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Three photos from the Conservation and Development collection


Project Overview

The initial pilot project contains 1130 images from the North Carolina Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division Photo Files pertaining to six popular topics: cotton, Cherokee Indians, galax, jugtown pottery, Plott hounds and textiles. More images surrounding other topics will be added over time, and user input is desired so that this project can grow according to the needs of the public.


Collection Background

One of the most popular iconographic collections at the State Archives of North Carolina is the series of photos and negatives produced between 1929 and 1970 by the Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division. Photographers working for or contracting with Travel and Tourism documented interesting events, people, cities, towns, industries, and agriculture across the state. They also captured the state's rich natural beauty and cultural heritage in their photographs of environmental features, cultural events, and festivals.

Originally used in advertising campaigns to market the state as a travel destination (North Carolina was known as "Variety Vacationland") and a business-friendly environment, today the photographs and negatives are popular as a rich and unique resource detailing the state's history and mainstays of agriculture and manufacturing, particularly between 1938 and 1949, the period covered by the bulk of the collection.

Accessioned by the North Carolina State Archives in 1977, this collection contains several types of images. The main series of files (through 1953) consists of several 4" x 5" prints pasted on card stock with some descriptive information recorded on the card. The negatives associated with the prints are housed separately. Post-1953 the collection is just primarily negatives, mainly 4" x 5", 125mm and 35mm film, and a series of oversized black and white prints.

The entire collection of over 35,000 images has been digitized, and the original materials have received needed preservation treatments. This work was largely accomplished by State Archives Photo Lab technician Mathew Waehner in just under three years (2006-2009), and his tireless work has provided the foundation-the raw materials-for this online project. For more information on the Conservation and Development Department and other records of this agency housed at the State Archies, please see:

The State Archives of North Carolina:

State Agency Records:

MARS, the online catalog of the State Archives of North Carolinas:

Production Team

This online project is being made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Photo Lab, Information Management Branch, and Non-Textual Materials staff of the North Carolina State Archives and the staff of the Digital Information Management Program (DIMP) at the State Library of North Carolina. DIMP team members shepherded the project, finalized the selection of images, created consistent metadata from the brief and often cryptic original image descriptions (that remain in the records), and managed the CONTENTdm upload (the database that makes the images available online).

Please e-mail with suggestions of subjects you would want to see included in this or similar online projects.

Last Modified: 06/06/2012

| North Carolina State Archives | | State Library of North Carolina | | North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources |