Eighty years after its founding in January 1930, the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillís Wilson Special Collections Library is inaugurating a program to digitize large segments of the collections.
The Digital Southern Historical Collection debuted Jan. 8 with thirty-five collections digitized in their entirety, plus two more that have been partially digitized.
The 8,627 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries. Visitors to the Digital Southern Historical Collection can view items that include:
+ Nineteenth-century diaries of plantation mistresses in Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina;
+ Photographs of the 1927 Mississippi River flood, one of the most destructive in the nationís history;
+ The diary of Karen Parker, the first African American woman to attend UNC and a participant in civil rights protests of the 1960s; and
+ The visitor book from a United Service Organizations club in Jacksonville, N.C., for African American Marines during World War II.
All items are drawn from the stacks of the Southern Historical Collection (SHC). Its nearly16 million items make it one of the countryís largest centers for primary source documents about the region, said Tim West, the collectionís curator.