Jewish merchant receives an unexpected invitation

“[Louis] Kittner was a hard worker and an ambitious businessman, and within five years of moving to town [in 1914], the shoe repair shop grew into a retail shoe store and eventually became Kittner’s Department Store, a Weldon mainstay and destination for shoppers from all over northeastern North Carolina, until 1998….

“Kittner was at work [in the shoe shop] when a small group of prominent local businessmen came in and said they had a personal matter to discuss: They wanted to invite him to join their club. What was the name of the club, Louis asked.

“The Ku Klux Klan, they told him….”

— From “Why Was This Humble Jewish Shoemaker Asked To Join the Ku Klux Klan?”  by


Schoolchildren saved from ‘blighted’ Yankee texts

“In 1863, the [Rockingham County] North Carolina ‘authoress’ Marinda Branson Moore published The Geographical Reader for the Dixie Children, the first textbook to teach the geography of the seceded South. After the Civil War began, such primers were ‘both a practical and a patriotic necessity’ for the Confederacy, as the historians O. L. Davis, Jr. and Serena Rankin Parks soberly wrote in 1963, as Southern schoolteachers saw the Northern-printed textbooks in supply as ‘blighted with by Yankee biases and inaccuracies’….

“Moore explains that the Northern states are ‘mad’ on the subject of slavery. How many Southern children learned from this geography book? Enough to support two editions before the end of war in 1865….”

— From “How Women Mapped the Upheaval of 19th Century America” by Laura Bliss at CityLab (March 23)


UFO caused ‘sensation among all classes’ in Wilmington

On this day in 1897: Wilmington is visited by what may be the state’s first UFO. According to the Wilmington Messenger, which headlined its account, “Was It an Air Ship?” hundreds of citizens spotted the “remarkable . . . brilliantly lighted” object as it floated above the city, creating “a sensation among all classes of people.”


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.

Ty Cobb adds to memorable day in Asheville

On this day in 1924: Ty Cobb hits a home run in the first game played at Asheville’s McCormick Field, but the Detroit Tigers lose their exhibition to the Asheville Skylanders, 18-14.

By 1991, when the wooden stadium is razed, to be replaced by concrete, it will be the oldest minor-league park in the country.


Foolproof recipes from the collection.

Fool-proof Waffles - Favorite Recipes of the Lower Cape Fear

Fool-proof Waffles from Favorite recipes of the Lower Cape Fear.

Foolproof Hollandaise Sauce, Curry Flavor - Southern Cookbook

Foolproof Hollandaise Sauce, Curry Flavor from Marion Brown’s southern cook book.

Foolproof Chicken Casserole - Mountain Elegance

Foolproof Chicken Casserole from Mountain elegance : a collection of favorite recipes.

Foolproof Cheesecake - Company's Coming

Foolproof Cheesecake from Company’s coming : a recipe collection from North Carolinians who enjoy company coming.

Fool Proof Fudge-The Pantry Shelf

Fool Proof Fudge from The Pantry shelf : 1907-1982.

Fool proof chocolate icing - Hyde County Cookbook

Fool Proof Chocolate Icing from Hyde County cook book.