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SNCA Blog  

The North Carolina Archivist (SNCA Newsletter)

Prior to 2011, the Society's newsletter was distributed to members twice a year. It contained articles on subjects of archival concern, announcements of archival events and meetings in the state and region, news from members and member institutions, and notices of professional opportunities and internships.

The newsletter is now delivered in blog format.

  • 2 Oct 2023 12:27 | Courtney Bailey (Administrator)

    W.C. Reese sent out a message at 4:55 p.m. July 7, 1959.  As Chief Dispatcher for the Clinchfield Railroad Company, it was his job to get news to the company’s directors in a timely fashion. Less than an hour earlier near Marion, North Carolina, Train No. 97 suffered a derailment.  Twenty-six cars, many of which were carrying alcohol, left the tracks and a fire was “fiercely burning.” It was the first communication about the calamity sent from his office in Erwin, Tennessee.

    According to the official Accident Report, the cause of the crash was attributed to a “wrung journal” (a.k.a. an axel malfunction) on Seaboard Atlantic Lines car no. 8785 loaded with phosphate. A journal box held a car’s axels and helped to distribute the weight of the railcar and to keep the axels lubricated.  If the boxes were not properly maintained, they could overheat and catch fire.  

    The train was travelling 40 miles an hour on its usual run from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Elkhorn, Kentucky, that hot and clear day. There were 43 loaded cars and 41 empties. Firefighters from Old Fort, Nebo, and Marion responded to the scene.  No injuries were reported.

    In the end, when all the bills were tallied, the derailment of No. 97 cost $232,070.37, chiefly made up of repairs to damage to tracks, equipment, and signals. Today, that would translate to roughly $2.5 million.

    Bob Ruiz travelled from his home in Swannanoa, N.C., to photograph the derailment.  His color slides are part of the Ruiz and Brown Families Papers housed at Western Regional Archive in Asheville. The Clinchfield Railroad Company Records are housed at the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. 

  • 2 Aug 2023 21:21 | Courtney Bailey (Administrator)

    Contributed by Jonathan Dembo

    The Manuscripts & Digital Curation Department of J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC announces that the papers of former ECU faculty member and U. S. Senator John P. East (R-NC) are now available for research. 

    Researchers may access the finding aid online at:

    Researchers may select items of research interest to access through the online finding aid and may make appointments to visit the repository or obtain copies of documents in the collection through the Special Collections Division’s website at:

    Senator East’s election marked a significant change in North Carolina politics and reflected changes in most of the rest of the Southeastern states.  Before he was elected to the Senate in 1980, the Democrats had held the seat since Andrew Jackson won the presidency in 1828, with only two, one-term, interruptions, in the 1840s and the 1890s.  After East won election in 1980, no Democrat has won reelection to the seat. 

    The John P. East Papers (1908 – 1986, undated [bulk: 1964 – 1986]) consist of 607 archival containers and 7 oversized folders and contain over 258 cubic feet of manuscript materials.  The papers include biographical, genealogical, and historical materials relating to his life (5 May 1931 – 29 June 1986); his marriage to Priscilla Sherk East and their children; his service as an officer in the U. S. Marine Corps; his battle against poliomyelitis and the paralysis it caused; his graduate studies in political science and as a professor of Political Science at East Carolina University (1964 – 1980), including his teaching files for each of his classes, his academic and professional publications, speeches, and interviews; and also his conservative Republican political beliefs and affiliations and political career, including his several unsuccessful attempts to win political office in North Carolina (1966 – 1976), culminating in his successful campaign for and election to the United States Senate in 1980; but the bulk of the collection focuses on his service in the Senate, where he was aligned with Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and a member of Helms' political organization, the Congressional Club; including his mailing lists, correspondence and constituent cases and projects files; his office and staff files, including files of this administrative assistants, press secretaries and legislative assistants; his political patronage and nomination files, committee and legislative activities; his voting records, newsletters, voluminous clipping files, press and public relations files, including publications, audio and video of interviews, speeches, and political events; his frequent bouts of ill health due to poliomyelitis, hyperthyroidism, urinary tract blockages, and depression, and their side effects which may have contributed to his decision not to run for reelection and his death by suicide in 1986; also including photographic prints and negatives, microfilm of committee records, correspondence, case and general files, voter registration files; and also oversized materials (1981 – 1986, undated).

    For more information, please feel free to contact Prof. Jonathan Dembo, who processed and cataloged the collection.  You may reach him by email or at the address below.

