“[Louis] Kittner was a hard worker and an ambitious businessman, and within five years of moving to town [in 1914], the shoe repair shop grew into a retail shoe store and eventually became Kittner’s Department Store, a Weldon mainstay and destination for shoppers from all over northeastern North Carolina, until 1998….

“Kittner was at work [in the shoe shop] when a small group of prominent local businessmen came in and said they had a personal matter to discuss: They wanted to invite him to join their club. What was the name of the club, Louis asked.

“The Ku Klux Klan, they told him….”

— From “Why Was This Humble Jewish Shoemaker Asked To Join the Ku Klux Klan?”  by


“In 1863, the [Rockingham County] North Carolina ‘authoress’ Marinda Branson Moore published The Geographical Reader for the Dixie Children, the first textbook to teach the geography of the seceded South. After the Civil War began, such primers were ‘both a practical and a patriotic necessity’ for the Confederacy, as the historians O. L. Davis, Jr. and Serena Rankin Parks soberly wrote in 1963, as Southern schoolteachers saw the Northern-printed textbooks in supply as ‘blighted with by Yankee biases and inaccuracies’….

“Moore explains that the Northern states are ‘mad’ on the subject of slavery. How many Southern children learned from this geography book? Enough to support two editions before the end of war in 1865….”

— From “How Women Mapped the Upheaval of 19th Century America” by Laura Bliss at CityLab (March 23)


On this day in 1897: Wilmington is visited by what may be the state’s first UFO. According to the Wilmington Messenger, which headlined its account, “Was It an Air Ship?” hundreds of citizens spotted the “remarkable . . . brilliantly lighted” object as it floated above the city, creating “a sensation among all classes of people.”


Several new titles just added to “New in the North Carolina Collection.” To see the full list simply click on the link in the entry or click on the “New in the North Carolina Collection” tab at the top of the page. As always, full citations for all the new titles can be found in the University Library Catalog and they are all available for use in the Wilson Special Collections Library.

On this day in 1924: Ty Cobb hits a home run in the first game played at Asheville’s McCormick Field, but the Detroit Tigers lose their exhibition to the Asheville Skylanders, 18-14.

By 1991, when the wooden stadium is razed, to be replaced by concrete, it will be the oldest minor-league park in the country.


Fool-proof Waffles - Favorite Recipes of the Lower Cape Fear

Fool-proof Waffles from Favorite recipes of the Lower Cape Fear.

Foolproof Hollandaise Sauce, Curry Flavor - Southern Cookbook

Foolproof Hollandaise Sauce, Curry Flavor from Marion Brown’s southern cook book.

Foolproof Chicken Casserole - Mountain Elegance

Foolproof Chicken Casserole from Mountain elegance : a collection of favorite recipes.

Foolproof Cheesecake - Company's Coming

Foolproof Cheesecake from Company’s coming : a recipe collection from North Carolinians who enjoy company coming.

Fool Proof Fudge-The Pantry Shelf

Fool Proof Fudge from The Pantry shelf : 1907-1982.

Fool proof chocolate icing - Hyde County Cookbook

Fool Proof Chocolate Icing from Hyde County cook book.

The Banner-Enterprise of Raleigh and Wilmington.

The Banner-Enterprise of Raleigh and Wilmington.

North Carolina Historic Newspapers is well underway contributing newspapers to the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper website during its second phase of digitization. There are now 127,225 historic North Carolina newspaper pages available on the site.

The above masthead is from the Banner-Enteprise, a late 19th-century African-American publication out of Raleigh, then Wilmington. It describes itself as the “Organ of the North Carolina Industrial Association.”

Chronicling America recently celebrated its 10,000,000 page milestone. Ever growing, it contains freely available and keyword searchable historic newspapers from 39 states and one territory.


North Carolina Historic Newspapers has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: We the People. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this post do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

National Endowment for the Humanities


The North Carolina Heritage Award has been awarded to traditional artists since its inception in 1989. North Carolina has a rich heritage of folk and heritage arts, ranging from pottery to dance. Some of the award winners are internationally known for their craft, such as Doc Watson and Jim Shumate, whereas others have practiced their arts locally. Twelve North Carolinians have gone on to win the National Heritage Fellowship Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wikipedia is often the first place people visit to find information on a topic, yet many of our state’s notable traditional artists have no entry, and in other cases the entry has little information.

On April 5 at 5:00 p.m., we’ll hold an edit-a-thon in Wilson Library that will fill in some of these gaps. We’ll use collection materials to create, update, and improve articles about North Carolina Heritage Award winners, in anticipation of the Heritage Awards ceremony presented by PineCone and the North Carolina Arts Council.

The event is sponsored by the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Folklife Collection with support from PineCone and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

More information can be found in Wikipedia and on Facebook. We hope you’ll join us!

“By drawing those at the lower end of the economic scale into an illicit enterprise, bootlegging and moonshining in the Jim Crow South had the unintended effect of blurring lines of segregation….

“The African-American newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier reported with dry humor one North Carolina reference: ‘If white and Negro preachers understood each other and worked together as well as white and Negro bootleggers, a large part of our interracial troubles would come to a speedy end.’ ”

 — From The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American Stateby Lisa McGirr (2015)


Our March Artifact of the Month is a UNC sweatshirt that saw two generations of UNC basketball championship wins — and carries the spray paint to prove it.


Wynne Maynor Miller bought this faded Carolina blue shirt during her freshman year in 1982 and was wearing it as she celebrated UNC’s 1985 championship victory on Franklin Street. She recalls:

I bought this blue sweatshirt during my freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill. It witnessed all the chaos on the night we won the NCAA Basketball Championship in 1982. I will never forget the final 30 seconds of the game when the Georgetown Hoyas had one point on us, 62-61. Michael Jordan stole the ball for a one-point win. The students in Morrison Dorm chanted and screamed so loud that I felt the building shake in my 8th floor room… We could hear the whole campus roaring. I grabbed my favorite sweatshirt and we headed to Franklin Street. Beer flowed in the streets, students painted each other with blue spray paint, and naked blue people hung from trees.

I graduated in December 1984, married my college sweetheart, and left my home state — but my heart never left Carolina.

Her daughter, Courtney Miller Hileman, wore the sweatshirt as UNC again won a championship in 2009, in what would have been her final semester had she not graduated early. Her recollection:

I don’t remember the specific details like my mom does. My memory contains a blur of Carolina blue, cheering, and the smell of fire. I remember the feeling of camaraderie gained from sharing a moment in sports history: the thunderous crowd transitioning into silence as we raised our hands and held our breath while watching Tyler Hansbrough at the free throw line; the communal resounding sigh of relief when he made the shot; and the emphatic ‘Go to Hell Duke’ at the end of the game.

The sweatshirt reminds me of that instant bond between alumni that only another Tar Heel can understand.

This storied sweatshirt has clearly been well loved, though it’s in good enough condition that a third generation might be able to share in this tradition. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that it proves to be lucky again.

You can see the sweatshirt, along with many other pieces of clothing worn by Carolina students, in the exhibition From Frock Coats to Flip Flops: 100 Years of Fashion at Carolina in the North Carolina Collection Gallery through June 5th.

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