Did a Mississippi plantation diary acquired by J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton for the Southern Historical Collection in 1946 inspire William Faulkner’s depiction of Yoknapatawpha County?

So posits the author of “Ledgers of History: William Faulkner, an Almost Forgotten Friendship, and an Antebellum Plantation Diary,” who spoke at Wilson Library in 2010.

Now, however, Sally Wolff-King’s much-praised book is being labeled a “hoax.” Further literary color — as if it were needed! — is provided by the debunkers’ claims of having been bullied for making their case.

Tip ‘o the Miscellany Mortarboard: Maria Bustillos at The Awl.


The weather is perfect so get out there and celebrate.  Here are a few ideas to stuff those baskets.

Menu for back yard picnic - The Charlotte Cookbook

Back Yard Picnic from The Charlotte cookbook.

Southern Fried Chicken-Just Like Grandma Used to Make

Southern Fried Chicken from Just like Grandma used to make.

picnic pickle - Dixie Dishes - Copy

Picnic Pickle from Dixie dishes.

Scotch eggs for picnic - High Hampton Hospitality

Scotch Eggs from High Hampton hospitality.

A Picnic Loaf-Summer Food

A Picnic Loaf from Summer food.

Deviled eggs - Soup to Nuts

Deviled Eggs from Soup to nuts : a cook book of recipes contributed by housewives and husbands of Alamance County and other sections of state and country.

Chocolate Picnic Cake - Pass the Plate

Chocolate Picnic Cake from Pass the plate : the collection from Christ Church.

Lemonade Deluxe - Cook Book

Lemonade Deluxe from Cook book.

“My wife, Hadley, started receiving [the Wilson Quarterly] when she was 15 or so, a gift from her grandmother Ruth, who had read the magazine, I believe, since it was founded, in 1976. In the early ’80s, she and several other women were part of a book club, in High Point, North Carolina. As Virginia Fick, another member, told me, they’d attended a symposium at High Point College called ‘Shakespeare and Women,’ and wanted, Fick said, ‘to read, think about, and discuss new ideas.’ Ruth suggested using the Wilson Quarterly as a basis for their discussions, and so the Wilson Quarterly Study Group was born….

“In 2012, the Wilson Quarterly released its last print issue. It was to become a digital-only publication, they said….  A writer at the Nieman Journalism Lab wondered, ‘If WQ’s readers are print purists — and the cerebral, dense content in the magazine suggests they’re more likely to carry AARP cards than fake IDs — then how likely are they to follow the quarterly into a digital realm?’

“The North Carolina group stopped reading the magazine. ‘They lost us,’ Patricia Plaxico told me. ‘We are from the school that makes notes and highlights.’ The group does still meet, however; members just select articles from other publications.”

– From “On the Wilson Quarterly: 1976-2014″ by Paul Maliszewski at n + 1 (Feb. 10, 2014) 


On this day in 1983: Claude Sitton, editor of the News and Observer of Raleigh, wins the Pulitzer Prize for commentary — the paper’s first. .

Sitton made his reputation as chief Southern correspondent for the New York Times during the civil rights movement (his peers appreciated his inventing the “Sitton notebook,” a cut-down version that didn’t revealingly jut out of a hip pocket at a Klan rally).

In 1968 he moved to Raleigh to continue the liberal tradition of the modern N&O, which Josephus Daniels bought at auction in 1894 to serve as an organ of the Democratic Party.


Clip from French Broad Hustler, February 16, 111

French Broad Hustler, Feb. 16, 1911

Lest you need a reminder, it’s tax day. And this year marks the 101st anniversary of ratification of the Constitutional amendment giving the federal government the power to tax your income. With Delaware’s ratification on February 3, 1913, the 16th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution.

North Carolina was the 20th state to ratify the Constitutional change. And the amendment’s passage through the North Carolina legislature in early 1911 was mostly uneventful.

