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By: Virginia Ferris

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.  This event touched the lives of all Americans, including students here at NC State at the time.

In an oral history interview with William C. Friday, Friday describes his memories of first hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor while he was a student at NC State (known at the time as State College), and its impact on his life. William Friday graduated from State College in 1941 with a degree in Textile Manufacturing, and went on to serve as President of the University of North Carolina system from 1956-1986.

Oral history with William C. Friday

Oral history with William C. Friday

Friday’s oral history can be heard as part of the Student Leadership Initiative, along with many other interviews with former student leaders over the years.

The Technician newspaper includes other evidence of the impact of Pearl Harbor on students at NC State.  According to the student newspaper on Feb. 7, 1942, NC State student Robert Westbrook was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Westbrook, a Raleigh native, was a radio operator in a bomber.

Clipping from Feb. 1942 Technician, acknowledging the death of student Robert Westbrook in Pearl Harbor.

Clipping from Feb. 1942 Technician, acknowledging the death of student Robert Westbrook in Pearl Harbor.

Almost one year after the attack, on Dec. 4, 1942, the Technician describes a “quiet observance” planned to take place at the Memorial Bell Tower, honoring “those alumni killed at Pearl Harbor or in other war action.” As part of the ceremony, ROTC units marched to the Bell Tower and played taps, one moment of silence was observed, and no speeches were made.

Clipping from Dec. 4, 1942, Technician describing Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony.

Clipping from Dec. 4, 1942, Technician describing Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony.

More student reactions to Pearl Harbor and other military events over the years can be found in digitized issues of the Technician, available through our Rare & Unique Digital Collections.  If you are interested in exploring or learning more about these or other collections in the Special Collections Research Center, please contact us.

By: Laura Abraham

Comic books are an important part of pop culture, and with so many movie adaptations being released, they are now more than ever. Some comics can be regarded for their aesthetic and literary value, as they are diverse medium in genre and artistic style. Comics certainly can be considered archival material, and now they are a part of NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. The Douglas Ward American Comic Books Collection has been processed by the SCRC, so its contents are now open to be viewed and researched, and its collection guide can be found online.

The collection was donated by Mr. Douglas Ward, a resident of Wake County and an information technology administrator, and his gift encompasses a selection of 2,057 comic books, published between 1975 and 1999, as well as a set of trading cards and art pieces.

Popular series: Wonder Woman, Star Wars: X-Wing--The Rogue Squadron, Black Panther, Doctor Strange

The comics are from various comic book publishers, chiefly of the “Big Two,” Marvel and DC Comics, in addition to Dark Horse, Image, and other publishers and independent presses. These materials are chiefly superhero comics, but also present are dramatic works, science fiction and fantasy titles, horror comics, comedic series, literary adaptations, crime books, anthologies, movie and television tie-ins, and counterculture “alternative” comics.

A wide variety of art styles and subjects: Martha Washington Goes to War, Astro City, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor, Sin City, The Maxx, Groo

The art styles vary from: the “pop” design typical in mainstream comics; abstract works; ones inspired by classic comic strip and cartoons; highly detailed, fantasy-themed art; ones inspired by classic illustrations; and minimalist line-drawings. Some comics’ covers were designed to be eye-catching and may be holographic, iridescent, embossed, textured, or foil.

Show-and-Tell display at screening of the documentary She Makes Comics

You can browse the collection’s comics and items in its online finding aid, and if you are interested in viewing any, you can request them via this form.

If you would like to read more SCRC postings about the Ward Collection, please visit Processing Comics at Special Collections and Collection Highlights on Display at ‘Focus on Comics’ Event Series. To discover more information on Special Collections’ archival collections, please visit our Collections Guides, or browse through our Rare and Unique Digital Collections.

By: Cathy Dorin-Black

Wear Red Get Fed Homecoming event in 2004

Thanks to a recent addition, researchers can now access photographic negatives and digital images of NC State history from 1985 to 2011.  The 44 linear feet of materials expands the scope of the North Carolina State University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Communication Services Records; in its totality, the collection now provides a photographic archive of NCSU history from the 1940s to the 2010s.

