Welcome back to Connecting the Docs!

In this brand new season, we have several mini-series covering a range of topics including a look west with information about “Mountain Speak” and a series on the true stories of Coastal Carolina inspired by the film, Where the Crawdads Sing. We open season three in Raleigh, with our first series, “The Journey of an Archival Record.” In this three-part series, you’ll hear from archivists who normally work behind the scenes about how a document created by a state agency becomes a part of the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina. In the first episode, Appraisal Archivist Colin Reeve and Records Description Unit Supervisor Josh Hager tell John about the first stage in this process: records retention and appraisal. This episode has a little bit of everything: You’ll learn how even a sticky note can become a public record, how a retention schedule can help agencies whittle down their records to a small percentage that comes to the Archives, and how an agency could (legally) destroy a record using an acid vat! We hope you appraise this episode as a great return to the show.



Functional Schedule for Records Retention and Disposition for State Agencies: https://archives.ncdcr.gov/government/state-government-agencies/functional-schedule

Records Management Frequently Asked Questions: https://archives.ncdcr.gov/government/records-management-tools/faq 

Tutorials created by the Records Analysis Unit of the State Archives: https://archives.ncdcr.gov/government/training/online-tutorials-and-resources

General Statute 121: https://www.ncleg.gov/Laws/GeneralStatuteSections/Chapter121

General Statute 132: https://www.ncleg.gov/Laws/GeneralStatuteSections/Chapter132 

In this special hour-long episode and season finale of Connecting the Docs: Unprocessed, State Archivist Sarah Koonts and Becky McGee-Lankford, assistant state records administrator, introduce us to America250, the nationwide commemoration to mark the 250th anniversary of the United States’ founding. North Carolina’s programming will highlight historical events of the Revolution as well as the ideals of liberty, courage, sacrifice, civic responsibility, and progress that have developed in the years since. To kick off preparations for this momentous occasion, Koonts and McGee-Lankford share inspiring records in the State Archives that embody these ideals and bring history to life: a 1776 letter from John Adams that later become the renowned pamphlet Thoughts on Government; a rare 1903 Constitutional Reader created to aid disenfranchised black men—and later women—overcome the burden of the Permanent Registration Act of 1901; a 1964 report from the Council on the Status of Women that details systemic challenges in work and life; and much more.


Sources Mentioned:


John Adams, 1776. Thoughts on Government Letter. Vault Collection, State Archives of North Carolina. https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/collection/p15012coll11/id/606/rec/1

Joseph Graham Papers, PC.60. State Archives of North Carolina.

General Assembly Session Records. State Archives of North Carolina. https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/search/collection/p16062coll36

North Carolina and Tennessee, Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783-1843, Roll 07: Revolutionary Warrants, frame 324-5 of 608. www.ancestry.com

Military Collection, Troop Returns, box 6, folder 20. http://www.digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16062coll26/id/980/rec/2

North Carolina and Tennessee, Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783-1843, Roll 04, frames 105-6 of 619; www.ancestry.com

Pettiford, George (Granville), 1831. Declaration of Service to Accompany U.S. Pension Applications. War of the Revolution Papers. State Archives of North Carolina.

Granville County Pleas and Quarter Sessions Minutes, 1821. State Archives of North Carolina.

Harris, G. Ellis, 1903. North Carolina Constitutional Reader, Being a Hand Book for Primary Use in One Part. State Archives of North Carolina. https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/collection/p15012coll11/id/710/rec/4

The Many Lives of North Carolina Women (Commission Report), 1964. Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. State Archives of North Carolina. https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/collection/p16062coll44/id/7009/rec/27

Good Neighbor Council Digital Collection, SR.31. State Archives of North Carolina. https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/custom/good-neighbor

In this episode of Connecting the Docs: Unprocessed, two former editors of , Bob Cain and Joe Beatty, join host John Horan to discuss the foreign collections within the State Archives of North Carolina. They discuss the decision to travel to the United Kingdom and collect these documents, an effort that went through fits and starts throughout the 20th century. Bob Cain shares his experiences doing this work in London in the 1960s and early 1970s and talks about how he found and shipped the collections to the State Archives in Raleigh. He discusses some of his favorite documents and reflects on how North Carolinians regard their history, from recent memories to the state’s colonial past.



Sources Mentioned:


Foreign Collections:



Carolina Charter of 1663



The Colonial Records of North Carolina



In this episode of Connecting the Docs: Unprocessed, host John Horan and oral history interns Michelle Witt and Madison Riley discuss the history of two dams and the lakes they created. The story of Fontana Dam and Lake as a tourist destination in western North Carolina is well documented, but this episode goes underneath the surface and uncovers the various towns and landmarks that were flooded when the dam was built. In much the same way, Jordan Dam and Lake changed the landscape of Chatham County. It took decades to build, and yet, much less is written and known about this story. In addition to discussing the dams, lakes, and what happened to towns like Japan and Seaforth, this episode explores how archivists and historians do their research to tell stories. It gives some tips on the best ways to interact with the repository at the State Archives and beyond.


