A final Wallace Wade win in Kenan

When Carolina met Duke on November 25, 1950 in historic Kenan Memorial Stadium, we didn’t know it at the time, but it would be Duke Head Football Coach Wallace Wade’s last coaching appearance against his rival from Chapel Hill. Over a 16 year period from 1934 through 1950, UNC Coach Carl Snavely met Duke Coach Wallace Wade seven times on the gridiron. Snavely won 5 of those games. Wade won in 1935 in Durham and his only win against Snavely in Kenan Stadium came on a cold day in November of 1950.

As official football practice gets underway today for Carolina’s 2017 football season—the 91st in Kenan Stadium, and the 104th meeting with Duke on September 23rd—Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard recalls that famous game from 66 seasons ago.

Stadium program for the 1950 Duke versus University of North Carolina football game (Courtesy Jack Hilliard).

Stadium program for the 1950 Duke versus University of North Carolina football game (Courtesy Jack Hilliard).

I remember, as a little kid, my dad telling my mom, as he left for work early Saturday morning, November 25, 1950, “I guess Carolina and Duke will play in the snow today.” Had it not been for the covering on Kenan’s turf, my dad would have been right.  On Friday the 24th, high winds, snow and bitter 15-degree temperatures moved into North Carolina.  The headline in Saturday’s Durham Sun, read: “Vicious Icy Storm Batters East.”

A check of the 1950 UNC football media guide, which was actually published in August, indicated the game was already a sellout. 40,000 of those ticket-holders braved the weather and came out for the game . . . the other 6,000 decided to stay home by the fire and the radio.  Photographer Hugh Morton was one of the former.

Head coach Carl Snavely’s North Carolina Tar Heels had beaten head coach Wallace Wade’s Duke Blue Devils the past four seasons and the Heels were made a slight favorite in this, the 37th meeting between the two rival schools.  Wade and Snavely had tremendous respect for each other.  In July of 1950 the two rival coaches appeared together in the North Carolina outdoor drama “The Lost Colony.”  They were special guests as part of Kay Kyser’s and Emma Neal Morrison’s “Celebrity Night” celebrations.  Going into the 1950 “battle of the blues,” the darker blue, Blue Devils were 6 and 3 on the season, while the lighter blue Tar Heels were 3-3-2.

As one might guess, wind was to be a factor in the game, so when the Tar Heels won Referee Orrell J. Mitchell’s toss, they elected to defend the west goal with the wind at their backs.  The Tar Heels moved the ball inside the Duke 25-yard-line twice in the first half, but couldn’t score.  Duke’s only first-half threat came near the end of the second quarter.  The Blue Devils went on a 44-yard drive to the Carolina 36-yard-line, mainly through the efforts of Duke captain Billy Cox’s running and passing, but they couldn’t score. The score at halftime was 0-0.

Because of the weather, there was no halftime entertainment on the field.  Fans had to be content reading through their game-day programs, which on this day featured a front cover Lon Keller image of radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey.  You could read a column by UNC’s Jake Wade or Duke’s Ted Mann, and get their takes on the game.

Hugh Morton's photograph published in the November 27, 1950 issue of the Charlotte News with the caption, "Dick Bunting fights his way to the Duke 22 in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, but Blaine Earon is there to slam him down.  This threat, like five others, failed."  A search for this negative in the Morton collection did not turn up the negative.

Hugh Morton’s photograph published in the November 27, 1950 issue of the Charlotte News with the caption, “Dick Bunting fights his way to the Duke 22 in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, but Blaine Earon is there to slam him down. This threat, like five others, failed.” A search for this negative in the Morton collection did not turn up the negative.

At the 2:58 mark of the third quarter, Coach Wade decided to gamble.  Duke with the ball, fourth down at the Carolina 34 and needing seven yards for a first down, tailback Billy Cox took the direct snap from center J. E. Gibson . . . looked down field . . . spotted wingback Tommy Powers . . . and threw a perfect shot which Powers caught as he crossed the goal line.  Mike Souchak’s point-after made the score 7-0.

Scan of Hugh Morton's negative (as shot) of Duke's Billy Cox holding the game ball after a 7-0 win over UNC at Kenan Stadium, 25 November 1950. This image appears in the sports sections of the Wilmington Morning Star and the Charlotte News. The latter identified the woman next to Cox as Mona Booth, Miss Durham of 1950. Other Morton photographs appeared in those newspapers (shown below), but the negatives either have not yet been located in the collection or have not survived.

