Carolina Firsts: Hortense McClinton

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

Hortense McClinton, 2015 (University Gazette.)

Hortense McClinton, 2015 (University Gazette.)

Hortense McClinton: Carolina’s First African American Faculty Member

In July 1966, Hortense McClinton accepted an offer to teach in the UNC School of Social Work. She was the first African American faculty member hired at UNC.

McClinton grew up in Boley, Oklahoma. She attended Howard University and earned a master’s degree in social work at the University of Pennsylvania. McClinton moved to Durham with her husband and was hired by the Durham County Department of Social Services at the Veteran’s Administration hospital. She was the first African American professional social worker employed by the department and the only African American professional on staff at the hospital. McClinton was working for the VA when she received her first offer from UNC in 1964. Reluctant to accept a job funded by term-limited grant money, she refused. When another position in the department was open two years later – this time with more secure funding – UNC reached out to McClinton again and this time she accepted, beginning what would be a nearly 20-year career at Carolina.

Hortense McClinton (left) with students in the School of Social Work ca. 1984. School of Social Work catalog, 1984-1985,

Hortense McClinton (left) with students in the School of Social Work ca. 1984. School of Social Work catalog, 1984-1985,

In a 2011 interview with the Southern Oral History Program, McClinton noted that her presence at the school was a milestone for UNC:  “Some students, I think, were quite shocked to see me, but I really enjoyed the students. They were really open and nice and I felt.”

In 1972, drawing from her personal experiences, McClinton began to teach a course on institutional racism. She explained, “I finally decided, well, if you’ve been taught a certain thing all your life, you have to learn to know something different. That’s when I started the class in institutional racism.” McClinton spent much of her academic career helping students gain the knowledge and skills they would need to provide social services without racial or cultural bias.

1974 School of Social Work catalog.

1974 School of Social Work catalog.

McClinton’s work at UNC ranged far beyond her classes at the School of Social Work. She was appointed to multiple committees, including the Committee on the Status of Women, the Carolina Association of Disabled Students, the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of the Minorities and the Disadvantaged, and multiple search committees.  McClinton later said that she felt she was on so many committees because she was the only African American faculty member at UNC for three years, and one of just a few for several years after that.

McClinton’s arrival at UNC appears to have gone largely unheralded at the time. Searching through records of UNC administrators in 1966, I could not find any correspondence discussing or protesting the hire; nor could I find anything noting the significance of her appointment. This is in marked contrast to the admission of the first African American students at UNC in the 1950s, which came after lengthy court battles and were well covered in the local media. When the first African American faculty member to be hired as a full professor at UNC – English professor Dr. Blyden Jackson, who came to UNC in 1969 — he was the subject of a feature story in the Daily Tar Heel. McClinton, on the other hand, is barely mentioned in the school paper, at least as far as we could tell through keyword searches in the digitized DTH archives.

McClinton has received many awards and honors professionally and at UNC. She is recognized as a “Social Work Pioneer” by the National Association of Social Workers. At Carolina, the Hortense McClinton Outstanding Faculty Staff Award is presented by the General Alumni Association; the Hortense McClinton Senior Service Award is presented by the Kappa Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; and, in 2009, she received a Legacy Award from the Black Faculty Staff Caucus.


“Mrs. McClinton did not study black history – she lived it.” University Gazette, 27 February 2015.

Southern Oral History Program interview with Hortense McClinton, 2011.

National Association of Social Workers, Social Work Pioneers.



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Letters from World War I

Carolina students and alumni serving abroad during World War I didn’t just write letters home to their parents; they also wrote to University President Edward Kidder Graham. A recent ‘Spotlight’ post on the University’s home page explores the close relationship between student soldiers and Graham through their correspondence.  In honor of Veteran’s Day, we pulled a letter written by a group of soldiers in France from the University Archives.  Read about their wartime experiences and note their yearning for Chapel Hill.

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Now Available: Records of the UNC Cardboard Club

University Archives is pleased to share a newly processed collection – the records of the UNC Cardboard Club. The Cardboard Club, started in 1948 by UNC cheerleader Norman Sper, coordinated and produced displays at UNC football games, using colored cardboard squares to form words and images in the stands.


