Tag Archives: exhibits

Treasures of Carolina Exhibit Closes July 31

Tracing of a baby's hand from a letter written by Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

Tracing of a baby’s hand from a letter written by Martha Hendley Poteet to Francis Marion Poteet, June 16, 1864. Poteet-Dickson Letters, Private Collections.

This weekend is your last chance to see some of the State Archives’ treasures while they are on display at the North Carolina Museum of History. The exhibit Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives will close after July 31. The exhibit has been at the museum since October 24, 2015 and illustrates the history of North Carolina and the role of the State Archives in preserving and providing access to both modern records and historical materials. The exhibit includes items such as:

  • The earliest will known to exist in North Carolina, recorded in 1665 by Mary Fortsen. It is unusual because female property owners were extremely rare in the 1600s.
  • The hand-drawn map used as evidence during the 1867 trial of Tom Dula, who was indicted and hanged for murdering Laura Foster. Dula’s fate is told in the popular ballad “Tom Dooley.”
  • A Civil War letter from Martha A. E. Henley Poteet to her husband, Francis Marion Poteet, who was away at war. She enclosed a cutout of her 4-week-old daughter’s hand with the request “write to Me what to name her.”
  • A 1903 copy of the North Carolina Constitutional Reader. In 1901 rules were enacted to prevent illiterate African Americans from voting, and this book was published to help African Americans read the Constitution in case they were questioned at the polls when trying to vote.
  • Information on GIS and website preservation.
  • Audio recordings of World War I soldiers’ oral histories.
  • North Carolina’s official copy of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and 26th Amendment which allowed U. S. citizens 18 years and older to vote.

To learn more, visit the exhibit page on the North Carolina Museum of History website.

"Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina" exhibit flyer

“Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina” exhibit flyer

Advertisements

View North Carolina’s Original Bill of Rights June 15-19 at the N.C. Museum of History

The point of controversy eventually rested on one issue and the argument in North Carolina was vigorous, at times contentious. Conservatives led by James Iredell wanted the document left alone. Their opponents, led by Willie Jones, insisted on added protections for individual liberties.

The document protecting individual liberties that North Carolina demanded before ratifying the U.S. Constitution will be displayed Wednesday, June 15, through Sunday, June 19, in the exhibit, “Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives” at the N.C. Museum of History. Admission is free.

For a while there was heated debate about the Bill of Rights, each side rounding up more allies. The internal stalemate escalated, preventing North Carolina from taking action, but by November 1789, the state finally ratified the U.S. Constitution with the longed-for Bill of Rights as its first 10 amendments.

George Washington had a copy of the Bill of Rights created for each state. North Carolina’s copy was held in the State Capitol building when, in 1865, it was stolen by a Union soldier. Recovered in an FBI sting operation almost 150 years later, North Carolina’s official copy of the Bill of Rights resides in one of two vaults in the State Archives.

Rarely displayed because of its fragile condition, museum visitors will be able to view this document for one week in the Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives exhibit at the Museum of History in Raleigh.

“The Bill of Rights belongs to the people of North Carolina,” stated Sarah Koonts, state archivist. “We are the custodians of a document that guarantees freedom and liberties to United States citizens and we are happy to have the opportunity to exhibit this treasure to the public.”

Visitors to the Treasures of Carolina exhibit will discover the important role of the State Archives of North Carolina — the state’s memory bank. From parchment documents to digital files, the State Archives collects, preserves and makes accessible over 100 million treasures chronicling the Tar Heel State, past and present.

The variety of public records and private manuscript collections in the exhibit focuses on three themes: providing evidence of civil and property rights, government transparency, and the preservation of North Carolina’s history and culture.

