Just in time for Mardi Gras! Pancake recipes from the collection.

Old Time Pancakes from Just Like Grandma Used to Make.

Southern Pancakes from A Taste of the Old and the New.

Blackberry Pancakes from Cooking with Berries.

Breakfast in Bed Biltmore Blintzes

Corn & Sweet Pepper Pancakes North Carolina Bed & Breakfast Cookbook.

Bread Crumb Griddle Cakes Favorite Recipes of the Lower Cape Fear.

Buckwheat Hot Cakes Sausage and Gravy from Buffet Benny’s Family Cookbook: Recipes, Stories & Poems from the Appalachian Mountains.

Domino Inn Pecan Pancakes from The Cat Who– Cookbook.

Industrialists lament tax burden (sound familiar?)

“With the convening of the legislature, agitation for tax reform increases…. Prominent industrialists have stated that the state is beginning to suffer acutely as a result of the burden of tax upon industry. In fact, many industrial enterprises have gone to Alabama, Georgia, Florida and other states recently to escape the burden of taxation in North Carolina.”
– From “Tax Reform Looms in North Carolina” in the Wall Street Journal (Jan. 5, 1927)

Thomas Dixon, D.W. Griffith and Quentin Tarantino

Henry Louis Gates: [Django Unchained] is an opposite extreme of The Birth of a Nation. Did that play a conscious role in your mind? Reversing the depiction of slavery that The Birth of a Nation registered?

Quentin Tarantino: Yeah, you have to understand, I’m obsessed with The Birth of a Nation and its making.

HLG: Why?

QT: I think it gave rebirth to the Klan and all the blood that was spilled throughout — until the early ’60s, practically. I think that both Rev. Thomas Dixon Jr. and D.W. Griffith, if they were held by Nuremberg Laws, they would be guilty of war crimes for making that movie because of what they created there.

I’ve read about its making. I’ve read the book that just got published on Rev. Dixon a little bit ago, American Racist, which was a very disturbing book — more disturbing because I hated him forever, and the book made me actually understand him a little bit, when it is much easier to think of him as a monster. That’s not pleasant — things aren’t as easy, unfortunately, when you dive into things with a microscope.

But I’ve written a big piece that I’ve never finished that is about the thought process that would go into making The Birth of a Nation, and you know, it’s one thing for the grandson of a bloody Confederate officer to bemoan how times have changed — some old racist Southern old-timer bemoaning how life has changed, complaining that there was a day when you never saw a n—– on Main Street, and now you do. Well, if he’s just going to sit on his porch and sit in his rocking chair and pop off lies, who cares? That’s not making The Birth of a Nation every day for a year, and financing it yourself. And if you ever tried to read The Clansman [the book and play upon which The Birth of a Nation is based], it really can only stand next to Mein Kampf when it comes to just its ugly imagery.

HLG: Oh, it’s pure evil, man.

QT: It is evil! And I don’t use that word lightly. It was one of the most popular touring plays of its day.

HLG: And a foundational moment in the history of cinema.

QT: Oddly enough, where I got the idea for the Klan guys [in Django Unchained] — they’re not Klan yet, the Regulators arguing about the bags [on their heads] — as you may well know, director John Ford was one of the Klansmen in The Birth of a Nation, so I even speculate in the piece: Well, John Ford put on a Klan uniform for D.W. Griffith. What was that about? What did that take? He can’t say he didn’t know the material. Everybody knew The Clansman at that time as a piece of material.

HLG: Right. It was a best-seller.

QT: And touring companies were doing plays of it all the time. And yet he put on the Klan uniform. He got on the horse. He rode hard to black subjugation. As I’m writing this — and he rode hard, and I’m sure the Klan hood was moving all over his head as he was riding and he was riding blind — I’m thinking, wow. That probably was the case. How come no one’s ever thought of that before? Five years later, I’m writing the scene and all of a sudden it comes out.

HLG: So 98 years later, you’ve deconstructed The Birth of a Nation through Django….

— From “Tarantino ‘Unchained,’ Part 1: ‘Django’ Trilogy?” (Dec. 23, 2012, The Root)


Is there a case for licensing rhetorical devices?

