The Civil War Day by Day, marking the war's 150th anniversary.
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Item Description: A letter from John Henderson while he was at the University of North Carolina to his young siblings. He went on to become a member of Congress. Item Citation: From Folder 36, in the John S. … Continue reading
99 years ago today, on October 24, 1915, William Brantley Aycock was born in Lucama, North Carolina. He went on to serve the University of North Carolina for almost 40 years, from a faculty appointment in the School of Law in 1948 until his retirement as Kenan Professor in 1985. During the years 1957 until 1964, he served as Chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill. On this special day, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard recalls Chancellor Aycock’s words from 1957 on a timely campus topic in today’s news.
When I look at my UNC diploma, two things always grab my attention . . . aside from the fact that it says I earned a degree. There are two signatures on the document that always remind me that I was part of a very special time. William C. Friday was President of the Consolidated University and William B. Aycock was Chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill when I was there from September of 1958 until January of 1963. These men of integrity signed my diploma and led the University of North Carolina to a place at the top of the top.
On Thursday, July 15, 2010, my wife Marla and I attended the 90th birthday party for Bill Friday at the UNC Alumni Center on the UNC campus. What a special day . . . honoring the man who defines the word integrity. The following morning, as I opened the Greensboro News & Record, looking for a story of Friday’s birthday party, I was struck by the headline which read, “NCAA Investigates UNC Athletes.” As I read the story, I kept thinking about my time at UNC and how Bill Friday and Bill Aycock would have never let anything like this happen. Unfortunately, that story from July 16, 2010 is still with us.
As we celebrate Bill Aycock’s 99th today, here, in his own words from a talk to UNC alumni in Washington, D. C. in May 1957, is his take on intercollegiate athletics:
I am not disturbed that alumni groups have a strong interest in athletics because I believe that the interest manifested by most alumni in intercollegiate athletics is but a symbol of a deeper interest in the totality of the programs, hopes and aspirations of the whole institution.
I believe that those alumni whose affection for the University both begins and ends with intercollegiate athletics are few in number. Unfortunately, there are some among those few who seem to entertain a misguided notion that in athletics the means are not too important if the end is victory on the scoreboard. In those institutions, including ours, which have undertaken an extensive intercollegiate athletic program, it is not realistic in my judgment to try to separate athletics and education. A grant-in-aid program enables students with athletic ability to secure a college education. It is only on this basis that a University can justify such a program. Since the University is involved in the rewarding of scholarships, it is very essential that grants-in-aid be administered in accordance with the letter and spirit of the rules and regulations. Further, a student who is an athlete should not be treated differently from a student who is not an athlete. There must be no double standard. Moreover, no program in the University, including athletics, should be conducted in such a manner as to lower either moral or academic standards. He, who would insist on practices which nibble at and dilute the integrity and educational standards of this institution, is no friend of athletics or of his institution. The two are not to be separated because, in matters fundamental, athletics and the University must rise or fall together. I regard this to be of such importance that I shall in the days to come frequently discuss the administration of our athletic programs with our alumni groups.”
Six months later in a statement to the Durham Morning Herald on November 27, 1957, Bill Aycock added this:
At the end of the 1960-61 UNC basketball season, Chancellor Aycock forced head basketball coach Frank McGuire to resign following allegations of recruiting violations. Aycock then promoted 30-year-old assistant coach Dean Smith, whom he had hired three years before, to the head coaching position and told him “wins and losses do not count as much as running a clean program and representing the University well.”
There are now, as there have been in the past, many people within and without the university who believe that intercollegiate football should not be part of the university. On the other hand, many people within and without the university believe intercollegiate football is an important part of modern university life. Regardless of the merits of this question, it is clear that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill carries on an extensive intercollegiate football program.
The precise values of this program are difficult to determine. Once committed to an extensive intercollegiate athletic program of fundamental principle is to regard each member of the student body as a student first and his athletic participation as secondary to his primary mission of securing a university education.
In order to accomplish this, a large body of rules and regulations has developed within the institution and within various conferences in which we are members. Adherence to these rules and regulations is the most tangible means to insure that the primary role of the university is not superseded by secondary activities.
Further, admission standards and rules controlling eligibility to remain in the university must be made without regard to the effect which they would have on the admission and retention of athletes.
In the light of the foregoing criteria, I think that intercollegiate football is playing its proper role in the country.
