Category Archives: Special Collections

New Digital Collection: Travel Perspectives

PC_2064_Stewart_1923_106

Stewart Family Ledger and Scrapbook, available online through the NC Digital Collections.

The Travel Perspectives collection is now available online via the North Carolina Digital Collections. This collection features narratives and images of tourism as experienced by North Carolinians, found within the holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina. These documents consist of letters, scrapbooks, journals, photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, and other material related to the representation of the creator’s travels and experiences. The collection consists of items dating primarily from the 1850s through the 1950s, representing the first significant wave of mass tourism in which North Carolinians participated.

For more information on topics related to this collection, please check out this NCpedia page developed by the State Library:

Other resources:

Another digital collection of interest includes the Historic North Carolina Travel and Tourism Photos Project, which includes a series of photos, originally used in advertising campaigns to market the state as a travel destination, produced between 1929 and 1970 by the Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division.

Advertisements

Champney Sketches Added to NC Digital Collections

We are constantly adding new materials to the North Carolina Digital Collections, but one recent addition of note includes the Civil War sketches of soldier and artist, Edwin G. Champney, from the Outer Banks History Center.

OBHC_33GRF_104_10

Juniper Bay, Hyde County, N.C. Civil War sketches by Edwin G. Champney, Civil War Collection, NC Digital Collections

This collection includes sixty unpublished pen-and-ink sketchbook drawings of coastal North Carolina between 1862-1863 illustrated by soldier and artist, Edwin G. Champney (1843-1899). Champney was a native Bostonian and Union soldier. Champney enlisted as a private in the 5th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Company G at the time he sketched the drawings. He arrived in Eastern North Carolina in October 1862 and took part in the Goldsboro Expedition. Champney was stationed at Cape Hatteras from February 23, 1863 until the close of his North Carolina tour on June 22, 1863. The original artwork include scenes showing landmarks, landscapes, and Union military activity from or in the vicinity of Hatteras Island, New Bern, Kinston, Plymouth, and Hyde County. The sketchbook was donated to the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo, which is the permanent home for the drawings.

These materials are now part of the Civil War Collection in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

New Camp Butner German POW Collections Available

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

German prisoner of war postcard from World War IIThe Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina is excited to announce the availability of two new collections documenting German prisoners of war (POWs) and one Italian POW at Camp Butner, N. C., during World War II. By the end of 1943, nearly 50,000 Italian POWs were held in 27 camps in 23 states, including at Camp Butner in North Carolina. German POWs would come to Camp Butner by the fall of 1943 after Rommel’s defeat in North Africa created a large number of German war prisoners. The POWs at Camp Butner built various structures, including a church, and had their own camp newsletter in German entitled Lager Fackel. Many of the POWs worked in small satellite camps throughout central North Carolina, being contracted out to farmers and other businesses for home front work.

Letter from German prisoner of war during World War II.The Camp Butner POW Correspondence Collection is composed of seventeen letters and postcards written by one Italian and four German prisoners of war (POWs) who were imprisoned at Camp Butner, N.C., from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. The correspondence is written in Italian and German, respectively, and is not yet translated. The bulk of the correspondence was written by Werner Trötschel and Friedrich Vodak of Germany. Trötschel’s correspondence includes letters and postcards from when he was initially a POW at Fort Bragg, N.C., before he was assigned long-term to Camp Butner. The collection is one of the largest-known groups of Camp Butner POW correspondence in North Carolina.

Another new collection is composed of one original 20-page issue of the German-language POW newsletter Lager Fackel (or “Camp Torch” in English), created by German POWs imprisoned at Camp Butner, N.C., during World War II. The newsletter was printed between 1945 and 1946. This issue is Volume 2, Issue 9, dated February 1946. It was owned and read by German POW Ernst Lüers while he was imprisoned at Camp Butner in 1946. The newsletter was subtitled in German “Wochenzeitung der deutschen Kriegsgefangenen des Lagers Butner und seiner Nebenlager,” translated as “Weekly newspaper of German prisoners of war Camp Butner and its subcamps.” The newsletter had such columns (loosely translated into English) as “From the Historical Consciousness,” “Press Review,” “Reconstruction in Germany,” “Free Time Design,” “The Green Light,” Sports at Camp Butner,” Letter Cold [?],” and “Riddle Corner.”

Engaging Students in North Carolina’s Coastal History

[This blog post was written by Samantha Crisp, Director of the Outer Banks History Center.]

