A priceless gem for only ten bucks

Today, October 27th, UNC head football coach Larry Fedora leads his 2018 Tar Heels into historic Scott Stadium for a continuation of “the South’s Oldest Rivalry.”  This game between the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia marks … Continue reading

Spangler with Justice's torn jersey

UNC President C.D. Spangler standing outside the President’s house on UNC-Chapel Hill campus, February 23, 1988, holding a ripped #22 jersey worn by UNC football player Charlie Justice during the 1948 game against Virginia.

Today, October 27th, UNC head football coach Larry Fedora leads his 2018 Tar Heels into historic Scott Stadium for a continuation of “the South’s Oldest Rivalry.”  This game between the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia marks the 123rd meeting between the two old rivals. Over the years, since the first meeting between the two in 1892, Carolina has won sixty-four times while UVA has won fifty-four; four games ended in a tie.  Of the fifty times Carolina has played UVA on the road, the game in 1948 not only provided Carolina with a highly significant win, it also provided an interesting sidebar story.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the game in Scott Stadium on November 27, 1948 between the Tar Heels and the Cavaliers.

Arguably the best UNC football team was the 1948 squad that finished the season undefeated and ranked third in the Associated Press poll. The ’48 Tar Heels started off the season at home with a historic win over the University of Texas, 34 to 7. (Many old-time Tar Heels still like to talk about this game.)

The weekend following the Texas win, Charlie Justice had his best day as a Tar Heel down in Georgia with a win over the Bulldogs. Then came wins over Wake Forest, NC State, LSU, and Tennessee.  A tie with William & Mary on November 6th was the only blemish on the ‘48 schedule.  Following wins over Maryland and Duke, it was time to close out the historic season—a season that had seen Carolina ranked number one for the first and only time.

With bowl talk in the air, Head Coach Carl Snavely took his team into Scott Stadium for that finale.  An overflow crowd of 26,000+ turned out on November 27, 1948, a day that could have very easily been called “Charlie Justice Day.”  Here’s why:

  • He got off runs of twenty-two and eight yards in the initial Carolina touchdown drive.
  • He passed thirty-nine yards to receiver Art Weiner for the second Tar Heel score.
  • He cut off left guard on a delayed spinner and outran the field to cross the Virginia goal eighty yards away.
  • He passed thirty-one yards to end Bob Cox for Carolina’s fourth touchdown.
  • He returned a UVA punt, in a straight line, fifty yards for Carolina’s final touchdown of the day.

In summary: Justice carried the ball fifteen times for a net total of 159 yards—that’s almost 11 yards per carry. He completed four of seven passes for 87 yards.  He returned two punts for sixty-six yards. He punted five times for a 40.8 yards per punt average. And oh yes, he intercepted a Virginia pass, had a 49-yard touchdown pass called back as well as a 21-yard run. Needless to say, Carolina won the game 34 to 12 and went on to play in the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

Among those 26,000+ fans in Scott Stadium that afternoon was an eleventh grade student at Woodberry Forest, a prep school in Madison, Virginia.  His name, Clemmie Dixon Spangler, Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina.  Spangler, along with several of his school buddies, had made the trip over to Charlottesville for the game. (Clemmie Dixon Spangler, Jr. would become known as C.D. Spangler, Jr. and would lead the University of North Carolina system from 1986 until 1997.)

On one of those great Charlie Justice plays mentioned above, Justice’s #22 jersey was torn. He came over to the Carolina sideline where equipment manager, “Sarge” Keller, quickly got out a new one . . . tossing the torn one over behind the bench into an equipment trunk.  In a 1996 interview with A.J Carr of Raleigh’s News & Observer, Spangler described the 1948 Charlottesville scene:

“Charlie was a hero of mine.  It was one of his greatest college games.  On one play, a linebacker grabbed him, but he twisted away as he often did, ran another 10-15 yards and his jersey was torn.”

“He came over, the trainer helped him put on another and they put the torn one in the trunk. I said: ‘That old jersey would be nice to have.’”