    Jonathan Dembo

    Professor Academic Library Services

    Manuscripts & Digital Curation Department

    J. Y. Joyner Library, Room #4014

    East Carolina University

    Greenville, NC 27858-4353

    Phone: (252) 328-2661


  • 14 Jul 2023 12:56 | Stephanie Bennett

    In April 2023, a couple of archives repositories across the state opened their doors to host SNCA members and give folks an opportunity to attend an in-person event together. Thanks to Stephanie Bennett at Wake Forest University, Adreonna Bennett at UNC Charlotte, and Joshua Hager at N.C. State Archives for arranging tours. And of course thank you to the archives folks who came out - it was nice to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones.

    Here is Instruction Archivist Randi Beem doing some show and tell at UNC Charlotte's Atkins Library.

    Randi Beem shows an object to a group of folks facing her in the UNCC reading room

    Randi Beem shows an object to a group of folks facing her in the UNCC reading room

    And State Archivist Sarah Koonts and Records Description Unit Supervisor  Josh Hager touring folks around the State Archives.

    Here's to many more tours in the future!

  • 10 Jul 2023 08:00 | Courtney Bailey (Administrator)

    Contributed by Alston Cobourn

    In January 2023 East Carolina University’s Records Management merged with University Archives to take better advantage of synergies between the two areas, resulting in a new department located in the Special Collections division - University History and Records.  Records Manager Amy Bright moved to the division at that time, and just recently Zach Dale assumed the new position of Records and Archives Assistant.  The department is now fully staffed with four FTE.

  • 30 Jun 2023 08:44 | Courtney Bailey (Administrator)

    Contributed by Adina Riggins

    Reflections: A Look Back

    • Records Management (RM) had a presence at UNCW's celebration of Love Data Week last February. 17 people attended the online session “Let’s Talk about Administrative Data: A Conversation about Archiving the Data in Your Office.” Slides are available here. What RM topics do you want to see addressed during next year's Love Data Week? The theme will be “My kind of data.”
    • Records and Information Management Month, April 2023 - University Archives held a total of 4 workshops–one on Zoom and 3 others around campus. There were 48 attendees altogether. Check out this handy Records Management Guide customized for UNCW.

    News & Updates

    • Please continue to refer to the UNC System Records Schedule (2021). The Record Analysis Unit at the State Archives is currently short-staffed with only two analysts in Raleigh and two regional analysts.  Please send suggestions for schedule updates and revisions to University Archives for consideration by the State Archives.
    • Following the RM workshops this past spring, we in University Archives have had the opportunity to consult with several staff members at UNC Wilmington on records management questions. A valuable reminder: Adhering to the records schedule is a process! Making a plan, testing, and communicating with stakeholders and the public are components of a records management project. It is fine to build time into your projects to complete these steps as you move toward compliance.
    • Do you produce state publications? Examples are university and departmental magazines, books published by the university, the Atlantis and other creative magazines, strategic plans, exhibition catalogues, and more. NC General Statute 125 set up a process for schools in the UNC system – as state agencies – to send 10 printed copies and/or a digital version to the State Publications Clearinghouse at the State Library of NC. Copies are then distributed to designated libraries throughout the state in addition to the Library of Congress. See guidelines on donating to the State Publications Clearinghouse.

  • 14 Jun 2023 09:10 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    J-SNCA is a peer-reviewed journal that seeks to support the theoretical, practical, and scholarly aspects of the archival profession. The editorial board of J-SNCA invites members of the research and archival communities to submit articles for a general issue on archival topics to be published fall 2023. 

    Submissions on archival methodology, metadata, collecting practices, outreach, and rethinking the goals of archival work in our current age, especially considering the ongoing recovery from COVID-19 and the national conversation on efforts towards antiracism, are all welcome.

     The deadline for article submission is July 1, 2023 August 1, 2023. All members of the archival community, including students and independent researchers, are welcome to submit articles. Contributors need not be members of the Society of North Carolina Archivists or live in the state of North Carolina. Article proposals are welcome and encouraged.

     Submission contact:

  • 22 Mar 2023 10:25 | Courtney Bailey (Administrator)

    The Education Committee is pleased to announce Ashlie Brewer, Jillian MacKinnon, Juliana Siler, and Dylan Ward as recipients of the 2023 C. David Jackson Memorial SNCA Meeting Student Scholarship. The award provides professional development support and includes SNCA membership for a year.

    Ashlie Brewer is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public History at North Carolina State University. She works at the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center scanning, describing, and publishing North Carolina-related historical materials online from partners across the state. Ashlie is passionate about digitization, community archiving, and increasing accessibility of archival materials to all.

