Keep Your Cool With The NCC

The summertime is in full swing here in Chapel Hill, and like most people I’m running around looking for something to wear that won’t make me pass out from heatstroke in ten minutes or less. A surefire answer, for me at least, has been to make some garments myself. For a quick course in choosing fabrics and laying out pattern pieces, come in to the NCC’s lovely (and air-conditioned) reading room to peruse Margaret Hoffman’s Sew Far, Sew Good!. This 1958 publication starts with the aforementioned textile basics, expounds on some design philosophy, and even delves into a modest gallery of women’s apparel silhouettes and style lines (see sample image below).

And even if you’re an accomplished seamstress, pay us a visit for some textile inspiration: I recently found D.A. Tompkins’ Cotton Values in Textile Fabrics, printed in 1900, in our stacks. This fantastic volume showcases swatches of NC-produced cotton fabrics, from a North Carolina-made 10-ounce duckcloth to imported Swiss embroidery. My personal favorites are the rich violet “Amisilk,” a mercerized cotton with a sateen face, and the green and yellow checked Madras shirting.

Anna Julia Cooper, 1858-1964

Anna Julia Cooper was born into slavery in Raleigh in 1858.  She attended school at St. Augustine’s College just three years after the Civil War ended, and became the fourth African American woman in the country to receive her doctoral degree (in 1925, from the Sorbonne).  She later worked as a teacher and educational reformer in North Carolina and elsewhere, fighting for civil rights, gender equality, and educational opportunities for African American students.   She died in 1964 at 105 years old. The UNC Library has several items written by and about Anna Julia Cooper. Click here to see these resources.

The United States Postal Service recently released their 32rd annual Black Heritage stamp, which features a portrait in profile of Anna Julia Cooper.  You can purchase the stamp here.

Take A Test Drive For The Governor

The recently-passed “cash for clunkers” bill isn’t government’s first try at encouraging motorists to trade up. In 1938, as the automobile industry struggled to free itself from the Depression, Gov. Clyde Hoey asked North Carolinians to do their part during National Used Car Exchange Week:

“The accumulation of used cars in the hands of automobile dealers throughout the United States has reached such proportions that it is difficult to sell new cars. . . .

“It would be a very great stimulus to all kinds of business if the people of this State would… discard the old cars which have about served their period of usefulness and replace them with some of the used cars which are available or a new car, as they may see fit.”

One of These Things is Not Like The Other …

Early postcards were often images drawn and colored from photographs of places or events.  You can easily see this when you have two nearly identical postcards from different publishers or colorists.  An advantage to working from a photograph is the ability to idealize the reality of a scene.  Postcard producers frequently removed unsightly utility poles, sidewalks, fire hydrants, etc.  At other times, they would take the liberty of adding flagpoles, parked automobiles, clouds, etc.

Below are two postcards showing the Queen Street Cotton Market in Kinston, N.C.  The two cards have been made from the same photograph, but some of the minor details have been adjusted.  The card at the top retains the utility poles, while the second card has removed entire poles where possible, and only the top half of the poles where it would mean more difficult editing.

North Carolina Myths

We’re posting the request below on behalf of Michael Hill, director of NC’s Office of Archives and History Research Branch. You may either leave your suggestions as comments–and they will be forwarded to Mr. Hill–or you may email them to the North Carolina Collection’s general email account:

The Research Branch of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History is developing a project around the idea of myths and North Carolina history. It is undeniable that mythbusting is a prevailing theme in present-day popular history, witness the History Channel’s offerings and History Detectives on PBS. Stephen B. Weeks in 1905 wrote to fellow historian R. D. W. Connor, “North Carolina has been so foolish in laying claim to everything in sight and on every occasion that I am sick unto death of claims that cannot be proved.”

We invite readers of North Carolina Miscellany to help us identify the major myths of North Carolina history. In our initial conversations, the ones that occurred to us are clustered around the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. We particularly would appreciate help in identifying additional modern or twentieth-century examples. For this project, we wish to avoid mysteries such as the Lost Colony. Likewise we have little interest in ghost tales or folklore. Our wish is to select those examples that, for good or ill, have become part of the canon.

Can any NCM readers help?

The Ryder Cup In North Carolina

This is another interesting button from the Lew Powell Memorabilia Collection. In 1951, the Ryder Cup, a biennial golf match between the United States and Great Britain (now a team made up of Europeans), was held in Pinehurst—the first and only time this event has been held in North Carolina. The U.S. team, captained by Sam Snead, defeated the British after play was suspended on Saturday afternoon to allow golfers from both teams to attend the Tennessee-UNC football game at Chapel Hill. [Unfortunately, the golfers witnessed a trouncing (0-27) of the Heels by the eventual national champion Volunteers.]

Oldest House in Sanford, NC?

Once again, we’re appealing to our faithful readers for help with a postcard:

The above postcard bears the claim of “Oldest House in Sanford, N.C.”  I did some research to see if I could find anything in support of this claim, but didn’t come up with much.  A lot of sources point to the Railroad House, built in 1872, as being the oldest house in Sanford.

The History & Architecture of Lee County, North Carolina, by J. Daniel Pezzoni, provides a thorough discussion of the county’s built environment, and shows a few examples of Lee County’s earliest houses, similar to the house shown in the postcard above.  The double shouldered chimney and what appears to be a board roof help date our house to sometime during the first half of the 19th century.  The book suggests that the chimney was likely originally constructed out of wood because it was less expensive and time consuming to construct, and that the masonry chimney was added later to replace the dangerous wooden one.

The photograph of this house was taken by the Felch Sisters in 1906, so anything could have happened to the house between then and today. Does anyone know anything about the house?  Is it still standing?

A History of a Church, in Verse

The other day I came across a 56 page pamphlet about the First Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC, by Max Hamilton. It was titled First Baptist Church: Historical & Current Highlights, 1972. I glanced at it, glanced again, and then began reading. The entire pamphlet is written in rhyming verse.

From the first lines of the introduction …

“The First Baptist Church Historical and Current Highlights
Is a concise package of facts, trials, faith, and heights”

… to the beginning of the last paragraph …

“One Sunday evening at Primary B.T.U.,
The main program was over and it was play-time cue.”

… the whole thing rhymes!!

Many of the rhymes are pretty standard, but others are more of a stretch:

“In June 1919, off Trade Street in Seversville,
A group formed a Sunday School to execute His will.”

So to Hamilton’s rhyming tome I give all praise,
Although it left me in a daze.