The Curious Case of the Cuban Club

Yackety Yak, 1908

Yackety Yack 1908

In the 1908 Yackety Yack, among the pages for “county clubs” (clubs for students from the same county or high school in North Carolina) a new club appeared – the Cuban Club.

A club for Cuban students at the university, the Cuban Club was short lived (1908 to 1910) and represented a brief surge in the enrollment of Cuban students at the university. While the club never had more than 11 members, that was a significant number – the total enrollment of the University was then 778, with only 55 out-of-state students.

Most of the students from Cuba were studying engineering, medicine, and pharmacy and the last of the group graduated in 1911. Issues of the Daily Tar Heel from around the time suggest that in the years that followed the university had no more than one Cuban student enrolled each year. We aren’t sure what drew this group of Cuban students to UNC between 1908 and 1911, or why the enrollment of Cuban students dropped in the following years.

Yackety Yack 1909 and 1910

 Update (4/19/2016): See this post for additional information.

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Web-Walkers: Redesigning UNC’s Home Page in 1996

In 2013, UARMS published a blog post highlighting the web archiving project of the UNC Libraries. To demonstrate how much the web had changed over time, this post featured UNC’s web page circa 1997. To update the information provided in that post, the Internet Archive now boasts 469 billion web pages saved since 1996 compared to the 366 billion pages saved in 2013. UARMS still actively captures and archives websites, which can be accessed through the University Archives’ Archive-It page.We have recently uncovered more documents related to the creation of this early UNC web page.

[Black and white print outs of the 1996 UNC homepage prior to being redesigned, from the Academic Technology and Networks of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records (#40224), University Archives]

In 1996, a group of faculty, staff, and students known as the Web-Walkers set out to redesign UNC’s home page. As highlighted in our 2013 blog post, the most prominent visual featured on the new web page was an acrostic spelling CAROLINA that was used to organize the links to other relevant web pages.

UNC homepage in 1996 as redesigned by the Web Walker group. from the Academic Technology and Networks of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1951-2000s, #40224, University Archives

UNC homepage in 1996 as redesigned by the Web-Walkers group, from Archive.org Wayback Machine

This acrostic was divisive among the Web-Walkers, with numerous correspondences both supporting and critiquing its use. One group member wrote in feedback that he would, “strongly suggest dropping the whole spelling-out of CAROLINA with section headings. As an acronym for website subsections, it looks, well, ‘cute,’ but it just doesn’t lend itself to a sensible organization of information.”  This complaint was echoed by  a self-described “Librarian and frequent UNC home page user,” who wrote that “forcing the logical categories of text to fit the word ‘Carolina’ is awfully cute and artificial.”

The redesign also garnered praise, with another group member writing, “the new UNC screen looks really good–very clever use of Carolina, too…I’ll bet that took some brainstorming.” This compliment was not unique, as another message stated, “It was very creative for someone to match CAROLINA with appropriate categories.” The problem with the acrostic became more apparent as users searched for content that had previously been accessible with a single click, such as “Departments and Organizations,” which was now buried several pages deep under the “Research and Academics” link.

The inspiration for the new categories originated with the University of Chicago’s homepage, which the Web-Walkers group used as a model. These categories were agreed upon before the CAROLINA acrostic was created:

When the design team chose to make the first letter big, it didn’t look quite right and they wanted to make it spell something. To get CAROLINA all they had to do was change Academic and Research to Research and Academic, Student Information to Information for Students, and add an O — Office of the Chancellor.

In the same email explaining the origin of the acrostic, the UNC Campus-Wide Information Systems Manager, who oversaw the website redesign, predicted that “this new page won’t last much more than a year.” The webpage would not be redesigned again until 1999, three years later.

Another major issue that arose in designing the new website was the color scheme. While the final version features Carolina Blue text over a white background, there is copious feedback featuring complaints about blue text and black links. As one Web-Walker wrote,

I find the main page color scheme (text in blue, links in black) to be _very_ confusing… a lot of browsers default to black text with blue links, and particularly with the C-A-R-O-L-I-N-A structure here it is not immediately clear whether the user should click on the initial letter or on the rest of the word.

