Dinner Idea

I was raised in the Midwest, a place where fruit-flavored gelatin offers virtually endless possibilities for culinary creativity. Fruit, vegetables, and various creamy substances all found their way into the many congealed salads of my youth. I thought myself well desensitized to any and all strange Jello dishes until I found a North Carolina recipe that puts all my previous experiences to shame: Tuna Fish Ring. If you are interested in recreating the experience for yourself, the recipe is as follows:

Tuna Fish Ring
1 package lime jello
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped stuffed olives
1 cup finely chopped sweet mixed pickles
1 small can tuna fish (flaked)
2 teaspoons vinegar
pinch of salt

Prepare jello according to directions. When slightly congealed, mix in all ingredients. Pour into ring mold and place in refrigerator for several hours. Turn out on large flat dish and surround with lettuce.

From Carolina Cooking, a cookbook published by the Chapel Hill Junior Service League, 1955.

New Towns and State Fair on NC Postcards

We’re always adding new cards to the North Carolina Postcards site, and the first cards for the following towns just went up!

NC State Fair, 1914

China Grove
Draper (now Eden)
Mount Sterling
Oak Island
Oak Ridge
Saint Helena
Walnut Cove

And don’t forget, there are just three more days left to catch the duck races, tractor pulls, and fried oreos at the North Carolina State Fair. Will you be traveling in style?

Our Favorite Grandad

Although Grandfather Mountain has not achieved the iconic status that the Old Man of the Mountain had for citizens of the Granite State, we Tar Heels do have a special place in our hearts for our geological grandfather. Images of Grandfather Mountain are widely available, including on the North Carolina Collection’s postcard site, but do you know that the mountain also inspired a poem? Two, in fact. “The Legend of Grandfather Mountain” was written by Henry E. Fries and published by the Charlotte Observer Publishing House in the mid-twentieth century. A more obscure piece, “A Tribute to the Grandfather,” recently came to my attention when it appeared in manuscript form in this lovely keepsake.


Will The Real Carolina Please Step Forward?


Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. I am biased. While I was born in Tennessee (once a part of the real Carolina), I’ve lived in North Carolina for 27 wonderful years and I graduated from the University of North Carolina. In my early teens, I spent one horrible year living in the lesser carolina.

Leading up to this Saturday’s football game between the Tar Heels and the Gamecocks, I’ve read several articles discussing which university can legitimately be called “Carolina.” I’ve heard it all before, and I don’t think any of the arguments have convincingly settled the debate. So I decided to get the opinion of two “experts”: Google and Wikipedia.

I entered the search term “Carolina” into both web sites and discovered that neither university was the first result returned. On Google, the University of North Carolina was the third result, ranking ten spots higher than our counterparts in Columbia. On Wikipedia’s disambiguation page, UNC was listed just above USC, scoring another win for the Tar Heels.

In a world increasingly dominated by Google and Wikipedia, I think I have finally found proof that I root for the one and only Carolina.

Media synergy in the last century


With the advent of the Web, we’ve grown used to newspapers supplementing their print product with interactive and continually updated websites. The advantages of this expansion into a new medium are obvious–the websites are places to provide more information and to offer it in forms that the print page doesn’t permit. It’s all pretty neat, but it turns out it’s not that new. We recently received a copy of the third edition of the International Radio News Map. This 1943 map shows the world at war with military bases, ship sizes, aircraft types, and nations colored-coded to show political alliances. It was distributed by WBIG Radio in Greensboro so that their listeners could follow war news broadcast by the station.

Happy Birthday Thomas Wolfe!


Thomas Clayton Wolfe was born on this day in 1900 in Asheville, N.C. North Carolina’s most renowned writer, author of Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again, is still celebrated in his hometown. Asheville is host this week to the Thomas Wolfe Festival, and the recently-restored Thomas Wolfe Memorial, site of Julia Wolfe’s former boarding house, remains a popular tourist destination and should be near the top of the to-do list of anyone visiting the Paris of the South.

One of the highlights of the Wolfe Festival will be Saturday night’s fundraising dinner at the Old Kentucky Home. Guests will be given a rare opportunity to eat in the original dining room of an early twentieth-century boarding house. They’ll be presented with a traditional menu, but hopefully it won’t stick too close to the sort of fare offered by the notoriously parsimonious Julia Wolfe.

October 1960: The Andy Griffith Show

This Month in North Carolina History

Photograph of Andy Griffith by Keith Longiotti
Andy Griffith. Photograph by Keith Longiotti. September 9, 2007, Wilson Library. North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

“Anybody here know why these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

With this opening line, a pop-culture phenomenon was born on October 3, 1960, at 9:30 p.m. when The Andy Griffith Show premiered. The show starred Andy Griffith, a North Carolina native and graduate of the University of North Carolina, who had risen to national fame with the comic monologue, What It Was Was Football, and a starring role in the stage and film version of No Time For Sergeants.

The series pilot aired on February 15, 1960, and was actually an episode of The Danny Thomas Show. It introduced viewers to Sheriff Andy Taylor, played by Griffith, and the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, which is widely believed to be based on Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina—although he has often denied it. The following October the series officially began with an installment titled “The New Housekeeper.” The show opened with Andy’s former housekeeper, Rose, getting married and moving away. Andy then asks Aunt Bee, who helped raise him, to assist in taking care of his son, Opie. Although he adamantly opposes Aunt Bee in the beginning—she can’t fish, catch frogs, or play baseball like Rose—Opie ends up accepting her into the household, fearing that she can not survive in a world with such limited skills. This episode also introduced viewers to Deputy Barney Fife, Sheriff Taylor’s comically inept sidekick.

Although The Andy Griffith Show remains one of the most popular television series of all time, it was initially disparaged by several media commentators. A review in the October 4, 1960 New York Times commented that the show was “only mildly entertaining.” Jack Elinson, a script writer during the first two seasons, remarked that the show was not “treated too kindly by the critics out here, the hip Hollywood people” and that the “cast and everybody was just a little glum.” On October 6, in the “Goings On” section of the Raleigh News and Observer, Raymond Lowery wrote that the reviews from the New York papers “weren’t good,” but that “they weren’t all bad” and that the “gentle, relaxed, family-type series would bear watching [and] that it had possibilities which may be realized later.”

What several reviewers disliked, however, countless television viewers loved. Elinson went on to say that the cast and crew calmed down and cheered up when they received the show’s “through the roof” Nielsen Ratings. Other commentators began to notice the show’s popularity as well. On October 16, 1960, only 13 days after the series’ debut, writer Earl Wilson observed that Andy Griffith was already “a big TV star.” One year later, at the beginning of the show’s second season, a Newsweek article noted Griffith’s “strangely popular situation comedy.” The show’s status only increased during its eight-year run, and it even garnered the Nielsen Rating’s number-one ranking in its final season. In the almost forty years since the last episode, The Andy Griffith Show continues to appeal to countless fans, and it remains as one of the most well-liked television series in American history.

Ken Beck and Jim Clark. Mayberry Memories: The Andy Griffith Show Photo Album. Nashville, Tenn.: Rutledge Hill Press, 2000.

Lee Pfeiffer. The Official Andy Griffith Show Scrapbook. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Pub. Group, 1994.

Dale Robinson and David Fernandes. The Definitive Andy Griffith Show Reference: Episode-by-Episode, With Cast and Production Biographies and a Guide to Collectibles. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1996.

Earl Wilson. “Barbara Cries With Andy’s Happiness.” The News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 16 October 1960.

Raymond Lowery. “Goings On.” The News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 6 October 1960.

“Andy Griffith Show,” New York Times, October 4, 1960.