It’s the season for yard signs

The daffodils have been and gone, but the dogwoods are at their peak. This year yard signs for and against Amendment One are popping up like dandelions–a sign that the 2012 election season is not far off. Soon we should start seeing signs for the primaries in May. Who knows, the Republican presidential race may still be undecided. Wouldn’t that guarantee that we will be bombarded with mailings and robocalls?

The North Carolina Collection attempts to document the heritage of the state—and that includes our politics. We have a good political ephemera collection–flyers, postcards, fundraising letters, etc.–and it has grown in recent years through donations from friends of the collection. Since 2008 we have received over 1,400 pieces of campaign ephemera from across the state. This postcard was one of my favorites from 2008.

Would you help us this year? Just set aside the mailers and flyers that you get, stuff them in an envelope, and send them to:
Eileen McGrath
Associate Curator, North Carolina Collection
PO Box 8890
Wilson Library, CB#3930
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-8890

We’re interested in contests at all levels—everything from the Republican presidential primary to the race for county sheriff. Scholars of the future may be particularly interested in the literature for and against Amendment One.

We have difficulty saving larger pieces such as yard signs. If you see a yard sign or billboard that seems striking or distinctly representative of a particular campaign or issue, would you photograph it and send the file to us an email attachment? Please tell us where and when you took the picture. Email those files to

Thanks for helping us build this collection.

Campaign donors’ checks really were in the mail

“North Carolina’s Governor Luther Hodges, a courtly textileman who came out of retirement to enter public life four years ago, likes to keep his books straight. Assured of re-election after romping through the May 26 primary with a record 401,082 votes, popular Democrat Hodges last week proceeded to clear up his accounts with a businesslike gesture that sent chills through other politicians across the country.

“His renomination campaign, the governor announced candidly, had cost 25% less than the $40,000 raised for his campaign fund. Each of the 329 contributors, with the exception of himself, his wife and a tiny band of close advisers, would get a 25% refund. Said Hodges after the checks were mailed out: ‘It occurred to me that this was the only proper thing to do.’ ”

— From Time magazine, June 25, 1956