Holiday Festivities Through the Years: 1913-2007

Happy Holidays! Please enjoy a few of Wilson Library’s favorite photographs of seasonal celebrations across the South:

Group on their way to Ronda, N.C. for a Christmas dance, circa 1913.  From the Thomas F. Hickerson Papers, #3809, Southern Historical Collection.

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Hatteras Island “Old Christmas” celebrations in Rodanthe, N.C., circa 1940s  From the North Carolina County Photographic Collection #P0001, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

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For more on “Buck” and Old Christmas on the Outer Banks, click here.

Nashville Community Sing, 1949.  From the Charles S. Killebrew Photographic Collection (P0091), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

nashville sing

Bunn Family Christmas, 1951.  From the Charles S. Killebrew Photographic Collection (P0091), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

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Elizabeth Spencer with unknown companions, New Year’s Eve party, 1994.  From the Elizabeth Spencer Papers #5145, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Poster, A Rockabilly Christmas Party, Hideaway BBQ, Raleigh, N.C., 14 December 2007.  From the Jason Lonon Poster Collection #20451, Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

OP20459_5_Rockabilly Christmas Poster

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“May a Good Christmas Be Yours!”: Seasonal Greetings from Paul and Elizabeth Green

Paul Green, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and Carolina alum, was known for writing “The Lost Colony” and many other outdoor dramas. However, during the holidays he and his wife Elizabeth put their creative genius to a specifically festive use.  Each year, the Greens crafted a Christmas card featuring lyrics, and sometimes sheet music, to seasonally-themed songs.  Some of the tunes were borrowed, but the words were the Greens’ own writing, sometimes featuring songs from Paul’s published plays. Check out a few of these cards below:

MayAGoodXmas

Lost Colony

1945poem

1955poem

1969music

1979music

MaryPoemStar

From the Paul Green Papers, #3693, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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“And a two winged aeroplane that will fly”: Kids’ Letters to Santa from 1932

Check out these Christmas wish lists from cousins Niles Grosvenor and Phoebe Evans of Memphis, Tennessee from November, 1932.  The corresponding orders to Sears, Roebuck, and Co. from their grandmother and Phoebe’s father show that Santa got it right.

From folder 293 in the Hill and Grosvenor Family Papers #4191, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

NilesLetter001 NilesLetter002 PhoebeLetter001 PhoebeLetter002

For reference, it appears that a transcript was made:

transcript001CNGorder001 MEorder001

 

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“…deportment has been uniformly correct…”: Report Cards of the 19th Century

With exams in full swing here at UNC, we thought we’d take a moment to appreciate the subjects we’re no longer graded on. Take a look at these report cards from years past – which categories and wordings would you least like to be added to your transcript?  Our nomination is “total failure.”

This UNC Chapel Hill student appears to have missed 65 recitations, but at least his deportment was “uniformly good.” From folder 34 of the John S. Henderson Papers #327.

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Calista Ramsey wasn’t doing all that well in arithmetic at the Concord Female College, but she did avoid the “total failure” mark. From folder 9 in the J. G. Ramsey Papers #1568.

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Eliza London seems to be doing very well in French, German, and Greek at the School of the Misses Nash and Kollock. From folder 14 in the Emily London Short Papers #5181.

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(For more on the history of this Hillsboro girls’ school, check out A Sketch of the School of the Misses Nash and Miss Kollock.)

Siblings W. H. and Bettie Joyner both did well in these Franklinton Schools report cards, but both missed the opportunity to take “Wax Work.” Note that W. H.’s penmanship received perfect marks. From folder 41 in the Joyner Family Papers #4428.

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The note on the back of W.H's report card reads "Your grandfather's report card.  Not as good as Aunt Bettie's."

The note on the back of W.H’s report card reads “your grandfather’s report card. not as good as Aunt Bettie’s, though.” See Bettie’s straight A’s (straight sevens?) below.

