A star is born in Winston-Salem

On this day in 1913, Old Joe, a dromedary in the Barnum & Bailey circus passing through Winston-Salem, posed for the Camel cigarette package.

Because the camel image on the existing pack didn’t suit R.J. Reynolds, Roy Haberkern, his secretary, went to the circus in search of a replacement. Haberkern found the trainer unwilling to allow photographs—until he threatened to end the company’s tradition of closing its factories when the circus came to town. Even then, Old Joe balked until the trainer slapped him on the nose, motivating him into his soon-to-be world-famous stance.

This is a lithographed metal fan pull, about 4 inches in diameter, used to operate the ceiling fans typical in stores before air conditioning.

Bring your playbook, see you in the funnies

On this day in 1975: Brian Dowling, the former Yale star who inspired the “hit” B.D. character in Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury,” started at quarterback in the Charlotte Hornets’ World Football League opener.

The Hornets, formerly the struggling New York Stars, fled to Charlotte in the middle of the 1974 season and lasted until the league folded in the middle of the 1975 season. Dowling, who had been cut by three NFL teams, fared little better in the WFL, throwing for one touchdown in both ’74 (with five interceptions) and ’75 (with six interceptions).

More wives — many more — than the law allows

On this day in 1820: The Star of Raleigh reports that serial husband Anthony Metcalf has been jailed in Roxboro:

“It is hoped some of the friends of the numerous women he has married (to say nothing of his other offences) will come forward and prosecute him….

“As far as the history of his life is known, he was raised in Portsmouth, Virg. — when quite young was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in the Penitentiary for stealing a Pocket Book — married a woman in Hertford county, another in Wilmington, another in Lincoln, another in Pitt, all in this state, and how many others are not known; but if his own confession (made when confined in our jail) is to be believed, he had married 14 wives in 1818, and we have heard of one since — his age does not exceed 30 or 35.”

Apollo Astronauts at UNC

Apollo Astronauts at Morehead Planetarium, 6 June 1966

This homage to the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon is posted at the approximate time Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the lunar surface.  Did you know, however, that before Armstrong made that famous footprint, he—and almost every National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut—walked the grounds of UNC-Chapel Hill?

From 1959 through 1975, Morehead Planetarium hosted an astronaut training program designed to teach stellar constellation recognition and stellar navigation.  Neither Neil Armstrong nor Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr.—the first two men to walk on the moon—appear in this photograph, but both attended the training program on subsequent dates within the next few weeks.  In total, Aldrin attended five training missions and Armstrong completed eleven at Morehead between 1964 and 1969, and the two trained together in the program twice, once in 1968 and once 1969.

In the photograph above by Wolf Witz from the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection (negative 28733), twenty-one astronauts, about a month after their induction into the NASA space program, line a staircase at Morehead Planetarium on 10 June 1966, encircling an exhibit panel labeled “In Our Lifetime . . . .”  The negative and photographic prints in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives have no identifications, but we know from the Web page “Astronauts Who Trained at Morehead Planetarium and the Missions They Flew” that the following astronauts are in the photograph:

  • Vance D. Brand
  • John S. Bull
  • Gerald P. Carr
  • Charles Conrad Jr.
  • Charles M. Duke Jr.
  • Ronald E. Evans
  • Edward G. Givens Jr.
  • Fred W. Haise Jr.
  • James B. Irwin
  • Joseph B. Kerwin
  • Don L. Lind
  • Jack R. Lousma
  • Thomas K. Mattingly Jr.
  • Bruce McCandless II
  • F. Curtis Michel
  • Edgar D. Mitchell
  • William R. Pogue
  • Stuart A. Roosa
  • John L. Swigert Jr.
  • Paul J. Weitz
  • Alfred M. Worden

How many of these men made it to the moon?

The moon as projected inside Morehead Planetarium.  Photographer Richard McKee.

(The moon as projected inside Morehead Planetarium, 6 July 1962.  The man in the lower left corner is probably planetarium director A. F. Jenzano.  Photographer Richard McKee, UNC Photography Laboratory Collection, negative 23170.)

He was one Progressive Farmer boy

In 1889, Chatham County farm boy Clarence Poe, age 18, became editor of the Progressive Farmer, a struggling eight-page weekly in Raleigh.

In an era when Southern agriculture still paid more heed to phases of the moon than to science, Poe, who had never finished high school, almost single-handedly popularized “book farming.” The Progressive Farmer grew to a circulation of nearly 1.5 million and at one time ran more advertising than any other monthly magazine in the nation.

Poe not only battled cattle ticks, hookworm and hog cholera (and encouraged youngsters to grow more corn, as in this pinback button from the collection), but also took stands against child labor, usury, and lynching. He remained actively involved until suffering a fatal stroke in 1964 at age 83.

The decline of the small farm gradually undercut the circulation and influence of the Progressive Farmer—in contrast to its extraordinarily prosperous 1966 offshoot, Southern Living magazine.