Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cultural Heritage Award

Yesterday evening, at the Ocracoke Preservation Society's fall membership meeting, the Society presented its second annual Cultural Heritage Award. Established last year (Earl O'Neal, Jr. was the first recipient), the award is designed to recognize islanders who have made significant contributions to the preservation of Ocracoke Island history, culture, and/or traditions.

Blanche Howard Jolliff & Amy Howard

This year's recipient of the Cultural Heritage Award is Blanche Howard Jolliff. Blanche lives in the house on Howard Street where she was born in December, 1919. For Blanche's entire life she has been interested in remembering and honoring her forebears and other islanders who have had a significant impact on this small, isolated community. 

Blanche has been blessed with a remarkable memory, and a graciousness that has endeared her to everyone who knows her. She is always ready to share history, stories, and memories with family, friends, and off-island visitors. Because of Blanche's treasure trove of memories much of Ocracoke's cultural life and history has been preserved for future generations.

Congratulations, Blanche! Your award is well deserved.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Wreck of the Banana Boat. You can read it here:


  1. Congratulations, Blanche! It was an honor for me and my wife to meet you a number of years ago and hope to see you again this summer if you're available for a chat on the pizer.

  2. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Has Mrs Jolliff ever sat behind a microphone to record a StoryCorps segment. It is my understanding the National Archives or is it NPR anyway, some well meaning group is repositioning Thanksgiving as a day of remembering and promoting the notion that the older generation should share with the younger generation family stories and reminince about family histories and such. PH do you know if there exists an audio archive of these OI speak vocabulary words you mention periodically? Is there a more recent image of Blanche and Amy?

    1. To my knowledge Blanche has never participated in a StoryCorps interview, but she has been recorded several times (by Walt Wolfram, linguist from NC State, and others, including our local radio station, WOVV, just recently). Walt Wolfram and his colleagues have documented (in text and audio recordings) many island expressions. (By the way, look for another unique island expression in tomorrow's blog.) Re. photos of Blanche: She doesn't like to have her picture taken, so there aren't many recent ones available. She did allow one to be taken a couple of weeks ago, but she didn't want it published.

  3. Anonymous2:59 PM

    A grand tribute to a grand lady!

  4. Anonymous8:15 PM

    The first time I met Blanche, about ten years ago, she talked my ear off. A complete stranger. I have been in love with her ever since.