The best of times: the “Golden Era” at UNC (1945-1950)

With the title caption "A New 'Shot' of the Old Well and South Building" in the October 1946 issue of The Alumni Review, this is Hugh Morton's first UNC scene published in that magazine after WWII—with the columns vertically straightened, its edges cropped on all sides for publication, and accompanied by a long caption about Morton war service. This scan shows the entire negative. This was also on the magazine cover of The State for its October 5th issue, cropped even more tightly at the base of the well to accommodate the magazine's masthead.

With the title caption “A New ‘Shot’ of the Old Well and South Building” in the October 1946 issue of The Alumni Review, this is Hugh Morton’s first UNC scene published in that magazine after WWII—with the columns vertically straightened, its edges cropped on all sides for publication, and accompanied by a long caption about Morton war service. This scan shows the entire negative. This was also on the magazine cover of The State for its October 5th issue, cropped even more tightly at the base of the well to accommodate the magazine’s masthead.

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.)

The November 1946 issue of The Alumni Review featured on its cover a cropped version of this photograph of the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower.

The November 1946 issue of The Alumni Review featured on its cover a cropped version of this photograph of the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower.

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.

This night photograph of South Building appeared in the November 1946 issue of The Alumni Review with the caption title "Columns of South." The caption writer described this photograph as being "symbolic of the University--old and new" showing "the 'new' side, looking south toward the area of greatest physical expansion of the campus in the years since the building period of the 'Twenties."

This night photograph of South Building appeared in the November 1946 issue of The Alumni Review with the caption title “Columns of South.” The caption writer described this photograph as being “symbolic of the University–old and new” showing “the ‘new’ side, looking south toward the area of greatest physical expansion of the campus in the years since the building period of the ‘Twenties.”

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.”

The December 1946 issue of The Alumni Review used this photograph of Manning Hall with a caption that explained the conditions on campus. "Like many other University buildings now, Manning Hall (home of the University's Law School) is crowded with students.  Enrollment in the school is now 217, a sharp rise from the student body of 13 to which the school dropped during the war."

The December 1946 issue of The Alumni Review used this photograph of Manning Hall with a caption that explained the conditions on campus. “Like many other University buildings now, Manning Hall (home of the University’s Law School) is crowded with students. Enrollment in the school is now 217, a sharp rise from the student body of 13 to which the school dropped during the war.”

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.

P081_NTBF3_015527_04

This negative is almost identical to the one used for the January 1947 cover of The Alumni Review. The only difference is the hands on the clock, which stand at 6:30. Morton made the negative used for the cover at 6:20. The latter negative survives, but it suffers from severe acetate negative deterioration. Morton use two different film types; this is a film pack negative. Shown in its entirety here, the cover image cropped the bit of light at the spire’s top and the lower portion of the clock and portions of both sides. The light at the top of the tower appears in both negatives, but it is blackened on the magazine’s cover.

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.

P081_NTBF3_015528

This scan shows the full negative of the scene used by The Alumni Review for its March 1947 cover. Given the vertical format of the magazine, however, they cropped off the right side of the image. The caption reads in part, “We are indebted again to Hugh Morton ’43 for this month’s cover. With the magic of the camera he has pictured Graham Memorial building (at left) and the trees which line the walk toward Old East Building in a romantic scene.”

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.

Wilson Library, now the home of the Hugh Morton collection, when it was known as the University Library.  The Alumni Review cropped off the right side of this photograph to create a vertical for the cover of its April 1947 issue.

Wilson Library, now the home of the Hugh Morton collection, when it was known as the University Library. The Alumni Review cropped off the right side of this photograph to create a vertical for the cover of its April 1947 issue.

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.

This photograph of South Building appeared full-page in the April 1947 issue of The Alumni Review with a caption that noted that the building had been renovated in 1925. "Of the University's 40,000 matriculates and ex-matriculates" it continued, "three-fourths of them knew this view of South Building in their student days." The photograph as published is cropped significantly and rotated slightly clockwise to make the columns more vertical.

This photograph of South Building appeared full-page in the April 1947 issue of The Alumni Review with a caption that noted that the building had been renovated in 1925. “Of the University’s 40,000 matriculates and ex-matriculates” it continued, “three-fourths of them knew this view of South Building in their student days.” The photograph as published is cropped significantly and rotated slightly clockwise to make the columns more vertical.

A Sidebar:
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.

