Tag Archives: Digital Projects

New Collection in North Carolina Digital Collections

Good news for American Revolutionary War researchers and enthusiasts, a new collection has just been added to the North Carolina Digital Collections.

The new collection is called Governors’ Papers, Historical, and contains early North Carolina Governors’ correspondence, beginning in April 1777. We are introducing this collection with correspondence of North Carolina’s first two Governors, Richard Caswell and Abner Nash.

Richard Caswell was the first Governor of North Carolina under the United States Constitution of 1776. His first administration began in April 1777 and he was subsequently re-elected for three consecutive one year terms, the amount allowable under the Constitution at the time. For more information about Governor Caswell and his time as Governor of North Carolina see the online finding aid or read this article at the State Library’s NCPedia.

North Carolina’s second Governor was Abner Nash. His term as governor was from April 1780 through June 25, 1781. His term in office was a difficult time for the Southern states during the American Revolution. The British had gained a strong foothold in the South and depleted many of the state’s resources. For more about Abner Nash and his term as Governor of North Carolina see the online finding aid or read the article on him at NCPedia.

While compiling the metadata that is included in the Historical Governors’ papers digital collection, I was amazed at the historical significance that these documents have. The majority of these letters pertain to the founding of the United States government and the war effort during the American Revolution, including documents from the Continental Congress. There are many letters written by or to very prominent historical figures, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and John Adams just to name a few. There are also many letters from prominent North Carolina historical figures. I have included a list of many of these individuals and an accompanying NCpedia links at the end of this post for your perusal.

The addition of these documents to our online collection will enable educators, researchers and history lovers throughout our state to easily utilize primary source documents to teach and learn more about the American Revolution and the foundation of our government.

The NCpedia biographies of prominent North Carolinians found in the papers of Governors Caswell and Nash are listed below.
Ashe, John: http://ncpedia.org/biography/ashe-john
Ashe, Samuel: http://ncpedia.org/biography/ashe-samuel
Avery, Waighstill: http://ncpedia.org/biography/avery-waightstill
Blount, Jacob: http://ncpedia.org/biography/blount-jacob
Burke, Thomas: http://ncpedia.org/biography/burke-thomas
Clark, Thomas: http://ncpedia.org/biography/clark-thomas
Cornell, Samuel: http://ncpedia.org/biography/cornell-samuel
Cray, William, Sr.: http://ncpedia.org/biography/cray-william-sr
Davidson, William Lee,: http://ncpedia.org/biography/davidson-william-lee
Dry, William: http://ncpedia.org/biography/dry-william-iii
Gilchrist, Thomas: http://ncpedia.org/biography/gilchrist-thomas (Good story that goes with his name and this document)
Gillespie, James: http://ncpedia.org/biography/gillespie-james
Gorrell, Ralph: http://ncpedia.org/biography/gorrell-ralph
Gregory, Isaac: http://ncpedia.org/biography/gregory-isaac
Harget, Fredrick: http://ncpedia.org/biography/hargett-or-harget
Hinton, John: http://ncpedia.org/biography/hinton-john
Hooper, William: http://ncpedia.org/biography/hooper-william
Houston, William Churchill: http://ncpedia.org/biography/houston-william-churchill
Howe, Robert: http://ncpedia.org/biography/howe-robert
Iredell, James: http://ncpedia.org/biography/iredell-james-sr
Irwin, Henry: http://ncpedia.org/biography/irwin-henry
Jarvis, Thomas: http://ncpedia.org/biography/governors/jarvis-thomas
Johnston, William: http://ncpedia.org/biography/johnston-william
Jones, Allen: http://ncpedia.org/biography/jones-allen

From Theory to Practice: A Summer Internship at the State Archives of North Carolina

[This blog post was written by Callie Davis, a summer intern from Meredith College.]

As a Public History minor at Meredith College, I decided to intern at the State Archives in the Digital Service Section. I wanted to learn more about how to apply public history outside of school, as well as learn more about the job duties of an archivist. I was assigned the task to start working on a science & technology digital collection using collections from the State Archives. I was very excited to begin work on this collection not only because of being a history major, but I am also getting a degree in the sciences field.

