Daily Reflector Negative Collection

ca. 1920s-1989, undated (bulk 1949-1967); 1949-1989
Manuscript Collection #741
Forrest, J. Thomas
Physical description
21 Cubic Feet, 45 boxes
Preferred Citation
Daily Reflector Negative Collection (#741), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access to audiovisual and digital media is restricted. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Negative files (1920-1967) and electronic files (on CDs) of photographs (1968-1989) used for the publishing of The Daily Reflector newspaper. The collection documents daily news and events in Greenville, NC and its surrounding area.

Biographical/historical information

The story of The Daily Reflector and the Whichard Family of Pitt County go hand-in-hand. From its creation until the present day no less than four generations of the Whichard Family have headed the newspaper. The newspaper was originally conceived in 1881 by brothers David Jordan Whichard and Julian R. Whichard. Initially they installed printing equipment at their mother's one-room schoolhouse at West Third and North Pitt Streets in Greenville, North Carolina and setup the newspaper's first printing offices. The brothers had acquired the equipment from operations at the Greenville Express, a local newspaper they were both working for at the time. The premiere issue (called The Reflector) was published on January 26, 1882. A name change occurred on April 29, 1885, when the first issue of The Eastern Reflector was published.

By 1885, David's brother Julian had moved to Salisbury, North Carolina to start his own newspaper, leaving his brother David the sole proprietor of the newspaper. On November 24, 1891, Whichard began publishing an "experimental" daily edition titled The Daily Reflector. A few years later in 1894, the newspaper moved to its second location on Evans Street near Fifth Street and Dickinson Avenue (formerly occupied by Higgs Sisters-Fashions & Millinery). In 1901, they moved into their third building at 300 Evans Street.

On December 27, 1912, The Eastern Reflector was formally discontinued and absorbed into The Daily Reflector publication. After returning in 1918 from service in World War I, Whichard's son, David Julian Whichard, borrowed $300 and purchased the newspaper from his father in 1919.

At this time the newspaper was also facing a debt in excess of $15,000. The newspaper would endure future financial trouble related to local and national economic downturns in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as a lack of production machinery parts during World War II. When rival newspaper Greenville News-Leader closed in 1943, David Julian Whichard acquired their equipment for approximately $6500. By the postwar years, the newspaper began to be profitable.

By 1920, the newspaper had begun subscribing to The Associated Press news wire service, and in 1948, the newspaper was officially incorporated. Among the stockholders were David Julian Whichard's wife, Virginia, and his brother-in-law, Sam Bridgers. Within a few years, Whichard's sons, David J. Whichard II and John S. Whichard, had also joined the family business. In 1956, the company moved into their fourth building located at 209 Cotanche Street where they now had the capability of color printing. In 1966, the newspaper's first publication change since 1894 occurred when the Saturday afternoon edition ended and a Sunday morning edition was added.

After the death of their mother in 1973, David J. Whichard II and John S. Whichard became the official owners of the newspaper, and their father, David Julian Whichard, became chairman of the company. By 1980, the paper was utilizing computerized production processes including computer-assisted word processing, typesetting and page design. In 1981, the newspaper's teletype machines were eliminated and a receiving dish for transmitting news from The Associated Press was installed.

In 1985, D. Jordan Whichard III, son of co-publisher David Whichard II, became general manager of the company. Five years later, David Whichard II and John S. Whichard retired as co-publishers, and D. Jordan Whichard III became president. In 1991, The Daily Reflector underwent major changes including: a major renovation of its building, the implementation of computerized operations, and the publication of a daily edition.

Within another five years, The Daily Reflector would be acquired by Atlanta-based Cox Newspapers, Inc., and in 1997, Cox Communications began publishing an online version of the newspaper. In the year 2000, the newspaper's brand new $13 million, 92,000 square foot newsroom-production plant was dedicated on Sugg Parkway. The newspaper currently continues their publication in both print and online format, and celebrated the 125th anniversary of their founding in 2007.

The Daily Reflector has also had a long history of service to the community, calling for necessary improvements and documenting changes as they occurred. During the 25th anniversary of the newspaper in 1919, David Julian Whichard noted the simultaneous growth of Greenville and the newspaper stating, "standing right by chronicling these things as they came along, and lifting its voice to bring them when they did not come along fast enoughÂ…its aim has been to keep a little in the lead rather than to follow."