After the game, Spangler got the attention of a Carolina cheerleader and explained that he wanted the Justice jersey.  He then offered the cheerleader ten dollars to go and get the jersey out of the trunk. The deal was completed and as Spangler walked out of the stadium, some Carolina fans offered him one hundred dollars. Spangler said, “No deal.”

He displayed the jersey on the wall while in high school and after graduation he kept it in a “safe place.”

“I wouldn’t take anything for it,” Spangler continued. “It’s a piece of history that meant something to me.”

“My mother offered to wash it and sew it. But I said we would not wash it, that we’d keep the lime marks and grass stains and leave it torn.”

“(Charlie Justice) is very symbolic of someone who did well, was a hero and he lived a really good life.  He lived up to all expectations and has been a fine representative for North Carolina,” Spangler added as he closed the interview.

contents of Machine Print Envelope 2.6.398-10-9

Photographs of Charlie Justice and C.D. Spangler stored in Machine Print Envelope 2.6.398-10-9. One of the prints has a caption typed on the back with the ubiquitous stamp, “PHOTOGRAPH BY HUGH MORTON.”

Spangler kept the prized memento for more than fifty years. Then, on November 18, 1989, during halftime of the Carolina–Duke game, he presented the jersey to then UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour.  It is now on display in the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor at the Kenan Football Center.

Justice and Spangler autographed photograph

A mounted color photograph autographed by Justice and Spangler, located in Oversize Box 2 in the Hugh Morton collection

Morton also used the images in his slides shows, saying: “…the only university president who freely admits to bribery and steeling.”

Contents from Machine Print Envelope 2.6.398-10-6.

Photographs and negatives from Machine Print Envelope 2.6.398-10-6. The envelope contains negatives from two rolls of film, one of which is seen here on the left. The negative for the print with Justice and Spangler standing next to the torn jersey exhibit case is not in the envelope. It would fit sequentially in the space seen next to the upper right corner of the print. Above that print, on Spangler’s right is Julia Morton; to his left is Betty Kenan.

On April 30, 1984, the Charlotte chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation staged a Charlie Justice Celebrity Roast and one of the roasters was Justice’s dear friend, teammate, and business partner Art Weiner.  One of Weiner’s roast stories went something like this:

We knew that Charlie was competing with SMU’s great All America Doak Walker for the 1948 Heisman Memorial Trophy.  When we read in the papers that Walker had a jersey torn up during one his games, we decided, in the huddle, to tear up one of Charlie’s . . . just to make things look equal.  But on November 27, 1948, the tear was for real and C.D. Spangler, Jr. got a “Priceless Gem for Only 10 Bucks.”

Another view of ’82

Wednesday afternoon was one of those times, like so many others in this line of work, where what you end up working on isn’t even on your radar when you step off the bus and head to the office.  Here’s … Continue reading

Wednesday afternoon was one of those times, like so many others in this line of work, where what you end up working on isn’t even on your radar when you step off the bus and head to the office.  Here’s what happened . . . .

Around 2:30 a new staff member in the the library’s Digital Production Center received a phone call from Yahoo! Sports requesting Hugh Morton photographs.  He asked me who should take the call, and I recommended he transfer the call to Keith Longiotti in our Research and Instructional Services Department.  Keith handles most of the image requests for the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

Shortly after the call I saw an email that I had received before the phone call, but hadn’t seen because I had been away from my desk.  The email was from an associate producer at Yahoo! Sports, and had its beginnings on Tuesday with a referral from The Daily Tar Heel to the journalism school’s librarian Stephanie Brown.

Yahoo! Sports has been producing a series called “Memorable Moments: March Madness.”  Their last episode was to feature the 1982 NCAA men’s basketball championship game between UNC and Georgetown.  They requested photographs or footage from the game, mentioning that they had seen some Hugh Morton photographs in the online collection of Morton images, but nothing from the closing moments of the game.  The producer wrote,

I’m looking for any photos AFTER Michael Jordan’s go-ahead jumper with :17 left in the game.  Specifically Georgetown’s Fred Brown throwing the ball away to James Worthy during the subsequent play.  Anything of Worthy and/or Brown from the final moments (before the steal, during the steal, after the steal, huddles, shooting free throws, etc.) would be outstanding.