Scan of Hugh Morton’s negative (as shot) of Duke’s Billy Cox holding the game ball after a 7-0 win over UNC at Kenan Stadium, 25 November 1950. This image appears in the sports sections of the Wilmington Morning Star and the Charlotte News. The latter identified the woman next to Cox as Mona Booth, Miss Durham of 1950. Other Morton photographs appeared in those newspapers (shown below), but the negatives either have not yet been located in the collection or have not survived.

During the final quarter and a half, Carolina had three great opportunities, but the score remained 7-0.  The final game stats showed that Carolina had first downs at the Duke 22, 17, 28, 9, 7, and 20, but could not score.  In his post game interview, Wade praised Duke’s incredible defense.

As the game ended and the late November sky began to turn a darker shade of gray, the Duke players rushed to hoist their victorious coach on their shoulders; but as we had come to expect, Coach Wade wanted no part of anything like that.  Wade told his players, “No, no, boys there’ll be none of that. Let’s go shake their hands.” He then walked calmly across field for a final time and shook Snavely’s hand, just as he had done on six previous occasions when the two coaches had played one another.  It would be Wade’s first, final, and only win in Kenan Stadium against a Snavely-coached Tar Heel team.

Two post-game images by Morton appeared in the November 27th Wilmington Morning Star.

Two post-game images by Morton appeared in the November 27th Wilmington Morning Star.

When the field cleared, the Carolina cheerleaders, led by head man Joe Chambliss, rolled the Victory Bell across the cold Kenan turf to the Duke section on the North side of the stadium, as the Blue Devil fans cheered.  It was their first opportunity to ring the bell since its introduction following Carolina’s 1948 win. (That respectful type Victory Bell transition seems to have been forgotten in today’s world of overwrought fan and player hostility.)

The headline in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer, read: “Blue Devils’ Gamble Pays Off for Score in High Wind and Freezing Temperature.”  Coach Snavely, when asked in his Monday morning news conference about his impression of Saturday’s game, had this to say: “Duke was hotter than we were in several crucial moments. . . . You must remember that Duke played in the same weather we did.”

Four days after the game, Wade married Virginia Jones and after a honeymoon in New York, he announced his resignation from Duke in order to take the position of Commissioner of the Southern Conference. He would hold that position for ten years. Upon his retirement from the Southern Conference in 1960, words of praise came from media outlets across the country. One of those tributes came from an avid UNC Tar Heel, who broadcast UNC football games on the Tobacco Sports Network…Bill Currie, then the Sports Director of WSOC-TV, Channel 9, in Charlotte once said: “Nobody ever gets over being a Tar Heel. He also said this about Coach Wade:

“The true measure of Wallace Wade’s greatness as a man is not fully reflected in his overwhelming won-lost record on the field, nor in his patriotic devotion to our country in combat during two world wars: rather, it is reflected in the dignity and bearing of the man, which makes him a giant among his peers and successors.”

William Wallace Wade was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame with the Class of 1955. Twelve years later, in 1967, Duke Stadium was renamed Wallace Wade Stadium in his honor.

He died on October 7, 1986. He was 94-years-old.

 

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Now Available: Edie Parker Papers

We are pleased to announce a new addition to University Archives, the Edie Parker Papers.

Edie Parker (then Edie Knight) attended UNC from 1947 to 1949. As a student, she was active in student government, Greek life, and the Model United Nations. The collection — mostly in the form of a scrapbook — includes materials from the Women’s Intercollegiate Government Forum that Parker planned, orientation booklets, rush invitations, clippings about the Model UN from the Daily Tar Heel, and letters from male suitors. While at UNC, Parker also participated in a conference about the U.S. role in European recovery from World War II that Mademoiselle magazine hosted in 1948. Her notes from the conference are included in the collection. Parker’s scrapbook and accompanying papers provide insight into the life of a woman student at UNC during the late 1940s.

Below, we’ve highlighted just a few items from the Edie Parker scrapbook, including photographs of UNC students and the 1949 UNC Commencement program.

Posted in Daily Tar Heel, From the Archives, greek life, model un, New and Noteworthy, scrapbooks, Student LIfe, Student Life and Student Organizations, Student Organizations, students, UNC History, University History, women at carolina | Comments Off on Now Available: Edie Parker Papers

Guide to Good Times: Summer Fun in Chapel Hill in 1979

Chapel Hill has always slowed down in the summer. Even with a growing population of summer school students and programs, the campus and town remain comparatively quiet in the months between commencement and the start of fall classes.

