Detachment 600 at East Carolina

East Carolina and the AFROTC


Source: Records of the Air Force ROTC Program

Joyner Library Special Collections, University Archives #UA25-15.

Digitized version available online in Joyner Library’s Digital Collections.

Staff Person: Brooke Tolar

Description: Today’s post features a Daily Reflector Press Release draft concerning the establishment of Detachment 600 at East Carolina.  Cadets are currently working with this collection to curate an exhibit commemorating the 70th anniversary of the detachment’s founding.  Visit Joyner Library’s Digital Collections page to view digitized images of items featured in this post.


The Air Force and the ROTC

The Air Force ROTC is a program that trains cadets to become Air Force Officers while simultaneously earning a college degree.  The establishment of the United States Air Force and ROTC programs overlap and intertwine at several points. Technically, military training at designated institutions of higher learning (which would later transition into ROTC programs) began with the Land Grant Act of 1862.  Several decades later, the National Defense Act of 1916 officially created and named the Reserves Officer Training Corps (ROTC).  The Air Force, on the other hand, can trace its earliest roots to the Army Signal Corps which established an Aeronautical Division in 1907 and began testing its first airplane in 1908.  As a result, the Army formed a unit dedicated exclusively to aviation in 1913, sending its first air combat unit to the Mexican border in 1916 (the same year that the ROTC was officially named).

Founding Detachment 600

Although U.S. servicemen conducted warfare from the skies during WWI (1914-1918) and WWII (1939-1945), the United States Air Force was not established as a separate military service until 1947.  East Carolina Teachers College President, Dr. John Decatur Messick, and Lt. Col William Brown formed Detachment 600 the following year.  Brown, subsequently, became the detachment’s first commander. Demonstrating the sense of excitement and support surrounding this new venture, the initial 76 cadets formed a Cadet Club, a Rifle Team, and held the first detachment military ball that year.

Success for Detachment 600

Press Release

Advanced ROTC students attended a 6-week training camp in Orlando, Florida.

This Press Release draft, dated May 1949, emphasized the detachment’s successful first year. It went on to announce that thirty-three advanced students would be attending a six-week training summer camp in Orlando, Florida.  East Carolina’s students were to join five hundred others from fourteen additional institutions of higher education.  Anticipating further interest, the press release instructed applicants to write to the the College Registrar for more information.

As expected, interest in Detachment 600 increased over the coming years.  Enrollment numbers, for example, skyrocketed from 76 to 286 by 1949.  Additionally, the detachment succeeded in more than enrollment numbers.  In 1950, the Fourteenth Air Force rated the detachment “highly satisfactory,” after a two-day inspection. Subsequently, enrollment numbers increased during the 1950s and the 1960s when the detachment averaged a registration of nearly 300 cadets.

In 1958, East Carolina began offering a Flight Instruction Program that provided 36.5 hours of flying time and thirty-five hours of academic instruction.  As a result, certain cadets enjoyed new learning opportunities, enhancing their skills and experiences. Cadets in this program flew a 100 horsepower PA-12.

Angels and Detachment 600

Martha Van Hoy becomes the first female to fully enroll in Detachment 600.

Beginning in 1955, female students were allowed to enroll in Corps classroom work at East Carolina, but were not permitted to take part in drill.  In 1969, Ms. Martha Van Hoy became the first female to join Detachment 600, making the detachment one of five in the nation to accept women at that time. Certainly, Martha Van Hoy’s enrollment marked a major change in Air Force ROTC history.  Similarly, the Air Force itself was undergoing changes. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who trained and served during WWII received official military service status in 1977.

Detachment 600 and the Archives

This year, Detachment 600 is collaborating with the University Archives to install a student-curated exhibit.  Select members of the detachment have been conducting research, selecting artifacts, and training to install their first exhibit that will commemorate the 70th anniversary to the detachment’s founding. The exhibit will be installed in March of 2018.

  • Reflector Press Release, May 1949. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville,
  • ECTC News Bureau Press Release, May 2, 1950. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • News Bureau of East Carolina College Press Release, October 21, 1959. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • “Sky Pirates,” 1955. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • Photograph of Martha Van Hoy, 1969. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • “Overview.”
  • “About AFROTC History.”
  • “Air Force History.”
  • “Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls.” National Public Radio Inc. March 9, 2010.

Senator Robert Morgan – An Update

Senator Robert Morgan and Chancellor Leo W. Jenkins attend a 1978 ECU commencement ceremony.

Since the last post on Senator Morgan, we have completed the actual processing of the entire collection.  Now we are performing conservation and digitization work with the assistance of Larry Houston, Joe Baricella and Justin Borer.  Planning the exhibit is well underway and a preview will be available to donors, friends of the family, and faculty and staff at East Carolina University April 8th 2018, The location of the exhibit is on the 4th floor of Joyner Library.

