UNC’s Alumni Association celebrates 170 years

The Alumni Association of the University was organized on the 31st of May, 1843. The following were present, being the first members:

John D. Hawkins, Franklin, Class of 1801.
John Hill, Wilmington, Class of 1814.
Charles Manly, Raleigh, Class of 1814.
Charles Hinton, Wake County, Class of 1814.
John M. Morehead, Governor, Greensboro, Class of 1817.
William M. Green, Chapel Hill, Class of 1818.
Hugh Waddell, Hillsboro, Class of 1818.
William H. Battle, Chapel Hill, Class of 1820.
William A. Graham, Hillsboro, Class of 1824.
John W. Norwood, Hillsboro, Class of 1824.
J. DeBerniere Hooper, Chapel Hill, Class of 1831.
Cadwallader Jones, Jr., Hillsboro, Class of 1832.
Wm. H. Owen, Chapel Hill, Class of 1833.
Harrison Covington, Richmond County, Class of 1834.
Wm. W. Hooper, Chapel Hill, Class of 1836.
Benjamin I. Howze, Haywood, Class of 1836.
Ralph H. Graves, Chapel Hill, Class of 1836.
Henry K. Nash, Hillsboro, Class of 1836.
Pride Jones, Hillsboro, Class of 1837.
Alpheus Jones, Wake County, Class of 1839.
Thomas D. Meares, Wilmington, Class of 1839.
William S. Green, Danville, Va., Class of 1840.
Benjamin F. Atkins, Cumberland County, Class of 1841.
Robert R. Bridgers, Tarboro, Class of 1841.
John W. Brodnax, Rockingham County, Class of 1841.
Wm. J. Clarke, Raleigh, Class of 1841.
John D. Hawkins, Jr., Mississippi, Class of 1841.
Charles Phillips, Chapel Hill, Class of 1841.
Samuel F. Phillips, Chapel Hill, Class of 1841.
Richard J. Ashe, Hillsboro, Class of 1842.
Stephen S. Green, Chapel Hill, Class of 1842.

Governor Morehead was called to the chair. Messrs. Wm. A. Graham, John D. Hawkins, John Hill, Charles Manly, Wm. M. Green and William H. Battle were appointed a committee to report a constitution to the meeting in 1844 at Commencement. Thomas D. Meares was appointed Secretary.

From Kemp Plummer Battle’s History of the University of North Carolina. Volume I: From its Beginning to the Death of President Swain, 1789-1868. The minutes from that meeting and those from 1844, when the Alumni Association adopted a preamble and charter, are included in a bound volume among the Alumni Association records in University Archives here at Wilson. Take a look at these quick snapshots.

Gaylord Perry finds key to success in his mouth



On this day in 1964: The San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets play what is at the time the longest game in major league history — 7 hours, 23 minutes — and Williamston native Gaylord Perry loads up his first illegal pitch. Clinging to a spot on the Giants’ roster, reliever Perry hesitates only briefly before unveiling his new pitch.

“I was 25 years old, and I had spent most of my first six seasons in the minors,” he will recall later. “I thought of my wife, Blanche, our very young children, and Mama and Daddy back on the farm, all counting on me. And me taking home only $9,500 a year.” Perry and the spitter combine for 10 scoreless innings, and the Giants quickly install him in their starting rotation. Next stop: Hall of Fame.

Pictured: Promotional card and hat pin distributed at Chevron gas stations in the San Francisco area, circa 1991.


The ‘Misplaced Honor’ of Fort Bragg and Fort Polk

“In the complex and not entirely complete process of reconciliation after the Civil War… the idea that ‘now, we are all Americans’ served to whitewash the actions of the rebels. The most egregious example of this was the naming of United States Army bases after Confederate generals.

“Today there are at least 10 of them. Yes — the United States Army maintains bases named after generals who led soldiers who fought and killed United States Army soldiers; indeed, who may have killed such soldiers themselves….

“Not all the honorees were even good generals; many were mediocrities or worse. [Warrenton native] Braxton Bragg, for whom Fort Bragg in North Carolina is named, was irascible, ineffective, argumentative with subordinates and superiors alike, and probably would have been replaced before inflicting half the damage that he caused had he and President Jefferson Davis not been close friends. Fort Polk in Louisiana is named after [Raleigh native] Rev. Leonidas Polk, who abandoned his military career after West Point for the clergy. He became an Episcopal bishop, owned a large plantation and several hundred slaves, and joined the Confederate Army when the war began. His frequently disastrous service ended when he was split open by a cannonball….”