To start this project, I began researching public health, medicine and medical technology, aviation, and patents that were developed in North Carolina or by North Carolinians. I used these key subjects to look for items in the Manuscript and Archives References System (MARS) online catalog, the Guide to Private Manuscript Collections in the North Carolina State Archives, and other resources such as Private Collection or State Agency finding aids to find items that fit the scope of the science & technology digital collection. Once collections were identified and researched, I tagged each item that I found useful from the collections so it could be easily found and scanned later. I also created a spreadsheet that included detailed descriptions of each collection and items for future employees or volunteers working on the collection.

photograph is of William E. Thornton conducting research on the Challenger Space Shuttle

This photograph is of William E. Thornton conducting research on the Challenger space shuttle. During his time on the Challenger, he continued working on his studies of changes in the human body while in space. This image is from collection PC.2054.

I have complied various documents and photographs from the mid-1800s to the 1990s that range from photos of Carbine Williams with his M-1 Carbine, documentation on the North Carolina Hookworm campaign, patents of inventions dealing with radio, space equipment, farm machinery, equipment for textile mill, papers from the Bensen Aircraft’s gyro-glider, and William Thornton’s work with NASA. After finishing the research and tagging documents, I have been able to start the scanning process. The documents and pictures that will go in this collection must all be scanned. Information about items in this soon to be digital collection must also be written and put into the digital collections software to assist people who want to know more about the collection.

I have also had the opportunity to work on the 1901 Confederate Pension digital collection project. This semester, my honors thesis at Meredith College will be focusing on amputations during the American Civil War, and being able to assist with this side project has been fun since I enjoy learning more about the Civil War.

Being an intern at the archives has been one of the best opportunities and experiences of my college career. I have learned more about North Carolina history, which has complemented my passion in science and healthcare. I learned that you do not just have to be interested in public history to volunteer at the archives. I think it is important to be involved in your state’s history, and I have learned so much about North Carolina’s contributions through this volunteering experience.

State Archives of North Carolina’s Efforts are Foundation for Digitization of Early Newspapers for Easy Public Access

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

Front page of the North Carolina Standard, Sept. 27, 1851.

Front page of the North Carolina Standard, Sept. 27, 1851.

RALEIGH — Since 1959, the State Archives of North Carolina has microfilmed newspapers from across the state as part of the North Carolina Newspaper Project. This initiative includes more than 1,000 titles published from 1751 until 1898 with the goal of preserving these papers for future researchers.

Two new projects, managed by the UNC-Chapel Hill Library, promise to make these materials accessible to the public in ways that might have seemed impossible during the 1950s.

The Chronicling America project focuses on newspapers printed between 1836 and 1922 in the United States to make them available online. It is a joint project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A second project with Ancestry.com will provide digital access to newspapers printed prior to 1923 through Newspapers.com. Both projects use newspapers microfilmed by the Collections Management Branch of the State Archives of North Carolina and then digitized for UNC Library.

Ancestry.com will allow free access of the Newspapers.com collection to users with a UNC login and on-site at the State Archives, Outer Banks History Center and Western Regional Archives. Access to the Chronicling America online collection is free to all users and can be found at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/?state=North+Carolina.

To date, UNC Library has overseen the digitization of 100,000 pages for Chronicling America and 1 million pages for Newspapers.com, including newspapers from Asheville, Raleigh, Tarboro, Boone and Charlotte. A full list of the newspapers included in the State Archives microfilming initiative is available at http://www.ncdcr.gov/archives/Public/Collections/NonGovernment.aspx#newspapers.

The North Carolina Newspaper Project at the State Archives began microfilming North Carolina newspapers in 1959, capturing papers published from 1751 until 1898 and including more than 1,000 titles.

The State Archives and the UNC Library have worked collaboratively on several projects to provide access to citizens and researchers on the wealth of history and information about North Carolina.

For additional information, please call (919) 807-7329. The State Archives is within the Office of Archives and History at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

New Additions for Christmas

“Carolina Christmas” is a collection of images, documents, and other materials from the State Archives of North Carolina that pertain to the holiday season. Every year we try to add new materials to this collection as a holiday treat, and this year is no exception.

In the last few weeks, we have added a wonderful short story from the Mary Speed Mercer Papers called “Madam Santa Clause, a Story of a Quilt” and written by Mary Speed Mercer under the pseudonym, “Warren Edgecombe.” This true story exemplifies the holiday spirit with a heartwarming tale of friendship and giving. From this collection we have also scanned a poem written by Mary, “A Peep at St. Nichols.” This poem was heavily influenced by “A Visit from ST. Nicholas” You may know “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by its later name “T’was the Night before Christmas.”

