Category Archives: News

Document Facsimiles Relating to Blackbeard and the Queen Anne’s Revenge on Display at the State Archives of North Carolina

[This blog post comes from Donna E. Kelly, head of the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

A page of handwritten text of Court minutes for men accused of storing Blackbeard's booty.

Part of the General Court minutes for men accused of storing Blackbeard’s booty. Colonial Court Records. State Archives of North Carolina [call number: C.C.R. 103]

To commemorate the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s death, the State Archives of North Carolina is displaying several facsimiles of documents relating to his exploits along the coast, including his capture and death. The display, “Gone Out a Pirateing”: Blackbeard and the Queen Anne’s Revenge, is currently on display in the State Archives’ Search Room and will run through early October.

“Gone Out a Pirateing” features a 1709 map of North Carolina and pages from the Chowan General Court Papers and the Executive Council Journal, both dated 1719. They include descriptive testimony against Edward Thatch, otherwise known as Blackbeard. The display also includes photocopies of four documents from the British National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office [PRO]). They were obtained through the Colonial Records Project, an initiative in the 1960s to copy all documents pertaining to North Carolina that were filed in the PRO.

From September 18 through October 1, this small exhibit will be displayed on the second floor of the Archives and History/State Library Building (109 East Jones St., Raleigh). It will run Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. A digitized version of the document, with additional pages, is available for viewing 24/7 in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

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Treasures of Carolina: Photograph, 1910, Chase Ambler, M.D.

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.

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 Photograph, 1910, General Records,Appalachian National Park Association,Western Regional Archives

Chase Ambler, M.D., nature enthusiast from Asheville, stands on a mountain cliff in 1910. He remarked that his view was of an “unbroken forest canopy to the horizon.” Dr. Ambler, his associates and friends laid the foundation for the eventual development of national parks in the Southeast by establishing the Appalachian National Park Association. Efforts to establish park and forest reserves in the Southern Appalachian Mountains date from the 1880s, the push prompted from both the tourist industry and from the conservation movement, especially those concerned about flooding in deforested areas and destruction of scenic views. This photograph and other materials from the association are preserved at the Western Regional Archives in Asheville.

 

New Additions to African American Education Digital Collection, part 2

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

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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.

Registrar’s Intern: Chandler Foster

We have been fortunate this summer to have an intern to assist in the Registrar’s office at the State Archives of North Carolina. Chandler Foster, a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC-G), took time out of his summer to work on several projects pertaining to the older accession records within the office. Initially, he focused his attention on the filing of newer accession records pertaining to recent state agency and county transfers to the State Archives. Once that project was completed, Chandler reorganized the older accession records relating to the newspaper microfilm.

Chandler

Chandler also worked on rectifying one of the biggest challenges in the accession records, the separation of the accession records of the map collection into new and old completed accession sheets. The existing system prevented any quick determination of the copyright of a map for publication. Chandler took these separated accession records and merged them into a new unified filing system under the map classification codes. In addition, he also worked to clean up the filing of gubernatorial accession records within the Registrar’s office.

As the State Archives creates a repository for digital records stored onsite, it is necessary to determine the accession number of digital copies of maps stored in that repository. The accession numbers are used as the unique identifier for electronic file naming system. To assist in that work, Chandler reviewed the recently compiled map accession records generating a listing of accession numbers that can be now used for electronic file naming.

Chandler’s final project focused on creating an Excel spreadsheet for an accession ledger dated from 1946 to 1957. The accession records of the State Archives date back to 1903, and consist of documentation recorded on different formats such as commission reports, ledgers, card catalog, and an access database. Unfortunately, this makes a quick search across these varied formats challenging. Chandler started the transcription of one of the older accession ledgers, which will prove to be a boon to the staff as they search for older accession entries.

Chandler’s work has proved to be invaluable to the services of the Registrar’s Office at the State Archives of North Carolina. His dedication and willingness to tackle difficult projects improved the accessibility of a variety of accession records. We have been extremely fortunate to have Chandler to work with us this summer, and we wish him the best as he attends his final year at UNC-G.

New Additions to African American Education Digital Collection, part 1

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“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

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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.

Treasures of Carolina: Petition for Emancipation, 1788.

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.

Prior to the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery, enslaved persons could petition for emancipation; sometimes owners or others would petition for freedom on their behalf. The State Archives holds petitions for emancipation dating as early as the eighteenth century. Other documents were filed attesting to the freed status of persons of color. This petition reads,

“I James Elliot of the County of Perquimons [sic] State No Carolina having under my [sic] a Negro woman named Patience aged about twenty three years which I manumit & sett [sic] free and do for myself my heirs hereby Release unto her all my Right in trust or clame [sic] s to her person or any Estate she now have or shall here after acquire & witness where of I have here unto set my hand & seal this 24th day of the 6th month 1788.” James Elliot.

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Petition for Emancipation, Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Miscellaneous Records, Perquimans County, CR.077.928.2.01.

 

 

 

 

 

Processing the Bill Harris Papers

[This post was written by Taylor Wolford, a summer intern at the Outer Banks History Center.]

When I began working at the Outer Banks History Center, I was familiar with the name Bill Harris. In 2014, I was a high school student and budding historian in Dayton, Ohio researching the history of flight. My history teacher suggested that I contact local historians in North Carolina to expand the scope of my research. I researched local historians to contact, including Bill Harris, as word had gotten out among researchers regarding his extensive collection of local photographs, oral histories, and documents.

As a graduate student in Archives and Records Management, I am now processing the Bill Harris Papers at the Outer Banks History Center for future researchers. My internship involves processing the collection according to current archival standards and creating a descriptive online finding aid for the collection.

In order to process the collection, I developed groupings, known as series, for the organization of the documents. A notable series in this collection is the Wright Brothers First Flight, which is beneficial for researchers interested in a variety of related topics, including the construction of the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the Anniversary of the First Flight, and the First Flight Shrine. Bill worked for the Wright Brothers National Memorial as an expert on local history, and documents throughout the collection showcase his work with the National Park Service and First Flight Society. Additional topics covered by the collection include Dare County, N.C. and the U.S. Lifesaving Service Stations.

Bill Harris (right) at the Wright Brothers National Memorial for the unveiling of the Barnaby Plaque on December 17, 1963. The plaque was a gift from the Soaring Society of America.

Perhaps the most impressive series, however, is Local Genealogy. This series contains a large number of oral histories, documents, and photographs that highlight the juxtaposition of an evolving yet deeply rooted Outer Banks community. The Local Genealogy series poses the most difficulties in terms of organization, for local families often intermarried until it was challenging to separate the Baums from the Harrises. As locals tend to say, “Genealogy in the Outer Banks is not a tree, but a vine.” For those interested in researching family histories in the area, the collection provides many opportunities to answer questions and delve deeper into the familial vines that constitute the Outer Banks community.

After two months processing these documents, I can verify that this collection extends far beyond my initial research in aviation history. Bill spent his entire lifetime immersed in the unique culture of the Outer Banks, and the collection certainly reflects his knowledge of the area. As the collection covers a wide range of topics and geographic regions, I am confident that it will continue to contribute to the research community long after it is properly stored in boxes and folders.

Members of Bill Harris’s family explore his newly processed collection with Taylor’s help, July 2018.