Collections and Resources, Gifts and Grants, North Carolina History, UNC History

Civil War Autograph Book Brings Fraternity’s History to UNC Archives

Page from autograph book

Autograph of Julian Shakespeare Carr, "class of 1865-66," from the St. Anthony Hall fraternity autograph book. Carrboro, N.C. is named for Carr.

Members of the St. Anthony Hall fraternity at UNC and the St. Anthony Association of North Carolina have donated a Civil War-era autograph book to the University Archives in the Wilson Special Collections Library.

The autograph book includes signatures of members of the Xi Chapter of St. Anthony Hall (Delta Psi) who attended UNC from 1862 to 1865. Members of other UNC fraternities also signed the book. Many of the signers served in the Confederate Army and lost their lives in the Civil War.

The original owner of the autograph book, William C. Prout, was a St. Anthony Hall brother and the sole graduate of UNC’s class of 1865. In 1927, he presented the book to the Xi Chapter of Delta Psi, which restored it and maintained it in their archive.

The book reveals a great deal about the lives of the students who signed it, said UNC University Archivist Jay Gaidmore.

Notations include hometowns, majors, classes taken, and even the names of the signers’ girlfriends. Prout and his fraternity brother Grahame Wood later added death dates and annotations to identify those killed in the war.

St. Anthony intends to donate additional historical materials that document its history and the various activities in which its members have participated since the chapter reorganized in 1927 after closing in the aftermath of the Civil War.

About St. Anthony Hall at UNC

A literary and artistic fraternity, St. Anthony Hall includes a diverse group of writers, artists, and performers who are highly active in student life. Members have worked on the Daily Tar Heel, Phoenix magazine, Cellar Door, LAMBDA magazine, Shakespeare’s Sister, The Sixty-Niner and Yackety Yack; served in student government; played intramural and varsity sports; performed in choral, musical, and theater groups including PlayMakers Repertory Company and The LAB! Theatre; and are involved in community literary and artistic organizations including Paperhand Puppet Intervention, the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, The Performance Collective, Internationalist Books, The Somnambulist Project, and The Peoples Channel.

Known for its support of progressive causes, St. Anthony Hall was one of only two fraternities to sign a pledge in 1963 not to patronize segregated businesses and restaurants in Chapel Hill. Its members were active in the fight to end the Speaker Ban, and in the spring of 1971, St. Anthony Hall became the first UNC fraternity to go co-ed.

Xi chapter members have included journalist Charles Kuralt (’55); UNC soccer coach Anson Dorrance (’74); book critic Jonathan Yardley (’61); sportswriter Peter Gammons (’67); editorial cartoonist Jeff MacNelly (’69); and basketball player Charlie Scott (’68), the first African-American to join a fraternity and receive an athletic scholarship at UNC.

About the University Archives

The University Archives and Records Management Services (UARMS) last year launched an effort to reach out to student organizations to help them preserve their history. To learn more about this effort, contact Jay Gaidmore at (919) 962-6402 or gaidmore@email.unc.edu.

“We don’t have many records of fraternities at UNC and only a few from this early in UNC’s history,” said Gaidmore. “We are pleased to be entrusted with this valuable historical item and hope that St. Anthony Hall’s generosity will encourage other donations from the Greek system at UNC.”

Additional information about St. Anthony Hall and the autograph book can be found on the UARMS blog.

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