr page in the album “William C. Cutts WWII Images” [insert link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/north-carolina-state-archives/albums/72157694493198435]. We are asking for members of the public to help with the descriptions of the photographs. You can create a free Flickr account and add comments to these photographs with any information you may have on them. We need to create image descriptions that are reliable and historically accurate for researchers and the public who are relying on our historical materials for research, exhibits, school assignments, and public programs.

Because of this, we need to know the information you have on the image, how you know it (if from a website, please include a link to the page), and your name. If you personally recognize an area or scene from experience or family knowledge, please share the information through the image comments. Not all of the information will be used for the descriptions—as some of it may contradict what others have given. Also, we need reliable sources of information, so Wikipedia and Pinterest are not accepted as sources of information. If there is a comparable photograph online through another archives, museum, military veteran, or even the Library of Congress, please share that link in the comments on the images in the Flickr album.

The Military Collection Archivist will research the images using all of the provided information, comparing and contrasting what has been provided from the public for the most reliably-accurate image descriptions. The photograph descriptions on Flickr will be updated after they are completed, and the collection finding aid will have the descriptions added. We will be adding the names of people who assisted with the image descriptions to the William C. Cutts Papers finding aid, so you all will be credited for the effort.

WWII 112.F1.1: Small contact print of a studio portrait of the Cutts family of Raleigh, N.C., during World War II. Pictured are (left to right): Mary Jeanette Champion Cutts; Mary Jeannette Cutts; and William C. Cutts (wearing his U.S. Army Air Forces uniform) (1940s) [from William C. Cutts Papers, WWII 112, WWII Papers, Military Collection].
WWII 112.F2.9: Unidentified scene during World War II, believed to be in the CBI Theater [from William C. Cutts Papers, WWII 112, WWII Papers, Military Collection].

 

Treasures of Carolina: Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

13th Amend

Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Transmittal Letter, 1865, Vault Collection, State Archives of North Carolina

The first Wednesday of each month features a document or item from the State Archives considered a treasure because of its significance to the history and culture of our state or because it is rare or unique. Sometimes the featured item just illustrates a good story. The items highlighted in this blog have been taken from the exhibit, “Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives” and its companion catalog.

On December 4, 1865, the North Carolina General Assembly approved the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery. For a state to be readmitted to the Union following the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson required states to approve the amendment. Ten days following North Carolina’s vote the requisite three-quarters of the states had approved its ratification and thus it became law.

This action by the legislature in 1865 came almost three years after the Emancipation Proclamation, which outlawed slavery in the southern states. Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, the freedmen’s convention met a few blocks northwest of the State Capitol. That assembly was the first effort by the state’s African Americans to press for full political rights.

Do You Need Help Digitizing Your Collections?

Doan Ogden Watercolors007

Landscape drawing, Doan Ogden Color illustrations, Western Regional Archives

Apply by March 16!!! [Update: deadline has been extended to 3/23/2018]

If you have collections relevant to North Carolina’s history and culture, a grant-funded program may help you get them digitized.

A grant awarded to the State Historical Records Advisory Board and the State Archives of North Carolina provides for the transport, scanning, and online publishing of North Carolina historical records and archival materials through partnership with the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center at UNC-Chapel Hill University Library.  As part of this program, workshops will be offered that teach the basics of preparing collections to be scanned.

Eligibility. Any North Carolina institution that holds archival records documenting North Carolina history and culture and whose facilities and collections are open to the public may apply to the program—libraries, archives, historical and genealogical societies, museums, and other institutional and organizational archives are eligible. TAP (Traveling Archivist Program) participants are encouraged to apply.

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Treasures of Carolina: the Carolina Charter of 1663

The first Wednesday of each month will feature a document or item from the State Archives considered a treasure because of its significance to the history and culture of our state or because it is rare or unique. Sometimes the featured item just illustrates a good story. The items highlighted in this blog have been taken from the exhibit, “Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives” and its companion catalog.

Detail NC_Charter-Pg1

Page 1 of the Carolina Charter features an elaborate drawing of King Charles

Considered the “birth certificate” of the Carolinas, the Carolina Charter of 1663, so named after King Charles II of England, gave the province of Carolina to eight of his loyal supporters, known later as Lords Proprietors of Carolina, in return for their service to the Crown during the English Restoration.  The original Charter designated land between 31°and 36° north latitude and extending east to west, ocean to ocean, covering parts of what is now Florida, Mexico, Texas, and California.

Written on vellum (calf- or sheepskin), this remarkable document is composed of four pages and bears a striking pen-and-ink portrait of King Charles II of England on the first page. The Charter marks the beginning of organized, representative government in the province of Carolina, granting to the colonists rights that were to have lasting influence on the region’s population and its history. For example, the Charter guaranteed the rights of property ownership, the establishment of courts, and representation of delegates of “Freemen of said Province.”

The Carolina Charter of 1663 is both a government document—as a land grant and a treatise for governing—and a work of art.  In 1949, using privately-donated funds, the Department of Archives and History paid $6,171 for its purchase from a bookseller in England. Two years of research on both sides of the Atlantic had confirmed the Charter’s authenticity. Today it is housed in one of two climate-controlled security vaults in the State Archives. Because of preservation concerns and its intrinsic and documentary value its display is carefully monitored.

Apply Now for the Traveling Archivist Program

The Traveling Archivist Program is Now Soliciting Applications

APPLICATION DEADLINE: JANUARY 5, 2018

The State Archives of North Carolina can help with the preservation of and access to your historical collections

Plan of a tract of land situated in the counties of Franklin and Wake, NC, the property of William M. Jeffreys, Esqr.

Plan of a tract of land situated in the counties of Franklin and Wake, NC, the property of William M. Jeffreys, Esqr. [Call number: MC.039.1832b]

TAP provides hands-on preservation assistance to cultural and heritage institutions that house archives, papers, and records at risk of deterioration and damage. The purpose of TAP is to help improve preservation of and access to collections that document the culture and history of our state.

Institutions chosen to participate in this program will receive an onsite visit from to:

  • Conduct a collections assessment of your collection
  • Discuss your policies and procedures
  • Provide suggestions for collection processing
  • Deliver supply catalogs and some basic supplies
  • Present a final report of the site visit with full recommendations for improving the care and management of your collection

The application is open to all North Carolina cultural and heritage institutions that house and maintain active historical collections, and whose collections are accessible to the public.  Those institutions housing solely objects or artifacts are ineligible for this program.

The guidelines and application may be accessed online and application deadline is January 5, 2018. Questions relating to the application process may be addressed to Andrea Gabriel, North Carolina State Archives, 919-807-7326, andrea.gabriel@ncdcr.gov, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Using Primary Sources in the Classroom: New Online Lesson Plans and Tutorials

Lesson plans and tutorials can help social studies teachers engage their students with primary sources such as maps, photographs, letters, and contemporary newspaper accounts.

The North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) and the State Archives of North Carolina have produced these tools for teachers and students in a program titled, “Teaching Digital North Carolina.”

Lesson Plans include

  •  “Agriculture and Textiles: Interaction of Two Major North Carolina Industries”
  • “Civil Rights: Circle of Viewpoints”
  • “World War I: The Role of North Carolinians in World War I”

Tutorials include

  • “Using the Digital Public Library of America to Access North Carolina Sources”
  • “Teaching Sensitive Subjects”
  • “Teaching with Primary Sources”

Each lesson plan topic has a list of additional primary sources from digitized collections throughout state. There are nearly 400,000 primary and secondary records from more than 120 repositories collected on the website of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

Teaching Digital North Carolina was made possible with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the funding arm of the National Archives.