 A sampling of the exhibit treasures includes:

  •  The earliest will known to exist in North Carolina, recorded in 1665 by Mary Fortsen. It is unusual because female property owners were extremely rare in the 1600s.
  • An 1839 petition for United States citizenship, signed by Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker, who were born in Siam (now Thailand). They settled in Wilkes County and married sisters. Altogether, the families had 21 children.
  • The hand-drawn map used as evidence during the 1867 trial of Tom Dula, who was indicted and hanged for murdering Laura Foster. Dula’s fate is told in the popular ballad “Tom Dooley.”
  • A Civil War letter from Martha A. E. Henley Poteet to her husband, Francis Marion Poteet, who was away at war. She enclosed a cutout of her 4-week-old daughter’s hand with the request “write to Me what to name her.” The family lived in McDowell County.
  • A 1903 copy of the North Carolina Constitutional Reader. In 1901 rules were enacted to prevent illiterate African Americans from voting, and this book was published to help African Americans read the Constitution in case they were questioned at the polls when trying to vote.
  • Audio recordings of World War I soldiers’ oral histories.

 Treasures of Carolina will run through July 31, 2016. The Bill of Rights will be displayed June 15 through June 19.

 

To Preserve the Blessings of Liberty: State Constitutions of North Carolina

[This blog post comes from Sarah Koonts, Director of Archives and Records for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

“A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty”

N.C. Constitution art. 1, sec. 35

Once separated from the rule of England, North Carolina—like other former colonies—found itself with no governmental structure. Before the end of 1776, the state had a constitution very different from today’s document. For example, the General Assembly—and not citizens—selected the governor for a one-year term. Only free men of at least twenty-one years of age could vote.  Only landowners could hold political office. The social structure of eighteenth-century America informed those men who drafted the constitution and North Carolina’s Declaration of Rights.

Portion of the Constitution of the United States as Approved by North Carolina, 1789.

Portion of the Constitution of the United States as Approved by North Carolina, 1789.

North Carolina continued to amend the constitution and eventually adopted entirely new constitutions in 1868 and 1971. The rights and protections of some of the state’s citizens were broadened while other rights remained restricted or hampered.  Over the years the structure of state government changed, increasing the power of the governor, providing for direct elections for many executive offices, reorganizing government departments and agencies, and eliminating restrictions to rights.

Part of the State Constitution of 1868.

Part of the State Constitution of 1868.

Throughout 2016 the State Archives is partnering with museums and historic sites to display historic constitutional materials around the state.  Called “To Preserve the Blessings of Liberty:  State Constitutions of North Carolina,” exhibit locations and times may be found on the State Archives’ Facebook page. The public is invited to view these documents while they are on display. The inaugural exhibit will take place at the opening of the 2016 General Assembly session.  It will feature North Carolina’s early constitutions, the original Declaration of Rights, and amendments to the state and U.S. Constitution that affected citizen voting rights.  The exhibit will be located on the main floor of the General Assembly building (16 West Jones Street in Raleigh) from 2 p.m. on April 25 through April 26 at 3 p.m.  All of the State Archives’ constitution materials housed in the vault collection are available for viewing any time in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

“A Fight for Citizenship:” Exhibit on Women’s Suffrage Now Open in Search Room

[This blog post was written by Josh Hager, Reference Archivist in the Reference Unit of the Collections Services Section.]

The Suffragists' Calendar, a year-book for every thinking woman

The Suffragists’ Calendar, a year-book for every thinking woman,” Gertrude Weil Papers (PC.1488), State Archives of North Carolina

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the State Archives of North Carolina is proud to announce our new Search Room exhibit, “A Fight for Citizenship: The 19th Amendment and Women’s Suffrage in North Carolina.” The bulk of the facsimiles included come from the private collection of Gertrude Weil, a prominent suffragist from Goldsboro. She was active in organizations such as the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League, the Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the League of Women Voters. Her collection spans 42 cubic feet and over one-hundred boxes of material, constituting a treasure trove for researchers into the women’s suffrage movement.

The collections of the State Archives provide a wealth of material concerning women’s suffrage, from letters and broadsides to the correspondence of state and local officials. Narrowing those choices down to the ten items on display proved difficult, but the items selected allow for a glance at several important documents and themes.

