In my Wide World of Serials Receipts, I always find myself looking forward to the latest issue of the North Carolina Postal Historian. Not only for the excellent color reproductions of tobacco-advertising first covers (the subject of the current issue–see image below) and the occasional Confederate letterhead, but for the colorful choice of postage stamps that always adorn the mailing envelope (see above). They’re much more engaging than your typical first-class, red-ink postage metering, don’t you think?
The summertime is in full swing here in Chapel Hill, and like most people I’m running around looking for something to wear that won’t make me pass out from heatstroke in ten minutes or less. A surefire answer, for me at least, has been to make some garments myself. For a quick course in choosing fabrics and laying out pattern pieces, come in to the NCC’s lovely (and air-conditioned) reading room to peruse Margaret Hoffman’s Sew Far, Sew Good!. This 1958 publication starts with the aforementioned textile basics, expounds on some design philosophy, and even delves into a modest gallery of women’s apparel silhouettes and style lines (see sample image below).
And even if you’re an accomplished seamstress, pay us a visit for some textile inspiration: I recently found D.A. Tompkins’ Cotton Values in Textile Fabrics, printed in 1900, in our stacks. This fantastic volume showcases swatches of NC-produced cotton fabrics, from a North Carolina-made 10-ounce duckcloth to imported Swiss embroidery. My personal favorites are the rich violet “Amisilk,” a mercerized cotton with a sateen face, and the green and yellow checked Madras shirting.
Avast, ye lovers of Carolina! This day, bein’ the Nineteenth of September, is mark’d as one where Ye Best to Talk like the Swashbucklers of Old, and the North Carolina Collection wants to help ye in yer endeavors. Practice yer pirate speak with our vast collection of Pirate Lore! Is it lusty affairs ye be after? Frank Shay and Sabrina Jeffries will quench yer thirst as with a flagon of ale. Brush up on yer historical knowledge of Anne Bonny and the infamous Blackbeard, the latter bein’ honored with a display out in the Readin’ Room this very day.
And if ye be needin’ some help, fear not that the friendly NCC staff will assist ye more bearably than these poor folk: