Check out what’s new to the North Carolina Collection

Several new titles just added to “New in the North Carolina Collection.” To see the full list simply click on the link in this entry or click on the “New in the North Carolina Collection” tab at the top of the page. 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 Wilson Special Collections Library Reading Room.

Why Marshal Foch dined in Monroe: Railway’s pettiness

On this day in 1921: A banquet at Monroe’s Hotel Joffre welcomes Marshal Ferdinand Foch, commander of Allied forces during World War I, in the only N.C. stop on his nationwide victory tour.

Foch was scheduled to dine in Charlotte, but the Southern Railway refused to pull his private railroad car from the Monroe yards of rival Seaboard Airline, forcing Gov. Cameron Morrison, Josephus Daniels and other dignitaries to travel to Monroe.


Southerners too lonely not be hospitable?

“Southern hospitality was to a great extent the creation of a desperately lonely people…. ‘Strangers are sought after with Greediness,’ wrote an observer. A circuit judge in North Carolina in the Revolutionary War era stopped at the home of some well-to-do newlyweds who were living on the husband’s farm, 18 miles from the nearest neighbor. He wrote that when a male visitor told the young bride he would bring his own wife to visit, she wept with gratitude.”

— From “America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines” by Gail Collins (2003)

‘Porgy and Bess’: The Hendersonville connection

“In Hendersonville, North Carolina, [George Gershwin] visited with DuBose and Dorothy Heyward — authors respectively of the book and the play ‘Porgy’ on which the opera is based  — for another round of Southern acculturation.  Gershwin… had already spent the better part of the summer of 1934 steeping himself in the music and life of the venerable Gullah community on the Sea Islands off the coast of Charleston  — the exact setting of the Heywards’ ‘Porgy.’ [DuBose] Heyward described the Hendersonville encounter:

” ‘We were about to enter a dilapidated cabin that had been taken as a meeting house by…  Negro Holy Rollers, [when] George caught my arm and held me. The sound that had arrested him was one to which….through long familiarity I attached no special importance. But now… I began to catch its extraordinary quality. It consisted of perhaps a dozen voices raised in loud rhythmic prayer. … While each had started a different tune, upon a different theme, [the whole] produced an effect almost terrifying in its primitive intensity. Inspired…. George wrote six simultaneous prayers [for ‘Porgy and Bess’] producing a terrifying invocation to God in the face of the hurricane.’ ”

— From “Dvorak to Duke Ellington: A Conductor Explores America’s Music and its African American Roots” by Maurice Peress (2004)

Perrier brought down by Mecklenburg health lab

“In February 1990 the leading bottled water brand on the planet, Perrier, was discovered to have excessive levels of benzene…. The contamination was discovered not by the FDA but by the Environmental Health Department in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

“The Department was using Perrier as its standard for testing other waters….  When [lab workers] began seeing problems in all their  water quality tests, they cleaned their lab, recalibrated equipment and redid their tests before realizing the contamination was coming from the Perrier they were buying at the local store. Testing the Perrier itself, they found levels of benzene that violate federal standards and  alerted the FDA.

“The first reaction by Perrier was to deny any health risk —  ‘A cup of non-freeze-dried coffee contains more benzene.’  [Company officials] then attributed the problem to a faulty machine serving only the North American market…. More tests, however, discovered it affected the entire global production of the previous six months, leading to the recall of millions of bottles….”

— From “Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water” by Peter H. Gleick (2010)

Returning sword reflected code of honor

“The theme of turning swords into ploughshares — albeit popular [circa 1890] — was less prominent, perhaps, than that of returning swords to their rightful owners. The press seized upon these human interest stories….

“In 1887 Captain James A. Marrow of Clarksville, Virginia, returned the sword of Lieutenant A. G. Case of Simsbury, Connecticut — a sword that had been captured by Confederates at Plymouth, North Carolina, in 1864.

“When Marrow learned that the sword’s owner still lived, he wrote to Case: ‘I am a true American and have no desire to retain any relic as a triumph of Americans over Americans.’ Reports of such chivalrous conduct restored American faith that a code of honor continued to exist in their culture….”

— From “Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture” by Michael Kammen (1991)