This advice was never taken and the first letter of each category was never made part of the link. A follow-up email by the same person states that after showing the page to friends, “NONE managed to click on the actual links without several false starts.” The use of Carolina Blue as the font color, while rich in school pride, also posed a user interface problem. As one member reported, “the contrast is not very good, and it is difficult to read…I hate to say it, but a royal blue (Duke?) is much easier on the eyes.”

Since the design discussed in this blog post debuted in August of 1996, the UNC homepage has undergone three major redesigns. The most recent redesign was implemented in July of 2010, bringing us the homepage that is now familiar to all Tar Heels. Click on the screenshots below to peruse each iteration of the site in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

UNC homepage, 9/12/1999

UNC homepage 9/12/1999, from Archive.org Wayback Machine

UNC homepage, 2/13/2008

UNC homepage 2/13/2008, from Archive.org Wayback Machine

UNC homepage, 7/14/2010

UNC homepage 7/14/2010, from Archive.org Wayback Machine

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Why We Don’t Collect Syllabi (And Tips on How to Find them Anyway)

The UNC University Archives does not collect syllabi or reading lists from each course taught at UNC-Chapel Hill. Because this question comes up pretty often, I wanted to share more information about our process for determining what to collect and talk about cases where we make exceptions.

Records Schedule
In deciding which official UNC records to collect, we are guided by the General Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, which describes in detail the types of records created by the university and outlines rules stating which should be kept, and for how long. The records schedule was developed with the State Archives of North Carolina, which oversees official records statewide. Here’s what the schedule says about syllabi, in the section on curriculum and instruction records:

2.11 Syllabi and Outlines Records
Records (including reference copies) documenting each course taught by the unit. This series may include but is not limited to: draft and final copies of course syllabi and outlines, and related documentation and correspondence.

Disposition Instructions: Destroy in office when reference value ends.

This means, simply, that syllabi should be kept only for as long as they’re useful in the office. That’s clear enough, but it does pose a dilemma: part of our job is documenting the history of the university, and detailed information about what is taught in specific classes is important to understanding the evolving curriculum at UNC.

Finding Historic Syllabi from UNC
Syllabi, and materials related to the development of the academic curriculum at UNC, do show up in University Archives in administrative and departmental records, and also in faculty papers in the Archives and the Southern Historical Collection. A finding aid search reveals many collections with syllabi from UNC faculty and even more containing files on course offerings and curricula. Syllabi may also appear on websites that are collected as part of the UNC University Archives Web Archives.

Many UNC academic departments offer sample syllabi online, including some from previous years (we found examples from History, Biology, and Social Work).

Changes at UNC-Chapel Hill
In 2012, the UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Council approved a resolution requiring standard elements in each syllabus and requiring that these be maintained for at least four years. This decision was driven by a desire for increased accountability and transparency regarding courses offered at the university. There are not currently any plans to retain these syllabi beyond the four year period mentioned in the resolution, unless a department decides that the syllabi would still be useful to keep on file.

Nationwide Efforts to Collect Syllabi
There have been several projects aimed at collecting and analyzing information from college course reading lists nationwide. The largest current effort that I’m aware of is the Open Syllabus Project from Columbia University. Rather than presenting the content of individual syllabi, the website’s “Syllabus Explorer” aggregates assigned readings from submitted syllabi and enables users to view trends in texts used for college classes. The book appearing most frequently in the submitted syllabi is The Elements of Style, followed by Plato’s Republic and The Communist Manifesto.

The Open Syllabus project appears to have received many syllabi from UNC-Chapel Hill instructors. Elements of Style tops the list of most frequently assigned readings for UNC classes represented in the database, followed by SILS Dean Gary Marchionini’s book Information Seeking in Electronic Environments. This suggests that the library science courses are over-represented in the syllabi submitted from UNC. Either that or Marchionini’s work has crossed over into classic literature and is now being studied in English classes. We’d need more data to say for sure.

