From the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper site, we selected an issue of the The Watauga Democrat that was published 99 years ago to see what was on the minds of North Carolinians in 1915. In addition to debates familiar to us now about “pistol-toters” and the best ways to avoid the common cold, there was also a debate concerning child labor laws.
From front page of The Watauga Democrat, January 28, 1915.
Millennial is currently a buzz word in the media. In an age where children are “born digital,” it is understandable that people are concerned about the social and psychological development of the next generation. But what were our thoughts on the rising generation a century ago? During this time, child labor was heavily debated. Laborers served a vital function in the newly forming companies and trades. Because of the need of workers, arguments such as “children are better fitted for some trades than adults” and “children are much better off employed in the factories than idle and out of school” were considered valid points for a growing economy. Take a closer look at the article here and discover more about the history of child labor laws in North Carolina.
Posted in From the Stacks, History, NC Historic Newspapers, Tar Heelia, Tar Talk | Tagged child labor, Chronicling America, History, millenial, NC historic newspapers, NDNP, newspapers, north carolina | 1 Comment »
In looking through the terrific collection of North Carolina newspapers recently added to Chronicling America, I came across a note from Chapel Hill describing what sounds a lot like an early version of the Carolina Covenant.
Launched in 2003, the Carolina Covenant is UNC’s promise to encourage and support all qualified students, regardless of their ability to pay. It is an innovative program that has been the model for many others around the country.
Here’s what I found in the October 6, 1836 issue of the North-Carolina Standard, a Raleigh paper:
While the phrase “too indigent to defray College expenses” sounds old-fashioned, the sentiment is very much the same as the current program.
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“A popularly circulated saying about warehouse people was that ‘they work like hell, drink like hell, and loaf like hell.’ But the long months of loafing came to an end when Durham’s warehouse district woke up and the auction season began.
” ‘During these busy days,’ [Leonard] Rapport observed [circa 1940], ‘shooting galleries, medicine shows, sidewalk preachers, string bands, 10¢ photographers, beggars, and flimflammers have established themselves along Rigsbee Avenue or on its cross streets.’
“Rapport vividly described the intensity of the warehouse district at night: ‘All during the night — warm for November — the streets are alive with men. The cafes are filled. Shooting galleries and fruit stands stay open until one and two or later. There is a movement of men walking, riding; and all-night stirring; slow talk, laughter, lights, shouts of drunks, music of guitars, radios, shouting of doormen, the rumble of a heavy truck on the wooden drive.’ ”
– From “Reasons to Talk About Tobacco” by Pete Daniel in the Journal of American History (December 2009)
Leonard Rapport, a Durham native and UNC graduate (’35), joined the Federal Writers’ Project to collect the life stories of tobacco warehouse workers. As this passage suggests, his eye for the scene was remarkable.
Rapport left his papers to the Southern Historical Collection, where they are being processed.
Posted in Just A Bite | Tagged durham nc, journal of american history, leonard rapport, pete daniel, southern historical collection, tobacco auctions | Leave a Comment »
“RALEIGH, N.C. (U.P.) — North Carolina’s percentage of native born white inhabitants — 99.7 — is the highest of any state in the country.”
– From “Few Aliens in North Carolina,” news filler in the Wall Street Journal (April 28, 1941)
The state’s industrial recruiters considered this demographic characteristic a point of pride.
Posted in Just A Bite | Tagged nc native born population, wall street journal | 1 Comment »
It’s unclear whether Governor David S. Reid’s offer of a $300 reward resulted in the arrest of the three members of Johnson & Co’s People’s Circus charged with killing Milton Mathis. But perhaps the answer lies in a subsequent edition of William Woods Holden’s Semi-Weekly North-Carolina Standard. Consider this your invitation to search.
I’m happy to report that your search may have just gotten easier. The Standard and a host of other North Carolina newspaper titles are now available online and searchable via Chronicling America, a joint project by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities to make available online historic U.S. newspapers published from 1836 through 1922. The North Carolina Collection and its partner, the N.C. Office of Archives and History, received funding in 2012 to scan microfilm of titles from the Old North State and prepare them for publication on Chronicling America. It’s a slow process. But in the coming months you should gain online access to 100,000 pages from 21 North Carolina newspapers.
