Tallying Tar Heels on Time covers (cont.)

In addition to the previously mentioned  “Uncle Joe” Cannon (1923), Henry L. Stevens Jr. (1932) and Frank McNinch (1938), these Time magazine cover subjects are among those with various degrees of rootedness in North Carolina:

Wallace Wade, Duke football coach (1937). The cover line, noting the South’s newfound football prowess, was classic Timespeak: “Southward the course of history takes its way.”

Ava Gardner (1951).

Billy Graham (1954). Graham would repeat in 1993 (“A Christian in Winter: Billy Graham at 75”), in 1996 with son Franklin Graham (“The Prodigal Son”) and in 2007 (“The Political Confessions of Billy Graham”).

Althea Gibson, tennis player born in Silver, S.C., and reared as a teenager in Wilmington (1957).

Bowman Gray, chairman of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco (1960). Check out the illustration.

James Taylor (1971).

Sam Ervin (1973). The first of more than two dozen Watergate covers in coming months.

Jesse Helms (1981). “To the right, march!”

Stanley Pons of Valdese, supposed “cold fusion” discoverer, with colleague Martin Fleischmann (1989). “Fusion or illusion?”

Elizabeth Dole with Hillary Clinton (1996). “Who would be better First Lady?”

Michael Jordan (1998). “We may never see his likes again” — followed a year later by “The world’s biggest superstar calls it quits.”

John Edwards with John Kerry (2004).


Strange bedfellows of the ’30s: Hemp and yeggs

What caught my eye on the 1935 front page of The Pilot of Southern Pines — thank you, NC Digital Heritage Center — was this headline:




Yeggs? Hemp?

The Google Ngram Viewer charts the abrupt rise and fall of yegg as slang for safecracker or burglar. First known usage 1903, peaked in the ’30s, origin unknown. Dashiell Hammett called on it frequently, as in “I don’t know why you keep talking about the Senator like he was a yegg…” (“The Glass Key,” 1931).  So later did Bugs Bunny (“Easter Yeggs,” 1947) and Daffy Duck (“Golden Yeggs,” 1950). What a loss to the idiom of insult!

According to the North Carolina Gazetteer, the Moore County town of Hemp bore that name only from 1935 to 1943. Before, it was Mechanicks Hill, Mechanicsville and Elise. Ever since, in honor of the local textile mill owner, it has been Robbins (although Hemp Street survives). In recent years the town has been most prominent as a pottery center and as the hometown of John Edwards.

If you don’t mind the design resemblance to the Dr. Bronner’s label, antiquecannabisbook.com provides an entertaining and informative history of North Carolina’s industrial hemp trade.


Greeting-card prices track fall from grace

In a bookstore the other day I noticed a wide-ranging line of greeting cards called Quotable Notables. Priced at $3.95 each are scores of die-cut color images of historical figures (e.g., Einstein, Picasso, Freud, Emily Dickinson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mark Twain) and current politicians (the Obamas, the Clintons, Sarah Palin), along with a choice of stick-on quotes.

In sync with their career arcs, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain have been marked down to $2.

One former candidate, however, has fallen even more precipitously — to 75 cents! Care to guess who?