Sir Henry Yelverton, the king’s attorney general, was no friend to Sir Walter Ralegh. Yelverton owed his office to the influence of the Howards, the great and powerful Catholic family, secret pensioners of the king of Spain and long-time virulent enemies of Ralegh. And yet, in the attorney’s solemn address before the King’s Bench at Westminster on October 28, 1618, expressing His Majesty’s pleasure that Ralegh should die, there is a strange note of piety, of awe even, in the face of Ralegh’s destiny: ‘He hath been a star at which the world hath gazed; but stars may fall nay they must fall when they trouble the sphere wherein they abide.’ These words catch the sense, felt even in his own day, that Ralegh’s life had a very special quality, something almost mythic, something usually found only in the creations of art, which set it apart from the lives of other men. Ralegh himself did everything in his power to encourage such a feeling, for he was an actor, and at the great public moments of his career he performed unforgettably.

–from Sir Walter Ralegh: The Renaissance Man and His Roles by Stephen J. Greenblatt.

Greenblatt paints Ralegh (to use one of numerous ways to spell the man’s name) as an actor. Here at N.C Miscellany, we’d like to turn that around. How many actors have played Sir Walter on film and television?

In these days of the Web and IMDB it’s not too hard to find the answer. But before you go there, try to name as many as you can.

And why are we thinking about Sir Walter as a film character? Because Ralegh as a subject in film and literature is one of the topics of discussion for an event we’re sponsoring on April 1. We’re marking the 400th anniversary of publication of Ralegh’s The History of the World with a discussion among three men who’ve looked at aspects of Ralegh’s life and work. Christopher Armitage, who teaches in UNC’s Department of English, recently edited a volume titled Literary and Visual Ralegh. He’ll be joined by two contributors to the volume–Thomas Herron of East Carolina University and Julian Lethbridge of the University of Tübingen in Germany. Their discussion takes place at 3 pm in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room in Wilson Library, just down the hall from the North Carolina Collection. We hope you can join us.

“The particular goal of [two large dances in 1943 sponsored by American Legion and VFW posts] was to raise enough money to send a million cigarettes to soldiers overseas…. Both groups almost made it. Each sent more than 900,000 cigarettes, and on the back of each pack was the message, ‘The Citizens of Charlotte, N.C., Send Christmas Smokes for Our Overseas Fighting Folks’….

“[But] during 1944, with vast numbers of cigarettes earmarked for the military, cigarette rationing began…. Home-front smokers were more concerned with getting their own cigarettes, and no one sponsored programs that would send more cigarettes overseas.”

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


Last year, NC Miscellany noted that despite its status as the largest African American managed financial institution in the United States, there was no Wikipedia article about the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Mutual Life Insurance Company

North Carolina Mutual block, Parrish Street, Durham, NC.

An article about the company has since been created, but it needs more work. And it’s just one of many weak areas in Wikipedia’s coverage of topics related to African American history in North Carolina.

On Sunday, March 30, the North Carolina Collection will host its second Wikipedia edit-a-thon, from 1:00 to 4:30.

Participants will create, expand, and improve Wikipedia articles about African American history, culture, people, events, and institutions in North Carolina. All are welcome — no special topical knowledge or Wikipedia experience is needed. Bring a laptop and we’ll help you do the rest!

For more details and to RSVP, see the event page.

In honor of Women’s History Month, the North Carolina Collection looks back at 1944 — which was an interesting year to be a woman at UNC.

Women’s enrollment numbers climbed while men left the classroom in unprecedented numbers to serve in the military. Women’s athletics flourished, with “coeds” playing soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, and badminton. And for the first time, UNC held what the 1944 yearbook, the Yackety Yack, calls a “unique ‘beauty’ dance,” in which thirty-two Carolina women vied for eight beauty queen titles.

They were complicated times to be sure. To offer a more personal window into coed life that year, we offer our March Artifacts of the Month: two charms that belonged to Jean Holmes Lochridge, Class of 1944.


The charms represent the Women’s Council and the University Club. According to the description accompanying her senior photo in the Yackety Yack, Lochridge was a member of both, in addition to the Alderman House Council, the Phi Assembly, the Executive Committee, the Senate, and the Intramural Volleyball and Badminton teams.

yearbook photo

Lochridge’s daughter donated these charms to the NCC Gallery, and we’re honored to be charged with their stewardship. Not only are they a valuable reminder of the general student experience at UNC in 1944, but they also offer a unique slice of life from the perspective of one intriguing Carolina woman.

On this day in 1919: Professor Frederick Koch’s Carolina Playmakers debut with a trio of short plays in the Chapel Hill High School auditorium. Leading the bill: “The Return of Buck Gavin, A Tragedy of the Mountain People,” written by Thomas Wolfe, who also plays the part of Buck.

