New in the collection: newsboy badge

Metal oblong item with the words "Newsboy, Registered by State Child Welfare Commission, North Carolina."

“Among the most determined opponents of the child labor amendment [to the Constitution] are the newspaper publishers. The newspapers have always enjoyed a cheap circulation system, based on child labor. The publishers successfully resisted amendments to their code strengthening the provisions regulating child labor in the sale and delivery of papers. These additions to the code would have set a 14-year minimum for newsboys, an 18-year minimum for girls, with, an exemption in favor of boys of 12 already employed. They would have forbidden work before 6 a.m. and late in the evening for boys under 16; and required badges issued by a public agency under the U. S. Department of Labor for children in the newspaper trade.

“At a code hearing circulation managers testified that boys were ‘no good’ for newspaper distribution after the age of 14 because they ‘became interested in girls.’ Under questioning, that was repeatedly broken down into an admission that the older boys were not attracted by the low rates of pay.”

— From “Children Wanted” by Beulah Amidon, in Survey Graphic, (January 1937)

The child labor amendment was passed by the House and Senate but never ratified by the required three-fourths of states. North Carolina was a quick no.

I’ve been frustrated in finding details on North Carolina’s regulation of newsboys, but they did wear this sturdy badge.

Samuel A. Ashe still has fans in SCV

“The arguments [made in the Sons of Confederate Veterans Heritage Defense manual, 2016] are drawn exclusively from…  ‘The Southern View of the Invasion of the Southern states and the War of 1861-65,’ published by Samuel A. Ashe in 1935. Ashe served in the Confederate army, was elected to the North Carolina state house in 1870 and was vice president of the SCV’s forerunner organization, the United Confederate Veterans.

“The document follows Ashe in arguing that the war was not primarily about slavery, but driven by anger at taxes imposed by a Congress dominated by Northern politicians, and a fear not about the dissolution of slavery per se, but because emancipation would ‘devastate the capital infrastructure’ in the South.”

— From “Manual advises how to stop removal of Confederate statues: don’t mention race” by Jason Wilson in The Guardian (July 4) 

New in the collection: milk caps

Three milk jug caps

“After 1900, in areas of North Carolina where farms were changing from row crops to livestock (primarily the Piedmont and western regions), some farmers with milk surpluses started regular dairy routes. These routes gave farmers ready cash each month rather than forcing them to wait for the annual row crop harvest. Small dairies, or creameries, usually served nearby geographic areas, selling fresh milk, butter, and ice cream to local families. By the early 1940s, such creameries were delivering milk to homes and grocery stores daily. These creameries often developed their own brand names in direct competition with some of the larger processors such as Pet and Sealtest.

“By 1953 more than 300 dairies existed in Iredell County, which has been the leading dairy county in North Carolina since records were officially kept.

— From Dairy Industry by Chester Paul Middlesworth in NCpedia (2006)

These milk bottle caps came from Lashmit & Nelson’s White Pine Dairy near Winston-Salem, from J.C. Bowers & Sons’ Hillside Dairy near Norwood (also Boone and Pittsboro) and from Brookwood Dairy of Asheville. (The Medical Milk Commission certification cited on the Brookwood cap was an early 20th century means to allow sales to pasteurization-wary consumers. The milk commission has disappeared, but the debate continues.)

From ancestry.com this note about the surname Lashmit:

“The most Lashmit families were found in the USA in 1920. In 1880 there were 9 Lashmit families living in North Carolina. This was 100% of all the recorded Lashmit’s in the USA. North Carolina had the highest population of Lashmit families in 1880.”

‘Died Fighting for Liberty!’… Uh-huh

” The most terrible thing about War, I am convinced, is its monuments – the awful things we are compelled to build in order to remember the victims. In the South, particularly, human ingenuity has been put to it to explain on its war monuments, the Confederacy. Of course, the plain truth of the matter would be an inscription something like this: ‘Sacred to the memory of those who fought to Perpetuate Human Slavery.’ But that reads with increasing difficulty as time goes on. It does, however, seem to be overdoing the matter to read on a North Carolina Confederate monument: ‘Died Fighting for Liberty!’ ”

— From “The Perfect Vacation” by W. E. B. Du Bois in The Crisis (1931)

“Died Fighting for Liberty!” certainly fits the content and tone of Confederate monument inscriptions, but I can’t find evidence of where Du Bois might have spotted it…. Is there a monumentalist in the house? 

