Joe Mitchell’s essentials: the Times and the Robesonian

“There is a newspaper published in Lumberton, which is the largest town in Robeson County and the county seat, named the Robesonian. It is an old paper — it was a hundred years old several years ago — that prints news from all over the county. Shortly after I came to New York City, I subscribed to the Robesonian, out of homesickness, and I still subscribe to it; it is as necessary to me and as much a part of my life as the New York Times….”

— From “Days in the Branch: Remembering the South in the city” by  in The New Yorker (Dec. 1)

In this second and apparently final chapter of Mitchell’s unfinished memoir, he happens onto the 1790 census and finds countless  names he still sees on trips back to Robeson County — “on the fronts of stores and filling stations and sawmills and cotton gins and tobacco warehouses and on the sides of trucks and on roadside mailboxes and on miscellaneous roadside signs.”

His deep dive into the minutiae-packed pages of the Robesonian will stir nostalgia in anyone who has ever subscribed to a small-town paper.

Here’s an excerpt from a previous chapter in The New Yorker.


Separate but (less than two-thirds of) equal

“North Carolina, the best state in the South for Negro education, spends for a Negro pupil less than two-thirds of a dollar for every dollar spent for a white pupil; the worst state, Mississippi, spends for a Negro pupil less than one-seventh on every dollar spent for a white pupil….

“Even if funds were more abundant, better Negro schools would not be welcome to many white Southerners. A Gallup Poll has shown that only half of Southern whites believe that Negro school facilities should be equalized to those of whites.”

— From “A Negro Looks at the South,” collected works of Sterling A. Brown from the 1940s (2007)


What’s Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?

Pie 2 - Progressive Farmer

Image from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie - Supper's at Six

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie from Supper’s at six and we’re not waiting!

caramel pecan pumpkin pie - What's Cook'n at Biltmore

Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie from What’s cook’n at Biltmore.

I Can't Make a Pumpkin Pie-Dixie Classie Fair

I can’t Make a Pumpkin Pie from Dixie Classic Fair for Northwest North Carolina : favorite recipes from friends of the Fair.

Old river boat pumpkin pie - Good Eatin' from Duke Memorial

Old River Boat Pumpkin Pie from Good eatin’ from Duke Memorial United Methodist Church, Durham, North Carolina.

Low Sugar Pumpkin Pie - Heavenly Helpings

Low Sugar Pumpkin Pie from Heavenly helpings, seasoned with love : recipes collected from great cooks past and present of White Oak Baptist Church, Archer Lodge, NC.

Pumpkin Pie Dip - Cooking on the Cutting Edge

Pumpkin Pie Dip from Cooking on the cutting edge.

Who's a Country Bumpkin Pumpkin Pie Dessert - Auntie Bee's

Who’s a Country Bumpkin Pumpkin Pie Dessert from Aunt Bee’s delightful desserts.

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.

Hoey pitches shutout at polls in Shelby

On this day in 1919: Clyde Hoey, a member of the “Shelby Dynasty” of Democratic politicians, wins the congressional primary against Johnson D. McCall of Charlotte.

Hoey carries his home county of Cleveland by the vote of 3,369 to 34. Even more remarkably, he receives every one of the 1,242 votes cast in Shelby.

Hoey goes on to win the general election and will later serve as both governor and U.S. senator.


North Carolina recipes from the collection

On this day in 1789 at a convention held in Fayetteville, the state of North Carolina officially became a member of the Union by ratifying the U.S. Constitution.  We honor this historic day and show our NC pride with a few North Carolina recipes.

North Carolina Syllabub - Cook Book

North Carolina Syllabub from Cook book.

North Carolina chow chow - Soup to Nuts

North Carolina Chow Chow from Soup to nuts : a cook book of recipes contributed by housewives and husbands of Alamance County and other sections of state and country.

Tar Heel hash - Favorite Recipes of Women's Fellowship of The United Church

Tar Heel Hash from Favorite recipes.

North Carolina's Bishop Bread - Welkom

North Carolina’s Bishop Bread from Welkom : Terra Ceia cookbook III, a collection of recipes.

Hot Hatteras Oysters Casino-The Pantry Shelf

Hot Hatteras Oysters Casino from The Pantry shelf : 1907-1982.

North Carolina Fish Stew - Favorite Recipes of the Carolinas

North Carolina Fish Stew from Favorite recipes of the Carolinas : meats edition, including poultry and seafood.

Jim Graham's Tar Heel Brunswick Stew-The Wild and Free Cookbook

Jim Graham’s Tar Heel Brunswick Stew from The wild and free cookbook.

Frank Porter Graham and friends take their stand

On this day in 1938: University of North Carolina president Frank Porter Graham addresses the opening session of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare in Birmingham, Ala.:

“The black man is the primary test of American democracy and Christianity. [We take our] stand here tonight for the simple thing of human freedom. Repression is the way of frightened power; freedom is the enlightened way. We take our stand for the Sermon on the Mount, the American Bill of Rights and American democracy.”

The unprecedented convention, foreshadowing the civil rights movement, attracts such figures as Hugo Black, Eleanor Roosevelt and C. Vann Woodward — and Swedish social economist Gunnar Myrdal, who is just undertaking “An American Dilemma,” his landmark work on race relations.


For bingo games, arm of state law is long indeed

“For certain organizations in North Carolina, bingo games can last only up to five hours. The state’s administrative code even contains a few more explicit restrictions on the game: only one in a 48-hour period and no more than a $500 prize.

“Our best guess as to the motivation behind this law? Retirement homes needed to crack down on geriatric bingo sharks.”

— From “Here are the most ridiculous laws in every state” by Christina Sterbenz and Melia Robinson at Business Insider (Feb. 21, 2014)

“Geriatric bingo sharks”? Hmm, doubtful. But something scary must have motivated the legislature to enact such lengthily-detailed restrictions — including a whole section on “beach bingo”!


Artifact of the Month: Littleton College commemorative plate

In 1882, Littleton Female College opened in Littleton, North Carolina. Originally chartered as the Central Institute for Young Ladies, the school grew from an inaugural class of eleven students to 274 students in 1907.

Our November Artifact of the Month is a commemorative plate that recalls Littleton College (which eventually dropped the word “female” from its name).

commemorative plate

Littleton College offered courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics in addition to the domestic courses of study that were common in contemporary women’s schools. Littleton was a private Methodist school, owned by Rev. James Manly Rhodes.

In 1919 a fire destroyed the school’s buildings and Mr. Rhodes didn’t rebuild. But despite Littleton College’s relatively short lifespan, we’re left with some great documentation of the institution and its students.

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has digitized three editions of the Littleton College yearbook, the Pansy.

littleton basketball team
Yearbook photo of the Littleton College “A.B.C. Basket ball Team,” 1905
littleton basketball team
Yearbook photo of the Littleton College “X.Y.Z. Basket ball Team,” 1905
littleton orchestra
Yearbook photo of the Littleton College Orchestra, 1905

The North Carolina Collection Photograph Archives holds several photographs of Littleton buildings and students in its North Carolina County Photograph Collection. And the North Carolina Postcard Collection holds a Littleton College postcard:

littleton college postcard

The commemorative plate, a recent donation from a descendant of several Littleton students, is the Library’s first non-paper artifact from Littleton College. It’s a great addition to the North Carolina Collection Gallery.

Dress revues showed off women’s creativity

“The highlight of [North Carolina’s home demonstration] program was the dress revue….As participants walked across a stage in full view of an audience and panel of judges, they announced their names and the cost of their homemade ensemble….

“The 1933 competition held at North Carolina State University featured county winners from across the state. Forty-eight women modeled outfits in six different categories: house dresses, general wear, ‘remodeled,’ sack garments, afternoon and evening…. Included were a dress made of 20-year-old lace curtains (sewn at no cost), a woman’s suit made of a discarded man’s suit and a woman’s suit made from a fertilizer sack….”

— FromPageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South” by  Blain Roberts (2014)