Read! Mark! Digest! The Order of the Golden Fleece turns 110!

Sign for University Archives' new exhibit on the Order of the Golden Fleece, now in the fourth floor reading room of Wilson Library.

Sign for University Archives’ new exhibit on the Order of the Golden Fleece, now in the fourth floor reading room of Wilson Library.

This year the Order of the Golden Fleece celebrates its 110th anniversary, and University Archives is recognizing this milestone with an exhibit tracing the history and influence of the society on campus.

The Order, UNC’s oldest honor society, was founded in 1904 with the purpose of “restor[ing] unity to campus life.” Bringing together leaders from many different aspects of student life–athletics, debating societies, fraternities, and other areas–the Order hoped to alleviate factionalism and conflict on campus through cooperative leadership.

In their first year, they were called upon to mediate a conflict between the sophomore class and a group of medical students. In what was called the “Soph-Med Affair,” a group of sophomores had insulted some first year medical students, and the medical students had called for the sophomores to be expelled. In order to ease the conflict, the Order of the Golden Fleece worked with the sophomore class to produce a kind of anti-hazing campaign that –in contrast to anti-hazing campaigns of today — placed responsibility for preventing hazing on first-year students themselves.

Text of a poster produced as part of an anti-hazing campaign recorded in the Order of the Golden Fleece Minutes, November 1904. From the Records of the Order of the Golden Fleece, (#40161), University Archives.

Text of a poster produced as part of an anti-hazing campaign recorded in the Order of the Golden Fleece Minutes, November 1904. From the Records of the Order of the Golden Fleece, (#40161), University Archives.

In posters across campus (the text of which is reproduced in the Order’s minutes, seen at right) first year students were urged to “be seen and not heard” to avoid drawing the ire of older students.

Another product of the “Soph-Med Affair” was the university’s first student government. The conflict highlighted the need for a mediating organization to handle such conflicts within the student body, and the Order met with President Francis P. Venable to discuss the possibility of a “University Council.” The seven-member council they proposed would mediate disputes, handle honor code violations, and investigate hazing incidents. The University Council was established later that year, and became the first student government established at UNC.

Over the years, the Order has continued to unite campus leaders and influence student life. To learn more about the Golden Fleece’s history, check out the new exhibit in the fourth floor reading room of Wilson Library! The exhibit will be open through March 7th.

Members of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1999. From the Records of the Order of the Golden Fleece, University Archives.

Members of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1999. From the Records of the Order of the Golden Fleece, University Archives.

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The Scientific Revolution as Cock Fight

Recently, I came across an old hand-drawn cartoon in the University Papers (#40005) that depicts the struggle between physics and chemistry for scientific supremacy as both a train wreck and a cock fight. There’s nothing I can see to date the cartoon—though it’s probably later than 1830 (the earliest railways in the US) and certainly later than 1804 (the invention of the steam locomotive).

Chemistry_vs_Physics_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to say if there’s any significance to the artist’s inclusion of light rays emanating from the headlamp of the train labeled “Physics.” This drawing appears to have been made prior to Einstein’s 1905 Gedankenexperiment involving light emitted from moving trains, but it certainly could have been made after 1865, when Maxwell discovered that light is an electromagnetic wave and therefore travels at a constant speed. It’s also difficult to interpret an intention behind leaving out the connecting rod on the “Physics” train (see where a second artist, or critic, has penciled in, “You forgot to put your connection rod on this one”), though that might have been mere lack of attention to detail on the part of the artist. Regardless, the game of chicken seems to have solved nothing, and second cartoon depicts the two train operators going head to head.

Chemistry_vs_Physics_1

The same bepenciled critic—who has conscientiously labeled each opponent and the air pump and hastily scribbled a little grass to denote the field of combat—has place in a speech bubble hanging from the lips of “Chemistry” the repudiation, “I’ll be damned if you shall!” Such fierce animosity. Who will win?

Unfortunately, there is no third drawing illustrating the outcome of this heated confrontation. Some say it rages still, and the rumor is you can sometimes catch a glimpse of these two combatants-in-tails struggling with one other on the lofty walkways bridging Murray and Venable.

[OPF-40005/16 in the University of North Carolina Papers #40005, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

 

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Love It or Hate It? Snow at UNC

Most North Carolinians have a love/hate relationship with snow. We love snowy days, but hate the havoc just a dusting of the white stuff can wreak on our lives.

We’ve found some images illustrating our love of snow in our sister collection, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives. Enjoy these photographs from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Image Collection of a huge student snowball fight in McCorkle Place, probably taken in the early to mid-1900s, and the Arboretum during a snowstorm on February 2nd, 1921.

[Selected photographs from folders 0910 and 0191, in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Image Collection Collection #P0004, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

On the other hand, we’ve also found evidence of snow-hating in the archives.

The university was hit so hard with snow in January of 2000 that classes were canceled for three days. Not wanting to take away reading days or to infringe on spring break, Chancellor William O. McCoy made the unpopular decision to schedule make-up days on a few weekends later in the year.

Needless to say, his records contain more than a few letters of complaint from students and staff describing the weather conditions. In one letter regarding the administration’s initial reluctance to cancel classes, the writer asked “What kind of sadistic people are you?”

Click for a larger image.

[Letter of complaint, in the Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: William O. McCoy Records #40227, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

But whether you love or hate snow, I think we can all agree that UNC is a beautiful place to be anytime of year.