The focus of this exhibit is to showcase Senator Morgan’s influence and involvement locally, statewide, federally and internationally, and it will feature documents, including correspondence, maps, and speeches, as well as photographs highlighting various points throughout Senator Morgan’s life and career.  It will also contain artifacts and ephemera, and stations set up where visitors can listen to various audio recordings of Senator Morgan.

North Carolina Senator Robert Morgan with President Jimmy Carter and others in the sitting area of Air Force I. Senator Morgan is in the President’s seat while the President sits on floor. Title and date from handwritten note on verso.

The topics covered throughout the exhibit will range from his early and personal life, through his professional career including his time as a lawyer, state senator, Attorney General, U.S Senator, and his time post-U.S. Senator as the Director of the State Bureau of Investigation [SBI].  I will be collaborating with our digital department to create an online exhibit for persons unable to attend the exhibit in person.

For any questions regarding the current status of the project and the exhibit, please contact Project Archivist, Sherry Cortes at or (252) 328 – 0276.

Colonial North Carolina’s Pirate Paper


A Collection of all the Public Acts of Assembly, of the Province of North Carolina (New Bern: J.Davis, 1752).

Joyner Library Special Collections, North Carolina KFN7430 1752 .A2

Digitized version available online in Joyner Library’s Digital Collections.

Staff Person: Lawrence Houston


In 1749, James Davis was hired by the colonial government to be the colony’s first printer.  He was authorized to print currency and the laws of the North Carolina Assembly near the capitol in New Bern. He started out by acquiring an old set of lead type and a printing press from colleagues in Williamsburg, Virginia. He also purchased several reams of paper from Benjamin Franklin. However, paper in the colonies was not cheap or easy to come by.

Because of the high tariffs and duties on imported paper, the only reasonably costed supplies came from either Great Britain or from one of about a dozen paper mills operating colonies.  The discarded pieces of white cotton or linen cloth that formed the raw material for paper were always in short supply. Despite receiving a fixed stipend from the colonial government, Davis was still confronted with thin profit margins and low sales volume from his printing venture.  He did many things to turn a higher profit from his business—including trafficking with pirates to get cheaper paper.

In the 1740’s, the British government was involved in a series of conflicts over claims to the Habsburg monarchs’ territory in Austria. During one of these conflicts, the War of Jenkin’s Ear, the British acted against their Spanish and Genoese adversaries by appointing privateers—pirates who were legally commissioned by the government to raid the merchant vessels of their enemies. By 1747, British privateers had delivered over £140,000 of Genoese spoils to colonial ports, like New York and New Bern.  This booty included numerous bales of paper, which the privateers sold cheaply to colonial printers such as Benjamin Franklin and James Davis.

Our copy of A Collection of all the Public Acts of Assembly, of the Province of North Carolina was one of the first law books printed by Davis.  In this book, alongside paper likely purchased from a mill in Virginia, he used a few sheets of Genoese paper obtained by British privateers. Owing to the difficulty in getting regular supplies of paper, there are over a dozen different sources for the paper used in this book alone.


Watermark from the Acts of Assembly, depicting the Coat of Arms for the City of Genoa uppermost.

Watermark from pgs 233-234 of the Acts of Assembly viewed with transmitted light, depicting the Coat of Arms for the City of Genoa.

We can determine the origin of the paper in this book by looking at the watermark. Watermarks, thinner areas in the paper sheet, are created from wires laid onto the papermaking moulds. One can see watermarks when light is shined through the paper.  Papermakers utilized watermarks to distinguish their product from that of competitors and to differentiate one stock of paper from another. The watermark on this page bears the coat of arms for Genoa: a cross flanked by griffons. The additional markings seen in the two lower circles vary greatly in Genoese papers and can correlate to specific paper makers or dates of manufacture.

Citations & Sources:

  1. Amory, Hugh & Hall, David., eds. A History of the Book in America, Volume 1: The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 1997.
  2. Balmaceda, Jose Carlos. “Genoa’s Contribution to the Development of the Spanish Paper Manufacture” in Paper as a Medium of Cultural Heritage. Instituto Centrale per la Patologia del Libro, Rome. 2004.
  3. Heawood, Edward. Watermarks, mainly of the 17th and 18th centuries. Paper Publications Society, Hilversum, Holland. 1950.
  4. McMurtrie, Douglas C. “First Twelve Years of Printing in North Carolina, 1749-1760.North Carolina Historical Review 10. July, 1933.
  5. Houston, Lawrence. Unpublished MLIS Master’s Thesis. 2017.
  6. Gravell, Thomas. American Watermarks, 1690-1835. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, Deleware. 2002.

