New elements for DACS

Congratulations go out to Alston Cobourn (East Carolina University) for the culmination of the long-term effort she and Patrick Galligan (Rockefeller Archives Center) spearheaded to get a new element added to Describing Archives: A Content Standard. In addition to element 8.2, the SAA Council recently unanimously approved the proposal for element 13.10.

Chapter 8 (Description Control) will now include required element 8.2, Rights Statement for Archival Description. Chapter 13 (Authority Record Management) will include a new required element 13.10, Rights Statement for Archival Authority Records. Chapters 1 and 9 will also be updated to reflect the new required elements. 

The Technical Subcommittee on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) (TS-DACS) will begin work to add the new elements to the user-friendly version available here and work with SAA Publications on updating the PDF publication. Additionally, the Technical Subcommittee will begin developing educational resources designed to assist DACS users with implementation of these elements.  A more detailed description of the new elements may be viewed here.

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ArchivesSpace to host their 3rd Annual Online Forum

ArchivesSpace has put out a call for speakers for their third annual online forum. You can find out more information at:

"Mark your calendars for our third annual Online Forum!

Taking place March 29-31, 2021, our online forum will be a three-day event spanning a variety of time zones and ArchivesSpace experience levels. A full schedule and information about how to register for the event will be released closer to March. Anyone who uses ArchivesSpace or is interested in ArchivesSpace is welcome to attend.

We are now accepting both session proposals and ideas for topics via our online form at We will be reviewing proposals on a rolling basis, so we encourage you to get your proposals in early.  Submissions will be closed on March 5, 2021 with final notification from the planning team by March 17, 2021.

As in years past, our Online Forum will include a mix of opportunities to share and learn from each other about many different aspects of ArchivesSpace and all submissions are welcome.  The ArchivesSpace program team is particularly interested in presentations or workshops related to the following topics:

  • Using ArchivesSpace in a work from home environment
  • Using ArchivesSpace as a long arranger or at a small archive
  • Managing paraprofessionals, students and volunteers using ArchivesSpace
  • Demonstrations of workflows using different modules or features of the application
  • Examples of anti-racism, anti-colonialism and redescription work being executed in ArchivesSpace
  • Presentations related to the technical aspects of ArchivesSpace, including how to download a local instance of ArchivesSpace for either testing or production, understanding and managing the ArchivesSpace database, and using the API.  

We anticipate recording many parts of the forum, but for it to be a success we will also need as many live participants as possible. We encourage you to dip in and out of the live program as much as you can. You will no doubt “meet” a different set of colleagues each time.

A special thanks to our Online Forum planning group for the tremendous work they’re doing to plan this forum. We’re looking forward to a great event, with your help!"

By Jessica Dowd Crouch

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Patrick Dollar and Scott Hinshaw Receive Archivist Certification

Contributed by Hollie Stevenson-Parrish

UNC Greensboro’s University Libraries is home to more than 50,000 digitized primary source materials and other historical and archival resources — photos, books, programs, scrapbooks, yearbooks, letters, etc. — comprising more than 750,000 individual objects. You can view the collection online at, which documents multiple projects.

This demanding work is performed by archivists who evaluate, preserve, and arrange records and documents in public sector organizations, such as schools, museums, and libraries.

For Processing Archivist Patrick Dollar and Archivist Scott Hinshaw, making information within the archives more accessible to the public is an everyday occurrence. On any given day, they are analyzing materials, preserving collections, managing information, assisting with retrieval, and promoting archival content.

Both Dollar and Hinshaw recently received their Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Certificate from the Society of American Archivists (SAA). Founded in 1936, the SAA is North America's oldest and largest national professional association, dedicated to the needs and interests of archives and archivists. The SAA represents more than 6,200 professional archivists employed by governments, universities, businesses, libraries, and historical organizations.

