Category Archives: News

Constitution Day Event at Historic Henderson County Courthouse

North Carolina's copy of the Bill of Rights, 1789

North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights, 1789. Part of the Vault Collection. Available online at http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p15012coll11/id/29.

In honor of Constitution Day, the State Archives of North Carolina is presenting public programs at the Historic Henderson County Courthouse on September 18, 2017.  The program will be given at 9 AM, 10:30 AM, and 1 PM.  It will feature the odyssey of North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights from North Carolina’s role in the development of the document through its theft after the Civil War and recovery almost 140 years later.

The historic courthouse is located at 1 Historic Courthouse Square on Main Street in Hendersonville.

The event is free and open to the public.

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“What Does That Say?” Series, Pt. III

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 third 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, and the second post of this series on writing styles.

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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)

Mount Olive Tribune newspaper addition

An ongoing project in the Imaging Unit is the Wayne County Mount Olive Tribune newspaper (call number MouT-#). The unit has been imaging the newspaper for microfilming. There were a few early 1906 issues but the bulk of the material runs from that year through 2014 – and the imaging project is working in 1982. The first 65 reels of microfilm have been completed.
Recently the donor organization, Wayne County public libraries, purchased duplicates of all 65 reels of microfilm produced to date. Researchers who wish to use the paper for those periods – 1906-1981 – should contact that library.
The Archives usually does not add newspapers through such a current date, however, we will be adding 33 reels of the microfilm through the end of the year 1962 to the reading room. These reels should be available to researchers after the 2017 Labor Day holiday.
The Imaging Unit continues to microfilm the newspaper. We estimate that the project will be completed in May 2018. The whole series will be available at the Wayne County library after that date.
Researchers who wish to purchase copies of microfilm – Diazo or digital formats – can contact Chris Meekins at chris.meekins@ncdcr.gov for more information.

New Digital Collection: The General Assembly Session Records

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Session of November-December, 1768: Lower House Papers, messages to and from Governor Tryon. Available online through the NC Digital Collections.

The General Assembly Session Records collection is now available online via the North Carolina Digital Collections. This collection features records of early North Carolina state legislatures from the State Archives of North Carolina. The documents consist of bills and resolutions, petitions, committee reports, messages from the governor, legislative messages, tally sheets, election certificates, resignations, and other material related to the work of each session of the General Assembly. The physical collection includes items from 1709 through 1999, but the digital collection will focus on the earliest materials. This digital collection is currently in progress, and more items will be added as they are digitized. Check back for future updates on the status of this project.

While the first official assembly was said to occur around 1665, it wasn’t until 1776 that the first state constitution was ratified by the “representatives of the freemen” and the General Assembly was given full legislative power as well as the authority to choose all state executive and judicial officers. Several amendments have been made to the state’s constitution over time, which has altered the powers and structure of the General Assembly.

For more information on the history of the North Carolina General Assembly, please check out these NCpedia pages developed by the State Library:

Other resources:

For more information on the General Assembly Session Records collection, please search our MARS catalog. Another digital collection of interest includes the Federal State and Constitutional Materials, which highlight North Carolina government’s role in the ratification of federal amendments and its own internal efforts to protect the rights of its citizens dating back to the Declaration of Rights in 1776.

A New Look for the State Archives Website

Carolina Transfer and Storage Company Moving Van, 1936

Carolina Transfer and Storage Company Moving Van, 1936. Photo by Albert Barden (N_53_15_6390).

Changes are coming to the State Archives of North Carolina website! This summer our staff will begin working with IT professionals to get our website ready to move to a new platform. While we are moving content, you will see some changes to our current website including warning banners. While these changes may be an inconvenience, they will be temporary and we hope to have a new website to show you soon.

We will share news about our progress as we can – please bear with us in the meantime.

Lillian Exum Clement Stafford Papers, PC.2084

[This blog post was written by Fran Tracy-Walls, Private Manuscripts Archivist in the Special Collections Section.]

Announcement of Lillian Exum Clement Stafford Papers, PC.2084, and Tribute to Exum, the American South’s First Female State Representative, and to her Father

Exum and George Clement at in a field, Buncombe County, ca. 1916.

Exum and George Clement in a field, Buncombe County, ca. 1916.

I am very pleased to announce that the Lillian Exum Clement Stafford Papers, PC.2084, are now processed and available for research. These papers are particularly valued because Lillian, known within her family and by most others as Exum, has had a significant legacy as the first female state representative in North Carolina. Notably, she was also the first female legislator in the American South. Following her election in November 1920, Exum has often been quoted as telling a reporter, “I am by nature, very conservative, but I am firm in my convictions. I want to blaze a trail for other women. I know that years from now there will be many other women in politics, but you have to start a thing.” [News and Observer. Jan. 7, 1921].

Much has already been written about Exum, her life and public service. Naturally, a comprehensive history and documentation of her accomplishments goes far beyond the scope of this piece. Instead, I will narrow my focus to what has recently evoked my curiosity about who and what inspired her success. Since Father’s Day is celebrated this month, I thought it would be revealing to shed some light on Exum, alongside her father, George Washington Clement (ca. June 17, 1852–Dec. 1942). And thankfully, the papers do contain a few items that illustrate a strong father and daughter connection. Additionally, a study of the lives of George and his daughter suggests that both shared similar traits. These include very strong determination and a work ethic, along with convictions, faith, and ideals, such as dedication to family, church, and community–surely among the profound influences in her life.

Exum and George Clement at the intake of the North Fork of the Swannanoa River, ca. 1916

Exum and George Clement at the intake of the North Fork of the Swannanoa River, ca. 1916.

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