Author Archives: Olivia

New Additions to African American Education Digital Collection, part 2

[This post was written by Anna Spencer, summer intern at the Digital Access Branch.]


Photograph of doctors attending a conference held by the Division of Cooperation in Education and Race Relations

The correspondence of the Director of the Division of Cooperation in Education and Race Relations is a 4-box series housed under the Division of Negro Education. Nathan Carter Newbold served as the director during the division’s existence. The division worked to spread positive information about the lives and history of African Americans. Materials include letters, reports, speeches and meeting minutes about improving race relations and increasing educational opportunities for African Americans. The division arranged conferences and guest speakers to provide information about race relations and African American history to white colleges and universities. Newbold also laid out the plans for the Division of Negro Education and served as the Director of the Division until his retirement. Of special note is the project between the State Department of Public Instruction, The University of North Carolina, and Duke University. These organizations worked together to create a book of biographies about influential and important African American North Carolinians. Although the book is not part of the series, plans and interviews are included in some letters.

The Files of the State Supervisor of Elementary Education is an 8-box series housed under the Division of Negro Education. The State Supervisor of Elementary Education travelled the state evaluating African American elementary schools, holding teaching clinics, conducting meetings, and evaluating curriculum. The State Supervisor of Elementary Education was also responsible for making recommendations for school accreditation. The series includes letters, reports, maps, statistics, meeting minutes, and speeches. Of special note is the information provided about the Jeanes program in North Carolina. The Jeanes Fund started as an endowment by Anna T. Jeanes, a Philadelphia Quaker, in 1907 to increase educational opportunities for African Americans. Over the following decades the mission of the Jeanes teachers shifted from providing job training to students to acting as supervisors at African American schools. The series contains documents about the National Jeanes Association, reports from Jeanes supervisors, and conference information.

New Additions to African American Education Digital Collection, part 1


“Memorial Services on the Passing of Mr. Julius Rosenwald”, page 17

As an ongoing project new items will be added to the African American Education Digital Collection on North Carolina Digital Collections site. These materials will be taken from the Division of Negro Education of the Department of Public Instruction record group. The selection of materials will include Speeches and Articles by Nathan Carter Newbold, the Director of the Division of Negro Education from 1920 to 1957; Division of Negro Education: Special Subject File from 1898 to 1961; and General Correspondence of the Director from 1907 to 1960.

Taken from the Department of Public Instruction finding aid: “In 1913, the State Department of Public Instruction appointed an Associate Supervisor of Rural Elementary Schools. The special duty of the supervisor was to promote Negro education. In 1917, his title was changed to State Agent for Negro Schools. As a result of the progress of this program, the Legislature in 1921 (Public Laws of 1921, chapter 146, section 17), created within the Department of Public Instruction a Division of Negro Education. This Division continued until November of 1959, when it temporarily was made a section of the newly-organized Division of Instructional Services. In June of 1960, the personnel of the former Division of Negro Education was absorbed into the various other sections of the Division of Instructional Services and the Division of Negro Education passed out of existence. In the first years of its existence, the Division of Negro Education undertook to promote the building of better schoolhouses, to provide better training tor and to supervise school teachers, to develop the normal schools, and to develop a state-wide system of Negro high schools. The salary of the State Agent for Negro Schools and later the Director of the Division of Negro Education was paid by the General Education Board until June 30, 1943, when the legislature appropriated funds for this purpose. Schoolhouse building was aided by the Julius Rosenwald Fund and teacher-training was supplemented by the Jeanes Foundation. In addition to these funds, financial assistance was received from the Slater Fund, the Phelps-Stokes Fund (it did not contribute through the Division), and finally the Southern Education Foundation. In 1934, the Department of Public Instruction, together with the University of North Carolina and Duke University, sponsored the Division of Cooperation in Education and Race Relations. The Director of the Division of Negro Education was also Director of this joint project until it W&B ended in 1946.”

The first selection of items, Speeches and Articles by N.C. Newbold, the Director of the


Pamphlet “Community School Plans”

Division of Negro Education, have been added to the African American Education Digital Collection. Articles and speeches by Newbold come from conferences and committees, they deal with negro education and include topics such as race relations, salaries, education opportunities, comparative information from different states, information on enrollment, number of graduates, and the output from teacher training programs. The items range from 1922 to 1948.

The second selection of materials are the Division of Negro Education: Special Subject Files, have been added to the African American Education Digital Collection. Special Subject Files include materials such as correspondence, reports, minutes, agendas, budgets, maps, photographs, etc. These materials relate to subjects such as the Jeanes Fund, the Rosenwald Fund, Slater Fund, school buildings, normal schools, and more.

More items will be added to the collection on a rolling basis. A list of items added to the collection by our summer intern will be posted next week.

Search Room Display Case Exhibit: Vault Collection

This month, the exhibit case in the search room features records from our Vault Collection. The Vault Collection is an artificial collection created by archivists from material taken from other collections. The collection was created to highlight and protect significant documents in the Archives holdings. Items moved into the Vault Collection are selected based on their rarity, value, and significance to the cultural history of North Carolina and the United States. Items range from North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights, to the North Carolina Constitutional Reader used to assist in African-American voting, and items with historical figures signatures. Many items are available online in the Treasures and Federal and State Constitutional Materials digital collections on North Carolina Digital Collections website.