The summer staff of the Daily Tar Heel in 1979 took on the challenge of finding a summer activity for every letter of the alphabet. Presented below, from the issue published on May 31, 1979, is the “Guide to Good Times,” the ABCs of summer entertainment in Chapel Hill.

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Kuralt’s Road Ends in His Beloved Chapel Hill

. . . was the first page headline of The Herald-Sun, Durham’s newspaper, on July 9, 1997.  At noon the previous day—twenty years ago today—family and friends buried and memorialized Charles Kuralt on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives is home to The Herald-Sun photographic negatives, so today we honor that anniversary by featuring the two photographs, cropped as they were then, that accompanied the newspaper’s story.

The Herald-Sun caption for this photograph by Joe Weiss: "Wallace Kuralt, (center) brother of Charles Kuralt, talks with CBS journalist Harry Smith after the graveside service for Charles Kuralt Tuesday at the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on the campus of the University of North Carolina."

The Herald-Sun caption for this photograph by Joe Weiss: “Wallace Kuralt, (center) brother of Charles Kuralt, talks with CBS journalist Harry Smith after the graveside service for Charles Kuralt Tuesday at the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on the campus of the University of North Carolina.”

Kuralt’s connections to Carolina were long and deep.  Born in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1934, his family moved to Charlotte in 1945.  He attended UNC between 1951 and 1955, and he worked on the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, as a reporter and columnist.  In April 1954 he won the student election for the position of editor.  After his time at UNC he wrote for two years for The Charlotte Observer before joining the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1957 as a news writer for radio.  He became a CBS News correspondent two years later at the age of 25. Kuralt spent nearly his entire career at CBS, retiring May 1, 1994 at the age of 59.  He was best known for “On the Road,” the long-running series of Americana short stories that he started in 1967 as segments aired during The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.  Others may recall him as the fifteen-year anchor of CBS Sunday Morning, which first aired in 1979.  Throughout his celebrated career and wanderings across the country, Kuralt maintained lasting love for his home state.

Charles Kuralt died on July 4, 1997.  To mark that anniversary, sister blog A View to Hugh published an account of his passing and memorial service that features photographs by Kuralt’s friend Hugh Morton and documents from the Charles Kuralt Collection and the William C. Friday Papers in the Southern Historical Collection.  Morton and Friday were two of the speakers at the memorial service attended by 1,600 people in UNC’s Memorial Hall.  UNC’s social media Spotlight webpage republished a short excerpt of that blog post along with the University News Services’ July 8, 1997 story, “Life and legacy of Charles Kuralt honored during service at UNC-CH’s Memorial Hall.”

As captioned in The Herald-Sun: "CBS Anchor Dan Rather bows his head during the memorial ceremony for his fellow newsman Charles Kuralt." Photograph by Bill Willcox.

As captioned in The Herald-Sun: “CBS Anchor Dan Rather bows his head during the memorial ceremony for his fellow newsman Charles Kuralt.” Photograph by Bill Willcox.

Posted in 07 - July, history, Memorabilia Moment, On This Day, UNC History | Comments Off on Kuralt’s Road Ends in His Beloved Chapel Hill

A memorial tribute, twenty years ago

Early on the morning of Friday, July 4, 1997 we heard the sad news from New York that Tar Heel Charles Bishop Kuralt had died of heart disease and complications from lupus, an inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys and nervous system.  Four days later, a memorial service was held in Chapel Hill. On this, the twentieth anniversary of Kuralt’s passing, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard recalls that day when a group of North Carolina’s finest gathered to celebrate the life of “CBS’ poet of small-town America.”

"Chas Kuralt died"—Hugh Morton's entry for July 4, in his 1997 Executive Planner.

“Chas Kuralt died”—Hugh Morton’s entry for July 4, in his 1997 Executive Planner.

Charles really had the common touch.  He was so genuine and sincere.  I really believe he was the most loved, respected and trusted news personality in television.  —Hugh Morton

Shortly before noon on Tuesday, July 8, 1997 the old bell in South Building on the UNC campus rang for one minute. The bell is seldom used, reserved for marking such rare occasions as the installment of a new chancellor.  Earlier that morning Charles Kuralt was laid to rest in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, the place where he wanted to be buried on the campus he loved.  On July 2, two days before he died, Kuralt had sent his friend Dr. William Friday a note seeking help in securing the spot.