The Life of Senator Robert Morgan

Senator Morgan attending the presentation of a new Wind Generator

Source: Robert Morgan Papers #268

Staff Person: Sherry Cortes

Description: Senator Robert Morgan was a North Carolina native, born and raised in Lillington, N.C.  This collection contains personal papers, Senatorial documents, newspapers, photographs and correspondence spanning Morgan’s life.

Senator Robert Morgan was born in Lillington, North Carolina in 1925.  Following his public school education, he went on to attend the Wake Forest Law School, became a skilled trial lawyer and quickly rose from Clerk of Court to the position of President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina State Senate.  He began donating his papers to East Carolina University in the mid-1970s and continuously donated his personal and professional works until he passed away in 2016.  I started working on the Senator Robert Morgan Papers Processing Project in April, 2017 for East Carolina University’s Joyner Library.  As the project archivist for this collection, it has been an exciting opportunity to chronicle the life and accomplishments of such a prominent figure in North Carolina history.  Senator Morgan served as a North Carolina State Senator from 1955-1969, and as a one-term US Senator from North Carolina from 1975-1981, but his prolific career beyond the political arena put a mark on so much of the State’s history.

The Robert Morgan Papers is the largest collection of personal and professional documents amassed by East Carolina University and is currently housed in the Special Collections Division of Joyner Library at East Carolina University (ECU).  The collection holds information regarding the Senator’s professional and personal life.  The Morgan archives chronicle his service in the Vietnam and Korean Wars, his rise to North Carolina Attorney General and his role in creating landmark consumer protection measures, his tenure as an ECU University Trustee and his fight to establish a medical school at East Carolina University, his controversial stance on the Panama Canal, his leading role in the Energy Crisis, and his repositioning of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).  These documents also shed light on his ideological metamorphosis from a “traditional Southern Democrat” to the national Democratic mainstream particularly in the area of desegregation.

Senator Morgan’s Papers include personal and family documents, legislative and campaign files, correspondence, North Carolina Attorney General and U.S. Senator files, ECU Board of Trustees and State Bureau of Investigations files.  Photographs, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, speeches, books, films, audiotapes, diaries, microfilms and oversized materials are in our archives as well.  We hired two graduate assistants in May, 2017, Daniel Hemme and Martha Mihich who have been invaluable in completing the description and arrangement of the collection.  In addition to the graduate assistants, Special Collection Curator, Dr. Jonathan Dembo and volunteer Dick Wolfe have been helping to move the process along quickly.  Between the four of us we have currently completed describing 1012 boxes of the 1075 total in the collection.  I am also collaborating with Justin Borer to help in the digitization of audio tapes, manuscripts and photographs of interest.  Conservator Lawrence Houston has been providing conservation advice and assistance in handling damaged or fragile documents. We are all working as quickly as possible to digitize the chosen objects so they can be fully accessible in the online Digital Repository.

Once we have fully completed the processing of the paper and digital elements of the collection we will work on the exhibit which will be available for viewing on the 3rd floor of Joyner Library in

Graduate Assistant, Martha Mihich, hard at work

early 2018.  As work continues, we will be sharing updates about our progress on an ongoing basis and what we are finding.  There will be future posts to provide more information about Senator Morgan and some of the interesting items we find during processing.  Researchers will be able to locate the collection’s finding aid online if they are interested in accessing Senator Morgan’s Papers.

For more information on Senator Morgan’s Papers and the continuing progress of the project, please contact Sherry Cortes, Project Archivist at or (252) 328 – 0276

World War I

Source:  Emil Gorling Papers 1200.1

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: Emil Görling, a German solider during World War I, was a member of the Aufraumungs-Arbeit (literally translated as the “clean-up” crew) in the 3rd Landwehr Division of the Imperial German Army. Görling’s division participated in the 1918 German Spring Offensive in France. The two images here were among 14 gelatin photographs and 4 printed postcards that belonged to him.  They show both the horror of war and the pastimes of soldiers everywhere.

Sandra Bullock in The Three Sisters Program.

Sandra Bullock and the East Carolina Playhouse

The East Carolina Playhouse

Source: East Carolina University Archives UA28.01 

Staff Person: Brooke Tolar

Description: Today’s post features an original program for Anton Chekhov’s The Three Sisters as presented by the East Carolina Playhouse.  This 1985 production cast list includes future Oscar-winning Actress and ECU alumni, Sandra Bullock.  Visit Joyner Library’s Digital Collections page to view digitized images of items featured in this post.

Sandra Bullock in The Three Sisters Program.

Official Program for East Carolina Playhouse’s presentation of The Three Sisters featuring Sandra Bullock and Kevin Williamson.

The East Carolina Playhouse began as the Teachers Playhouse during the mid-1940s.  This campus organization was initially designed to “give its members practical experience” and “promote an enthusiasm for the drama in all its phases (1949 Tecoan, p. 105”  Over the years, the Playhouse’s popularity increased, as did student participation.  Campus yearbooks often boasted successful seasons, paying homage to the actors and actresses involved.

Sandra Bullock and The Playhouse

Sandra Bullock enrolled at East Carolina University in the early 1980s, by which time the Playhouse served as a well-established campus organization.  She landed starring roles in several Playhouse productions during her college years.  In The Three Sisters, Bullock played Irina, the youngest of three Russian sisters seeking deliverance from unexceptional, small-town lives. Additionally, she starred as Jean in Stage Door (1983) and as Tiger Lily in Peter Pan (1985).  Interestingly, another noteworthy ECU alumni, future filmography icon Kevin Williamson, acted alongside Bullock in her 1985 Playhouse performances.


Photograph of Sandra Bullock playing Irene in The Three Sisters.

Image and cast list featured in the 1986 copy of The Buccaneer, p. 182.

Sandra Bullock in Stage Door.

Sandra Bullock (front and center) playing Jean in Stage Door. Image taken from the 1984 copy of The Buccaneer, p. 234.



Legal Advice for Shipping and Sailing


The Merchant Shipper’s Assistant and Common Carrier’s Guide (Boston: I.R. Butts, 1850) and The Seaman’s Assistant (Boston: I.R. Butts, 1849).

Joyner Library Special Collections, HE745 .B88 1850

Digitized version available online in Joyner Library’s Digital Collections.

Staff person: Sarah McLusky


Special Collections holds many books dealing with nautical themes. Among them is Isaac Ridler Butts’ 1850 The Merchant Shipper’s Assistant and 1849 The Seaman’s Assistant – Joyner’s copies were bound together, so we have two books in one!

Title page for “The Merchant Shipper’s Assistant”

 The first helped shipmasters, owners, and shipping companies understand insurance laws related to their business, while the second gave sailors an idea of their rights. Butts’ company printed similar volumes of insurance and business laws for landlords, tenants, mechanics, and farmers.

The second, the Seaman’s Assistant, shifts focus from shipping companies to the people who worked for them. It lists requirements for sailors’ food (lots of salt beef and pork). It also explains what companies had to pay if they left a sailor behind in a foreign port (two months’ extra wages to the sailor, one month’s to the American consulate to help support other destitute sailors).

Detail from one of several charts in “The Seaman’s Assistant” showing recommendations for feeding sailors, page 99

At ECU, 18th-century pirates like Blackbeard get most of the attention. Even in the 19th century, however, The Seaman’s Assistant still lists the penalties for piracy (which included fines, hard labor, and death).

 Recto of book page with 4 paragraphs followed by image of sailing ship

Detail from page 65 of “Seaman’s Assistant” outlining the penalties for working with pirates, which included fines of up to $1000 and 3-year prison sentences

Woman’s Portrait, Civil War

Source: Moore Family Papers (ECU Manuscript Collection #275)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


Guilford Andrews carried this woman’s portrait during the Civil War. Andrews was a member of Company E. 43rd Regiment, known as “The Edgecombe Boys”.  He enlisted at the age of 22 on January 28th 1862.  He was mustered in at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh. He was wounded in the elbow at or near Bethesda Church, Virginia, on May 30th 1864. He returned to duty on September-October, 1864, and was promoted to Corporal, on November 1, 1864. He was then captured near Petersburg, Virginia on March 25, 1865. He was a prisoner at Point Lookout, Maryland, and he was released on June 22, 1865, after taking the Oath of Allegiance.,_Maryland

The daguerreotype#  P-275/112, was produced on a silver coated, copper 1/9-plate, and the cover to the case is missing. The date of the image is September 26, 1863, at Orange Court House.

J. H. Rose on Telephone

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection 741.25.a.36

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: J. H. Rose, Civil Defense Manager for Pitt County, talks on telephone during Hurricane Donna in September of 1960. Hurricane Donna touched every state on the East Coast from Florida to Maine. In North Carolina there were eight deaths and 100 injured with property damage over five million dollars.

WWI Era Letter

Source: James G. Raby Papers, Manuscript Collection #317

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison















The James G. Raby Papers consists of handwritten letters from James G. Raby; a physician from Leggett, North Carolina who served as a 2nd Lieutenant during World War I. This particular letter dated October 8, 1918 is one written by him to his sweetheart and it contains a description of the influenza epidemic that occurred in Rocky Mount and Tarboro (1918-1919).


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