Commission, William D. Pender

Commission, January 10, 1855, of William D. Pender as second lieutenant in the Second Regiment of Artillery, United States Army, signed by President Franklin Pierce and Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. VC.12

The copies of items highlighted in the display case are listed below and available to view online.

“Appointment of Samuel Tredwell signed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, February 19, 1793” VC.15

This document is the appointment of Samuel Tredwell as Collector of Customs for the District of Edenton, including the port of Edenton (Port Roanoke). It was signed February 19, 1793 by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, as Washington’s first Secretary of State. Born on Long Island, New York in 1763, Tredwell was the nephew of Samuel Johnston (1733-1816), who served as North Carolina’s governor (1787-1789), U.S. senator (1789-1793), and president of North Carolina’s second Constitutional Convention that adopted the federal Constitution in 1789. Tredwell was also the nephew of Hannah Johnston Iredell, married to James Iredell, Sr., future United States Supreme Court Justice.


“Wearin’ of the Grey written by Tar Heel” Page 1, VC.17

These three pages of sheet music, “Wearin’ of the Grey written by Tar Heel” were first printed in 1866. The attribution to “Tar Heel” is the first known use of the term in post-Civil War published works. The author, “Tar Heel” is obviously a pseudonym. Published in Baltimore by William C. Miller, the piece is arranged for the piano forte with voice and uses the same melody as the Irish tune, “Wearing of the Green.”


“Letter of Marque signed by John Hancock, 1776” VC.22

This Letter of Marque was issued by the Continental Congress on October 24, 1776, to James Powell, commander of the 3-ton schooner, Northampton. It is signed by John Hancock, president of the Congress. A letter of Marque and Reprisal commissioned a privately-owned vessel as a privateer in the service of its country. It granted to the commander the right during times of war to fit out with arms in order to plunder or to capture the enemy’s ships. Shortly after the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the Provincial Congress, forerunner of the Continental Congress, authorized the Colonies to “at your own expense, make such provisions by armed vessels for the protection of your harbors and navigation…”, thereby allowing the colonies to grant Letters of Marque to private ships. Without this protection, the commanders and crews of these ships would be treated as pirates if caught. By April of 1776, the Continental Congress issued its own commissions, including strict rules about prizes, prisoners, and reporting. Congress also required that one-third of the crew be landsmen-possibly to protect the fledgling navy from losing too many enlistees to privateering. When the bearers of the Letters of Marque sold their prizes, some of the profit went to Congress. During the Revolution, both sides freely commissioned privateers. Despite having a large public navy in place, Britain was thought to have employed almost as many such vessels as did the colonists.


“North Carolina Constitutional Reader, Being a Hand Book for Primary Use in One Part” VC. 25

A scarce African-American imprint by G. Ellis Harris, Principal of a school at Littleton, with the title: North Carolina Constitutional Reader, Being a Hand Book for Primary Use in One Part (Raleigh: Printing Office, St. Augustine’s School, 1903). The volume was designed to overcome the burden placed on African-American voters by the provisions of the Permanent Registration Act of 1901 (the “Grandfather Clause”) by enabling them to read and construe any part of the Constitution with which they might be confronted by poll officials; and, as such, it is an important piece of evidence of the African-American response to the Act.


“Albemarle County Papers, 1678-1714, undated” Page 78, VC.46.4

Document from Governor Thomas Cary’s administration, related to a meeting between North Carolina and the House of Burgesses, the colonial Virginia legislature, from 1708. At the time Lady Anne was Queen of England.


C.S.S. Shenandoah Log Book number one” Page 5, VC.50.1 [This item is located in the Civil War digital collection]

Log Book number one, of the C.S.S. Shenandoah, Chronicling the voyage of the C.S.S. Shenandoah between October 20, 1864 and July 22, 1865. The Shenandoah was commanded by James Iredell Waddell of North Carolina, and was one of the most famous “commerce raiders” commissioned by the Confederate navy to destroy northern merchant ships during the Civil War.




Charlotte School of Law

[This post was written by Gwen Mays, organization records archivist for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

The student records from the Charlotte School of Law are now in the custody of the State Archives.  Former students may request copies of their transcripts, please refer to the instructions on the archives website:

New Additions to North Carolina in World War I Digital Collection

As part of the statewide World War I commemoration, we have digitized 60 additional materials from the Military Collections and Private Collections of the State Archives of North Carolina. Most of the additions to the World War I digital collection are selections from the collections listed below.

Some highlights include:

PC.1385 Robert R. Bridgers Papers: Correspondence from Ann Preston Bridgers, who served as a YWCA hostess with the American Expeditionary Forces in France 1919. This is one of the few collections of non-combat women from the front in Europe.

