William B. Aycock at 99: always on the correct side of history

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.

UNC Chancellor William Aycock pictured speaking at podium, with UNC System President Bill Friday, President John F. Kennedy, and Dr. James L. Godfrey at University Day, October 12, 1961, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UNC Chancellor William Aycock pictured speaking at podium, with UNC System President Bill Friday, President John F. Kennedy, and Dr. James L. Godfrey at University Day, October 12, 1961, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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:

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.

Former UNC Chancellor William Aycock and UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith posed together for Hugh Morton's camera in January 1990. This photograph appears in Art Chansky's THE DEAN'S LIST published in 1996, though cropped more tightly here. Ironically, it illustrates the chapter "The Writing on the Wall," which recounts the story surrounding NCAA infractions under head coach Frank McGuire during the 1960-61 season. In that same chapter, Chansky describes Aycock's small office in the Van Hecke-Wettach Hall where Aycock worked as professor emeritus in the law school. On one of the walls was "a picture of him with Dean Smith taken a few years ago by honored photographer Hugh Morton. Aycock received a copy of the picture from Smith with a personal note on the back . . . It says simply, 'This is the only picture of me in my office.'" That photograph is likely the one shown here. [Clicking on this image will take you to a scan in the online Morton collection for a different pose from the same photographic session.]

Former UNC Chancellor William Aycock and UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith posed together for Hugh Morton’s camera in January 1990. This photograph appears in Art Chansky’s THE DEAN’S LIST published in 1996, though cropped more tightly here. Ironically, it illustrates the chapter “The Writing on the Wall,” which recounts the story surrounding NCAA infractions under head coach Frank McGuire during the 1960-61 season. In that same chapter, Chansky describes Aycock’s small office in the Van Hecke-Wettach Hall where Aycock worked as professor emeritus in the law school. On one of the walls was “a picture of him with Dean Smith taken a few years ago by honored photographer Hugh Morton. Aycock received a copy of the picture from Smith with a personal note on the back . . . It says simply, ‘This is the only picture of me in my office.'” That photograph is likely the one shown here. [Clicking on this image will take you to a scan in the online Morton collection for a different pose from the same photographic session.]

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.”

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?”

Epilog

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.

 

The eight-game season of 1952

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.

UNC Football Blue Books are available for reading online.  You can read the 1952 issue by clicking on the cover image.

Many UNC football media guides, known as “blue books,” are available online. You can read the 1952 issue by clicking on the cover image.

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.

Dougal Cameron running for a touchdown, as UNC's Billy Williams (20) sets up to attempt a tackle.   This scan shows the full negative, which was cropped for Wilmington's Sunday Star-News.

Dougal Cameron running for a touchdown, as UNC’s Billy Williams (20) sets up to attempt a tackle. This scan shows the full negative, which was tightly cropped on those two players in the photograph run the next day in Wilmington’s Sunday Star-News.

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.

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Bruce Hillenbrand of Wake Forest tackled by UNC’s Dick Lackey (30). This photograph, tightly cropped on the action on the left, ran in Monday’s Morning Star in Wilmington. It’s caption identified George Norris (#69) and Fred Satangelo (#60).

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.

Len Bullock running for a 69-yard touchdown run versus the University of Virginia.  This photograph, tightly cropped to focus on the action on the left, appeared in Wilmington's Sunday Star-News, 9 November 1952.

Len Bullock running for a 69-yard touchdown run versus the University of Virginia. This photograph, tightly cropped to focus on Bullock, appeared in Wilmington’s Sunday Star-News, 9 November 1952.

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.

Flo Worrell, who starred in the South Carolina match-up, sits dejectedly during the UNC vs. Duke contest.

Flo Worrell, who starred in the South Carolina match-up, sits dejectedly during the UNC vs. Duke contest. A tightly cropped head-shot noting his new chinstrap was one of two photographs published in Wilmington’s Sunday Star-News—Worrell’s hometown newspaper.

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.

Duke head football coach Bill Murray being carried on shoulders of Duke football players, while UNC head football coach Carl Snavely shakes his hand at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC. Duke players: #64 End Joe Hands, #39 Back David Lerps, #66 Guard Bobby Burrows, and #53 Center John Palmer.

