So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 39

1. The Big Three of headache powders all originated in North Carolina. Name the products and their hometowns.

2. Sugar Ray Leonard, Charles Kuralt and Whistler’s mother were all born in what city?

3. The last fatal shark attack in N.C. waters occurred in 2001, 1991 or 1981?

4. What U.S. president supposedly reported seeing the legendary Maco Light?

5. To what was Gov. Thomas Bickett referring when he claimed in a 1918 speech, “They will yield more solid comfort for the inner man than possum and potatoes, and more juicy sweetness than the apples for which our first ancestor threw Paradise away”?

Answers below






1. Goody’s in Winston-Salem, B.C. in Durham, Stanback in Salisbury.

2. Wilmington.

3. 2001. A Virginia vacationer died from an attack at Avon on Hatteras Island, and his girlfriend was severely injured. It was the first death from shark bite on the N.C. coast since 1957.

4. Grover Cleveland, when his train stopped one night in 1889 to take on wood and water at Maco, near Wilmington. Twenty-two years earlier, flagman Joe Baldwin had been decapitated while trying to wave off an oncoming locomotive. Baldwin’s ghost supposedly continues to search for his head, carrying a lantern that accounts for a bobbing glow in the distance.

5. Liberty Bonds, which helped finance World War I.


New in the collection: Ava Gardner Museum hand fan

Hand fan with Ava Gardner's face

Verso of Ava Gardner fan. It reads "We'll Make a Fan Out of You."

“[There are] countless small shrines in the hometowns or the adopted towns of native sons and daughters who went away to become famous, though some of the stars are barely remembered today. These museums are mostly special for their focus and usually reflect an undying care for their subjects by true keepers of the faith….

“In 1996, the little town of Smithfield, N.C., bought the extensive collection of Ava Gardner memorabilia from a childhood acquaintance of the actress, who lived for about 10 years of her childhood in the rural eastern North Carolina town. A movie siren of the 1940s and 1950s who was married for several tumultuous years to Frank Sinatra, Gardner died in 1990.

“ ‘There is no question that part of having the museum is economic development, bringing people to our town, at least for a little while,’ said Todd Johnson, the museum’s executive director. ‘But movie channels like Turner Classics now give another generation a sense of who Ava was, so I think people enjoy having a museum to see her things.’ ”

Most recently the Gardner Museum has installed a “Hemingway’s Heroine” exhibit, showcasing her roles in three movies based on Ernest Hemingway’s fiction.

I do wish the museum had been able to assemble its souvenir hand fans without stapling Ava’s classic countenance.


‘More popular than Jesus’?… Um, not in these parts

“Lennon’s comment [that the Beatles were ‘more popular than Jesus’], in context, was an observation about religion losing its connection to youth. But it was taken, especially in the South, as an anti-Christian boast.

“ ‘Anyone making a sacrilegious remark like that has no place on our station,’ George Nelson of WRNB in New Bern, North Carolina, told  Raleigh’s News and Observer (Aug. 5, 1966).

“Bobby Dark of WYNA of Raleigh reported that his station had a Beatles bonfire scheduled. Among others banning Beatles music were WPET of Greensboro, WBBB of Burlington, WVCB of Shallotte, WRKB of Kannapolis and WTYN of Tryon….”

— From Bigger Than Jesus? ‘Burn The Beatles’ ” by Jack Doyle at Pop History Dig (Oct. 11, 2017)


Ackland Art Museum turns sixty

Ackland Art Center gallery
A gallery in the William Hayes Ackland Art Center during its opening weekend, 19-20 September 1958. (Scene cropped from a negative in the UNC Photo Lab collection.)

Birthed as the William Hayes Ackland Art Center, the Ackland Art Museum turns sixty today.  The art center held a special preview for UNC faculty on Friday evening, September 19, 1958.  The official dedication ceremony took place the next morning, featuring a talk titled, “The Role of the College Museum in America” by S. Lane Faison, head of the art department and director of the art museum at Williams College in Massachusetts.  The opening exhibition was a composition of paintings, prints, etchings, drawings, and sculptures from the collections of several college and university art museums across the country.

The university slated Joseph Curtis Sloane, then at Bryn Mawr College, to become chairman of the Art Department and director of the new art center.

Sitterson, Aycock, and Sloane
Welcoming visitors to the Ackland Art Center are, left to right, J. Carlye Sitterson, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; William Aycock, Chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill; and Joseph C. Sloane, incoming chair of the Art Department and director of the Ackland Art Center. (Scene cropped from a negative in the UNC Photo Lab collection.)

William D. Carmichael Jr., Vice President and Financial Officer of The University of North Carolina, accepted the building on behalf of the consolidated university.

William D. Carmichael Jr.
William D. Carmichael Jr. accepting the Ackland Art Center building on behalf of the university. (Scene cropped from a negative in the UNC Photo Lab collection.)

Photographic black-and-white negatives and prints in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection document both events, plus a number of artworks loaned for the debut exhibition.

Care to learn more about the Ackland’s origins?  The Daily Tar Heel covered the story, including the background of the William Hayes Ackland bequest and the works of art in the opening exhibition on September 18th in advance of the dedication ceremony, and reported on the formal opening on September 21st.




So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 38

1. In 1895 students at Davidson College voted to change the school colors to crimson and black — what had they been previously?

