Category Archives: News

Senate Audio 1977-1978

senateThe Senate Audio digitization project has begun a new chapter. Current audio holdings cover the years 2006 through 2012. We recently began digitizing the State Archives’ extensive Senate Audio cassette collection, starting with the 1977-1978 biennium. Cassette recording of senate sessions started on the 79th day of the 1977 session. Currently, recordings available on Internet Archive (linked from our digital Senate Audio collection) run from May 2, 1977-June 16, 1978. The collection continues to grow as we start the 1979-1980 biennium.

Recordings of years not yet digitized are held at the State Archives and made available through a fee-based, digitization-on-demand basis. Additional information regarding fees can be found here. More Senate-related materials found in the Archives include the Senate Clerk’s Office journals (SR 66.28) which provide the daily minutes from 1777 through 1981.

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Digital Services Section New Staff Introduction Series

Since the start of 2017, several new staff members have joined the Digital Services Section. All of us will be making regular blog posts on History For All the People, so we thought it would be nice for each of us to introduce ourselves, describe our roles in DSS, and preview the projects we’re working on.

Introducing Anna Spencer: Summer Intern in the Digital Services Section

Hi! I’m an intern with the digital services section through the State of NC Internship. The State of NC Internship is run by the NC Council for Women & Youth Involvement. The internship provides an opportunity for students to gain experience in state government workplaces, by placing students in a variety of positions across the state for a 10-week period.

I am currently a graduate student in the dual degree archival program between NC State and UNC. I will be at State until this spring working on a Master’s in Public History, and in the spring I will go to UNC to start working towards a Master’s in Library Sciences. I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in History with a concentration in Public History in May 2017 from Appalachian State University. While at Appalachian State, I worked at a historic house and community center, which provided many opportunities to interact with the public and learn more about local history. This internship is my first professional foray into archives, and I have been enjoying it immensely.

Social Hour Hostess Alabama Jeanes Teacher

The only know instance of a peanut in the State Archives collections.

I am working with the African American Education Digital Collection, digitizing files from the Division of Negro Education. So far, I have digitized the correspondence of the Director of the Division of Cooperation in Education and Race Relations and the papers of the State Supervisor of Elementary Education. It has been very interesting to see how race relations changed during the mid-twentieth century, as well as seeing how involved universities in the Triangle were in these efforts. My research focus is postwar African American urban history, so learning more about the history of African American education in the state has given me new perspectives to consider as a researcher.

Treasures of Carolina: Bill of Rights

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.

Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights, 1989. Vault Collection

Long before the State Archives of North Carolina existed, the Secretary of State kept important government documents in the State Capitol building in Raleigh. Among them was North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights, drafted by federal clerks in 1789 and given to each of the original thirteen colonies for ratification.  The document remained in the State Capitols secure and safe for more than eighty years.

In April 1865, Union troops occupying Raleigh were encamped around the State Capitol grounds and building. Against orders, Union soldiers looted whatever they wanted, one returning home to Tippecanoe, Ohio with the Bill of Rights in hand, selling it to Charles A. Shotwell who lived in the same Ohio county.

By 1897, North Carolina became aware of the theft through a Raleigh News and Observer article that had been picked up from the Indianapolis News, where Shotwell was living at the time. Through both secretaries of state, North Carolina tried to reclaim its property—as a public record the document belonged to the state—but Shotwell refused to give it up without payment and disappeared. Another attempt was made to recover the document in 1925 when it was offered for sale by a Pennsylvania attorney on behalf of a client who remained unidentified.

Wayne Pratt, Inc. purchased North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights from two of Shotwell’s descendants in 2000 for $200,000. In the meantime, several experts had authenticated the document as the copy given to the state of North Carolina and Pratt was well aware of the findings. A couple of years later North Carolina was offered the opportunity to purchase the piece. Again, the state refused to buy its own property but later acquiesced. Unbeknownst to the seller, his agents, and attorneys, the FBI had orchestrated a sophisticated sting operation whereby North Carolina would go through the motions of offering $4 million for the manuscript. Once the check “cleared” electronically and the Bill of Rights was brought to the table, federal agencies seized the document and it remained in federal custody. After a two-year court battle, during which time a federal judge ruled that the manuscript was indeed a public record belonging to the state, North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights returned home.

More Historical Governors’ Papers Added to North Carolina Digital Collections

William Tryon Proclamation

A proclamation from colonial North Carolina William Tryon.

The Historical Governors’ Papers collection has been going strong. In the past year, we transferred papers from North Carolina’s colonial governors into the collection. Those were originally housed in MARS, the online catalog for the State Archives, but are now available in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

North Carolina’s colonial governors were appointed by the King of England to administer his interests in the colonies. The documents record mainly the day-to-day workings of government through 1775, after Josiah Martin had fled his post in New Bern. The papers, mainly correspondence, shed light on events both large and small that took place during each man’s tenure.

The holdings are not exhaustive as papers were considered to belong to each individual, not to the government as a whole. We have documents from the following governors:

We’ve also added papers for Governors Benjamin Smith and William Hawkins. Smith was elected as Governor for one term (1810-1811), he had a benevolent nature and was well-educated, but also had an irascible disposition, and chose to settle disputes by duel. His more frequent opponents were blood kin or political antagonists, and he was twice wounded in these encounters.

