Author Archives: tiffmaz

The Christmas Seal

OR_183_AmericanLungAssociationNC_ChristmasSeals_1980_1989_006This year we have added a collection of Christmas Seals to the “Carolina Christmas” digital collection. The Christmas Seals are part of the American Lung Association of North Carolina Records collection, which is part of the State Archives Organization Records. The Organization Records group consists of the records of many of the state’s private, professional, or civic organizations judged to be relevant to the history of the state. In 2007 the American Lung Association of North Carolina merged with Maryland and Virginia’s to become the American Lung Association of the Atlantic Coast. It was shortly after the merger that the State Archives became custodians of this collection. A collection of American Lung Association Christmas Seals dating from 1919 to 1999, as well as some Christmas Seals from foreign countries, have been added to “Carolina Christmas.
The Christmas Seal was developed to help in the fight against tuberculosis (TB). In the nineteenth century tuberculosis was a feared disease with no cure, it did not discriminate between rich or poor, and it ravaged its victims leaving them pale and emaciated until death finally took them. In 1871 a doctor discovered that fresh air and rest could cure TB. As news of this cure spread, so did small clinics where doctors could treat small numbers of patients and, in 1907, one such clinic sent out a plea for help. They needed to raise money or they would have to close their doors to the sick. It was in the fight to keep this small clinic alive that Emily Bissell spearheaded the origin of the American Christmas Seal and the forming of the American Lung Association. To read the full story, read either The Story of the Christmas Seal or the Crusade of the Christmas Seal.
This series from the collection consists of Christmas Seals divided by date range, two small pamphlets, a poster depicting Christmas Seals from around the world, Christmas Seals from foreign countries, and Christmas Seals signed by celebrities. To learn more about the collection see our MARS (Manuscript and Archives Reference System) catalog and use the search term “American Lung Association.”

Date Ranges









We hope you enjoy the new additions to “Carolina Christmas” and have a happy holiday season.

New Collection in North Carolina Digital Collections

Good news for American Revolutionary War researchers and enthusiasts, a new collection has just been added to the North Carolina Digital Collections.

The new collection is called Governors’ Papers, Historical, and contains early North Carolina Governors’ correspondence, beginning in April 1777. We are introducing this collection with correspondence of North Carolina’s first two Governors, Richard Caswell and Abner Nash.

Richard Caswell was the first Governor of North Carolina under the United States Constitution of 1776. His first administration began in April 1777 and he was subsequently re-elected for three consecutive one year terms, the amount allowable under the Constitution at the time. For more information about Governor Caswell and his time as Governor of North Carolina see the online finding aid or read this article at the State Library’s NCPedia.

North Carolina’s second Governor was Abner Nash. His term as governor was from April 1780 through June 25, 1781. His term in office was a difficult time for the Southern states during the American Revolution. The British had gained a strong foothold in the South and depleted many of the state’s resources. For more about Abner Nash and his term as Governor of North Carolina see the online finding aid or read the article on him at NCPedia.

While compiling the metadata that is included in the Historical Governors’ papers digital collection, I was amazed at the historical significance that these documents have. The majority of these letters pertain to the founding of the United States government and the war effort during the American Revolution, including documents from the Continental Congress. There are many letters written by or to very prominent historical figures, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and John Adams just to name a few. There are also many letters from prominent North Carolina historical figures. I have included a list of many of these individuals and an accompanying NCpedia links at the end of this post for your perusal.

The addition of these documents to our online collection will enable educators, researchers and history lovers throughout our state to easily utilize primary source documents to teach and learn more about the American Revolution and the foundation of our government.

The NCpedia biographies of prominent North Carolinians found in the papers of Governors Caswell and Nash are listed below.
Ashe, John:
Ashe, Samuel:
Avery, Waighstill:
Blount, Jacob:
Burke, Thomas:
Clark, Thomas:
Cornell, Samuel:
Cray, William, Sr.:
Davidson, William Lee,:
Dry, William:
Gilchrist, Thomas: (Good story that goes with his name and this document)
Gillespie, James:
Gorrell, Ralph:
Gregory, Isaac:
Harget, Fredrick:
Hinton, John:
Hooper, William:
Houston, William Churchill:
Howe, Robert:
Iredell, James:
Irwin, Henry:
Jarvis, Thomas:
Johnston, William:
Jones, Allen:

It is time to celebrate!

Example of a land grant envelope, “shuck”

Example of a land grant envelope, “shuck”

In the mid-1980s the State Archives of North Carolina started work on preserving, microfilming and indexing the North Carolina Land Grants. I have not been part of this project since the beginning, but for the past 6 years one of my jobs has been to index the microfilmed North Carolina Land Grants into our MARS database, I have now indexed 133 reels of microfilm which is 25,899 land grants and I am very happy to say that the project is now complete.

