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Digital Collections

Tar Heel Junior Historian

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If you have a young North Carolina history buff in your family, you’re likely familiar with the Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine. Published twice yearly since 1961 by the North Carolina Museum of History, this fun, fact-filled publication is a delight to anyone interested in learning about North Carolina’s past. 

The Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine is a companion publication for the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association clubs found in schools around the state. With a different theme every issue, topics as wide ranging as Native Americans in North Carolina , the NC State Fair , and the development of public works in our state, are featured. Contests, an annual convention, and awards for history projects keep kids engaged and learning about all things North Carolina.

The issues published between 1961 and 1991 are now available in the North Carolina Digital Collection at

To learn more about the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association, visit

Tips for creating book displays, circa 1947

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Book Displays January to December, 1947I don’t remember what I was originally searching when I came across a book from 1947 titled Book Displays: January to December in the North Carolina Digital Collections. My curiosity prompted me to take a closer look, however. I am always interested in catching a glimpse of what professional texts were like decades ago. This book was written by Mary Peacock Douglas, who was a former State School Library Adviser, and Betty Gosnold Jeffrey, who was a former librarian from Broughton High School in Raleigh. It was  issued by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The intended audience was librarians and educators.

Yes, the book is outdated by today’s standards, and uses antiquated terminology in places. It lists holidays and birthdays of famous historical figures for each month, and has information on creating bulletin board displays, table displays, glass case displays, shelf displays, and small space displays. Some of the suggestions also provide an interesting slice of life at at time. For instance, here is a tip in this book for a display about “Army Day”:

Feature Army insignias and opportunities in the Army. Get material and posters from recruiting station at post office.

I am trying to remember if I have ever seen Army recruiting materials at a post office. Take a look and see what else has changed, and what has not, in the past 67 years!


NCpedia and the GHL: Keeping Cultural Connections Alive

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by Kelly Agan, NCpedia Digital Media Librarian

A recent viewer post and question on NCpedia and the coincidental passing of Pete Seeger reminded me of how cultural artifacts are shared and passed down across generations and how they can be picked up, borrowed, and transformed. They also reminded me of how libraries and institutions of memory (including libraries, museums and websites like NCpedia) share in this process of keeping the connections alive through collecting, preserving, and publishing.

Photo of Ella May Wiggins from the Gaston Gazette.

Photo of Ella May Wiggins from the Gaston Gazette.

The NCpedia viewer wrote in to ask a question about Ella May Wiggins — had any of her work been published. Finding an answer took me on a brief but meaningful journey from NCpedia, to the Library of Congress, to the New York Times, to the Smithsonian.

Wiggins was born near Bryson City in North Carolina in 1900. A single mother of seven and a mill worker in Bessemer City, she became vocal in standing up for and uniting mill workers in Gaston County during the years from 1927-29. She used singing to lead striking workers, writing a number of ballads of which her autobiographical “The Mill Mother’s Lament” became well known and was picked up in the 1930s and again in the 1960s by another generation of activists. Sadly, Ella May Wiggins was shot and killed while on her way to a meeting with other workers in 1929.

Her songs continued to be used in the labor movements of the 1930s and were then picked up by the grassroots movements of the 1960s with the concurrent tides of the civil rights movement and folk musical revival. Pete Seeger used her song in the 1960s and re-recorded it in 1992 in his album, Pete Seeger: American Industrial Ballads, produced by the Smithsonian’s Folkways Recordings label. (more…)

Weather forecast for NC for February 1914

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In looking at a digitized version of the Turner-Enniss North Carolina Almanac for 1914, I could not help but remark at how similar the weather forecast was for North Carolina in 1914 to what we have had here in Raleigh, NC in 2014 for the first five days of the month, anyway.

Page in the 1914 Turner-Enniss Almanac with the weather forecast for February 1914.

Weather forecast for February:
1st to 2d, pleasant,
3d to 6th, damp, showery;

We will have to see if the rest of the forecast for February, 1914, mirrors what we are seeing here in Raleigh in 2014. If so, on the 28th, bring those snow sleds back out of the closet!

7th to 11th, unsettled,
12th to 16th, rain,
17th to 21st, windy, cold;
22d to 25th, changeable;
26th to 28th, rain, sleet and snow.

The volume also has farming tips for every month, as well as instructions for curing pork and keeping lard. Ground cayenne pepper is apparently a great deterrent for bugs when put on cabbage.

The book has information about state government at the time, including the names of officers and directors and their salaries. Faculty at colleges and universities  are also listed. It’s an interesting glimpse of life in North Carolina 100 years ago.

Turner-Enniss Almanac, 1914:
NC Digital Collections:
Internet Archive:

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.