Source: Chronology of Pitt County History, Joyner – NC Broadsides
Staff Person: Dale Sauter
Description: Today’s pick features “Chronology of Pitt County History,” a broadside by Jessamine Shumate. Shumate was a very well-regarded artist, historian and cartographer. She was born in 1902 in Horsepasture, Virginia, and died in 1990 in Greenville, North Carolina.
Shumate’s art represented a variety of techniques. Other historical-related works by Shumate included Historical Map of Virginia, Historical Map of Henry County, Virginia, Historical Map of Guilford County, and North Carolina Historical Map of Pitt County, North Carolina. The papers of Shumate are located at The University of Virginia.
Source: Minnie B. Parker Scrapbook Manuscript Collection #89
Staff Person: Martha G. Elmore
Description: Minnie Bell Parker lived most of her adult life in Norfolk, Virginia, after being born October 10, 1881, in Wilson Co., N.C. She was a nurse and during World War I she was a nurse with the American Expeditionary Force in France. After the war she was active in the American Legion and this colorful 40-year continuous membership certificate was presented to her on June 24, 1960. She died in Raleigh, N.C., on July 5, 1976. To see a scrapbook she kept while in France during World War I, go here https://digital.lib.ecu.edu/24594.
Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection (Manuscript Collection #741)
Staff Person: Martha Elmore
For decades women faced tremendous hurdles in their desire to become pilots. In the early years they weren’t allowed to enter into competitions such as the National Air Race because these races were thought to be too dangerous for women. In 1929 women pilots held their first National Women’s Air Derby. Humorist Will Rogers, who was the starter for the race, referred to the women pilots as “petticoat pilots and flying flappers” and nicknamed the race the Powder Puff Derby.
This photograph shows a group of women welcoming Petticoat Pilots to the airport at Greenville, North Carolina, in August of 1965. I don’t know what the occasion was for this group of women pilots gathering, but it is interesting that the nickname for women pilots in 1929 was still being used in 1965.
Information about the Powder Puff Derby came from Karen Bush Gibson’s book titled, Women Aviators: 26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys.
Source: Ellen Zukunft McGrew Papers, 1942-1958; East Carolina Manuscript Collection #723
Staff Person: Nanette Hardison
This featured portrait is of Ellen Zukunft McGrew of Portland, Maine, an X-ray technician who in 1942 joined the WAVES which is the acroylm for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. WAVES were more commonly known as, Women in the U.S. Navy, and were part of the National Naval Reserve. This portrait, which shows her in her WAVES uniform as a USNR (WAVES) officer, is an item from the Ellen Zukunft McGrew Papers. The finding aid for the Ellen Zukunft McGrew can be accessed at http://specialcollections.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0723/.
Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection #741.11.a.7
Staff Person: Martha Elmore
Description: In this August 1956 image taken for the Greenville, N.C., Daily Reflector newspaper, African American women are sorting tobacco at the Imperial Tobacco Company factory. Many other images related to tobacco production from the field, to the barns, to the warehouse, and finally to the factories can be found in the Daily Reflector Negative Collection.