Miniature photo album bracelet
Somebody went to a lot of trouble to put together this souvenir trinket — miniature foldout photos of North Carolina landmarks (State Capitol, Duke Chapel, etc.), encased in a  leather-like cover with metallic emblem, all attached to a link bracelet.

The black and white images are “real photos” — like early postcards — rather than lithographed. Circa 1930s?

1. What writer caused a furor in Chapel Hill in 1931 with his poem about the Scottsboro Boys, nine black teenagers unjustly accused of rape in Alabama?

2. What are the four “-villes” among North Carolina’s 15 largest cities?

3. What N.C. airport has the longest commercial runway between Washington and Atlanta?

4. Advertising Age chose what cigarette as having the top icon of the 20th century? As having one of the top 10 jingles?

5. What British rock group took its name from two Carolinas blues musicians?


Answers below





1. Langston Hughes, whose “Christ in Alabama” appeared on the cover of the local but world-renowned literary journal Contempo just as he arrived on campus. Hughes spoke at the Playmakers Theatre while police stood guard outside. He later said he had had “a swell time” on his visit.

2. Fayetteville, Greenville, Asheville and Jacksonville.

 3. The little-used Global TransPark in Kinston.

4. Marlboro (the Marlboro Man). Winston (“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should”).

5. Pink Floyd, after Pink Anderson, born in Laurens, S.C., and Floyd Council, born in Chapel Hill.


Employee badge for Wiscassett Mills


This beat-up, taped-up employee badge is a humble reminder of a once-thriving outpost of the Cannon textile empire.

Wiscassett Mills was founded in Albemarle in 1898. During World War II,  its yarns were used for machine gun belts and parachute harnesses. In 1978 Wiscassett was purchased by Cannon Mills. By 2000 when the plant closed — “citing imports,” in the familiar explanation of a trade-press obit — its employees numbered only 81.

But the Wiscassett mill village, according to the Albemarle Downtown Development Corp., “remains virtually intact in its early 20th century appearance. See a classic example of the paternalistic social structure that was common to North Carolina textile communities in the early 1900s.”

h/t Stanly County Museum for these terrific panoramic (cirkut)  images of mill life a century ago….

— Four of the eight Wiscassett mills at their height

Workers at Plant No. 4, card room and spinning room

— “Ladies Serving Wiscassett Mills Barbeque,” 1916. (Don’t miss the watermelons.)

— An overview of the festivities, featuring a race of some sort.


1. “And I always remember that whatever I have done in the past or may do in the future Duke University is responsible in one way or another.” — Who spoke these words at a Greensboro campaign rally in 1960?

2. What crucial contribution to the tobacco industry was made by a slave in Caswell County?

3. True or false: Actor Robert De Niro once appeared as a beauty pageant emcee in a Duke Power television commercial.

4. What is the largest city in North Carolina not named for a person?

5. True or false: No football player at an N.C. college has ever won the Heisman Trophy.

Answers below




1. Duke law grad Richard Nixon.

2. Stephen Slade fell asleep while tending a fire in a tobacco barn, accidentally inventing the process that produces bright-leaf tobacco.

3. True. De Niro was discovered for the role while performing at the Matthews Dinner Theater in 1967. His big break in movies didn’t come until six years later in “Bang the Drum Slowly.”

4. High Point, the state’s eighth largest city.

5. True. North Carolina’s Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice was runner-up in both 1948 and 1949.


On this day in 1907: Billed as “an extra added attraction,” Carry Nation appears in Salisbury’s Fourth of July parade. After inspecting local saloons — at 61, she is no longer busting them up — she declares the town a “hell hole.

Nation’s month-long N.C. tour concludes in Raleigh. Raleigh Electric Co., whose streetcars profit from ferrying her supporters to Pullen Park, pays her $35. She makes an additional $25 from sale of souvenir cardboard and pewter hatchets.


