2019 North Caroliniana Society Awards

At the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-CH campus, three annual awards were presented on May 15 by the North Caroliniana Society. This ceremony followed the mid-afternoon burial of the ashes of Dr. H. G. Jones, the organization’s founder, in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.

Authors Ansley Herring Wegner and Jeff Miles received engraved sterling silver cups for This Day In North Carolina (2018). Staff members in the Office of Archives and History of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, they had collaborated with designer Sheilah Barrett Carroll. Their book won because the three-judge panel chaired by Dannye Romine Powell believed it captured “the essence of North Carolina by contributing powerfully to an understanding of the state.” In fewer than four hundred pages they matched people, places, and events with each day of a composite year. For example, they tell us that on July 2, 1935, the state’s first ABC store opened in Wilson where 825 bottles of liquor were sold at a cost of $1,003! Not every day during the Great Depression was so gloomy.

UNC-CH senior Jordan Kathryn Jenkins of Morganton, NC won the William S. Powell Award for her honors thesis about the late US Senator Jesse Helms. Dr. James Leloudis nominated her for this special recognition. He singled her out as a young historian with great promise who wrote analytically of Helms as a thinker and political philosopher. From the Senator’s papers and earlier television editorials Ms. Jenkins developed Helms’s coherent Lockean world view that elevated above all else the sanctity of private property and individual liberty. This outstanding young scholar is entering graduate school at Emory University this fall. On hand to see her receive this award was Mrs. Virginia Powell, a Society member and the widow of the noted North Carolina historian for whom the award is named.

The 2019 North Caroliniana Society Award was presented at this May 15 event to Alice and Jerry Cotten. Each of them addressed the 160-member audience prior to a reception and banquet. He spoke about “Camp Bryan and a Tale of Two Letters.” Her subject was “Going Home Again: The Return of Thomas Wolfe.” President Jim Clark presented them with an engraved sterling silver goblet after several friends and their son Steven spoke admiringly and humorously about the honorees and their achievements. This portion of the program was moderated by UNC School Of Law Dean Martin Brinkley who is Secretary-Treasurer of the Society.

Earlier in the evening Vice President Bland Simpson recognized newly selected members of the organization and announced that it had reached its goal of 250 members. In keeping with the mission of the Society, Honorees Alice and Jerry Cotten had devoted a combined six decades to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and sharing North Carolina’s printed and visual heritage.