The question of bigness is a relative one and must be judged in light of particular circumstances. Theoretically, the larger the program the greater the temptation to depart from the rules and regulations and principles set forth above. However, realistically, it simply means that greater care on the part of everyone concerned is essential to insure that excesses do not prevail.
Notwithstanding the size of the program, in this university we shall adhere to the standards and rules and regulations in intercollegiate athletics and insist that scholarship and academic excellent is paramount.
This past May during Graduation/Reunion weekend, the UNC General Alumni Association presented a program honoring the legacy of both Friday and Aycock. GAA President Doug Dibbert related a Bill Aycock story that resonated with a full house in the UNC Blue Zone.
The story goes something like this. During the 1961-62 basketball season, Dean Smith’s team won only 8 games. When the season ended, two or three prominent alumni called and asked to meet with Chancellor Aycock about the 8-win-basketball season. They told the chancellor he needed to replace Smith as soon as his contract was up. After listening to the alums for several minutes, Aycock excused himself and left the room. When he returned he said: “Gentlemen I’d like to inform you that I just extended Dean Smith’s contract. Now, are we done here?”
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 saw the release of the long-awaited “Wainstein Report,” formally titled “Investigation of Irregular Classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.” The 136-page report links individuals in the “Academic Support Program for Student Athletes” to fake “paper classes” in that department between 1993 and 2011. The UNC website devoted to this topic is called “Our Commitment: Taking Action and Moving Forward Together,” which includes links to a video of the press conference and a PDF of the report.
On this day 62 football seasons ago, October 18, 1952, the UNC football team kicked off the 1952 season for a second time. Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard explains how that happened and how a series of unique events made the ’52 season unlike any other.
When the February 4, 1950 issue of The State, with Duke Chapel pictured on its cover, arrived in Hugh Morton’s mailbox in Wilmington, his immediate reaction was to quickly supply publisher Carl Goerch an “equal-time” photograph from UNC. The magazine printed Morton’s shot of the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower on its February 25th cover. In the early summer of 1952, when UNC Sports Information Director Jake Wade and his assistant Julian Scheer were preparing the ’52 football media guide (called a “blue book” in those days), they remembered Morton’s bell tower shot and decided to use it for the front cover of the ’52 guide. Inside, Wade talked about UNC’s chances for the upcoming football season, and Head Coach Carl Snavely’s switch from the single-wing to the split T-formation.
Snavely said, “We lacked the speedy, shifty tailbacks, tough blocking backs and interfering linemen so vital to the single-wing. We probably should have made the change a year ago.” Smith Barrier, writing in the 1952 Illustrated Football Annual, picked up the Snavely quote and added that twenty lettermen from the 1951 team had graduated.
Carolina began the 1952 season without much fanfare.
On Saturday, September 27th, the Texas Longhorns came into Chapel Hill for the first time since that “never-to-be-forgotten” day in 1948 when the Tar Heels were victorious 34 to 7 in a game many Tar Heels to this day call the greatest Carolina win . . . ever.
A sign hanging from Old East dorm read “Remember ’48,” but the events of September 25, 1948 were only a memory. Irwin Smallwood, writing in the Greensboro Daily News, on Sunday, September 28th, said, “Carolina’s hopes of a repeat of that great ’48 victory over Texas . . . lasted exactly five plays—no more.” Five plays into the game, Carolina fumbled. Texas recovered and never looked back, posting a 28 to 7 victory. 40,000 cheering Tar Heels, led by new UNC Head Cheerleader Bo Thorpe, along with the Elizabeth City Marching Band, and with Tar Heel football great Charlie Justice in the stands, and UNC All America Art Weiner at Snavely’s side on the bench. All that was not enough.
Next on the schedule was Georgia in Athens, but that encounter would never happen.
The front-page headline in the Greensboro Daily News on October 3rd read, “University Cancels Two Grid Contests as Polio Strikes.” The games with Georgia and NC State were canceled when UNC fullback Harold (Bull) Davidson came down with polio. Four additional students, all athletes, came down with the disease. Daily Tar Heel editor, Barry Farber, said, “the news is very depressing, but the only sensible step the University could take.”
Down in Athens, Georgia Head Coach Wally Butts said, “we are very disappointed that our traditional game with North Carolina can’t be played. We feel they were right to cancel the game under the circumstances.”
During the next two weeks, students were urged to stay on campus and long distant telephone calls to and from Chapel Hill doubled as students and anxious parents kept in touch.
