“Better Living In North Carolina: Bringing Science and Technology to the People” is the latest digital collection coming to NCSU Libraries. “Better Living” is a two-year partnership between the NCSU Libraries and the F. D. Bluford Library at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University designed to increase access and discover-ability of primary source materials from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
There will be up to 511,631 digital objects scanned and made available online which will include reports, correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, scrapbooks, and other media. This project will promote the historical resources of two universities with a proud history in agricultural innovation. To date project staff has uploaded 863 pages of the Cooperative Extension Service Annual Reports from 45 reports.
A glimpse into these annual reports, published between 1933 and 1970, gives a fascinating look into the lives of North Carolina rural farmers from this era. Radio is seen as the latest educational tool to reach the masses. Young children are encouraged to grow food and work during the second world war. Segregation is evident in the earlier bulletins as the activities of Black farmers are discussed in separate sections within the reports (which may make it easier for today’s researchers to extract information about the history of Black agricultural life in NC). One can also see the need for technological innovation through the extension. Using the 1939 annual report, for example, it is hard to believe at one time only 25 percent of rural NC farms had electricity. The photographs and text reveal the personal life of the agricultural family and role of the state college in disseminating information.
Please return to this collection often as we will upload many, many more historical images from NCSU Libraries and the F. D. Bluford Library. To see these and other extension-related resources, please visit 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.