While searching for information on another project, I came across a rare treat in the Richard Seawell Hinton Letters. The collection happened to contain “Christmas Carols” a song booklet given out by the YMCA to the service men on Christmas Eve, 1918. Instantly I knew this would be a great addition to the Christmas collection. The booklet includes the music and lyrics to “Oh Come all ye Faithful,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Silent Night, Holy Night,” “Hark the Herald Angles Sing,” “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” “While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night.”

I also came across some holiday cards from the 1920s in the Hampton Family Papers; these greeting cards were truly a joy to scan and index. Many of the cards are hand painted and feature Art Deco elements, making them little pieces of art. If you would like to peruse the new “cards” additions to the collection you can perform an advanced search using the phrase “Hampton Family Papers” which will give you a list of only the newly added cards.

We here at the State Archives hope you enjoy these new additions to the North Carolina Digital Collections and wish you a very merry holiday season. We’ll have new projects to introduce you to in 2014, but for now, as that ever so popular poem states “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

NC ECHO Project Makes Local History Searchable, Accessible Online

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Cultural Resources press release – you can find other news related to NC Cultural Resources here.]

Researchers and history buffs alike may now search and access local history collections across North Carolina with a single search box thanks to a collaborative project led by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, NC LIVE and the State Library of North Carolina.

NC ECHO, available at http://ncecho.org, has been updated in order to expand access to unique local heritage collections previously scattered across a multitude of websites and North Carolina institutions. NC ECHO enables users to search across thousands of digitized and “born-digital” historic materials, including a wide variety of books, photographs, maps, family histories, state documents, newspapers and other materials from cultural heritage institutions around North Carolina. The collections available through NC ECHO include a diverse array of materials by and about the people, places and history of North Carolina.

The previous NC ECHO program was managed by the State Library of North Carolina from 1999-2012, with the intent of identifying and digitizing local cultural heritage collections. The newly revived NC ECHO program continues with the same spirit, to build connections and improve access to these collections of historic materials.

Over the coming year, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center will continue to work with cultural institutions across North Carolina to add new materials to this statewide search. “This project shows how libraries, archives, and museums are working together to share their historical photo and document collections with all North Carolinians,” said Cal Shepard, State Librarian of North Carolina. “The NC ECHO website will unlock unique and important historical materials by making them easy to find and use for everyday researchers.”

Staff at libraries across the state have eagerly awaited the launch of the new NC ECHO project because it will dramatically improve service to patrons researching local history. “By including content from over 100 different institutions across North Carolina, NC ECHO makes it easier than ever for students, scholars, and genealogists to find the materials they need,” said Nicholas Graham, Program Coordinator for the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. “NC ECHO is the new first stop for anyone interested in North Carolina.”

To use NC ECHO, patrons can visit http://ncecho.org, and search based on historical interests, places, or people. All of the collections available through the NC ECHO search are freely available online to all users, regardless of their location or affiliation.

The State Library of North Carolina is a unit of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more on North Carolina’s arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online.

Final Bible Records Added to Online Collection

[This blog post comes from Druscilla R. Simpson, head of our Information Management Branch.]

In November 2008, the State Archives and State Library met and decided to work collaboratively on a digital records project that would combine the Archives’ family Bible records with the Library’s indexed marriage and death announcements from five North Carolina newspapers (Raleigh Register, North Carolina State Gazette, Daily Sentinel, Raleigh Observer, and News & Observer) from 1799 to 1893 created by Carrie Broughton.  In May, 2009, we went live with the North Carolina Family Records Online collection which included keyword searchable texts and images from these two resources.  At that time, only 175 Bible records (lists of birth, marriage and death information recorded in North Carolina Bibles) were available.

As of November 2012, the final 544 Bible records went online – bringing the total number online to 2154!  Since the project began, we have added photographs of the Raleigh Hebrew Cemetery in Oakwood, the records of the Historical Records Cemetery Survey done in 1937 for 97 counties of North Carolina, and thousands of pages of books and personal records from the State Library’s Genealogy Collection.