Sources Mentioned:

“Moving Deadline Near for Fontana Reservoir Residents.” The Sylva Herald and Ruralite (Sylva, NC), October 25, 1944, p.4. https://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn92074071/1944-10-25/ed-1/seq-4/


Map of North Carolina County Road Survey of Graham County, 1930, North Carolina State Highway Commissions. https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/ncmaps/id/2050/rec/61


Map of Graham County (State Highway and Public Works Commission), 1953, North Carolina State Highways and Public Works Commission. https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/ncmaps/id/7757/rec/78


“There’ll Be No ‘Japan.’” The Wallace Enterprise (Wallace, NC), December 31, 1942, p. 6. https://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn94058243/1942-12-31/ed-1/seq-6/


Mrs. Callie Pilkington home in Japan, NC, destroyed by Fontana Dam Project, June 1944, taken by John Hemmer. From the Department of Conservation and Development, Travel Information Division Photograph Collection. https://www.flickr.com/photos/north-carolina-state-archives/40934127163/


New Hill Baptist Church history 1888-1988: Soldiers of the Cross Marching on by Linda Barker, Wallace Womble, and Wayne Womble, 1988. https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/collection/p249901coll37/id/23831/rec/5


Land development potential study, Chatham County, N.C, Chatham County (NC) Planning Board, 1970. https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/collection/p16062coll9/id/163437/rec/19

This episode tells the story of three North Carolinian communities and their intersection with highways and the urban renewal projects of the mid-20th century. The first story we explore is the experience of Durham’s Hayti neighborhood and the dismantling of a self-sustaining Black community. The next act of neighborhood destruction comes to us as Raleigh’s Smoky Hollow community was wiped away for Capital Boulevard and later gentrified. The final story of paving over communities comes from what is historically known as Southside and South Park in downtown Raleigh. This story illustrates how communities fought back and features Shaw University and an educational charrette that proposed a different outcome.


Sources Mentioned:

Terry Sanford Papers:


Durham Urban Renewal Records Exhibit:


News and Observer Negative File, 1938-2018:


Albert Barden Photograph Collection, 1910-1953:


North Carolina Digital State Documents Collection:


Department of Transportation Planning and Programming: Transportation Planning File, 1953-1989 - No finding aid, unprocessed.



Smoky Hollow, Raleigh, NC


Southside, Raleigh, NC


In this episode, audiovisual materials archivists Vann Evans and Ian Dunn introduce Raleigh photographer Albert Barden (1888–1953). For almost seventy years, curators and archivists have worked to preserve, catalog, and give meaning to his vast collection of photographs, which offer a snapshot of everyday and extraordinary life in North Carolina from nearly a century ago. Their work continues. Learn about Barden and some of the fascinating discoveries archivists have made, helping to identify previously unnamed or mislabeled photographs and revealing their importance. 


Photographs Mentioned:

N_53_15_4313 | Raleigh Linen Supply Co, 3301 Hillsborough St

Raleigh Linen Supply Co, 3301 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC; ca 1941. Interior view showing office of manager Robert C Evans.

Photo by Albert Barden. From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.


N_53_16_6674 | S. M. Jones

Cobbler shop of S. M. Jones, East Davie Street in Raleigh, NC, 1926. The date is determined to be 1926 based on the days of the week listed on the poster seen on the side of the building. The man is believed to be Sherman Jones (1865-1932), a shoemaker. Under high magnification and some considerable squinting, the sign above Mr. Jones was found to read “S. M. Jones”-- beside it, a crudely painted boot. If Mr. Jones turned his head and looked across Davie Street he would be looking at present day Artspace. The Sir Walter Hotel can be seen in the background on the right.


N_53_16_5173 | Albert Barden and Sisters Daisy (left) and Violet

Albert Barden and Sisters Daisy (left) and Violet prob 1900 teens

Photo by Albert Barden. From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.


N_53_17_520 | People in Front of Raleigh City Hall with Yo-Yos

Group of unidentified people are seen on the steps of City Hall in Raleigh with Yo-Yos. Pedro Flores -inventor of Yo-Yos -is possibly seen front left c. 1930.

Photo by Albert Barden. From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.

Let’s bake history! In this episode, we feature historical recipes from family culinary manuscripts dating to the mid-19th century. Join us as we try cream cakes, blackberry cordial, pickle lily, and tomato catsup. We share our experiences testing these recipes, explore the history behind them, and discuss how culinary manuscripts can offer insights into the tastes and foodways of specific households in North Carolina. Transcripts of these recipes— along with a few suggestions to simplify or modernize them—and links to the full culinary manuscripts are available on our blog.



Culinary Manuscripts Available on North Carolina Digital Collections




Cream cakes from the Polk Recipe Book Two, 1858. Lucy Williams Polk Papers. Private Collections. State Archives of North Carolina. Call no. PC.75.


To Make Cream Cake

A quart of cream; four eggs sifted flour sufficient

for a thick batter; a small teaspoonful of pearlash,*

a spoonful of salt; beat four eggs very light and stir

them by degrees (a little at a time) into a quart of

cream & gradually enough of sifted flour to make

a thick batter put in the salt; dissolve the pearlash

in as much vinegar as will cover it and stir it

in the mixture. Bake it in muffin rings send them

up hot split them open & butter them. Sour cream

is better than sweet. The pearlash will remove the

acidity & the batter will be improved in lightness.


*Baking soda serves as a modern substitute for pearl ash.

Catsup from the Polk Recipe Book Two, 1858. Lucy Williams Polk Papers. Private Collections. State Archives of North Carolina. Call no. PC.75.

A Recipe for Making Catsup

Take one Gallon of Skinned Tomatoes 4 table

spoonsfull of Salt 2 do* of Black pepper, a

Half do of Allspice 3 pods of Read pepper

3 tablespoonsfull of Mustard ground very fine

& Simmer’d slowly in sharp vinegar for 3

Or 4 hours in a puter basin, & then bottle

it close,  those who like garlick after the

simmering is over and the ingredients cool

you may add 2 tablespoonfuls of the juice.


*Do (or ditto) refers to the unit of measure used with the previous ingredient.


Adaptations: Bell pepper may be substituted for the “read pepper” for a milder flavor. Minced garlic can be substituted for garlic juice.


Pickle lily from the Dodd Recipe Book, 1859. Lillian E. Dodd Collection. Private Collections. State Archives of North Carolina. Call no. PC.150.


To Make Pickle Lily

Scald some vinegar and season with

Salt, pepper, cloves, mace and allspice and

When highly seasoned and Cold, pour into

Jar. Drop into this vinegar as they ripen.

Small Cucumbers tender radish pods

Young beans and very small onions.

Cork close.


Adaptation: Use equal parts vinegar and water for a more balanced pickle.


Blackberry cordial from the Polk Recipe Book Two, 1858. Lucy Williams Polk Papers. Private Collections. State Archives of North Carolina. Call no. PC.75.


Blackberry Cordial

Gather your Blackberries & mash them up then

strain them through a sifter & put all the pulp

& seed out. Then to every quart put 1 pound of

Brown sugar stew it well together when dun

take three measures of syrup to 1 of Brandy then

bottle it. Put any kind of spice you like allspice

is generally used


Adaptation: For a clearer, less muddled cordial, simmer the blackberries and your desired spices for roughly 30 minutes to release the juices, then dissolve the sugar into the mixture and strain.


This episode tells the story of Bynum, a former North Carolina mill town reinvented as a lively and welcoming artists’ colony. Residents Martha Collins, Ron Hatley, and Ted Williams tell stories about growing up in Bynum when the mill was still in operation. They discuss the conditions for millworkers and today’s environmental activism. They share their pride in Bynum Front Porch, a vibrant community hub and performance venue. “Artists are artists, so they’re a little eclectic to begin with. All of Bynum is eclectic if you look at it,” Ron Hatley says. “We’re living in a little bubble of happiness.”

This second episode of the season tells the story of the tobacco industry in Fuquay-Varina, a now booming suburb south of Raleigh. This story is told through the lenses of Morgan Johnson, a former intern at the State Archives and Fuquay native, and Fred Wagstaff, a 94-year-old from Fuquay who worked in the local tobacco fields and markets his whole life. An oral history interview conducted with Wagstaff recounts the entire history of the leaf that made Fuquay a "busy, bustling town," from his relatives who moved to the area in the early 1900s to escape the notorious Granville Wilt tobacco disease, to his own time as a ticket marker in the town's tobacco markets until their closure in the 1990s and early 2000s. The history of tobacco in Fuquay is a compelling reminder of the agricultural legacy in North Carolina's rural communities and the power of telling everyday stories through oral history.

In this second part of episode one, we’ll move to the early 1970s and find a ghost haunting the halls of the Governor’s Mansion. Who reported this ghost to the public? It was none other than the sitting governor himself, Governor Bob Scott. Learn more about the supposed ghost of Governor Fowle, his haunted bed, and the responses from concerned people in North Carolina and across the world.


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