2. What lake once ranked among the world’s largest farms?

3. What are terpenes — and what do they have to do with the Blue Ridge Mountains?

4. Match these TV personalities from the ’50s and ’60s with where they retired.

A. Perry Como

B. Frances Bavier

C. Buffalo Bob Smith

D. Kate Smith

1. Raleigh

2. Saluda

3. Siler City

4. Flat Rock

5. Concerning his time at what college did novelist William Styron recall, “My innate sinfulness was in constant conflict with the prevailing official piety”?

Answers below





1. Pink and blue (team nickname: Preachers)

2. Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County. The shallow lake, 18 miles long and 6 miles wide, was drained — three times — by ambitious promoters in the early decades of the 1900s. Its bottom land produced mammoth harvests of corn, rice, soybeans and sweet potatoes, but operating problems finally won out. In 1934 the federal government bought the tract and created the Mattamuskeet Migratory Bird Refuge.

3. They’re chemicals given off by coniferous trees, and they’re responsible for the Blue Ridge’s characteristic haze.

4. A, 2; B, 3; C, 4; D, 1.6.

5. Davidson College. Styron left after a “miserable” freshman year and eventually graduated from Duke.


New in the collection: Hillary Clinton campaign visit pinback

Hillary Clinton pinback button. It reads, "Fit to Lead. Fighting for Us. September 15, 2016. Greensboro, N.C."


“Hillary Clinton returned to the campaign trail Thursday, four days after her near fainting spell, with little room for another misstep.

“The moment she took the stage, Clinton addressed the topic that has overwhelmed headlines since Sunday: Her health. She acknowledged to the Greensboro, North Carolina, crowd that being forced to stay at home following her pneumonia diagnosis at such a crucial moment in the election wasn’t easy to stomach.
” ‘As you may know, I recently had a cough that turned out to be pneumonia. I tried to power through it but even I had to admit that maybe a few days of rest would do me good,’ Clinton said, after walking out into a school gymnasium to James Brown’s ‘I Got You (I Feel Good).’ ‘I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances, but with just two months to go until Election Day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.’ “
— From “Hillary Clinton returns — and not a moment too soon” by

So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 37

1. From scribbled notes on an early manuscript, Wilmington document examiner Maureen Casey Owens confirmed the identity of the author of what political roman a clef?

2. What was North Carolina’s first incorporated town?

3. For what was L.A. “Speed” Riggs famous?

4. In 1990 a whimsical “playing field” of seven spherically pruned holly bushes was installed on a sloping median in front of the Charlotte Coliseum. For what previous public art work was its architect, Maya Lin, best known?

5. In State vs. Mann in 1830, the N.C. Supreme Court declined to address the institution of slavery. The case later served as background for what 1852 novel that energized and broadened the abolitionist movement?

Answers below






1. “Primary Colors,” based on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Despite his earlier denials, “Anonymous” turned out to be Newsweek columnist Joe Klein.

2. Bath, laid out by John Lawson on the Pamlico River and incorporated in 1705.

3. For 33 years, the former Goldsboro tobacco auctioneer pitched Lucky Strikes on radio for American Tobacco with a sing-song chant that ended “Sold, American!”

4. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

5. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”


Check out what’s new in the North Carolina Collection

Several new titles were 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.

New in the collection: multitasking Cabarrus Fair souvenir

Cabarrus County Fair souvenir from 1969
Back of Cabarrus County Fair souvenir. It reads "Officer Be Right Back. Gone to Get Change for Parking Meter."


This odd plastic relic of the age of coin-op parking meters just makes me smile. Designed to slip over the top of a driver’s side window, it not only promotes the Cabarrus fair, but also serves to dodge a parking ticket and (I’m guessing here) to provide a couple of handy coathooks.

Wonder how “gone to get change” went over with the local constabulary….


So you think you know North Carolina….No. 36

1. What decorative object at the Hickory home of U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger caused a racial dispute in 1994?

2. What Duke University student did Reynolds Price recognize for writing fiction “as if a kind of perfect pitch had been inserted into her head by God”?

3. In 1987, Kivett’s Inc. of Clinton, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of sanctuary seating, designed and donated an ornate, 600-pound, bulletproof oak chair for a famous visitor to the United States.

Who was he?

4. “It came to me that I had been generally retracing the migration of my white-blooded clan from North Carolina to Missouri, the clan of Lancashireman who settled in the Piedmont in the eighteenth century. As a boy, again and again, I had looked at a blurred, sepia photograph of a leaning tombstone deep in the Carolina hills. I had vowed to find the old immigrant miller’s grave one day.” From what popular 1982 book does this passage come?

5. What influential 1997 book accused state government of mishandling research on pfiesteria, a tiny, toxic organism preying on fish in the rivers of Eastern North Carolina?

Answers below






1. A lawn jockey. The local NAACP chapter criticized it as “a reminder of the cotton-field days, the days when we were called ‘boy.’ ” Ballenger said the cast-iron statue was a family heirloom — nicknamed “Rochester,” after the black valet on the old “Jack Benny Show” — and refused to remove it. Eight years later he had it painted white.

2. Anne Tyler, who went on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. Tyler was born in Minneapolis, but graduated from Broughton High School in Raleigh and then Duke.

3. Pope John Paul II, who sat in the chair during his stop in Detroit.

4. “Blue Highways: A Journey into America.” William Least Heat Moon did find the site of his ancestor’s grave, near Asheboro, but it had recently been covered by a reservoir.

5. “And the Waters Turned to Blood” by Rodney Barker.