Contributed by Alston Cobourn
In 2021, East Carolina University received a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) EZ grant to digitize theses and dissertations and provide access to them through The ScholarShip institutional repository. Through this one-year grant, 1,327 works were digitized, and so far approximately 450 have been added to the repository. The works will be freely available online to all or to those with a campus login depending on copyright limitations. This grant also provided the opportunity to engage alumni by inviting them to participate in the project and to share information about library programming and services.
WRA has assisted thousands of researchers from over 35 states and 25 countries in person, by telephone, and via email. Very popular with students and scholars are the WRA’s collections involving Black Mountain College, an experimental liberal arts school that operated near the town of Black Mountain from 1933-1956.
Sarah Downing, Archivist (left) and Heather South, Lead Archivist (right) are the cheerful staff at the Western Regional Archives.
Since its inception, over 100 private, organizational, and audio-visual collections have made their way into the WRA’s holdings. Volunteers and interns have contributed thousands of hours to help process them.
Western Regional Archives is located on the third floor of the Western Office of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources at 176 Riceville Road. The Search Room is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Education Committee is pleased to announce Madison Evans, Shima Hosseininasab, Ariel Matthews, and Lovenia Morrill as recipients of the 2022 C. David Jackson Memorial SNCA Meeting Student Scholarship. The award provides professional development support and includes SNCA membership for a year.
Madison Evans holds a BA in Pan Africana Studies from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the first degree-granting historically Black college/university (HBCU) in the United States. Currently, she is pursuing an MS in Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She works as a graduate assistant in Research and Instruction Services at Wilson Library. Madison is passionate about building and preserving Africana collections and increasing pathways for Black genealogical research.
Shima Hosseininasab is pursuing a doctoral degree in Public History at North Carolina State University. Currently, she works as a graduate assistant at Special Collections Research Center, NC State University Libraries. Her interest resides in documenting, preserving, and facilitating access to architectural records of communities of color. She is particularly passionate about using digital archives and tools to increase the discoverability and accessibility of archival collections.
Ariel Matthews is currently in her penultimate semester of an MS in Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She works at Given Memorial Library & Tufts Archive, the heart of the community in Pinehurst, NC. Her passions lie in making the history of this community available for generations to come as well as fostering a love of reading in those generations. She is also a devoted mother and military wife.
Lovenia Morrill is a second-semester MLIS student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is passionate about information literacy and closing the digital divide. She has previously worked as a Digital Navigator for the Homework Gap project at the State Library of North Carolina and will soon begin a temporary position as a technical library assistant for the Mountain Area Health Education Center. Her archival career goals include records management and digitization, research support, and public outreach.
UNC Greensboro’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Speaker Series will host Beth Ann Koelsch, curator of the Women Veterans Historical Project, on February 22, 2022, from 12 noon - 12:45 p.m. for a virtual event. In celebration of Black History Month, Koelsch will discuss the history of African-American women in the United States military and the American Red Cross. The event is free and open to the public. It will be held virtually through Zoom. Access the event by visiting https://go.uncg.edu/speakerseries.
The Education Committee is now accepting applications for the C. David Jackson Memorial Student Scholarship for the annual SNCA conference, which will be held virtually on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18, 2022.
This year, SNCA will offer up to four scholarships of $250 each. A one-year SNCA membership is also included. Since the conference will be virtual, recipients are encouraged to use scholarship funds that would typically go toward travel and lodging for additional professional development opportunities.
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 Monday, February 14, 2022. We will notify applicants of the committee’s decisions in late February. You can find the application form and additional details here.
What jobs have you had in the archival realm?
I started out as an intern and assistant at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute's library when I was in graduate school. Since then, I have worked at a few academic institutions in roles that were at least in part processing archivist positions. I have been the Collections Archivist at Wake Forest University since 2015, where I work with materials at nearly every point in their lifecycles.
What is your educational background?
I have a bachelor's degree in English with minors in International Studies and Politics - I thought I might go into the foreign service. oops. And I received my master's in library and information science with an archives management specialization from Simmons College SLIS, in Boston.
What is your favorite part of your job and what do you consider to be the most important part of your job?
I like writing descriptions, finding aids, metadata, blog posts - all of it. Right out of undergrad, I was a research analyst and got used to writing long reports. I still enjoy sitting down to write, long or short. I also happen to think description is some of the most important work I do, to make things accessible to researchers. I always work with users in mind!
Tell us about something you're particularly proud of from your job or your institution.
I have been in my current position for seven years and am thrilled to see, every time I walk through our stacks or look at our website, how much we've accomplished. More finding aids available online, many more materials in our digital collections, more materials properly housed, more students taught about primary sources. Seeing the progress that my team has accomplished is wonderful.