New in the collection: department store mirror

Circular plastic item with images of birthstones around the edge and the words "The Leader, Asheville's New Big Department Store" and the store's address in the center.

The Leader department store was once among more than 80 Jewish-owned businesses on  Patton Avenue. Its building remains, but — more typically for contemporary Asheville — now houses a grass-fed-beef burger joint  and “a small-batch hand-craft nano-brewery and ale house.”

This nifty little celluloid lagniappe, circa 1920, includes a pocket mirror on the back and a supply of straight pins around the rim.

‘A disastrous period called Reconstruction’

“A travel guide to North Carolina [published by the Department of Conservation and Development, circa 1950] proudly informed visitors that the state contributed more ‘heavily in men to the Confederate armies than any other.’

“After the war, the guide reported, the ‘State went through a disastrous period called “Reconstruction” [that] included temporary military occupation by African-American troops and passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, giving full citizenship to the newly freed slaves….'”

— From “Driving While Black” by Gretchen Sorin (2020)

New in the collection: ECU license plate

Front license plate with a map of North Carolina and the words "Greenville, NC, Home of East Carolina University, 1979"

Unusual state-map design for this well-used municipal license plate. Most plates from this era are type only, although others bore such images as teapots (Edenton), bears (New Bern) and fish (Grifton).

In 2017 East Carolina University formalized its familiar diminutive.

Travels with Zeb (post mortem)

“The controversy began shortly after his April 14, 1894, death, when The Asheville Daily Citizen reported that [Zebulon] Vance’s second wife, Florence Steele Martin Vance, had removed the former governor’s body from its original plot ‘to the spot on the highest part of Riverside cemetery.’

“Florence had visions of a monument placed at the site of his new burial (as opposed to its eventual 1898 placement in Pack Square). The problem, however, was Zebulon’s grown children claimed no foreknowledge of their stepmother’s plans and disapproved of her actions.

“On June 11, 1894, The Asheville Daily Citizen informed its readers that the former governor’s son Charles N. Vance had had his father’s body once again disinterred and relocated to its original plot. Furthermore, ‘Special officers Sam and Howell have been guarding the grave day and night[.]’ ”

— From “The three burials of Zebulon Vance” by Thomas Calder in Mountain Xpress (May 30)

New in the collection: Tobacco Fair badge

Gold medal with the words "Souvenir" and "Tobacco Fair"

“The first Forsyth County fair, in the 1880s, was dedicated to wheat, at the time the most valuable product, along with fruits and berries, grown in the area. But in 1897, the tobacco interests put on a huge ‘Industrial and Tobacco Fair’ which eclipsed all former efforts. The Twin City Sentinel published a special commemorative edition. All of the events were held in the tobacco warehouses.”

— From the colorful and thorough “Tobacco warehouses…T.J. Brown lights the fire…” by the North Carolina Collection, Forsyth County Public Library

The Tobacco Fair turned into the Dixie Classic in 1956 and then into the Carolina Classic in 2019.

Would Brad’s Drink have hit the spot?

“Coca-Cola’s success spawned a host of cola imitators. The drink that would prove Coke’s strongest and most enduring copier was conceived in a North Carolina drugstore in 1896.

“New Bern pharmacist Caleb D. Bradham, an erstwhile medical student, served dyspeptic customers a drink he had created to calm their stomachs. To his surprise it became a hit with his other patrons, who would ask for ‘Brad’s drink.’ Forfeiting his opportunity for immortality, Bradham rechristened the drink ‘Pepsi-Cola.’ The name suggested two of the drink’s ingredi­ents, the digestive enzyme pepsin and the kola nut, in a form and cadence suggestive of Pepsi’s Atlanta competitor.”

— From “Charles E. Hires and the Drink that Wowed a Nation: The Life and Times of a Philadelphia Entrepreneur”  by Bill Double (2018)