Tag Archives: audio visual materials

Women’s History Month 2018 – Gertrude Weil

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

Gertrude Weil (11 December 1879 – 30 May 1971)


Suffragettes, including Gertrude Weil, far left, May Borden Graham, fourth from left, and Rowena Borden, far right, circa 1920. General Negative Collection, State Archives of NC. [source]

Humanitarian, feminist, and social activist Gertrude Weil was born in Goldsboro, NC, in 1879 into a prominent family of Jewish merchants.  Gertrude Weil attended local public schools before enrolling at Horace Mann for secondary education.  While at Mann she became friends with teacher Margaret Stanton Lawrence, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the founders of the woman’s suffrage movement.  Already drawn to public service and philanthropy by the example of her mother, Mina Rosenthal Weil, Gertrude was inspired in part by her associations with Lawrence and Staunton to dedicate her considerable energies to the fight for gender equality and later racial equality. Continue reading

Father of Modern Yo-Yo Visits Raleigh

[This blog post was written by Ian F.G. Dunn, Processing Archivist, Special Collections Section, State Archives of North Carolina.]


Pedro Flores is seen second from left, closest to camera, with Raleigh city officials c. 1930,
N.53.17.520. Raleigh, NC. Albert Barden Collection. State Archives of NC.

Above, a group of city officials is seen posing with yo-yos on the steps of Raleigh City Hall around 1930. Among them? Pedro Flores, the Filipino immigrant responsible for the revival of the yo-yo. He is seen second from left, closest to the camera.

Many people associate the yo-yo with the 1940s and 50s, but it’s been around much longer. In fact, the oldest-known reference is painted upon a Greek vase dating to 500 B.C. The image on the vessel depicts a boy with his arm extended, his hand gripping a string with a dangling round object near his feet. The scene seems as anachronistic as, say, Abraham Lincoln fiddling with a smart phone.

But back to Flores: Although he never claimed to be the inventor of the yo-yo, he did own the patent for a modernized version. In 1928, he began manufacturing and marketing the toys. Months later, factories were up and running, churning out hundreds of thousands of yo-yos every day. Competitions were held all over the country, many featuring Flores himself. Nearly overnight, the toy became a sensation—so much so, it was riling up some of the curmudgeons in town. In October 1929. The News and Observer printed a particularly colorful tirade in their Views and Observations section,

“I ain’t exactly intolerant,” declared Tom Robertson of Chatham county, “and I take considerable pride in the fact that I’ve learned to pass a grown man wearing short pants without even turning my head, much less insulting him, but this here Yo-Yo business is just a little too much for me. I’m gettin’ afraid to come to Raleigh any more for fear my pent-up passions will bust loose and cause me to kick the daylights out of the next so-called citizen I see spinnin’ one of them little tops. I’m a lifelong democrat and up till now I never doubted my democracy but darned if I believe that a 21-year-old person who plays with one of them things in pubic has got any business being allowed to vote. And besides, I can’t get the hang of the dang things, anyhow.”

In late 1929, Donald Duncan bought the Flores Corporation. So, only a month after the 1929 stock market crash, Flores found himself flush with money. This new wealth enabled him to concentrate on what he loved to do—promoting the toy and attending yo-yo contests. This photograph was probably taken as he passed through Raleigh on one of his yo-yo competition tours. The faces in the group stare forward, alight with the novelty and frivolity of this little toy during a heavy time of unrest and worry.

The yo-yo has since continued to delight and distract people of all ages and in 1999 was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

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.

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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.

Home Movie Day 2017

[This announcement comes from Kim Andersen, Audio Visual Materials Archivist in the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Attendees watching a Home Movie Day eventWhat hidden treasures lie in those old home movies that you have in the closet? Come to Home Movie Day and find out the value of these unique cultural and historical documents and how to save them for future generations. Spend the afternoon watching old films and playing Home Movie Day bingo. Go home with prizes and get a free digital transfer of your screened film!

Raleigh Home Movie Day

Brought to you by A/V Geeks, NCSU Film Studies, and State Archives of North Carolina.


Saturday October 21, 2017

1pm 4pm

Free and Open to the Public



State Archives of North Carolina in downtown Raleigh.

109 East Jones Street, First Floor Auditorium.

Free & easy parking in lot across the street or street parking.