“I seem to be recovering nicely; but this experience has given me intimations of mortality.  I know you have better things to worry about, but I thought I would ask if you have any way of finding out if there are a couple of burial plots in Chapel Hill . . . I should have thought of this forty years ago!  Sorry to ask you to look into such a bizarre question.”

Charles Kuralt's last letter, written to Bill Friday, in the Charles Kuralt Collection #4882, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Charles Kuralt’s last letter, written to Bill Friday, in the Charles Kuralt Collection #4882, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Before Friday got the note, he got a phone call.  It was 6:00 a.m. on July 4th.  Kuralt’s assistant Karen Beckers was on the line.

“I’ve called you because I must tell you that Charles is gone.”

Beckers told Friday about the note he would be getting.  Friday and Chapel Hill Town Manager Cal Horton met at the cemetery with a map and determined that Chapel Hill resident George Hogan had several plots.  Friday then called Hogan and explained his situation.  Hogan’s reply: “No, I won’t sell them, but I’ll give Charles two.”  Turns out Hogan had worked for the Educational Foundation at UNC when Kuralt was editor of The Daily Tar Heel.

Kuralt now rests in peace near the center of the old cemetery near the gravesites of former UNC President Francis Venable and botany professor William Coker.  Not far away lie the graves of others who made Tar Heel history: former UNC System President Frank Porter Graham, playwright Paul Green, and UNC Institute of Government founder Albert Coates.

Said Friday, “He’s where I felt, and the others felt, he would like to be.”  Friday then added, “While he’s here with former presidents, he’s also here with the home folks of Chapel Hill.”  Charles’ brother Wallace said: “This is home for him.”

Dan Rather. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

Dan Rather. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

Following the private ceremony at the gravesite, people filed past the site all day.  Piles of flowers filled the spot where a future marker would be placed.  A teary-eyed Dan Rather, then anchor of the CBS Evening News, left the burial site emotionally shaken.  “I’m here in sympathy and support of his family.  He gave himself to America, and he gave it everything he had.”

Interior of Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton.

Interior of Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton.

Shortly after the service at Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, more than 1,600 people packed Memorial Hall for a celebration of Kuralt’s life, with UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker presiding.  WUNC-TV’s cameras were there to send the signal out across the Tar Heel state. Television personality Charlie Rose and WUNC-TV’s Audrey Kates Bailey anchored the broadcast.

The Memorial Hall stage was filled with an illustrious group of North Carolinians who came to share their friendships with Charles.  The group included UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker, North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, Kuralt’s special friend Hugh Morton, former UNC presidents William Friday and C.D. Spangler Jr, and Kuralt’s friend, composer Loonis McGlohon.  The North Carolina Symphony’s Brass Ensemble was also on hand to perform segments from North Carolina is My Home, which Kuralt wrote and performed with McGlohon.  McGlohon performed “The Farmer” segment that he called his favorite.

William C. Friday during the memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

William C. Friday during the memorial service for Charles Kuralt. Photograph by Hugh Morton, as cropped by the editor.

“The world knew Charles as one of the most respected and trusted newsmen of this generation, a master storyteller and a tour guide to the back roads of our nation,” said Chancellor Hooker.  “The university knew him as a stalwart alumnus who never forgot his roots—whether it meant talking to our budding journalists or giving his time and effort on behalf of the School of Social Work to help promote his late father’s profession.  He was a kind and generous man who never hesitated to lend his alma mater a hand however and whenever possible.  He will be greatly missed.”

Morton told the standing-room only crowd at Memorial Hall, “I begged him to cancel everything and come to the mountains and sleep all day or fish all day, whatever it would take to restore his health.”  Kuralt said he had too much to do.

We believe the person on the left is the Reverend David B. Thompson, with Loonis McGlohon (center), and Charles Kuralt at Belmont Abbey, May 10, 1997.

We believe the person on the left is the Reverend David B. Thompson, with Loonis McGlohon (center), and Charles Kuralt at Belmont Abbey, May 10, 1997.

Morton wasn’t surprised when he got a call telling him that Kuralt had died.  Less than two months earlier on May 10, Hugh Morton met with Kuralt at Belmont Abbey College.  It was probably their last time together.  Kuralt was the commencement speaker and received an honorary degree.  McGlohon also received an honorary degree that day, along with Catholic theologian and author, the Reverend Terrence Kardong, and the Reverend David Thompson, Bishop of the Charleston diocese.  Kuralt had been diagnosed with lupus and his treatment regimen had taken a severe toll.