On November 14th, the Outer Banks History Center (OBHC) was invited to have a staff member present at a meeting of the PATH OBX homeschool support group to help the group’s students learn about local history. This session served as preparation for a presentation that each student gave at the end of the month on a local history topic of their choice. PATH offers the opportunity for homeschool students in the Outer Banks to gather once a week for a full class session with their peers, during which time students socialize, complete assignments, participate in lessons, and hear from local speakers. Classes are broken into four groups: kindergartners, 1st-3rd graders, 4th-6th graders, and 7th-12th graders.

PATH4-6class2

PATH students create postcards to send to friends and relatives.

I planned a unique session for each group designed to help the students learn about working with primary sources and to introduce them to the OBHC’s holdings, which include manuscripts, archival materials, and published resources documenting the history of the North Carolina coast. I opened each session by asking the students if they’d ever been to an archives or met an archivist. All four groups indicated that they hadn’t, so I followed up by asking them to talk about museums or libraries they had been to. Every student had either been to a library or a museum (or both), so we discussed the ways in which archives are related to—and different from—museums and libraries.

I then passed around several examples of material from our collection to demonstrate the kinds of sources they could encounter if they visited the OBHC. First was an “old” book—an 1856 edition of Joseph Esquemeling’s History of the Buccaneers of America. We talked about how we could tell it was old (worn bindings, browning pages, foxing, and historical typefaces). Then we looked at a letter written by a local man in 1867. I asked the students how they could tell it was a letter, and several of them noted distinct physical features (an address at the top and on the back, opening with “Dear…”, and creases indicating that it had been folded up). I also asked them if they could read it, and most of them stated that they couldn’t, but they did recognize that it was written in cursive. We discussed what it would have been like to live in an isolated community like the Outer Banks during a time when the only real means of communication would have been writing letters. I then showed them a roughly 100-year-old photograph of a group of local children gathered around a horse and cart. We talked about how a researcher could date the photograph, and several of them pointed out the children’s clothing, hairstyles, and the fact that we don’t typically use horses for transportation. Finally, we looked at an 18th-century map of the Carolina coast and talked about some of the interesting things they noticed (such as a lack of roads, fewer town names, disproportionate geography, and the fact that nothing beyond the Appalachians was mapped). Older students also looked at a current map of the same area and discussed similarities and differences between the two maps.

Carolina Newly Described by John Seller, 1682. MC_150_1682s.

Each group then participated in a project related to a specific local history topic. The kindergartners learned about pirates. We read a pirate story written by a local author, and then I passed around a famous illustration of Blackbeard from A General History of Pyrates (1724) by Capt. Charles Johnson (likely a pseudonym for Daniel Defoe). I asked them to point to things in the picture that indicated we were looking at a pirate, such as his ships, a sword, guns, and clothing. We talked about who Blackbeard was, and ended by using an online pirate name generator to make nametags with our “pirate names.”

The 1st-3rd graders learned about the Wright Brothers. We talked about the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, and several students shared things they’d learned when visiting the memorial. I told them about the Wright Brothers’ childhood and their famous first flight in 1903. We then looked at a picture of the Wright Flyer beside a picture of a modern airplane and talked about the similarities and differences. At the end of the class, each student was tasked with “engineering” a paper airplane, and we held a paper airplane contest. I asked those students whose planes didn’t fly very far to think about how the Wright Brothers might have felt when their early designs failed, and how they might have dealt with those problems.

Wright Flyer during the first flight, 1903.

The 4th-6th graders talked in detail about the process of sending letters. I asked if any of them had ever gotten a letter, and most of them responded that they had received Christmas cards and birthday cards. We talked about how communication has changed over time from being done entirely through the mail to being done on computers, social media, and telephones, reserving letters for special occasions. We talked about postcards, and I passed out vintage Outer Banks postcards (duplicates from our collection), which they filled out and addressed to a friend or relative to drop in the mail after class.

The older students talked in more detail about the local history topics they were interested in researching and the relevant materials that might be available at the OBHC for them to use. We then worked as a group to analyze a primary source document—a government memo related to “Project Nutmeg,” a military operation designed to determine whether the Outer Banks was a suitable location for nuclear tests in the 1940s. We talked about how to evaluate and interpret the document, where to look for more information on Project Nutmeg, and how the students would have felt if they had lived on the Outer Banks in the 1940s and learned that it was being considered as a nuclear test site.

Overall, it was a great experience for the students, their parents, and myself. Several students and parents indicated they’d like to come to the OBHC to work on their projects, and the older students asked for more information on how they could submit their projects to this year’s National History Day competition. Several students also approached me after class to tell me about their topics and ask me questions about the OBHC. In the weeks that followed, about a dozen students visited the OBHC to conduct research using our collections.