For more information, see our flyer: 2017HMDFlier

A film being played during Home Movie DayWhat is Home Movie Day?

Home Movie Day was started in 2002 as a worldwide celebration of amateur home movies, during which people in cities and towns all over would get to meet local film archivists, find out about the long-term benefits of film versus video and digital media, and – most importantly – get to watch those old family films! Home movies are an essential record of our past, and they are among the most authoritative documents of times gone by.

How Can People Participate?

It’s simple: rifle through your attics, dig through your closets, call Grandma, and discover your family’s home movies (8mm, Super8mm, 16mm, Video8, or VHS). Then come on down to the State Archives with up to two old reels or video tapes, and we will screen at least one of them for you and the audience to enjoy! Point out people and places you recognize! As a BONUS, you’ll later get a digital transfer (downloadable file e-mailed to you or DVD mailed to you) of the home movie that you shared with us on the screen.  If you don’t have any home movies of your own, come to enjoy the memories your neighbors bring. It’s fun and educational! Raleigh HMD will also be featuring Home Movie Day Bingo with prizes for the WHOLE FAMILY!

A Brief History

Home Movie Day was started by a group of film archivists concerned about what would happen to all the home movies shot on film during the 20th century. They knew many people out there have boxes full of family memories that they’ve never seen for lack of a projector, or fears that the films were too fragile to be viewed again. They also knew that many people were having their amateur films transferred to videotape or DVD, with the mistaken idea that their new digital copies would last forever and the “obsolete” films could be discarded. Original films can long outlast any film or video transfer and are an important part of our cultural history! For more information about the other Home Movie Days around the world, visit the Home Movie Day site http://www.homemovieday.com/.


Skip Elsheimer, A/V Geeks, skip@avgeeks.com, 919-247-7752;
Kim Andersen, Audiovisual Materials, State Archives of North Carolina, kim.andersen@ncdcr.gov, 919-807-7311; Devin Orgeron, NCSU Film Studies, devin_orgeron@ncsu.edu, 919-802-5026

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)

Fund the work of Raleigh’s Photo History Detective, Karl Larson

[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 Karl LarsonThe State Archives of North Carolina collects photographs as an important and popular part of the Archives’ mission. Proper identification is key to their accessibility and usefulness. A significant number of the photographs in our collections are only marginally labeled, and some are completely unknown. We are raising money to fund the work of local historian Karl Larson, who is instrumental in our researching and identifying the unidentified photographs in our holdings.

Karl is an expert on the history of Raleigh, especially the built environment. He has a unique knowledge base that is perfectly suited to identifying photos in two of the largest and most valuable collections here in the State Archives—the Albert Barden Photo Collection and The News & Observer (N&O) Negatives. Both of these collections are heavily populated with Raleigh and Raleigh-related images but arrived to the State Archives with sparse or nonexistent descriptions.

There is no appropriated funding for Karl’s work. For many months he has graciously continued to work as a volunteer; however, that is not a sustainable situation long-term for him or for us. The Friends of the Archives, the State Archives of North Carolina’s support foundation, is seeking to raise $9,000, which will fund his position for an entire year!

Please help us continue this work by making a donation today!

Indiegogo logo

Women’s History Month: Carolista Baum

[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 Carolista Baum from the files of the News & Observer, Raleigh, NC

Call number: NO_4710_CarolistaBaum_Fr11. From the N&O negative collection, State Archives of North Carolina; Raleigh, NC. Photo copyrighted by the Raleigh News and Observer. Illegal to use without express permission from the N&O.

Meet Carolista Baum, the woman credited with saving Jockey’s Ridge—the largest natural sand dune on the east coast. Carolista Baum was moved to activism when her children alerted her of construction equipment taking sand from the dune.  She simply walked out and sat down in front of the bulldozer, refusing to move. Baum then started a local campaign that included protests and fundraising that aimed to preserve the natural landmark for generations to come. Her efforts, bolstered by community support, were eventually successful in 1973 when the Division of Parks and Recreation decided to preserve the area as a state park which opened in 1975.

A film documenting her campaign and the community effort to save Jockeys’ Ridge was made in 1976 by then UNC-CH film student Ron Hagell – Jockey’s Ridge for All the People, 1976 [MPF.116]

Thank you, Carolista Baum!