Tag Archives: Maps

Documenting the World of Outlander #4: Cherokee Land Boundaries

[This post was written by Alison Thurman and Josh Hager, Reference Archivists]

This blog is intended as a “bonus feature” for fans of Outlander who want to explore the world of Jamie and Claire through original documents housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. SPOILERS for the first 9 episodes of Season 4!

Outlander, the hit series from Starz, has officially arrived in colonial North Carolina. This season, Jamie and Claire will traverse the state from Wilmington to the mountains. The State Archives of North Carolina will join them on this journey as we showcase documents that provide a window into their world. Welcome to our biweekly series, Documenting the World of Outlander, wherein each new entry in our series will focus on one topic that appears on screen in Outlander.

In the most recent episodes of Outlander we have seen Jamie and Claire receive a land grant for 10,000 acres in the back country of North Carolina upon which they build a homestead they name Fraser’s Ridge. Fraser’s Ridge appears to be a successful farm and happy home for the Frasers, but there is always a new challenge around the corner wherever they go.  In this case, one of the realities of living in the North Carolina back country in 1767 for Jamie and Claire, is carving out a peaceful and respectful relationship with their closest neighbors, the Cherokee Indians, also referred to as the Tsalagi. In this entry of our blog series we would like to focus on Native Americans, specifically the Cherokee, and showcase some of the documents in the State Archives that pertain to the complicated history of colonial expansion and changing land boundaries in North Carolina during the late 1760’s and beyond.

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Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials

The newest addition to the North Carolina Digital Collections is Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials. This ongoing digital reference collection is of original records from the State Archives that have been made available online by third party institutions. This collection is comprised of URLs to items within the various websites. Links may lead directly to an item or may link to collection landing pages on third party websites.

Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials includes the following websites: Ancestry, FamilySearch, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, North Carolina Maps, and YouTube. Several collections on Ancestry and FamilySearch have been partially digitized or are in progress, and therefore may not be complete. Also make sure to read the description of items within NCDC as some of the websites State Archives materials have been mixed with non-State Archives materials to form their final collection.

Please keep in mind that to successfully use the Ancestry links, your computer needs to be logged on an Ancestry account. If you are not logged in, the Ancestry links will take you to the Ancestry homepage. If you don’t have an Ancestry account, contact your local public library branch who may have a subscription or the State Library of North Carolina to gain access on site.

Record types include: North Carolina maps, a selection of North Carolina county records, and vital records. For a more complete list of record links included, see the landing page of the collection on NCDC.

If you’d like to see more materials related to North Carolina held at institutions throughout the state, please visit the State Library of North Carolina’s NC MOSAIC project on NCDC.

Treasures of Carolina: Map “La Florida”

[This blog post was written by Andrea Gabriel, Outreach and Development Coordinator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

La Florida Map, 1584, Map Collection, Outer Banks History Center.

La Florida Map, 1584, Map Collection, Outer Banks History Center.

La Florida is hand-tinted map drawn by Geronimo de Chaves (c. 1523-1574), Royal Cosmographer to Phillip II of Spain for publication in Abraham Orelius’ (1527-1598) atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, first appearing in 1584. This maps reflects the names of Native American settlements and mountains. Little detail of present-day North Carolina is shown but this map does depict the current Cape Fear River, albeit under its earliest name, “Rio Jordan.”

This map is the earliest item in the custody of the State Archives. It is part of the collection given to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources by Outer Banks writer and historian David Stick, whose books, maps, and original archival materials formed the research collection at the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo, administered by the State Archives of North Carolina. The holdings of the Center document the history and culture of the North Carolina coast and adjacent areas.


A selection of the state’s historic documents will be exhibited in Treasures of Carolina: Stories from the State Archives of North Carolina at the Museum of History, October 24, 2015–June 19, 2016. Documents from the Archives vault, unique letters, historic photographs, public records, and other media will illuminate the myriad of ways in which the holdings of the State Archives document the workings of our government, provide evidence of civil liberties, and preserve the history and culture of North Carolina. This exhibit is sponsored by the Friends of the Archives and runs through June 19, 2016. Additional funding was provided by the N.C. Bar Association Foundation, the Raleigh Times, and Wells Fargo.

To learn more about the exhibit, please see: https://ncarchives.wordpress.com/tag/treasures-of-carolina/

For a full list of documents that will be on display only a limited time, see: https://ncarchives.wordpress.com/2015/09/09/plan-to-visit-treasures-of-carolina/

See the State Archives Facebook calendar or Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources events calendar for more upcoming events.

On June 23, the State Archives Examines How North Carolina Got Its Shape

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

Map graphic for FOA talk “History and Reestablishment  of the NC-SC Boundary”  by Presented By Gary W. Thompson

“History and Reestablishment of the NC-SC Boundary” by Gary W. Thompson, North Carolina Geodetic Survey, will take place Monday, June 23, 2014, 1:30 p.m. in the Archives & History/State Library Bldg Auditorium.