The Department of Communication Services (previously the Department of Visual Aids) provided communication leadership and innovation for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to further the mission of North Carolina State University. It maintained a collection of negatives in chronological order based on faculty and staff requests.  In 2002, reflecting a switch to digital, the images are stored on CD-ROM rather than as photographic negatives.   By 2013, Communication Services was no longer a department under the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It merged with Creative Services to become one of the three units under University Communications. The other units are News Services and Web Communications.

Some negatives that were previously acquired have already been digitized and made available on our Rare and Unique Digital Collections site.  Their subjects include portraits of faculty, staff, and students, athletics, agriculture (including livestock, crops, and farm life), and Cooperative Extension activities (especially 4-H).  This latest accession contains images of campus building groundbreakings, campus events, award ceremonies, and faculty research.  Up until now, the University Archives has not had many images from this more recent time period (1980s-2010s) because it frequently takes time for records to make their way to us.  Therefore this valuable addition fills in an essential part of the visual narrative of the University.

While much of the collection has not yet been digitized, researchers are welcome to view any materials, including negatives and digital files.  Indexes do exist for locating images by topic or department.  Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information or to view the collection.

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox breaks ground on the David Clark Lab expansion, October 2003

College of Design student, hard at work in 2005

CALS Tailgate in Dorton Arena, 2003

By: James Stewart

Southern Farm Management Extension Publications, no. 5 - Inheritance Your Farm And Family

One goal of “Better Living in North Carolina” is to digitize the Cooperative Extension Service Annual Reports, print copies of which are held by NCSU Libraries Special Collections Research Center. A year into the project, nearly all of these reports have been digitized and are now available online. Project staff has shifted its focus to the publications of the Cooperative Extension, like 4-H newsletters, Home Economics bulletins, and even TV schedules for Extension programs.

Another purpose of “Better Living” is the digitization of hundreds of Cooperative Extension Annual Reports that exist only on microfilm. Right now, 467 reports from 1909 to 1917 digitized from four reels of microfilm are online. While icrofilm is still widely available at many libraries, it is an obsolete technology. Even when it is used, microfilm presents many limitations to copying and searching. Digitized microfilm images are by far easier to access and search.

Cover from a 1917 county agent report by John W. Mitchell. Digitized from microfilm.

These reports and publications are more than year by year documentation and products of the agricultural extension. They are also artifacts of the hard work of the men and women who developed the agricultural extension in its early history. The very first annual report (above) submitted by A&T agent John W. Mitchell, can now be seen. Some of the first club reports by Jane McKimmon are also online. It is now possible to research the first county agents of Mecklenburg, Chatham and Guilford Counties and then check for related information in other materials within our “Rare and Unique Special Collections“.

Photo of Campers Getting Ready to Start Camp Improvement Project. All 80 Photographs in "Better Living in NC" are from the S. B. Simmons Collection, Archives & Special Collections, North Carolina A&T State University.

The boon to today’s researchers is being able to quickly cross reference materials of multiple formats from the agricultural history of North Carolina. One can start with any item like an annual report, then narrow that search for a particular agent, county, region, or extension program, and also search for a conference brochure for names, related reports, and images within our “Rare and Unique Special Collections” and “Historical State“.  Agent John Mitchell is one of a few cases were biographical essays are also available. By focusing on these resources, “Better Living” complements the previous NCSU Libraries LSTA-funded digitization projects, “Cultivating A Revolution” and “Green and Growing.” The three work together to expose scores of resources documenting the impact of agricultural innovation in NC across the last century.

If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and text materials documenting extension history and other topics.

By: Brian Dietz

Movember in the SCRC

SCRC staff members sport their whiskers for charity and for fun!

The things SCRC staff members like the most, in order of preference, are:

1. Acquiring and appraising archival materials.
2. Processing archival materials and making them accessible to researchers.
3. Baking and eating.
4. Charitable giving.
5. Growing and admiring mustaches.

While these are activities we participate in year-round, things get pretty intense in November. (Except for #3. That’s always intense.) November is the month where they all collide for 30 fun-filled, whisker-growing, money-raising days, when several staff members grow one for Movember, to raise money for and awareness of issues related to men’s health.

In this spirit of giving, this Movember (2016), we’d like to share some moments in NC State Lipholstery.

