Category Archives: Digital Services

The Scary Truth Series, Pt. I

This is the first of three entries in a special Halloween-inspired blog series highlighting a collection of ghost stories, legends, folklore, and facts from North Carolina. Like sweet tea and college basketball, folklore is a major part of North Carolina’s cultural heritage. Legends and stories passed down from generations keep the state’s history alive and ultimately help us remember life as it once was.

The Murder Mystery of Nell Cropsey

On November 21, 1901, Nell Cropsey mysteriously vanished from her family home near the Elizabeth City waterfront. Her body was discovered nearby in the Pasquotank river 37 days later, a mere 130 yards from where she was last seen. The first glaring suspect: Jim Wilcox, her suitor. Despite two trials and the subsequent conviction of Wilcox, many questions about her death remain unanswered. Some say her spirit haunts her family home to this day.

cropsey_wilcox2

Portraits of Jim Wilcox (left) and Nell Cropsey (right), courtesy of the Museum of the Albemarle.

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Hispanic Heritage Month 2017

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we will be highlighting a few records from the State Archives regarding Hispanic populations, a growing proportion of North Carolina’s residents. The United States first began celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988, a development which coincided with a marked increase in the Latino population in North Carolina. To be sure, there were residents of Hispanic heritage in the state long before then, dating back to interactions with Spanish colonies and the Spanish government in the eighteenth century, and influxes of immigrants in subsequent centuries. The population has grown more rapidly since the 1980s, initially fueled by migrants coming for seasonal farm work. Many came from Mexico and Central America, but the majority moved to North Carolina from other states in the US.[1] Three decades later, they are the fastest growing minority group in North Carolina, and more Latinos have been born in the state than immigrated. In 2010, the Hispanic population was approximately 800,000 or 8.4% of the state’s population.[2]

Page from Alamance County Alien Registration Records, 1940

“Alamance County: Alien, Naturalization and Registration Records: Alien Registration Record,” State Archives of North Carolina. The left page is the record of Leopold Riloba y Ruiloba from Havana, Cuba, filed August 6, 1940.

The State Archives and the State Library of North Carolina have several collections which document the experiences of Hispanic residents. The Spanish Records are copies of eighteenth century colonial records from the Papeles de Cuba at the Archivo General de Indias, the Archivo General de Simanacas, and the Archivo Historico Nacional and Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid that pertain to the southeastern colonies and North Carolina, documenting the state’s early history from the perspective of the Spanish colonial government. The Alien Registration and Naturalization Records contain county records relating to the naturalization of foreign-born citizens, including Hispanic immigrants, and often include pictures, country of origin, family names, and profession. They provide a snapshot into the lives of many people who chose to make North Carolina their home in the first half of the twentieth century, such as Leopoldo Riloba y Ruiloba, a cotton mill worker who came from Havana, Cuba to Alamance County in 1940 with his four children.

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For more recent information, modern governors’ records include proclamations and executive orders. In 1998, Governor Jim Hunt issued Executive Order 136 to create the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. He also started the Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs to coordinate state programs to serve the Latino community, including migrant health, cultural diversity, community forums, and domestic violence training. Records from Governors Easley and Purdue include proclamations to observe Hispanic Heritage Month and documentation of the Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs. In 2013, under Governor Pat McCrory, the office of Hispanic/Latino affairs was absorbed into the Community and Constituent Affairs Office, which serves as the point of contact for all constituents.

Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation by Gov. Bev Perdue, 2012

Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation by Governor Bev Perdue, 2012.

Other publications show state agencies’ desires to tailor their services to North Carolina’s changing constituency. For example, in 2001 the Department of Labor created a volunteer Hispanic Task Force to “identify the unique safety and health hazards that the state’s Hispanic population faces in the workplace and to determine what measures DOL could undertake to reduce fatalities and injuries among Hispanic workers.”[3] In 2006, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety conducted a study to improve services to Hispanic residents, such as providing language assistance to individuals with limited fluency in English.[4]

This is only a small sample of North Carolina records that point to the rich and interwoven stories of our state’s Hispanic heritage. You can explore our full digital collections here, or search finding aids and the online catalog to begin exploring non-digitized records. If you need assistance, our reference staff are happy to help! They can be reached by emailing them at archives@ncdcr.gov.

What have you found out about Hispanic heritage in the state archives?

 

[1] Alan K. Lamm, “Latinos,” NCPedia, 2006, accessed October 5, 2017, https://www.ncpedia.org/latinos.

[2] Gabriela Zabala and Steven Mann, “Demographic Trends of Hispanics/Latinos in North Carolina,” 2012, accessed October 5, 2017, http://worldview.unc.edu/files/2012/04/4-0-1.pdf.

[3] “2001 Annual Report of the N.C. Department of Labor” (North Carolina Department of Labor, 2001), 10, http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p249901coll22/id/21346/rec/6.

[4] Keith Dowd and Erin Collins, “New North Carolinians: Doing Justice for All in the Criminal Justice System: Providing Services to a Rising Hispanic and Latino Population in North Carolina” (North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission and Criminal Justice Analysis Center, 2006), 22, http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p249901coll22/id/9522/rec/1.

