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AMST 276: Food and American Studies: Primary Sources


postcardThis list of primary resources include materials from UNC-Chapel Hill's Wilson Special Collections Library. The scope of the list is North Carolina foodways.


The majority of newspapers housed in Wilson Special Collections Library can be accessed on microfilm, but many are also accessible online and via electronic databases. This is a subscription service available to users affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill and to patrons in the library buildings. UNC provides access to digitized North Carolina newspapers and is full-text searchable. Most of the digitized newspaper issues date from the late 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. Later issues can be accessed on microfilm. Digitized editions of the UNC student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, are available from 1893 through 1992.

Chronicling America: This Library of Congress project provides free access to historic American newspapers. Wilson Special Collections Library has contributed North Carolina newspapers to the collection. Go to Advanced Search to limit by state, date range, ethnicity, etc.

DigitalNC: This site contains a wealth of useful resources from across North Carolina including community newspapers, student newspapers, and yearbooks. Black Ink, the newspaper of the Black Student Movement at UNC, is available here.

America's News: This is a subscription service available to users affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill and to patrons in the library buildings. Includes the complete electronic editions of more than 1,500 U.S. news sources and news video clips, covering local and regional news, including community events, schools, politics, government policies, cultural activities, local companies, state industries, and people in the community. America's News provides access to historical issues of the Greensboro News & Record, the Raleigh News and Observer, and the Charlotte Observer.

African American Newspapers: This guide lists African American newspapers published in North Carolina Collection, the majority of which are also held in Wilson Special Collections Library.

North Carolina Periodicals Index: This resource, developed by East Carolina University, provides access to citations for articles in regional publications. The indexed materials are part of ECU's holdings, but can also be sought out at other libraries, including Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill. For example, try a subject search such as "African Americans."

Documenting the American South

Documenting the American South is a collection of digitized material related to the study of the American South. Books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs have been included. Contributing institutions include UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. The site is freely accessible from off campus as well as on site. Users can search the entire site via full-text searching by the Subject search, or via the list of Collections.

Southern Oral History Program

The Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) is an effort to collect the many voices that have contributed to southern history. Over 5,000 people have been interviewed by faculty and students at UNC. The interview database can be accessed online. Many of the interviews can be found online while those that are not can be accessed at Wilson Special Collections Library.

You can search this resource in three ways:

  1. The interview collection is connected to the UNC Library catalog. Searching for certain subject headings or keywords may bring interviews into your search results alongside books and other materials.
  2. The SOHP interview database can be searched by keyword or browsed by interviewee, interviewer, interviewee occupation, interviewee ethnicity, and project name. The "browse by ethnicity" option may be particularly useful. 
  3. You can also search the SOHP finding aid which provides an organized list of the collection's contents. You can easily search the finding aid using CTRL+F or simply browse through its contents.

Note particular Projects such as University of North Carolina Foodworkers' Strikes and Carolina Cooks, Carolina Eats

Maps and Photographs

North Carolina Maps: North Carolina Maps is a comprehensive, online collection of historic maps of the Tar Heel State. Featuring maps from three of the state's largest map collections -- the North Carolina State Archives, the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Outer Banks History Center -- North Carolina Maps provides an unprecedented level of access to these materials. North Carolina Maps contains more than 3,000 maps, ranging in date from the late 1500s to 2000, and including detailed maps for each of North Carolina's one hundred counties. Here are the digitized maps of Orange County, NC.

North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives (NCCPA): The photographs are historically descriptive and documentary in nature. They provide a visual record of North Carolina’s people, places, and events. Images exist for all 100 of the state’s counties.  The photographic archives is also the major repository for historical images documenting the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The NCCPA has developed a digitization program specifically designed to provide researchers access to NCCPA materials that have been digitized in recent months and years. This new feature is now available with finding aids for selected collections in the NCCPA. Clicking on a collection name will take you to that collection's finding aid (a descriptive guide to the collection's contents). Material can also be searched via keyword.

North Carolina Postcards: The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives holds more than 12,000 North Carolina postcards contained primarily in two collections: the North Carolina Postcard Collection and the Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards. This digital project contains a selection of materials from the North Carolina Collection's postcard collections, including at least one image for each of North Carolina's one hundred counties.

This collection can be browsed by location as well as by keyword.

