About the Historical Manuscript and Image Archives

The first phase of the Johnston County Historical Manuscript and Image Archives project was completed in September 2002. These images include some of the most historically significant collections of manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts in the Johnston County Heritage Center.

19th Century items include:

  • Rare slave and plantation records
  • Daguerreotypes and cartes de visites
  • Antebellum and Reconstruction-era letters written to parents from West Point, the University of North Carolina, and Trinity College
  • Letters from U. S. Congressman Thomas Ruffin in the 1850s
  • Silver spoons buried in an abandoned well in anticipation of the arrival of Union forces in 1865
  • A Masonic apron
  • Articles used in household work, farming, trading, and fishing.

20th Century items include:

  • Turn-of-the-century artifacts from the Smithfield Liquor Dispensary and Selma's Wyoming Hotel
  • Equipment from a Four Oaks photographic studio dating from the 1890s to the 1920s
  • North Carolina historian Bill Powell's high chair and rare teddy bear from about 1920
  • 1920s photos of newly built brick consolidated schools and the school trucks which made consolidation possible
  • 1940s photos showing a day in the life of Short Journey School, one of Johnston's ten Rosenwald-funded schools and one of only two still standing
  • Hundreds of photos taken between the 1940s and 1970s by free-lance photographer Reuben Johnson, depicting many aspects of Johnston County life during the waning years of racial segregation.

This project was done in Spring/Summer 2002 by Garland Guffey, Valerie Howell, Lynn Johnson, Todd Johnson, Evelyn Markham, and Anne Tate. Ellen Beck of the Johnston County Technology Services Department provided invaluable technical assistance.

Click here to view a list of our Online Collections .

Page last updated:  December 11, 2023