Electronic Records Day – Text Messages as Public Records

This entry is cross-posted from the G.S. 132 Files, the official Records Management blog of the State Archives of North Carolina.

In recognition of Electronic Records Day 2017, sponsored by the Council of State Archivists (CoSA), the State Archives of North Carolina presents the short film “The Texting Club.” This video was created for educational purposes only.

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New Veterans Oral History Collection Online

[This blog post was written by Matthew Peek, Military Collection Archivist for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

1st Lt. Bennis M. Blue (third from right) pictured during parachute jump training for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1978. Blue was the first female officer of the 82nd Airborne. From the Bennis M. Blue Papers, Cold War Papers, Military Collection.

1st Lt. Bennis M. Blue (third from right) pictured during parachute jump training for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1978. Blue was the first female officer of the 82nd Airborne. From the Bennis M. Blue Papers, Cold War Papers, Military Collection.

The Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina is excited to announce the launch of the digital Veterans Oral History Collection through the North Carolina Digital Collections. The interviews, conducted since 2015 as audio interviews, are part of the Military Collection’s North Carolina Veterans Oral History Program, whose goal is to capture and provide access to the memories and experiences of the military servicemen and servicewomen from North Carolina, preserving them for the future scholarship. The collection is comprised of more than 1,100 oral history interviews, the majority of which are in analog formats and scheduled for future digitization. These initial 25 interviews—all conducted with state-of-the-art digital audio recorders used by the State Archives—document veterans from World War II to the Iraq War, as well as individuals serving during peacetime.

The interviews include: a U.S. Army helicopter crew chief who flew missions in Cambodia during the Vietnam War; women who served during the integration of the Women’s Army Corps into the regular Army in 1978; a U.S. Air Force Russian language specialist conducting radio communications surveillance by aircraft of Soviet Union radio communications from the northern Arctic coast of Russia during the 1970s; and a woman whose family farm was taken under eminent domain for the creation of Camp Butner in 1942. There are also interviews with Vietnam War intelligence officers, U.S. Air Force communications specialists during the era around the September 11th attacks and the early days of the Iraq War, and a U.S. Army Air Force as a tail gunner with the 14th Air Force in China during WWII.

Additional interviews will be added as they are conducted in the coming years. The audio is available for streaming only through the Internet Archive, linked through pages on the North Carolina Digital Collections. In the future, interview summaries with subjects and time dates will be uploaded, to increase access to the interviews. Digital copies of the interviews can be ordered through the State Archives’ Reference Unit under the duplication services for audiovisual materials.

 

Labor Day Holiday

"Sawyer, Thomas 1771,” from the District Superior Court Records, one of the new collections being added to the NC Digital Collections.

“Sawyer, Thomas 1771,” from the District Superior Court Records, one of the new collections being added to the NC Digital Collections.

The State Archives of North Carolina will be closed Sept. 2-4, 2017 for the Labor Day holiday. However, our online catalog and digital collections are available to you any time. Over the last few months we’ve added several new collections to the North Carolina Digital Collections, so watch for upcoming blog posts about those materials.

In other news, if you don’t follow our records management blog you may have missed these posts:

And our audio visual and military archivists have loaded new photographs into Flickr, such as:

Photograph of Lawrence E. Allen (center) and two unidentified African American shipmates in Sweden

Photograph of Lawrence E. Allen (center) and two unidentified African American shipmates in Sweden. (Call number: CLDW 23.F3.13)

“What Does That Say?” Series, Pt. II

Deciphering the Handwritten Records of Early America

Since beginning my work with digitizing the General Assembly Session Records collection at the State Archives, I have had to do a bit of research on how to effectively interpret 18th century manuscripts in order create the appropriate metadata for the records and improve discoverability of these records in our digital collection. The following sections include a brief history of writing during this time period, characteristics of 17th and 18th century British-American handwriting, and some tips on deciphering the text found within these records.

This is the second blog post of a series on how to read handwritten colonial documents, see the first blog post of this series on abbreviations, shorthand, and lettering.

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“What Does That Say?” Series, Pt. I

Deciphering the Handwritten Records of Early America

Since beginning my work with digitizing the General Assembly Session Records collection at the State Archives, I have had to do a bit of research on how to effectively interpret 18th century manuscripts in order create the appropriate metadata for the records and improve discoverability of these records in our digital collection. The following sections include a brief history of writing during this time period, characteristics of 17th and 18th century British-American handwriting, and some tips on deciphering the text found within these records. This is the first blog post of a series on how to read handwritten colonial documents.

As a skill most take for granted today, writing was not a widespread accomplishment during this time period; however, with the growth of commerce and industry, the need for this skill became more apparent.

According to Monaghan (1988), reading and writing were considered to be two separate endeavors, as the ability to read was not dependent on the ability to write. Initially, reading was simply a means to an end—a skill that provided direct access to the Scripture. The Bible was this era’s most popular book, so it comes as no surprise that it was the first text children learned to read. Thornton (1998) contends that “reading was taught first, as a universal spiritual need; writing was taught second, and then only to some.”

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