Syllabi and Intellectual Property
For this blog post, I’ve just focused on collection and preservation. There is a larger and more complicated debate around the issue of syllabi as intellectual property. This has played out most recently in Missouri where a legislative demand for transparency is countered with a desire among some faculty to protect their intellectual property. Any effort to collect and widely distribute the content of individual syllabi would have to address this issue.

 

 

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Naming Aycock Residence Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill

Following the recent decision remove Charles Brantley Aycock’s name from an auditorium at UNC-Greensboro, which followed similar moves last year at East Carolina and Duke, we took a look to see what we could find in University Archives related to the naming of Aycock Residence Hall at UNC.

It didn’t take long for somebody to suggest naming a building at UNC after Charles Brantley Aycock. Just a couple of weeks after the former governor died in 1912, the President of the newly-formed Aycock Memorial Association wrote to UNC President Francis Venable: “There is no educational memorial which could be more fitting than a building at the University.” [University Papers, 20 April 1912]

It would be another sixteen years before UNC named a building for Aycock. During a period of rapid expansion in the 1920s, the university completed four new dorms in 1924. Known for several years simply as “New Dorms,” they finally received names in 1928. The Board of Trustees reported on the names in the minutes from their June 11, 1928 meeting:

“Mr. [John Sprunt] Hill for the Building Committee recommended that the policy be adopted in naming teachers’ buildings for great teachers and dormitories for other distinguished citizens; further that the new class-room building be named ‘Bingham Hall’ and the four new dormitories for Chas. B. Aycock, John W. Graham, W.N. Everett and Dr. R.H. Lewis and that the new library be named ‘The University Library.’ On motion, the above recommendations were adopted.”

That’s about it. There was only a passing mention of the naming in the Daily Tar Heel and nothing that we could find in the University Papers, where most of the early correspondence of the president of the university is held. It is not that unusual that there is nothing in the administrative correspondence; then, as now, the Board of Trustees had the final say on building names at UNC.

Given the strong feelings about Aycock both at UNC and statewide, it’s a little surprising that it took so long to name a building in his honor. In 1904, President Venable wrote to Governor Aycock asking him to consider accepting an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UNC (Aycock initially refused, but would receive the honor a few years later). Venable wrote, “In the twenty-five years I have spent in the State, I know of no one who has so served her highest interests as you have, and the influence of your administration will be felt for a long time to come.”

Venable was hardly alone in his praise. After Aycock died in 1912, the UNC Board of Trustees passed a resolution in honor of Aycock’s work on education:

“The Board of Trustees desire to place on record their deep sense of loss in the death of Ex Governor Charles B. Aycock, who as a member of this Board and of the Executive committee rendered most efficient service and attested his love for the University. During his administration as Governor, the cause of education was greatly advanced in this state and at all times he was ready to give encouragement to those who were striving to uplift this cause in the South and ended his life with a plea for the education of the child. He gave his best efforts in service for others, and while we will miss his companionship and wise advice, his memory will remain to urge us to follow the example which he has left of striving to do good to those who most need the benefit of Education. To his widow and family we extend our sincere sympathy and request our President to communicate to them this tribute of respect and direct the same to be entered on our minutes.”

The views of the Board of Trustees at the time were shared by many white leaders around the state. Aycock did support public education, but ensured that substantially more support would go toward schools for white students. The Trustees would not have found this unusual; they were overseeing an institution that strictly prohibited African American students from attending and had only just begun experimenting with allowing women to enroll.

Neither the note from Venable or the Board of Trustees resolution mention Aycock’s prominent role during the Democratic Party’s 1898 white supremacy campaign, nor do they note his strong support for a constitutional amendment in 1900 that effectively disenfranchised nearly all African American voters in the state. The prevailing view of Aycock in the media at the time — it is often reflected in the Daily Tar Heel — was of a benevolent “education governor.” We did not find anything in the contemporary statements from UNC leaders reflecting on other aspects of Aycock’s legacy.