"The University Libraries is proud to invest in professional development opportunities for our staff members in order to stay up-to-date on their skills and talents that ultimately benefit the end user with a higher quality of product or service,” said UNC Greensboro’s University Libraries’ Interim Dean and Associate Professor Mike Crumpton.

“The courses and programming were really great and I’ve learned so much from this program. I think it’s a great way for Archivists to gain new skills and knowledge about our constantly evolving profession,” said Hinshaw.

Scott Hinshaw Headshot

Hinshaw, a two-time alumnus, graduated from UNCG with dual majors in Ancient Greek and Latin Languages and Historical Archaeology and began working at the University Libraries in 1999. After receiving his bachelor of arts degree, Hinshaw obtained his master of arts degree in American History with an Historical Preservation Certificate from UNCG.

Patrick Dollar headshot

“I am the systems administrator for our Born Digital Records Management system and working with digital records is a major component of my job,” said Dollar. “The DAS Certificate has helped me learn more about best practices surrounding the preservation of born digital records and has been extremely valuable to supporting my position’s duties.”

Dollar joined University Libraries in 2017 and received his bachelor of arts degree from UNC-Chapel Hill with dual degrees in Journalism and English. He obtained his master of arts degree in English from UNCG and also holds a master’s degree in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill.

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From the collections of the New Hanover County Public Library: Harper’s Sanitarium

Contributed by Travis Souther

During the first half of the 20th century, private hospitals were all the rage. There were several such hospitals in Wilmington and the surrounding area: Bulluck Hospital in downtown, Babies' Hospital near Wrightsville Beach, and Harper's Sanitarium. Dr. Charles T. Harper (1872-1915), son of the famous Captain John Thomas Harper, grew up in the Port City, residing at 1 Church Street in his youth. Harper graduated from Davidson College in pre-med and with his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1894. By 1900, Harper and his wife Jessie Glenora Zimmerman had returned to Wilmington. In 1905, Harper built his own home at 5 Church Street, just up the street from where he grew up. Today the historic home is known as the Harper-Newbold House.

Built in 1910, Harper's Sanitarium was located on the northeast corner of Front and Castle Streets in downtown Wilmington where Dr. Harper treated patients who were suffering from illnesses and sicknesses that were non-contagious. In 1912, Dr. Harper oversaw the construction of a third story, which was built by architect Joseph F. Leitner. The third floor included a kitchen, dining room, patient rooms, and even an operating room. At the height of its operation, no pun intended, 40 patients could be housed in the building. Dr. Harper died in 1915 at his sanitarium as a result of complications from an appendectomy. After his death, the International Journal of Surgery stated that, “Dr. Harper was a lovable and strong man, and was always willing to bear the infirmities of the weak and lowly. His genial personality and bright disposition endeared him to all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance . . . Among the profession he was universally popular” (International Journal of Surgery, v. 28, 1915). Dr. Charles T. and Jessie Harper are both buried in Oakdale Cemetery.

After Dr. Harper's death, the building was never used as a hospital again. From 1910 until 1963, Southside Drug Company occupied the ground floor. Today the site of the Harper Sanitarium at 101 Castle Street is occupied by a residential dwelling. These views show the building in the mid-1950s and during its demolition in 1970.

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Update from Central Piedmont Community College

Contributed by Erin Allsop

As part of recent changes to the Central Piedmont Community College Academic Affairs unit, the Central Piedmont Library is proud to welcome Becky White as the new assistant in the Archives department. Working alongside archivist Erin Allsop, Becky will help to prepare institutional heritage materials and make them accessible to the public through research, instruction, and exhibition opportunities. Becky was formerly an assistant in the Central Piedmont Paralegal program, and her information literacy skills will be a positive addition to archival outreach and advocacy efforts.

