Gelatin makes the recipe go round.

If there is one thing I’ve learned while searching through our cookbook collection it’s that you can put gelatin in anything.  Here are just a few examples of the hundreds of gelatin containing recipes we have come across thus far.

From The Charlotte Cookbook.

From Auntie’s Cook Book: Favorite Recipes.

From Buffet Benny’s Family Cookbook: Recipes, Stories & Poems from the Appalachian Mountains.

From Dixie Dishes.

From Columbus County Cookbook II.


N&O: Zebulon on the Rise

The News and Observer reported yesterday that the name Zebulon is increasingly popular among parents today, and was listed on a website as one of the “14 hottest” names of the year.

If Zebulon is indeed on the rise again in North Carolina, it would only mark a return to popularity of a name that was frequently found in families across the state. Zebulon Baird Vance, the closest thing North Carolina has to a Civil War hero, inspired many to adopt not just the first but the first and last names of the former soldier and politician.

My go-to source for popular Tar Heel names is the NCC Bio Index, an index of biographical information found in reference books, local histories, and newspaper clippings. The database allows for a first-name search, so I typed in “Zebulon Vance” and found entries listed for 24 different men with “Zebulon Vance” for a first and middle name, from Zebulon Vance Babbitt to Zebulon Vance Watson. That’s a lot of Zebs.

Klan thuggery forces end to Moore’s mugwumpery

On this day in 1966: The same day that Martin Luther King Jr. addresses without incident a crowd of 4,500 at Raleigh’s Reynolds Coliseum, Ku Klux Klansmen in boots and helmets jeeringly remove blacks from a Klan rally at Nash Square.

The incident will force Gov. Dan K. Moore, who has tried to treat the Klan and civil rights advocates with equal wariness, to condemn “an attempt by swaggering demagogues to terrorize, intimidate or assume synthetic authority and threaten the dignity of the law.” Previously Moore had ventured no further than to say the Klan “has nothing of value to offer North Carolina.”


1985 Yackety Yack Does UNC A to Z

Of the more than 4,000 yearbooks we’ve digitized for the North Carolina College and University Yearbooks collection, one of the most creative that I’ve seen is the 1985 Yackety Yack from UNC-Chapel Hill. The book is arranged like an encyclopedia of the campus and community, with pretty clever entries throughout and some great photographs. It’s also a great look into student life and culture, with entries about cultural figures such as Eddie Murphy and Lou Reed, and many references to the 1984 political campaigns which featured the heated race between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt for U.S. Senate.

NC Miscellany on WFAE

This morning, the “Charlotte Talks” program on radio station WFAE in Charlotte featured a discussion about the North Carolina Miscellany blog. NCC staff member John Blythe and contributor-extraordinaire Lew Powell talked with host Mike Collins about the origins of the blog, the appeal of North Carolina history and culture, and some of their favorite posts. An archived version of the story is now available on the WFAE website.

Charlotte: Like Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island’?

Say about us what you will, Democratic conventioneers — as already recalled here and here, we’re no novices in civic disparagement:

“If you all think dealing with Charlotte is difficult from up here, try being one of their neighbors.”

— Rep. Drew Saunders of Huntersville, enlisting legislative sympathy for his bill to thwart Charlotte’s road-widening plans. (2005)

“I happen to love Charlotte, which may edge out Dallas and Atlanta as home to the purest strain ever discovered of the Southern booster gene.”

— Peter Applebome, author of “Dixie Rising,” mentioning us in the very same sentence as Dallas and Atlanta! (1994)

“North Carolina, that is.”

— First Lady Laura Bush, in a White House ceremony honoring the Museum of the New South, clarifying the location of “Charlotte.” (2006)

“It was either us or a monster truck show.”

— Bette Midler at Blockbuster Pavilion, summing up the evening’s entertainment options. (1994)

“Like Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island’ trying to outshine the starlet Ginger.”

— Ruth Sheehan, News & Observer columnist, sighing over Raleigh’s failure to keep the CIAA basketball tournament from being wooed away by “Boosterville.” (2004)

A Great Pyramid scheme — but did it happen?