Our quick look into the archives did not, by any means, uncover everything related to Aycock and UNC. He had a long relationship with the university, first as a student, later as a prominent alumnus, and then a three-time member of the Board of Trustees. Students and researchers who wish to dig deeper can find a significant amount of correspondence to and from Aycock in the University Papers as well as in manuscript collections in the Southern Historical Collection.

 

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Training Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) at UNC

“Opportunities for Defense Training at Chapel Hill" brochure,” UNC Libraries, accessed February 23, 2016, http://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/items/show/2686.

“Opportunities for Defense Training at Chapel Hill” brochure,” UNC Libraries, accessed February 23, 2016, http://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/items/show/2686.

In March of 2015, the Army stated that women who had served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in World War II were not eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery. This was a  reversal of the 2002 decision that allowed them to be interred at Arlington with full military honors. The Senate and the House now have bills on the floor  to overturn the Army’s decision. This controversy has sparked a renewed interest in who the WASPs were and what they did during their service in World War II.

The Women Airforce Service Pilots were a group of over 1,000 women that ferried aircraft around the country, towed dummy aircraft during live artillery training, taught as flight instructors and tested new planes.  This freed up qualified male pilots for combat duty overseas. The program began in 1942 as two separate branches, which then merged under the WASP name in 1943. During their time, the WASPs flew every military aircraft available and were trained in everything the men did, except combat exercises. The very first female pilots in the program had to enter the program with at least 200 hours of flight time. That is where the story brings us to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

[CAA requirements for a Civilian Pilot Training Program, from the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): Frank Porter Graham Records, 1932-1949 , #40007, University Archives]

The UNC System was home to a Civilian Pilot Training Program. N. C. State was the first school in the system to host the program. Later, UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina A&T started their own versions of the program, along with Duke and other colleges around the state. Any student, male or female, was allowed to take the ground portion of the classes for college credit. These classes taught basic aviation theory as well as airplane maintenance. Ground classes were known as primary training. Women students took these classes and anticipated that they would be allowed to continue into flight training.

[Letter inquiring about allowing a female student into flight training, from the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): Frank Porter Graham Records, 1932-1949 , #40007, University Archives]

However, actual flight training, or secondary training, was limited to a quota imposed on the university by the Civilian Aviation Authority. The CAA provided most of the funding for flight training and was therefore able to dictate who could participate in secondary courses. The entire purpose of the Civilian Pilot Training Program was to feed the graduates directly into military service and women were not allowed to fly at all in a military capacity before the WASPs program. Therefore, women were only allowed into flight training when the total number of qualified male pilots was less than the quota allotted.

Memo explaining CAA quotas, from the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): Frank Porter Graham Records, 1932-1949 , #40007, University Archives

Memo explaining CAA quotas, from the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): Frank Porter Graham Records, 1932-1949 , #40007, University Archives

The UNC administration did all they could to prove that discrimination was not the reason female trainees had a difficult time getting into flight training, and celebrated the women who made it through both parts of the program. The first woman to complete the entire Civilian Pilot Training Program at UNC, including both ground and flight training, was Virginia Broome. She graduated from UNC in 1942 and became a WASP in 1943. As a ferry pilot she, ferried completed military aircraft from factories to the point of embarkation.  Only four women completed the entire course of training at UNC. Of these four, only Virginia Broome (later Virginia Broome Waterer)  became a WASP.

For more information about the University of North Carolina during World War II, see the online exhibit A Nursery for Patriotism: The University at War, 1861-1945.

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The 1939 Correspondence Between Pauli Murray and Frank Porter Graham

The Records of the Office of the President of the UNC System under Frank Porter Graham (1932-1949) include several folders labeled “Race and Ethnic Relations: Negroes.” These folders include clippings and correspondence providing a first-hand look at the actions of the university as it battled accusations of racism and fought to prevent African Americans from enrolling at UNC. Most of these folders have been digitized and are fully accessible through the online finding aid.