Duke head football coach Bill Murray being carried on shoulders of Duke football players, while UNC head football coach Carl Snavely shakes his hand at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC. Duke players: #64 End Joe Hands, #39 Back David Lerps, #66 Guard Bobby Burrows, and #53 Center John Palmer. This photograph appeared in the November 24th Charlotte News.

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.

War times

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

"North Carolina Rifle Team, Camp Perry, Ohio." Hugh Morton (rear, left, with Camp Yonahnoka patch) and other young men posing with rifles.

“North Carolina Rifle Team, Camp Perry, Ohio.” Hugh Morton (rear, left, with Camp Yonahnoka patch) and other young men posing with rifles. The date of this photograph is uncertain, but thought to be circa 1939-1940.

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.

Photographer Hugh Morton at military encampment, holding movie camera. Taken during Morton's World War II service with the 161st Signal Photography Corps.

Photographer Hugh Morton at military encampment, holding movie camera. Taken during Morton’s World War II service with the 161st Signal Photography Corps.

A Hall for All . . . Old, New, and Renovated

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.

Memorial Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill, April 22 1987.

Memorial Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill, April 22 1987.

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.”

Eleanor Roosevelt standing at the stage entrance to Memorial Hall with her secretary Malvina Thompson on the left, Frank Porter Graham (second from left), and Josephus Daniels (right), during Roosevelt's January 1942 visit to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as the keynote speaker at a jointly-sponsored International Student Service-Carolina Political Union conference on “Youth’s Stake in War Aims and Peace Plans.”

Eleanor Roosevelt standing at the stage entrance to Memorial Hall with her secretary Malvina Thompson on the left, Frank Porter Graham (second from left), and Josephus Daniels (right), during Roosevelt’s January 1942 visit to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as the 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.

Dan Rather during his appearance at the Nelson Benton Lecture series at UNC-Chapel Hill in Memorial Hall on April 26, 1991.

Dan Rather during his appearance at the Nelson Benton Lecture series at UNC-Chapel Hill in Memorial Hall on April 26, 1991.

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.”

Barton College next stop for exhibit “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective”

Model and photographer at Fort Macon, North Carolina.  This Morton photograph, though more tightly cropped, was on the magazine cover of The State, 1 April 1955.

Model and photographer at Fort Macon, North Carolina. This Morton photograph, though more tightly cropped, was on the magazine cover of The State, 1 April 1955.

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!

 

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.

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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.

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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.

“The soul of the beholder will determine the revelation of its meaning.”

A landmark on the UNC campus celebrate its 101st birthday today, June 2, 2014.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard and I take a combined look at this Tar Heel icon.

Silent Sam in silhouette

Stephen Fletcher:

Perspective and context are two hallmarks of photography—just as they are with all the arts.  The photographer’s viewpoint shapes a photograph’s subject and how he or she frames the subject (by what it contains and eliminates) narrows the story or emotions that subject conveys.  As a UNC student and alumnus, Hugh Morton photographed UNC’s Confederate Monument, only a sampling of which appears in the online collection.

The Confederate Monument, commonly known as “Silent Sam,” is a controversial landmark on the UNC campus.  Last year—Sunday, June 2nd, 2013—marked its 100th anniversary.  There was no official recognition of this milestone.  All, however, was not quiet for afternoon saw nearly 100 people attend a Real Silent Sam Committee protest rally.  The Friday before, the University Archives blog For the Record posted two documents: a letter written by then-UNC president Francis P. Venable to James G. Keenan expressing his desire that its design not be a monument to the dead “but to a noble idea,” and two pages from Julian S. Carr’s dedication speech laced with Anglo Saxon supremacy and racial violence.

As you approach the statue today, its context is vastly different from those who knew the landscape in 1913.  The monument sets near the edge of wooded McCorkle Place, at the time the only campus quadrangle.  As Jack writes below, “In its park-like setting, many only see Silent Sam as a nice place to sit on a warm spring day and enjoy the beauty of William Meade Prince’s ‘Southern Part of Heaven.’”  As one looks deeper, however, one finds more meaning in the monument’s geographical context and the perspective of those who built it in their place in time.

