WWII NC Military Base Newsletters Online

Contributed by Matthew Peek

The State Archives of North Carolina’s Military Collection is excited to announce the publication online of the first half of its original wartime holdings of North Carolina military installation camp newsletters and newspapers from World War II. As part of a two-year digitization project begun in 2018 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of World War II, the State Archives has been digitizing its unique, and in some cases, complete runs of newsletter issues published by official military officials and various base units during the war.

Most of these newsletters were collected between 1942 and 1947 and have been available for research by the public at the State Archives since 1947. However, the State Archives saw a need to place all of the newsletters online in order to increase statewide, national, and international use of the invaluable information contained within.

Many of these newsletters were informally published by the various units while they were stationed at bases such as Fort Bragg for a year or two during the war. They had varying sections and topics discussed, with much of the information and news bent towards the humorous side to make the service individuals laugh. Individuals in the units with artistic skills contributed original artwork and cartoons for the newsletters, many featuring soldiers in funny situations, lessons regarding service life, or having to do with women (often with sexual innuendo included).

One of the most important things about the newsletters — especially those published by camp or base officials — are that they contain names of individuals in military units (including training units), civilian workers in various departments on base (such as mail clerks at the Charlotte Quartermaster Depot), female civilian and military personnel working at the installations, and news of casualties from those in the war formerly stationed at those bases.

cover of 1942 Camp Lejeune newsletter

These newsletters also contain information regarding military entertainment, parades, and sports games that were put on off and on base for civilians in the North Carolina communities surrounding the military installations. They contain some of the rarest information about life in North Carolina communities during WWII (apart from regular newspapers). The newsletters provide some of the most detailed information on the arrival of female military reservists at North Carolina military installations between 1943 and 1944, including the integration of Women’s Reservists at Camp Lejeune.

Although some of these newsletters’ issues have existed in various local libraries and universities around the state, the newsletter issues contained by the State Archives’ Military Collection are some of the most complete runs for newsletters from major bases such as Camp Lejeune, Camp Davis, Morris Field, and Elizabeth City Naval Air Station. Also included are a large number of Army press releases from Camp Butner between 1942 and January 1944.

As of November 15, 2019, the first half of these newsletters have been digitized and placed online through the digital WWII collection in the North Carolina Digital Collections (NCDC), a joint effort of the State Archives of North Carolina and State Library of North Carolina.

The remaining newsletters, including the majority of the Camp Lejeune newsletters, will be placed online by the end of December 2019. All of the original newsletters can be viewed in-person at the State Archives’ public Search Room in the North Carolina Military Camps Publications collection (WWII 5) in the WWII Papers of the Military Collection. A draft of the collection’s finding aid is currently available online on the landing page for World War II Papers.

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SNCA West social

Contributed by Sarah Downing

Social gathering of the SNCA Western Contingent last Friday evening. Professionals from UNC Asheville, Biltmore, Warren Wilson College, and Western Regional Archives (State Archives) represented!

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Meet your President: Dawne Lucas

What jobs have you had in the archival realm?

Dawne Lucas pictureAs a graduate student, I processed archival collections at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After I graduated, I became the Head of Technical Services for the Duke University Medical Center Archives. In 2013, I became a Special Collections Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Health Sciences Library. In 2018, Health Sciences Library special collections moved across campus to the Wilson Special Collections Library, where I am now a technical services archivist.

What is your educational background?

I have an MA in Public History from North Carolina State University and an MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to pursuing my graduate degrees, I double majored in History and Media and Journalism from the UNC-Chapel Hill. Before attending graduate school, I worked at a television station in Raleigh and an apartment community in Durham.

What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?

Right now my favorite part of my job is implementing ArchivesSpace. I also consider it to be the most important part of my job.

Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.

I am proud that my colleagues work together to make sure we are doing the best we can to provide access to our collections, including evaluating and changing established procedures. Our profession is changing, and sometimes decisions that made sense years ago don't make sense today. Change can be hard, but well thought out changes usually pay off in the end.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar career?

My advice is to get involved in professional organizations such as SNCA. It’s a great way to network and build your resume. Don’t be intimidated to join committees or run for positions. Many professional organizations rely heavily on their members to serve on committees to plan events, set policies, etc. – those organizations can’t exist without you! I also encourage new professionals to apply for scholarships, such as SNCA’s C. David Jackson Memorial Scholarship. Organizations want to award this money to make conference attendance and participation easier for its members. The worst thing that can happen to you if you apply is that you don’t win.

Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?

There are numerous people throughout North Carolina who have shaped my professional outlook. In addition to mentors, professors, and colleagues at NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Duke, I have been influenced by SNCA members throughout the state. Some of these key people no longer live in North Carolina and I rarely see them, but I hold on to the nuggets of wisdom that they passed on to me.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?