The State Legislative Building Opened 50 Years Ago Today

“In late 1959, Thomas J. White, a former state representative of North Carolina and a powerful figure in the state’s political circles, was appointed chairman of the commission to build the new North Carolina State Legislative Building. The commission had already heard from a number of North Carolina architects who had expressed a strong interest in the project. Ralph B. Reeves, Jr., of Holloway & Reeves in Raleigh, one of the larger firms in the southeast at the time and one of eleven firms that made presentations to the commission for the project, had sought [Edward Durell] Stone out as a design consultant and associated architect. Stone traveled to Raleigh to meet the members of the commission in late October, and the Stone and Holloway & Reeves firms were awarded the contract for the building in early December. Almost immediately, there were objections to Stone’s selection.

Henry L. Kamphoefner, who was dean of the North Carolina State College School of Design (later the north Carolina State University College of Design), wrote in an article for the Raleigh News & Observer in early January 1960:

If the award had to leave North Carolina, why did not the building commission appoint one of the half dozen or more great men of architecture. Why not France’s Le Corbusier? Or why not Mies van der Rohe of Chicago? Or why not Walter Gropius of Boston? Or why not Richard Neutra of Los Angeles?

True, Edward Stone is a good architect, but in critical circles he does not rank with the world’s greatest men who are practicing architecture today. He appears as the man who is getting the greatest amount of current publicity because he did a building very much in the world news, the American Pavilion at the Brussels Fair, and a fine embassy for the United States at New Delhi, where he introduced an indigenous device, the grille. Since the New Delhi embassy, he has parlayed the grille into a gimmick for indiscriminate use in California, South Carolina, or where have you.

Kamphoefner’s view of ‘great men’ clearly meant ‘modern men,’ or more precisely, ‘European modern men.’ Overlaying this critique was the fact that Stone and Kamphoefner had a history of antagonism dating back many years. At a cocktail party given by Douglas Haskell, early in his tenure as editor of Architectural Forum (from 1949 to 1964), Stone, likely intoxicated, had insulted Kamphoefner by loudly announcing upon entering the room, ‘There are three things that are overrated, home cooking, home *^%!$#!, and Henry Kamphoefner.’ Haskel had added wryly, ‘Well Henry, at least you’re in good company.’ Outwardly, until Stone’s later work, Kamphoefner and Stone would have been in alignment: both of them were admirers of Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller, and both were adherents of modernism. What had turned them against one another is unclear. The News & Observer article was not the last time that Kamphoefner would publicly attack Stone.”

From Edward Durell Stone: A son’s untold story of a legendary architect by Hicks Stone. Legislators moved into the Stone-designed building on Jones Street on February 6, 1963.

Working with Holloway & Reeves, Stone and his firm also designed the East Building of the North Carolina Museum of Art. The East Building opened in 1983 and was Stone’s last work before his death. The building underwent major transformation as part of a three-year project by the N.C. Museum of Art in the mid-2000s. Stone and his firm also served as architects for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and National Geographic Building in Washington, D.C. and the Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art in New York City.

In Edward Durell Stone, Hicks Stone quotes his father’s colleague Ernie Jacks describing the scheme behind the Legislative Building design.

“For the State House, we produced what I still believe was a beautiful piece of intricate planning—one of those examples which the Boss referred to as an ‘inevitable plan.’ We couldn’t imagine it being arranged any other way. All the innumerable spaces seemed to fit together perfectly, both two- and three-dimensionality…I always have thought of it as an apt response to those who criticized our symmetrical designs as being ‘forced,’ and also as an illustration of Nietzche’s observation,’To welcome difficulty then to overlay it with the appearance of simplicity—that is a work of art.”

