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.

New in the collection: Carolina Action pinback

Pinback with the words "You and Me versus Duke Power Company" and "Carolina Action"

“From the mid-1970s to about 1982, Carolina Action seemed everywhere in Greensboro. It held press conferences and rallies to demand an elected school board and a district system for electing City Council. It held voter-registration drives. It fought proposed electricity rate and bus fare increases by Duke Power, which operated the bus system then. It took busloads of members to Raleigh to protest the state placing motorists in an assigned risk pool that meant higher premiums….

“Carolina Action introduced to Greensboro in-your-face protesting. It sent City Council member Lois McManus a snake the group said had been caught on a vacant lot the city had failed to maintain….

“By 1981, Carolina Action’s paid staff was gone and neighborhood groups became inactive. One of the young organizers said America’s youth had grown conservative and apathetic, and Carolina Action was having trouble finding recruits willing to work hard for low wages….”

— From “Group raised the curtain on political theater in Greensboro in ’70s” by Jim Schlosser in the Greensboro News & Record (Oct. 5, 2009)

 

 

New in the collection: Charlotte double-dips

Paper with the words "Visit Charlotte, NC," "1732-1932, George Washington Bicentennial Celebration," and "May 20, 1775, 1932, Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence."

“Thousands of Mecklenburg citizens, many of them direct lineal descendants of signers of the famous document, are expected to gather in the open air theater of Independence Park to celebrate with salvo and song the 157th anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.

“A dozen patriotic societies will commemorate the signing of the immortal document… and at the same time will honor the George Washington bicentennial observance in programs throughout the year.”

— From “Open air exercises to mark May 20 observance” in the Charlotte Observer (May 17, 1932)

Outside its home county the Meck Dec has struggled to entrench itself as  an “immortal document,” especially among evidence-demanding historians.

This image is from a poster stamp, intended for promotion rather than postage.

 

New in the collection: Iraq War protest pinback

Pinback with ffemale figure in hijab clutching two children. The words read "Together as one" and "March 19, 2005"

“Two years ago this weekend, Michael Hoffman, then a U.S. Marine, was marching across the border of Kuwait as the war in Iraq began. On Saturday, he marched through the streets of this military town [Fayetteville] with other veterans, military family members and anti-war activists protesting the invasion he now believes was wrong….

“[Such demonstrations come] as national anti-war efforts try to regain footing after the re-election of President Bush.

“That is partly why one of the larger events was in Fayetteville, home of Ft. Bragg Army base, the Army Special Operations Command and the 82nd Airborne Division, now on its second tour of duty in Iraq. Police estimated that 3,000 people gathered in a park Saturday for Fayetteville‘s largest anti-war rally since Jane Fonda protested the Vietnam War here in 1971.”

— From “Army town draws anti-war protest; Thousands march across U.S., Europe on Iraq anniversary” by Dahleen Glanton in the Chicago Tribune (March 20, 2005)

The initialisms around the edge of this pinback button represent organizations such as Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out.

New in the collection: High Point poster stamp

Blue paper with silver illustration of High Point building and the words "High Point Market, January 15-27, 1934"

“In 1919, the High Point Enterprise announced plans for the center, releasing a statement that didn’t mince words: ‘High Point aspires to become the foremost furniture market on this continent.’

“Though this goal might have seemed a bold claim at a time when Grand Rapids still held dominance as the country’s furniture capital, the manufacturers of High Point pulled it off: In 1920, the Southern Furniture Exposition Building opened for its first show, following a year-and-a-half-long, $1 million construction project. That year, attendance at the show numbered in the 700s, with visitors from 100 cities….

“Of course, even the savviest of business leaders couldn’t have protected the industry from what would happen less than a decade after the new center’s unveiling. With the economic devastation of the Great Depression, furniture sales fell to half their 1920s numbers….”

— From “How a Small Southern Town Became the Furniture Capital of America” by Hadley Keller in Architectural Digest (Oct. 13, 2017)

Although digital enlargement suggests a poster, this is actually a 3- by 1.5-inch advertising label known as a poster stamp. The blue eagle symbol in the corner indicates compliance with the wage and price policies set by the New Deal’s recently created National  Recovery Administration.

 

New in the collection: WWII ship-launching badge

Pinback that reads "North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Launching Admittance Within Lines"

“The opening of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company in 1941 is what ultimately revived the region’s economy during the Second World War, transforming Wilmington into the ‘The Defense Capital of the State’….

“The plant… resulted in the city’s population increasing from 33,000 to 50,000. By 1943, the apex of national homefront mobilization, the shipyard employed approximately 20,000 people, [of whom] 1,628 were women and 6,000 were African-Americans….

“[The Cape Fear River shipyard] was one of ten in the country specializing in  Liberty cargo vessels, which transported ammunition, tanks, vehicles and other military supplies.”

-From “Wilmington, North Carolina (American World War II Heritage City)” by the National Park Service

Briefly among the city’s newcomers: playwright Arthur Miller.

This sample badge for launching-ceremony guests was manufactured by the St. Louis Button Co.

New in the collection: Dairy coupon booklet

The cover of a book of milk coupons. It includes an illustration of a cow and the words "Thirty quarts. The coupons in this book are good for the face value in payment of all dairy products. Meadow Brook Farms. Gerton, N.C. Telephone three."

Image of a page of five coupons.

Somehow this booklet of coupons good for 30 quarts of milk has gone unused — but redemption today seems unlikely given the disappearance of Meadow Brook Farms from Gerton, an unincorporated community (population: 254)  in Henderson County.

The back cover advises: “To make our coupon system effective, please place coupons under the milk bottle each day. Your strict compliance with this rule will be appreciated….”

But my favorite line is “Telephone: 3.”

 

New in the collection: Nathanael Greene beer label

Beer bottle label with a portrait of Nathaniel Greene and the words "Natty Greene's Brewing Company. Guilford Golden Ale."

Should Greensboro historians be offended to see a local craft brewery cheekily refer to its revered general as Natty? I don’t think so!

Nor do I think megabrewer Anheuser-Busch should have challenged — unsuccessfully — Natty Greene’s trademark application just because its own brand roster had staked out Natty Light, Fatty Natty and Natty Daddy.

Nevertheless….

 

New in the collection: Milk bottle lids

Old style lids for milk jugs from four North Carolina dairies

After giving way to paper and then plastic versions, glass milk bottles have made something of a comeback — but without the cardboard disc lids of earlier days.

Here’s a colorful sample of lids from Terra Ceia Dairy, Pine State Creamery, Southern Dairies and Durham Dairy Products. 

New in the collection: Randy Travis souvenir sticker

A sticker with a photograph of Randy Travis and the words, "ninety-nine point nine KISS country welcomes Randy Travis to South Florida. Miccousukee Indian Freedom Festival. July 11, 1996."

“Randy Travis changed the course of pop-leaning country music in 1986 with the release of his multiplatinum-selling ‘Storms of Life.’ In the next three decades, he charted 16 No. 1 songs including ‘Forever and Ever, Amen,’ ‘Deeper than a Holler’ and ‘On the Other Hand.’

“ ‘I can’t find another artist in any format in the history of music that turned a format 180 degrees right back into itself, a mirror of what it was, and made it bigger than it was before,’ Garth Brooks told The Tennessean.”

— From “Randy Travis opens up about childhood trauma, addiction struggles and the music industry in new memoir” by Cindy Watts in the Nashville Tennessean (June 5, 2019)

At the time of this concert the 37-year-old Marshville native had no reason to suspect his best decade was already behind him.