New in the collection: Silent Vigil reunion pinback

“The largest student demonstration in Duke’s history, which came down to be known as the ‘Silent Vigil,’ developed over the period from April 4 to 12, 1968. They were eight days that changed Duke forever.

“Events began with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis on Thursday, April 4, which created ‘a mixture of sadness, fear, guilt and frustration’ on campus, said one contemporary account. As riots erupted across the country, student leaders, principally from campus religious groups, and a growing number of radicals, immediately began to discuss a campus response. One group called for a vigil in front of the chapel; another called for a protest march….”

— From “The Silent Vigil, 1968”  by William E. King, university archivist (1997)


New in the collection: Colonel Shelby cigar brochure

Two page advertising spread that reads "Dealers are enthusiastic over Colonel Shelby Cigars" and includes images of several cigar boxes.

The story of Col. Joseph Shelby, the Overmountain Men and the Battle of Kings Mountain is well documented — less so the cigars named for him in the town named for him.

This ad appeared in the Danville (Va.) Bee on April 18, 1927: “Wanted: Responsible Salesman To sell Hava-Rexa, Champagne, and Colonel Shelby cigars to retailers. Attractive line; liberal commissions. Rex Cigar Co., Shelby, N.C.”

“Colonel Shelbys are growing in favor,” this pitch to dealers claims, but a Cleveland County history notes only that “After several years the business moved from North Carolina and smokers lost the pleasure of a local cigar.”

New in the collection: Clinton, Gore, Hunt pinback

Pinback that reads "4 more for Clinton/Gore and Governor Jim Hunt, Chicago 1996 Democratic National Convention" and includes a map of North Carolina superimposed over a map of the U.S.

The “4 More” theme on this somewhat crowded convention badge linked the Clinton-Gore ticket’s bid for an encore in the White House with Gov. Hunt’s simultaneous run for his fourth and final term.

Reelection ruled. Hunt defeated Robin Hayes 56-43 percent. Nationally Clinton received only 49 percent — 44 percent in North Carolina — but that was enough because Ross Perot’s third-party candidacy kept Bob Dole from topping 41 percent.

New in the collection: ‘Pride in Tobacco’ patch

Patch that reads "RJR, Pride in Tobacco" and features a hand holding a tobacco leaf.

“The RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. created ‘Pride in Tobacco’ to promote this pro-tobacco culture and oppose tobacco-control policies…. through news releases, billboards and also materials such as bumper stickers, posters, window decals, baseball caps, stamps, and brochures….

“A 1978 Tobacco Institute newsletter stated that ‘RJ Reynolds “Pride in Tobacco” campaign won praise in four North Carolina newspapers.’ Examples are ‘Those of us in tobacco country have stood by in embarrassment and shame and have silently taken the abuse for too long. It’s time for us to tell our story’ (Greenville Reflector). The campaign ‘not only is appropriate, it is important to North Carolina’ (Goldsboro News-Argus). ‘The embattled tobacco community must unite in developing a counterattack to bolster its image’ (Wilmington Star). ‘North Carolinians have nothing to be ashamed about in the production of tobacco products’ (Franklin Times).”

— From “Tobacco-Control Policies in Tobacco-Growing States: Where Tobacco Was King” by Amanda Fallin and Stanton A. Glantz in the Milbank Quarterly (June 4, 2015)

Was the desperate clamor of “Pride in Tobacco” the death rattle of decades of North Carolina’s unenlightened self-interest?


New in the collection: Hamlet ‘Hub’ license plate

Front license plate that reads "Hamlet, The Hub of the Seaboard."

“No Carolinas train tour can omit quaint Hamlet, just east of Rockingham. It was here that the rails of the Seaboard Air Line crossed and headed into the four cardinal directions. At the turn of the 20th century, more than 30 trains a day paused on journeys to New York, New Orleans, Norfolk and Florida.

“ ‘Hamlet was like the Charlotte airport is today,’ says Miranda Chavis, who manages the rail museum beside the restored 1900 passenger station built in grand Queen Anne Victorian style. ‘Small town, big railroads.’

“It was one of the nation’s earliest tourist traps. There were seven hotels and many boarding houses for transferring passengers in the town nicknamed “Hub of the Seaboard.” Shops and restaurants catered to visitors. There was an opera house where tenor Enrico Caruso once performed. Lavish accommodations were to be found at the Seaboard Hotel, which fronted the tracks.

“Hamlet, pop. 6,000, is still a railroad town. Amtrak stops twice a day, and Seaboard’s successor railroad CSX has a massive switching yard just outside town. In front of the Hamlet station, the tracks still cross and trains constantly thunder through, attracting train watchers. In the book ‘Guide to North American Railroad Hot Spots’ by J. David Ingles, Hamlet is listed as the prime watching spot for train fans in North Carolina.”

— From “Love of railroads spans the Carolinas” by Mark Washburn in the Charlotte Observer (May 26, 2013)


New in the collection: Charlie Justice, cover boy

Sport magazine cover with photo of Charlie Justice in football uniform and helmet

Not every striking photo of Charlie Justice was taken by Hugh Morton. Credit for this one from 1949 belongs to the remarkably prolific magazine shooter Ozzie Sweet.

The cover story by Lewis Burton of the New York Journal-American promises “The Truth about Charlie Justice” but addresses only glancingly those “persisting rumors about fabulous sums his touchdowns command…. A distinctive feature of the whispers is that they discount the altogether mundane possibility that Charlie might actually crave a college education….”


New in the collection: Cheerwine soda jerk cap

Paper soda jerk hat with Cheerwine logo

“Generally,” Wikipedia explains, “soda jerks wore iconic white paper or cloth caps called ‘soda jerk caps,’ button-up shirts with a bow tie and an apron as their uniform….”

In 1932 the White Castle hamburger chain, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, patented the style of paper hat worn by its employees and formed the Paperlynen Co. to manufacture them. Among Paperlynen’s many outside customers: Pepsi-Cola , Piggly Wiggly and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1952 presidential campaign.

The hatband inside this Cheerwine cap dates it as 1968.