To give an idea as to the scope of this project there are over 200 fiberdex boxes consisting of 216,024 land grants which in turn became 611 reels of microfilm. North Carolina Land Grants span the years 1679-1959 and are arranged by county including the Tennessee Counties that used to be part of North Carolina. Prior to the indexing of these land grants, which consist of a warrant, plat and often a receipt, they would have to be taken out of their envelope “shuck,” flattened ,deacidified, and repaired in the conservation lab. From there they would be microfilmed and then finally indexing could take place. The indexing of the land grants required the ability to read the microfilm of old and at times almost illegible script. The information captured in this indexing was information found on the envelope “shuck” which includes the county name, name of the grantee, number of acres, grant number, date issued, warrant number, entry number, date entered, book number, page number, location, and remarks. The location field often required researching the names of the counties’, cities, creeks, rivers, branches, and other geographical locations. This process could be time consuming because not only might the handwriting be hard to read but in many cases the spelling would be wrong or the names of geographic features would have changed over the years as well. There were also times that the names of the people listed on the shuck would be spelled different ways within the documents and shuck. In those cases I would try to determine, as much as possible, the correct name. But indexing also had its upside, including finding many interesting or humorous names, such as Ice Snow or the all-time favorite among staff working on the land grant project, Bold Robin Hood.

Although the process was long and tedious, this project will now enable researchers to view the North Carolina land grant “shuck” information online. Land grants can provide valuable information for many different researchers. Recently I learned that land grants were used to help reestablish the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Genealogists may also find information in land grants useful in their family research. Just remember that the information found in our MARS online catalog is the information found on the envelope, the “shuck,” at the time of the filming. If a researcher wants more information on the contents of the shuck they will need to visit our search room to view the microfilm, because the original land grants have been withdrawn from use as a preservation measure.

Now that this project has been completed I am on to a new project. Keep an eye out for news about a new addition to the North Carolina Digital Collections.

Tiny Broadwick, Pioneer of Aviation

Tiny Broadwick

Tiny Broadwick

We have added an extended lesson guide on Tiny Broadwick to the education section of our website. Who was Tiny Broadwick you ask? She was a true pioneer of aviation, from right here in North Carolina.

Tiny Broadwick was a daring young woman who parachuted for the first time from a hot air balloon in 1908, when she was fifteen years old. During her lifetime she made over 1100 jumps from balloons and airplanes. She is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first woman to parachute from an airplane into water and as the first person to perform a “premeditated free-fall.” This brave woman was a little over 4 feet tall and weighed not much more than 80 pounds. To find out more about Tiny check out the short biography. The lesson guide also has fun facts and information that even non-students will find interesting to look through. Included in the lesson plan are two videos, filmed in the 1960’s that feature Tiny Broadwick.

Tiny Broadwick is also featured in the Women in North Carolina 20th Century History collection part of North Carolina Digital Collections.

New OBHC Finding Aid

New finding aid available on the Outer Banks History Center finding aids page:

Maud Hayes Stick Papers 1889-1972 (PDF)
Ada Maud Hayes Stick (1889-1972) was born and raised on the eastern shore of Maryland and Delaware. At the age of 18, she began working as an artist’s model at Howard Pyle’s art institute in Wilmington, Delaware. Maud’s classic beauty made her one of Pyle’s most sought after models. It was here that she met illustrator and writer Frank Stick in 1906. They were married in 1908. While at the Pyle school, Maud continued to model for Frank and other Pyle school students. One of them, W. H. D. “Bill” Koerner, along with his wife Lillian, became close, lifelong friends of the Sticks. Maud was the model for one of Koerner’s most famous paintings, “”The Madonna of the Prairie,”” completed in 1921 and used as an illustration for Emerson Hough’s story “The Covered Wagon” serialized in the Saturday Evening Post. Maud depicted the story’s heroine, Molly Wingate. Maud shared her husband’s love of the outdoors and they enjoyed hunting, fishing, and camping together in the wilderness. They spent 1912-14 living in a remote cottage in northern Wisconsin, and then lived in the Chicago area, Wilmington, Del., and Interlaken, N.J., until discovering the Outer Banks in the mid-1920s. In 1909, Maud gave birth to their first child, Charlotte. In 1919, the Stick’s second child David was born. That birthing left her deaf and she would depend upon a hearing aid for the rest of her life. David Stick would become a noted author, historian, community leader, and founding benefactor of the Outer Banks History Center. Beginning in 1929, the Sticks made the Outer Banks their primary home for the rest of their lives. Maud died in Kitty Hawk, N.C. in 1972 after a long illness, having lost both Charlotte and her beloved Frank before her

