Sir Walter Raleigh–Illustrator?

Walter Raleigh, a man of many talents and accomplishments, distinguished himself as a soldier, historian, poet, businessman, and politician.  As an explorer, he helped set the stage for English colonization of the New World.

He was not, however, renowned for his facility with a paint brush.

Days before the 400th anniversary of his death this October 29, historians discovered a wall painting under layers of peeling paint in the Tower of London’s Bloody Tower, where Raleigh was once confined.  This loosely painted sketch features a man wearing a laurel wreath.  A self-portrait? Historic Royal Palaces staff believe the painting dates to the early seventeenth century, the period in which Raleigh was incarcerated in the Bloody Tower.  See

In addition to sharing the painting with the public, the Tower has also opened a special “Lost Garden” to commemorate the anniversary of Raleigh’s death.  This is one of several worldwide remembrances, including one at the North Carolina State Capitol on Saturday, October 27.

To learn more about the multifaceted Raleigh, visit the North Carolina Collection Gallery’s newest exhibition, Sir Walter Uncloaked:  The Man, the Myths, the Legacy, on view through January 31, 2019.

Exhibition “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective” opens in Raleigh

Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective opened this past Saturday at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. The Museum of History is the sixth venue for the exhibition since its debut in August 2013 at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University in Boone.  The Morton photographs will be at the museum for more than a year!  Admission is free.  If you are looking for ways to beat the triple-digit heat index temperatures we’ve been experiencing in the eastern part of the state in recent days, a visit to Museum of History may be just the ticket.  The exhibition looks terrific!  The museum’s staff designed the exhibition to flow chronologically and several images sport new descriptive labels, so if you’ve seen the exhibition once before it is worth seeing it again.

There will be several programs at the museum related to the exhibition in the coming months, including “Hugh Morton, More Than Bridges and Bears” with Hugh Morton’s grandson Jack Morton and the exhibition’s curator Stephen J. Fletcher, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archivist, on December 8, 2016, 5:30-8:00 pm.

Bibliography for Set in the Southern Part of Heaven

Set in the Southern Part of Heaven: Chapel Hill Through Authors’ Eyes

North Carolina Collection Gallery, Wilson Special Collections Library, UNC Chapel Hill

June 20 – Oct. 2, 2016

Bibliography of works included in the exhibition:

Adams, Alice. Careless Love. New York, N.Y.: New American Library, 1967.

Athas, Daphne. Entering Ephesus. Sag Harbor, NY: Second Chance Press, 1991.

Bache, Ellyn. The Activist’s Daughter. [Uncorrected proof]. Duluth, Minn.: Spinsters Ink, 1997.

Battle, Kemp P. History of the University of North Carolina. Reprint Co., 1974.

Betts, Doris. Souls Raised from the Dead : a Novel. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1994.

Blythe, Will. To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever : a Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting, and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina Basketball Rivalry. New York: Harper, 2007.

Brown, Nic. Doubles : a Novel. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2010.

Correll, Jon. The Sparks Fly Upward. Portland, Oregon: Inkwater Press, 2013.

Deford, Frank. Everybody’s all-American. 1st Da Capo Press ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 2004.

Diary entry from Karen L. Parker,  Collection #5275, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ehle, John. Move over, Mountain. 1st ed., 50th anniversary ed. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Press 53, 2007.

Fahy, Thomas Richard. Night Visions. 1st ed. New York, NY: Dark Alley, 2004.

Fox, Missy Julian. Goodnight Carolina. Carrboro, N.C.: McDonald & Associates, 2012.

Freymann-Weyr, Garret. Pretty Girls : a Novel. 1st ed. New York: Crown, 1988.

Fuller, Edwin W. Sea-gift : a Novel. North Carolina?: G. H. Dortch, 1940.

Green, Paul. Dog on the Sun : a Volume of Stories. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1949.

Hawkins, Jeremy. The Last Days of Video : a Novel. Berkeley: Soft Skull Press, an imprint of Counterpoint Press, 2015.

Link, Phil. Another Time : a Fictional Story of the Truth About Fraternities at Chapel Hill in the 30’s. Greensboro, N.C.: Carolina Cerulean Books, 1990.

McConnaughey, James. Village Chronicle. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1936.

Mebane, Mary E. Mary, Wayfarer : an Autobiography. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

Moore, John W. The Heirs of St. Kilda : a Story of the Southern Past. Raleigh: Edwards, Broughton, 1881.

Morgan, Diana. Chapel Hill. Warner Books ed. New York: Warner Books, 1992.

Pahlow, Gertrude. Cabin in the Pines. Philadelphia: Penn Pub., 1935.

Patterson, James. Kiss the Girls : a Novel. 1st ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995.

Poem by George Moses Horton, Collection #4799-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Prince, William Meade. The Southern Part of Heaven. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969.

Rochelle, Larry. Back to the Rat. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: [Larry Rochelle], 2013.

Rochelle, Warren. The Called. 1st ed. Urbana, IL: Golden Gryphon Press, 2010.