"Belmont Abbey / Loonis & Charles"—Hugh Morton's entry in his executive planner for May 10, 1997.

“Belmont Abbey / Loonis & Charles”—Hugh Morton’s entry in his executive planner for May 10, 1997.

Through his world travels, Charles Kuralt never forgot his North Carolina roots.  Governor Jim Hunt called Kuralt North Carolina’s storytelling ambassador, then added, “He was born on the coast, grew up in the Piedmont, loved the mountains, but he belonged to America. He was a fine reporter.  But when he started telling us America’s stories, we smiled and sometimes cried when we saw the goodness.”

In July 1997, television personality Charlie Rose was hosting an interview program on Public Broadcasting (PBS), so it was a natural for the North Carolina native to co-anchor the TV coverage of the Charles Kuralt memorial broadcast on the University’s Public Broadcasting station WUNC-TV.  Rose called Kuralt “a genuine American hero.”

“There was almost no one who didn’t know him. People would say ‘I was always wondering when you would show up.’” Then with a smile Rose added. “There was one exception, a woman Kuralt walked up to interview asked him to leave two quarts of milk, thinking he was the milkman.”

“All of us, when we heard the story (of Kuralt’s death) wanted to say ‘Stop—one more story, one more conversation. Introduce me to one more person that reflects America. Give me one more gentle reminder of who we are and what the great fabric of this nation is about.’ ”

Former UNC System President Dr. William Friday said, “No matter where he was in the world, he would call Chapel Hill and ask whether the dogs were still chasing the squirrels across campus and the flowers still blooming.”

When UNC System President C.D. Spangler, Jr. got to the podium to add his remarks, he opened with these words: “To Charles and all his family here, I say welcome back to Chapel Hill.”

Supplement

William C. Friday’s papers in the Southern Historical Collection contain the following letters between Friday and Hugh Morton, written soon after the Kuralt memorial service.

Epilog

On October 12, 2012 (University Day on the UNC campus), former UNC System President Dr. William Clyde Friday passed away.  He, too, is at peace in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery.

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Carolina Firsts: Patricia Horoho

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

Patricia Horoho was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She went to school in Fayetteville and then enrolled at UNC, graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

After leaving UNC, Horoho began a successful career as a nurse and later as an administrator in the U.S. Army. She was serving in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and provided first aid to many of the victims of the attack. The American Red Cross and Nursing Spectrum honored her service on September 11 by recognizing her as a “Nurse Hero.” In 2009, Horoho received the USO Woman of the Year award.

In 2011, Horoho was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army. She was the first nurse and the first woman to serve in that role. She completed a four-year term as Surgeon General in December 2015 and retired from the Army in 2016.

Sources  & Further Reading

SON Alumna Becomes Army Surgeon General.” December 6, 2011. UNC School of Nursing news release.

“First Rank: Nurse Nominated to be Army Surgeon General.” Carolina Alumni Review, September/October 2011, p. 57.

Campus Events 2011: School of Nursing and the Kenan Flagler Business School: General Patricia Horoho (Presentation), in the News Services of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40139, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Always on call for his alma mater

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, UNC Board of Trustees chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and Chancellor Paul Hardin.

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, UNC Board of Trustees chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and Chancellor Paul Hardin.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016—one year ago today—a special memorial service was held at the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on Raleigh Road. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had lost one of its strongest supporters. Three days before, Ralph Strayhorn Jr. had passed away in Winston-Salem. He was 93-years-old.  On this anniversary, Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at Strayhorn’s amazing list of accomplishments.

Ralph Nichols Strayhorn Jr. at one time or another served his university as

  • cocaptain of the varsity football team;
  • member of UNC Board of Trustees;
  • President of the General Alumni Association;
  • General Counsel for the Rams Club;
  • chairman of the search committee charged in 1987 with finding a replacement for Head Football Coach Dick Drum (he and his committee found Mack Brown);
  • President and General Counsel of the Educational Foundation, Inc.; and
  • Fund Raising Chairman for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center building project.

As you will see later in this post, this list will continue.