In 1913 University leaders erected the northwest–facing statue near the northernmost point on the campus. Nearby to the monument’s southwest are three buildings, architecturally connected, named Pettigrew Hall, Vance Hall, and Battle Hall—all completed the previous year.  James Johnson Pettigrew, UNC class of 1843, was a Brigadier General in the Civil War, shot and killed while retreating less than two weeks after playing a major role in the Battle of Gettysburg.  Zebulon Vance was North Carolina’s Civil War governor.  Kemp Plummer Battle, during the Civil War era, was a delegate to the Secession Convention in 1861, president of the Chatham Railroad that hauled coal from mines in Chatham County to Confederate armament factories, and a trustee of the university.  He would later become university president.  The monument, in contextual words, was symbolically set before three Confederate stalwarts.

Jack Hilliard:

More than 1,000 university men fought in the war.  At least forty percent of the students enlisted—a record unequaled by any other institution, North or South.  At their convention in 1909, the North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy decided to honor the 321 UNC alumni who died in the Civil War, as well all students who joined the Confederate Army.  Supporters raised $7,500 to erect a seven-foot statue, commissioning Canadian sculptor John A. Wilson to do the work.

The dedication and unveiling was held 101 years ago on June 2, 1913 with University President Francis P. Venable pulling off the concealing curtain and North Carolina Governor Locke Craig, UNC class of 1880, as principal speaker.  The statue’s dedication plaque reads:  “To the sons of the university who answered the call to their country in the War of 1861-1865, and whose lives taught the lesson of their great commander that Duty is the sublimest word in the English language.”

The youths, buoyant and hopeful that had thronged these halls, and made this campus ring with shouts of boyish sports, had gone.  The University mourned in silent desolation.  Her children had been slain . . . this statue is a memorial to their chivalry and devotion, an epic poem in bronze.  The soul of the beholder will determine the revelation of its meaning. —Governor Locke Craig, from his dedication speech.

Also speaking at the dedication was the chair-person of the monument committee, Mrs. Bettie Jackson London.  In her speech she said: “In honoring the memory of our Confederate heroes, we must not be misunderstood as having in our hearts any hatred to those who wore the Blue, but we do not wish to forget what has been done for us by those who wore the Gray.”

Representing the Confederate veterans was Gen. Julian Shakespeare Carr, UNC Class of 1866. Carr, namesake of nearby Carrboro and whose name is on at least one UNC campus building, captured the spirit of the times in his speech.

“The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South.”  Carr went on to say that the “purest strain” of white blood was still to be found in the South at the time, because of the duty performed by Confederate soldiers.

After the speeches, a quartet sang “Tenting on the Old Campground Tonight,” while the estimated crowd of one thousand got a close-up look at the work of art.

In his 101 years, Silent Sam has often been the subject of controversy.  There are those who think the statue is a symbol of racial oppression and there are those who believe it to be a symbol of regional pride.

On his 100th birthday, on June 2, 2013, Silent Sam had to once again endure some shots . . . this time verbal shots from a group of protestors from “The Real Silent Sam Movement,” who said the statue represents a racist past that continues in some places today.

“The reality is that Sam has never been silent,” state NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber told the crowd of about 85.  “He speaks racism.  He speaks hurt to women—particularly black women.  And he continues just by his presence to attempt to justify the legacy of the religion of racism.”

From time to time the statue has been covered with graffiti calling for an end to violence and war, as evidenced by Hugh Morton’s photographs from April 1968.  It has often been covered with dark blue paint from Duke or red from State.  Through controversy and vandalism, Silent Sam endures, continuing his watchful eye.  The area around the statue has often been and continues to be a place where students can gather and speak out on issues of the day.  And then there are those who view Silent Sam as simply a nice place to sit on a warm spring day and enjoy the beauty of William Meade Prince’s “Southern Part of Heaven.”