Among Prof Koch’s other notable early students: Paul Green, Jonathan Daniels and Frances Gray (Patton). By 1928 Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times will write that “what Professor Koch has accomplished, not only in Chapel Hill, but through the state, is nothing short of extraordinary.”

You can see costume items from “The Return of Buck Gavin” in the North Carolina Collection Gallery exhibit “Making a People’s Theatre: Proff Koch and the Carolina Playmakers,” from now until May 31.

North Carolina
Pulled pork
Like Missouri’s barbecue ribs, pulled pork is cooked slowly on a grill. Like New Mexico’s carne adovada, pulled pork is fork-tender pork shoulder. Unlike either of those, North Carolina pulled pork is shredded by hand, doused with a vinegary sauce, and served with coleslaw. Pulled pork barbecue is an American treasure.

Now, I am aware that South Carolina also serves pulled pork. But South Carolina’s pulled pork is a mustard-based concoction, which pales in a side-by-side comparison with tangy, bracing North Carolina barbecue sauce.

– From “The United Steaks of America: If every state had an official meat, what would it be?” by L.V. Anderson at slate.com (March 10)

Another cartographic provocation from the folks who brought us “The United Sports of America.”


Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake - Progressive Farmer

from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

Silly Pie-The Pantry Shelf

Silly Pie from The Pantry shelf : 1907-1982.

USED 3-10-14 Sassy Shrimp Mold - Pass the Plate

Sassy Shrimp Mold from Pass the plate : the collection from Christ Church.

Wacky Cake - A Taste of the Old and the New

Wacky Cake from A Taste of the old and the new.

Sweet n' Sassy Chicken - Company's Coming

Sweet N’ Sassy Chicken from Company’s coming : a recipe collection from North Carolinians who enjoy company coming.

A Peculiar Cake - The Clockwatcher's Cookbook

A Peculiar Cake from The clock watcher’s cook book.

Crazy Cobbler - High Hampton Hospitality

Crazy Cobbler from High Hampton hospitality.

On this day in 1966: University of North Carolina police prevent Herbert Aptheker, historian and member of the American Communist Party, from speaking on the Chapel Hill campus.

Aptheker first attempted to address students from the ledge of a campus landmark, the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam. Thwarted, he steps a few feet away, crosses a low stone wall onto town property and faces 2,000 students seated on the campus lawn. His speech proves less than incendiary; its main result is to focus national attention on the state’s 1963 Speaker Ban Law.

Legislators adopted the ban during a period of social unrest and at the height of the Cold War. Secretary of State Thad Eure drafted the law “to regulate visiting speakers at state-supported colleges and universities.” On the blacklist: any “known member of the Communist Party,” anyone who advocated the overthrow of the state or federal constitutions and anyone who had pleaded the Fifth Amendment about “subversive connections.”

In 1968 a federal court will declare the Speaker Ban Law unconstitutional.


On this day in 1974: Myrtle “Lulu Belle” Wiseman, twice voted America’s most popular female radio entertainer in the 1930s, is elected to the N.C. House.

Before retiring to Spruce Pine in 1958, she and her husband, Scotty, had performed for almost a quarter-century as the Hayloft Sweethearts on the “National Barn Dance” on Chicago’s WLS, hosted a daily TV show for eight years and made seven Hollywood movies.

The Wisemans wrote or co-wrote such classics as “Good Old Mountain Dew” (with Bascom Lamar Lunsford), “Remember Me” and “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?”

In her two terms in the legislature, Lulu Belle Wiseman will make her most dramatic impression when, arguing for the death penalty for rapists, she tells her stunned colleagues about her own rape 10 years earlier.


It’s National Pancake Day.  Fruit, buckwheat, buttermilk, basic, sour cream, no matter how you like your pancakes we’ve got the recipe for you.

USE Pancakes - Progressive Farmer

Image from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

USE Batter cakes - Soup to Nuts

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

USE Apple Pancakes - Cook Book

Apple Pancakes from Cook book.

USE Quick and Easy Sour Cream Pancakes - Mountain Elegance

Quick and Easy Sour Cream Pancakes from Mountain elegance : a collection of favorite recipes.

USE Oatmeal Griddle Cakes - Peace Cookbook

Oatmeal Griddle Cakes from Peace cookbook.

USE Peanut Butter Pancakes - Welkom

Peanut Butter Pancakes from Welkom : Terra Ceia cookbook III, a collection of recipes.

USE Basic Griddle Cakes - The Clockwatcher's Cookbook

Basic Griddle Cakes from The clock watcher’s cook book.

USE Cranberry Pancakes and Syrup-Our Own Kitchen Survival Kit

Cranberry Pancakes and Cranberry Syrup from Our own kitchen survival kit.

USE Buckwheat Cakes - Favorite Recipse of the Lower Cape Fear

Buckwheat Cakes from Favorite recipes of the Lower Cape Fear.

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