RALEIGH, N.C. — From present day Manteo to Monterrey, Calif. at one time was all Carolina. King Charles II had awarded land grants in 1663 and 1665 to eight Lords Proprietors, his allies. This established Carolina south into Florida and north to the present North Carolina and Virginia border.

A lot has changed since then, but fixing the border between the two Carolinas has been an ongoing process that will be examined during a State Archives of North Carolina hosted program “A History of the Boundaries Surveyed” June 23 at 1:30 p.m., in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Building on Jones Street in downtown Raleigh. Beyond academic discussions, the boundary results affect gas and cigarette taxes, property values and more subjects then you may imagine.

The State Archives holds and will display several maps that illustrate the shifting boundaries of these states. By the late 1600s, North and South Carolina were recognized as separate entities and initial shape was given for the two states, but the exact boundary location was disputed for nearly 200 years. The two states in 1994 began a joint effort to re-establish the boundary. This effort took almost 20 years. The program will examine how this was achieved in the 21st century.

Gary Thompson, chief of the North Carolina Geodetic Survey, will provide an overview of the history of the North Carolina-South Carolina boundary in his presentation “History and Re-establishment of the North Carolina-South Carolina Boundary.” The free, public lecture will take place in the auditorium and maps from the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina will be on display in the State Archives Search Room.  Both events are sponsored by the Friends of the Archives.

For additional information, please call (919) 807-7326. The State Archives of North Carolina is within the Office of Archives and History in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

About the State Archives of North Carolina

The State Archives of North Carolina State Archives collects, preserves, and makes available for public use historical and evidential materials relating to North Carolina. Its holdings consist of official records of state, county and local governmental units, copies of federal and foreign government materials, and private collections. The Friends of the Archives, Inc. was formed in 1977 to provide private support for the State Archives of North Carolina. For more information about the State Archives, visit http://www.archives.ncdcr.gov.

About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for people who are blind and have physical disabilities.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

Housing for an Oversized Map

[This blog post was written by Emily Rainwater, Conservator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

The Mouzon Map and the housing created to protect it.

The Mouzon Map and the housing created to protect it.

An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers [M.C. 150.1775m], surveyed by Henry Mouzon II and known familiarly as The Mouzon Map, was published in 1775.  The map was utilized by American, British, and French forces during the American Revolutionary War.   It was printed in four separate plates, each with an overlapping edge designed to be adhered together into a single map. The State Archive of North Carolina owns two copies; one that is in its four separate pieces, and another that has been adhered to form a single map.

As you can imagine, a map that is made up of four already large pieces of paper is quite huge – 42 inches in height and over 56 inches in width! This is too big for even our largest map case drawer, so a customized, unique housing needed to be constructed when the map came down from display.

The housing had to meet several requirements:

  1. Constructed of archival quality materials that age well and will not contribute to the map’s deterioration
  2. Large enough for the map to lay flat as a whole piece, with some extra wiggle room for a protective border
  3. Allow for access to the map when needed
  4. Rigidity, allowing the map to be stored on top of the map case as it is too large for the drawers. Since a few inches of the housing will extend beyond the platform of the map case, the housing must be supportive enough for this function.

Diagram of the structure of the portfolio case constructed to house An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers [M.C. 150.1775m], also known as the The Mouzon Map.

Diagram of the structure of the portfolio case constructed to house “An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers” [M.C. 150.1775m], also known as the The Mouzon Map.

We decided on a rigid portfolio case with twill ties. The map itself was hinged to a piece of double wall, corrugated BB-flute board with long fiber tissue and wheat starch paste. These hinges keep the map from sliding around, but will also be easy and safe to remove if needed in the future. The double wall structure means the board is constructed of two layers of corrugations, making it very strong and rigid. A protective top layer of double wall corrugated board is laid directly on top of the map.

The outer components of the structure are two pieces of corrugated polypropylene board, known as Coroplast. Coroplast is chemically inert, will not off-gas, is extremely durable, and is made of archival grade plastic. Small cuts were made in the Coroplast so that cotton twill strapping could be threaded through each board. This strapping allows the two exterior pieces of the portfolio to be tied together, and secures the inner pieces of corrugated board.

Though size presented some challenges, this custom-built housing will continue to protect this object for many years to come.

The Mouzon Map portfolio case closed and tied.

The Mouzon Map portfolio case closed and tied.

World War I Maps Online

We are pleased to announce that our collection of World War I maps is now available online. The following overview comes from Military Collection Archivist Kenny Simpson.

The World War I map collection contains more than five hundred maps and blueprints of various types. These oversized documents were removed from the several records series of the World War I Papers within the Military Collection. Most of these series are closed, having been received by the North Carolina Historical Commission during and immediately after the war, but one, the private collections, is still being augmented and so will continue to supply maps to this collection. The bulk of the World War I maps are topographical studies of France and Belgium, either field or ordnance surveys. Other types represented include barrage maps; drawings to accompany engineers’ operational reports; sketches of railroads, roads, and bridges; depictions of trench lines, troop dispositions, and positions of balloons; aerial photographs; Corps situation maps, updated daily; and blueprints of bombproof shelters. Of particular interest are the various maps with contemporaneous annotations by the officers who used them, such as the engineering drawings from the papers of Joseph Hyde Pratt and the topographical maps carried high above the trenches in the balloon of James A. Higgs. The collection was scanned and catalogued by interns Heather Szafran (2012) and Samantha Rich (2013).