I always recommend getting a job (or volunteer gig if you want to keep your current job) in or adjacent to libraries, to see what libraries and archives, and library and archives workers, are like before committing to the profession. Also look at job ads, especially in areas you would like to live, as you are thinking about getting a degree: what work sounds interesting and fits with your skill sets? Lastly, I highly recommend making friends in the field as you begin working or school - peer mentors have been as valuable as more traditional mentors in my professional (and personal!) life.
Who has been key to shaping your professional outlook?
Colleagues, at every one of my jobs - service jobs, part-time work, internships, all my archives gigs - have helped me grow in a variety of ways. Between customer service handling, writing conventions, and my management style, I can thank my former coworkers for helping me build useful and important skills. I also have been affected by the pandemic, certainly; my priorities have shifted in these months of upheaval and change across the world and has helped temper aspects of my work life.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time in SNCA leadership?
I aim to support NC archives workers and bring us together in meaningful ways. So much is in transition right now, and what I can do is support our visibility and education in a time of evolution. Thanks to SNCA's volunteer committees and members for your contributions to this community -- the executive board wouldn't be here without you!
The SNCA Program Committee is now accepting applications for the 2022 SNCA conference that will take place virtually March 17-18, 2022. Please submit via the online form.
This year’s theme is Renewal. In Michelle Caswell’s 2021 book Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work, she writes, "this is an urgent plea, but it also demands careful, considerate, slow work. Urgent and slow are not opposing forces in this conception, but rather work in tandem." As we continue professional (and personal, perhaps) transitions that were thrust upon us in 2020, we can also consider how to revisit, renew, and revitalize our modes of doing work - in the way that Caswell describes or otherwise. In these transitions, how are we working in new ways and adapting approaches to records lifecycles? What new and/or different approaches to our professional work, our concepts of labor, or ourselves have occurred? We welcome presentations that illustrate how renewal runs through our ongoing transitions and adaptations in our workplaces, our homes, and our profession.
Workshops will be held virtually in advance of the event, and the conference held and viewed virtually Thursday-Friday, March 17-18. As the Society of North Carolina Archivists, we collaborate with a variety of professionals to ally ourselves with the mission of preserving and making history accessible to all. We encourage submissions from archivists, librarians, and other memory worker allies from North Carolina and beyond our state borders.
We invite proposals for panels, lightning rounds, and individual presentations, as well as posters. All sessions will be pre-recorded.
Any individual involved in archives–including students, staff, volunteers, researchers, donors, academics, and allied professionals–are welcome to submit proposals. Students and new professionals are particularly encouraged to submit. Speakers are not required to be SNCA members. More details about the conference, including social events being held Wednesday, March 16, in cities around the state and the pre-conference workshops, will be shared when available. All proposals must be submitted via the online form.
Submission Deadline is: January 12, 2022.
Please email Stephanie Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. We look forward to your submissions!
The 2022 Program Committee: Randi Beem, Stephanie Bennett (chair), Kait Dorsky, Liz Harper, Peggy Higgins, and Nancy Kaiser
Contributed by Gwen Gosney Erickson
This fall, Guilford’s Quaker Archives received several collections which are especially representative of their collection development priorities and of interest to both the College community and researchers beyond campus. The archives has a special responsibility for comprehensiveness in documenting and for nurturing research relating to the spiritual, intellectual, and cultural heritage of Quakerism in the southeastern United States. It prioritizes acquisition of manuscript collections that meet this goal while also serving as informative primary sources for student researchers. These new collections provide unique sources relating to the lives of three notable North Carolina Friends.
The most recent donation is a collection of 19th-century documents kept through generations by descendants of Miles Lassiter (c. 1777 – 1850), a formerly enslaved man who was a member of Back Creek Friends Meeting in Randolph County, N.C. Based on research thus far, he was the only African American member of North Carolina Yearly Meeting when he died in 1850. These documents help complete the puzzle of his life as he navigated landownership and financial matters, including paying for medical care for his children, as he sought to establish a life of freedom for his family in North Carolina in the 1800s. The papers were donated by Miles Lassiter descendent Margo Lee Williams, who first connected with Guilford’s Quaker Archives early in her journey to discover her ancestor, which culminated in a book.
The Willie R. Frye, Jr. Papers were donated by Kathryn Frye Adams ’75. Her father, Willie Frye ’59 (pictured at right), served as an active and influential Quaker minister in North Carolina for many decades. The correspondence and sermons are already being used as a source material for a history thesis by a Guilford undergraduate. The collection has much information about Frye’s commitment to social justice and his evolving LGTBQ+ affirming theology, which often put him at odds with others in his community.