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A Movember to Remember

In honor of Movember, here’s a look at some of our favorite facial hair found in Wilson Library’s photographic materials.  Which is your favorite?

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A. Blake, 1500 meters marathon runner, 1896 United States Olympic Track Team.
From the Eben Alexander Papers #1209, Southern Historical Collection.

 

John Thomas Wheat

John Thomas Wheat, circa 1870-1880. Photographer: J. B. Wortham.
From the John Thomas Wheat Papers #1832, Southern Historical Collection.

 

H. C. Warmouth

H. C. Warmoth, 1875-1925.
From the Henry Clay Warmoth Papers #752, Southern Historical Collection.

Harry St. John Dixon

Harry St. John Dixon, 28th Mississippi Volunteers, “The Bloody 28th.” C.S.A.
From the Harry St. John Dixon Papers #2375, Southern Historical Collection.

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Colonel C. I. Graves in uniform of Egyptian Army.
From the Charles Iverson Graves Papers #2606, Southern Historical Collection.

Pre-Flight School Officer

From the the United States Navy Pre-Flight School (University of North Carolina) Photographic Collection #P0027, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

GB Bushy Cook

G.B. “Bushy” Cook with Ramses at UNC football game.
From the Hugh Morton Photographs and Films #P0081, copyright circa 1949, North Carolina Collection

Kyle and Richard Petty

Autographed button featuring Kyle and Richard Petty.
From the Lew Powell Memorabilia Collection, North Carolina Collection Gallery.

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Thanksgiving Recipes from the SHC

despair crop

Why scour Pinterest? The SHC has your Thanksgiving menu right here! Check out this selection from Recipes in the Culinary Art, Together with Hints on Housewifery & c. by Lancelot Minor Blackford, 1852.

Do you recognize any dishes from your Thanksgiving table?

Click any of the images below for a larger view.

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Excerpts from Recipes in the Culinary Art, Together with Hints on Housewifery & c. Lynchburg: Blackford and Bro., First American Edition, 1852. Copyright by Launcelot Minor Blackford. From folder 162 of the Blackford Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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“…an unconfirmed report had come in from Dallas that Pres. Kennedy might have been shot…”

Fifty years ago today, on November 22, 1963, the nation reeled from the news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Around 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time, television and radio stations interrupted their normal broadcasts to break the story that shots had been fired on Kennedy’s motorcade in Dallas. Soon after, the news came that Kennedy had died at Parkland Hospital.

As the tragic news set in, many people began capturing their thoughts and feelings about the tragedy in their personal letters and diaries. Fifty years later, these documents provide an important window into the experiences of that fateful day.

The Southern Historical Collection is proud to preserve a number of personal accounts of this turning point in American history. For example, John Ehle, novelist and special assistant to North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford (1963-1964), wrote the following in his diary on November 23, 1963:

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Entry, dated November 23, 1963, from the diary of John Ehle. John Ehle Papers (#4555), Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill Library.

 Sat., Nov. 23, 1963.

Yesterday President Kennedy was shot down in Dallas. Ralph McCallister, Howard Miller and I were at the Skyline Inn in Washington (S. Capitol and ‘Eye’ Streets, S.W.) when the word came in. We had just finished lunch, and I went by the desk to see if there were any messages. The desk clerk said an unconfirmed report had come in from Dallas that Pres. Kennedy might have been shot.

There were many o[t]her uncofirmed reports before the confirmed death notice came through. So he is gone and his day in the White House, and now we have Mr. Lyndon Johnson.

