Documenting the American South


Going to the Show

Since its beginning in 2006, this project has brought together the skills, experience, knowledge, and interests of a large team, and it has drawn upon sources and resources from a number of university units and individuals and organizations across the state.

"Going to the Show" is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina.

Going to the Show Project Team

Scholarly Advisor: Dr. Robert C. Allen, James Logan Godfrey Distinguished Professor of American Studies, History, and Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;

Principle Investigator: Natasha Smith;

Project Managers: Elise Moore (2008-2009), Adrienne MacKay (2007-2008);

Programmers: Kevin Eckhardt (2007-2009), Cliff Dyer (2008 - 2009);

Additional Support

CDLA: Nicholas Graham, Mike Millner, Stephanie Adamson, Rita Van Duinen, Fred Stipe, Bill Richards;

North Carolina Collection: Jason Tomberlin, Robert Anthony Jr.;

School of Education: Cheryl Bolick, Jennifer Job (Graduate Assistant 2008-2009);

UNC Libraries: Amanda Henley, Lisa Norberg, Kim Vassiliadis, Systems Department;

Graduate Assistants: Gardner Treneman (2008-2009), Cristóbal Palmer(2009), Craig Dalton (2008), Eddie Huffman (2007), Blaine Waide (2007);

Undergraduate Assistants: Betsy Browne, Lindsay Guge, Katie Littlefield, Hope Newton, Frank O'Hale, Kara Pearce, and Julianne Yavorski, John David Ralls, James Eby.

Important support for the initial development of the project came from several units of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including grants from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development and the University Program in Cultural Studies. In-kind support came from the American Studies Department and the School of Information and Library Science.

Professor Jeff Pomerantz and his graduate students at SILS did important initial work on the project's relational database. Carl Harris (MA SILS) made significant contributions to the development of a system for digitally stitching and georeferencing Sanborn® Fire Insurance Maps.

The New Hanover County Public Library generously shared its extraordinary collection of material about the history of Wilmington and New Hanover County, North Carolina. Special thanks go to Beverly Tetterton, special collections archivist, for her help with the Reaves Collection of newspaper clippings, and for sharing her encyclopedic knowledge of Wilmington history, architecture, and culture.

Also in Wilmington, The Wilmington Star-News and former editor Tim Griggs permitted the use of material from that key source on the history of moviegoing.

The Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington allowed us to digitize and publish the Joyland Theater ledger. Thanks to historian Janet Davidson for calling this to our attention.

William Snyder, Director of the Henderson County Public Library allowed us to digitize and publish 150 architectural drawings from the Erle Stillwell Collection. William Mitchell alerted us to the more than thirty movie theaters designed by Stillwell for communities in North Carolina and advised the project on the selection of drawings. His own work on Stillwell's drawings, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell provided the starting point for commentary on Stillwell's designs.

Librarians, archivists, and local historians across the state have generously responded to our calls and inquiries regarding moviegoing and movie theaters in their communities. Donald Barker of Conover, North Carolina, allowed us to draw upon his extensive research on movie theaters in the Catawba Valley of North Carolina and surrounding communities. This history is chronicled in his book, Big Time for a Dime : a History of Silver Screens in the Catawba Valley(Catawba County N.C.: Don Barker, 2007).

This project grows out of work on moviegoing and American popular entertainment done over the past thirty years by Robert C. Allen, James Logan Godfrey Distinguished Professor of American Studies, History, and Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dozens of undergraduate and graduate students have contributed to that work and to his thinking about the role of movies and moviegoing in American culture over that time. Some have made special contributions to "Going to the Show". Chris McKenna shared his exhaustive research on movie exhibition and moviegoing in the tri-racial communities of southeastern North Carolina, particularly Robeson County. Anne Morey, Associate Professor of English, Texas A&M University, shared her pioneering research on early exhibition and exhibitors in Wilmington, N.C.