If you have questions or have an interest in learning more about the Central Piedmont Archives, please contact or visit

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2021 Annual Meeting

2021 Annual Conference and Business Meeting Dates: April 14-16, 2021

Theme: Uncovering the Hidden Labor and Faces of the Archives

Proposal Form

Proposal Due Date: February 14, 2021 at Midnight; Presenters Notified by March 1, 2021

Preconference workshops: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Conference: Thursday-Friday, April 15-16, 2021

Location: Virtual

Registration: Free! We encourage participants instead to donate to Archival Workers Emergency Fund

SNCA's annual conference, held each spring, includes lectures, seminars, panel discussions, workshops, and facility tours which provide both beginner and veteran archivists the opportunity to increase their knowledge of archival trends, methods, and skills. Fees are moderate, and nonmembers are welcome to attend.

Past meetings have featured jointly-sponsored SAA workshops and SHRAB Bootcamp; nationally known speakers such as Dennis Miessner and David B. Gracy II; and joint meetings with the NCLA Round Table on Special Collections, the Southeastern Archives and Records Conference, the Federation of NC Historical Societies, and the NC Preservation Consortium.

Conference locations rotate between the western, central, and eastern part of the state.

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Throwback Thursdays at the New Hanover County Public Library

For some time, Travis Souther has been writing Throwback Thursday posts for the Facebook page of the New Hanover County Public Library (, each of which highlights an aspect of local history and includes an image, map, link to an electronic resource, or some other resource.

He's upped his game in December by creating videos about the British occupation of the city of Wilmington in 1781. Travis visits various locations as kind of a virtual tour in downtown Wilmington, highlighting connections to the British Army’s stay in the Port City. You can find the three videos that have already posted as follows:

Return to their Facebook page on New Year's Eve for the final installment of this video series (

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Recruiting nominees for SNCA Board

The Nominating Committee is now accepting nominations for open positions on the Society of North Carolina Archivists Executive Board. The positions that will be open in the next election are:

  • Vice President /Programming Chair: The Vice President serves for 1 year and is responsible for coordinating the annual meeting. The VP usually moves into the role of president the following year for a 1-year term.
  • Secretary: The Secretary serves for 2 years and is responsible for keeping active records of the Society including the minutes of the Society’s business and Executive Board meetings.
  • Development Chair: The Development Chair serves for 2 years and is responsible for encouraging and facilitating both sponsorships of SNCA conference events and philanthropic donations, exploring and recommending methods of increasing the endowment and investing the Society’s funds, and exploring and recommending new ways to use the endowment funds.
  • Education Chair: The Education Committee Chair serves for 2 years and is responsible for planning and promoting archival education opportunities. The Education Committee selects the Gene Williams Award and C. David Jackson Scholarship winners.
  • Electronic Resources Chair: The Electronic Resources Chair serves for 2 years and is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the Society’s web page, listserv, and other electronic resources that may be developed.
  • Membership Chair: The Membership Chair serves for 2 years and is responsible for  overseeing the maintenance of membership lists and directory, sending out dues notices, and contacting those members who do not renew. Furthermore, the membership committee will actively solicit new members including staffing an information table at the Society’s meetings. The membership chair will also appoint and manage social coordinators for regions on a yearly basis.

More details about responsibilities of board members are included in the SNCA By-laws. Potential candidates may be suggested by others or self-nominated, and nominees must be current members of SNCA. If you have a question about your membership, please contact Thomas Flynn.

Nominations should be submitted online by December 15, 2020, at If you have additional questions, please direct them to the Nominating Chair.

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Archives Month: Sanitaria in Western North Carolina

Contributed by Ashley McGhee Whittle

By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, sanitaria had become a health craze and in the tourist destination of Asheville. The sanitaria became a mecca for those suffering from tuberculosis and other ailments. The basis for treatment during this time was climate, and Asheville’s climate had long been considered ideal by those who traveled to the Western North Carolina highlands. Indeed, for those who followed climatotherapy, Asheville was considered a premier destination for the treatment of various lung diseases.

postcard of Veranda View of Highland Hospital, Asheville
Veranda View, Highland Hospital, Asheville, from the Fred Kahn Asheville Postcard Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville, 28804.

