Verities Of Golf

Way back in October 2005, Nick Graham posted an entry on Alamance Plaid. Just a little over two years later, here’s my response to Nick’s post. Written by Alexander W. McAlister, The Eternal Verities of Golf is a “study in philosophy and the ancient game.” It dispenses bits of wisdom like “forgetting the things which are behind” and “swear not at all.” (Which all explain why I’m a really, really, really bad golfer.) The most interesting part of the book from my perspective, however, is that it is wrapped in plaid cloth–much like the Alamance Plaid entry. We’ve got two copies of the book, and they are both covered in different types of plaid cloth.

Price Of Barbecue

Two things have been weighing on my mind recently: the economy and barbecue. I’ll tell you why. First, the economy is obvious. I read nothing but bad news every time I open the newspaper or look at CNN. Second, the BBQ song we posted a few weeks ago reminded me that I haven’t eaten any good barbecue in quite some time. So, needless to say, the menu below, which has prices from 1960, just sent me into a severe barbecue depression. I think a road trip to Lexington is long past due.

Political Ephemera

Throughout this election season, I’ve been sharing some of the North Carolina Collection’s wonderful collection of political ephemera (I hope you’ve enjoyed). I’m sharing another piece today; the image to the right is a list of Republican Party candidates for state office in 1884.

However, I’d also like to turn this posting into a solicitation for more ephemera. Yesterday, our collection development librarian (the person in charge of getting “stuff” for the NCC), sent out an email to North Carolina librarians. In this email, she asked them to save all of the various politically related mailings that they have been getting, pack them up, and mail them to us. Well, I want to do the same thing with our loyal NCM readers. Since all of the NC Collection’s staff members live near Chapel Hill, most of the political ephemera we collect is “Triangle-centric.” Our collection, however, seeks to document the history and culture of the entire state. So, for those of you in the western or eastern (or other parts of the Piedmont) parts of the state, please do the following: 1) save the mailings you get 2)pack them up 3)send them to the NC Collection. Who knows…a hundred years from now my replacement may be blogging about the ephemera you sent to us in 2008.

Windmill on Lake Mattamuskeet

Nick’s post earlier today reminded me of the photograph in the North Carolina County Collection you see above.  The caption on the back of the photograph reads, “Early and late method of grinding corn in Hyde Co N.C.  Mill on edge of lake Mattamuskeet.”  The photograph was donated by the family of Collier Cobb, who became instructor of geology at UNC in 1892 and, in 1893, the chairman of the university’s newly-established Department of Geology. He served in that post until 1934, the year of his death.  Cobb was a photographer among his many talents, so he may be the creator of this unattributed photograph.  A collection of Cobb’s negatives and photographs are part of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

New Holland, N.C.

Some of my favorite maps in the North Carolina Maps project are maps of towns and communities that never existed. One of the most detailed by far is a map of New Holland, in Hyde County. Planned for the southern shore of Lake Mattamuskeet, New Holland was planned around 1910 by a company that wanted to drain the lake for farm land. The elaborate map shows a decidedly Dutch theme to the town, with canals, wide avenues named Amsterdam and Haarlem, and even a windmill. Unfortunately, the town was never completed. The developers gave up in 1934 and the lake was refilled.

Is A Yam Really A Yam?

During a time of much debating in our country, here is one that hits close to home: sweet potato vs. yam…what’s really on your Thanksgiving table?

“A yam is a yam is a yam.  Unless it is a sweet potato” points out Andrea Weigl in her October 15th News and Observer article, “Sweet Potato Lie“.

So just what is the difference between these southern favorites?  Hailing from the largest sweet potato producing state in the nation, most of us North Carolinians are familiar with both the pale yellow-skinned and the darker orange-skinned sweet potatoes.  It is the orange-skinned sweet potato that we southerners traditionally and mistakenly call a yam.  The true yam is found in tropical climates like those of the Caribbean, South America, and Africa.  Unlike the sweet potato, a yam’s skin has a black or brown color resembling tree bark.  The yam is also sweeter than the sweet potato.

So who can we thank for this mistaken identity?  Weigl suggests that Americans picked up this habit from African slaves using the African word nyami when describing the sweet potato.  Others place blame on the need for differentiation between the two sweet potato types once the orange-skinned sweet potato was introduced to America in the mid 20th century.

To find more information on North Carolina’s state vegetable, the sweet potato, try the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, the Yambassador (see above), or the annual Yam Festival in Tabor City, which started on October 23rd (don’t worry…you haven’t missed the parade—it’s on October 25th).  For sweet potato recipes check out the North Carolina Collection’s array of cook books including the Sweet potato recipe book: Sixth Annual Carolinas Yam Festival.

Blackbeard In Color

With the current state of the economy, I’m guessing that many parents will be crafting homemade costumes for Halloween. So, the North Carolina Collection is doing its part to help those parents make “accurate” Blackbeard attire for their little pirates.

The image comes from the following pamphlet in the NC Collection: Black Beard, or, The Desperate Pirate and Captive Princess: A Melodramatic Entertainment, Founded on the History of the Buccaneers of America. London: Printed and published by J.L. Marks [between 1835 and 1857].