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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.

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  • 16 Nov 2021 16:35 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    Theme: Renewal

    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.

    • Panel and lightning rounds proposals: This format may be submitted by an individual speaker interested or by an individual on behalf of a group of presenters. Each should provide an abstract (150 words max) of the proposed topic. Panel sessions consist of 3-4 speakers who each have 15-20 minutes to present. Lightning rounds include more speakers with less time for each, usually 5-10 minutes. 
    • Poster proposals: Please submit an abstract (150 words max) for your proposed topic. Since poster sessions will be virtual, poster presenters may want to consider proposing a lightning round. Alternatively, poster presenters may be invited to record a 2-minute audio summary to submit along with a PDF of their poster to make it more accessible and interactive despite the virtual format. The Committee invites submissions that reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives of those active in the field. 

    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 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

  • 4 Nov 2021 09:25 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    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.

  • 2 Nov 2021 09:25 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    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.

  • 29 Oct 2021 09:23 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    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.

    1984 advertisement in The Front Page

    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.

  • 25 Oct 2021 09:22 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    This is the fourth in a series of Archives Month posts around this year's theme, North Carolina Travel, Tourism, and Vacation. It was written by Kathelene McCarty Smith, Interim Head of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives at UNC Greensboro.

    As both the resident “lady doctress” and an amateur photographer, Dr. Anna Maria Gove was a very unique faculty member of the State Normal and Industrial College (now UNC Greensboro). The University Archives has many of the earliest images of the college thanks to the lens of Dr. Gove. When she first arrived on campus in 1893 as a young physician, she had graduated from Woman’s Medical College of New York Infirmary only the previous year. She would remain at the school as physician, professor of hygiene, and director of the Department of Health until her retirement in 1937.

    Figure 1. Dr. Anna Maria Gove

    Born in New Hampshire and educated in the Northeast, Gove had little direct knowledge of the South. Her intellectual and cultural interest was piqued by her new North Carolina home, and apparently, the sight of a female doctor setting up practice at the State Normal also caused a great deal of curiosity. It was reported that a male physician traveled from another town just to see with his own eyes what Dr. Anna Gove actually looked like.

    Figure 2. The faculty camera club, clockwise from bottom left: Anna Gove, Edith McIntyre, Mary Petty, and Melville Fort

    Gove set up her office in the Brick Dormitory and began caring for sick and infirmed students during office hours, but during her leisure time, she started a faculty camera club. This adventurous group incorporated several of the female professors who would soon become her close friends, including Edith McIntyre (Professor of Domestic Science), Melville Fort (Art Professor), and Mary Petty (Chemistry Professor). Together they journeyed over hills and dales, taking photographs of the local surroundings, picnicking in neighboring fields, and capturing interesting scenes around Guilford County.

    There is only one photograph of the camera club as a group, which was taken in a professional studio using a canvas backdrop (Figure 2), with members, cameras, cases, and a tripod figuring prominently. The club members’ composition in the photograph is especially interesting because the photographer who took the shot must have been aware that he/she also seemed to be the subject. The configuration causes the viewer to have the same sensation. Gove is the photographer kneeling at the front left, with an expression of eager anticipation, waiting to get her shot.

    Figure 3. Edith McIntyre (Left) and Gove (Right) on a Camera Club Expedition

    Images from this period survive in Gove’s manuscript collection housed at the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives at UNC Greensboro. Some are carefully marked “Fort,” presumably because they were taken by Melville Fort, another member of the club. It can be assumed that the others were all taken by Gove. Many of the photographs include campus buildings and landscapes and serve as significant illustrations of the history of the university. Other images reflect Gove’s intellectual curiosity of her surroundings, such as a traveling Wild West show where she seemed comfortable taking photographs not only from the stands, as a member of the audience, but also behind the scenes where she took pictures of cowboys and others touring with the show.

    True insight to Gove’s personality may be most evident in photographs such as one from a Guilford County tobacco auction (Figure 4). Taking a close look at this photograph, it is easy to see the surprise on these men’s faces as they stop long enough for the small but gutsy photographer to capture the scene.

    Figure 4. A tobacco auction in Guilford County

    Whether the women became too busy teaching, or because Gove began to travel further afield for postgraduate study, personal trips, or her service during World War I, the faculty camera club apparently did not last long. Although she continued to take photographs, Gove also began to collect postcards of her extensive travels throughout North Carolina.