President Alexander Q. Holladay and faculty

President Holladay and the first faculty get in on the fun early

President D. H. Hill and faculty

President D. H. Hill, surrounded mostly by bare-lips, not quite getting the support he needed

Man singing

This singer pioneers the Reverse Movember (which one of us sports this year)

Sidney Lowe and father

Two generations of Lowes proudly cover their upper lips

Man singing

The Tom Selleck Junior

Henry Kamphoefner and others

Men avert their gaze from the Kamphoefner Muzzy

Design student hard at work

Design student sporting a serious soup saver

Researcher studying pesticide residue

You need more than test tubes to hide this researcher's mouth brow

Ugly Man contest

Even Dracula wants in on the action

All in all, NC State faculty, student, and staff have been a pretty clean cut bunch. Resources related to the people and students of NC State, bared-lipped or otherwise, are available as part of the NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics.

By: Laura Abraham

The NCSU Libraries’ Focus on Comics Event Series has highlighted the cultural and academic importance of comic books, both emerging and historical. At two of the series’ events, the screening of the documentary She Makes Comics and Dr. Maggie Simon’s discussion Comics and Graphic Novels: The New Literature, the Special Collection Research Center showed off highlights of our collections related to comic books, graphic novels, and books as art objects. The featured items were selected because of their connections to comic book history and cultural context, women in comics as creators and characters, and unique approaches to graphic media.

Display at She Makes Comics screening

Display of comics at Comics and Graphic Novels: The New Literature discussion

Display at Comics and Graphic Novels: The New Literature discussion: Graphic novel God's Man: A Novel in Woodcuts, and comic collection The Pogo Party

Display of books as art objects at Comics and Graphic Novels: The New Literature discussion

Display of comics at Comics and Graphic Novels: The New Literature discussion

Display at Comics and Graphic Novels: The New Literature discussion: Book as art object Aunt Sallie's Lament, and The Wizard of Oz pop-up book

Display at She Makes Comics screening

Display at She Makes Comics screening

The displays included highlights from the Douglas Ward American Comic Books Collection, the Scott Green Collection of Comics-Related Publications, rare books such as Lynd Ward’s wordless novel God’s Man, Thomas Ockerse’s A-Z Book, and Claire Van Vliet’s Aunt Sallie’s Lament, and highlights from our collection of pop-up books. 

If you are interested in using these or any other Special Collections materials, or would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center, please contact us!

By: Virginia Ferris

Author: Lindsey Naylor
The Special Collections Research Center is organizing a show-and-tell of Landscape Architecture collections this Wednesday at the NCSU College of Design!
Special Collections Landscape Architecture Archive Show and Tell

Special Collections Landscape Architecture Archive Show and Tell

Belk Rotunda, Brooks Hall
NCSU College of Design
Wednesday, November 2

Stop by to view a sampling of highlights from our Landscape Architecture collections, including: Dick Bell’s design iterations and renderings for the Brickyard; Lewis Clarke’s studies for his 1965 downtown capital plan; and Lewis Clarke’s careful precedent studies, design iterations, and funky renderings for the Fayetteville Street Mall. Other materials on display will include correspondence between faculty member  Gil Thurlow and other leaders in Landscape Architecture such as Garrett Eckbo and Roberto Burle Marx; Bill Flournoy’s master’s thesis; modernist design at the Tallywood shopping center in Fayetteville; and recently acquired, detailed 1930s residential planting plans from High Point landscape architect R. D. Tillson.  The show and tell is free and open to the public.  We hope to see you there!

By: Gwynn Thayer

Dorton Arena Construction

Mies van der Rohe and others at the construction site of Dorton Arena

Thanks to a recent donation from Fayetteville architect and NC State graduate Dan MacMillan, Special Collections now has 73 new photographs of the Dorton Arena that were taken during its construction, circa 1951. During the time in which these photographs were taken, Dan MacMillan worked as a project engineer for Muirhead Construction on Raleigh’s Dorton Arena. The photographs that he donated include snapshots of famous visitors to the construction site such as Mies van der Rohe. Also included are photographs of some of the laborers who worked on the site.

Dorton Arena Construction

Dorton Arena workmen atop riveted scaffolding

These materials are all a part of a new collection donated by Dan MacMillan, the MacMillan and MacMillan Architectural Papers. They include original drawings of important modernist architectural projects in Fayetteville.

