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Archive for the ‘Artifact of the Month’ Category

UNC can count many popular musicians on its list of notable alumni. Among the very earliest is Hal Kemp, the big band leader of the 1920s and 30s who started his musical career at UNC and went on to achieve national fame. Kemp’s saxophone and clarinet are our December Artifacts of the Month. Kemp organized […]

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Fans of the North Carolina State Fair (and those who are emphatically not fans) may associate the fair with bright lights, outrageous fried foods, and giant plush bananas inexplicably dressed like Rastafarians. It can be difficult to imagine the state fair as an elegant event, but just take a look at this 1878 fair pass, […]

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What’s the downside to having beautiful money? Not knowing whether it’s real. Our September Artifact of the Month is a counterfeit bank note, supposedly from the Commercial Bank of Wilmington. The bank was real, but it had nothing to do with this note. Before the Civil War, coins were scarce and the federal government printed […]

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This week the North Carolina Collection welcomes new and returning UNC students to the 2014-15 academic year. Campus has been buzzing with students unpacking cars, buying books, and reuniting with friends. At the moment, everyone looks pretty clean… but it won’t be long before they all have dirty laundry. Our August Artifact of the Month […]

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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 […]

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When Ellen Douglas Brownlow asked the former Civil War general in 1870 for a lock of his hair as a keepsake, he would not have considered it a strange request. In fact, it was common in the Victorian era for friends to exchange a cutting of human hair. Civil War soldiers often left some of […]

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When the Thomas Wolfe Society meets later this month, they’ll honor Thomas Wolfe the writer. We’d like to take a moment to salute Thomas Wolfe the actor. In 1919, Wolfe was an eighteen-year-old college student in a playwriting class at UNC, which was taught by Carolina Playmakers founder Frederick “Proff” Koch. The student playwrights’ first […]

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Maybe the suddenly spring-like weather has a hold on me, but I can’t shake the thought that our April Artifact of the Month is smiling. This puffer fish is part of a large collection of artifacts and specimens that were transferred to the North Carolina Collection Gallery in 2005. The objects came from UNC’s Wilson […]

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In honor of Women’s History Month, the North Carolina Collection looks back at 1944 — which was an interesting year to be a woman at UNC. Women’s enrollment numbers climbed while men left the classroom in unprecedented numbers to serve in the military. Women’s athletics flourished, with “coeds” playing soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, and badminton. […]

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Everyone knows that Elvis Presley had an immense influence on popular music and culture from the mid-twentieth century to the present. But who knew that he had a presence in the first part of the nineteenth century? Evidence of his early life is found in an image on an 1837 bank note from Philadelphia’s Manual […]

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