Monday, October 20, 2014

2014-2015 Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection Special Grants Winners

The Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection is pleased to announce the following winners of our 2014-2015 Mini-Grants Competition:

Tanner Capps, St. Andrews University (Laurinburg, NC)
“Faith and Social Action: Developing the Religious Studies Senior Seminar at St. Andrews University”

Duke Research Group in American Religious History, Duke University (Durham, NC)
  Jamie L. Brummitt, “Christianity and Evangelicalism During the Civil War”
Andrew Coates, “Dispensationalism in North Carolina”
Aaron Griffith, “Authorities Could Shut Up His Body in Prison, But They Could Not Imprison
            His Spirit’: North Carolina Methodist Prison Ministry and Metaphor
         Matthew Scott Hoehn, “Protestant or Baptist/Methodist/ Presbyterian? The Tension Between
             Pan-Protestantism and Denominational Distinctives Felt by North Carolina Religious
             Groups between 1861 and 1910”
Sonia Hazard, “Democratization's Burden: Class, Colportage, and the Materiality of Print”
Jacquelynn Price-Linnartz, “Seeing is Believing: The Religious Imagination of Historical
             North Carolina"
Amy Whisenand, “Songs of Peace and War in the Midst of War”

Susan A. Joyce, Antioch Baptist Church (Enfield, NC)
“The History of Antioch Baptist Church”

Judy Jones, Exago Institute (Charlotte, NC)
“The Evolution of Arts and Culture in Religious Institutions of NC”

Eric Meckley, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
“Our ‘Special Work’ – Education, Uplift, and African American Cultural Memory at the End of the 19th Century”

Daniel Woods, International Pentecostal Holiness Church (Falcon, NC)
“Spiritual Railroading’: Trains as Metaphor and Reality in the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements, c. 1880 to c. 1920”

We are also delighted to award the following Project Collaboration Grants for the coming year:

Jill Crainshaw, Wake Forest University Divinity School (Winston-Salem, NC)
“From Living Water to Running Water: A History of Baptistery Art and Craft in North Carolina”

Chaitra M. Powell, Southern Historical Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
“Following the Documentary Trail: Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the African American Experience in North Carolina”

Congratulations to all of our grant winners, who will spend the coming year engaging in research that uses resources contained in the Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection.  More information about the collection is available a  This project is made possible through funding from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of NC, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Community Education 

Friday, August 29, 2014

No time to waste!

Just over two weeks left to submit an application for a $500-$1000 Religion in NC Mini-Grant!

Read more about the competition and download and application at

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014–2015 Mini-Grants Competition: Applications Available Now!

Mini-Grants for Research Using "Religion in NC"

The Duke Divinity School Library is pleased to announce a special funding opportunity for researchers. A limited number of mini-grants ($500–$1000) will be awarded on a competitive basis to support original projects utilizing The Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection (

Applicants are invited to propose creative uses for the collection. Possibilities for successful applications include academic essays, school lesson plans, institutional histories, cultural documentaries, multimedia teaching resources, or courses for community education. Researchers of all levels are encouraged to apply.

Application deadline: September 15, 2014

For more information and to download an application, visit

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Julibee: Temple Emanuel's Fiftieth Anniversary- 1932-1982

This book highlights the commemoration of Temple Emanuel's Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration (1932-1982) and Confirmation Service which took place on Friday, May 28th, 1982 in Winston-Salem, NC. It gives us a view into some of the important celebrations and religious practices within Jewish life. This text makes a note that the Torah designates every fiftieth year as the year of Jubilee. The celebration was not only given to showcase the efforts and contributions of the Temple and it's staff to the community, but to remind us of the joy we can find in remembering the Sabbath Holy day. Whether you celebrate this day on Saturday, as is Jewish custom, or another day, it's a good reminder to stop and take time in our lives to rest, reflect, and be present with God and one another. The Sabbath as highlighted by Temple Emanuel in this celebration is a reminder that "God is with us." It is an ever-present reminder of the things that can bring us wholeness and joy in an overproduced and hyper-mobilized world. The Temple's celebration gives us a glimpse into what sustains the human spirit and the things that are important in life. Their anniversary was a reflection on the past fifty years of dedication, hard-work, and service to God, to oneself, and to their community.