— From “Misplaced Honor” by Jamie Malanowski in the New York Times (May 26, 2013)


‘[Most] kids in Chapel Hill are amazingly on the ball’

“As soon as I got back here [to Roxbury, Conn.] from Paris I had to go down south for that wretched lecture tour in Va. and N.C. The U of Va was a drag — I felt like a pariah in that smug place, almost no one showed up for my talk! — but this was cancelled out by my turn-out at the U of N.C. — nearly a thousand students, all rapt and worshipping except for the usual phalanx of a half a dozen or maybe a dozen black folk who did their usual childish gig of trying, unsuccessfully, to embarrass me by walking out.

“Anyway, I think I’m going to transfer my state allegiance from Va. to North Carolina. The kids in Chapel Hill are really amazingly on the ball.”

– William Styron, writing to his daughter Susanna, March 28, 1972

Although “The Confessions of Nat Turner,” Styron’s imagined memoir of the real-life leader of a Virginia slave revolt,  brought accusations of racial stereotyping, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968.

Recipes from the collection to celebrate National Wine Day

May 25th is National Wine Day.  Here are a few recipes to help you celebrate.

Wine Pie - Peace Cookbook

Wine Pie from Peace cookbook.

Fish in Wine Sauce - Best of the Best

Fish in Wine Sauce from Best of the best from North Carolina : selected recipes from North Carolina’s favorite cookbooks.

Cranberry Apple Wine-Cooking with Berries

Cranberry-Apple Wine from Cooking with berries.

Dandan's wine jelly - Dixie Dishes

Dandan’s Wine Jelly from Dixie dishes.

Sangria-Rush Hour Superchef!

Sangria from Rush hour superchef! : with step-by-step menus.

Ratafia-The Young Housewife's Counsellor and Friend

Ratafia from The young housewife’s counsellor and friend : containing directions in every department of housekeeping; including the duties of wife and mother.

Decca's Chicken, Drunkard Style-Hallelujah! The Welcome Table

Decca’s Chicken, Drunkard Style from Hallelujah! the welcome table : a lifetime of memories with recipes.

Celebrating the Day with the Mecklenburg March

Cover of the Mecklenburg March
President Taft’s visit to Charlotte on May 20, 1909 not only spawned the term “Taft rain,” it also served as occasion for debut of the “Mecklenburg March.” Our colleagues at the Charlotte & Mecklenburg public library have a 2009 recording of the march online (though it doesn’t seem to working right now). No doubt many Mecklenburgers (especially those whose roots lie near the spring where the supposed signers met) echo the sentiments found in the march’s only lyrics. This copy of the sheet music is from the papers of a proud Mecklenburger and staunch believer in the Meck Dec. We’re still looking for a little more information on Janie Alexander Patterson. We know that she was a “Miss” when she wrote this composition. And that she later became Janie Alexander Patterson Wagoner.

President Taft’s words forgotten, but not his weather

On this day in 1909: President William Howard Taft visits Charlotte for Meck Dec Day and the dedication of the 12-story Realty Building, the Carolinas’ first steel-frame skyscraper.

Just as a parade past Taft’s reviewing stand ends, a sudden downpour sends thousands running for cover. The president’s speech, moved indoors, opposes partisan politics in the federal judiciary. But it will be the “Taft rain” that Charlotteans remember.

Later, at what will become Johnson C. Smith University, Taft sits in a chair custom-built to accommodate his 325 pounds and urges blacks to continue pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.

These two postcards from the collection mark Taft’s visit to Charlotte.


What’s in a name? Less and less with each passing year

This New York Times story about the 48-year reign of Michael as the most popular name for boys born in New York state reminded me to check the numbers for this part of the world.

When I last compared North Carolina’s favorite baby names with those of the country as a whole, in 2009, I found that differences had steadily shrunken over half a century. In just three years that divide has become even narrower: The girls’ names making up the U.S. top five for 2012 differ only in order from the names  making up the North Carolina top five. And the only exception in the boys’ top five is North Carolina parents’ preference for Elijah over Ethan.

We could hardly come closer to duplicating the national consensus if we tried. (Are we, in fact, trying?)

Footnote: After seeing a baby-names website tout North Carolina’s most historically distinctive names, Zebulon and Zeb, as among 2012’s “hottest,” I was expecting to see them rise in the national rankings. Alas, no. How hot can a name be and still not crack the top 1,000?


We’ll always have… Thomasville?

“Bogart-themed bistros, taverns and bars sprouted up all across the United States, and even in Mexico. Most were unimaginative recreations of the ‘Casablanca’ set, replete with ceiling fans and waiters in rumpled white linen suits. But a few played up Humphrey’s image, among them Bogart’s American Restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina….

“Thomasville Furniture unveiled its Bogart Collection in the late 1990s. According to the ad copy, Humphrey ‘believed that true class could not be imitated or taught.’ You either had it or you didn’t…. The collection presented close to a  hundred pieces, including the Trench Coat Chair….”

— From “Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart” by Stefan Kanfer (2011)