Digital Collections and Materials from Wilson Special Collections Library

Internet Archive - a wide variety of print materials from Wilson Special Collections is offered here (search by keyword)

The Internet Archive can also be searched by keyword to explore their full holdings, contributed by a variety of entities. For example, here is a search for "cookbook."

Carolina Keepsakes - The North Carolina Collection Gallery in Wilson Library serves as the central repository for the artifacts that tell the story of UNC. From that eighteenth-century cornerstone plate to the music festival buttons of the 1970s, these “Carolina Keepsakes” represent the history of the University in three dimensions.

Carolina Yearbooks - The Hellenian (1890-1900) and the Yackety Yack (1901 – digitized through 1991) - at

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s University Record from 1900 to 1940 - digitized at

Carolina Alumni Review published by the General Alumni Association. Print copies at Wilson Library, online issues browsable via the GAA website.

Cookbooks available online via UNC Libraries. Cookbooks in the North Carolina Collection that are digitized.

Family Papers and Archival Collections at Wilson Library

Alfred M. Waddell Papers, 1768-1935 (bulk 1875-1900) recipe book by Gabrielle DeRosset, circa 1890

Cameron Family Papers, 1757-1978

"An Account of Household Expenses Commencing January 1802." Primarily a record of expenses for food supplies including fruit, eggs, butter, and meat. 25 pages.

Henry C. Lay Papers, 1842-1929 recipe book of Eliza Atkinson Lay, circa 1915

Collections that may not have digitized material:

Wilson Special Collections Library

The Wilson Special Collections Library is home to the University of North Carolina's North Carolina Collection, Rare Book Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Southern Historical Collection, and University Archives and Records Management Services. The five special collections hold unique and rare books, organizational records, personal and family papers, photographs, moving images, sound recordings, and artifacts that document the history and culture of the University, the state, the region, the nation, and the world. The Wilson Special Collections Library is open to the public.

Registering to Use Material

Collection materials may only be used in our secure reading room - a part of the North Carolina Collection does include circulating books that can leave the building. To access Wilson Special Collections Library’s collections, all researchers must register and create a research account.

To begin the registration process, please select an option below:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University students, faculty, and staff may register by logging in with a valid UNC Onyen or Duke NetID.
  • All other researchers may register by creating a username and password here.

If you are not affiliated with either UNC-Chapel Hill or Duke University, be sure to write down your username and password, as this information will be required each time you make a request for special collections material.

The first time you visit Wilson Library after completing your online pre-registration and creating a Request System account, you will need to complete the registration process by showing a staff member a government issued photo ID containing (1) your name, (2) your date of birth, and (3) an expiration date, and having your picture taken with our digital camera for inclusion in our database.

Requesting Materials for Use

If you are coming to our secure reading room to view a book or other item described in the online catalog, select the Request button on the right-hand side of the catalog record. Library staff will retrieve the requested materials for you to view once you have arrived on site. If you have not yet created a researcher account, selecting this button will prompt you to create one.

Request button location

Similarly, if you are coming to view material described in an online finding aid, select the "Request this Collection" link towards the upper left-hand corner of the finding aid.

Request this Collection button

Once you have selected the Request button, you will be directed to our Special Collections Library Request System. If you have not already registered, select your affiliation and continue with the registration process. If you have already registered, sign in to your account using your Onyen, NetID, or username and password.

After you have signed in, you will be presented with a page containing information about your request. In those instances when you are interested in viewing a portion of a collection or a specific volume from a series, you will need to narrow your request:

  • For archival materials:

Enter container numbers

  • For books and other printed materials:

Enter volume or copy

To finalize your request, you need to schedule a date and submit your request:

Schedule options

The materials that you have requested can be viewed in Wilson Special Collections Library’s secure reading room on the second floor. If you have any questions or concerns about the materials you have requested, please email our research staff at

Almanacs and Agricultural Publications

Alamanacs from Wilson Special Collections digitized at the Internet Archive

Online almanacs in the North Carolina Collection, Wilson Special Collections Library

Online southern agricultural magazines, journals, and other periodicals in the library system

Material at Other Repositories - digitized

Digital Heritage Center **Please note that you can browse by COUNTY

Material contributed by the Chapel Hill Historical Society

Material contributed by the Orange County History Museum

North Carolina Digital Collections from the State Archives and State Library of North Carolina

H. Lee Waters silent films, 1939 and 1941, at Duke University, Rubenstein Special Collections Library

Authors and Creators of Note

North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service - online material

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - online material