Furthermore, this text reflects on the relevance of Temple life within the Jewish Faith and Reformed Judaism as a connection point for the people within their community. This is where the life and work of faith, service, education, and spiritual growth is developed and sustained. The history of Jewish presence in Winston-Salem is recorded and its beginning story, which dates back to the early 1880's. It lists the names of all the prior Temple Emanuel President's as well as members of their Sisterhood Charter in 1949. The women of Temple Emanuel and their hard work are uplifted as a central component to the congregation's growth and success. These women have contributed to teaching in Sunday School, preparing Shabbat dinners, participating in services and many other tasks. Letters from local/national government officials and community members have been included to show their appreciation and congratulations to the Temple. Photo's of Temple life and members are also included. 

We hope you enjoy this piece of history and continue to utilize our Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection for more interesting finds, documents on Jewish life and other important artifacts.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Month(s) in Review: Focus on Outreach

It's time (past due) for a update on recent happenings at Religion in NC.  Our focus in this post is on outreach for the project.

Welcome, Monique!

Religion in NC is pleased to welcome Monique Swaby as a graduate assistant working with research and outreach at Wake Forest this summer.  Monique is a graduate of Smith College and the University of Vermont, and is working on her Master of Divinity at the Wake Forest School of Divinity.  Her work will include producing materials to highlight items in the collection, as well as offering presentations on Religion in NC and its uses to groups at WFU and its neighboring community. Welcome, Monique!

Pentecostal Holiness Resources

On May 10, Project Coordinator Elizabeth DeBold attended the Archives Training Day sponsored by the NC Conference of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Falcon, NC.  Visiting different groups across the state allows project staff to examine new and interesting materials for possible inclusion in the collection.  This is important for increasing the diversity of our resources and foster a wides appeal to a broad range of researchers. Stay tuned for updates featuring some of the individual sources being added to the collection daily.

Conferences and Presentations

In April, Doctoral Fellow Ken Woo presented on Religion in NC at the annual conference of the Society of North Carolina Archivists in Raleigh.  Among the questions from the audience were several concerning our plans to maximize social media for promoting the collection.  Be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter (@ReligionNC), where we will provide regular updates on the project and features on the collection's holdings.

Better yet, connect with us in person! Here is a selective list of upcoming presentations by project staff:

June 18-21, 2014  American Theological Libraries Association Annual Conference (New Orleans, LA)
June 26, 2014  Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries Annual Preconference (Las Vegas, NV)
October 22, 2014 Chatham Community Library (Pittsboro, NC)
December 11, 2014 Durham County Library - Main Library (Durham, NC)
November 22-25, 2014 American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting (San Diego, CA)
March 15, 2015 World Methodist Museum (Lake Junaluska, NC)

There are several presentations in the planning stages at any given time, so this list is constantly changing.  Look for updates on programming here, as well as project staff reports "from the field."  If you have questions about specific presentations or would like to schedule one for your group, please contact Ken.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Le Flambeau

One of the pleasures of evaluating items for scanning is the opportunity to examine some truly fascinating items. Le Flambeau is particularly memorable, not just because of the unexpected burlap cover, but due to the contents themselves.

UNC only possesses the 1917 edition of Le Flambeau, the yearbook of St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines in Asheville, NC. Founded by nuns of the Religious of Christian Education in 1908, St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines would continue until 1971, and its lineage is preserved by the Carolina Day School. Among its alumnae is the author Gail Godwin.

According to the forward, the 1917 edition of Le Flambeau was the school's first yearbook, and was thus somewhat experimental in nature. This volume contains a variety of photographs and illustrations, as well as compositions in both English and French. These items provide a wealth of information about both the students and their daily lives.