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The Night Before Christmas at the Phi Mu House

In the winter of 1965, the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Phi Mu Sorority had moved into their new house at 211 Henderson Street.  The move was festive and joyful.  To celebrate the season, the sisters wrote their own version of the poem The Night Before Christmas. 

We came across the poem in the scrapbook that the Gamma Lambda chapter recently loaned to us. The clatter that awoke the sisters in this poem, however, was not from reindeer on the roof but from “caroling boys with their bottles of cheer!”

Phi Mu's rendition of "The Night Before Christmas," 1965. Click for a larger version.

Phi Mu’s rendition of “The Night Before Christmas,” 1965. Click for a larger version.

Happy holidays from everyone at University Archives and Records Management Services!

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Happy Holidays from UARMS!

(UNC Hospital Volunteer Association Christmas Party, 1995)

(UNC Hospital Volunteer Association Christmas Party, 1995)

We hope you all have a festive, fun, and restful holiday break! Wilson Library will be closed December 24-26.

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December 18th: A Mandate from the State, and the Chartering of UNC

UNC Chapel Hill's historic marker which proclaims its status as the first state university.

The historic marker that proclaims UNC’s status as the first state university.

December 18th is an important day in both United States and North Carolina history. Several important historical events have happened on this day.

For example, the Mayflower docked at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts on December 18th, 1620.

But at University Archives, December 18th is important for two different reasons. One, the mandate for a state-run university in North Carolina, and two, the chartering of the University of North Carolina.

After the Declaration of Independence was signed, North Carolina ratified its first constitution, the Constitution of 1776, on December 18th, 1776. It was in this document that the provincial congress first called for a state-run university.

Article 41 of the Constitution of 1776 set forth the following mandate:

“…that a school or schools shall be established by the legislature, for the convenient instruction of youth, with such salaries to the masters, paid by the public, as may enable them to instruct at low prices; and, all usefull [sic] learning shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more universities.”

However it was not until 1789 that the University of North Carolina was chartered.

The minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees from from Volume 1 of the Board of Trustees Records (40001)

The minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees from from Volume 1 of the Board of Trustees Records (#40001). Click to view a larger version of this image.

On December 18th of that year, the Board of Trustees convened for the first time in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It was at that meeting that William Richardson Davie informed the trustees that Colonel Benjamin Smith had donated 20,000 acres of land in what would become Tennessee to the University. The trustees sold the land and used the resulting funds to support the fledgling institution in its early years. Later, the Trustees chose to honor Colonel Smith by naming a campus building after him– Smith Hall, which was completed in 1851. Smith Hall is now known as the Playmakers Theater.

While the landing of the Mayflower is a very important moment in United States history, the chartering of the nation’s first public university to open its doors is important, too.

Today we celebrate the University of North Carolina, which has been serving the state for 218 years. But our University would be nothing without the students, faculty, and staff who learn, teach, and work here. Thank you all, and happy December 18th!

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

This picture was taken on 12 February 1990, the day after Mandela's official release from prison. Folder 18, Box 2, the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Library.

This picture was taken on 12 February 1990, the day after Mandela’s official release from prison. Folder 18, Box 2, the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400, University Archives, Wilson Library.

Today, University Archives joins the world in remembering  Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela passed away yesterday, December 5th.

An anti-apartheid activist and the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela famously spent 27 years in prison for the charge of inciting workers’ strikes and leaving the country without permission. Mandela served as the president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 after his unconditional release from prison on 11 February 1990.

 

 

 

A shanty during the 1986 protest. From the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400.

A shanty during the 1986 protest. From the Records of the Black Student Movement, #40400.

Nelson Mandela and the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa were an inspiration to Carolina students in the 1980s. From 1985 to 1987, the student-run Anti-Apartheid Support Group called for divestiture of all UNC-CH holdings in companies operating in South Africa. The protests peaked in March and April of 1986 when student members erected a shanty-town in Polk Place in front of South Building. When the Endowment Board of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted to divest all of its holdings in companies operating in South Africa in October 1987, the group disbanded.

Check out coverage of the protests in Black Ink, the newspaper of the Black Student Movement.

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SOHP Interns Present UNC LGBTQ Oral Histories

Are you interested in the history of student activism at UNC Chapel Hill? What about the history of sexual education, sexuality counseling services, or LGBTQ life on UNC’s campus?

The Fall 2013 interns of the Southern Oral History Program will present selections from their current oral history project on two early student-run LGBT-rights organizations at UNC: the Carolina Gay Association (now the Sexuality and Gender Alliance) and the Human Sexuality Information and Counseling Service.

The performance will take place at the Love House tomorrow (Dec 5) at 3pm with a discussion afterward. Refreshments provided.

The Love House is located at 410 East Franklin Street. Hope to see you there!

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Wilson is Open Late for Studying!

During exams study spaces in Wilson Library will remain open until 9 PM.

One sleeping, one studying. From the Design Services Department Records, box 6, Collection #40324).

One sleeping, one studying. From the Design Services Department Records, box 6, Collection #40324).

We’ll be open late Thursday and Friday, December 5th and 6th; and again Sunday, December 8th through Wednesday, December 11th. If you are looking for a peaceful and inspiring place to study this exam season, please stop by to see us!

 

 

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Wilson Library is now on tumblr!

Class of 1988 Time Capsule

The Class of 1988 time capsule, featured on the Wilson tumblr.

University Archives is excited to be contributing to Wilson Library’s new tumblr page, which features materials from all of UNC’s Special Collections.

Check out the tumblr here, and be sure to follow us!

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