A Few NCC Tricks and Treats

Just in time for Halloween! Found in the stacks …


Murgatroyd, Ebenezer, with illustrations by Herb Roth.  Cooking to Kill!  The Poison Cookbook.  Mount Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, ca. 1951.

This book is a great source of “comic recipes for the ghoul, cannibal, witch & murderer.”   It also includes inspired illustrations after each recipe.


Carole Boston Weatherford. The Library Ghost. Fort Atkinson, WI: Upstart Books, 2006.

A librarian discovers a ghost lurking around her library at night trying to solve a riddle.

And last, but not least, a general interest essay titled, “All Halloween” by E.A. Hawes, published in the 1902 University Magazine.  This essay accounts several Halloween practices and superstitions, my favorite being:  “A similar rite is removing the yolk of a boiled egg, filling one half with sale and eating at “bed-time,” without drinking water.  If your dreams are of water, you will marry, if not, death will find you single.”

Virgilina? Caroginia? No way, said Lincoln

“[Secretary of War Edwin M.] Stanton had come armed with a plan, drawn up at the President’s request, for bringing the states that had been ‘abroad’ back into what Lincoln… called ‘their proper practical relation with the Union.’  The War Secretary’s notion was that military occupation should precede readmission, and in this connection he proposed that Virginia and North Carolina be combined in a single district to simplify the army’s task.

“[Secretary of the Navy Gideon] Welles took exception, on grounds that this last would destroy the individuality of both states and thus be ‘in conflict with the principles of self-government which I deem essential.’ So did Lincoln….

“[Lincoln] had reached certain bedrock conclusions: ‘We can’t undertake to run state governments in all these Southern states. Their own people must do that — though I reckon at first some of them may do it badly.'”

— From a recounting of President Lincoln’s last day in “The Civil War: A Narrative” (1958-1974) by Shelby Foote

What’s in a frame? (And, um, what isn’t?)


“The [Office of War Information’s] propaganda operation even used and defanged Lange’s [Farm Security Administration] work. In one case, a 1939 photograph of a typical, run-down North Carolina country store/filling station with a group of young men goofing off on the porch was transformed into a World War II poster by cropping and superimposing a message: ‘This is America….  Where a fellow can start on the home team and wind up in the big league… Where there is always room at the top for the fellow who has it on the ball….This is your America!… Keep it free!’

“Lange had made five photographs of the scene, showing about a dozen figures, several in baseball uniforms, preparing to play with a local league; mugging for the camera, they began picking up and swinging one guy by his arms and legs. In the original context, these images signaled the economic backwardness, inactivity and racism of the rural South. At the far end of the porch, distinctly removed from the others, was a black man who did not participate in the roughhousing, but sat tight with a tense smile. In the poster both sides of the image were cropped, and it showed only young white men standing in manly, confident but relaxed postures, ready to play the quintessentially American game.”

— From “Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits” (2009) by Linda Gordon

The official caption on this Fourth of July image puts it “near Chapel Hill,” where Lange worked closely with Howard Odum’s Institute for Research in Social Science. The “Cedar Grove” modestly marking the players’ uniforms is a community in northwest Orange County.

[NCM note: The image above comes from the Library of Congress’s American Memory website: http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/fsa/8b34000/8b34000/8b34021v.jpg]

Tercentenary of John Lawson’s A New Voyage to Carolina

“In late December 1700, John Lawson and a group of eight Englishmen and Native Americans set off on a 500-mile, two-month trek into the Carolina backcountry. The expedition began in Charles Town and headed north and west as far present-day Hillsborough, North Carolina, and then turned east, ending up in the settlement of Bath on the Pamlico Sound in February 1701. During the journey, Lawson kept a detailed journal, made sketches and maps, and gathered specimens of plants and animals. This month, Documenting the American South celebrates the 300th anniversary of the first publication of Lawson’s journals…”

Read more from DocSouth‘s highlight here.

‘Weep No More’ yourself, Mr. Debnam

Just how abusive was Eleanor Roosevelt in her comments on the South? In “Weep No More, My Lady” (Miscellany Sept. 17) W.E. Debnam rendered her as Carry Nation gone radically chic. But the archives of her “My Day” column (http://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/myday/) reveal a far gentler and more tolerant Mrs. Roosevelt. Three examples from her surprisingly frequent missives from North Carolina:

April 17, 1941: “We visited two housing projects on the outskirts of Charlotte; one for colored people and one for white people in the low income group. They were nice houses and very much appreciated by the tenants. The rents are reasonable and everyone seems very happy.

“The playground for Negroes had very little equipment, but I hope that this is only temporary and that it is going to be possible to give the colored children a similar opportunity for recreation.”

Nov. 19, 1941: “I went to the NYA [National Youth Administration] resident center in Greenville and was tremendously proud of what these North Carolina boys had achieved, for they built all of their own buildings! They have some excellent shops in wood-working, sheet metal work, radio, photography, etc.

“Much of their work is, of course, done for the Army, because NYA  training is with a view of making these young men valuable in defense industries as quickly as possible.

“The health program is stressed in North Carolina…. Every boy is given a complete physical examination, and I was appalled to hear that somewhere around 70 percent were found to be undernourished.”

Aug. 15, 1942: “Cannon Mills has evidently been enlightened in dealing with its [16,000] employees. I was told it encouraged ownership of house and land by employees. If work is slack, the building and loan fund does not collect any payments during the layoff period.

“[Charles] Cannon told me most of the work is done on a piecework basis, and outside of a few people in the day laborer class the average earning power of a woman is $22 a week… so I was surprised to find the mill was not unionized.”