Sales card for Smithfield Tobacco Market

By 1973 the Surgeon General’s report had sent North Carolina’s tobacco industry into steady decline, but you couldn’t tell it from this enthusiastic schedule poster for “the market that sells itself.”

WMPM’s call letters once stood for World’s Most Progressive Market.

Pinback with image of Louis Harrell and words "Help Textile Workers Win Justice. Boycott J.P. Stevens."

Louis Harrell was a J.P. Stevens millhand in Roanoke Rapids. In 1978, not long after this photo was taken, he died of byssinosis, a condition caused by cotton dust and commonly known as brown lung.

A similar photo of Harrell appeared on an OSHA brochure issued during the Carter administration but recalled under Reagan as biased toward labor.

Also in the collection: two other anti-Stevens pinbacks.


Apron with words "Complete News Coverage, Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel"
This apron was likely intended for use on a Winston-Salem street corner, but it’s way too clean to have seen much action.

Frank Tursi, author of “Winston-Salem: A History,” doesn’t recall seeing one during his 23 years at the Journal but suggests they might also have been worn in the composing room.


North Carolina map shaped like a fish

If your jam band has been touring (with a couple of breaks) since 1983, you generate mountains of merch.  But I particularly like this sticker from Phish‘s  2018 performance at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek (mouthful!) in Raleigh.

“If you look at a book on trees or on Wikipedia, it will say that the [American chestnut] blight was first spotted in 1904, or came over ‘ca. 1900,’ through certain Long Island nursery men, but I found old newspaper clippings suggesting… that the blight had begun much earlier, either right before or right after the Civil War, and had begun in the interior, not on the coast and not in the Northeast but in places like Georgia and Virginia, the Carolinas.

“The first manifestation I could find of whatever it was occurred in Rockingham, North Carolina…. I started finding these newspaper stories, first from small-town papers around Rockingham and then from a widening radius. People would be meeting in these towns, having meetings basically to ask, ‘What are we going to do about the chestnuts dying?’ ”


Postcard with headshot of Billy Graham.

Verso of Billy Graham postcard with text encouraging readers to buy the Star newspaper to read about Billy Graham's crusades at Wembely Stadium.

Billy Graham held crusades in London in 1954, 1955, 1966 and 1989. I believe this postcard-size handout promoting his daily newspaper column was tied to his week-long 1955 appearance  at Wembley Stadium.


Ash tray with a reclining,sleeping moonshiner next to a jug.

Nicely detailed! But I’m guessing Raleigh and Charlotte didn’t include hillbilly knickknacks in their Amazon swag bags boxes.


“The Tar Heel State is the intertidal zone of the linguistic South: Overwhelming forces wash in and out, but weird, fascinating little tide pools remain….”

— From “Why North Carolina Is the Most Linguistically Diverse U.S. State… But it might not be that way for much longer” b at Atlas Obscura (Dec. 11)

Cited at length: N.C. State’s Walt Wolfram, “one of the great American linguists of the past 50 years.”


Small model of Wright Brothers memorial“A period of renewed interest in flight culminated with Charles A. Lindbergh’s nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1927. The increased flight activity of the late 1920s encouraged recognition of the Wright Brothers.
“At the local level North Carolinians, led by W. O. Saunders, editor of the Elizabeth City Independent, organized the Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association to ensure a proper commemoration of the Wrights’ first flight effort.”

— From “Commemorating the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk” by the National Park Service

This pot-metal souvenir stands 3 inches tall.


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