“My 19th summer was spent discovering the literature of the Founding Fathers in the octagonal library at Hayes Plantation in [Chowan County] North Carolina.
“Beyond the historical importance of the collection was the room itself–neo-gothic walnut cases with busts above the shelves under a pale-blue domed ceiling and in the center, an early-American eight-sided table heaving with ferns and more books on fantastic subjects like astronomy and geography. The library’s architecture suited its contents, cluing visitors in to the pursuits, passions and vices of its owner.
“I think about this room a lot–and about what will happen when digital books, if ever, replace the old-fashioned kind. I’m hoping books will become more prized as their population diminishes….”
— From “Bookish Good Looks; The right shelves, well-stocked, speak volumes” by Sara Ruffin Costello in the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 10, 2011)
Hayes Library is faithfully replicated in the North Carolina Collection Gallery.
— Jack Betts, the Great State’s foreign correspondent in Raleigh for the past two decades, debarks more suddenly than but just as gracefully as his positively-addicted readers would expect. Jack will dispute this — of course! — but it was his unrelenting editorials and columns that took the lead in sparing Eastern North Carolina the Navy’s ill-sited landing field. In his un-bow-tied hours, he has been an unrivaled fool for tools, managing to wring romance out of an aluminum pot that “perked coffee in five states, on four boats and in at least three houses,” a C-ration can opener brought home from the Army and on his last day a humble tin cheese grater. Happy retirement, Jack.
— Yet another remarkable entry in the New York Times’ Disunion blog, this one about North Carolina’s wrenching decision to secede. Overall, it’s been exciting to see historians and journalists in 2011 probing the way to war so much more ambitiously than in 1961.
— Surely someone saved Garner’s historic last Slim Jim for the North Carolina Collection Gallery.