Animated GIF made from photos from a 1967 football game between UNC and Wake Forest, in the Records of the UNC Cardboard Club (#40354), University Archives.










Members of the club planned out their designs on gridded paper, and placed cardboard squares and cue cards listing the upcoming “stunts” on the seats of the “card section” of Kenan Stadium the night before football games.

GIF made from photos of a 1966 UNC versus Duke game from the Cardboard Club Records (40354), University Archives.

GIF made from photos of a 1966 UNC versus Duke game from the Cardboard Club Records (40354), University Archives.










The club was funded by the Carolina Athletic Association. It was discontinued in 1987, in part due to safety concerns–students often sent their cardboard panels flying towards the field at the end of games, hitting fellow spectators.

See more photos of the Club’s game day stunts in the collection finding aid.


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Haunted House of Master Mangum


From the Daily Tar Heel, 31 October 1985



David Brown begging for sympathy from visitors in Mangum’s Haunted House Wednesday Night (From the Daily Tar Heel, 31 October 1985)

Halloween is fast approaching, and students across campus are deciding what costume to wear for a night out on Franklin Street. The tradition of roaming Franklin Street on Halloween began in the early 1980s and while the tradition is well known across the state, it’s not the only way students on campus have celebrated the holiday.  In the fall of 1981, residents of Mangum dormitory decided they wanted to buy an ice machine for the building. When they learned the University wouldn’t cover the costs under its enhancement policy, they took matters into their own hands and decided to raise the money themselves by staging a haunted house.

The first Mangum Haunted House opened at 7 p.m. on October 30, 1981 and visitors paid $1 for a guided tour through “madmen, a hell scene, a cemetery scene, and a lot of other scary scenes,” according to Mangum Resident Assistant Billy Leland (from the Daily Tar Heel, 30 October 1981). The 1st Annual Mangum Haunted House was open until midnight on the 30th and from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. on the 31st.  The event was a success, and an ice machine was purchased.

The event continued until the mid-1990’s, with Mangum residents trying to create a new and scarier version of the haunted house each year, and beginning in 1982, proceeds from ticket and t-shirt sales were donated to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center.


“Slime, anyone?” From the Daily Tar Heel, 31 October 1985


From the Daily Tar Heel, 31 October 1986

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The Inauguration of Frank Porter Graham, 1931


Daily Tar Heel, 11 November 1931

Today in Chapel Hill, Margaret Spellings will be formally installed as the eighth president of the University of North Carolina System. As a proud UNC student and for my first blog post as a graduate assistant in the University Archives, I decided to look back at the inauguration ceremony of the first UNC System president, Frank Porter Graham.

Graham’s appointment as President of the UNC System followed just a year after he was inaugurated as President of UNC-Chapel Hill. There does not appear to have been a separate ceremony when he became system president, but his inauguration as UNC-Chapel Hill President was an elaborate event.

President Graham was officially sworn into office November 11, 1931.  It was no casual affair, either; according to the Daily Tar Heel, five thousand people came out to witness the ceremony.  The ceremony itself was planned to coincide with Armistice Day and the annual meeting of the Association of American Universities. 

Footage of Frank Porter Graham’s inauguration procession. From the North Carolina Collection.

The ceremony began with a procession from Bingham Hall to Kenan Stadium. As bells chimed from South Building, ten different divisions of marchers assembled at Bingham Hall, including student body representatives, the class of 1909 (Graham’s own graduating class), North Carolina state officials, and representatives from other universities across the United States. A trumpet signaled the beginning of the procession. As everyone took their place in Kenan Stadium, two minutes of silence were observed to honor the World War I armistice and the thirteen years of peace since then. North Carolina Governor O. Max Gardner opened the ceremony, and due to the absence of North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice W. P. Stacy, the Honorable W. J. Adams administered the oath of office. The whole ceremony was specially amplified so everyone in the large stadium would be able to hear the proceedings.   


