“I’d spent most of the day in the archives of the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where a patient young archivist named Aaron Smithers had played me a stack of Blind Blake 78s….

“Despite most [78 rpm record] collectors’ contentious relationship with academia and with archives in particular, many still posthumously bequeath their records to institutions rather than burdening their already strained estates with thousands of pounds of shellac. The Southern Folklife Collection’s curator, Steve Weiss, estimated that nearly 95 percent of the SFC’s holdings were sourced from private collections….

“Interestingly, Weiss was grateful for collectors’ contributions not just to the archive he oversees but also to the broader notion of folklore as a viable academic pursuit — a field that didn’t really blossom until the 1950s and ’60s…. ‘They really have preserved the music, and they’ve promoted the music,’  he said. While there was sometimes tension between collectors and academics, there was symbiosis, too.”

– From Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records” by Amanda Petrusich (2014)


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.

French Omelet - Cook Book

French Omelet from Cook book.

Oven omelet - The Charlotte Cookbook

Oven Omelet from The Charlotte cookbook.

Spinach Mushroom Omelet - Pass the Plate

Spinach Mushroom Omelet from Pass the plate : the collection from Christ Church.

Shrimp Omelet-Tarheels Cooking for Ronald's Kids

Shrimp Omelet from Tarheels cooking for Ronald’s kids.

Omelette au Natural - Waldensian Cookery

Omelet au Natural (Plain Omelet) from Waldensian cookery.

Western Omelet - What's Cook'n at Biltmore

Western Omelet from What’s cook’n at Biltmore.

cheese zucchini omelet - What's Left is Right

Cheese Zucchini Omelet from What’s left is right : what to do with leftovers when you’re desperate.

Corned beef omelet - Soup to Nuts

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


“Ringgold, Ga., has a mayor who’s one generation removed from the Civil War.

“Joe Barger’s grandfather — that’s right, his grandfather — Jacob A. Barger served as a private for the South in North Carolina’s infantry. Mayor Barger grew up in Salisbury, N.C., about 35 miles north of Charlotte.

” ‘He was born in 1833,’ Barger said. ‘So it’s 96 years’ difference between when he was born, and I was born.’

“The births were spaced that way because both Barger’s grandfather and father married younger women after their first wives died.

“Being the grandson of a Civil War soldier is so unusual, the 84-year-old mayor said, that when he tells people about it, ‘I don’t think they believe me.’ ”

– From “Civil War scion: Ringgold mayor is living history….” by Tim Omarzu in the Chattanooga Times Free Press (June 28)


“If you have any oyster shells lying around, the U.S. Army wants five dumptrucks’ worth. You don’t even have to include the delicious oysters inside. And they’re willing to pay up to $15,000 for them.

“That’s the gist of one of the stranger U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracts in recent memory. Last week, the Army put out a call for the empty shells — specifically, shells that have been ‘shucked and air dried,’ ready for transportation. There was, intriguingly, no additional detail….

“After I tweeted the bizarre contract on Thursday, Slate’s Matthew Yglesias speculated that the Corps sought to aid an existing project to rebuild the oyster population of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Other guesses include the construction of good luck charms for the Navy; a crustacean-based fragmentation grenade; and, per the New York Times‘ Annie Lowrey, ‘scenic, Cape Cod-style driveways’….

“But it turns out the shells are destined for the southeastern corner of Roanoke Island, N.C. abutting Wanchese Harbor. That’s where the Army Corps of Engineers has a marsh creation and restoration project. There’s no military value to the enterprise; it’s part of the Corps’ longstanding civil works and environmental mission. To complete it, the Army needs 4,000 bushels of oyster shells.”

– From “Army Is Buying 4,000 Bushels of Empty Oyster Shells” by Spencer Ackerman  (July 25, 2012) at Wired

And let’s not forget “oyster-tecture.”


On this day in 1836: A new element appears in North Carolinians’ celebration of the Fourth of July — the “occasional popping of squibs,” as the Tarboro Free Press refers to firecrackers.