We had planned to fly out of Washington on the 2:40 United Flight yesterday, and we went on out to the airport and listened to other reports. By then the final, depressing news had not been announced; we still had hopes that the President would survive what by then we knew had been a serious wound in the head. The announcement of his death came, I believe, about 2:20. We were in the television room of the airport, which also is the bar. There were about 20 or 30 people there. Maybe even then it was an uncofirmed report, but they said the preists had left the room. A waitree turned away, ready to weep. Somebody brought me a glass of ginger ale and I drank it, and we went on down to the plane, which was late in departure, so we didn’t leave until about 3:30 and we landed about 4:45. I went at once to the Capitol, where everybody was, my secretary said, in a state of gloom. I sorted through my mail hurriedly, then mailed some stuff to HEW. I went to the mansion, where Joel, Tom Lambeth, and one of last year’s internes and his girl were waiting in the library. We talked for a few minutes. They told me that a pro-Communist had done the shooting. We had surmised that it had been done by one of the ultra-rightist elements of Texas. I left them quite soon and went on home. The Governor had flown back from Winston-Salem and he was evidently upstairs. I passed Hugh Cannon as I came in; Hugh shook hands and left through the side door.

Gail says this afternoon on TV Gov and Mrs. Sanford, and Bert Bennet of W-S entered the White House in Wash. to pay tribute to the dead president.

This morning Jonathan Daniels had a piece on page one, which he signed. It wasn’t much of a statement. It was deeply felt, but it flailed about too much. The paper was devoted to the story of the crime, of the swearing in of the new president, of the wound inflicted on the Texas Governor, of the criminal-suspect. TV was on with that story only, and it stayed on allnight. Now a requiem is on TV, Ormandy directing the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Rutkers choir — a requiem by Brahms.

Ralph McCallister phoned to invite Gail and me to go to Wash. with him and his wife tomorrow, but I think not. Gail says she has to work on Mon. anyway, but this isn’t the real reason. TV brings the thing in closer, and Gail has a great dislike of funerals. I told Ralph that he and I should have stayed up there yesterday, and he wonders if this isn’t so. We were well fixed in a hotel and have handled the matter poorly. […]

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Breaking New Ground – now online with the Southern Oral History Program

This post was contributed by Adrienne Petty.

Three years ago, historians Mark Schultz and Adrienne Petty set out on an urgent mission to record the stories of African American farm owners. Time was of the essence. Land ownership among African Americans peaked during the early twentieth century and continues to decline. Fearful of losing their stories forever, Schultz, a professor at Lewis University, and Petty, a professor at the City College of New York, led a team of undergraduate and graduate students from universities throughout the South in collecting and preserving digitally recorded oral history interviews for their project, “Breaking New Ground: A History of African American Farm Owners Since the Civil War.” The fruits of their labor are now available on the Southern Oral History Program site. Funded by a $230,000 collaborative research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the collection includes more than 300 interviews with black farm owners and their descendants from Maryland to Oklahoma. The collection covers a range of topics related to farming, landownership and post Civil War U.S. history, including Reconstruction, the Great Depression, the world wars, the Civil Rights Movement, and the contemporary black farmers’ activism.

The goal of “Breaking New Ground” is to explore how rural black families “made a way out of no way” and became farm owners against considerable odds, how land ownership affected their experience of the Jim Crow era, and how their privileged positions shaped the destinies of their descendants. We want to ask, How did some black farmers acquire land? Did land ownership empower African Americans in the racially segregated South? How did African American land ownership differ in different parts of the region? What was their legacy? Answers to these questions and others will deepen our understanding of an essential, but overlooked, element of southern history.

Adrienne Petty is a descendant of black farm owners and is currently working on a book entitled, Standing Their Ground: Small Farm Owners in the South. Mark Schultz, author of The Rural Face of White Supremacy: Beyond Jim Crow, has recorded hundreds of interviews with Georgians, many of which are already in the SOHP collection at the Southern Historical Collection in Carolina’s Wilson Library.

We hope that the oral histories we collect as part of this project will not only lay the foundation for a history monograph that fills a glaring gap in the scholarship, but also creates a rich resource for historians, students, teachers, and researchers of all kinds.

You can access the 300+ interviews from this project in the SOHP database here.

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