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University of North Carolina Tuition – $60

 

Fisherman & Farmer

Fisherman & farmer. (Edenton, N.C.), 04 Oct. 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

 

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.

 

The Progressive Farmer

The progressive farmer. (Winston, N.C.), 30 June 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

 

 

 

Posted in Chapel Hill, Chronicling America, From the Stacks, history, NC Historic Newspapers, NDNP, Tar Heelia, Tar Talk, tuition, UNC History, University of North Carolina | Comments Off

Artifact of the Month: Laundry bag used at UNC

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.

laundry bag

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.

Charles & Elna Hight

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!

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100 Years since UNC’s first female med student

Cora Corpening with Second Year Medical Class, 1916 Yackety Yack

Cora Corpening with Second Year Medical Class, 1916 Yackety Yack

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.

The Tar Heel, October 1, 1914

The Tar Heel, October 1, 1914

Posted in From the Stacks, history, Just A Bite, NC Historic Newspapers, Tar Heelia, Tar Talk, UNC History | Comments Off

Building Old West

On this day in 1822, the cornerstone of Old West was laid. The building was finished and in use by July of 1823.

In 1848, additions were made to both Old West and Old East to accommodate the debating societies. Both the original Old West and its additions were built using the labor of  enslaved African-Americans.

View of Old West, from Charles Lee Smith's History of Education in North Carolina. Plan for the addition to the north ends of Old West and Old East, from the Alexander Jackson Davis Collection II, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Libary, Columbia University. View of campus, including Old West, from the Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (#P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive.

The postcard in the gallery above, postmarked 1911 and addressed to “Mr. H.B. Marrow, Raleigh, N.C.”, shows Old West. It reads:

Hello How are you getting on these hot days? I hope you are having a real good time — and be sure and don’t work too much. (?) I am having a fine time this summer. I suppose you will be back before very long now. Mama came home from Va. a few days ago. Sincerely, H.M.P.

For more on the history of UNC buildings, see the exhibit, “Architectural Highlights of Carolina’s Historic Campus.” For more on slavery and the history of UNC, see the Virtual Museum exhibit, “Slavery and the University.”

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Artifact of the month: Skydiving jumpsuit and gear

skydiving photo

F.J. Hale with canopy (skydivers’ term for parachute), circa early 1970s.

Francis J. Hale, co-founder of the UNC Parachute Club, recently dropped in with July’s Artifacts of the Month. Hale, Class of 1973, organized the Club in 1969 with fellow student Bob Bolch. Not surprisingly, the University did not easily warm to the idea of its students jumping out of airplanes. Hale recalls “The athletic department wanted nothing to do with us. I nagged the devil out of them, until I finally got some old warm up suits from the swim team.” Undaunted by the University’s lack of enthusiasm, the Club designed suits, acquired equipment, and thrived. Members were soon winning trophies in regional contests with other parachute clubs.

yearbook photo

F.J. Hale with his ParaCommander Mk1 parachute in his 1973 Yackety Yack photo.

Army regulations were looser back in those days and Club members were allowed to jump with the 18th Corps Sport Parachute Club at Fort Bragg and later the Green Beret Parachute Club. According to Hale, UNC Parachute Club members didn’t spend too much time at Fort Bragg, but hanging around the seasoned soldiers there opened their eyes “a little too wide.”

Also included in this gift is a helmet with camera, a t-shirt with logo designed by team member Canda Sue Reaugh, a logo pendant, and, most priceless of all, the stories Hale told us about his experiences as a student. Understandably, Hale is holding onto his Parachute Club jacket, which, like his 1969-1973 jumpsuit, still fits!

man in parachute gear

It still fits! F.J. Hale in his circa 1969-1973 UNC Parachute Club gear, June 2014.

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GOOOOOOAL! Soccer’s illustrious history at UNC

 

From the Department of Athletic Communications Records (#40308), University Archives.

From the Department of Athletic Communications Records (#40308), University Archives.

All eyes are on soccer this summer as countries from around the globe compete in the World Cup, so we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the history of soccer at UNC.

In the 1930s, soccer was offered as an activity in Physical Education classes and as a club sport. Men’s soccer gained varsity status in 1947, and just one year later the team won the Southern Conference title. In 1963, Nigerian student Edwin Okoroma joined the soccer team, becoming the first black varsity athlete at the university. 

Eddie Pope, from the 1994 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection.

