Amid this coronavirus pandemic, with two recently approved COVID-19 vaccines in the news, it’s worth noting that 100 years ago this coming summer, the poliovirus struck a then-39-year-old Franklin Delanno Roosevelt. It caused the disease poliomyelitis, commonly called polio, that permanently paralyzed his legs. Polio is a disease known to ancient worlds, with epidemics striking many cultures and countries over centuries. Outbreaks commonly occurred during the summer months.
The first documented poliovirus epidemic in the United States occurred in 1894. It wasn’t until 1905 that Ivar Wickman discovered from a Swedish epidemic that polio was highly contagious and that one could have the disease without exhibiting symptoms. By the early 1950s, polio had reached pandemic proportions.
To inoculate people against the coronavirus, the pharmaceutical industry has thus far developed two COVID-19 vaccines within ten months. As a comparison, polio vaccine development and trials took twenty years. The first polio vaccine trials began in 1935, but success was not reached until April 12, 1955 when the medical profession declared Jonas Salk’s controversial vaccine safe, potent, and effective after testing 1.8 million children during the previous spring in advance of the summer infection season. The United States Government licensed the vaccine that same day, and mass distribution began the following day. A United Press news story declared it to be “the biggest mass assault on disease in history.”
Birthed as the William Hayes Ackland Art Center, the Ackland Art Museum turns sixty today. The art center held a special preview for UNC faculty on Friday evening, September 19, 1958. The official dedication ceremony took place the next morning, featuring a talk titled, “The Role of the College Museum in America” by S. Lane Faison, head of the art department and director of the art museum at Williams College in Massachusetts. The opening exhibition was a composition of paintings, prints, etchings, drawings, and sculptures from the collections of several college and university art museums across the country.
The university slated Joseph Curtis Sloane, then at Bryn Mawr College, to become chairman of the Art Department and director of the new art center.
William D. Carmichael Jr., Vice President and Financial Officer of The University of North Carolina, accepted the building on behalf of the consolidated university.
Care to learn more about the Ackland’s origins? The Daily Tar Heel covered the story, including the background of the William Hayes Ackland bequest and the works of art in the opening exhibition on September 18th in advance of the dedication ceremony, and reported on the formal opening on September 21st.
A few days ago on January 9th, The Herald-Sun published a story online titled, “When Martin Luther King Jr. came to Durham.” The article included a photograph of King and others walking on Durham’s West Main Street on February 16, 1960. They were on their way to the F. W. Woolworth & Company lunch counter, which the store had kept closed after the February 8th sit-in by North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University) students protesting against segregated seating. That protest came on the heels of the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in at Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1st.
The above negative by Thornton has a punch-hole beneath the image area, which typically designates the photographer’s or editor’s choice images. Neither The Durham Morning Herald nor The Durham Sun published that view. Instead, the latter published a cropped view of the following negative . . . removing the young bystander of history on the far left.
During the evening, King spoke at a filled-to-capacity White Rock Baptist Church. King’s speech has been dubbed informally his “Fill Up the Jails” sermon. As The Durham Sun reported:
‘Let us not fear going to jail if the officials threaten to arrest us for standing up for our rights.’ Negroes must be willing ‘to fill up the jails of the South’ to gain their point. . . . Maybe it will take this willingness to stay in jail to arouse the dozing conscience of our nation.’
Today marks the 142nd birthday of photographer Bayard Wootten. Born 17 December 1875, Wootten began her photographic career in 1905 in New Bern. The photograph above depicts Wooting blowing out candles on one of her many birthday cakes, probably around 1940. She died on 6 April 1959 in her 83rd year.
In 1998 the University of North Carolina Press published Jerry Cotten’s biography of Wootten, which received the Mary Ellen LoPresti Award from the southeast chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America. In October of this year on the eve of the books twentieth anniversary, UNC Press reissued the biography as a paperback edition featuring photographs reproduced from Wootten’s original negatives using twenty-first digital imaging technology. The results are photographs reproduced with even more richness, both subtle and dramatic, than the first printing.