In addition to recording family vital statistic information, the Bibles contain  poems, obituaries, memorials, family letters, lists of slave births and deaths, news articles, temperance pledges, and even a few copies of wills and deeds.  For example there is a poem on “When to Wed”

Marry when the world is new;

Always loving, kind and true;

When February birds do mate;

You may wed, nor dread your fate;

If you marry when March winds blow,

Joy and sorrow both you’ll know;

Marry in April when you can,

Joy for maiden and for man;

Marry in the month of May,

You will surely rue the day;

Marry when June roses blow,

Over land and sea you’ll go.

They, who in July do wed,

Must labor always for their bread.

Whoever wed in august be,

Many changes are sure to see;

Marry in September’s shine,

Your living will be rich and fine.

If in October you do marry,

Love will come, but riches tarry.

If you wed in bleak November,

Only joy will come, remember.

When December’s snows fall fast,

Marry and true love will last.

 –M Fannie and C. Macon Walters

There are also beautiful pages such as the marriage certificate for John Cameron and Lelia Fowlkes of Rockingham, N.C.

Marriage certificate for John Cameron and Lelia Fowlkes of Rockingham, NC

Marriage certificate for John Cameron and Lelia Fowlkes of Rockingham, NC – part of the Bible Records collection available on North Carolina Family Records Online.

Transcriptions of these records have been done by State Archives and State Library staff, as well as by volunteers.  For example, more than 52 of the Bible records were transcribed by Pam Toms, a retired librarian and our most prolific volunteer on this project.  If you want to volunteer to transcribe genealogy documents, too, the State Library has a page dedicated to it here http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/digital/ncfamilyrecords/verticalfiles.html.  We have nine “super scribes” already hard at work and can always use more!  A terrific blog post about this transcription project can be read at http://statelibrarync.org/news/2012/11/world-usability-day-qa-with-therese.

As a result of putting these records online, more than 154 additional Bible pages recording North Carolina family births, marriages, and deaths, have been donated to the State Archives since May 2008.  If you have a family Bible that contains at least one person who lived or was born in North Carolina and has at least one birth or death dating to 1913 or earlier, then please consider donating copies of these pages to the State Archives.  Instructions are available at http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/digital/ncfamilyrecords/fhp_brochure.pdf

More News on 19th and Early 20th Century NC Newspapers

[Today’s blog post comes from John Blythe, Special Projects and Outreach Coordinator at Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Druscie Simpson, Head of our Information Management Branch. The announcement can also be read here.]

Big news from Washington, D.C. And it doesn’t involve tax cuts, jobless numbers or the Presidential campaign.  Wilson Library at the University of N.C. at Chapel Hill, recently received word from the National Endowment for the Humanities that they will receive $303,192 over the next two years to make available online North Carolina newspapers dating from 1836-1922. Wilson Library will be joining the National Digital Newspaper Program, which is a partnership between NEH and the Library of Congress to provide access to historically significant newspaper titles from states around the nation. The newspapers are available through a Library of Congress website, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Although Wilson Library in Chapel Hill will serve as the project’s base, this is a joint effort with the Office of Archives and History in Raleigh. The Library will be digitizing from copies of microfilm master negatives created by the State Archives over the past 50 years. In 1959 the Archives had the great foresight to begin microfilming hundreds of North Carolina newspaper titles. In some cases, those microfilms are the only remaining evidence of 18th and 19th century newspapers. Wilson Library will also benefit from the cataloging and additional microfilming performed by the State Archives and State Library in the 1990s as part of the United States Newspaper Project.

The newspapers Wilson Library will make available online through Chronicling America will augment those already available online through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, a Wilson Library-based initiative to digitize and publish online historic materials from cultural heritage institutions around the state, as well as the early colonial and 19th century newspapers available through the online digital collection of the State Archives. Rest assured that we’ll be planning ways for you to view all North Carolina newspapers at one online location. Please give us some time to work out the details.

Mind you, the NEH grant will allow Wilson Library to make available online only a small portion of the more than 1,185 N.C. newspaper titles that the State Archives has microfilmed in its collections. The project’s advisory board will make some tough choices in the coming months when it meets to select the titles to include. But we’re hoping that this grant marks the beginning of a sustained effort to publish historic NC newspapers online. Please note, that’s our hope. But we can’t promise such.

We’ll be kicking the project into full gear in the next month or so. We’ll keep you posted on our progress and let you know when North Carolina newspapers titles are available on Chronicling America.