A native of Durham, Strayhorn was recruited by UNC assistant football coach Jim Tatum and played three seasons with the Tar Heels before he entered the United States Navy and served in the Pacific theater from 1943 until 1946, completing his active service as a sub-chaser commanding officer.  He served twenty years in the U. S. Naval Reserve, retiring in 1962 as a lieutenant commander.

He returned to Chapel Hill in time for the 1946 football season where he was a cocaptain along with Chan Highsmith.  In a 2010 interview, Strayhorn described his returned: “It was a delightful time to be in Chapel Hill.  Everyone was glad to be home from the war, back in school where they belonged.”

The 1946 Tar Heels under Head Coach Carl Snavely won eight games during the regular season while losing only to Tennessee and tying VPI (formally Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known today as Virginia Tech).  That record was good enough to earn a Southern Conference championship and Carolina’s first bowl game, the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1947. Strayhorn’s trip to New Orleans was not a joyous occasion as it should have been. His father had suffered a heart attack back in Durham and was unconscious.

“My mind wasn’t focused on the game, needless to say.  I thought about not going.  My first cousin was a doctor and was very close to our family.  He said my father would want me to go and play in that game.  I stayed behind when the team left and then caught the last train to New Orleans. . . I was on the first train back out of town.  I returned to my father’s bedside but he never recovered.”

Strayhorn could have played one more season with the Tar Heels.  The 1943 season didn’t count against his eligibility because he had gone off to World War II; he chose, however, to graduate with the class of 1947 with a degree in commerce and enter law school.  He got his law degree in 1950 and joined the firm of Newsom, Graham, Strayhorn, Hedrick, Murray, Bryson and Kennon as a senior partner.  He held that position until 1978 when he assumed the executive position of general counsel of the Wachovia Corporation and the Wachovia Bank and Trust Company.  Strayhorn retired from that position until his 1988 retirement.  He then joined the law firm Petree Stockton & Robinson.

Throughout his professional career, Ralph Strayhorn remained active in the life of his alma mater, especially its athletic programs and his beloved football Tar Heels. From 1973 until 1981 he was a member of the UNC Board of Trustees, serving as chairman in 1979 and 1980.  Additionally, he served on the Central Selection Committee of the Morehead Foundation, the Board of Visitors, and the NC Institute of Medicine.  In 1989 Strayhorn the UNC Board of Trustees awarded Strayhorn the William Richardson Davie Award.

Over the years, Strayhorn kept in touch with Coach Jim Tatum and in 1955 he wrote Tatum a four-page letter asking him to return to Chapel Hill to take over the football program.  “The football situation at Chapel Hill seems to have reached an all-time low,” Strayhorn wrote. The following year Tatum returned and led the program until his untimely death in July of 1959.  Ironically, in 1957 Strayhorn had prepared Tatum’s will and delivered the document to him the week before the Tar Heel were to meet Maryland for the first time since Tatum left—the famous “Queen Elizabeth” game. As the coach was signing the document, he asked Strayhorn if he was going to the game on Saturday.

“I told him I didn’t have tickets, transportation, a room or a baby-sitter.  He said, ‘Well, find yourself a baby-sitter.  I’ll take care of the rest. You be at the airport Friday at 2 o’clock.’ We got to the airport and everything was arranged for us.”

THREE TAR HEELS—Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, with an unidentified man gathered on the sidelines before the 1997 Sugar Bowl.

THREE TAR HEELS—Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, with an unidentified man gathered on the sidelines before the 1997 Sugar Bowl.

In December 1996 Carolina’s 1947 football team celebrated the 50th anniversary of their ’47 Sugar Bowl game with a train trip to New Orleans for the 1997 Sugar Bowl game.  An on-the-field pre-game ceremony included Charlie Justice and Ralph Strayhorn along with Charlie Trippi of Georgia.  Hugh Morton was a special invited guest at the ceremony.

Joe Neikirk, an unidentified man, Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Crowell Little, and Georgia All-American Charley Trippi.

Joe Neikirk, an unidentified man, Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Crowell Little, and Georgia All-American Charley Trippi.

Seven years later, on November 5, 2004, Ralph Strayhorn and Hugh Morton were featured speakers at the dedication of Johnpaul Harris’ magnificent Charlie Justice statue which now stands just outside of Kenan Stadium.

The next time you visit the “Charlie Justice Hall of Honor” in the Kenan Football Center, notice the Harold Styers’ portrait of the 1947 Sugar Bowl coin toss featuring UNC’s Cocaptain Ralph Stayhorn #62, and Georgia’s Captain Charlie Trippi, also #62.