Stephen Fletcher:

Last year when University Archives posted documents from Carr’s speech, then University Archivist Jay Gaidmore wrote: “Over the recent decades, Silent Sam has become a symbol of controversy, caught between those that believe that it is an enduring symbol of racism and white supremacy and defenders who contend that it is a memorial to those UNC students who died and fought for the Confederate States of America. Could it be both?”
At the time of the unveiling, it would seem not.  H. A. London was a one of those students who left UNC to fight for the South.  On June 2nd, 1913 he introduced Governor Craig at the dedication ceremony as Major H. A. London (and husband of Betty Jackson London).  As he concluded his introduction, London harkened the students who pursued their “devotion to duty.”  Of their duty London said, “We thought we were right, and now we know it.
Hopefully in our time we can acknowledge that there are indeed very different perspectives about this monument—especially respecting those whose viewpoints were, by the very nature of their exclusion from speaking at the dedication ceremony, kept silent.

Thomas Wolfe in Hugh Morton’s time

The hands of Thomas Wolfe's mother Julia frame an array of portraits of her departed son, author Thomas Wolfe.
The hands of Julia Wolfe frame photographs of her departed son, noted North Carolina born author Thomas Wolfe.

While a student at Chapel Hill, Hugh Morton was given the assignment by a student publication to make photographs of Tom Wolfe’s mother, Julia, in Asheville.  The famous novelist had been dead about two years, and as every reader of Look Homeward Angel knows, Wolfe’s treatment of his mother in the book was not kind.  She had not welcomed the news media attention which resulted. When Morton appeared at the “Old Kentucky Home” and asked to make photographs, he was summarily dismissed by Mrs. Wolfe.  The next day he returned, was given a more promising audience and his entreaties gained her permission to make these two pictures. She also rode out to the cemetery to show Morton where her son was buried but she did not get out of the car.  Morton’s recollections of Julia Wolfe: “She was obviously proud of her son, proud of the success his works enjoyed … but she had mixed feelings about what he had written about her. Perhaps she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”  —Edward L. Rankin, Jr. in Making a Difference in North Carolina

The 36th Annual Conference of the Thomas Wolfe Society kicked off this Friday afternoon at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where it continues on Saturday.  This year’s conference theme is “Wolfe in his time, Wolfe in our time.”  As you might imagine, Hugh Morton photographed Wolfe-related images during Morton’s time.

Thomas Wolfe died on September 15th, 1938—around the time Morton would have been starting his senior year in high school.  When he was a junior in college—by then an accomplished photographer—The Carolina Magazine “especially sent” staff photographer Morton to Asheville on assignment to make photographs to illustrate an article by Don Bishop (Donald Edwin Bishop, class of 1941).  Simply titled “Thomas Wolfe,” Bishop wrote about Wolfe during his student years at UNC.  The magazine’s editors dubbed that particular issue, March 1942, as its “Baby-Esquire” and the cover donned the temporary title The New Carolina Magazine. [You may read either Bishop's entire article (it's very good), the full March issue, or the complete volume for 1941-1942 by clicking this link, then use the "Search inside" box just above the magazine or the sliding scroll bar below the magazine to navigate to Bishop's article.]

The Carolina Magazine published three of Morton’s photographs: Wolfe’s gravestone, a portrait of his mother Julia Wolfe, and photographs of Thomas Wolfe on a table with his mother’s hands on the table’s edge (seen above).  “Returning with more photographs than could fill these pages,” the caption reads “our staff photographer confirmed the amazing similarity between parts of ‘Look Homeward’ and parts of Asheville itself.  Mrs. Wolfe generously took out all of Tom’s photos she possessed and permitted Morton to take the pictures above.”

Elizabeth Hull wrote a post about Morton’s Thomas Wolfe related images back in 2009 using a few images, including one of two close-up portraits Morton made of Julia Wolfe.  The second portrait she included depicted Mrs. Wolfe from farther back, a full length view as she stands on the porch of “Our Kentucky Home.”  Both of these portraits appear in Morton and Rankin’s book, Making a Difference in North Carolina.  The closeup portrait used by Hull, Morton, and Rankin however, is not the one published in The Carolina Magazine.  That portrait is below, which I scanned for this post.