The list of superlatives (called "statistics") provide interesting examples of which traits the students considered noteworthy: not only were there separate categories for "The Prettiest Blonde" and "The Prettiest Brunette", but there were also categories for "The Best Athlete" and "The Frenchiest." The student compositions include short stories, poems, histories of the school as a whole and of the 1917 school year, as well as a parody of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

But perhaps the most important aspect of Le Flambeau for this blog post is its reminder that these objects are not just representations of history, but physical objects with histories of their own. In order to defray costs, Le Flambeau included paid advertising. Apparently this advertising was successful in at least one case, because UNC's copy of the 1917 edition of Le Flambeau has had numerous advertisements cut out by an unknown person. See the image below as one example:

Le Flambeau is hardly the only case where an item that we intended to scan for the project is missing material. Materials in our libraries' collections come in a wide variety of conditions. In addition to pictures, articles, or even entire pages being cut out, more mundane problems, such as holes, water, or other damage, can destroy text or otherwise render it illegible.  In those cases, we have several options. If we have access to additional copies of an item, we can attempt to find a more complete version to scan. In at least one case, we found two copies, each missing different pages, and used sections from both so that one could supplement the other to make a complete copy. But sometimes, as with the 1917 edition of Le Flambeau, we have no choice but to digitize what we have. Items such as these are too interesting and useful to ignore just because of a few imperfections. To browse other items we have digitized, visit the Religion in North Carolina project at the Internet archives.

Neufeld, R. (2008, September 23). St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines' centennial stirs up school spirit.  Asheville Citizen-Times

Monday, March 31, 2014

Vintage Advertisements from the North Carolina Baptist Almanac

Many of the items we digitize for the Religion in North Carolina Project feature advertisements for various goods and services. These can be valuable not only for what they tell about local merchants and markets, but as insight into ordinary life for the consumers of these products. They also provide interesting contrasts with modern newspaper advertisements, demonstrating how marketing has evolved.
Consider the North Carolina Baptist Almanac. We have digitized several volumes of this serial, and aim to digitize more. The almanacs themselves have a wide variety of useful information, such as complete lists of ordained Baptist ministers in North Carolina for each year, brief descriptions of Baptist theology, lists of North Carolina government officials with their salaries and weather predictions. This post, however, will focus on the advertisements.

Consider the above 1900 advertisement for the Rock Hill Buggy Co., complete with a lengthy testimonial in which one of their buggies survived being flipped over and dragged for miles by a frightened horse. The advertisement also stresses the convenient price ("only a dollar or so more than the cheap ones"), as an argument against "taking the risk" of buying from one of their competitors.
Alternatively, consider this 1882 advertisement from the Upshur Guano Company, promoting their various lines of imported fertilizers. Stressing their size ("a large and extensive factory") and reputation ("very many testimonials from our agents and customers"), the Upshur Guano Company individually lists their various brands and the ingredients and sources involved. Those seeking additional information about the company (including a "Fac Simile [sic] of the medal and awards of the judges" from the four gold medals that their products recently won) were encouraged to write.
Finally, consider the above 1883 advertisement for Beckwith's Anti-Dyspeptic Pills, endorsed by the late Senator George E. Badger, among others. The manufacturers (using "the original receipt of Dr. John Beckwith") stress the long history of their product ("for sixty years and lost no reputation"), and rely heavily on testimonials. The advertisement includes no list of ingredients for this pill, which promises to be a"cure of dyspepsia and to prevent bilious attacks."

