Damndest blurb I’ve ever written!

The title of North Carolina native Jason Mott‘s “Hell of a Book” — recent winner of the National Book Award for fiction — reminded me of a story (possibly apocryphal, though perhaps not probably) about the acclaimed writer and UNC professor  Max Steele.

A former student sent a copy of his new novel to Max for a blurb. Read it, hated it, wrestled with how to comment without dishonoring himself. His solution: “Damndest book I ever read!”

I hope the author was pleased — after all, that’s how Faulkner (in a letter to his Aunt Bama)– described his own “The Sound and the Fury.”


New in the collection: Billy Graham pinback, LA 1963

Red pinback with the words and phrases "Billy Graham Crusade," "Choir," and "Los Angeles 1963."“Since beginning his ministry in 1947, evangelist Billy Graham conducted more than 400 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents….  “Graham gained national prominence after his 1949 Los Angeles crusade, which took place in a circus tent that held 6,000 people. Originally scheduled for three weeks, the campaign was extended an additional five weeks.

“Graham returned to L.A. for his 1963 Southern California crusade, which was held at the Coliseum Aug. 15 – Sept. 8. The final-night crowd of 134,254 remains an all-time Coliseum record.”

— From “The Greatest Non-Sports Moments in Los Angeles Coliseum History” by Discover Los Angeles  (Feb. 25, 2021)

A sample from Graham’s Los Angeles sermons and one from the crusade’s 5,000-voice choir.

That time at a demography dinner party….

“Picture this: You’re at a demography dinner party. (Let’s pretend we can have dinner parties again.)

“And the demography enthusiast next to you says, ‘Hey! Got a question for you. Which county in North Carolina is most like the state?’

“How would you answer?”

— From “Which county in NC is most like the state?” by at Carolina Demography (Nov. 12, 2021) 

Spoiler alert: It’s not Orange.

h/t Charlotte Ledger

New in the collection: Kazoo from Moogseum

Blue kazoo with drawing of a person's hair and glasses and the words "Dr. Bob's Sound School."

Robert Moog changed the landscape of music forever when he launched the first commercial synthesizer in the ‘60s. Since then, the Moog name has become synonymous with synthesis and iconic pieces of hardware like the Minimoog. Now, the Bob Moog Foundation has opened the Moogseum — a museum dedicated to Moog’s work and other important music devices — in Asheville, North Carolina….”

— From “There’s now a museum dedicated to Robert Moog….” by Dani Deahl in The Verge (May 26, 2019)

In 1978 Moog moved from New York state to Asheville, where he taught music technology at UNC Asheville for several years. He died in 2005 at age 71.

Now about that kazoo….

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.

New in the collection: hardware store tags

The front of three price tags with the names of hardware stores.

The opposite sides of three price tags featuring the words "Number," "Cost," and "Sell," with each word followed by a blank line.

Before big box chains such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, few towns lacked a locally-owned hardware store or two.

These paper price tags are modest reminders of Wyatt Hardware (founded 1881) in Raleigh, Smith Hardware (1899) in Goldsboro and Odell Hardware (1872) in Greensboro.

New in the collection: Grateful Dead pinback

Pinback featuring the upper body and skull of a skeleton and WBCY 108.

The Grateful Dead have disbanded, WBCY has gone silent and the Charlotte Coliseum has been downpurposed and thrice renamed. But this pinback button from the Dead’s 1979 concert has survived unscathed.  And so has this flyer from the band’s 1991 performance at the second Charlotte Coliseum.