Our State Now Digitized
A rich resource of North Carolina history and culture is now easily accessible online. The State Library of North Carolina has recently completed a collaborative digitization project with Our State Magazine, Digital NC, and additional partners. Staff scanned over 102,000 pages of a comprehensive set of issues from 1933 – 2011. (Our State’s website includes archived issues from the present through 2009.) Not only is the site searchable by key word and subject, but it also has a convenient “page flip view” feature, which allows viewers to peruse any issue, page by page, and pause for more in-depth reading with a click. Browse through and land upon topics that interest you or have potential to engage your community.
June 1933 marked the first issue of The State, which began as a weekly news magazine and evolved into the monthly features publication Our State is today. That first issue referred to local particulars of significant national pressures such as the Depression (1933 was the most intense year) and the end of Prohibition. Interestingly, The State’s coverage indicated that community leaders were relieved the repeal had not increased public drunkenness or crime, but that some business owners were disappointed that beer sales had not yet boosted the economy.
The State provided a forum to discuss and promote North Carolina businesses. The 1933 inaugural issue included an advertisement for Chatham Blankets (right), a product of the woolen mill which was once the primary employer in Elkin, NC. It’s laudable that the Chatham Manufacturing Company supported the new Raleigh-based publication with an advertisement touting the industry’s role in sheep raising in the NC mountain region. Meanwhile, the company produced large, colorful advertisements for national audiences in prominent magazines like Good Housekeeping and Life (as in this 1947 example on right). The current issue of Our State brings the subject of Elkin’s renowned factory full circle by profiling a town pharmacist and local historian, whose grandparents worked at the mill and who now collects Chatham blankets and other local memorabilia.
What 20th-century topics are relevant to your community’s history? If you work with an NC institution, there’s sure to be some useful text and imagery in this treasure trove. So–ready, get set, GO explore Our State!