Asheville was generally considered a top health resort during this time, from the low-country elitists to the Cherokee Indians, and by the 1890s the city and surrounding areas were firmly engulfed in the building explosion of various sanitaria. The largest sanitaria in Asheville were St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Fairview Sanitorium. 

postcard of St. Joseph's Hospital, Asheville, NC
An airplane view of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Asheville, NC, from the Fred Kahn Asheville Postcard Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville, 28804.

Even the tiny hamlet in the eastern part of Buncombe County has its own sanitarium - Dunnwhyce - a sanitarium for consumptive nurses that was championed by two local nurses, Birdie Dunn and Mary Whyce. Unfortunately, Dunnwhyce did not last, as World War I made it necessary for the United States Army to build a 1,500 bed sanitarium in Oteen to care for soldiers with lung ailments ranging from tuberculosis to exposure to poison gas on the battlefield. The building of this sanitarium effectively led to the declining maintenance and financial instability of the nearby Dunnwhyce, and the building was sold with proceeds invested into Liberty Bonds. 

postcard of US Veterans' Administration Facility at Oteen, NC
Night-time scene US Veterans’ Administration Facility, Oteen, NC, near Asheville, from the Fred Kahn Asheville Postcard Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville, 28804.

The sanitaria movement in Western North Carolina would go on to cement Asheville’s status as both a celebrated health resort and acclaimed tourist destination across the globe. Today, all that remains of much of the area’s history on sanitaria is simply a memory. Fortunately, this memory remains a vibrant legacy at UNC Asheville’s Special Collections, the repository of the Fred Kahn Asheville Postcard Collection. In this collection, there are several magnificent binders which house over 108 postcards depicting Asheville and Western North Carolina’s sanitaria. To see more about the Fred Kahn Asheville Postcard Collection please visit here. To see more about Asheville’s history of sanitaria please visit the UNC Asheville Special Collections blog here.

postcard of Meriwether Hospital, Ashveille, NC
Meriwether Hospital, Asheville, NC, from the Fred Kahn Asheville Postcard Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville, 28804.
postcard of Wesnoca
Wesnoca, Asheville, NC “In the Land of the Sky,” from the Fred Kahn Asheville Postcard Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina Asheville, 28804.
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Archives Month: Dorothea Dix Hospital Project

Contributed by Leah Tams and Robert Allen

Since our presentation at the 2019 SNCA Conference, the Community Histories Workshop (CHW) at UNC Chapel Hill has continued its excavation of historical records from the Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dix was the state’s principal insane asylum for many decades, and its records are now held in the State Archives of North Carolina. The state’s open records law makes state records created more than 100 years ago available to the public, so we have a wealth of intriguing—and confronting—records to excavate and interpret. Of course, COVID-19 has temporarily halted our access to the State Archives, but we have a rich trove of CHW-digitized Dix records from which to work.

General Case Book entry from Dix hospital

Our student employees have continued their excellent work in transcribing general case book forms (essentially extensive intake records) of patients, and thanks to their work we now have over 1,300 case book forms transcribed. Additionally, we have been working with the Odum Institute at UNC on getting our Admissions Ledger Database and other sets of digitized records published and requestable in UNC’s Dataverse. Due to the sensitive nature of the Dix materials, we crafted an ethics and professional practice agreement so that researchers will be fully aware and mindful of such sensitivities. We are looking forward to publishing the Dix materials and collaborating with our partners at UNC Chapel Hill, as well as eventually with partners outside of UNC.

Finally, we are teaching a graduate-level American Studies seminar that centers around the Dix records, focusing this semester on constructing case studies of select Dix patients. With these case studies, we are seeking to better understand the experiences of patients at Dix and how mental illness and other related diseases at the time were understood. We also believe that these case studies are important exercises in reinserting elements of humanity into asylum records and returning agency to individuals who were otherwise confined to an institution and stripped of their agency.

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