I have served on various SNCA committees since 2004 and have seen the organization change and grow during that time. Before becoming the VP/Program Chair in 2018, I took a break from serving on SNCA committees for several years and missed being involved in the organization. I am
now looking forward to helping to guide SNCA into the next decade.

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2019 Historian of the Year

On October 12th at Davidson College the North Carolina Society of Historians presented Highlands Historical Society Archivist Ran Shaffner with its highest honor: 2019 Historian of the Year. "Given to an individual who has contributed, in some very special way, to researching, recording, and perpetuating North Carolina's rich history," the award focused on forty years of Shaffner's devotion to public education and active promotion of the heritage of Western N.C. In particular, he was cited for his creation, preservation, and publication of what Walter Evans in the North Carolina Historical Review has called "the definitive history of Highlands." In accepting the award, Shaffner attributed his interest in Highlands to the characters and personalities of its unique residents and their fascinating stories.

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Now Open! C. David Jackson Memorial Student Scholarship

The Education Committee is now accepting applications for C. David Jackson Memorial Student Scholarship for the annual SNCA conference at Elon University! Pre-conference workshops will begin Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and the conference will run Thursday, March 19 to Friday, March 20, 2020.

This year, the committee will award two scholarships of $500 each to support student attendance at the society’s annual meeting and pre-conference workshops. Scholarship funds may be used for meeting registration, workshops, lodging, meals, travel, and other expenses. A one-year SNCA membership is also included with the scholarship. 

Scholarship funds will be disbursed to recipients prior to the conference as a one-time payment. Applicants must be students enrolled in an archival studies, public history, or library science program in North Carolina. 
Applications must be received by Wednesday, January 15, 2020. We will notify applicants of the committee’s decisions in early February. You can find the application form and additional details here

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Updates from Central Piedmont Archives

Contributed by Erin Allsop

The finding aid database for Central Piedmont Community College is now publicly available! They are working to clean up records and enter information for new collections. Please visit archives.cpcc.edu for more information.

In collaboration with library staff, the Archives staff has created some digital exhibits using LibGuides. There is still much work to be done, but this is a great start!

Faculty Collaborations:

  • Legacy Series Project
    • Collaborating with Liz Rogers and her JOU110 students to conduct oral history interviews with Central Piedmont Retirees. These interviews will be led by student reporters, as part of their final assignment, and will be added to the Archives upon completion and will be used for future exhibits. The interviews took place on Tuesday, Nov. 5th and Thursday, Nov. 7th. Final summary and updates of the project will be shared after the new year.
  • Creative Writing Project 
    • Collaborating with Angelina Oberdan and her ENG125 students to curate creative writing poems, using archival images as prompts. These works will be incorporated into the archive collection and into exhibits.
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Upcoming lecture at ECU’s Laupus Library

Contributed by Marlena Rose

On November 11 at 4:30PM, East Carolina University’s Laupus Library will host “Coca, Cacao, and Chinchona: Medical Marvels and Curiosities from the Iberian New World,” a lecture given by Angela Thompson, Ph.D., retired ECU history professor. This lecture is part of the Ruth and John Moskop History of Medicine Lecture Series and is hosted by the Medical History Interest Group.

When Columbus “bumped” into the lands of the New World, he hoped to find spices and gold. What he found instead in these lands he never understood were “new” plants and animals unknown in the Old World that would provide an unlimited cornucopia of foods and medicines far more valuable than gold or the spices of Asia. Coca, cacao, and chinchona are just three of these marvels from the New World that have had religious, medicinal, and food value for Native Americans and beyond. Thompson will explore the history of these and other marvelous and curious plants and animals from the New World.

lecture poster

Angela Thompson recently retired from ECU’s Department of History, where she was a professor of Latin American and Atlantic World history for 30 years. She has researched, written, and taught about the history of medicine, disease, food, and public health in the Atlantic World, among other topics.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. The lecture will also feature a pop-up display.

For directions and parking information, visit: https://hsl.ecu.edu/about/directions/

RSVP on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/656394651552254/

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Exhibit on RiverLink: Asheville-Based Activism in the French Broad Watershed

UNC Asheville Special Collections recently posted a blog about their exhibit for Archives Month. Contributed by Gene Hyde.

The month of October is considered Archives Month across the nation and the theme for the upcoming year is Activism and Social Justice in North Carolina. The purpose of Archives Month is to raise awareness in the Archives and what better way to do so than to spotlight Archival collections that illustrate a passion for local activism. Our Special Collections and Archives staff are members of the Society of American Archivists, as well as the Society of North Carolina Archivists, and we are excited to participate in Archives Month as well.

On that note, UNC Asheville’s Special Collections received a collection from RiverLink in 2017, and in 2018 the collection was processed by both staff members and interns. The collection has an online finding aid and is available for researchers to use. Special Collections will also be receiving additional material from RiverLink, which we will add to the collection soon.  And because it is Archives Month and this collection is an excellent example of a local activism group, let’s take a closer look at RiverLink and the new exhibit we just installed regarding their collection.