And oh yes . . . that list.  Ralph Strayhorn Jr. was President of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1971-72, and a member of the

  • Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange;
  • American College of Trial Lawyers;
  • American Bar Association;
  • International Association of Defense Counsel;
  • Newcomen Society of the United States; and the
  • Board of Visitors of the Wake Forest School of Law.

He also argued a case before the Supreme Court of the United States and served in the North Carolina General Assembly in 1959.

Ralph Nichols Strayhorn Jr., a Tar Heel treasure like no other.

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A Can for All Seasons: Quonset Huts at Postwar UNC

Quonset hut area (circa 1946-1947), from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory.

Imagine having 19 roommates instead of one.  How would you protect your belongings without a lock on your door?  What if your only source of heat in the winter occasionally spewed fireballs rivaling the Hunger Games?  Male students attending UNC immediately after World War II contended with these issues and more as residents of Quonset huts.

The G.I. Bill provided educational benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans who served in World War II. Returning veterans flocked to UNC, raising enrollment from around 4,100 students before the war to 7,250 in the fall of 1947. (DTH, 10/10/1941, 9/25/1947)  The University simply did not have enough space to house all those students and resorted to creative measures to solve the housing crisis.  Military surplus owned by the federal government became an important source of temporary housing units such as trailers and Quonset huts.  Quonset huts were corrugated steel sheets shaped like a cylinder cut lengthwise and closed at the ends.  During WWII, the military used them for barracks or storage, but they were intended only for short-term housing.

However, UNC used Quonset huts as overflow housing from 1946 to 1950. Thirty-six Quonset huts were assembled on the old tennis courts behind the Monogram Club (now Jackson Hall), where Cobb Residence Hall stands today.  Thirty of them were designated as living quarters for single male students, three for studying, and three for latrines.  Up to twenty men lived in a single hut with a heater and primitive insulation made from rag paper. (DTH, 11/5/1946)  According to The Daily Tar Heel, rent for a bed in the Quonset huts costed $5 per month (DTH, 10/5/1946).

Inside a Quonset hut (1947) from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Image Collection.

The biggest issue with the Quonset huts was exposure to the elements. While summers turned the Quonsets into ovens, interruptions in regular fuel delivery during the winters left residents out in the cold.  A nationwide oil shortage in the winter of 1947-1948 forced the University to conserve fuel by closing six of the Quonset huts.  Still, during a frigid week in February 1948, half of the remaining Quonset huts ran out of oil.  The Daily Tar Heel reported that “siphoning of oil from the few huts with any left was apparently going on again last night.” (DTH, 1/7/1948, 2/12/1948)  After some rainy weather in April 1948, the Daily Tar Heel marveled at the mud surrounding the Quonset huts, “It was amazing and disgusting to see all of the mud.  Old-time Quonset hut residents merely sighed, rolled up their trousers, displayed their hip-boots and paddled through the goo.  It was a test of the old theory of survival of the fittest.” (DTH, 4/3/1948)

Clambering for scarce resources and wading through a veritable swamp were not the only tests of Quonset residents’ animal instincts. They also had to defend their territory after a robbery during a football game.  As Carolina faced off against the University of Georgia on September 27, 1947, thieves pilfered items and money from the Quonsets. To prevent another burglary, the RA, Ray Jeffries, had the huts padlocked beginning at 2 PM on game days. (DTH, 10/3/1947, 10/11/1947, 10/12/1947)

The Daily Tar Heel (11 October 1947)

As if cold, mud, and robberies weren’t punishment enough, Quonset huts dwellers contended with fire as well. After a fire in February 1947, the University installed fire extinguishers in each hut to prevent such a blaze from getting out of control. (DTH, 2/23??1947)  In November 1947, a malfunctioning oil stove exploded into flames before a student managed to extinguish it.  Though the fire caused minimal damage, the Daily Tar Heel pointed out that next time the University might not be so lucky as the Chapel Hill Fire Department’s soap guns could not reach the fire without access to the Quonset hut area, which was closed to all vehicles except oil trucks.  The Daily Tar Heel suggested that the University “mount an emergency in a glass front box, of the fire alarm variety,” so that the fire department could reach the affected hut in case of emergency. (DTH, 11/18/1947)

By January 1949, the fire extinguishers were long gone when an “oil heater began leaking, formed a pool of oil on the floor and leaped into flame.” A student attempted to call the fire department, but found that the page with their phone number had been torn from the telephone book.  The student attempted to reach the operator, but met silence at the other end.  Finally, the student called the police who contacted the fire department.  (Such was the drama of communication before cellphones and Siri.) The fire department put out the fire, apparently reaching the hut without difficulty. The heater and a pile of dirty clothes were the only casualties.  (DTH, 1/16/1949)  A year later, the Quonset huts were razed to make room for Cobb Residence Hall.

