Tag Archives: State Agency Records

Night of the Living Bit Rot and Other October News

It’s Halloween, which means it’s a good time to remind you to prepare for the Bit Rot Apocalypse.

This short film was created by State Archives staff as part of Electronic Records Day, along with several blog posts. They are among the many new items available online this October, including:

Several recent posts from our records management blog may be of interest to History For All the People readers:

In other October news, last week the State Library of North Carolina announced that NCpedia is getting a new look. They invite members of the public to help test the redesigned website and give their feedback.


New Films Available on DigitalNC

In April, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center announced that they were looking for audio visual materials to digitize. The project was similar to the one they completed in 2015, which enabled the digitization of and online access to films by H. Lee Waters, Beveridge and Associates, and others AV items held by the State Archives of North Carolina. This year we took part in their project again in order to digitize items from the Robert W. Scott II Papers (PC.1317) and films created by the Wildlife Resources Commission.



The digitized films are now online through the Internet Archive and the DigitalNC website as part of the North Carolina Sights and Sounds collection. Currently 48 films from the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina are available through DigitalNC. They cover a wide range of subjects including the 1968 election, fishing, water quality, state historical events, tobacco, and everyday life in 1930s-1940s North Carolina.



We  appreciate the opportunities such digitization projects offer and look forward to partnering with the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center in the future.

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of August our theme is school.


Call number: State Board of Education Records. Swamp Lands Records. Field Notebooks, Vols. 1-17. Box 4. Transit Book 101, 1885.

August in North Carolina is always hot and humid, and no matter where you are in the state, it often feels like you’re living in a swamp. There are, of course, large tracts of swamplands in the Coastal Plain of N.C., and much of that land has been preserved and protected by state and national agencies. However, in the nineteenth century, the state of North Carolina gave power to the Literary Fund, and later, the State Board of Education, to survey and sell state-owned swamplands “capable of being reclaimed” to raise funds for public education. This week’s treasure is the surveyors’ Transit Book of part of the Angola Bay area in North Carolina, compiled by W. G. Lewis, Chief Engineer, Board of Education for Swamp Lands, and Henry A. Brown, Superintendent Engineer, in 1885.

“This Road was run from Deep Bottom Bridge over North East River, in Duplin County, skirting the Eastern Boundary of Angola Bay. Via: Maple Hill – & between Angola Bay & Holly Shelter Swamp – & on via: Bannermans Bridge over North East River to Centre of the track of the Wilmington & Weldon Rail Road just 10.00 chains to the North of the warehouse at Burgaw – County Seat of Pender County.”

The surveyors’ diagrams include not only the elevations and distances of road segments, but also bridges, nearby rivers and creeks, intersecting roads, buildings, property owners, and the character of the land and vegetation along the road.

This notebook and other material from the State Board of Education Swamp Lands Records can be viewed online as part of the STEM Digital Collection at NCDC. If your summer plans bring you to Raleigh before school starts again, we also encourage you to visit us at the State Archives to view the records in person. Or, schedule a visit to the Archives with your school group to get some hands-on experience with historical primary source documents.

For additional information on the history of the State Board of Education and swamplands in North Carolina, check out these NCpedia articles on Swamps, Pocosins, the North Carolina State Board of Education, and the North Carolina Literary Fund.

Treasures of Carolina: Summer Edition

Each week this summer we will highlight an item from our North Carolina Digital Collections in hopes of inspiring you to discover new-to-you materials. For the month of June our theme is vacations!

 It’s summertime in North Carolina, and that means vacation time! All North Carolinians know that our state has hundreds of amazing vacation destinations. From the mountains to the sea, for a long weekend or a whole month, N.C. has much to offer travelers with every kind of interest. Of course, at the State Archives, we are especially interested in the history of North Carolina, and there are dozens of historical sites, museums, archives, events, and parks around the state that cater to inquisitive minds. Our Treasure this week features the Mountainside Theatre in Cherokee, N.C., where the outdoor drama Unto these Hills has been performed for over 60 years.


Mountainside Theatre for “Unto These Hills,” Cherokee, N.C., ca. 1950s. Department of Conservation and Development Records, Division of Travel Information, Photograph File. MARS 44.47

Sponsored by the Cherokee Historical Association, and first performed in the summer of 1950, Unto These Hills recounts the history of the Cherokee people from their origins, through European colonization, the Revolutionary War, the Trail of Tears, and into the present day. The photographs featured here were created by the North Carolina Travel Information Division in the 1950s. They shows four views of the historic Mountainside Theatre where Unto These Hills is still performed every summer. The theatre is located on the Cherokee Reservation in western N.C. Additional pictures of this outdoor drama and the Reservation can be found at the Historic North Carolina Travel and Tourism Photos collection at NCDC. Additional information about Unto These Hills, and other historical outdoor dramas in North Carolina, can be found at this NCpedia page.

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.

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.

Senate Audio, 2011-2012

The audio for another 146 Senate sessions has been added to the Internet Archive and is searchable through the North Carolina Digital Collections website under, Senate Audio. The complete 2011-2012 biennium is now accessible from the comfort of one’s own home. Audio files can either be streamed online or downloaded for listener convenience. The collection currently provides access to over 450 legislative days ranging from 2006 through 2012. Recordings made prior to 2006 are held at the State Archives and made available through a fee-based, digitization-on-demand basis. Additional information regarding fees can be found here. More Senate-related materials found in the Archives include the Senate Clerk’s Office journals (SR 66.28) which provide the daily minutes from 1777 through 1981.