UNC Dorm Life, 1947

Think you’ve got it rough in your dorm? Check out these pictures of dorm rooms from 1947.

Don’t like your new roommate? What if you had two dozen new roommates? Here’s a room of twenty-four-or-so prison-grade beds.

Student Health Service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40127, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

More after the jump.

Mid-century Tar Heels were pioneers of shabby chic. Who needs expensive carpeting when newspaper and cigarette butts do just as well?

Student Health Service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40127, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The real hazard of dorm life in the mid-1940s was sudden and spontaneous self-explosion. Witness below the aftermath of such an incident.

Student Health Service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40127, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Talk about a royal flush! Maybe, some students were tired of getting cheated every time they got up to use the toilet.

Student Health Service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40127, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

After the War, UNC had an influx of students on the G.I. Bill, more than could be accommodated, so Quonset huts (one of the many industrial byproducts of the war) were set up on tennis courts to serve as dorms. One returning soldier was heard to say that he’d lived in better conditions in the army than in these tin dorms. (You can see an exterior shot of the huts here.)

Student Health Service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40127, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We at University Archives hope your living arrangements are more comfortable, if not necessarily more neat, than those of your forebears.

Welcome and welcome back! We hope you have a great semester.

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3 Responses to UNC Dorm Life, 1947

  1. Bonna Leonard says:

    Were these huts the “tin cans” I remember my father mentioning? He returned to UNC after the serving in the Korean War. He and my mother loved Chapel Hill so much! Now their granddaughters are there loving it just as much!

  2. Samantha Ryan says:

    Glad to see lofted beds are not a new phenomenon!

  3. Sara Mannheimer says:

    @Bonna Leonard: These huts definitely fit the bill, but the old basketball stadium at UNC was also called “The Tin Can,” so your father could have been referring to that as well.

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