Stephanie replied that the Park Library did not hold such materials, and that she should talk to me about the Hugh Morton collection.  I wrote the associate producer immediately after I finished reading her email, telling her that I had read her email shortly after the telephone call.

If you are a regular reader of A View to Hugh, then you know only 8,000 of the 250,000 items in the Morton collection are online.  I told the associate producer that I would look in the remainder of the collection to see if I could locate any images that were not online.  The catch?  They needed images that day, or early Thursday at the latest.  (Luckily their offices are on the west coast so that gave me an additional three hours to work on the request.)  They had seen Morton’s photograph of the team huddle shown above, but not in the online collection.  Did we have it?  Did we have anything else?

Given their tight deadline and the proximity to closing time, we could have settled for the images they already seen and requested.  Keith sent them scans of the images they’d seen so they could get started.  I couldn’t fathom, however, that Hugh Morton would not have photographed the pivotal closing moments unless he had been on the opposite end of the court.  That, coupled with an opportunity to give the Morton collection some national or even international exposure was too good to pass up.  I jumped on it.

First I checked for scans saved on our image server, but not used in the online collection.  (Yes, there are thousands of them!)  To do that, I had to review all the prints, negatives, and slides from the games, because the scan’s file names are written on the storage enclosures.  The huddle scene above was previously scanned, but not included online.

But look at what else I found that wasn’t scanned:

P081_1982NCCAfinal_Worthy 01

After watching the closing moments of the game on YouTube, I was convinced the scene above was James Worthy driving the basketball down court after stealing Fred Brown’s errant pass.  The steal and drive happened right in front of Morton.  He snapped the camera shutter just a moment before Worthy was intentionally fouled by Georgetown’s Eric Smith (#32).  Eric “Sleepy” Floyd (#21) is on the left.  Both Floyd and Worthy are from Gastonia, North Carolina and were good friends.  The turnover happened so unexpectedly on the other end of the court, and so quickly that it may have caught Morton off guard because Worthy is out of focus.  The result, however, means that Morton captured the dismay on Floyd’s face, and the expressions on the bench and cheerleaders are more visible.

(By the way, if you watch the CBS broadcast, you can see Hugh Morton pop into the frame about 25 seconds after the end of the game.  This may be when Dean Smith told Morton, “Stick with me.”)

Below, Morton photographed Worthy taking one of his free throws with only two seconds remaining on the clock.

P081_1982NCCAfinal_Worthy 02

A staff member of the Digital Production Center helped me make the scans of the two 35mm slides.  (I couldn’t do it because they just starting using new software.)  We had the slides finished before 6:00.  I continued to dig Thursday morning, taking advantage of the time zones difference, but didn’t find additional images that fit the hole they needed to fill.  We delivered the scans by their deadline, and Yahoo! Sports was thrilled.

We received the link to the story, “Michael Jordan’s gutsy shot leads to North Carolina title” this morning.  The downside of our efforts is that Yahoo! Sports doesn’t credit their sources after the episodes in “Memorable Moments: March Madness,” so you won’t see Morton or the photographic archives credited.  The upside is that seven Hugh Morton photographs appear in the episode (one of Worthy during the East Regional final game against Villanova in Raleigh, and six from the championship game), and the library did receive a respectable commercial use fee to help support the work that we do with the collections.  The team huddle photograph also opens a one-minute piece, “Memorable Moments: The huddle before Michael Jordan’s shot.“  Another of Morton’s images appears in a second short, “Memorable Moments: James Worthy remembers UNC vs. Georgetown.”

A remaining mystery emerged from this reference request.  I didn’t find a photograph of Michael Jordon’s game winning shot, which occurred near the very spot of the Worthy photograph above.  Did Morton photograph that memorable moment, too?  If so, I didn’t find it.  Yet.

Uncovered notables

Wee spend our mid-day sweat, or mid-night oyle; Wee tyre the night in thought; the day in toyle. — Francis Quarles, from Emblemes, 1635 There are times when carrying out my twenty-first century daily toils in front of a computer … Continue reading

Wee spend our mid-day sweat, or mid-night oyle;
Wee tyre the night in thought; the day in toyle.