In the end, all five students, football player “Bull” Davidson, cross country teammates John Robert Barden, Jr. and Richard Lee Bostain, swimmer Robert Nash “Pete” Higgins, and freshman football player Samuel S. Sanders, all recovered quickly and none suffered any paralysis.
So, on October 18th, it was time to kickoff the ’52 football season for a second time, with Wake Forest coming to town for the 49th meeting between the two schools, a series dating back to 1888.
Despite losing 6 of 11 fumbles, the Tar Heels led Wake 7 to 6 with 1:16 left in the game. But at that point Wake’s Sonny George kicked a game-winning- 22-yard field goal. New mascot Rameses VIII and 30,000 Tar Heel fans left Kenan Stadium dejected.
Next it was on to South Bend and a fourth meeting with Notre Dame. This one turned out just as the previous three had been…a Tar Heel loss. This time it was 34 to 14.
This interesting side-bar story appeared in the Greensboro Daily News on October 30, 1952:
It may be bad . . . but really, it’s not all that bad. Today (October 29th) Bo Thorpe reported to Coach Carl Snavely for football practice. Snavely appraised his new candidate as very fast and shifty. Thorpe is head cheerleader for Carolina’s Tar Heels, who have yet to win a game this season.
Time picked up the Thorpe story and ran it in its November 17th issue on page 132.
Here’s another interesting sidebar. Henry Benton (Bo) Thorpe started his first band in 1978. He and his band played for five presidential and gubernatorial inaugural balls, the National Symphony Ball, the Kentucky Colonel’s Derby Ball and for the annual June German, a traditional dance held in Rocky Mount. In all . . . at least 60 concerts a year.
For Carolina’s Tar Heels, a trip to Knoxville was next where they would be a three-touchdown underdog. Only 22,000 fans turned out for the game that saw the Volunteers swamp the Heels 41 to 14. The losing streak, going back to October 13, 1951 was now at 10—longest among the nation’s major colleges.
The University of Virginia was Carolina’s homecoming opponent on November 8, 1952. Their trip to Chapel Hill would be their only out-of-state venture in ’52, and they obviously made it count…a 34 to 7 blowout. A South Carolina homecoming game in Columbia was just ahead.
UNC freshman Flo Worrell, who had played on Carolina’s junior varsity team most of the ’52 season, stepped up and led the Heels to a much-needed victory over USC, 27 to 19. The losing streak was halted at 11 and Carolina fans looked forward to the traditional “battle of blues” slated for Saturday, November 22nd.
The weatherman promised 50-degrees and cloudy skies for the 39th meeting between Carolina and Duke . . . but he was wrong. 42,000 chilled fans saw Duke win the Southern Conference championship by shutting out the Tar Heels, 34 to 0. Carolina was never in the game.
With one game remaining, the Heels were 1 and 6. It had truly been a Tar Heel season out of focus. In seven games Carolina had scored five times on the ground and six times through the air—a total of eleven touchdowns. (In 1948, Charlie Justice personally scores 11 times in 10 games and passed for 12 more touchdowns).
The final game of the 1952 season was a Friday night affair in Miami’s Orange Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes. 20,222 fans came out and saw Carolina play its best game since a 40 to 7 win over William & Mary in October of 1950. During a 13- minute span in the second quarter, Carolina scored 27 points. The Alumni Review headline read, “34-7 Win Over Miami Provides Pleasing Finale.”
About 11:30 PM on Friday, November 28, 1952, the long ‘52 nightmare-season—a season like no other—was finally over. It was unique, as the record book shows:
- A 2-6 won-lost record
- No wins in Kenan Stadium
- 2 games canceled due to polio outbreak
- Midway through the season, Head Cheerleader Bo Thorpe turns in his megaphone for a football helmet
- Final game in the Southern Conference (the ’53 Tar Heels would play in the new Atlantic Coast Conference)
- Carolina scores 27 points in 13 minutes at Miami
The unofficial record book shows that world class photographer Hugh Morton documented all four of Carolina’s home games during the 1952 season. (He also photographed Duke’s home game against Georgia Tech.)
The University Athletic Council met at 8 PM on December 2 to decide the fate of Head Coach Carl Snavely. The coach had turned in his letter of resignation earlier in the afternoon. After 2 hours of discussion, the council accepted the resignation. Dean A.W. Hobbs, Chairman of the Council said, “The Council wishes to go on record as appreciating sincerely the fine services that Mr. Snavely has rendered the athletic association at the University of North Carolina.”
Carl Snavely left Chapel Hill in early 1953 and would not return to the campus until the “Charlie Justice Era” reunion during the weekend of October 29-31, 1971.
The good news from Chapel Hill in late 1952 was that new Head Basketball Coach Frank McGuire won his first game with the Tar Heels…a 70 to 50 win over The Citadel on December 1st.
But how soon will we free Americans forsake the healthy 1914 status for a return to the rapid mobilization of 1917?
—editorial column, The Daily Tar Heel, 15 September 1939
From the standpoint of military remembrances, we are living today within a curious historical alignment: we are amid the final year of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, which ended in April 1865; we look back 100 years on the start of “The Great War,” which began in the last days of July 1914; and we mark 75 years since the beginning of World War II in September 1939. It is that final conflict that falls within the sphere of Hugh Morton, who 75 years ago today began his first day of classes as a freshman at the University of North Carolina.
Frosh Morton likely would have read the school year’s first issue of The Daily Tar Heel, in which the student newspaper’s editors reprinted one of its articles from 1918 about the first world war and now called for neutrality in the second. In an editorial titled, “The War: Stay Sane; Stay Out of Europe” they wrote,
. . . may the University student body of 1939—well augmented as it is this morning by a heavy influx of new blood, the Men of ’43—steep itself in the attitude of the 1914 group: a general interest in keeping America neutral and uninvolved!
The “Men of ’43,” however, included women. The Daily Tar Heel noted elsewhere that coed registrations had already surpassed 300 women, with the total anticipated to reach 500—a number dwarfed by total registrations expected to reach 3,600.
There are few photographs in the collection from these early days at Chapel Hill, either of or by Hugh Morton, because his camera was stolen soon after he arrived on campus. The group portrait above is one of the few in the collection that depict Morton during this time period. It is not related to the war, but it is interesting to note that Hugh Morton was a sharpshooter with a rifle. Perhaps this posting will lead to some additional identifications and a more precise date. The only clues we have about the above photograph stem from comments made on a post a few years ago about a photograph made around the same time on the Canadian border.
Much like developments between 1914 and 1917, American neutrality ended at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Hugh Morton enlisted in the Army in 1942, and his military service relied on his eye as sharpshooter—not as rifleman, but as a combat movie cameraman.
Nine years ago on September 8, 2005, the “new and improved” Memorial Hall on the UNC campus was celebrated with a grand re-opening weekend. On this special anniversary, Morton Collection volunteer, Jack Hilliard, takes a look back at this iconic building.
It became painfully clear during UNC’s commencement weekend of 1883 that Gerrard Hall was too small for Carolina’s growing family. Afterward, officials quickly drew plans for a new 4,000-seat building on a site just west of Gerrard to be named Memorial Hall in honor of David Lowry Swain, President of the University from 1835 until 1868, and North Carolina’s Governor from 1832 until 1835. Soon after construction began, however, the university expanded the memorial honor to include UNC alumni who died in the Civil War as well as additional outstanding Carolina alumni and North Carolina citizens.
A lagging fund raising campaign and cost overruns plagued the project, but finally construction was completed and Memorial Hall was dedicated on June 3, 1885. A project that had an original estimated cost of $20,000 had a final cost about $45,000. (That’s $1.074 million in today’s dollars.) Despite a poor architectural design and major acoustical problems, the facility served the University until 1929. In 1896, after the campus gymnasium became a dining hall, Memorial Hall was used as a gymnasium and remained in that capacity until Bynum Gym was opened on May 29, 1905. By 1929, Memorial Hall had suffered major damage to its foundation. The building was declared unsafe and torn down.
On January 18, 1930 John Sprunt Hill, speaking for the University building committee, recommended “the erection of a modern fireproof building of greater dignity, to replace old Memorial Hall.” The State Emergency Fund provided $150,000 to construct a new structure on the site of the old hall. The new Memorial Hall was completed in mid-summer 1931 at a final cost of $182,000 ($2.6 million in today’s dollars). On University Day, October 12th, the new facility was dedicated and the building was presented to University trustee, John Sprunt Hill, by North Carolina Governor O. Max Gardner.