Caption reads: “W.J. Adams, associate justice of the North Carolina supreme court, in the left of this photograph, is administering a formal oath inducting Frank Porter Graham into the presidency of the University, yesterday morning. Immediately behind the president is Governor O. Max Gardner. Other dignitaries concerned with the occasion appear in the background.” From the Daily Tar Heel, 12 November 1931

After the official swearing-in ceremony, the day continued with more events – a luncheon, official meet-and-greets with various university representatives, and musical performances by the music department and the glee club.  Since the 33rd annual meeting of the American University Association began the day following Graham’s inauguration, a large number of university officials were present for the ceremony and following events.  These officials included deans and presidents from Harvard, Columbia, Northwestern, and more.


Caption reads: “Pictured above are five distinguished men in the educational world who will be among the sixty-seven delegates attending the thirty-third annual meeting of the Association of American Universities which opens at the University of North Carolina Thursday, November 12. They also represented their institutions at the inauguration of President Frank Graham. Top row, left to right: Dean Howard Lee McBain of Columbia university, President Walter Dill Scott of Northwestern university, and Dean W. Whatley Pierson of the University of North Carolina, who is chairman of the committee on arrangements. Bottom row: Dean George H. Chase of Harvard university, and Dean H. Lamar Crosby of the University of Pennsylvania.” Daily Tar Heel, 12 November 1931


Daily Tar Heel, 11 November 1931

The Daily Tar Heel‘s dedicated inauguration issue didn’t skimp on descriptions of the event and praise for Graham and the future of the University, and so I end this post with a couple of my favorites quotes — ones that seemed to sum up the student body’s and the larger academic world’s opinion of the event and President Graham himself.

“Frank Porter Graham, who more than any other by his peculiar qualities of absolute impartialness, sincere support of the Ideal, unusual humanity, and indefatigable energy on behalf of the University and the state personifies that which education in its usefulness and inspirational service to the community and the commonwealth strives to accomplish.”

“Long now has education been satisfied to rest in conservatism restrained by tradition, when it should be the intellectual beacon guiding men onward into unknown but knowable. Too long have universities been sepulchers for the imprisoned culture of past ages. The time is at hand to loose Wisdom and Culture from their dungeons that they may serve mankind.  The presidency of Frank Porter Graham by its enlightenment can be the single greatest factor in lifting North Carolina from the intellectual rear guard of the forty-eight states to that position of preeminence which its long and illustrious history deserves.”

Daily Tar Heel, 11 November 1931

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Introducing the UNC T-Shirt Archive

The UNC T-Shirt Archive.

The UNC T-Shirt Archive.

We are pleased to announce the release of the UNC T-Shirt Archive. This digital collection of Carolina T-shirts past and present provides a unique window into all aspects of student life at UNC. The website is available now, but it’s far from complete: for that, we need your help.

If you have a UNC shirt that is fun, interesting, important, or just looks good, we’d like to preserve a photo of it in the University Archives. Just take a photo of your favorite UNC-related shirt, and submit it to us. We’ll publish the images online and make sure that the digital files are preserved for posterity. Learn more about submitting shirts on the website or contact us directly via email (, Twitter (@uncarchives), or Instagram (@uncarchives).

Why Have a T-Shirt Archive?

As archivists, we don’t just worry about the records and documents that are in our collections: we think a lot about what we’re missing. We want to build a collection that documents all aspects of UNC history and culture, but because our stacks, our staff, and our servers can only handle a limited amount of material, we have to be selective.

Phi Mu Seniors, 1988

Phi Mu Seniors, 1988

One of the goals of the UNC-Chapel Hill University Archives in recent years has been to do a better job documenting student life. A few years ago, the Archives began an effort to collect records of student organizations. Building on the success of that project, we looked for other ways to ensure that we were preserving the experience of being a student at Carolina. After tossing around many ideas, we realized that some of the most distinctive and creative symbols of student life were right in front of us every day: t-shirts.

UNC Parachute Club t-shirt, ca. 1969-1973.

UNC Parachute Club t-shirt, ca. 1969-1973.

Inspired by the Wearing Gay History project, we decided to build and host a digital collection of images of UNC t-shirts, past and present. T-shirts are often more than just articles of clothing. They can tell a story, document an event, or celebrate an achievement. With the UNC T-Shirt Archive we hope to include shirts showing all aspects of student life and culture. We will accept images of t-shirts from students, alumni, and anyone else with a connection to Carolina and a story to tell. We’re looking forward to hearing from all of you who have shirts you’d like to contribute and are excited about this new initiative to preserve and share Carolina history.