    Figure 5. Postcards of the Carolina coast and a tobacco field

    She was an avid correspondent, constantly writing to friends and relatives, but she also gathered images for her personal collection, both from North Carolina and other parts of the United States. As for her favorites from North Carolina, she seemed particularly fond of scenes of tobacco fields, the seashore, the mountains, resort hotels, and flowers that are indigenous to the state. She also collected postcards from historic sites such as the Old Mill in Salisbury, the birthplace of President Andrew Johnson in Raleigh, and Old Salem. There were even some cards that captured more colorful scenes such as mountain stills. While it is fortunate that these photographs and postcards survive, it is regrettable that, in most cases, she did not annotate the cards that she collected from the places that she visited, so we have little history of either the camera club or the context of her travels. Luckily, she did keep the postcards that others sent to her, and they can be found in her extensive manuscript collection.

    Figure 6. Birthplace of President Andrew Johnson

    For a closer look at her photographs and postcard collection as well as her personal papers, please see the Dr. Anna Maria Gove Papers, The postcards in the collection have been digitized, and her photographs are still being processed (with hopes of digitizing them after they are processed).

  • 21 Oct 2021 09:22 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    Contributed by Kait Dorsky, University Archivist at UNC School of the Arts

    The UNC School of the Arts Archives is excited to announce the launch of two new access points to our collections:

    The UNCSA Archives collects material documenting the history of the school, dating from its founding in 1963 to the present. Collections include campus publications, sound and video recordings, performance programs and posters, and photographs, as well as material related to professional affiliate programs and the creative careers of members of the UNCSA community.

  • 18 Oct 2021 09:21 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    This is the third in a series of Archives Month posts around this year's theme, North Carolina Travel, Tourism, and Vacation. It was written by Ed Morris, Executive Director of the Wake Forest Historical Museum & Wake Forest College Birthplace. If you're intrigued by the following artifact and want to travel to see it in person, you can find more information on the website of the Wake Forest Historical Museum.

    For the first half of my career, I was an archivist at the North Carolina State Archives. In 1998 when my wife, Cathy Jackson Morris, became State Archivist of North Carolina, my career took a shift to museums and historic sites. In the museum business like in archives, provenance is an important factor.

    The Wake Forest Historical Museum has long held a small collection of the papers of Dr. Calvin Jones. The bulk of his extensive papers are housed at the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At his death in 1846, Jones bequeathed his papers to UNC, where for more than thirty years he served as a trustee.  Other items came to the Wake Forest Historical Museum from various individuals but mainly from Jones Family descendants.  Among those papers held in the Wake Forest Historical Museum’s archival collection are lists of furnishings mentioning a specific bed, a bill of sale from Raleigh furniture maker David Royster dated July 1826, and an earlier memorandum from Dr. Jones to his private secretary on things to do, which included writing Mr. Royster and asking when his “desk and bed would be done.”

    In the spring of 2020 on the very day word came that the Covid pandemic would close pretty much everything across North Carolina, the Museum received a phone call with an offer. Dr. Calvin N. Jones, the great-great-great-grandson of the original Dr. Jones, was offering to the Museum the very bed described in those documents. The current Joneses, then residents of Winston-Salem, were moving to New Jersey to be close to their family. Their new home would not accommodate the massive bed with its eight-foot-high post. Documentation being everything to the provenance of the bed, we of course acted quickly to make arrangements to find a rental truck and travel from the town of Wake Forest to Winston-Salem down a nearly deserted Interstate 40 to take possession of this major artifact for the Dr. Calvin Jones House, a part of the Wake Forest Historical Museum’s complex.

    Thanks to archival documentation and the family story, the bed has concluded its nearly 200-year journey from North Carolina, to Tennessee, then Indiana, back to Tennessee and now coming back home to Wake Forest. The bed is once again in the house and bedroom where it was first used in 1826. Not only does the Museum have the artifact but the archival documentation of its very creation.

  • 11 Oct 2021 12:20 | E-Resources Chair (Administrator)

    This is the second in a series of Archives Month posts around this year's theme, North Carolina Travel, Tourism, and Vacation. It was written by Stephen Fletcher, Photographic Archivist in the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    In their heyday, picture post cards were everywhere. In our 2020s world, it may be difficult to grasp the ubiquity of the picture post card for those who lived a century before us. Perhaps the closest comparison to today would be the photographs we send via text messaging with our “smart phones,” the key difference being the immediacy of texting. We no longer need to go to a store, buy post cards, write individual messages, look in our address book and write on each card the mailing details for each recipient, find a post office, buy, lick, and adhere postage stamps, and then, finally, drop them in a mailbox. We simply make and send photographs to people in our contacts list stored on our personal devices. Indeed, we can even send the same image and words to several people at once.  Nor do we typically need to wait days for a response, receiving replies often seconds after sending.  But while we gained immediacy, we lost the joy in searching for and selecting the right post card for the right person, the tangibility of holding the physical object, the anticipation of what post card someone might pick just for us, and all the social constructs surrounding a once massive industry.