Included in the folder from 1939 is a remarkable series of letters between Pauli Murray and Frank Porter Graham. Murray, who was the descendant of both slaves and slaveowners, had grown up in Durham and was part of a family with deep ties to North Carolina. In 1938, she had recently graduated from Hunter College in New York and applied to enroll in the graduate school at UNC. Her application was ultimately rejected (UNC would not admit its first African American student until 1950), but her attempts drew national attention and brought a direct response from UNC system president Frank Porter Graham.

Pauli Murray to Frank Porter Graham, 17 January 1939, page one.

Pauli Murray to Frank Porter Graham, 17 January 1939, page one.

In Murray’s first letter, dated January 17, 1939 [page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ], she challenges the idea that she can obtain a “separate but equal” graduate education at one of the state’s historically black colleges. She writes that it is the excellent reputation of UNC, particularly the department of social science and faculty members Howard Odum and Guy Benton Johnson, that inspired her application. Murray’s letter is marked by her optimism. She argues that any hesitation among the students about admitting African Americans should be answered by “frank, open discussion” and a “give-and-take process where prejudices are openly aired and accounted for, where correct interpretations are made and where enlightenment is gained in an atmosphere of mutual co-operation and respect.”

Graham does not reply until February 3 [page 1 | 2 ], saying that all of his time has been taken up with lobbying the state legislature to avoid serious cuts to the UNC budget. In his response, Graham goes over the reasons for the university’s rejection of Murray’s application, noting the “provision in the Constitution of North Carolina requiring the separation of the races in public education.” He also warns Murray against forcing a “popular referendum on the race issue,” saying that the results would “cause a throwback to a darker time.” He advocates gradual progress, starting with improving conditions for the historically black colleges.

Graham to Murray, 3 February 1939.

Graham to Murray, 3 February 1939.

Graham closes with a surprisingly honest description of the challenges he faces, which reads like a weary acknowledgement of his inability to help: “As you may know, I am under very bitter attack in some parts of North Carolina and the lower south for what little I have tried to do in behalf of the Negro people, organized and unorganized workers and other underprivileged groups. I realize I am also under attack because I understand the limitations under which we must work in order to make the next possible advance.”

Murray responded quickly, in a short but powerful letter on February 6. She says simply that “the Constitution of North Carolina is inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States and should be changed to meet the ideals set forth by the first citizens of our country.”

Murray to Graham, 6 February 1939.

Murray to Graham, 6 February 1939.

She then explains that she can not and will not wait for gradual progress, using language that could serve as a rallying cry to the generations of activists who followed her: “We of the younger generation cannot compromise with our ideals of human equality. We have seen the consequences of such compromises in the bloody pages of human history, and we must hold fast, using all of our passion and our reason.”

The full story of Murray’s attempts to enroll at UNC is told in Chapter 11 of her autobiography, Song in a Weary Throat: An American Pilgrimage  and in the article “Admitting Pauli Murray” by Glenda Gilmore (Journal of Women’s History 14.2, 2002, pp. 62-67). Murray discussed her struggle with UNC in an interview she did with the Southern Oral History Program in 1976.

 

 

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Arrington v. Taylor: The Daily Tar Heel and Student Activity Fees

The Daily Tar Heel (DTH,) founded as the Tar Heel by the UNC Athletic Association in 1893, has long been a staple of life at UNC. However, the student paper faced a significant legal challenge to its finances and operations in the 1970s.