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The International Program in Sanitary Engineering Design

IPSED 2nd Session, October 1963. Photograph by Pete Julian.

IPSED 2nd Session, October 1963. Photograph by Pete Julian.

We recently received a group of photographs documenting the International Program in Sanitary Engineering Design (IPSED), a program established by the School of Public Health in 1962. The program attracted participants from all around the world to attend classes and complete internships in North Carolina, before returning to their home countries. Application materials show that some of these engineers were responsible for delivering potable water to entire regions and cities in their home countries, which included Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Libya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Sudan, Taiwan, and Venezuela.

IPSED participants and faculty, 4th Session.

IPSED participants and faculty, 4th Session.

According to a report found on the website of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), IPSED was developed to fill a gap in sanitary engineering education for engineers from “developing countries.” Prior to the creation of IPSED, promising sanitary engineers from these countries would attend schools in Europe or the United States. The design concepts taught at these schools had little practical application in the engineers’ home countries, where they would face radically different socioeconomic and technological conditions. The classes and internships offered by the IPSED program were oriented toward the unique sanitary engineering challenges that these engineers would face when they returned home.

The photographs shown here give a glimpse into the lives of a diverse group of sanitary engineers, learning and collaborating in Chapel Hill in the 1960s and 1970s.

IPSED participant visiting the Ohio State Department of Health, 11th Session, 1969.

IPSED participant visiting the Ohio State Department of Health, 11th Session, 1969.

IPSED participant at the Durham Water Filtration Plant, 11th Session, 1969.

IPSED participant at the Durham Water Filtration Plant, 11th Session, 1969.

See the finding aid for the Records of the School of Public Health for more information about this recent acquisition.

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Observance of Nazi Book Burning, 1943

Students listen to the speaker at the observance of the 1933 Nazi Book Burning on the steps of Wilson Library, 1943

Students listen to the speaker at the observance of the 1933 Nazi Book Burning on the steps of Wilson Library, 1943. (UNC Image Collection, P0004)

The steps of Wilson Library are a prime spot for UNC students to socialize, eat lunch, and catch up on reading. But on May 10, 1943, a small crowd gathered there with a far different purpose.  At ten-thirty in the morning, a bugler opened a “special ceremony to mark [the] German ‘War on Culture’”—as described by the Daily Tar Heel.  This event observed the tenth anniversary of the Nazi book burnings.  On that date in 1933, the German Student Union had burned over 25,000 books they deemed “un-German” in demonstrations across Germany.  Books considered “un-German” included works by Americans such as Mark Twain and Walt Whitman.  Other burned books were written by Jews or contained material deemed contrary to the German spirit.  Americans were horrified by this censorship, and remained so a decade later.

Daily Tar Heel, 9 May 1943.

Daily Tar Heel, 9 May 1943.

By 1943, the UNC community was deeply involved in the war effort. Male students participated in military drills as part of the Carolina Volunteer Training Corps.  In the lobby of Wilson Library, the “War Information Center” collected and disseminated information about the war.  The College for War Training taught courses designed to prepare students “for maximum fulfillment of their war job potentialities.” Students even wore wearing red, white, and blue clothing, as noted in a fashion column from the Daily Tar Heel

Like students’ sartorial choices, the dramatization of the 1933 book burning was a symbolic gesture of patriotism. It was just one of many such ceremonies inspired by the Council of Books in Wartime, an organization that championed the use of books as “weapons in the war of ideas.”  The Library of Congress and the New York Public Library also held events to recall the Nazi book burning.

Exhibit of burned books in Wilson Library, 1943

Exhibit of burned books in Wilson Library, 1943. (UNC Image Collection, P0004)

At the UNC ceremony, Professor of English W.A. Olsen read selections from Stephen Vincent Benet’s radio play, “They Burned the Books.” Written in 1942, Benet’s play condemned Nazi censorship and celebrated American freedom.  Wilson Library also presented an exhibit featuring books burned by the Nazis.  John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle and Storm Over the Land by Carl Sandburg were among the books on display.  Underneath a highly stylized depiction of Hitler, the exhibit tagline explains that “THESE ARE THE BOOKS THAT HITLER HATES BECAUSE THEY ARE OUR WEAPONS.”