Be sure to look at our World War I Collection online for more materials including posters, photographs, and letters.

The Map Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina

[This blog post comes from James Sorrell, head of the Special Collections Branch.]

In a memorandum dated October 14, 1976 to Paul P. Hoffman, head of what was at that time the Archives Branch of the Archives and Records Section, the late George Stevenson, Jr., outlined his suggestions for changes to the system of cataloging, classifying, and numbering the maps in the Archives map collection.  Now, nearly thirty-six years later, I am delighted to announce that Stevenson’s dream of corralling a collection of maps nearly out of intellectual control and imposing on it a reasonable and consistent system for classification and cataloging has finally be realized – although in ways he could not have envisioned in 1976.

From the earliest days of the agency, the State Archives of North Carolina had endeavored to create an extensive reference collection consisting of original and printed maps of North Carolina as well as photocopies of appropriate maps in other repositories.  By the time of Stevenson’s 1976 memo, the Archives had one of the best collections of North Carolina maps in the nation.

At that time, the map collection consisted of 327 smaller collections with town plans, for example, being found in twenty-three different collections. The Archives had employed various standards for cataloging maps in the past, but no standard had ever been established in regard to the information that was reported or the manner in which it was reported on the catalog cards that were prepared for each new addition to the map collection.  Stevenson proposed that the Archives adopt the Anglo-American Rules for cataloging maps and that a set of three catalog cards be prepared for each map. One card would be filed under classification (town, county, etc.) and one by mapmaker in the Search Room catalog and the third in an office catalog to serve as an intellectual control device.  Stevenson felt that the existing system of classification as reflected by the Search Room card catalog was a reasonable one. In this catalog the map cards were arranged in an expandable system of classifications (colony and state, counties, towns, watercourses, etc.).  As it related to the maps themselves, however, the cumbersome numbering system thwarted the logic of the classification scheme.  To remedy this, Stevenson created a simple expandable numerical system which would make the classification scheme as expandable for the maps themselves as it was for the cards in the card catalog.  County maps, for example, would be assigned the same numbers as the county records in the stacks (i.e. Wake County records in the stacks are 099; Wake County maps would be assigned the prefix M.C.99).  The second part of the call number would distinguish each map by date and the initial of the mapmaker.  For example, the 1871 Fendol Beavers map of Wake County would be given the call number MC.99.1871b.

The same system would be followed for other map classifications.  Colony and state maps would be M.C.150; maps of the Appalachian region would be M.C.160; military maps and plans of battle would be M.C.175, etc.  Certain classifications, such as watercourses, cities and towns, and road and railroad surveys would be slightly more complicated since they would require the name of the watercourse or city to be converted to a numeral (i.e., cuttered) using the Sanborn-Cutter three-figure tables.  Maps of the city of Charlotte would be assigned numbers beginning with MC.195.C479 followed by the date and the initial or initials of the mapmaker.  The 1877 F. W. Beers map of Charlotte would, therefore, be numbered as MC.195.C479.1877b.

Stevenson’s proposals were approved by Paul Hoffman; and Stevenson began work on cataloging and numbering of the maps already in the map collection as well as an enormous backlog of unprocessed maps, but the press of his myriad other duties as Search Room supervisor prevented him from making significant progress.  From 1985 to 1987, Druscilla Simpson, now head of the Information Management Branch, was assigned to work full-time on the map collection.  This was the first and only time a staff member was given responsibility only for the map collection, and significant progress was made. Still later, work on the map collection was assigned to and became one of the many duties of a series of special projects archivists. By this time, our MARS electronic finding aid system had been developed and map call number and descriptive information began to be entered into it.  Although main entry cards continued to be created and added to the Search Room card catalog, the development of MARS eliminated the need for the three card system Stevenson had devised for intellectual control.  In the late 1990s, I was assigned responsibility for the map collection in addition to my other duties as archives registrar; and I brought my work with the map collection with me when I was appointed head of the Special Collections Branch in July 2005.  In 2007, the State Archives partnered with the UNC-Chapel Hill library and the Outer Banks History Center on North Carolina Maps, a three year grant funded project to digitize and post online all maps from the three institutions published prior to 1923.  The project came to a successful conclusion in June 2010 and won the 2011 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.

Galvanized by the North Carolina Maps grant project, efforts were renewed to finally complete the renumbering and re-cataloging of both the remaining maps in the Archives map collection bearing the old M.C. call numbers and the backlog of maps that had never been accessioned, classified, cataloged, and numbered.  This work was finished in the spring of 2012; and for the first time all maps in the possession of the State Archives of North Carolina have been cataloged and numbered using the system first proposed by George Stevenson, Jr., in 1976.  In addition, all maps in the collection have been described and indexed in MARS, digitized, and most have been posted online on the North Carolina Maps website.