Full negative scan of Hugh Morton's portrait of Julia Wolfe that appeared (cropped) in the March 1942 issue of The Carolina Magazine.

Full negative scan of Hugh Morton’s portrait of Julia Wolfe that appeared (cropped) in the March 1942 issue of The Carolina Magazine.

The main difference between the portraits in Making a Difference in North Carolina and The Carolina Magazine is Morton’s lighting.  Morton made the portrait above using an artificial light source placed to Mrs. Wolfe’s left, while he exposed the other negative using natural, available light.  You can tell by comparing the shadows: in the above portrait Wolfe’s shadow is behind and to her right, while the shadows in her portrait printed in the Morton/Rankin book fall beneath her chin and nose.

The photograph shown at the opening of this post was the largest of the three Morton images used with Bishop’s article—but, similar to the portrait above, the scanned negative viewable in the online Morton collection is a different pose made during the same sitting.  I cropped the opening photograph above as it was in The Carolina Magazine; the full negative can be seen in the scan below. P081_NTBS3_015401

The third and final published Morton photograph was Thomas Wolfe’s gravestone.  The cropping is mine, which gives the marker a bit more room around the edges of the frame than it has in the magazine’s crop.  You may see the full view of the negative by clicking on the photograph.  A link to all of the Wolfe related images scanned and available on line thus far can be seen by clicking here or the linked text in the opening paragraph.  For a complete list of all the images related to Thomas and Julia Wolfe, you may search the complete finding aid.

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There’s still a certain magic in the very name

On this day, May 18, 2014, UNC’s great All America football player, Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, would have turned 90 years old.  Justice was magical on the football field during the seasons 1946 through 1949 and that magic continued in his life after football.  He has been featured in many posts here at A View to Hugh, and currently there are ninety-nine images in the online collection of Hugh Morton photographs that include or relate to Charlie Justice.  Morton Collection volunteer and blog contributor Jack Hilliard looks at how the magic has evolved—and continues still.

A 1948 portrait of Tar Heel football star Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice in uniform at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC.

A 1948 portrait of Tar Heel football star Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice in uniform at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC.

When UNC’s classes of 1949 and 1950 held their respective 50th reunion celebrations in 1999 and 2000, they replicated their senior yearbooks, Yackety Yack.  As part of the yearbooks, the reunion committees sent out questionnaires and asked the question, “What experience, event, place or time during your years at Carolina brings back particularly fond memories?”  Of the 315 graduates who responded to the question, 126 mentioned the football team and 70 others mentioned Charlie Justice by name.

As part of the graduation ceremony on May 21, 2000, Charlie Justice was awarded the University’s highest honor, the degree of Doctor of Laws.  The award citation contains the following quote from Charlie’s dear friend Hugh Morton:

No person will ever know the benefits that have come to our University as the result of the loyalty which Charlie Justice kindled in thousands of our alumni.  The best thing about Charlie Justice, however, and the reason he deserves this honor, is that he has been a model citizen since college.  He has contributed his fame to hundreds of drives and worthy causes and has generally and consistently served as a wholesome example to impressionable youth.

Due to his declining health, Justice was not able to attend the graduation ceremony, but his Tar Heel teammate Paul Rizzo accepted the honor for him.

In 1999, forty-nine years after he played his final varsity game as a Tar Heel, Charlie Justice was honored as “athlete of the century at UNC,” by readers of The Daily Tar Heel.  Ten years later in 2009 he was declared the “Mount Rushmore of Tar Heel Football” by ESPN and was inducted in the inaugural class of the Southern Conference Hall of Fame.
Two days after Justice’s 70th birthday, on May 20, 1994, Ron Greene, Sr., writing in The Charlotte Observer, said, “None has worn the mantle of hero more gracefully. . . . His name remains magic.”

Thirty-seven seasons had come and gone since UNC freshman Justice led his Tar Heels over Navy 21 to 14 in Baltimore Stadium on October 19, 1946; however, when Navy came into Chapel Hill on September 15, 1984, the Midshipmen’s radio network had only one request of Carolina Sports Information Director Rick Brewer.  They wanted Charlie Justice as a halftime guest.