The first performance on stage in the new building was dancer Carola Goya. For almost 30 years, Memorial Hall served the University and Chapel Hill community well with entertainment, freshman orientations sessions, awards nights, baccalaureate exercises, commencement ceremonies, lectures, pep rallies, the North Carolina Symphony, and even a beauty pageant in 1966. The list of those appearing on stage reads like a who’s who . . . Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Montovani, Marcel Marceau. On January 31, 1942, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited campus as keynote speaker at a jointly-sponsored International Student Service-Carolina Political Union Conference on “Youth’s Stake in War Aims and Peace Plans.”
Over the years, Hal Holbrook with his “Evening with Mark Twain” made several appearances as did Flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya. At the height of the folk music era Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul and Mary stopped by. In 1987 Charles Kuralt and Loonis McGlohon performed “North Carolina is My Home.” A speakers list includes, Billy Graham, Terry Sanford, and Ted Kennedy. Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather have been featured at the Nelson Benton Memorial Lecture series sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and coaches Carl Snavely, Wallace Wade, and Dean Smith were featured as part of an ongoing series on sportsmanship. On May 13, 1989 as part of Graduation/Reunion Weekend, Hugh Morton presented a slide show from Carolina’s Golden Age to a near-full house in the storied facility.
When UNC’s Clef Hangers completed their annual spring concert on April 20, 2002 the doors to the ‘Great Hall” were closed for a three-year major building transformation. A partnership between the State of North Carolina and hundreds of generous donors funded the $18 million project. The new Memorial Hall now has air conditioning, seven dressing rooms, new marble lobby floor, and a new stage that is twice the size of the original. The auditorium seating configuration is improved with wider aisles and better sight lines.
On September 8, 2005 a ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off the Grand Reopening Gala that featured stars Tony Bennett, Itzhak Perlman, and Leonard Slatkin—plus our own North Carolina Symphony. Following the hall’s renovation, Carolina Performing Arts has continued to offer world-class performances in music, dance and theater, and the caliber of performers picked up right where it had left off before closing with Bonnie Raitt, Yo-Yo Ma, Nanci Griffith, and Vince Gill. In 2005, National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” originated a nation-wide broadcast from Memorial Hall, and in 2009 the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet performed a first ever concert in the Southeast.
The future is just as bright for Memorial Hall. Performances this season include the Pittsburgh Symphony under the direction of Manfred Honeck, and Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. And of course the Holidays would not be complete without the Carolina Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker.”
Jack Morton, a professional photographer in Raleigh and grandson of Hugh Morton will give a presentation titled “My Grandfather and His Camera” this evening at Barton College as part of the opening reception for the exhibit “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective.” Installed in the Barton Art Galleries (Case Art Building, 700 Vance St. NE, Wilson, NC) the reception begins at 5:00 p.m and the presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. The exhibit will be at Barton College through October 3. This is the third venue for the exhibit, which debuted a year ago.
Jack Morton will talk about the influence his grandfather had on him and his development as an artist. Regular readers of A View to Hugh may recall “The Doors Shall Remain Open,” a post written by Jack Hilliard last year that includes a photograph of the two Mortons on the sidelines during a UNC football game. That post has a link to an article also titled “My Grandfather and his Camera” written by Jack Morton in 2003. It will be interesting to hear how Jack continues to be influenced by his grandfather’s photography more than a decade later.
On September 16, I will be giving a presentation at Barton titled “Hugh Morton’s Rise To His Photographic Peak.” I explore the first three decades of Morton’s photographic career, share my experience of curating and producing the exhibit, and discuss several photographs that are part of the exhibition. During the day I’ll be meeting in the gallery with a hisory of photography class. I am looking forward to both trips to Wilson!
Please note: “Operator error” caused a number of reader’s comments from the past few weeks to disappear from the blog a couple days ago. I ceased activities on the blog until I could recover them this morning. My apologies!
A View to Hugh has been on a summer vacation of sorts as other projects have pressed to the fore. This week marks the start of another school year at UNC, and the resumption of more frequent posts. Today, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back 68 years to another time that many believe was “the best of times” at UNC.
But first . . . some background on the photographs used for this post. Above is Morton’s first post World War II photograph of a UNC scene published in The Alumni Review. Along with a long caption about Morton’s war service, the image filled an entire page inside the October 1946 issue. The November issue featured the photograph below on its cover, and its caption states that Morton had recently “presented to the Alumni Office a half dozen new pictures of familiar campus scenes.” Those photographs, most of which are not in the online Morton collection, illustrate this blog post. (If you are counting, however, you’ll come up with seven after the one above.)