Since the 1920s, the Daily Tar Heel had been partially funded by mandatory student fees. On July 25, 1972, four UNC students filed suit against the Chancellor of the University, the President of the Consolidated University, the Chancellor for Business and Finance, the Board of Trustees, and the Board of Governors alleging that the use of student activity fees to finance the Daily Tar Heel violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments. These students argued that they were being forced to endorse the opinions and political candidates supported in print by the Daily Tar Heel despite being contrary to their personal beliefs. The students believed that anyone who disagreed with the opinions published by the Daily Tar Heel should have the corresponding portion of their student fees returned and have the option not to financially support the student newspaper. As plaintiffs, the students provided a long and detailed list of every opinion the DTH published with which they disagreed:

60. The plaintiffs disagree with the positions taken by The Daily Tar Heel concerning the adoption of a Chapel Hill and Carrboro Bus System, the use of busing to integrate public school, James C. Gardner, Spiro T. Agnew, The United States intervention in Cambodia, the impeachment and removal of Richard M. Nixon, the appointment of William H. Rehnquist, the death penalty, the Equal Rights Amendment, student strikes, Food Worker’s strikes, protests against the war in Southeast Asia, and abortion….

62. The plaintiffs disagree with the positions taken by The Daily Tar Heel concerning the National Student Association, and the continued subsidization of The Daily Tar Heel.

63. The plaintiffs disagree with the positions taken reportorially by The Daily Tar Heel concerning United States intervention in Cambodia, the Vietnam Moratorium, the Equal Rights Amendment, the lettuce boycott, student political polls, the Black Student Movement, the DTH Legal Defense Fund, and civil liberties in Pitt County.

64. The plaintiffs disagree with the positions taken in and through signed columns in The Daily Tar Heel concerning the Equal Rights Amendment, revolutionary activity, and Wilbur Hobby.

[Robert Lane Arrington, et al. v. Ferebee Taylor, William Friday et al. – Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Opinion, from Assistants to the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Susan H. Ehringhaus Records, 1964-1985, #40031, University Archives]

The judge hearing the case ultimately ruled that no constitutional rights were being violated. He based this on the fact that while the DTH “advocates positions on various matters,” the paper “speaks only for those which control its content at any given time” and does not purport to speak for the entire student body. Further the judge stated that “The Daily Tar Heel‘s position on a given subject is no more attributable to (and therefore imposed upon) plaintiffs than is the position of the Federal Government on South Vietnam attributable to each of the citizens who annually pay their federal taxes.” While the judge ruled against the student plaintiffs in 1974, the case was subsequently appealed, and a second group of students later filed a nearly identical suit that lasted into the 1980s.

In 1977, a student body referendum created a constitutional amendment that guaranteed the Daily Tar Heel 16% of the Student Activity Fees.

[1997 Authorization of a Referendum on DTH Student Activity Fees, from Student Government of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1919-2011, #40169, University Archives]

In 1989, the DTH incorporated as an educational 501c(3) non-profit entity, separate from the University. In 1993, the Daily Tar Heel ceased being financed by student activity fees and became wholly independent from the University. Such financial independence had long been a goal of the Daily Tar Heel, being described as a “gradual process” in a 1973 Daily Tar Heel article that asked for help funding their legal defense in the Arrington v. Taylor suit.

The_Daily_Tar_Heel_Sat__Sep_15__1973_

Daily Tar Heel, 15 September 1973. Image via Newspapers.com

For more on the history of the DTH, see the Daily Tar Heel’s timeline.

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Major New Addition to UNC News Services Photos Now Online

We are pleased to announce that a major new addition to the UNC News Services collection is now available for research. The new addition, which came in a few years ago, contains more than 60,000 images, primarily photos taken by longtime campus photographer Dan Sears. Not only is it open for research, but all of the digital photos are freely available online through the Carolina Digital Repository.

The News Services department at UNC is responsible for most of the official communications coming from the campus: press releases, photos, and the University Gazette. The collection, which contains records going back as far as 1924, is a terrific resource for anyone looking for information about and images of UNC people, places, and events.  There are photos of chancellors, faculty, graduationsspeeches, prominent visitors, and, of course, scenic views of the Old Well (the collection has lots of photos of the Old Well).