Pages from various years are already available from The Charlotte Democrat and its successor publications, The Tarboro’ Press, The Tarboro’ Southerner, the Watauga Democrat and The Asheville Citizen.
In the coming months you’ll find issues of The Independent of Elizabeth City; the New Bern Weekly Progress; the Rockingham Post-Dispatch; the Fisherman & Farmer of Edenton and Elizabeth City; The Review of High Point; The French Broad Hustler from Hendersonville; The Durham Daily Globe; The Semi-Weekly Messenger from Wilmington; The Sun from Fayetteville; the Journal of Freedom from Raleigh; The Gold Leaf from Henderson; The Weekly Caucasian from Clinton, Goldsboro and Raleigh; the Wilmington Journal; and the Cherokee Scout of Murphy.
The titles were chosen by an advisory board that included historians, librarians and even a representative from the N.C. Press Association. I know that you probably have your favorite newspaper that you’d like to see online. We have ours, too. And we hope to add more in the coming years. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, get reading and searching. You’ve got to solve the Mathis murder.
Posted in From the Stacks, History, NC Historic Newspapers, On This Day, Tar Heelia, Tar Talk | Leave a Comment »
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.
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” ‘Since the invention of types [printing], monuments are good for nothing,’ North Carolina congressman Nathaniel Macon declared on the House floor in 1800. Working himself up to a fever pitch, he explained why he could not support a lavish memorial in the nation’s capital even for the most deserving of men, George Washington. Words, not stones or statues, preserved the memory of great men, he said….
“Macon’s speech… continued to endure in national memory and was still quoted in newspapers as late as 1821. Yet in the late 1810s, this slaveholder from North Carolina helped his home state procure an elaborate monument to Washington for the State House in Raleigh, perhaps the most ambitious sculptural monument erected in the United States to that date — a seated figure in Roman military garb designed by the most famous sculptor in Europe, Antonio Canova.
“This was an amazing act of self-promotion for North Carolina, aggrandizing the local planter elite who claimed Washington as one of their own, though in typical ‘republican’ fashion the monument misrepresented the plantation’s social order by depicting Washington, in a subsidiary image, as a modest farmer outside a rude cabin.”
– From “Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape” by Kirk Savage (2011)
Posted in Just A Bite | Tagged antonio canova, george washington statue, kirk savage, monument wars, nathaniel macon, nc capitol | Leave a Comment »
If you’ve been waiting for a personal invitation to see the exhibit “Southern Scenery in 3D: 19th-Century Stereographic Photography,” this blog post is as close as you’re likely to come.
Due to popular interest, the exhibit has been extended — but it will be up for just a couple more weeks in the North Carolina Collection Gallery, until February 9.
Highlights include 19th-century views of the Wilmington waterfront, Linville Falls, and St. Mary’s Chapel in Raleigh; an exhibit case highlighting the evolution of stereographic viewers (including that Fisher Price Viewmaster you had as a kid); and, best of all, a 19th-century viewer you can use to look at twelve reproduction stereograph cards.
For hours, parking, and other visitor information, see the Wilson Library website.
We hope to see you soon!
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Digging again through old newspapers, I came across another very early use in print of the nickname “Tar Heels.” A little over a year ago I wrote about the appearance of the nickname in an ad in an 1864 Fayetteville paper, which was a contender for the earliest use of “Tar Heels” in print. Now we can move it back another year to 1863 thanks to a letter from a Civil War soldier to a Raleigh newspaper.
Sgt. G. W. Timberlake, a member of Company A of the 3rd Regiment of North Carolina Troops, had a letter published in the Raleigh Semi-Weekly Standard on June 2, 1863. Writing from a “Camp Near the Old U.S. Ford” in Virginia, Timberlake describes the action of the second Battle of Fredericksburg and lists casualties from the regiment. Apparently the North Carolina soldiers did a particularly good job of holding their line. Timberlake writes,
The troops from other States call us “Tar Heels.” I am proud of the name, as tar is a sticky substance, and the “Tar Heels” stuck up like a sick kitten to a hot brick, while many others from a more oily State slipped to the rear, and left the “Tar Heels” to stick it out.
It’s a great quote, and confirms the origin of the nickname in the Civil War.
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