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 Dec. 16, 1948, Ray Hewitt installed a telephone in the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Pace in Alamance County — the millionth rural telephone added by the Bell System since the end of World War II….

“[Hewitt’s wife] Martha, a telephone operator in Burlington, made the connections so Pace could speak with President Truman at the White House. (The president’s number: National 1414.)

” ‘The president’s words cannot be heard,’ the Southern Telephone News would report later, ‘but whatever he is saying seems to be pleasing farmer Pace. Mrs. Pace smiles as she watches her husband and looks mighty proud.’

“Everyone seemed to be crammed into the Paces’ farmhouse that day. There was a film crew. The ceremonial calls, broadcast live by WPTF in Raleigh, were carried by 16 N.C. stations.

“Also at the house were Sen. J. Melville Broughton, Gov.-elect Kerr Scott, Southern Bell President Hal S. Dumas and radio star Kay Kyser ….”

— From “President Truman on the line” by Mark Wineka in the Salisbury Post (Jan. 5)


“The New York Tribune [in 1906] made a canvass of a great many prominent Negroes and white persons to ascertain what they thought the Negro should be called…. An average of eleven Negroes out of twenty desired to be spoken of as Negroes. The other nine spurned the word as ‘insulting,’ ‘contemptuous,’ ‘degrading,’ ‘vulgar.’ Two argued for ‘Afro-American,’ two for ‘Negro-American,’ one for ‘black man,’ and one was indifferent so long as he was not called ‘Nigger’….

“E .A. Johnson, Professor of Law in Shaw University, North Carolina, said, ‘The term “Afro-American” is suggestive of an attempt to disclaim as far as possible our Negro descent, and casts a slur upon it. It fosters the idea of the inferiority of the race, which is an incorrect notion to instill into the Negro youth, whom we are trying to imbue with self-esteem and self-respect.’ ”

— From “Race Distinctions in American Law” by Gilbert Thomas Stephenson (1910) 

Edward Austin Johnson, who left North Carolina for New York a year later, had quite a productive career.


The North Carolina Collection salutes our 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions with a few recipes from championship players past courtesy of Tarheels cooking for Ronald’s kids published in 1988.

Way to go Heels!


On this day in 1959: Actress Debra Paget is crowned queen of Wilmington’s annual North Carolina Azalea Festival. Emceeing her coronation: Ronald Reagan, host of TV’s “General Electric Theater.”

Reagan will visit again in 1960, but this time Merv Griffin is emcee.


On this day in 1730: At the site of present-day Franklin, Sir Alexander Cuming persuades seven young Cherokee men to accompany him to London. During their four months in England they will have their portraits painted by William Hogarth, kiss the hand of King George II and sign a treaty of alliance.


“It would be dishonest not to say that the greatest force in the life of the University to-day contributing to sobriety, manliness, healthfulness and morality generally is athletics.”
— UNC president George Tayloe Winston, writing in Alumni Quarterly, 1894

“Amid the blue-and-white pompoms, few are so rude as to mention that the University of North Carolina, the Microsoft of college basketball, remains enmeshed in a scandal of spectacular proportions. Put simply, for two decades until 2013, the university provided fake classes for many hundreds of student athletes, most of them basketball and football players….”

— From “North Carolina’s Dominance Fails to Cover Cheating’s Stain” by Michael Powell in the New York Times (March 31)


“North Carolina now has one of the most ‘progressive’ death rows in the nation. No one has been executed here since 2006, and inmates are allowed to mingle with each other and spend hours outside. They are the most well-behaved population in [Central Prison], officials say, largely because they have become a community….”

— From “Let’s Go to Prison!” by Eli Hager at the Marshall Project (Dec. 14)


Early North Carolinians experienced many problems and frustrations with their money, and not just from having too little of it. One problem was that some of the money in circulation was fraudulent. We use this term rather than counterfeit because the problem went beyond counterfeiting — producing copies of genuine notes.

The North Carolina Collection Gallery recently acquired a “raised” note from the 1778 series of paper money. A genuine note is said to be raised when it has been altered to appear to be of higher denomination than it is.

The note below, shown front and back, at first glance appears to be worth four dollars. But reading the small print on the front — the main body of text or the vertical printing to the left — reveals that the note is worth one-fourth dollar. That’s a big difference.

front of fraudulent note

Front of fraudulent note

Back of fraudulent note

Back of fraudulent note

Compare the genuine but raised note to an unaltered example, below, also in our collection.

Unaltered note on the left; fraudulent note on the right.

Front of unaltered note on the left; fraudulent note on the right. Click for larger image.

Unaltered note on left; fraudulent note on right.

Back of unaltered note on the left; fraudulent note on the right. Click for larger image.

The raised note is a crude job, akin to a bad Photoshop job today.

Did it pass? Maybe.

Much paper money in circulation at the time was heavily worn, significantly more so than the relatively pristine unaltered 1778 specimen shown here. The holes and other defects produced by the raising might not alarm a person used to handling rags that had to serve well into frail old age.

Secondly, people may not have bothered to read the small print, especially if they had seen this type of note before.

Third, unusual (by present standards) denominations — such as four dollars — were more common before the Civil War, and would not have raised suspicions. And there was a genuine four-dollar note in the 1778 series, although it had a motto different from that of the quarter-dollar note.

The simple printing technology of the day, devoid of anti-counterfeiting measures, certainly did little to discourage crooks. Printing technology improved, but so did the skills of the charlatans. Raising genuine notes persisted well into the 19th century as a minor form of easy money making. Today, note raising is a seldom-encountered form of fraud. Modern crooks seem to do just fine with plain counterfeiting.

“The Grand Old Party” seems an especially appropriate nickname for North Carolina Republican Party today—the 150th anniversary of the formal organization of the party in the Tar Heel State.

Led by North Carolina Standard editor W.W. Holden, a number of prominent white citizens who had been pre-Civil War Whigs, anti-secessionists, or one-time members of the Peace Party joined with African Americans eager for a long-denied voice in the governance of the state in organizing a convention in Raleigh on March 27, 1867. The purpose of the meeting was to demonstrate to Congress and the nation that North Carolinians were loyal and ready for full readmission to the Union. A second goal was to wrest power from the Conservative party forces that governed the state. The 147 delegates in attendance collectively represented 56 counties in what was the first political meeting in North Carolina with full participation by both black and white citizens. Alexander H. Jones of Henderson, a strong advocate of voting rights for African American males, was elected president of the convention. Two white and two black vice presidents and one white and one black secretary were also chosen.

Delegate Robert Paine Dick of Greensboro proposed that the convention should proceed with organizing the Republican Party in North Carolina. But not all delegates supported that name for the organization. Several, including Daniel R. Goodloe and Benjamin S. Hedrick, argued for “Union Party”, saying that it would be more acceptable to many North Carolinians the organization hoped to attract. But the prevailing sentiment was for “Republican Party.” The next day, May 28th, in the first of a series of resolutions the delegates passed, it was resolved:

That in view of our present political condition, our relations to the National Government and the people of all sections of the country, we do this day with proud satisfaction unfurl the brilliant and glorious banner of THE REPUBLICAN PARTY and earnestly appeal to every true and patriotic man in the State to rally in its support.

The March 30, 1867, issue of the Raleigh Tri-Weekly Standard provides a detailed account of the two-day convention. Digital access to this issue of the Standard is available via Chronicling America.

Several years of the Standard and a number of other North Carolina newspapers have been digitized and made available by the North Carolina Collection thorough its participation in the Chronicling America newspaper digitization project coordinated by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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