Visitors will also see a facsimile of the 19th Amendment, specifically the cover page sent by the U.S. Secretary of State to the N.C. Secretary of State which includes an official seal. The amendment arrived in North Carolina’s hands in 1919 and the General Assembly first considered it in 1920. However, legislators did not hold an up-or-down vote on the amendment in 1920; historians agree that the amendment would likely have lost the vote based on the legislators’ stated positions. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee narrowly voted for the 19th Amendment, making women’s suffrage the law of the land nationwide. North Carolina did not ultimately ratify the 19th Amendment until 1971 under Governor Bob Scott. The only state to ratify it after North Carolina was Mississippi in 1984.

Letter from Josephus Daniels to Gertrude Weil, Feb. 12, 1920

Letter from Josephus Daniels to Gertrude Weil, Feb. 12, 1920, Gertrude Weil Papers (PC.1488), State Archives of North Carolina

Visitors will also get a chance to look at the amount of work and dedication needed to make women’s suffrage a reality. Gertrude Weil’s personal efforts are on display through an organizational pamphlet where she was elected as an officer and through correspondence with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to promote the cause. Photographs show women in a campaign office as well as at a public gathering wearing sashes for equality. “The Suffragist’s Calendar: A Year-book for Thinking Women” is a day-planner with helpful tips for political organization. Finally, the exhibit includes a letter from the leaders of two organizations asking for unity as women fought for the shared goal of the vote.

Amidst the triumphs of 1920, the exhibit also includes two examples of the opposition faced by the proponents of suffrage. Governor Thomas Bickett sent a message to the General Assembly in opposition to the 19th Amendment, arguing that women should not lower themselves to the political arena. His tone of social condescension was commonplace for 1920, but others in opposition held more unique views. For example, a petition to the General Assembly sent by a concerned citizen from Connecticut argued that women voting would increase ignorance at the polling place and that it was no better than a Soviet plot.

Western Union telegram from G.L. Grosgrove to the Speaker of the House on the topic of the 19th Amendment

Western Union telegram from G.L. Grosgrove to the Speaker of the House on the topic of the 19th Amendment, General Assembly Session Records, 1920, State Archives of North Carolina

Despite the opposition, women in North Carolina and across the country gained the right to vote in 1920. We hope that our exhibit gives you a small window into the incredible people and organizations that fought for equality and succeeded. The exhibit is currently scheduled to run through the end of April, so please plan on visiting the Search Room soon.

Other archival items related to role of women in North Carolina’s 20th century history are available through the North Carolina Digital Collections.

Stamp Act Rebellion Documents from 1760s on Exhibit Feb. 18 at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

[This blog post comes from the Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources – you can find other news related to NC Natural and Cultural Resources here.]

Small image with a skull and crossbones and the words This is the Place to affix the STAMPA precursor to the Revolutionary War, the Stamp Act Rebellion of 1765 at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson resulted from anger and resentment directed toward the British Crown. Unfair taxes and regulation led to the Stamp Act Resistance, the first successful armed rebellion against British authority in America.

Original, rare documents from the period will be exhibited Feb. 18, by the State Archives at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources before they go on loan to Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site for the 250th Anniversary of Stamp Act Resistance in North Carolina on February 20.

Documents exhibited include articles from the “North Carolina Gazette” of 1765, articles from the “London Chronicle” of 1766, and a document signed by all North Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence. The exhibit will be open February 18 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the DNCR building at 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh.

The document exhibition and event at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson are part of the DNCR’s It’s Revolutionary! commemoration of early North Carolina history.

The State Archives and 2016 Exhibit Partnerships

[This blog post was written by Sarah Koonts, Director of Archives and Records for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

One of the exciting things about working in a department with great art, historical, library, and natural resources is the opportunity to create lively, dimensional, and enhanced programming for the public. The State Archives is pleased to announce that in 2016 we are partnering with the State Historic Sites Division and other divisions to exhibit some valuable and unique items from our collections at selected sites across the state. With a focus on early state history we are celebrating It’s Revolutionary! and other events with materials related to North Carolina’s original state constitutions, federal constitution, and Revolutionary War. We’ll update this blog, our Facebook page, and the ncculture.com calendar to reflect these special exhibitions.