    A “real photo” bird's-eye view of a lookout onto a valley, showing a pedestrian, a telescope, a gift shop, and several umbrella-covered tables and chairs. Today, this portion of the former highway is part of the Point Lookout Trail, a 3.6-mile paved bike greenway in the Asheville area through the Pisgah National Forest. Published by W. M. Cline Co., Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    During the late 1890s, a picture post card craze rampaged throughout Europe.  People collectively mailed multiple millions of them annually.  In August 1897, the Times Democrat of New Orleans wrote a brief article about their being “greatly in vogue in transatlantic countries,” noting, “There is an attention in such a little gift that is obvious: there is always interest and instruction given, and it bears a pleasant thought from the traveler pushing from point to point which the local swelterer appreciates.”

    “North Carolina Variety Vacation Land Kill Devil Hill—Lofty Wright Memorial Beacon crowns Kill Devil Hill in Dare County, N.C., where the Wright Brothers first flew their pioneering airplane. U.S. 17 and N.C. 34.”

    Several years passed, however, before the popularity of picture post cards reached America. By 1910, the post card fad had taken hold—so much so that the syndicated newspaper column “Little Fables of the Rising Young Man,” under the headline “A Few Vacation Don’ts,” felt compelled to advise readers: “Don’t take fiendish delight in deluging the Chaps in the office with picture post cards of tossing billows, rippling lakes or cool, rugged mountains. They’re hot enough as it is and it only makes them sorer on you. Instead write that you’re surprised to read in the papers what cool weather they’re having since you left. Etc. etc.” So, just as an email and texting etiquette emerged with the adaption of new technologies, so too, did that of burgeoning post card authors.

    This post card caters to the traveler and serves as an advertisement for its issuer. Many post cards of this type have become categorized by today’s collectors as “boring postcards.”

    Picture post cards fulfilled many niches beyond personal travel correspondence, including advertising, specialized collecting, and daily mundane messaging. Their hallmark, however, was that postmark on cards sent and received from nearby and faraway locations. In 1914, the noted columnist and world traveler Frederic J. Haskin wrote a feature on picture post cards. “The post card industry has grown into immense proportions,” he noted. “It has throttled the cold reason of about half the human race, has insinuated its hold upon every country of the world, made immortality cheap, and robbed social correspondence of every sting.” He added, “There is not a land so lost to hope, not a hamlet or village so remote, as to be without these products.”

    “Main Street, Elizabeth City, N.C.”

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's digital library North Carolina Postcards is a trove of “these products”—including travel, tourism, and vacation imagery and messages. It comprises more than 10,500 scans made from two collections in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives: the North Carolina Postcard Collection and the Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards. The former is an amalgamation of picture post cards acquired from innumerable sources over numerous decades; the latter, a mindful curation of a single post card collector. The digital library contains a scan of at least one post card for each of North Carolina's one hundred counties. Famous homes, historic sites, state parks, scenic drives, lighthouses, and resorts, are among the topics represented. Fishing, swimming, boating, and air travel are among the activities depicted. In fact, there are predetermined searches for more than 1,400 subjects and 750 North Carolina locations that can be initiated by a simple computer mouse click.  Keyword and advanced searches can be conducted through several metadata fields including descriptions. Many cards have messages that have been transcribed when notable. The image types are both those made on a printing press and “Real Photo” post cards made in a darkroom on photographic paper with a preprinted back designed for the address and message. The result? The immediacy and speed of the computer enables you to revisit twentieth century North Carolina at a pace of your choosing.

    This view of tourists on a bus depicts a man holding a megaphone speaking to the passengers. The card opens to show a man and woman driving a car, and a fold-out strip of miniature postcard views of Raleigh. This Tichnor Brothers postcard, copyrighted in 1907, uses a general design for which the name of any city could printed along the side of the bus, and to which miniature views could be adhered.

    A careful eye will notice that the figures and vehicles are artistic renditions. It was not uncommon to update the people with contemporary clothing and replace the automobiles with the latest models, while retaining the same architectural view.

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