American Lasagna - A Taste of the Old and the New

American Lasagna from A Taste of the old and the new.

All American Hamburgers - Family Circle

All-American Hamburgers from The Family circle cookbook.

Early American Casserole - Favorite Recipes of the Carolinas

Early American Casserole from Favorite recipes of the Carolinas : meats edition, including poultry and seafood.

Martha Washington Creams - Nightingales in the Kitchen

Martha Washington Creams from Nightingales in the kitchen.

American Raised Waffles - Keepers of the Hearth

American Raised Waffles from Keepers of the hearth : based on records, ledgers and shared recipes of the families connected with Mill Prong House, Edinborough Road, Hoke County, North Carolina.

D.C. Spoon Bread - America Cooks

D. C. Spoon Bread from America cooks : practical recipes from 48 states.

All American Apple Pie - Dixie Classic Fair

All-American Apple Pie from Dixie Classic Fair for Northwest North Carolina : favorite recipes from friends of the Fair.

“On February 18 [1915] Wilson and his daughters and his Cabinet gathered in the East Room for the first running of a motion picture in the White House  ["The Clansman," later retitled "The Birth of a Nation."]

” ‘It was like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true,’ Wilson purportedly said when the lights came up. In fact, Wilson almost certainly never said it. The encomium does not even appear in the unpublished memoirs of the self-serving Thomas Dixon. The only firsthand record of Wilson’s feelings about the film appear in a letter three years later, in which he wrote , ‘I have always felt that this was a very unfortunate production and I wish most sincerely that its production might be avoided, particularity in communities where there are so many colored people.’ … Another member of the audience that night reported that the President seemed lost in thought during the film and exited the East Room upon its completion without saying a word to anybody….

“The comment did not appear in print for more than two decades. In any case, word of a White House screening circulated, and that was tantamount to a Presidential endorsement.”

– From “Wilson” by A. Scott Berg (2013)



The daily citizen. (Asheville, N.C.), 20 Feb. 1890. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

As droves of Tar Heels take to the road this summer in search of cool North Carolina mountain air, we are thinking about what this trip would have been like 150 years ago. As it turns out, it would have likely meant traveling on a plank road. Think of a plank road as a wooden highway for wagons and coaches. In the mid 1800s, North Carolina had a proliferation of plank road building.

One of these roads was the Western Turnpike, which North Carolina state legislators first discussed during their 1848 and 1849 session. In its original plan, it was to be a toll collecting plank road beginning in Salisbury moving westward to the Georgia state line. Two survey maps, drawn by state engineer S. Moylan Fox in 1850, depict the route from Salisbury to the Blue Ridge and the Blue Ridge to the Georgia state line. The state comptroller reports payment to Fox for his survey work in the December 12, 1849 issue of The North-Carolina Standard.

Construction of the Western Turnpike began in Asheville in 1850. In the same year, it connected with the Buncombe Turnpike. The Buncombe Turnpike, a dirt road completed in 1828, moved northwest from South Carolina, through Asheville, and into Tennessee. It had been key in opening up the region commercially, facilitating the arrival of tourists and allowing for agricultural trade.

Political squabbles plagued the Western Turnpike plan. Finally, during the 1854 and 1855 term, legislators abolished plans for the Salisbury to Asheville segment of the route. The Western Turnpike’s starting point would be Asheville, where it moved westward through the remote mountain towns of Waynesville, Bryson, Franklin, Jarretts, Welch’s Town and Murphy.

The Western North Carolina Railroad Company took the next big step in conquering the resource rich yet difficult terrain of the western most part of the state. The railroad completed service to Murphy in 1891 with the Murphy Branch line. The February 20, 1890 issue of Asheville’s The Daily Citizen records the railroad’s progress in blasting and grading its way west.

Western Turnpike Map

No 2 Map of the surveys for the western turnpike from the Blue Ridge to the Georgia line. From the North Carolina Collection.


How many professors have represented North Carolina in the House or Senate?

This somewhat imprecise list compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education says 11, each of whom taught at a different college — including of course UNC Chapel Hill.


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