A single item arrived the same time as the Frye Papers. Bill Adams, son-in-law of Willie Frye, donated a piece of his own family history. Bill’s father, E. Edward Adams, was a young man committed to pacifism and his Quaker faith during World War I. He kept small notebook documenting his reading materials, thoughts on war and being a conscientious objector, and being sent in 1918 from Yadkin County, N.C., to Camp Jackson, S.C., to be held with other pacifists.
Terry Brandsma Recognized as an OCLC Top Contributor
Terry Brandsma, information technology librarian and associate professor for UNC Greensboro’s University Libraries, has been named as a Top Contributor to the OCLC Community Center. Brandsma has been recognized again this year for his continued commitment to sharing, collaborating and helping move the OCLC Community Center forward.
Lindsay Gypin Hired as Data Services Librarian and Assistant Professor at UNC Greensboro’s University Libraries
Lindsay Gypin has accepted the position of data services librarian and assistant professor at UNC Greensboro’s University Libraries. Gypin is working on her Ph.D. from the University of Denver in research methods and statistics. She received her master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Denver and her bachelor’s degree in English education from Colorado State University.
This is the fifth and final in a series of Archives Month posts around this year's theme, North Carolina Travel, Tourism, and Vacation. It was written by Nathan Saunders, Associate Director Library Specialized Collections at UNC Wilmington.
Thousands of North Carolinians drive down Interstate 40 every Summer to enjoy Wilmington’s beach communities and historic sites. The North Carolina Azalea Festival, founded in 1948, has however grown over the past decades to become the region’s single most important tourist event. Before 2020, the annual celebration attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Lower Cape Fear every April.
From the WWAY Television News Archive
Like other festivals throughout the South, planners drew these visitors in large part by highlighting familiar tropes of “moonlight and magnolias” southern gentility while ignoring the region’s historic Black communities. As all-white civic groups led the parade, hosted garden tours of Wilmington’s most elite white homes, and each year crowned white C-list soap opera actresses as Queen Azalea, the Festival’s events projected the image of Wilmington as a peaceful, leisurely spot to live and play while obscuring the Black labor that made it possible for white elites to relax and socialize in the clubs that planned the festival each year.
The Azalea Festivals of the 1980s witnessed the beginnings of an uneven but interesting culture shift. While not completely redirecting the event’s focus, a few key developments revealed an implicit understanding that the Festival’s first forty years were less than representative of the city’s population. Black celebrities began to figure more prominently in the Festival during the 1980s as officials named professional football player and actor Bubba Smith the parade’s first Black grand marshal in 1982, followed a year later by Diff'rent Strokes actor Todd Bridges, and then by favorite son Michael Jordan in 1984. The 1985 Azalea Festival saw the first Black Queen Azalea – Cosby Show actress Phylicia Rashad. As the female lead of the highest rated sitcom of the 1980s, Rashad was arguably the most famous of the Queens to date.
Phylicia Rashad (From the WWAY Television News Archive)
Azalea Festival musical acts were more diverse from an earlier date, with Cab Colloway, Dionne Warwick, and the Four Tops performing during the 1970s and early 1980s. The Festival’s staunch commitment to middle-of-the-road adult pop and country acts gradually gave way, however, so that by the second decade of the new millennium the Azalea Festival stage regularly featured rappers like Nelly (2015) and Snoop Dogg (2016). Festival patrons could therefore tour gardens with teenage hoop-skirted belles twirling parasols by day while enjoying decidedly non-genteel music by night.
As the official Azalea Festival program slowly and unevenly expanded its celebrity invitations and entertainment offerings, some members of the Wilmington community coordinated their own unsanctioned events on Azalea Festival weekend. The Raleigh gay and lesbian newspaper The Front Page throughout the 1980s advertised various attractions and gatherings that coincided with the April influx of visitors to the Port City. David’s, a gay bar downtown on Market Street, put its own spin on the Azalea Pageant, which culminated in the coronation of a rival Queen Azalea.
1988 advertisement in The Front Page
The Festival in fact named actress and Wilmington native Briana Venskus the first openly bisexual Queen Azalea in 2019. It turns out that Venskus presided over the end of an era for the Port City’s celebration of leisurely southern civic mindedness. In the aftermath of the unprecedented cancellation of the 2020 Azalea Festival due to COVID and the ensuing racial unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd, Cape Fear Garden Club officials announced that in an effort to promote diversity and inclusion, garden tours would no longer feature the belles that had been one of their hallmarks since 1969.
In the wake of COVID-19, Wilmington has yet to hold another Azalea Festival. Those Chamber of Commerce leaders who pioneered the event during the late 1940s appear to have achieved their original goal of bringing tourist dollars to the Port City during the off season. At the same time, they would have found little familiar in the Festivals of the 2010s. Only time will tell if anything at all from old Azalea Festivals persists, besides the beautiful flower that symbolizes spring in the South.
PO Box 41001, Greensboro, NC 27404