The recent addition covers the years 1997 through 2012 and includes photos taken for the University Gazette as well as general images for campus publications and news releases. Researchers can access the digital images directly from the finding aid by clicking on the link for “digital folder,” which takes them to the repository, where high-resolution images are available for viewing and download:

digital folder

The recent additions, along with all of the photos in the News Services collection, are freely available for research and educational uses. Permission from the News Services department is required for any commercial use.

These photos are available for research thanks to the hard work of Patrick Cullom and his colleagues in the archival technical services department in Wilson Library, and the staff of the Carolina Digital Repository.

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What is it that binds us to this speech? Charles Kuralt’s 1993 UNC Bicentennial Address

“What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls . . . ” – Charles Kuralt

These words, spoken in Charles Kuralt’s iconic voice, will be familiar to anyone who has watched a UNC sporting event on TV the past few years. The speech provides the background narrative to the promotional spots run by the university during televised football and basketball games. This speech was given by Kuralt on October 12, 1993, during the celebration of UNC’s bicentennial.

Kuralt (class of 1955) began his journalism career as a student at UNC. He was editor of the Daily Tar Heel and did some of his earliest broadcast work with WUNC radio. During a long career with CBS in New York, he was known nationwide for his On the Road segments on the evening news and later as the anchor of CBS Sunday Morning.

Kuralt, a native of Wilmington, never lost touch with North Carolina. He wrote about the state in his book North Carolina is My Home and was an active alumnus, frequently returning to Chapel Hill and remaining an avid fan of Tar Heel basketball. Kuralt was the featured speaker at the 1985 graduation ceremony, during which he talked about the importance of UNC for the rest of the state: “And so, in concentric circles, as if from a pebble tossed from a pool, the influence of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill moves outward to the farthest corners of our state, and far beyond its boundaries.”

(Charles Kuralt’s speech during commencement 1985, from the Charles Kuralt Collection, 1935-1997, #04882, Southern Historical Collection.)

 

Kuralt expanded on this theme, and on his own deep appreciation for UNC, in his 1993 address, delivered in Kenan Stadium before a large audience that included President Bill Clinton and Governor Jim Hunt. In a memorable opening, Kuralt said “I speak for all of us who could not afford to go to Duke, and would not have, even if we could have afforded it.”

The now famous lines from the TV commercials come early in the speech: “What is it that binds us to this place as no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. Or the crisp October nights or the memory of dogwoods blooming. Our loyalty is not only to William Richardson Davie, though we are proud of what he did 200 years ago today. Not even to Dean Smith, though we are proud of what he did last March. No, our love for this place is based on the fact that it is, as it was meant to be, the University of the people.”

A video of Kuralt’s address is available online from UNC-TV (his speech begins at 11:30 into the recording). The full text, from a book about the bicentennial, is here:

Charles Kuralt’s Speech During the Bicentennial Observance Opening Ceremonies [Tepper, Steven J. The Chronicles of the Bicentennial Observance of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1st ed. Chapel Hill: The University, 1998: 219-220.]

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“Feign an Intelligent Understanding”: The Research Club

In 1914, professors Joseph Hyde Pratt and George Howe founded the Research Club.  This club met once a year during the last week of October and gave its members, all of whom were professors, the opportunity to present humorous or satirical mock research papers on strange and farcical topics.  At its first meeting, Pratt outlined the club’s long, mysterious (and fictitious) history.

Howe provided ten rules and regulations that governed the club.

Reseach club 0003Among its members (or “illuminati”), the Research club boasted three UNC-Chapel Hill Presidents: Francis Venable, Edward Kidder Graham, Harry W. Chase.

Some years, club members focused on specific themes or topics.  At the 1915 meeting, each professor contributed a paper describing the point of view of a country engaged in the first World War. All of the works presented during the 1916 meeting were written in poetic verse. For the 1917 meeting, the club produced a nearly 70-page novel titled The Laundry Ticket: A Story of Love and Adventure, for which each professor contributed a chapter.

The Research Club continued to meet until 1921.

Materials used in this post are from the Research Club of the University of North Carolina Records (#40193).

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