Hugh Morton and Ed Rankin, in their 1988 book Making a Difference in North Carolina, included the following quote from Legendary Tar Heel broadcaster Woody Durham:
“In all my associations in sports over the years, I have never known a person to wear the mantle of fame any better than Charlie Justice has. His story to me is one of the most amazing stories in all of sports when you think about the fact that it was 40 years ago when he achieved the stardom that he did, and today his name is still magic.”

Author Bob Terrell, in the 2002 edition of his Justice biography All Aboard: The fantastic story of Choo Choo Justice and the football team that put North Carolina in the big time! says, “Charlie Justice became a legend because of talent but also because of character and sportsmanship.”

In 1950, after his magical four years at Carolina, Charlie wanted to offer some kind of payback to his University, so he took a job with his friend and admirer Billy Carmichael at the North Carolina Medical Foundation.  At the time, the Foundation was raising money to complete North Carolina Memorial Hospital. (That would be accomplished the following year).  During his time at the foundation, Justice was pursued by George Preston Marshall of the Washington Redskins.  At one point Marshall offered to send Justice a signed, blank check.  “Fill in the amount,” he told Charlie.  But Justice turned down the offer, saying he owed his University.  Justice later joined the Redskins, but for a modest salary.

On the weekend before the 1979 football season kicked off, Tom Northington of the Greensboro Daily News interviewed Justice in his Greensboro office.  Justice talked about how the game had changed during the 30 years since he played his final season as a Tar Heel.

“Something is missing,” said Justice.  “Team spirit is not what it once was, there’s too much of this ‘I’ thing, too much individualism.”

When Charlie Justice scored a touchdown, there were no “look-at-me” celebrations . . . no throwing the ball into the stands . . . no dunks over the goal post—and in those days, spikes were things that fastened railroad ties.  I recall a 60-yard Justice touchdown in the 1950 College All-Star game before 88,885 fans at Soldiers’ Field in Chicago.  After he crossed the goal line, he handed the ball to the official, and then trotted back up the field to shake hands with guard Porter Payne from the University of Georgia who had thrown the block that made the play possible.

On October 18, 1986 Charlie and Sarah Justice, along with some family members and friends, were in Kenan Stadium for a sold-out NC State game. As the group walked around the stadium other friends joined in and by the time they got up to the gate, Charlie realized he was one ticket short. At that point Justice could have made one of those signs that reads “Need One,” but Charlie didn’t do that.  According to UNC General Alumni President, Doug Dibbert, Justice “could have walked into the stadium without tickets or placed a call to any number of people who would have provided him tickets, but Charlie would never want to impose upon anyone.”  So, Charlie Justice made sure that all in the group got seated in section 19B, row AAA, and he then returned to the Carolina Inn and watched the game on TV.

On September 28, 1996 the actual 50th anniversary of the beginning of the “Charlie Justice Era” at Carolina, A.J Carr of Raleigh’s News & Observer, wrote a three-page profile of Justice.  Said Carr: “He walked humbly on campus but ran historically on the football field, lifting the spirits of a school, a town, and an entire region.”

Carr interviewed then UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker who said: “There was a quality of magic about his name as I was growing up.”

In 1949, the Christian Athletes Federation honored Justice for his “humility in the face many honors.”

The 1973 football season marked the 25th anniversary of the magical Tar Heel season of 1948, a season that saw the Heels ranked number one in the country for the first and only time—an undefeated season with wins over Texas, LSU, Tennessee, and Georgia plus wins over NC State, Wake, Duke, Maryland and Virgina.  Justice and Art Weiner were consensus All America with Justice as first runner-up for the Heisman Memorial Trophy and named national player of the year, and a team invitation to the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1949 in New Orleans.

To celebrate that 25th anniversary, Ed Hodges did a Justice feature in the Durham Morning Herald on July 22nd.  In the piece, Hodges said, “he (Justice) has in some magic way interwoven the past with the present.”

Woody Durham, then Sports Director at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, presented a two-part Justice documentary on September 16th and 23rd. That program not only aired on WFMY, but was also broadcast on WRAL-TV in Raleigh.