Clip from Wilmington Morning Star, Jan. 25, 1911

Wilmington Morning Star, Jan. 25, 1911

Senator Barnes introduced a resolution supporting ratification of the amendment in the state Senate on January 6, 1911. The resolution emerged from committee unchanged on January 17 and came before the full Senate for a vote on January 24. After passing 42-1 in the Senate, the bill was sent to the state House for consideration.

Clip from Wilmington Dispatch, Feb. 8, 1911

Wilmington Dispatch, Feb. 8, 1911

Although the Wilmington Dispatch reported that the bill passed the state House by a 98-4 vote on February 8, the number of ayes was, in fact, only 88. Unfortunately, neither the House Journal nor contemporary news accounts provide further details about Representative Dillard from Cherokee and his failure to appear for the vote.

Clip from Raleigh Times, February 10, 1911

Raleigh Times, Feb. 10, 1911

With the bill’s enrollment by the House clerk on February 11, the 16th amendment was officially ratified in North Carolina.

Admittedly, there are some who question whether the 16th Amendment was legally ratified in North Carolina and elsewhere. But thus far those arguments haven’t stopped the I.R.S. from demanding its due on April 15.

Lucky Strike [since appearing prominently in "Mad Men"]

THEN Once this best-selling brand in the United States (and the cigarette of choice for Don Johnson’s character on “Miami Vice”) was selling 23 billion cigarettes a year.

NOW Its seemingly omnipresent place in Don Draper’s hands may not be the direct cause, but sales have grown by 35 percent since 2007. Even Don’s public cri de coeur against ever representing tobacco companies again, published in a letter to The New York Times after Lucky Strike left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in Season 4, hasn’t put much of a dent in sales.

– From “A Lucky Strike, Indeed: ‘Mad Men’ Enters Its Final Season in an Altered World” by Lorne Manly in the New York Times (April 11)


Hint: It’s not Duke.


“In Charlotte and the rest of the Jim Crow South [during World War II], inter-city travelers (whether by bus, train or airplane) were always segregated by race. On trains Negroes were segregated into separate cars, and on buses they were segregated at the back.

“On airplanes, however, Negroes had to sit in the front seats: the back seats were reserved for whites because, at the time, the back of the airplane was considered the safest place.”

– From “The Queen City at War” by Stephen Herman Dew (2001)


Bread and Butter Pickles - Progressive Farmer

Bread and Butter Pickle from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

KIC Image 90

Bread and Butter Pickles from Cook book.

Artichoke Pickle - The Pantry Shelf

Artichoke Pickle from The Pantry shelf : 1907-1982.

Peach Pickles - Progressive Farmer

Peach Pickles from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

iced tomato pickles - Dixie Dishes

Iced Tomato Pickles from Dixie dishes.

Hamburger Pickles-Recipes We Love to Cook

Hamburger Pickles from Recipes we love to cook.

Watermelon Pickles - Pass the Plate

Watermelon Pickles from Pass the plate : the collection from Christ Church.

Maybe the suddenly spring-like weather has a hold on me, but I can’t shake the thought that our April Artifact of the Month is smiling.

puffer fish

This puffer fish is part of a large collection of artifacts and specimens that were transferred to the North Carolina Collection Gallery in 2005. The objects came from UNC’s Wilson Hall, which housed the University’s Zoology Department and its library.

The Gallery accepted the transfer of these objects when Wilson Hall undertook a massive renovation. The collection, which includes hundreds of animal specimens and fossils, accentuates the Gallery’s goal of preserving items relating to natural history and the history of science at the University.

North Carolina Collection Gallery

NCC Gallery. Photo by Jay Mangum.

As part of the Gallery’s own renovation, we’ve recently upgraded our natural history exhibit, which features biographical panels on important naturalists, specimens from Wilson Hall, and original prints by John James Audubon.

Currently, the puffer fish can be seen in the exhibit Rooms of Wonder: From Wunderkammer to Museum, 1565-1865, in the Saltarelli Exhibit Room in Wilson Library, until April 17.

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