These are just some of the many 19th century products advertised in the North Carolina Baptist Almanac. This post barely scratches the surface of the variety of products and designs. To see more, visit the following links for the 1882-1897 and 1900 volumes, respectively. Or, look at some of the other items in our Newsletters, Newspapers and Serial Publications section.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Serials and the Importance of Bib Numbers

Serials, more so than many other types of items, can be tricky to control. And that's putting it mildly. Take, for example, the case of the Seven Mile Primitive Baptist Association Minutes --

Recently, UNC has started to prepare minutes from the Seven Mile Primitive Baptist Association. Around the early 1950s, the group split into two organizations, however several years of both groups' minutes were bound together in the same physical volumes. There are three separate catalog records that correlate to this serial. Prior to digitization this decision was not a problem, but for the project, this physical constraint creates an intellectual limitation as well.

Often most of the materials are scanned in full. Sometimes though, the project only wants to include part of the item, for instance if the last several pages are blank, or if the volume in question contains several different items bound together. When assembling the monthly cart, the UNC student worker indicates this choice to the Digital Production Center (where the items are scanned, or digitized) simply by placing strips of paper representing where the Scribe operator should start and stop the scanning.

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The student worker also makes a note in a CSV file that is sent to the Digital Production Center. That file contains all the necessary metadata for a given month's pick list of items. Metadata for this project includes title, volume number, date of publication, call number, sub-collection, bib number, copyright status, the URL license, and of course, any notes explaining how the item should be scanned.

A bib number is a seven-digit number preceded by UNCb- that serves as a unique identifier for items in the UNC Libraries system. Take a look at the URL of any catalog record and you'll see the bib number at the end of the address. You can search the UNC Libraries catalog by removing the "UNC" (ex: "UNCb6251324" becomes "b6251324") and typing the number into the either the main search bar on the UNC Libraries' home page or the Keywords search bar under Advanced Search. That bib number is important for the project's materials from UNC. Every item in the NC Religion Digital Collection has an Internet Archive entry, that entry contains the item's bib number, which links it back to the home library's catalog. Basically, for UNC, bib number equals catalog record. Duke and Wake Forest use similar identifiers for their materials, also called bib numbers.

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The bib numbers are indicated by the red boxes. The blue box shows the OCLC number, another unique number related to WorldCat that uses the same principles explained above.

In the case of the Seven Mile Primitive Baptist Associations, the idea of the bib number/catalog record is complicated because the two groups' minutes are bound together so that they are interspersed evenly (e.g., the two sets of minutes from, say, 1960, are placed one after the other) rather than divided to represent the two distinct groups. If the latter was true, then perhaps the project could have worked around the item's physical container by asking the Scribe operator to scan the first half as one Internet Archive entry and the second half as another Internet Archive entry.

That solution would be much neater. Each Internet Archive entry would contain the correct bib number and match its appropriate catalog record. Because of the physical arrangement of the volumes, the material must be scanned as it is. This is good in the sense that online users will see the item as it truly exists. But it is problematic as each Internet Archive entry can be assigned to a single bib number, and therefore single catalog record.

For the Seven Mile Primitive Baptist Association Minutes, that means that not only does the project have to scan the two groups' minutes together, it must also select one of two viable bib numbers: b6251324 and b6251334. How then can we convey that there are two distinct records of these two separate sets of minutes? With a digital collection, those of us involved in the project can't reach out and explain the materials to the users.

So what did we decide to do?

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Well, unfortunately, not every problem has a perfect answer. Ultimately, we looked at both catalog records and decided upon the one that provided the most information in terms of completeness and helpfulness with the hope that users interested in these materials would be able to discover the second catalog record, either by looking at the digitized item itself and/or by consulting the information available in the selected catalog record.

The third record, mentioned at the beginning of this post, is associated with a single set of minutes that is luckily unbound. The minutes from that year will be scanned separately and linked to its individual catalog record. UNC discovered additional sets of unbound minutes, which can be more freely assigned to the correct bib number.

One of our goals with this project, and as librarians in general, is to steer users in the correct direction of the information they are searching for. At times, that is easier said than done. When conflicts like this Seven Mile Primitive Baptist Association example arise, we do what we can to best outline the path to the materials. Digital collections, less directly mediated by librarians, provide new challenges. The concern is not always how to get the information into the hands of those who want it, but how to contextualize it.