Two special finds among our Carolina Keepsakes

The North Carolina Collection Gallery proudly announces the launch of Carolina Keepsakes, a digital collection of some of the Gallery’s most interesting and significant items.

David L. Swain shaving kit

As the main photographer for this project, one of my favorite items is the shaving kit of David L. Swain, president of UNC and former governor of North Carolina.  This polished and engraved wooden box opens with a tiny key.  What must have been routine for Swain felt like opening a treasure chest to me.  You can see photographs of all the delicately crafted razors and glass jars nestled in their individual compartments.  One hollow spot in the box did not have a handle.  I thought I must have found a secret compartment!  I used a delicate tool to lift up the wooden piece, but, alas, there were no hidden messages or shaving secrets that had lay dormant for 145 years.

Chang and Eng engraving
Chang and Eng engraving

Another item I encourage you to view is the watercolor portrait on ivory of Chang and Eng Bunker.  The image has been reproduced many times, but never before has it been available in such a high-quality format.  We have two images online.  If you click on the thumbnail of the second image (without the frame) and use the slider to zoom in, you can see how the artist painted fine details in the eyes and hair.  This souvenir of the twin’s trip to Paris ca. 1835 is definitely a significant Carolina Keepsake.

We hope you enjoy browsing Carolina Keepsakes as much as we enjoyed working on it.