One example of these efforts for community improvements was carried out through the promotion of education. In 1907, the paper began an editorial campaign to bring a teacher training school to Greenville. That same year the East Carolina Teacher Training School (now known as East Carolina University) was founded in Greenville. Additionally in 1952, with David Julian Whichard's guidance, The Daily Reflector began a scholarship program for four Pitt County students to attend the University of North Carolina. In 1959, East Carolina College recognized The Daily Reflector's efforts in education and named their library building the Whichard Building in honor of David Julian Whichard.

The newspaper and its editorship also took a progressive stance during the latter half of the twentieth century. The newspaper supported such controversial issues as desegregation during the 1960s, the formation of a medical school at East Carolina University during the 1970s, and the proposal to combine city and county school systems during the 1980s.

Source of Historical Note: The Daily Reflector. "Humble Beginnings" (insert). The Daily Reflector 28 Jan. 2007: pp. 1-11.

Scope and arrangement

The negatives in the collection were donated to Joyner Library from The Daily Reflector, a Greenville, North Carolina-based newspaper, and total approximately 85,000 in number. These images are photographs used in the newspaper between ca. 1920 and 1967. These images offer insight into the dramatic changes in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, architecture, race relations, health and education that took place during this period. These images are also important as an historical reference and as a means of maintaining a memory and sense of past for Greenville and the surrounding areas during this period of major change and growth.

Specifically, through the images one can find documentation of a community whose economy has been historically driven by agricultural products (particularly tobacco), moving toward a more service and manufacturing-based economy. For example, there are many images covering the importance of the tobacco industry to the region. One can find representations such as tobacco markets and the first tobacco of the season.

As a contrast to this agricultural-based economic theme, examples of a more service-based economic theme include images depicting the grand opening of the original Hardee's restaurant in 1960, as well as those relating to the beginnings of the nursing school at East Carolina University during the 1960s. The establishment of the School of Nursing set in motion later trends that would transform the area into a major medical center for research and patient care. Also important are images highlighting the period that Leo Jenkins served as president, and subsequently chancellor, at East Carolina University, a time when the University really began to come into its own and grow dramatically. And while the images themselves are largely of a local and regional focus, they also mirror similar trends and events of socioeconomic transitions that were occurring during this time on a state and national level.

Also contained in the collection are images related to North Carolina's relationship to politics and industry on a national scale. One example of this is an image depicting the 1961 inauguration ceremonies for newly elected North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford. Attorney General Robert Kennedy was in attendance and can be seen in one of the photographs taken. During this period North Carolina was actively recruiting businesses to the state, and in fact was one of the few states that understood the importance of the interaction between state and national governments.

Specifically, the collection contains images photographed between ca. 1920 and 1967, with a small percentage undated. The majority of the images were taken between 1949 and 1967. The images also include "alternate shots" taken by staff photographers (different angles, lighting, but same subject), and these make up a good percentage of the approximately 85,000 grand total. Most of the negatives are 4" x 5", while a smaller percentage of them are 1" x 2" and 35mm. The majority of the image titles were taken directly from the original envelopes in which they were kept. The original titles found on these envelopes were retained for historical context.

A later addition to this collection is two CDs containing electronic files of photographs (1968-1989) taken by Daily Reflector staff photographer Thomas Forrest and published by the Associated Press. Included photographs depict notable individuals, including Leo Jenkins and other East Carolina University officials; buildings in Greenville; and events pertaining to politics, race relations, and other subjects.

Administrative information
Custodial History

February 20, 1997, ca. 85,000 items; Newspaper negative files (bulk 1949-1967). Donor: Mr. Jordan Whichard.

January 14, 2011, (addition 1), 0.010 cubic feet, 2 items; Two CDs containing electronic files of photographs (1968-1989) taken by Daily Reflector (Greenville, N.C.) staff photographer Thomas Forrest and published by the Associated Press. Including captions, the photographs depict notable individuals, including Leo Jenkins and other East Carolina University officials; buildings in Greenville; and events pertaining to politics, race relations, and other subjects. The two CDs contain the same photographs but in different formats.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Jordan Whichard and Mr. John Kent Cooke, Jr.

Processing information

Processed by Lynette Lundin, Dale Sauter and Jessica Wallace, 2007

Encoded by Mark Custer, February 2008

Edited by Ashlyn Racine April 2023

Copyright notice

J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, owns copyright to the collection. Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Related material

Seeds of Change, The Daily Reflector Image Collection, Digital Collections, East Carolina University.

Oral History Interview with David J. Whichard II and Stuart Savage, Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, January 14, 2009.

Key terms
Greenville (N.C.)--Photographs
Pitt County (N.C.)--Photographs
Daily Reflector (Greenville, N.C.)

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