Pinback button that reads "Go 'Lucky Seven,' Kenny Walker, Durham, 1978


Soap Box Derby used to be be big, both nationally and in North Carolina. Today the derby apparently survives in the state only in Morganton, where it has its own track at the Burke County Fairgrounds under the sponsorship of the Morganton Optimist Club.

Newspaper archives offer a look back at the race’s glory days in Raleigh and in Charlotte.

In 1970 a Durham contestant won the national championship. Less illustriously, a 1993 champion from Huntersville — perhaps influenced by the local culture? — was stripped of his title for using unapproved materials.


If you’ve turned on a TV in North Carolina, you are probably familiar with our state’s public television station, UNC-TV.  The network’s original station – WUNC-TV, Channel 4 in Chapel Hill – signed on the air January 8, 1955.  Initially operating on three different campuses (Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Greensboro), the station would continue to expand in geographical reach and content development.

For more than 60 years, WUNC-TV has brought arts, culture, history, and science programming into the homes of North Carolinians.  The NC Collection Gallery is pleased to add two new artifacts documenting the station’s past:  a late-1950s WUNC-TV jacket and an original Channel 4 banner.

1950s WUNC-TV jacket

1950s WUNC-TV jacket

Channel 4 banner

Late 1960s Channel 4 banner

The first WUNC-TV broadcast in 1955, and its staple content for years, was college basketball.  These early games were shown on television, but people would watch while listening to the radio for the commentary.  By the 1960s, WUNC-TV was covering the ACC Basketball Game of the Week.  The station converted a Trailways bus donated from the Town of Chapel Hill into a mobile remote unit, making it possible to cover events outside the studio.

Charlie B. Huntley from Greensboro, NC (UNC class of 1971) entered UNC in 1967 and was recruited that same year to join the Department of Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures (later incorporated into the UNC School of Journalism).  Having been inspired by watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1963, Huntley jumped at the opportunity to become a cameraman with WUNC-TV.  Huntley divided his time between the studio, his house on East Rosemary Street (shared with other members of the WUNC-TV Channel 4 student news team), and being on the road with a WUNC-TV camera.

Channel 4 student employees, ca. 1970

The core group of the Channel 4 team and Rosemary Street roommates, Sam Brooks, HB Hough, Bill Hatch and Charlie Huntley, ca.1970

Huntley shooting on location

Huntley shooting on location

Huntley remembers traveling an untold number of miles on that Trailways bus all over North Carolina.  Just to make sure their presence was known, the team would attach a large green banner with the Channel 4 logo to the side of the bus.  The banner was sometimes used as a backdrop during satellite broadcasts.

While working in the WUNC-TV studio then located in Swain Hall, Huntley found an early WUNC-TV jacket in a janitor’s closet and felt a connection to his predecessors.  The rayon bomber jacket was made in Greensboro and was worn by early WUNC-TV staff while on-location filming around the state.

Huntley holding Emmy Award

Charlie Huntley in 1992 with his Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Miniseries or Special for his work on Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park

As Huntley’s time at UNC began to come to an end, he decided to keep the banner that was no longer being used by the station, as well as the jacket that was worn years before he even thought of coming to UNC.  His experience as a student staff member at WUNC led to a long and successful career as a professional cameraman in New York, with 134 film and tv credits, 54 Emmy nominations, and 4 Emmy wins.  Huntley speaks of his time at UNC and WUNC-TV with affection, referring to his friends and colleagues as “family” and appreciating that he was a part of “a wonderful combination of friendship, passion, and talent.”

The Gallery is proud to add these artifacts into our permanent collection to help interpret and preserve the history of WUNC-TV.

Channel 4 alumni

Channel 4 alumni

1. True or false: At the time of George Washington’s inauguration in 1789, North Carolina had yet to ratify the Constitution.

2. A panel of journalists and historians assembled by the Associated Press ranked what three events as the top stories of 20th century North Carolina?