Joe Mitchell’s homesick struggle to belong

“Several years ago… I began to be oppressed by a feeling that New York City had gone past me and that I didn’t belong here anymore. I sometimes went on from that to a feeling that I never had belonged here, and that could be especially painful. At first, these feelings were vague and sporadic, but they gradually become more definite and quite frequent. Ever since I came to New York City, I have been going back to North Carolina for a visit once or twice a year, and now I began going back more often and staying longer. At one point, after a visit of a month and a half, I had about made up my mind to stay down there for good, and then I began to be oppressed by a feeling that things had gone past me in North Carolina also, and that I didn’t belong down there anymore, either. I began to feel painfully out of place wherever I was. When I was in New York City, I was often homesick for North Carolina; when I was in North Carolina, I was often homesick for New York City. Then, one Saturday afternoon, while I was walking around the ruins of Washington Market, something happened to me that led me, step by step, out of my depression. A change took place in me. And that is what I want to tell about.”

— From the last paragraph of “Street Life” by Joseph Mitchell in The New Yorker (Feb. 11 and 18, 2013)

Something new from the late and legendarily blocked Joe Mitchell?

The editors explain: “Thomas Kunkel, while researching a forthcoming biography of Mitchell, learned of several chapters of an unfinished memoir that Mitchell started in the late sixties and early seventies.” 

So more chapters are queued up at 4 Times Square? Fans of the Fairmont native may have cause for anticipation (although only in the New Yorker would “And that is what I want to tell about” qualify as a cliffhanger).


Numismatics on your mind?

It’s not often that a story about numismatics makes the front page of the News and Observer, but it happened recently in the article “Humble Nickel from 1913 Likely to Fetch Millions.”

What’s numismatics, you ask? You aren’t the only one! It’s the collecting and study of coins and other types of money. What’s so interesting about money, other than nagging questions about whether one has enough of it? The N & O article is about a “trophy” coin: rare and highly desired by collectors with deep — very deep — pockets. Part of the appeal of this 1913 nickel is the mystery of how it was produced, the story of the North Carolinian who once owned it and then lost it, and of course its very high value.

But many pieces of currency have interesting stories to tell. Did you know that during the Civil War the State of North Carolina produced hundreds of varieties of paper money, denominated from five cents through $100? These are not the better-known paper money issued by the Confederacy. Both Confederate and state currencies confusingly circulated together to provide North Carolinians a medium of exchange. But the effort was not entirely successful. The paper money had no intrinsic value and was subject to counterfeiting, inflation, and discounting.

One example of North Carolina’s Civil War paper money is almost as rare as the 1913 nickel, although it does not command anywhere near the price or attention.

A two-dollar rarity

During the Civil War paper and production resources were scarce in the South. Both were obtained by any means possible. In October 1861, the North Carolina Institution for the Education of the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, located in Raleigh, was pressed into service to print money. They left their imprint, “N. C. Inst. Deaf & Dumb, Print.,” on one- and two-dollar notes. The one-dollar note is fairly common, but the two-dollar note is a rarity, with perhaps only fifteen surviving. Paper money in this era was usually printed on only one side, and the plain backs of uncurrent bank notes were used as the paper stock for the two-dollar notes. This is recycling as economic necessity.

front of note

front of note

Fortunately for collectors today, most varieties of North Carolina’s Civil War paper money survived in significant quantities. The North Carolina Collection has an exceptional collection of numismatic material related to North Carolina, Civil War paper money and the two-dollar Deaf & Dumb note included.

It’s just one of many interesting stories associated with North Carolina’s old money.

Battle of the State Songs

I found this interesting article in the June 4, 1926 issue of The Pilot, then published in Vass, N.C. When I saw the headline about the state song, I assumed it would be about William Gaston’s well-known “The Old North State,” which we wrote about a few years ago in This Month in North Carolina History. It turns out that there may have been some competition.

S. M. Kendrick’s appeal to state pride was played before Governor Angus McLean in an effort to have the song chosen to be played at the Chorus of the States, which was to be part of the national Sesquicentennial celebration in Philadelphia in July 1926. Kendrick’s piece is praiseworthy enough, but, in my opinion, lacks the poetry and charm of Gaston’s song, with its memorable line “the scorner may sneer at and witlings defame her” and the reference to North Carolina’s “daughters” as “the Queen of the Forest resembling.”

I haven’t yet looked around for any more about this, deciding to appeal instead to NC Miscellany readers first. What do you think — was Kendrick’s song indeed sung at the Chorus of the States? And was this challenge what led the legislature to decide to adopt “The Old North State” as the official state song less than a year later?

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.