It was a heterogeneous group of different ages and experiences—all due to a terrible war which had interrupted or affected the lives of most of us. . . We developed a tremendous school spirit in a very short time, and we were pretty charged up about changing the world and making it better.
—Class of 1947 “Revised Yackety Yack” 25th Reunion Edition, May 1972 by Sibyl Goerch Powe
Most UNC alumni consider their time in Chapel Hill as the best. I grew up in North Carolina during the late 1940s and early ‘50s and I remember that period as being the best. Many at Carolina, however, describe the years between VJ-Day (“Victory over Japan Day” celebrated on 2 September 1945 in the United States) and the Korean War—the years 1945 through 1950—as UNC’s “Golden Era.” World War II was finally over and Tar Heels everywhere could look ahead to the better times.
This era was born near the end of WWII when, on June 22, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944—forever to be known as the “GI Bill.” Among its many provisions, Title II Chapter IV revolutionized education in the United States, especially for those returning from service during World War II, because it empowered the federal government to reimburse colleges and other approved educational institutions for “the customary cost of tuition, and such laboratory, library, health, infirmary, and other similar fees as are customarily charged, and may pay for books, supplies, equipment, and other necessary expenses” of qualifying veterans—not to exceed $500 for “an ordinary school year.” The bill also allotted subsistence provisions of $50 per month for single veterans and $75 per month for those with dependents.
In the seven years following enactment of the GI Bill, approximately 8 million veterans received educational benefits, and of that number about 2.3 million attended colleges and universities. Enrollment at UNC rose to 6,800 which was 2,400 more than any time before.
As one would imagine, this jump in enrollment caused some housing and classroom-size challenges. An interesting article in October 1945 issue of The Alumni Review discussed the anticipated effects of armistice on UNC’s student housing. “The exodus of the U. S. Navy Pre-Flight School on October 15 left the University with a surplus of dormitory space for men students for the first time since Pearl Harbor,” the magazine wrote. “A particular need that developed with the influx of veterans was accommodations for married students.” The article also noted that Lenoir Dining Hall, which had been reserved for the cadets, could now become “an All-University cafeteria.”
Quonset huts, trailers and pre-fabs became a way of life, despite the departure of pre-flight school cadets who had occupied ten dormitories. On south campus, the federal government constructed Victory Village in less than a year on 65-acres at a cost $1.25 million. Many of the returning vets who were married lived there. The Victory Village address book reads like a who’s who at UNC. Terry Sanford, William Friday, and William Aycock, along with 349 other families made up the extended neighborhood, which lasted until 1972 when it was torn down to make room for expansion of UNC Hospitals.
For others on campus, cots were set up in the Tin Can and under the seats at Emerson Stadium while many other students lived with Chapel Hill families. The returning veterans along with a normal compliment of high school students presented a conflict of personalities on campus. Never before had so many students had so little in common—and got along so smoothly together. Students held dances on special weekends along with fraternity parties and gatherings at the Student Union, which at that time was Graham Memorial. The Big Band Era was still around although winding down and Tommy Dorsey made a return to campus. He had been a guest, along with Frank Sinatra, in May 1941 prior to our country’s entry into the war.
The common denominator for all on campus, however, was sports. Leading the Carolina Spirit was Head Cheerleader Norman Sper, Jr. Leading the Carolina Band was Professor Earl Slocum with featured bandsman Andy Griffith. And the man on the sideline and court-side with the camera was Hugh Morton. It was during this post-war period that Morton’s photography blossomed. Interestingly, Morton did not return to Chapel Hill to finish his final year of college despite the GI Bill. Instead, he entered his grandfather’s real estate business, Hugh McRae & Co., in Wilmington—but a camera was always close at hand.
Many years later, on May 13, 1989, as part of UNC’’s Graduation/Reunion Weekend, the General Alumni Association offered its annual presentation of “Saturday Morning in Chapel Hill.” The ’89 edition featured a panel discussion consisting of ten Tar Heel athletes from the Golden Era, led by Robert V. “Bob” Cox, UNC Class of ’49, and a Hugh Morton slide show. The title of the program was “Why Did We Have it So Good and What Made US Different?” It played to a near full-house in Memorial Hall on the UNC campus.