3. In what sport does Whoopdedoo represent North Carolina’s greatest challenge?

4. What Hollywood actress traces her father’s side of the family to the Lumbee Indians?

5. Why does Wilmington remember Dec. 15, 1955, as “Black Thursday”?





1. True. (Nor had Rhode Island.)

2. The Wright Brothers’ flight in 1903, the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in in 1960 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

3. Skiing. It’s the steepest slope at Sugar Mountain.

4. Heather Locklear. (In Robeson County, Locklears outnumber Smiths more than two-to-one. More than 40 percent of Locklears in the United States live in North Carolina.)

5. That was the day the Atlantic Coast Line railroad announced it would move its headquarters to an undetermined but more central location. The new site turned out to be Jacksonville, Fla., and the move was made in 1960.


Wire service photo from 1936 convention with someone holding sign that reads "North Carolina, Off the Rocks with Landon and Knox"

Wire photo of Junius H. Harden, delegate from Graham in Alamance County, at the 1936 Republican National Convention.


Hats off to the enthusiastic sign maker, but the 1936 Republican presidential ticket foundered both nationally and in North Carolina. Alf Landon, Kansas governor, and Frank Knox, Chicago newspaper publisher, won only Maine and Vermont against incumbents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner.

In 1928 Harden, co-founder of Alamance County’s short-lived streetcar system (Piedmont Railway & Electric, 1912-1922), had come close to ousting nine-term Democratic Congressman Charles Manly Stedman. [Thanks to Melissa Nasea, history collections librarian at ECU, for pointing out that I was a century off about Piedmont Railway & Electric. It’s now corrected.]

As renovations on the brick walkways in the “The Pit” and surrounding areas (Lenoir Hall, Davis Library, Graham Student Union, and Student Stores) continue through the summer, ground is regularly being uncovered that has literally “not seen the light of day” for numerous decades.  During my 10 years as the Photographic Materials Processing Archivist for Wilson Library Special Collections,  I have had the privilege of being able to work with thousands of images (drawings, sketches, photographs, etc…) depicting the University campus as it has grown and changed over the years.  Often, as I walk around campus, I find myself thinking of how areas looked before other building were added to the landscape of campus.  I do this so that when I see historical images, I can sort of  “deconstruct” to what campus looked like at the time an image was made,  and more quickly orient myself to what I am looking at.

On the morning of June 20, on my way in to the office,  I walked from the bus stop on South Road at the Student Stores up the brick stairs between the Student Store and the Frank Porter Graham Student Union Buildings….

View of the brick stairs today at Frank Porter Graham Student Union.  Image by Patrick Cullom  

As I reached the top of the steps, I noticed some stone work that had recently been uncovered directly in front of the Graham Student Union Building…

View of construction outside of Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building Image by Patrick Cullom 2018

View of construction outside of Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building Image by Patrick Cullom 2018

This stonework looked familiar to me…where had I seen it before? Then it hit me; this must be what is left of the staircase that existed before the 1999-2004 renovations to the Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building.  I honestly could not recall (from my own memories of campus) what this area looked like before the renovations and additions began in 1999.

(Good thing we just happen to have SOME images of the campus from days past in the Wilson Special Collections Library)

View of the “original” brick stairs (on left) at Frank Porter Graham Student Union, soon after construction, circa 1970 (Image taken from the bell tower looking north across South Road) Image from: UNC at Chapel Hill Image Collection Collection #P0004, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives Folder 0306: Graham Student Union (Frank Porter Graham), 1970-1979


View of the “original” brick stairs (on left) at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union, circa 1990s                                            (Parking lot expanded and Davis Library visible in background)    Image from UNC Facilities Services Engineering Information Services Website https://planroom.unc.edu/FacilityInfo.aspx?facilityID=065

View of demolition of “original” brick stairs at Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building, circa 1999-2000 Image from News Services of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40139, University Archives Digital Folder DF-40139/0169


When I walked by the next day, the stonework was gone and the whole section had been dug out. It was a brief look into the past, now covered up again, as the campus continues to grow to fit the needs of its students. Now we are back to the image that started this post.

View of the brick stairs as they appear today at Frank Porter Graham Student Union.  Image by Patrick Cullom 2018

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