“CAIRO — What’s this? Egypt’s new Islamist leaders want to raze the Great Pyramids, scratch away the images on the death masks of the pharaohs, maybe even wipe the grin off what is left of the face of the Sphinx?
“Someone who reads a lot of right-wing blogs in the United States these days might be forgiven for thinking so, though there is no sign here that any such Islamist clamor to destroy the monuments of ancient Egypt has actually arisen.”

— From “Contrary to Gossip, Pyramids Have No Date With the Wrecking Ball” in the New York Times (July 23)

In 1982, the Times dispatch reminded me, I had a pyramid rumor of my own to chase: In “The Story of Durham” (1927) W.K. Boyd wrote, without details, that “The Bull was once to be seen on the pyramids of Egypt.”
Could that possibly have been true, I wondered, even given the omnipresence of Julian Shakespeare Carr’s unprecedented advertising campaign for Bull Durham? Did Jules Koerner (painting Bulls under the name of Reuben Rink) actually mount a scaffold and apply one to the Pyramid of Khufu?
A 1946 tribute to Carr cited Mark Twain as claiming “that the most conspicuous thing about the Egyptian Pyramids was the Durham Bull.” And in 1978 Thad Stem Jr., writing in the State magazine, mentioned the Bull’s having been painted on — and removed from! — a pyramid.
Alas, on further review — with Nannie May Tilley, author of “The Bright-Tobacco Industry, 1860-1929,” and with experts at Archives & History and the New York Public Library’s tobacco collection — I had to conclude the Bull never found its way to Giza…. But who knows what was on Carr’s to-do list in 1898 when he sold out to American Tobacco?

When Mark Twain met George Bernard Shaw….

Among the achievements of Salisbury native Archibald Henderson, the wide-ranging UNC mathematician (polymathematician?), were major biographies of George Bernard Shaw and Mark Twain.

Henderson (1877-1963) once had the opportunity to introduce the two to each other. “There was the greatest world’s greatest wit and the world’s greatest humorist, meeting face to face,” he recalled, “and nobody said anything funny.”

Instead, Shaw and Twain “stood there and lied to each other. Each man told the other that they had read everything the other had written…. that they were greatly influenced by the other’s writings….

“It was the greatest disappointment in my life.”


Politicians: Flip-Flopping is Out. Twisting and Turn is In.

The Raleigh Register‘s description of campaigning à la 1850s could spur today’s campaign strategists to return to some methods of old.

At the polls, there was a slight lack of that calm Roman dignity ascribed to us by our Fourth-of-July orators—inasmuch as the voters skipped about with the vivacity of Frenchmen, and exercised their tongues with the unanimity of old women. If some staid sober citizen was observed making his way to any spot where votes were to be taken and brandy given, he was immediately surrounded by a number of the more particularly devoted lovers of country, who were employing their talents, energies, and lungs, in the work of conversion, and mobbed, and twisted, and turned by them in a very hackney-coachman like style, in order to gain his attention to their various claims, until the four points of compass became with the said citizen a matter of doubt and uncertainty. First, one politician would plant him his face towards the ‘sweet south’—then, a second, by a dextrous manoeuvre (sic), would bring him directly north—then a third worthy, by the assistance of his coat-collar, would twirl him towards the orient east, thrusting in his face ‘the true ticket, free,’ as the orator observed, ‘of all bribery and corruption’—while a forth personage, rather dirty and very tipsy, once more reversed his position towards the west, and solicited his attention to another true ticket, ‘supported,’ as he averred, ‘by all the lovers of order and decency.’ True the coats, vests and other garments of various citizens did somewhat suffer —but what of that? Who is not above such paltry considerations in the discharge of his duty? Besides, some men did this from principle, as all the damage they inflicted upon the woolen cloth of the outward man, afforded a direct and practical proof of their zeal for the encouragement of domestic manufactures.

Raleigh Register, August 7, 1850

We’ll talk flip-flopping, twisting and turning and any number of other campaign methods at our conference “To Gain Attention to Their Various Claims”: Historic Political Campaigns in North Carolina (If you read closely, then the origins of the conference title should no longer be a mystery). We hope you’ll join us in Chapel Hill on September 14-15, 2012. Details are at

Check out what’s new in 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 the 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.