Close-up of a portion of the Nov. 20, 1765 issue of the North Carolina Gazette

Portion of the Nov. 20, 1765 issue of the North Carolina Gazette.

Join us for the inaugural exhibit on February 20 at Brunswick Town State Historic Site for their program on the 250th anniversary of Stamp Act resistance in North Carolina. Archival documents featured in this one-day exhibit include one signed by North Carolina’s signers of the Declaration of Independence; a North Carolina Gazette newspaper from November 20, 1765 that includes the iconic skull and cross bones stamp used to signify defiance of the Stamp Act; a London Chronicle newspaper of March 18, 1766 featuring an article about the Wilmington area resistance to the Stamp Act; and a February 11, 1768 letter from the Assembly of Massachusetts to the North Carolina General Assembly urging unity among the colonies in response to what they considered unjust economic policies of Great Britain toward America.

In addition, watch for the announcement of a new collection added to the North Carolina Digital Collections that will include the state constitution of 1776, Declaration of Rights, state constitution of 1868, as well as amendments to the 1868 constitution. This online collection also will contain images of North Carolina’s recorded copy of the federal constitution, as well as our copies of federal constitutional amendments.

We hope you will be as excited as we are to view some of the documents that capture the sentiment of a people who united against the status quo to help found a new nation. I hope the resources of the State Archives enhance the learning experience for in-person and online visitors alike.

Family Traditions of Service: Women’s Air Corps servicewomen marching in a military parade in Paris, circa 1942-1945

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

America’s involvement in World War II saw enlistments in unprecedented numbers in various branches of the U.S. Armed Services. There were new opportunities for women, as it became apparent that the military could free up more men to fight worldwide. Over 400,000 women enlisted to serve in America, Europe, and Asia as ambulance drivers, pilots, aircraft mechanics, nurses, and other non-traditional roles. More than 400 women lost their lives, while 88 were captured and held as prisoners of war.

This photograph comes from the World War II service of Mary “Brockie” Daniles of Manteo, N.C. Mary Brockwell “Brockie” Daniewomen_air_corp_paris_wwiils (1912-2007) was born in Manteo, North Carolina to Edward and Mary Wescott Daniels. She was n the Women’s Air Corps in both the United states and Europe during World War II. During the war, she was sent to Paris, France, as a member of the 29th Traffic Regulating Group. This group was responsible for controlling and regulating traffic in the Military Railway Service, in Marine Operations, and Motor Transport throughout the European Theatre for the Allied forces. After the war, Daniels remained in the one of five children. Daniels received her BA in English in 1935 from the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina. From 1936-1939, Daniels taught English and history in Hertford County, North Carolina. She also served as recreational director for a reform school in Hertford County and was the Hertford County supervisor of adult education. Shortly afterwards, Daniels enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving iAir Force until her retirement in 1964.

The photograph was taken or collected by Brockie Daniels while she was stationed in Paris. Daniels took photographs of women and men marching or walking through the streets of Paris, coordinating traffic flow and transportation, and sightseeing with her comrades in France.

Credit line: Women’s Air Corps Camp, France, World War II Folder, Brockie Daniels Papers, Outer Banks History Center

————————————————–

This blog post is one in two-week series of posts sharing the items used in the exhibit titled “The Family Traditions of Service:  A Historical Tribute to Veterans.” This exhibit, on display from November 3 to November 13, 2015, at the Dare County Arts Council building in Manteo, N.C., is sponsored by the Friends of the Outer Banks History Center, the exhibit serves as a historical tribute to over 100 years of military service of North Carolina residents and their families, with particular emphasis on coastal North Carolina. The goal of the exhibit is to honor the role of North Carolina veterans and their families during peacetime and war. The items from this exhibit come from the holdings of the Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina and the Outer Banks History Center.