— Francis Quarles, from Emblemes, 1635

There are times when carrying out my twenty-first century daily toils in front of a computer get to be a bit too much for the eyes and I need to step away from the computer.  When those occasions occur I look at photographs from the collections, which also keeps me rooted in the reasons I do what I do for a living.

UNC student studying while holding a pipe.

“Burning the Midnight Oil” is the quotation that accompanies this photograph by Hugh Morton in the 1942 Yackety Yack, UNC’s student yearbook. The photograph served as the visual opener for the professional schools section.

One of those occasions struck a couple weeks ago, so I wandered off to the unidentified nonflying objects in “Area 5.1″ (actually, the unidentified negatives in series 5.1) of the Morton Collection: “University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1939–early 2000s / Student Life, 1939-1942.”   There are many unidentified negatives in that portion of the collection, including many posed yet candid portraits.

As I examined one negative at a time, I saw a face that was immediately recognizable: Louis Harris.  (Lou Harris, who became an important American pollster, has been mentioned in a few posts and an essay thus far here at A View to Hugh.)  The portrait in hand seemed familiar, and I soon located it in the “Senior Personalities” section of the 1942 UNC yearbook, The Yackety Yack.

Louis Harris

The caption for Harris’s portrait reads:

Campus idealist, reformer, organizer . . . one of few with the courage of his convictions . . . incessant energy . . . needs 34 hour day . . .

The captioned portrait next to Harris’s looked like a different negative I had viewed a few minutes earlier, so I went back to the storage box to find it.  The portrayed: Ferebee Taylor.  That name may not be recognizable to many, but thirty years later Nelson Ferebee Taylor became the fifth chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill.  A native of Oxford, North Carolina, Taylor headed to Cambridge, Massachusetts for a Harvard Law degree after graduating from UNC.  From Harvard he received a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, England.

Nelson Ferebee Taylor

Taylor’s caption:

Capable, responsible . . . that “Oxford” accent . . . unanimous draftee for legislature speakership . . . Phi Bete prexy, Fleece, etc. ad infinitum

Because there are so many negatives of unidentified students, we only scanned a sampling when processing the Morton collection—and only a selection of the sampling made it into the online collection.  (Sometimes portraits include multiple poses—there’s one variant of Taylor’s portrait and a few of the opening image above.)  The previously unidentified portraits of Lou Harris and Ferebee Taylor are only two negatives among hundreds.

Wee make Art servile, and the Trade gentile,
(Yet both corrupted with ingenious guile)
To compass earth; and with her empty store,
To fill our Armes, and graspe, one handfull more,
Thus seeking Rest, our labours never cease,
But as our years, our hot desires encrease.

Rediscovering two notable people seemed like enough for one blog post, but while relocating the Taylor negative I saw a different negative with an image that I also recalled having seen somewhere once before.  This portrait (shown below, but tightly cropped from elbow and head on the right to the left edge of the sign) also turned up in the “Senior Personalities” section—this time in the 1941 Yackety Yack with the caption “Gene Whitten.”

Gene Witten with "please" sign

The Yackety Yack tightly cropped this portrait of Gene Witten. The “please” sign directed pedestrians where to walk, and by default, where not to tread.

Eugene Roy Witten (misspelled in the Yackety Yack caption) played an interesting role in the history of UNC student publications.  Although he may have had earlier unacknowledged contributions, Witten’s name first appears as a cartoonist in the masthead of the October 1939 issue of the then soon-to-be-ill-fated student humor magazine The Carolina Buccaneer.  The student publication rode a problematic seesaw from its beginnings in 1924, but the Buccaneer’s eventual downfall was the cover, and to some extent the contents, of its infamous “sex issue” of November 1939.  Witten had one innocuous (by today’s standards, at least) cartoon included in that issue.  The real controversy, however, centered on the magazine’s cover by cartoonist Hight Moore—and the fallout reached far beyond the campus walls.