Razing the Quonset huts (1950), from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Image Collection.

Quonset huts were crowded, uncomfortable, and unprotected. The Daily Tar Heel wrote of the Quonset hut residents, “in order to receive an education, they are living under conditions similar to that of an East side slum.” (DTH, 12/2/1947)  The comparison to poverty aside, the willingness of UNC students to live in these temporary structures for years indeed testifies to the importance they placed on education.  For many returning veterans, the GI Bill offered the chance of a lifetime.  To seize that opportunity, they baked through the summer, shivered through the winter, and waded through mud.  If nothing else, the Quonset huts certainly put the modern experience of dorm living into perspective.

 

References:

“Quonset Huts, 1947 and undated” and “Quonset Huts: Demolition, circa 1949,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Image Collection, 1799-1999, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Finding aid: http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/P0004/

“Quonset Huts, circa 1946-1947,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Library, 1946-2000, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Finding aid: http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/P0031/

“Sanitary Conditions: General, 1938-1952; 1957; 1963,” Student Health Service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1932-1998, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Finding aid: http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/40127/

Various articles from The Daily Tar Heel cited above.

Posted in history, Postwar, Student LIfe, University Archives, University History | Comments Off on A Can for All Seasons: Quonset Huts at Postwar UNC

A Belated Happy 100th to JFK

We’re a day late in marking the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth. But, on the principle of better late than never (that’s always been my view on gift giving and receipt), North Carolina Miscellany and its sister blog A View to Hugh share with you images of the 35th President.

Many of the North Carolina Collection’s images of Kennedy are found in the Hugh Morton Collection. Morton, less than four years younger than JFK, photographed Kennedy on several occasions. The photo above features Kennedy, at the time a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, addressing the North Carolina Caucus at the 1956 Democratic National Convention.

In 1961, as President, Kennedy visited Chapel Hill and spoke at UNC’s University Day celebration in Kenan Stadium. Morton was among the photographers who snapped photographs that day.

The North Carolina Collection’s photographic archivist, Stephen Fletcher, has shared the stories behind some of Morton’s photographs of Kennedy on A View to Hugh.

The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives includes the works of other photographers who captured Kennedy on film. Burlington Times-News staff photographer Edward J. McCauley covered a Kennedy campaign appearance in Greensboro in 1960. The future president appeared with Terry Sanford (to his left and campaigning for Governor), Governor Luther H. Hodges and Senator Sam J. Ervin.

Photographs of Kennedy and his 1960 Presidential campaign opponent Richard Nixon helped the Charlotte Observer‘s Don Sturkey win recognition as National Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1961. In the photo below Kennedy is joined by U.S. Congressman Herbert C. Bonner and Sanford on a campaign stop at East Carolina University in Greenville.

Copyright is held by Don Sturkey. All use requires permission of Don Sturkey.

Word has it that our collections may include images of Kennedy captured by different photographers at the same event. One photographer may have even included another photographer in his shot. That’s for you to verify. Happy hunting!

Posted in From the Stacks, history, On This Day, Tar Heelia, Tar Talk, UNC History | Comments Off on A Belated Happy 100th to JFK

John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday anniversary

John F. Kennedy at North Carolina Caucus, 1956 Democratic National Convention

John F. Kennedy at North Carolina Caucus, 1956 Democratic National Convention

If John F. Kennedy were alive today, he would be celebrating his 100th birthday.  Hugh Morton, who was less than four years younger than JFK, photographed him on several occasions.  The above photograph is Morton’s earliest.

During the nearly ten years that A View to Hugh has been in existence, John Kennedy has been featured, represented, or mentioned in more that thirty blog posts, including a dozen images from his 1961 University Day speech in Kenan Memorial Stadium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  To mark this day, I encourage you to search the blog for Kennedy’s name and read an entry or two . . . or click on the link above to access nearly sixty images available of Kennedy in the online collection.

Posted in Biography, UNC | Comments Off on John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday anniversary