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Exploring North Carolina: History of Libraries, Archives, Museums and Special Collections

Photograph of the Durham County Public Library, 1900. A small wooden building with a porch and chimney. It is white.North Carolina has a long history in the development of libraries, archives and special historical and museum collections and in raising many notable individuals who influenced education and historical collecting in their roles as librarians, archivists, and curators, including R.D.W. Connor who became the first Archivist of the United States in 1934.

This collection brings together some of the most notable moments and influencers in the history of libraries, archives, museums and special collections in North Carolina.

NCpedia articles about influential and notable librarians, archivists and curators

Helen Marjorie Beal (member of the Library Commission, led expansion of county service)
Joseph Penn Breedlove (2nd full-time librarian of Trinity College)
Carrie Broughton (library leader and 4th State Librarian)
Herbert Hutchinson Brimley (1st curator, then director, of the State Musueum, now the Museum of Natural Sciences
R.D.W. Connor (1st Archivist of the United States)
Charles Christopher Crittenden (Secretary of the NC Historical Commission)
David Leroy Corbitt (Head of Publications of the NC Historical Commission)
Adelaide Lisetta Fries (Archivist of the Moravian church and genealogist)
Lillian Baker Griggs (pioneering professionally trained librarian and leader in expanding rural service in Durham Co.)
Marshall De Lancey Haywood (historian, author, NC Supreme Court Librarian)
Robert Lee Humber (Chairman of the State Art Commission, led effort to found the NCMA)
Nellie Rowe Jones (early Guilford Co. library leader, expanded rural and bookmobile service)
Henry Mauger London (NC Legislative Librarian, drafted more than 5,000 bills)
Albert Ray Newsome (Secretary of the NC Historical Commission)
William Hayes Owen (early UNC University Librarian)
Myrtle Peele: book dreams (Book mobile librarian)
Annie Florence Petty (1st professionally trained librarian in NC, leader in library development)
William S. Powell (public historian and librarian who expanded UNCs NC Collection)
James Fauntleroy Taylor (1st person to manage the State Library full-time)
Mary Lyndsay Thornton (1st librarian of the NC Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill)
Margaret Ridley Long Tyler (Bertie Co. Public Schools librarian and preservationist)
William Valentiner (1st Director of the NC Museum of Art)
Charles Whedbee (led effort for 1941 Public Library Service Fund)
Louis Round Wilson (leader in professional education for librarians; founder of the NCLA)
Benjamin Wyche (1st full-time trained librarian at UNC-Chapel Hill)
Charles Whitson Stanford, Jr. (Director of the NC Museum of History, developed gallery for the blind)

NCpedia articles about libraries, archives, museums and special collections

Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library
Carnegie Libraries
Historical Collections
Indian Museum of the Carolinas
Levine Museum of the New South
Museum of Early Southern Decorative Art
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA)
State Art Society (precursor to the Museum of Art)
North Carolina Museum of History
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
North Carolina Office of Archives and History
North Carolina Transportation Museum
Public Libraries
Southern Folklife Collection
State Library of North Carolina: People, Places, Milestones (includes list of State Librarians)
State Library of North Carolina

Explore North Carolina's library and archives special collections online

Public Library Collections Online

Digital Forsyth, Forsyth County Public Library
New Hanover County Public Library Digital Archives
Pack Memorial Library North Carolina Room, Buncombe County
Public Library Digital Collections, NC Digital Heritage Center
Robinson-Spanger Carolina Room, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library

North Carolina Library History Collection Online

Library History Collection, North Carolina Digital Collections

University Library Collections Online

Appalachian State University Library Digital Collections
Duke University Libraries Digital Collections
East Carolina University Digital Collections
North Carolina A&T State University Digtial Collections
North Carolina Postcards, North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill
NC State University Libraries Digital Collections & Publications
UNC-Greensboro Digital Collections
UNC-Charlotte J. Murrey Atkins Library Digital Collections
UNC Wilmington Randall Library Digital Collections
Wilson Library Special Collections, Digital Collections, UNC-Chapel Hill

Special Libraries, Archives, Museums and Historical Collections Online

Bienenstock Furniture Library, High Pointe, North Carolina
Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
North Carolina Digital Collections, State Library and State Archives
North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (local history, public library, newspapers, and historical collections)
North Carolina Museum of History Collections

Image Credits:

Durham County Public Library. Photgraph. ca. 1900. Durham Historic Photographic Archives, Durham County Library.