With coaches like Carl Snavely (football), Bunn Hearn (baseball), Tom Scott and Ben Carnevale (basketball), and Chuck Erickson (Golf)—all under the leadership of Athletics Director Robert Fetzer—Carolina won 32 Southern Conference Championships for the years 1945 through 1950 . . . plus 10 National Champions, 3 basketball and 3 football All Americas, 3 major bowls games and a football National Player of the Year. With names like Bones (McKinney), Hook (Dillon), Harvey (Ward), Vic (Seixas), Art (Weiner), Chunk (Simmons) and Sara (Wakefield). And of course the poster boy for the era was nicknamed “Choo Choo” (Charlie Justice).
Stellar athletes mingled with the regular student population along Franklin Street, just as they do today. However, the Franklin Street of 1946 was a lot different than the one the class of 2018 will come to know and love, One of those businesses from 1946 survives today at 138 East Franklin: it’s the Carolina Coffee Shop. Also back in ’46 there was Danziger’s with pizza on the menu, The Porthole “with rolls to die-for,” says Charly Mann on the web site “Chapel Hill Memories,” and Harry’s, with food, New York style. Also along Franklin was the Varsity Shop, Huggins Hardware, Foister’s Camera Store, and the Intimate Book Shop (the original one with the squeaky wooden floors). And you could go to the movies for $1.20 at the Carolina Theatre and see Hollywood’s top movie from 1946, The Best Years of Our Lives, from director William Wyler and starring Myrna Loy and Fredrick March.
UNC’s great All America football player Charlie Justice was a Navy veteran and was eligible for the GI Bill. UNC also offered him a football scholarship. So Charlie asked UNC’s Athletics Director Robert Fetzer if his football scholarship could be transferred to his wife. Fetzer said he didn’t know but would check with the Southern Conference and the NCAA to make sure it would be OK. Turns out it was, and the Justices enrolled at UNC on February 14, 1946. Sarah Alice Justice became the first and possibly the only female to study at Carolina on a football scholarship.
When classes officially began on Tuesday, many in-state undergraduate wallets were $8,374 lighter after paying tuition and fees. Over the past four years, tuition has increased about $2000. However, a century ago, the cost of attending UNC held steady for 38 years. Between 1886 and 1924, tuition was only $60 for in-state students. The advertisements from a 1900 issue of the Fisherman & Farmer and an 1887 issue of The Progressive Farmer provide information about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including tuition and available curriculum.
Using an inflation calculator to adjust prices according to the historical Consumer Price Index data, a tuition payment in 1900 of $60.00 would be around $1,654 in today’s currency. The second advertisement lists room and board in 1887 at $5.00, which would be around $138.00 for a modern semester. In addition to this, education demand has gone considerably up as teaching faculty increased from 38 in 1900 to 3,696 active faculty in 2013. The newspaper images were obtained from Chronicling America.
This week the North Carolina Collection welcomes new and returning UNC students to the 2014-15 academic year. Campus has been buzzing with students unpacking cars, buying books, and reuniting with friends. At the moment, everyone looks pretty clean… but it won’t be long before they all have dirty laundry.
Our August Artifact of the Month is a canvas laundry bag that was used by UNC students of two generations: First, Charles Edward Hight, Class of 1926, and later his daughter, Elna Hight, Class of 1964. Both Charles and Elna used this bag when attending UNC.
We love that this humble laundry bag survived two tours of duty at UNC, decades apart. And we’re grateful to the Hight family for trusting us to be the caretakers of this timeless slice of student life.
Best wishes to all the students starting the academic year. Don’t forget to wash your sheets!
The Class of 2018 began its studies at the UNC School of Medicine earlier this month. The class of 180 doctors-to-be is 48 percent female. That’s a far cry from 100 years ago, when Cora Corpening became UNC-CH’s first female med student. According to Gladys Hall Coates’ Seventy-fifth anniversary of the coming of women to the University of North Carolina, the student body voted against admitting her to the school. But Corpening attended classes anyway. And after about a month, she was formally admitted. According to a profile of the Corpening family in the July 17, 1940 edition of The Robesonian, Corpening finished the two-year program at UNC in spring of 1916 and then completed her medical studies at Tulane University, where she was one of the top students. “After completing her medical course, she located at Suffolk, Va. and did the work formerly done by eight physicians during World war times,” The Robesonian reported. After serving at Lakeview Hospital in Suffolk, Corpening moved to Virginia Beach, where she worked in private practice. She died in 1984.