    Jillian MacKinnon holds a BS in History from Western Carolina University and is currently pursuing an MS in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She works as the Special Projects Graduate Assistant for the Southern Historical Collection in Wilson Library. Some of her interests include government archives, local history, and the history of the American South. She is particularly passionate about amplifying the stories of historically marginalized groups found in archives and increasing access to local history in communities that lack robust archiving resources.

    Juliana Siler is currently pursuing an MLS degree with a concentration in Archives and Records Management from North Carolina Central University. She previously obtained two undergraduate degrees from Elon University, where she is currently working as a staff member in Belk Archives. Her passions are making history accessible to as many people as possible and preserving it for future generations.

    Dylan Ward holds a BA in Film Studies from North Carolina State University. He is a second-semester student at East Carolina University pursuing an MLS degree in Academic Libraries. Currently, he works as a graduate assistant as part of an IMLS grant on archival research for rural community libraries and archival institutions. He has particular interests in equity, inclusion, and accessibility to archives and special collections. His archival career goals include motion pictures and photography preservation, as well as rare books and manuscripts.

  • 24 Oct 2022 17:50 | Courtney Bailey (Administrator)

    This year's theme for Archives Month is “The Lighter Side of Tarheelia: Fun, Frolic, and Festivals in the Old North State.” Today's post is contributed by Grace May at the Forsyth County Public Library.

    October is Archives Month - woohoo! It's a month about remembering the importance of historic documents and records. Here at the Forsyth County Public Library's Archives, we have great collections that reflect the history of our county. In celebration of this, I've looked through our collections to find some fun items. Turns out lots of people have fun at festivals, so here we go.

    The Arts Council Collection (201501) has boxes and boxes of documents and ephemera. 86 boxes to be exact. You can find information on the founding of the council in 1949 to the 1988 Mayfest International. Speaking of the 1988 Mayfest International in Winston-Salem, did you know that the Arts Council helped fund the event? 

    Mayfest International was a celebration of international cultures, food, and customs. There was a cooking contest, homemade goods available for sale, and craft demonstrations. This means you could see how to make origami, eat Puerto Rican bacalaitosfritos (fish fritters) then Italian cannolis (fried pastry filled with cream), and pick up Liberian fashions and jewelry - all in one day! 

    The Mayfest International Festival happened every May in Winston-Salem for 15 years until 1991 when it was canceled. There had been major financial losses for the sponsors in 1990, the Arts Council included, and they put the festival (along with another annual festival called Carolina StreetScene) "on hold." They had hoped to find more sponsors or somehow renew interest from the community, but these festivals never came back.  

    Not current enough for you? Well, we do have the Hispanic League Collection (201805). The Hispanic League was established in 1992 to help better the lives of the Hispanic population of Winston-Salem. That same year, they had the first Fiesta. They've continued to have a Fiesta every year. It happens during Hispanic Heritage Month (mid-September to mid-October).  

    It's a free event offering live music, other entertainment, food, crafts, and even recently a mini carnival. In the Hispanic League Collection, you can find promotional materials, funding and financial documents, planning records, maps of the event, correspondence, and more on these absolutely fantastic Fiestas. See below for a video from their YouTube account recapping the 2021 Fiesta. Hey, maybe even try and make it out next year! 

    Fiesta 2021 Recap 

  • 17 Oct 2022 09:00 | Courtney Bailey (Administrator)

    This year's theme for Archives Month is "The Lighter Side of Tarheelia: Fun, Frolic, and Festivals in the Old North State." Today's post is contributed by Sarah Downing from the Western Regional Archives of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

    The Haywood County town of Waynesville is home to North Carolina’s International Festival—Folkmoot. Each July, troupes of folk dancers and musicians from around the globe perform, and while scores of ensembles apply, only 8-10 are selected each year.

    Colorful Folkmoot dancer, ca. 2007

    The event was the brainchild of Dr. Clinton Border, following a trip he took to Europe with a group of local square dancers. Border reasoned that because western North Carolina has such a rich cultural history, hosting a dance festival—featuring a myriad of cultures from around the world—would be an endeavor for which the region was well suited. His hunch was right, and since its inception in 1984, Folkmoot has hosted hundreds of dancers from scores of nations. One hundred thousand people are drawn to Waynesville each summer to see one or more of the performances.

    This year’s event hosted dancers from Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Ukraine as well as local cloggers and a Cherokee group.

    In 2016, Western Regional Archives in Asheville received a donation of 9 cubic feet of records from Folkmoot. The Folkmoot USA Records (1983-2008) contain correspondence, photographs, and videos.

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