This session was a reminder that repositories like the OBHC are uniquely situated to serve as laboratories for young people to engage with historical inquiry, research, and hands-on work with unique pieces of documentary evidence of their ancestors’ lived experiences. Engaging with primary sources helps students become more emotionally connected to their personal history and creates a stronger sense of belonging and identification with the communities in which they grow up. I hope to work with many more students like these in the future.

The Samuel Patrick and Ella McGuire Family Papers, PC.2061

[This blog post was written by Fran Tracy-Walls, Private Manuscripts Archivist, Special Collections Section, State Archives of North Carolina.]

Ella McGuire or her mother, Martha Miller Buffaloe (ca. 1837–1916)

Ella McGuire or her mother, Martha Miller Buffaloe (ca. 1837–1916)

An essential goal of Private Collections is to add to its holdings the papers of minorities and under-represented groups. It is a pleasure to recognize a set of such papers available for research in the Search Room: the private papers of Samuel Patrick and Ella [née Buffaloe] McGuire (PC.2061). Additionally, this collection serves various valuable purposes, including providing a unique educational resource for students, researchers, and the wider community.

Patrick and Eleanor (Ella) Buffaloe McGuire, both born into slavery, were married around 1881. Although not the first settlers after the Civil War in the Oberlin Village settlement outside Raleigh, the McGuires were surely part of the growth of this successful community. Increasingly, the area is recognized for its founding by former slaves who came to own their own homes and achieve middle class status. Patrick (1853–1906), born probably in Chapel Hill, Orange County, could read and write. This was true also of Ella (1861–1946), born to James and Martha Miller Buffaloe, natives of Wake County. Sometime during the Reconstruction Era, Patrick moved to Wake County and worked first as a laborer, then for the Gaston & Raleigh Railroad, and eventually as a depot freight driver for the Seaboard Airline Railroad.

Continue reading

Veterans Day

Veteran of Rockingham County, Levoir Lindsey, his wife, Viola, and daughter, Betty.

Veteran of Rockingham County, Levoir Lindsey, his wife, Viola, and daughter, Betty. From the Allen, Carter, Gwynn Family Papers and Albums (PC.2154).

The State Archives is closed Nov. 10-12 for the Veterans Day holiday. But many of our military related resources are available online any time. Here are some of the most recent additions:

World War I – As part of the statewide World War I centennial commemoration, we’ve digitized many materials from our Military Collection related to North Carolina’s involvement, including letters, posters, photographs, and maps.

Troop Returns – This collection is composed of troop returns from the Military Collection. Troop Returns (1747-1893) include lists, returns, records of prisoners, and records of draftees. The majority of this collection is related to the Revolutionary War.

Allen, Carter, Gwynn Family Papers and Albums (PC.2154) – These papers, including several albums, were compiled by Joann Marie Davis, whose forebears lived in the 19th and 20th centuries primarily in Stoneville (Shiloh) and Mayo Township, Rockingham County.

Arthur W. Matthews Jr. Papers (WWII 78, WWII Papers, Military Collection) – The Arthur W. Matthews Jr. Papers is composed of 68 photographs and a photocopied wartime diary, documenting the World War II military service of Arthur W. Matthews Jr. of Edgecombe and Wilson Counties, N.C., from April 1944 to February 1946. He served in Company A, 1258th Engineer Combat Battalion, U.S. Army, and later Headquarters Company, 376th Infantry Regiment. The majority of his service involved driving a truck in his unit as the 1258th Engineer Combat Battalion traveled through France, Belgium, and southern Germany, repairing or constructing bridges, constructing or clear mines from roads, building barracks to house displaced peoples in Germany, and guarding and transporting German POWs.

Photo of Col. Richard Hunt in an airplane

Snapshot of 1st Lt. Richard M. Hunt pictured in the cockpit of his U.S. Marine Corps Piper Cub airplane, parked on an island in the Pacific Theater. From Richard M. Hunt Papers (MMP 1, Miscellaneous Military Papers, Military Collection)

Richard M. Hunt Papers (MMP 1, Miscellaneous Military Papers, Military Collection) – The Richard M. Hunt Papers documents the U.S. Marine Corps service of Colonel Richard M. Hunt, from his entrance into the Marine Corps in 1942 during World War II as a Lieutenant, through his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1969. Hunt served during the 1960s in the following non-combat military capacities: as the Assistant U.S. Naval Attaché at the American Embassy in Paris, France, from 1960 to October 1963; as the U.S. Marine Corps Congressional Liaison Officer in the Office of the Legislative Liaison from November 1963 to February 1966; and as the Military Aide to Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey from 1967 to January 1969.