Eddie Pope, from the 1994 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection.

UNC joined the ACC in 1953, and since then the men’s soccer team has won four ACC titles and two NCAA Championships. In 2002, the ACC named its top 50 soccer players in ACC history and included five from UNC: David Smyth, Gregg Berhalter, Eddie Pope, Carey Talley, and Chris Carrieri. Pope played for the US Men’s National Team  in the 1996, 2002, and 2006 World Cups, and Berhalter did so in 1994, 2002, and 2006.

 

Mia Hamm, from the UNC Department of Athletics Records (#40093)

Mia Hamm, from the UNC Department of Athletics Records (#40093)

Women’s soccer gained varsity status in 1979, and has become the most successful athletic program in the university’s history. The team has won 21 national titles, nine of them earned consecutively between 1986 and 1994. In 1992, the team set the NCAA record for uninterrupted wins (58). Twenty-five former or current players—including Mia Hamm, Heather O’Reilly, Kristine Lilly, Tobin Heath, Lorrie Fair, April Heinrichs, and Cat Whitehill—have appeared in the Women’s World Cup either as players or as coaches. UNC women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance also coached the US women’s national team to victory in the very first Women’s World Cup in 1991.

 

 

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Classroom to cloakroom, Chapel Hill to Capitol Hill

How many professors have represented North Carolina in the House or Senate?

This somewhat imprecise list compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education says 11, each of whom taught at a different college — including of course UNC Chapel Hill.

 

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Remembering When the Dean Dome Used to Rock

stones90Does anybody remember when it was Hammer Time at the Dean Dome? Looking through some of the digitized copies of the Yackety Yack available on DigitalNC, one of the things that struck me was that, beginning shortly after its opening in 1986, the Dean E. Smith Center was one of the premier concert venues in central North Carolina.

bocephus89Looking through the concerts listed in the yearbooks from 1987 through 1991 you find many of the top names in rock, rap, and country visited Chapel Hill, some more than once. The first concert held in the Dean Dome was The Monkees on October 17, 1986. For the next several years, the venue welcomed some of the biggest names in music, including the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac (twice), and Billy Joel. The acts coming through weren’t just limited to “classic” rock music: Public Enemy, Hank Williams, Jr., New Kids on the Block, and Bill Cosby all performed on campus. And nobody who was here at the time is not likely to forget the two nights that the Grateful Dead came to town in the spring of 1993.

publicenemy90By the mid 1990s, the number of concerts at the Dean Dome began to dwindle. These days, we rarely see big musical performances there. With so many newer and more convenient venues now spread throughout the Triangle, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a return to the golden era of big concerts on campus. We’re left only with photos and memories of a few fun years when the Dean E. Smith Center was not just home to some of the best college basketball in the country, it also rocked.

Concerts at the Dean E. Smith Center by School Year, 1986-1991 (Source: Yackety Yacks):

1986-87
The Monkees (first concert, October 17, 1986)
Lionel Richie and Sheila E.
Genesis
Jimmy Buffett
Billy Joel

1987-88
Fleetwood Mac
David Bowie
Boston
James Taylor
Pink Floyd
Level 42
Tina Turner
Whitney Houston
Sting
Jimmy Buffett
Yes
Bruce Springsteen

1988-89
INXS and Ziggy Marley
Amy Grant
The Temptations
Robert Plant
Bon Jovi
Hank Williams, Jr.
REM

1989-90
Mötley Crüe
New Kids on the Block
Elton John
Bill Cosby
Public Enemy
The Doobie Brothers
Tom Petty
Janet Jackson
The Rolling Stones
Aerosmith
The Cure
David Bowie
Eric Clapton

1990-91
Neil Young
Billy Idol
ZZ Top
Paul Simon
James Taylor
Fleetwood Mac
They Might Be Giants
Faith No More
Jane’s Addiction
MC Hammer
En Vogue
Randy Travis
Sting

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UNC Law Students Research Law of the Old South at Wilson Library

26 Brophy Kleinman_thumb26 Brophy Kleinman_thumbLast year, students in a UNC School of Law seminar used the Library’s rare publications and archival documents to investigate how the law was applied to moral issues in the antebellum South. Continue reading
Posted in Classes and Workshops, Collections and Resources, Homepage Headlines, Homepage Special Collections, Rare Book Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Special Collections, UNC History | Comments Off