Collections and Resources, Community, Special Collections, UNC History, University Archives

Wilson Library Launches UNC T-Shirt Archive

t-shirtarchivegraphicIf you have a favorite Carolina t-shirt—or even a closetful of them—the archivists at UNC’s Wilson Library have a message for you: Don’t just wear it, share it.

The UNC University Archives has launched an online UNC T-Shirt Archive that archivists hope will capture a fun and meaningful facet of campus life.

“Who doesn’t have a t-shirt and a story to go with it?” said University Archivist Nick Graham. “T-shirts are a comfortable and familiar way for students to express themselves. Years from now, we hope this archive will provide a one-of-a-kind window into life at Carolina.”

Graham emphasizes that the t-shirt archive seeks only photographs of t-shirts, not the actual items. There are three ways to contribute:

  1. Visit unctshirtarchive.tumblr.com to learn about the project and upload a photograph of your t-shirt;
  2. Wear or bring your t-shirt to T-Shirt Archive Day at the R.B. House Undergraduate Library on Wednesday, Oct. 26, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. A professional photographer will be on hand to photograph your t-shirt for posterity;
  3. Share on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MyUNCTShirt. If it’s a t-shirt not yet in the collection, an archivist will reach out to you.

All kinds of t-shirts are welcome, as long as they are “meaningful to you and related to UNC,” said Graham. Early submissions include t-shirts related to athletics, Greek life, protests, programs, clubs, dorm life, and a certain famed basketball rivalry.

Graham says he knows of no other university that has launched a similar campus-focused project. However, he and his colleagues were inspired by the site Wearing Gay History, an online collection of LGBTQ-themed t-shirts that began at George Mason University in 2014.

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The UNC T-Shirt Archive aims to capture a fun and meaningful facet of life at Carolina.

The UNC T-Shirt Archive received start-up funding though the Student Library Advisory Board.

“We really want to capture the full range of what it has meant to be a member of the Carolina community over the last fifty or so years,” said Graham.

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