RiverLink is an organization in Asheville that for more than three decades has protected the French Broad River and its watershed. The non-profit environmental group was formed in 1987 by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and through the vision of Karen Cragnolin, who remained RiverLink’s director for 30 years.  RiverLink’s history, based on the ties the Asheville area has had with the French Broad for thousands of years, is a rich story of community activism.

RiverLink’s primary goal is to provide permanent access to the river for the public and to educate individuals and groups on the importance of the river and its watershed. Since its inception, RiverLink has successfully promoted the environmental and economic vitality of the river through a variety of initiatives, including community-based projects such as the development of Greenways and Blueways, riverbank restorations, and watershed plans.

Education of the public remains a core component of RiverLink’s program. The various educational programs they lead, including the French Broad RiverCamp and Voices of the River: Art and Poetry Contests, focus on hands-on learning in order to empower the next generation of youth to protect the French Broad. RiverLink also partners with various other groups in order to create a collaborative of educational opportunities, including groups such as the North Carolina ArboretumAsheville GreenWorks, and in the past, groups such as the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition.

Another of RiverLink’s fundamental values is promoting clean water. In order to advance this project, they have adopted the practice of a “riverkeeper.” RiverKeepers were long employed in the British Isles and in the late 1990s, RiverLink added a fifth RiverKeeper to their program, specifically covering the French Broad River. This position was created in order to safeguard the French Broad and to act as a public advocate for clean water throughout the 5,000 mile watershed.

At UNC Asheville’s Special Collections, one of our core drivers is documenting the diverse culture and history of Asheville and Western North Carolina. Some of our strongest collections which help to tell this story are those with ties directly to the land. In recent years, our mission has expanded in order to encompass those collections which are of interest to our undergraduate researchers, scholars, and general users - including those collections with strong environmental ties to our beloved mountain region. RiverLink’s collection is a vibrant example of the history of environmental activism in this area, and we invite you to come take a closer look at both the exhibit and the collection itself!

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Lecture at Laupus Library: 1918 Flu Epidemic

Contributed by Marlena Rose

On October 28 at 4:30PM, East Carolina University’s Laupus Library will host “Eastern North Carolina and the 1918 Influenza Epidemic,” a lecture given by Layne Carpenter, MA, Archivist at Laupus Library. This lecture is part of the Ruth and John Moskop History of Medicine Lecture Series and is hosted by the Medical History Interest Group.

Carpenter will speak about a time in history when the Great War came to an end in the fall of 1918, and a lethal disease spread across the globe. By the time the epidemic concluded in March 1919, more people died from the “Spanish” Influenza than died in the war, including an estimated 13,000 North Carolinians. This lecture will explore the deadly influenza virus strain and its rampage throughout the eastern counties of North Carolina. The impact on eastern North Carolina society, medical care, and public health will also be explored by examining primary sources from the period.

Layne Carpenter is the Archivist at Laupus Library. She completed her undergraduate degree in history at Westminster College and her MA in history and public history at UNC Charlotte. Layne has worked with special collections and museums for over nine years and has been with Laupus Library for two years. Making history accessible to the public has always been her passion, and she loves researching history, no matter the time period. After designing an exhibition about the Spanish Influenza last fall, this topic has become her latest area of study. A link to the online exhibit associated with her research can be found here.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. The lecture will also feature a pop-up display.

For directions and parking information, visit:  https://hsl.ecu.edu/about/directions/

RSVP on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2667018776651592/

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Oral History Workshop from the State Archives of North Carolina

Contributed by Donna Kelly

The State Archives welcomes you to join us at one of our two upcoming workshops to learn about oral history and the oral history projects we are currently working on:

  • Saturday October 26 at the Outer Banks History Center – Manteo
  • Saturday November 2 at the Western Regional Archives – Asheville

Each workshop will offer 2 sessions:

  • Session A – a 2-hour session on general oral history best practices, meant for anyone who is thinking about starting their own oral history project. (10am-12pm)
  • Session B* – a 2 ½ hour session on how to be a volunteer interviewer for State Archives projects. (1:00pm-3:30pm)

*Please note, if you plan to attend Session B you must also attend Session A.

We are currently collecting interviews for two major projects:

  • “She Changed the World” – focused on interviewing notable women around the State
  • Military Collection interviews – designed to document and provide access to the memories and experiences of military servicemen and servicewomen from the state of North Carolina

Capacity is limited and registration is on a first come, first serve basis, so sign up today!

To sign up for one of the workshops, please fill out the online form here.

Or you may contact oral historian Ellen Brooks at ellen.brooks@ncdcr.gov or 919-814-6847.

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