We Need Your Help Identifying Photos

If you are of a certain age, you are sure to remember school film strips. Teachers kept them rolled up and stuck in little aluminum and plastic cylinders with titles printed on the caps. They were almost as ubiquitous to a school kid's life as mimeographed worksheets smelling faintly of chemicals and just waiting to be sniffed. Few film strips, however, carry images as interesting as does a recent gift to the State Archives of North Carolina. This gift, one film strip titled, "Focus," contains 141 individual frames showing scenes and statistics related to Duplin County schools during the years 1949 to 1953. There are shots of classrooms, buses, cafeterias, school exteriors, teachers and studious schoolchildren. There are also a few shots of kids who were not so "on-task," cracking jokes and laughing. You can almost smell the chalk in the air. The State Archives has digitized the individual frames in full color and placed them online in order of their appearance in the original film strip. Even a quick glance at the images will reveal a whole series of school classics from bygone years: diagrammed sentences with their words neatly organized by brackets, reading circles, recess teeter totters, "Home Eck" girls stirring batter, "Shop Boys" making cedar chests and the inevitable lunch room tables with their cartoons of milk lined up like military tents. The only thing missing is the apple on the teacher's desk. We have very little information, but here's what we do know:

  • Most of the statistical charts in the film strip appear to be from 1953
  • While some of the photos look to be a bit earlier, none seem to pre-date the mid-1940s
  • The film strip appears to have been used in a bid for a greater investment in school facilities
  • No information about the film accompanied the donation, nor was there a script or soundtrack

We need your help to fill in the holes! Do you recognize anything or anybody? Did you watch this film strip at a community meeting years ago? We want to know! Tell us in the comments here, comment on the images themselves on Flickr or email our Non-Textual Archivist Kim Andersen at kim.andersen@ncdcr.gov. Thanks for your help!!

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