Ruark, Robert Chester. Poor No More. Corgi ed. London: Corgi Books, 1968.

Scott, Joanna C. Child of the South. Berkley trade pbk. ed. New York: Berkley Books, 2009.

Vining, Elizabeth Gray. Jane Hope. New York: Viking Press, 1947.

Watkins, Graham. Dark Winds. Berkley ed. New York: Berkley Books, 1989.

Weinholtz, Donn. Carolina Blue : a Novella. Hartford, Connecticut: Full Media Services, 2012.

Wolfe, Thomas. Look Homeward, Angel : a Story of the Buried Life. New York: Scribner’s, 1929.

Artifact of the month: Caroline Lee Hentz’s lap desk, 19th century

Ideas about what constitutes portability have changed dramatically over the past 150 years. One piece of evidence for this (extremely non-controversial) claim is our July Artifact of the Month, a 19th-century lap desk.


Lap desks, popular in the 19th-century, enabled their owners to do their writing on the go. A lap desk provided an expansive flat writing surface that folded up neatly into a (relatively) compact box, as well as storage for ink wells, sand wells, pens, and quills.

Lap desk, open
Lap desk, open

This particular example belonged to Caroline Lee Hentz, an author and anti-abolitionist from Massachusetts. A prolific writer, Hentz produced a long list of poems, plays, romantic novels, and short stories — some of them, perhaps, written on this desk.

Image from the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives' Portrait Collection.
Caroline Lee Hentz. Image from the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives’ Portrait Collection.

Hentz moved to North Carolina with her husband when he began a position as a language professor at UNC. In Chapel Hill, Hentz met the enslaved poet George Moses Horton and became a great supporter of his work. Hentz’s 1833 novel Lovell’s Folly included an enslaved poet named George, who was openly based on Horton. She served as a benefactress to Horton, helping to edit, promote, and support the publication of his work.

Historical marker commemorating the life of George Moses Horton.
Historical marker commemorating the life of George Moses Horton.

Oddly, Hentz was also one of the era’s most influential defenders of slavery. Her widely-read novel The Planter’s Northern Bride is a direct reply to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist work Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In Lovell’s Folly, George, admired for his poetry, is granted his freedom. However, as a plot device that reinforced Hentz’s belief that benevolent masters offer slaves a good life, the character George chooses to stay on the plantation.

The real Horton worked tirelessly in an effort to buy his own freedom.

Works by Hentz and Horton, including one of Horton’s poem manuscripts, can be seen in the North Carolina Collection Gallery’s current exhibition. Set in the Southern Part of Heaven: Chapel Hill Through Authors’ Eyes features 35 books by both professional and amateur writers. Included are historical accounts, short stories, mysteries, and even a fantasy-tinged romance with scenes that take place in Gimghoul Castle. Full details can be found on the Library’s blog.

Artifact of the Month: Elisha Mitchell’s pocket watch

Every artifact tells a story. One of the most dramatic stories represented by one of our artifacts is the story associated with our June Artifact of the Month: Elisha Mitchell’s pocket watch.


Elisha Mitchell was a professor of geology, mineralogy, and chemistry at UNC in the 19th century. In 1828 he observed a peak in the Black Mountain range that he believed to be the highest point in the eastern United States. He returned three more times to gather data in the 1830s and 40s.

In 1855, Mitchell entered a two-year public debate with state senator Thomas Clingman — a former student of Mitchell’s — about the resolution of the highest-mountain question. In an effort to settle the matter, Mitchell made a final, fatal trip to the Black Mountains in 1857.

On that trip, he slipped, hit his head on a rock, and fell into a pool at the base of a waterfall. The blow to his head knocked Mitchell unconscious and he drowned in the pool.

… And that’s where our artifact comes in.

Mitchell carried this pocket watch on his journey and it still tells the time of his supposed death: June 27, 1857, 8:19.

The Mitchell pocket watch and the state parks

Mitchell’s life was cut unduly short, but his legacy is part of the North Carolina landscape. The mountain Mitchell identified was eventually verified as the tallest peak in the eastern United States, and it was named Mount Mitchell in his honor.

Image source

In 1916, Mount Mitchell and the land surrounding it were purchased to become North Carolina’s first state park. This year the state park system celebrates its 100th anniversary with events at every park.

In April, Gallery staff took the Elisha Mitchell pocket watch to Fort Macon State Park for an event attended by 25,000 people. In August the watch will travel to Mount Mitchell — a homecoming of sorts.

We’re delighted to share one of our favorite artifacts with audiences beyond Chapel Hill, and proud to be part of the state parks’ anniversary celebration. If you’ll find yourself near Mount Mitchell at the end of August, please join us!

Join us for a Wikipedia edit-a-thon!


The North Carolina Heritage Award has been awarded to traditional artists since its inception in 1989. North Carolina has a rich heritage of folk and heritage arts, ranging from pottery to dance. Some of the award winners are internationally known for their craft, such as Doc Watson and Jim Shumate, whereas others have practiced their arts locally. Twelve North Carolinians have gone on to win the National Heritage Fellowship Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wikipedia is often the first place people visit to find information on a topic, yet many of our state’s notable traditional artists have no entry, and in other cases the entry has little information.

