1918 Mystery Button from Asheboro

In December 2007, Lew Powell of Charlotte donated 2,698 North Carolina-related pin-back buttons, badges, ribbons, cloth swatches, promotional cards, and stickers to the North Carolina Collection. These items cover a variety of topics, including politics, sports, clubs and organizations, and controversial causes. While the origin of most of the buttons in this collection is clear, a couple of the buttons are untraced to any cause or organization.

This 1918 button from Asheboro remains a puzzle. Mr. Powell purchased the button along with another from Randolph County, and suggests that one possibility is that the button advertised the Randolph County Sunday School Association. On the other hand, the flag motif suggests it might have something to do with World War I.
Any ideas?

A 19th Century Ladies’ Man

Frolics, hops, germans, socials, midwinters, proms, balls…dances have a long history as a crucial part of social life at Carolina. Today’s UNC Dance Marathon shows how much this activity has evolved since the days of the dance card:

Dance card front

This is an 1885 dance card from our UNC ephemera collection. The name written on the front, presumably the gentlemen who originally used the card, is H.W. Jackson. The other penciled notations on the front read: “My first ball,” and “I carried out Miss Daisy Deason.” I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to interpret that latter notation for yourselves.

Mr. Jackson appears to have been a very popular guy, since he listed not one, but two ladies for many of the dances inside the card:

Dance card inside

Herbert Worth JacksonCurious about this suave fellow, I consulted several resources here at the North Carolina Collection, including the Biographical Index, Powell’s Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, and Ashe’s Biographical History of North Carolina, and found that our gentlemen was Herbert Worth Jackson (1865-1936). Herb was the first basemen and captain of the varsity baseball team during his time at UNC, and later went on to become a banker, civic leader, and UNC Trustee. He eventually married Annie Hyman Philips, whose name, incidentally, does not appear on his dance card.

More of “What’s new?”

I’ve been catching up on the new additions to the North Carolina Collection and today I added over 200 more titles to our “What’s New in the North Carolina Collection?” page. To be more exact, today’s list has 217 new titles, including more than 50 books of poetry, 35 works of fiction, 11 biographies, two books on North Carolina’s wild horses, and nifty foreign language editions of Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain in Polish), Kaye Gibbons (Ellen Foster in French), Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby in German), and Jim Grimsley (Comfort and Joy in German). Check out the full list by clicking on the link in this entry or by clicking on the “What’s New in the North Carolina Collection?” link under the heading “Pages” in the right column. 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 North Carolina Collection Reading Room.

Local Dog Makes Good


He’s no Broadway Joe, but the Plott Hound will be seen around Manhattan this week. The Plott Hound has been the North Carolina State Dog since 1989. This week the breed makes its debut at the 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The show is taking place today and tomorrow at Madison Square Garden. The best of the Plott Hound competitors will be chosen in judging at noon today. The best of the breeds compete against each other in the group competitions over the next two nights, with the grand champion of the show selected tomorrow night. The USA Network and CNBC are carrying the evening judging. The Plott Hound is known as a quick-foot, tenacious hunter rather than an over-groomed lap dog, but if our big dawg proves to be the star of the Hound Group, who knows what’s next–the role of arm candy for Paris Hilton?

What’s New?

Late last week I added more than 100 new titles to our “What’s New in the North Carolina Collection?” page. This listing of the North Carolina Collection’s latest selections is updated several times a year and you can check it out by clicking on the link under the heading “Pages” in the right column. Full citations for all these new books can be found in the University Library catalog and they are all available for use in the North Carolina Collection Reading Room. Enjoy!

February 1881: The Colonial and State Records of North Carolina

This Month in North Carolina History

State seal from Volume 1 of State and Colonial Records
On February 17, 1881, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed a resolution authorizing the Trustees of the State Library to print “records, papers, documents and manuscripts…bearing date prior to the year 1781, belonging to the State of North Carolina.” While they may not have known it at the time, the legislators set in motion a process that when finished—over thirty years later—would produce a thirty-volume set containing 28,840 pages of transcribed and printed original documents from North Carolina’s colonial and early state periods. The Colonial Records of North Carolina and the State Records of North Carolina have allowed generations of scholars to produce exhaustive histories of the Tar Heel State and its citizens.

William Saunders, who served as North Carolina’s secretary of state from 1879 to 1891, edited the first ten volumes of the series, which where titled the Colonial Records of North Carolina. As secretary, he had unique access to public records, many of which were then in the custody of the secretary’s office. Although authorized by the resolution to cover the period up to 1781, time constraints and ill health required him to conclude with the ratification of the North Carolina State Constitution in December 1776. In keeping with the general tradition of historical editing, Saunders arranged the materials in chronological order, but the volumes contained no indices and no tables of contents, either individually or as a set.

After Saunders’ death in 1891, a second editor, Walter Clark, began where the first left off. As a justice on North Carolina’s Supreme Court, Clark did not have Saunders’ privileged position with respect to the state’s records, but his concern to preserve and promote the state’s history caused him to go to great lengths in search of relevant materials. He hoped to fulfill Saunders’ original intent of continuing the series through 1781, but after he had been collecting documents for two years, the General Assembly authorized him to publish the records of the subsequent decade as well. The sixteen volumes that Clark published between 1895 and 1907 are known as the State Records of North Carolina. Though the title is different, Clark decided to continue the series’ sequential numbering and attempted to continue the chronological arrangement of the earlier volumes.

In 1895, Stephen B. Weeks, who is considered by many scholars to be “North Carolina’s first professional historian,” was selected to prepare an index to both the Colonial Records and the State Records. The task was daunting, and it took him almost twenty years to complete the four-volume master index for the set, the index to a subset of published laws, and the index to the 1790 census in volume 26. In addition, Weeks wrote a lengthy essay describing previous efforts to document North Carolina’s history, providing an “analysis of the materials printed,” and surveying still unpublished historical materials relating to the state available in various public and private collections.

Though the series is over a century old, it continues to remain an important resource for individuals researching North Carolina’s history and peoples. In recognition of its value and in an attempt to make it even more accessible, UNC Library’s Documenting the American South has scanned and published online the entire thirty-volume set.

H. G. Jones. For History’s Sake: The Preservation and Publication of North Carolina History, 1663-1903. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1966.

“Colonial and State Records.” Encyclopedia of North Carolina. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2006.

Image Source
Detail of the North Carolina state seal from the spine of Volume I of the Colonial Records of North Carolina.