PC.1560 Banks Arendell Papers: Arendell was part of the Machine Gun Company, 321st Infantry, 81st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, 1918-1919. His journal includes items such as Armistice Day on the front lines, and describing crossing the Atlantic in convoy.

WWI 106 John N. Hackney Sr. Army Field Notebook: Hackney’s original WWI Army field notebook with military training notes from when he was stationed in various training camps, including notes on infantry lines procedures and movements, Army code writings, mine warfare, and more.


Page from Wartime Diary of Robert Gregg Cherry

2017-18 additions to the World War I digital collection (North Carolina Digital Collections):

PC.8 Walter Clark Papers

PC.76 William Blount Rodman Papers

PC.100 Theodore F. Davidson Papers

PC.219 Edward W. Pou Papers

PC.1138 R. Gregg Cherry Papers

PC.1140 Reginald A. Fessenden Papers

PC.1165 Carl Brindley Notebook

PC.1234 Daisy Green Collection

PC.1308 Rodolph Nunn Papers

PC.1417 Leonidas Polk Denmark Papers

PC.1554 Bennet T. Blake Papers

PC.1697 George Carroll Brown Papers

PC.1739 William C. Lewis Diary

PC.1904 Richard Seawell Hinton Papers

WWI 1 North Carolina Council of Defense: Prosecutions Under Selective Services and Espionage Acts

WWI 35 Leonidas Polk Denmark Papers

WWI 84 Benjamin Ira Taylor Papers

WWI 86 Benjamin R. Lacy Jr.

WWI 87 Thomas A. Lacy


Pillowcase from the George Carroll Brown Private Collection

WWI 88 North Carolina Distinguished Service Cross Awardees List

WWI 93 Jewish War Service Roster of North Carolina Small Towns

WWI 109 United States Army Troop Transport Ships List

WWI 118 113th Field Artillery Regiment Roster

New Digital Collection: Secretary of State Wills

The State Archives of North Carolina would like to announce the creation of the new digital collection, North Carolina Secretary of State Wills. The digital collection contains wills from 1663 to 1789. These are loose original wills probated in the province. After 1760 most original wills were kept by the clerk in the county in which they were


Isabella Brand’s will

probated, though there are some wills after 1760 in the collection.

These wills are indexed in the Mitchell Will Index categorized with “SS/AR”, which can be accessed in the MARS catalog. The original wills are no longer accessible to the public for conservation concerns. Due to the age of some of the wills, the ink may be difficult to read. The wills are arranged alphabetically by surname of decedent.

Some of the more famous North Carolinians from the time period are included in the collection, such as Lord Proprietors Thomas Harvey and Henderson Walker; the Royal Governor Arthur Dobbs; and the first Governor of the State of North Carolina, Richard Caswell. The collection also includes the earliest known will in the state, for Mary Fortsen from 1665, who signed it herself.

New Digital Collections: Colonial Court Records & District Superior Court Records

The State Archives of North Carolina would like to announce the addition of two new collections to the North Carolina Digital Collections: Colonial Court Records and District Superior Court Records.



The Colonial Court Records digital collection includes two series: Estate Papers, CCR. 179-CCR.186, and Land Papers, CCR.187. Records relating to any of the higher courts in early North Carolina represented in the series Colonial Court Records (CCR) are extremely scarce until 1683, and are almost non-existent for several higher courts well after that date. Records of the General Court, the most important of these courts in terms of powers and amount of business transacted, do not begin to be abundant until 1694. It functioned from as early as 1670 until 1754 and during those years heard a great number of lawsuits involving decedents estates. When the records of this court were arranged at the Archives about 1959, papers from cases concerning estates were sorted out of the other loose papers and were designated Estates Records even though they were not true estates reports, inventories, accounts, etc. Papers concerning approximately seven hundred estates resulted. They were then foldered individually by decedent and arranged alphabetically.

For a more detailed account of what records are in the Colonial Court Records Collection, please see the CCR finding aid.

The District Superior Court Records digital collection currently contains only one district, Edenton District, from 1756 to 1806. It includes writs, transcripts, narratives, inventories of estates, notes, bonds, appeals, and subpoenas relating to the settlement of estates in the counties under the jurisdiction of the Edenton District Superior Court. It also includes a short subseries of guardians’ records (1760- 1805) arranged by name of the ward, and records of unnamed decedents and wards.

The supreme courts of justice system, in effect briefly from 1755 to 1759, served as the immediate predecessor and the pattern on which the district superior courts system was based. Under the supreme courts of justice, the colony of North Carolina was divided into five districts–each with its own independent court. The following towns served as the seats of the court districts: Edenton, Enfield, New Bern, Salisbury, and Wilmington.

Each supreme court of justice was independent and had the same jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters in their respective districts. Duties of the district superior courts also included the power of probate for deeds and wills. The state’s judiciary system underwent several more changes, with varying changes in duties and jurisdictions of the district superior courts until 1806 when the district superior courts were closed and replaced by superior courts erected in every county seat in the state. For a more detailed account of court history please seeing the digital collection landing page, or NCPedia article “State Judiciary.”