On April 5 at 5:00 p.m., we’ll hold an edit-a-thon in Wilson Library that will fill in some of these gaps. We’ll use collection materials to create, update, and improve articles about North Carolina Heritage Award winners, in anticipation of the Heritage Awards ceremony presented by PineCone and the North Carolina Arts Council.

The event is sponsored by the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Folklife Collection with support from PineCone and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

More information can be found in Wikipedia and on Facebook. We hope you’ll join us!

New Gallery exhibition celebrates student fashion at UNC

The North Carolina Collection Gallery has a new exhibit — From Frock Coats to Flip-Flops: 100 Years of Fashion at Carolina — open through June 5, 2016.


While these two pieces have fifty years between them, they share the same Carolina spirit. The sweater is from the 1920s, and the overalls are from the early 1980s. Both were worn to sporting events during their time.

The exhibition focuses on the years 1900 to 1999, although the oldest pieces of clothing come from 1892. Come see what a frock coat, Earth Shoes, and flannel can teach us about the social history of the 20th century.

The Gallery is open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, and 1pm to 5pm on Sundays.

For hours, directions, and parking, see the Library’s Visit Us page.

Pioneer female photographers exhibit extended


The current exhibition in the North Carolina Collection Gallery, Bayard Wootten & Frances Benjamin Johnston: Pioneer Female Photographers and North Carolina’s Preservation Movement, has been extended through February 7 due to popular interest.

In 1939 and 1941 photographers Bayard Wootten and Frances Benjamin Johnston, respectively, produced pivotal books on North Carolina architecture that spurred the state’s architectural preservation movement. Both women approached their projects with their own distinctive styles, in some cases producing dramatically different images of the same building. The resulting books, both published by the University Press, represent the divergent styles of the two photographers. The stories behind the books, however, are closely intertwined.

If you haven’t yet had the chance, please stop in and see the work of these two fascinating photographers side by side.

For hours, location, and parking, see our “Visit Us” page.

Seeking love beads, legwarmers, and more!

Back in August we sent out a call to alumni seeking clothing from their student days. The items will be used in an exhibition about student fashion at UNC in the twentieth century.

We’ve been thrilled by the generous response to our request: Alumni have come forward with a mountain of fantastic items to loan and donate. As we make final decisions about what we have space for in the exhibit, we’re looking for a handful of specific items to fill in a few gaps.

Do you have any of these in your attic or closet?

From the late 1960s and early 1970s

Black Power necklace
Black Power necklace
Tie-dye t-shirt
Tie-dye t-shirt

From the mid- to late 1970s

Colorful head scarf
Colorful head scarf
Wide tie
Wide tie

From the 1970s or 1980s

Custom message t-shirt made (just for you!) in the Shrunken Head Boutique
Custom message t-shirt made (just for you!) in the Shrunken Head Boutique
Foster Grant sunglasses
Foster Grant sunglasses
Foster Grant sunglasses
Foster Grant sunglasses

From the early 1980s

Roller skates
Roller skates
Striped tube socks
Striped tube socks
Big plastic glasses frames
Big plastic glasses frames
Square-end knit tie
Square-end knit tie

From the late 1980s

Clothing with Benetton label
Clothing with Benetton label
Sweatshirt with the neck cut off
Sweatshirt with the neck cut off
Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses (or Wayfarers)
Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses (or Wayfarers)
Checkered slip-on Vans sneakers
Checkered slip-on Vans sneakers

From the 1990s

Baja jacket
Baja jacket
Slouch socks
Slouch socks
Pleated shorts
Pleated shorts
Button-down plaid shirt
Button-down plaid shirt
Hair scrunchie
Hemp jewelry
Hemp jewelry

From any era

Rainbow sandals
Rainbow sandals*

Can you help?

If you have any of these articles and would be willing to lend or donate them for the exhibit, please get in touch by calling the North Carolina Collection Gallery at 919-962-0104 or by emailing

* All photos from UNC’s yearbook, The Yackety Yack, except Rainbow Sandals photo by JVO27.

UNC alumni: Do you have what we’re looking for?

From the 1974 UNC yearbook, the Yackety Yack.
From the 1974 UNC yearbook, the Yackety Yack.

Any UNC alum who’s recently been on campus knows just how much student fashions have changed since their own time at Carolina. Next February, the North Carolina Collection plans to open an exhibition exploring clothing styles at UNC as they’ve evolved over time. We’d love your help!

We’re in search of clothing to represent every era of student fashion at UNC — whether it’s a class sweater, a dress purchased on Franklin Street, or a piece that captures the essence of your years at Carolina.

Do you have any articles of clothing or shoes you wore as a student? Would you be willing to donate or lend them to the North Carolina Collection for the exhibition?

If so, please contact Linda Jacobson, Keeper of the NCC Gallery, at 919-962-0104 or