Hawkins was elected as Governor for three terms (1811-1814), he served as chief executive during the War of 1812. His third and last term as governor ended only weeks prior to the war’s conclusion.

Finally, we’ve recently begun adding papers for Governor Thomas W. Bickett. Bickett was North Carolina’s governor from 1917-1921. As wartime governor, Bickett cooperated fully with the national authorities during the crisis of 1917-18. Bickett’s initiatives met remarkable success with the legislature adopting forty of forty-eight proposals during his term. The parole system was overhauled and the legislature, with the Governor’s endorsement, approved a $3 million bond program to permit expansion at state colleges and universities and increased funds for the charitable institutions. Tax reform measures modernized the state’s revenue structure.

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:

https://archives.ncdcr.gov/researchers/services/academic-transcripts-defunct-colleges

Housing 220 Drawings from a Black Mountain College Student

[This post was written by Kate Vukovich, conservation technician for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Don Page, a young man wearing glasses, sits at a vertical loom, weaving. The picture is taken through the warp threads of the loom.

Figure 1. Don Page, a young man wearing glasses, sits at a vertical loom, weaving. The picture is taken through the warp threads of the loom.

Black Mountain College was an experimental liberal arts college in Western North Carolina, active from 1933-1957. One of its students was Don Page, who went on to become an architect, graphic and interior designer, and artist. The Western Regional Archives (WRA) has a collection (PC.1924) of his drawing studies and textile designs from his time at Black Mountain College, 1936-1942. These drawings are done in mixed media, mostly on paper (with a couple on wood) and were stored in folders organized by genre, but needed new housing to stabilize them. Because many of the materials used to make the drawings are friable—pencil, ink, charcoal, pastels, and other similar media—placing many drawings together without interleaving had led to smudging and media wearing off onto adjacent drawings.

A collage of six images of varying sizes and genres from the collection. Three are studies of violins, two are flowers, and one is an abstract color study on wood.

Figure 2. A collage of six images of varying sizes and genres from the collection. Three are studies of violins, two are flowers, and one is an abstract color study on wood.

Ultimately, we decided on making sink mats to accommodate groups of 5-10 drawings, which remained sorted by genre as they had originally been. Sink mats are a type of mat

Figure 2. A collage of six images of varying sizes and genres from the collection. Three are studies of violins, two are flowers, and one is an abstract color study on wood.

Figure 2. A collage of six images of varying sizes and genres from the collection. Three are studies of violins, two are flowers, and one is an abstract color study on wood.

that allows for the pressure of the cover of the mat, and anything that might rest on top of the mat, to rest on the material of the mat and rather than on the items themselves. It also allows for storing multiple items or thicker works than a traditional window mat.   Because many of these drawings were made with friable media like charcoal and pencil, it was important to make sure that they wouldn’t wear on each other any more than they already had. We chose to use PhotoTex paper as interleaving between each drawing. PhotoTex is designed to be ultra-smooth to not abrade photographic materials, textiles, and works on paper. Its smoothness means there’s little friction for it to pick up friable media.

We constructed the mats out of archival quality corrugated cardboard, making hinges on two sides so the drawings could be removed easily, and making a cover out of heavyweight cardstock. This was hinged to the mat with linen tape. While the mat base and cover were cut to a standard size, each mat is custom-fit to the drawings within (you can see the differences in the sizes of the drawings in the images below!).

Figure 4. Two completed sink mats of the same size are placed next to each other. One holds a small set of drawings (about 9 inches by 12 inches) and the other a large set (about 19 by 23 inches), demonstrating how mats are custom built to different drawings.

Figure 4. Two completed sink mats of the same size are placed next to each other. One holds a small set of drawings (about 9 inches by 12 inches) and the other a large set (about 19 by 23 inches), demonstrating how mats are custom built to different drawings.

The completed mats—with interleaved drawings inside—are put in boxes for convenience and additional protection. Forty-eight sink mats were made for about 220 items.

Figure 5. Five boxes are stacked on a table. The top box’s lid is removed, so the contents (the completed sink mats) are visible. A ruler is included for scale: the boxes are 25 inches by 32 inches.

Figure 5. Five boxes are stacked on a table. The top box’s lid is removed, so the contents (the completed sink mats) are visible. A ruler is included for scale: the boxes are 25 inches by 32 inches.

The WRA finding aid for the Don Page Collection is here. If you want to learn more about Black Mountain College, check out the NCPedia article, the NC Archives Digital Black Mountain College Collection, and the WRA finding aids of the Black Mountain College collections.

JUNETEENTH IN NORTH CAROLINA: SEARCH ROOM EXHIBIT AND RELATED RESOURCES

by Alex Dowrey

This month, the exhibit case in our search room features records related to emancipation and Juneteenth celebrations in North Carolina. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of Texas slaves on June 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived to occupy Galveston, Texas and issued General Order Number Three. This occurred almost two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and is “considered the date when the last enslaved Americans were notified of their new legal status” as free Americans.[1] Although Juneteenth started as a Texas holiday, the celebration spread to other states including North Carolina.

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