New OBHC Finding Aids

New finding aids are available on the Outer Banks History Center finding aids page:

Cole, Carol Cronk Photograph Collection, 1897 – 1901 (PDF)
Corydon Pirnie Cronk began his career in the U.S. Signal Corps and was later stationed at the U.S. Weather Bureau at Cape Henry, Virginia around the turn of the 20th century. One of Cronk’s duties was to inspect the telegraph poles that ran between government offices. In so doing, he travelled to the Weather Bureau stations at Kitty Hawk and Cape Hatteras. Many of the photographs in this collection show the destruction after the San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899. Some of the photos are also in the H.H. Brimley Collection. It is not known whether Cronk obtained the images from Brimley or vice versa.
This collection consists of 34 digital scans at 300 dpi, stored on a disc and hard drive, and 34 black and white prints.

Holmes, Randell Dare County Mainland Photograph Collection (PDF)
Randell Eugene Holmes was born in East Lake, N.C. on December 12, 1932, and has spent most of his life on Roanoke Island. Holmes has close and personal ties with several of the prominent families on the Outer Banks and Dare County Mainland. He has meticulously searched out and located images and documents pertaining to family members and friends throughout the region. The materials in this collection primarily relate to the genealogy and history of the East Lake and Roanoke Island area. The collection consists of 333 digital scans and 120 prints of people and places, in particular, members of the Basnight, Creef, Holmes, Mann, Pinner, and Twiford families, as well as others. The collection also features 30 digital scans, 6 prints, and 9 photocopies of documents and clippings pertaining to various members of these families. 600 dpi digital scans of each image are stored on a disc and a hard drive.

33GRF-25 Sand Dollar Motel Photographs, 1957-1985 (PDF)
The Sand Dollar Motel, 1957 -1985, was a popular oceanfront vacation spot in Nags Head near milepost 13.5. The collection of buildings that made up the motel was originally known as Howell’s Cottages built by Gordon Kellogg for W.D. “Willie” Howell in 1951. Jewel Graves bought it in 1957 and renamed the facility “The Sand Dollar Motel.” She was the proprietress until the facility closed in 1984 and sold the next year. The Sand Dollar Motel was burned down as a fire training exercise in 1985 with permission of the new owner.This collection consists of 24 images of Jewel Graves, guests participating in activities, and buildings. Electronic scans of the collection are also available for viewing on the Outer Banks History Center public access computer

Rosenwald Fund Papers Added to Digital Collection

We have just finished adding the Division of Negro Education: Correspondence of the Supervisor, Rosenwald Fund papers to our African American Education Collection. By 1932, when the construction grants ended 5,357 new school building had been built in 883 counties throughout the Southern states.

In the early 20th century the few African American Schools that could be found in the South were in serious disrepair. In 1912 Booker T. Washington, principal of the Tuskegee School approached Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears Roebuck & Company, to help with the financing of African American rural schools. The idea of a matching grant was the outcome of their collaboration. If the community could come up a contribution and the school board would agree to operate the facility, Rosenwald would contribute a cash amount, usually consisting of 1/5 the total cost of the project.

In 1919 Rosenwald placed the school building project under the Philanthropic foundation that he had founded in 1917, the Julius Rosenwald Foundation. He hired Samuel L. Smith an African America school agent from Tennessee to become the director of the fund in a newly established office in Nashville. By 1920 new requirements were in place to maintain standards for the site size, length of the school term, and interior furnishing requirements of the buildings. The grants were based on the number of teachers the school would have and would range between $500 and $2,100. African Americans still had to contribute cash and donations of labor and materials, and the fund emphasized that schools should receive contributions from “white friends,” but the largest source of funding was from county tax revenues. County school boards were required to give public support, take ownership of the new school, and commit to maintaining the school as part of their public school system.

School plans titled Community School Plans were prepared by Fletcher B. Dressler, professor of school hygiene and architecture at Nashville’s George Peabody College for Teachers, and Samuel L. Smith.

Image of Community School Plans

Community School Plans

Dressler and Smith were extremely particular in their specifications in these publications.  They specified things like the size of windows to be used and the color schemes for the outside and inside of the buildings. The interior furnishings also were specified, the classrooms were to have three walls of Blackboards and modern desks.

North Carolina, under the leadership of Nathan Carter Newbold, the states director of African American Education, had the highest number of these schools with 813 out of the 5,357 Rosenwald buildings built in the Southern States. This collection contains mainly the correspondence relating to the planning and construction of those buildings.

For more in-depth information on the Rosenwald Fund.

State Library

National Trust for Historic Preservation

For more information on what North Carolina is doing in the efforts to preserve these historically significant buildings please visit the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, A Survey of North Carolina’s Rosenwald Schools, A Public-Private Partnership for Historic Preservation.