Lawrence E. Allen Sr. Papers (CLDW 23, Cold War Papers, Military Collection) – The Lawrence E. Allen Sr. Papers is composed of photographs, military service records and certificate, postcards, military ID and membership cards, a partial U.S. Navy ship cruise book, and miscellaneous materials, documenting the U.S. Navy service of Lawrence E. Allen of Raleigh, N.C., from 1955 to 1958 on active duty, and to 1961 on reserve duty.

Brimley Collection Online

[This blog post was written by Kim Andersen, Audio Visual Materials Archivist in the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Photo of H.H. BrimleyThe State Archives is thrilled to announce the debut of our Brimley Collection online.  The Brimley Collection is one of our oldest and most interesting collections and thanks to the dedicated hard work of Ian Dunn of the Audiovisual Materials Unit and Olivia Carlisle and Francesca Evans of the Digital Services Branch, it is available in its entirety on the Web.  The photographs in this collection document many aspects of life in the state in the pivotal era between the late 19th and mid-20th century and include people both common and renowned, scenes of cities and towns, rural landscapes and farms, agricultural activities and products of every variety found in North Carolina, industrial concerns, and much much more.

The Brimley Collection is named for Herbert Hutchinson Brimley, the first leader of The North Carolina State Museum of Natural History.  That museum was at the time an all-encompassing state museum that included history, art, and science.  It later evolved and morphed into separate entities – the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, the State Archives of North Carolina, the NC Museum of History, and the NC Museum of Art – all of which operate under an umbrella governance and exist today.

Herbert Hutchinson Brimley was born in Willington, Bedfordshire, England, on March 7, 1861, the son of Joseph and Harriet Brimley.  He received his formal education at the Bedford County School in Elstow, England, where he excelled in mathematics and sports. In December 1880, he immigrated with his parents and siblings to Raleigh, NC.  Interestingly, young H. H. Brimley’s first night in the city of Raleigh was spent in the National Hotel, the building bought the following year for the new home of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture which would become the site of Brimley’s work for the next 60 years.

Following unsuccessful attempts at farming and teaching, Brimley and his brother Clement opened a taxidermy and biological supply company in Raleigh, where they quickly gained an international reputation as the leading naturalists of their day in the South.  In 1884 the North Carolina Department of Agriculture commissioned Brimley to prepare a display of waterfowl and fishes for the State Centennial Exposition, and in 1892–93 he supervised the North Carolina zoological exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair.  In 1893 the Department of Agriculture designated two rooms in its office building as the North Carolina State Museum, for the permanent display of the exhibits assembled by Brimley, and on April 15, 1895, Brimley was appointed curator of the new museum, a post he held until 1928, when his title was changed to director. He served as director until 1937, when he became curator of zoology for the museum, a position he retained until his death. During the fifty years of his leadership, the institution grew into one of the best-known state museums in the United States, containing an outstanding collection of animal, plant, and geological specimens from the southeastern United States.

Two photographers taking photosDuring his years of service with the State Museum, Brimley assembled North Carolina displays at various national and international expositions. In preparation of his exhibits for the various shows, he traveled and took photographs throughout North Carolina to capture scenes for display in his exhibits.  H.H. Brimley took the majority of the photographs in the collection himself, and he was involved in all aspects of the work in which the photographs were used. The photographs in the Brimley Collection were used in the state’s exhibits at numerous expositions and shows as well as within the museum itself and in state publications over the years.

When Brimley died in 1946 at the age of 85, he was still an active state employee and after his death, the photographs remained at the Museum of Natural History for in-house use by the museum staff.  In 1962 with space at a premium and with the knowledge that the collection was too valuable and parts of it too old to continue to be used as an active reference file, the Museum of Natural History transferred the collection to the State Archives for permanent preservation.  Archivists created a detailed finding aid cataloging the collection at that time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This collection is arranged alphabetically by topic, beginning with Agriculture and ending with World War II.  At the end are two boxes of unidentified lantern slides (1900s-1920s), seven folders containing correspondence and miscellaneous items (1898-1979), and several boxes of oversized prints. Most of the photographs in the collection are black and white, but a few of the oversized prints are hand colored.  Description of the collection is to the folder level under each subject heading.

We invite you to enjoy this great body of work, and please let us know what questions you may have.