When you get your new 2018 calendar, circle March 27th. On that evening, Jerry Cotten and I will each give a presentation during a program titled, “Bayard Wootten: Then and Now.” Jerry will talk about Wootten and her accomplishments as featured in the biography, and I will discuss what we have learned about Wootten during the twenty years since the book’s initial publication. The presentations will follow a brief opening reception for a new exhibition in The Pleasants Family Assembly Room in Wilson Library, and a book signing will follow the presentations.
If this year was 1909, then today would have been the day to head to Salisbury for the first day of the Rowan County Fair. Being that this is 2017, the 66th annual Rowan County Fair was September 15th through 23rd. That means the county’s first annual fair was in 1951—at least in its current incarnation. Fortunately there’s an even longer history to the county fair’s history, because 108 years ago I would have asked my dad to go see Strobel’s Airship!
Looking to go leafing this autumn but cannot decide where to travel? Why not search for locations in the online collection of North Carolina post cards, then seek out some then an now photographs? After all, Governor Roy Cooper has declared October to be “Photography Month!”
. . . was the first-page headline of The Herald-Sun, Durham’s newspaper, on July 9, 1997. At noon the previous day—twenty years ago today—family and friends buried and memorialized Charles Kuralt on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives is home to The Herald-Sun photographic negatives, so today we honor that anniversary by featuring the two photographs, cropped as they were then, that accompanied the newspaper’s story.
Kuralt’s connections to Carolina were long and deep. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1934, his family moved to Charlotte in 1945. He attended UNC between 1951 and 1955, and he worked on the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, as a reporter and columnist. In April 1954 he won the student election for the position of editor. After his time at UNC he wrote for two years for The Charlotte Observer before joining the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1957 as a news writer for radio. He became a CBS News correspondent two years later at the age of 25. Kuralt spent nearly his entire career at CBS, retiring May 1, 1994 at the age of 59. He was best known for “On the Road,” the long-running series of Americana short stories that he started in 1967 as segments aired during The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Others may recall him as the fifteen-year anchor of CBS Sunday Morning, which first aired in 1979. Throughout his celebrated career and wanderings across the country, Kuralt maintained lasting love for his home state.
Charles Kuralt died on July 4, 1997. To mark that anniversary, sister blog A View to Hugh published an account of his passing and memorial service that features photographs by Kuralt’s friend Hugh Morton and documents from the Charles Kuralt Collection and the William C. Friday Papers in the Southern Historical Collection. Morton and Friday were two of the speakers at the memorial service attended by 1,600 people in UNC’s Memorial Hall. UNC’s social media Spotlight webpage republished a short excerpt of that blog post along with the University News Services’ July 8, 1997 story, “Life and legacy of Charles Kuralt honored during service at UNC-CH’s Memorial Hall.”
Janet Reno, the first female to hold the office of United States Attorney General, passed away early today. The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives has four photographs made by Jerome Friar during the United States Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for her confirmation of appointment on 10 March 1993.
There may be a month left to go this solar summer, but the summer travel season will be wrapping up between now and Labor Day. For those whose oceanside vacation still awaits, you will probably notice that the beach fashion scene has changed a wee bit in the past 110 years! I doubt any records would have been broken at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with athletes wearing these anti-hydrodynamical outfits.
Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective opened this past Saturday at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. The Museum of History is the sixth venue for the exhibition since its debut in August 2013 at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University in Boone. The Morton photographs will be at the museum for more than a year! Admission is free. If you are looking for ways to beat the triple-digit heat index temperatures we’ve been experiencing in the eastern part of the state in recent days, a visit to Museum of History may be just the ticket. The exhibition looks terrific! The museum’s staff designed the exhibition to flow chronologically and several images sport new descriptive labels, so if you’ve seen the exhibition once before it is worth seeing it again.
There will be several programs at the museum related to the exhibition in the coming months, including “Hugh Morton, More Than Bridges and Bears” with Hugh Morton’s grandson Jack Morton and the exhibition’s curator Stephen J. Fletcher, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archivist, on December 8, 2016, 5:30-8:00 pm.