The details of the magazine’s final saga would take this blog post astray.  In brief, on Friday, November 10th, The Daily Tar Heel editor Martin Harmon wrote a satirical “Buc Review” in the form of a letter to his Aunt Emmy in New Orleans.  That evening, the Student Council directed the Publications Union Board to destroy all 3,000 copies of the issue shortly before its release date.  Sunday’s Daily Tar Heel decried a “Crisis in Student Government.”  On Monday, November 13th, the Publications Union Board decided to reuse parts of the magazine and publish a revised edition, which was to be issued by the end of the week.  Later that evening, the Student Legislature voted 18-13 against the Student Council ban.  A month later, a DTH editorial called the whole affair “the most sensational, the most astounding, the most stupendous bombshell of the [fall] quarter.”

  • A side note . . . The November 1939 issue of The Carolina Buccaneer is one of many items used to illustrate the North Carolina Collection Gallery exhibit, “A Right to Speak and to Hear: Academic Freedom and Free Expression at UNC”—which opened today.

“Let bygones be bygones!” the Buccaneer‘s editors wrote in the ensuing December issue.  After the last issue of the school year published in May, however, the magazine was gone.  What makes this story relevant to readers of the A View to Hugh?  Between its November death knell and May burial, Hugh Morton joined The Carolina Buccaneer masthead as a photographer.  In the March 1940 issue, Morton contributed a photographic essay entitled “‘That’ Week-End” that included his photograph of Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Band performing during the Mid-Winter German dances held on February 15th and 16th.

Why did Morton join the Carolina Buccaneer staff as a freshman, just a few months after the sex issue fiasco?  We may never know.  This time period, however, seems to have been an important crossroads in Morton’s early career as a photographer.  According to a November 1941 DTH article, Morton’s camera had been stolen shortly after he arrived on campus in September 1939.  He didn’t replace it until he bought a camera in a Raleigh pawn shop during the winter of 1940, after which he “immediately” began to work for The Carolina Buccaneer.  With the Glen Gray and Mid-Winter German dance photographs as evidence, that would be mid February.  Additionally, a montage of photographs by G. B. Lamm and Morton appear on the cover of the March 1940 issue of Carolina Magazine.  Morton would go on to photograph for several student and university publications.

An important connection may have been made during or after the Buccaneer debacle: the president of the Publications Union Board who salvaged The Carolina Bucaneer and kept at least some of its parts from the incinerator was senior Edward L. Rankin, Jr..  Nearly fifty years later Rankin would co-author with Morton the book Making a Difference in North Carolina published in 1988.  It would be fascinating to know if Morton and Rankin’s association began at UNC, or in later years.

Gene Witten reading The Daily Tar Heel.

Gene Witten reading the February 4, 1941 issue of The Daily Tar Heel. Morton’s portrait of Witten appears in the 1941 Yackety Yack.

Jump ahead to autumn 1940, and re-enter Gene Witten, named in November to be Editor-in-Chief of Tar an’ Feathers, successor to The Carolina Buccaneer.  Witten’s charge was to produce a “clean” humor magazine.  In the first issue Witten contributed one cartoon, which was more like a sketch with a caption beneath—his only cartoon published in the magazine.  Witten named Lamm, the upperclassmen to Morton, as the photography editor.

Working on another batch of negatives several days after the initial Harris and Taylor discoveries, I uncovered another unidentified portrait of Witten. In this portrait (shown above), Witten is reading (or glancing at, given the strange angle of the newspaper) a copy of the February 4th, 1941 Daily Tar Heel. This portrait also appears in the 1941 Yackety Yack, but it’s cropped vertically.  The typewriter to his left is branded with a “TH” that likely stands for Tar Heel, and may have been photographed in the DTH offices.

Curious about Witten’s life after UNC, an Internet search revealed a website dedicated to his life as an artist.  Witten was a business major at UNC, and worked briefly after college in a New York City advertising agency.  According to the Witten website, after serving in the United States Navy during World War II he “was impassioned to leave ‘business’ and entered the Art Students League in Manhattan in 1946. At the age of 25 he decided his life’s work was to paint.” In addition to working as an artist for decades, Witten became a master frame maker.   He passed away on January 13, 2004.

Now, reader, close thy Booke, and then advise:
Be wisely worldly; be not worldly wise.
— Francis Quarles, from Emblemes, 1635