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“A real dog fight”: The 1960 Mock Democratic National Convention

A pair of donkeys lead the parade for the UNC Mock Democratic National Convention. The Daily Tar Heel, April 30, 1960.

A pair of donkeys lead the parade for the UNC Mock Democratic National Convention. The Daily Tar Heel, April 30, 1960.

With the Republican and Democratic National Conventions happening this month, I started looking for Daily Tar Heel coverage of past national conventions. I came across several mentions of a “mock” Democratic National Convention — it turns out that in April 1960, the Carolina student body staged this massive event in anticipation of the real DNC in July.

Norman B. Smith, the target of the recall vote

Norman B. Smith, the target of the recall vote. The Daily Tar Heel, April 26, 1960.

The Mock Convention took place across two days, April 29-30, and featured speeches from Chancellor William B. Aycock, Governor Luther H. Hodges, Congressman Ed Edmondson, and Senator Albert Gore (whose son Al Gore would win the Democratic presidential nomination 40 years later). A committee of student Democrats also proposed and voted on a Democratic party platform.

Of course, the Mock Convention was not without its scandals. An April 26 profile of the Convention Chairman, UNC senior Norman B. Smith, “outed” him as a registered Republican. Three days later, at the start of the Mock Convention, a DTH headline proclaimed that a “movement” had begun to recall Smith as Chairman. The UNC Young Democratic Club hoped to seize their chance to recall Smith later that afternoon at the convention. This resulted in the first roll call vote of the convention. However, the Young Democrats failed to oust Smith — he was confirmed as “Permanent Chairman” by the roll call vote.

Why a Mock DNC, and not a Mock RNC? According to Convention Chairman Smith, there were several reasons for this choice:

In the first place there are enough candidates for the Democratic nomination to make the Convention a real dog fight and a lot of fun. Everybody knows who the Republicans are going to nominate.

At this point in the presidential race, Richard Nixon was already the only likely candidate for the Republican nomination. The Democratic field, however, had many strong contenders. The choices on the Mock Convention ballot were Harry S. Truman, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Stuart Symington, Hubert Humphrey, Albert Gore, and Ed Edmondson.

The Mock Convention candidates. The Daily Tar Heel, April 29, 1960.

The Mock Convention candidates. The Daily Tar Heel, April 29, 1960.

Convention Chairman Smith continued:

Then, too, we Republicans are outnumbered… This is a Democratic state and, thus, a Democratic campus. We felt therefore, that many more people would be interested in a Democratic Convention.

(In a strange turn of events, a May 3 article heralded Smith’s revival-style conversion to the Democratic party at the Mock Convention, where he stated, “I don’t know what happened… I’m a Democrat now, and extremely happy.”)

The Mock Convention concluded with a vote, where students selected former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson as their presidential candidate, and Senator John F. Kennedy as his running mate.

Of course, we now have the benefit of hindsight. The Democratic candidate chosen by Carolina students did not ultimately win the Democratic nomination — JFK won a sizable majority at the 1960 DNC. But these articles from the Daily Tar Heel offer some fascinating insight into the student body and changing political climate at UNC at the beginning of the 1960’s. The articles show an increasing emphasis on student engagement in politics, and the Mock Convention’s platform turned out to be as liberal on civil rights issues as the actual Democratic platform of 1960. In some ways, the activities of the Mock Convention, the first ever held at Carolina, anticipates the student activism and political awareness of the 1960’s.

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New Edition of the Records Schedule Released

sched_coverWe’re excited to announce the release of a new, improved edition of the University’s General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule. The Schedule is a guide to the records produced by UNC Chapel Hill and UNC General Administration and their disposition – whether and when records should be discarded or transferred to University Archives.

The new edition, which can be found on our website, supersedes the previous schedule released in 2012.  so I encourage you all to review the sections of the new schedule that are most relevant to your records and update any of your unit’s internal documentation and policies that refer to the old schedule.

Many thanks to everyone on campus, at the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and at UNC General Administration who provided vital feedback and support during the revision process.

Please direct any questions you have about the new schedule and other records management inquiries to

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