And Ron Fimrite, writing in the October 15, 1973 issue of Sports Illustrated, described the reaction to the famous 43-yard Justice TD run in the ’48 Duke game:

(As Justice crossed the goal), a fan, in the temporary end-zone seats was so excited by the amazing run that he fell forward onto the field.  The crowd was alive, roaring, slapping each other.  Coach Snavely, normally an impassive man, rushed from the bench to grab Charlie by both shoulders and shake him. ‘Great,’ he kept saying. ‘Great.’  Charlie could hear only the cheers—‘Choo Choo, Choo Choo.  He knew then that for him they would never really stop.  And . . . they have not stopped.  They never will.

One of those 1950 graduates who responded to the revised Yackety Yack survey question back in 2000, Walter Hobson Kirk, Jr. from Durham, said it best: “Charlie Choo Choo Justice – accepting fame with honor and humility.”

North Carolina’s Tribute to President John F. Kennedy

Back in 2007, I wrote a brief post about the fundraising event held at Kenan Memorial Stadium for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.  Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the event—North Carolina’s Tribute to President John F. Kennedy for the benefit of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library.

Governor Terry Sanford with Hugh Morton and Andy Anderson during a John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Fundraising Committee meeting, 16 April 1964.

North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford with Hugh Morton and E. G. “Andy” Anderson (county chair from Martin County) during a John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Fundraising Committee meeting, 16 April 1964. Hugh Morton chaired the state’s committee. The governor posed for a portrait with each of the county chairs in attendance.  UNC Photo Lab photograph by Jerry Markatos.

Every spring for the past several years, I have pulled together a slideshow for UNC’s Alumni Reunion Weekend for visitors to watch during Wilson Library’s Saturday afternoon open house.  To create the slideshow, I go through the negatives in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection (the UNC “Photo Lab”) for that particular year’s fiftieth anniversary class and select about 100 negatives to be scanned.  This year I came across a familiar face while surveying negatives made during the 1963-1964 academic year.  I used the above image in the slideshow, but not the one below.

Hugh Morton in conversation with then former Governor Luther Hodges, Jr.

Hugh Morton in conversation with former Governor Luther H. Hodges, Jr. (left) and an unidentified person in the Morehead Planetarium. On the far right is UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor William B. Aycock.  UNC Photo Lab photograph by Robert Arndt.

Hugh Morton was the chair of the state’s fundraising efforts—a logical choice given his highly successfully efforts to bring the USS North Carolina to Wilmington.  The North Carolina Collection holds a few items from the state’s tribute to JFK.  Within the Hugh Morton collection are several color slides made by an unknown photographer.  Five of these slides can be seen in the online Morton collection, as can three black-and-white photographs of Governor Terry Sanford and Hugh Morton presenting North Carolina’s $250,000 contribution to Jacqueline Kennedy on December 22nd.

There is a black-and-white image of Lyndon Baines Johnson with Governor Sanford examining a copy of the tri-fold pamphlet made to raise funds trough ticket orders to the event. The North Carolina Collection has copies of the flyer, the front cover of which seen below.

Flyer announcing North Carolina's Tribute to John F. Kennedy.

Flyer announcing North Carolina’s Tribute to John F. Kennedy. (North Carolina Collection)

The Daily Tar Heel, in its last issue of the year, gave a 50/50 chance that LBJ would be able to attend.  Newspaper articles from the Charlotte News and the Durham Morning Herald make no mention of LBJ being in attendance.  Currently we have this image categorized with those made during the tribute on May 17th, 1964.  I think, however, that that photograph is likely from a different event because, if you zoom in, you can see that Sanford is wearing a pin back button that says “MY BRAND’S LBJ”—hardly appropriate to wear during a tribute to JFK.

Also in the North Carolina Collection is a DVD copy of the 16mm film made about the day’s event as a gift for Jacqueline Kennedy.  Additionally, the North Carolina Collection also has two copies of the program from the event.  Copy two of this item also contains several letters and announcements to county chairmen from Hugh Morton.