Dan MacMillan and his brother, Frank MacMillan, founded Dan MacMillan Architect and Associates in Fayetteville in 1952. They renamed the firm MacMillan and MacMillan after Frank received his license. They were joined for several years by Mason Hicks (MacMillan, Hicks, and MacMillan) before Hicks left in 1960 to found his own firm. From 1968-1970, the MacMillans joined with Shawcroft and Thames to form MacMillan, MacMillan, Shawcroft and Thames. After the foursome split, Dan and Frank continued as a duo until Frank’s death in 1991. At this time, Dan MacMillan sold the business to George Ellinwood. He worked for a few more years before retiring and returning to Fayetteville.

Dorton Arena Construction

Dorton Arena's steel latticework during its construction

MacMillan collaborated in several instances with landscape architect Richard C. “Dick” Bell. Among their most well-known collaborations were the Charles E. Kistler-Dell Hollstein House in Fayetteville, NC, which was destroyed in 2005, and the William S. and Mary Jane Ward Residence, a U-shaped home in Raleigh, NC, built on 3.4 acres over a stream.

For more information about Special Collections, please contact us here.

Oct 24 2016

Web Archiving Update

By: Todd Stoffer

NC State University Websites Collection

We are pleased to announce that the first phase of our web archiving project is now in full swing. Earlier this month we completed the quality assurance checks for 140 new seed URLs in our NC State University Websites collection, which will now be crawled on a recurring basis. We are now crawling 190 university websites on a recurring basis. This includes the websites of campus-wide administrative units, each of the 12 colleges, and the vast majority of departmental websites. We have captured 484 gigabytes worth of data in just the past 12 months. This collection is set to be crawled at regular intervals throughout the year, so we will continue to capture updated websites as changes are made to campus websites. You can explore the entire collection by visiting The chart below shows the growth we have experienced over the past year of collecting. We are projecting that by the end of this collecting cycle we will have preserved over 700GB of website data, the majority of which is contained in our NC State University Websites Collection.

Documenting the Process

Web Archiving is still a relatively new area of practice for libraries and archives. There are not nearly enough resources that document the process of starting to build a new web archive. It is a complex task both from a technical standpoint as well as from an organizational policy standpoint. Developing internal standards and best practices ensures that the web archive can be maintained long-term. We have been working on these standards and practices for over a year now, and decided it was time to formally document them. For us, the best option for documentation was to create a website that outlined different processes that we have in place, from seed selection and scoping to quality assurance and collecting guidelines. We have also made the decision to make that documentation openly available online. You can view it at We hope that this documentation is helpful for other organizations that might be starting new web archives, by adding transparency to a process that is often only internally documented.

By: Laura Abraham

We are less than three weeks from Election Day, November 8th, and early voting will start this Thursday, October 20th. We hope you that those of you who can vote have made your plans, as we decide who will hold local offices, state offices, and this year, who will be our Commander in Chief.

A number of American presidents have visited NC State and near its campus, and the Special Collections Research Center’s Rare and Unique Digital Collections holds images from these events. Please enjoy these glimpses into the past!

President Harry S. Truman with Governor R. Gregg Cherry at NC State Fair, 1948.

President Theodore Roosevelt in Raleigh, 1910. He's wearing a top hat and is in the very center of the festoons.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Chancellor John William Harrelson at Farm and Home Week, 1947. Eisenhower was the Chief of Staff of the Army at the time.

Candidate John F. Kennedy addressing an estimated crowd of 8,000 at Reynolds Coliseum, 1960.

President Lyndon B. Johnson arriving for Democratic campaign rally held in Reynolds Coliseum, 1964

President Jimmy Carter at the 1991 Emerging Issues Forum.

President Ronald Reagan posing with Mr. and Mrs. Wuf, 1985.

President George Bush with Drs. Zhi-Yu Yang and Jan Schetzina in Physics Labs, 1990.

Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, with North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt on a panel at the 1988 Emerging Issues Forum.

Candidate Barack Obama speaking at rally at Reynolds Coliseum

Candidate Barack Obama speaking at rally at Reynolds Coliseum, 2008.

Be sure to vote on Tuesday November 8, or take advantage of early voting October 20-November 5. You can find voting information at Wake County Board of Elections’ website, or for Durham County and Orange County.

You can find more archival materials related to American presidents here. If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit the Rare and Unique Digital Collections for access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics.