October Artifacts of the Month: Kay Kyser’s Costume and Mandolin

On October 5, the city of Rocky Mount installed an historical marker honoring James Kern “Kay” Kyser (1905-1985).  Kyser was a native of Rocky Mount and a 1928 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill.  While at UNC, Kyser majored in commerce and was active in numerous extracurricular activities, including acting as head cheerleader for the Tar Heels and leading a band. Kay Kyser

Kyser became a bandleader when Hal Kemp, another UNC student, turned his popular band over to Kyser when he left the university to further his career. When Kyser later turned professional in the 1930s, he and his band became internationally famous.

Wilson Special Collections Library holds Kyser’s papers and several objects that belonged to him. Gallery staff worked with a researcher to select items for use in exhibits marking the historical marker celebration.  Such sessions are always an opportunity for us to learn more about our holdings.  Not only do we review the information we have about the items, we usually learn something from discussions with the visitor.  No exception this time.

Perhaps the most interesting of the holdings is a graduation cap, hood, and gown worn by Kyser in his role as the “Ol’ Perfessor of Swing.”  Kyser developed an act combining a quiz with music called Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge.

Another interesting artifact in this collection is an old Italian mandolin.  We don’t know its connection to Kyser.  The instrument was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and possibly Kyser was a member of one of many “mandolin orchestras” that formed then.  This mandolin—erroneously described as a lute in our information system and now corrected—is of the bowlback or “potato bug” variety.  The current form was developed largely by the Gibson Guitar Corp., and this type was made famous by bluegrass musicians such as Bill Monroe.mandolin

A few Kyser-related items from our collection are currently on view in Rocky Mount at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences and Braswell Memorial Library. Other Kyser-related artifacts are available upon request in the North Carolina Collection Gallery.

The Pepsi – UNC Connection

Fans of the sugary beverage known as Pepsi-Cola should note it was just 120 years ago this month that the beverage was “Born in the Carolinas,” as its logo claims. In August 1898, pharmacist Caleb Bradham renamed his healthy and refreshing ‘Brads Drink’ to ‘Pepsi-Cola’ and international enterprise began.

Rectangle postcard
Postcard of ‘The Home of Pepsi-Cola at New Bern N.C. – built by us for our own use’, 1920s. Durwood Barbour Collection of NC Postcards (PO77)

Bradham, from Chinquapin, NC, attended UNC in 1886, leaving for medical school in 1889. He became a pharmacist in the growing coastal town of New Bern, opening Bradham’s Pharmacy with an in-store soda fountain in 1892. Bradham enjoyed making delicious drinks as well as making medicines, and his pharmacy quickly became a staple of downtown. Bradham focused on making a safe drink from natural ingredients (his original recipe didn’t even have caffeine) believed to help with digestion. He was inspired by the Greek word ‘pepsis’ meaning ‘digestion’ and changed the name to Pepsi-Cola in August 1898.

square pin-back button
Carolina-focused advertising pin-back button, 2000s.
NCC Lew Powell Collection, (CK.1287.1745)

His Pepsi-Cola Company was worth more than $1 million by 1915, but tragedy was just around the corner. By the 1920s, World War I was over, but supplies, like sugar, were expensive. In 1923 Pepsi-Cola Company declared bankruptcy. Purchased by a Wall Street Banker forjust $30,000, Pepsi would never again be under North Carolina ownership. Although financially crippled, Bradham’s connection to UNC continued. He sponsored the Bradham Prize for scholarship at the School of Pharmacy until 1930.

Rectangle Pin-back button
Pin-back advertising ‘Pepsi Fest East’ for Pepsi memorabilia collectors, 1996.
NCC Lew Powell Collection, (CK.1287.2154)

Pepsi-Cola moved to Richmond, VA after Bradham’s ownership, but the company continues to highlight its North Carolina roots. “Born in the Carolinas” is one of the official trademarks of Pepsi-Cola in its regional marketing strategy. Pepsi has also provided sponsorship to NASCAR and to North Carolina driver Richard Petty. Greenville’s PirateFest is co-sponsored by Pepsi, and Pepsi Fest collector events are held in North Carolina. The nation’s largest privately-held manufacturer, seller and distributor of Pepsi is claimed by Raleigh’s Pepsi Bottling Ventures. New Bern hosts the Birthplace of Pepsi, a private museum that celebrates the site of Pepsi’s beginning.

Round pin-back button
Pin-back featuring two North Carolina-born companies. Food Lion was founded in Salisbury, NC in 1957.
NCC Lew Powell Collection, (CK.1287.2985)

The NC Collection Gallery in Wilson Library holds a variety of Pepsi-related items and artifacts. A small exhibit noting the 120th anniversary of Pepsi-Cola features some of these artifacts. The cabinet to the left at the entrance of the Gallery will now be used for small changing exhibits highlighting various events in North Carolina History.

  • – Bob Schreiner, NCC Gallery

Artifacts of the Month: WUNC-TV Jacket and Banner

If you’ve turned on a TV in North Carolina, you are probably familiar with our state’s public television station, UNC-TV.  The network’s original station – WUNC-TV, Channel 4 in Chapel Hill – signed on the air January 8, 1955.  Initially operating on three different campuses (Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Greensboro), the station would continue to expand in geographical reach and content development.

For more than 60 years, WUNC-TV has brought arts, culture, history, and science programming into the homes of North Carolinians.  The NC Collection Gallery is pleased to add two new artifacts documenting the station’s past:  a late-1950s WUNC-TV jacket and an original Channel 4 banner.

1950s WUNC-TV jacket
1950s WUNC-TV jacket
Channel 4 banner
Late 1960s Channel 4 banner

The first WUNC-TV broadcast in 1955, and its staple content for years, was college basketball.  These early games were shown on television, but people would watch while listening to the radio for the commentary.  By the 1960s, WUNC-TV was covering the ACC Basketball Game of the Week.  The station converted a Trailways bus donated from the Town of Chapel Hill into a mobile remote unit, making it possible to cover events outside the studio.

Charlie B. Huntley from Greensboro, NC (UNC class of 1971) entered UNC in 1967 and was recruited that same year to join the Department of Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures (later incorporated into the UNC School of Journalism).  Having been inspired by watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1963, Huntley jumped at the opportunity to become a cameraman with WUNC-TV.  Huntley divided his time between the studio, his house on East Rosemary Street (shared with other members of the WUNC-TV Channel 4 student news team), and being on the road with a WUNC-TV camera.

Channel 4 student employees, ca. 1970
The core group of the Channel 4 team and Rosemary Street roommates, Sam Brooks, HB Hough, Bill Hatch and Charlie Huntley, ca.1970
Huntley shooting on location
Huntley shooting on location

Huntley remembers traveling an untold number of miles on that Trailways bus all over North Carolina.  Just to make sure their presence was known, the team would attach a large green banner with the Channel 4 logo to the side of the bus.  The banner was sometimes used as a backdrop during satellite broadcasts.

While working in the WUNC-TV studio then located in Swain Hall, Huntley found an early WUNC-TV jacket in a janitor’s closet and felt a connection to his predecessors.  The rayon bomber jacket was made in Greensboro and was worn by early WUNC-TV staff while on-location filming around the state.

Huntley holding Emmy Award
Charlie Huntley in 1992 with his Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Miniseries or Special for his work on Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park

As Huntley’s time at UNC began to come to an end, he decided to keep the banner that was no longer being used by the station, as well as the jacket that was worn years before he even thought of coming to UNC.  His experience as a student staff member at WUNC led to a long and successful career as a professional cameraman in New York, with 134 film and tv credits, 54 Emmy nominations, and 4 Emmy wins.  Huntley speaks of his time at UNC and WUNC-TV with affection, referring to his friends and colleagues as “family” and appreciating that he was a part of “a wonderful combination of friendship, passion, and talent.”

The Gallery is proud to add these artifacts into our permanent collection to help interpret and preserve the history of WUNC-TV.

Channel 4 alumni
Channel 4 alumni

Artifact of the Month – 1940 Class Ring

With the 2018 graduation now behind us, the May Artifact of the Month reminds us that although our time at the University is brief, our love and appreciation for the school is eternal. This class ring from 1940, formerly owned by the late historian and Curator of the North Carolina Collection William S. Powell, invokes the pride and spirit possessed by anyone privileged enough to call UNC their alma mater.

William Stevens Powellclass ring with blue stone

The ring’s designers included symbols related to the University’s history. The 10k gold ring features both the official school seal and the unofficial school symbol, the Old Well. The ring includes the Latin version of the University’s formal name with an ode to the school’s charter year in 1789. It also features the phrase, “Esse Quam Videri,” meaning “to be rather than to seem,” which is also the state motto.
class ring sideviewclass ring sideviewclass ring engraving

The ring bears Powell’s name through an inscription on the inside of the band, immortalizing his status as a proud UNC alumnus. Powell earned his bachelor’s degree in library science after transferring to CUNC from Mitchell College in Statesville. He went on to earn a master’s degree in history from the University in 1947 and began his extensive career at UNC working for the North Carolina Collection.

Students now celebrate their senior status by purchasing a class ring and attending the special ceremony hosted by the General Alumni Association, a tradition dating back to 2008. The ceremony aims to connect students and alumni who purchase rings by making ring buying a special occasion, rather than it simply arriving in the mail. Rings come in multiple styles and color options, with the choice to feature either their customized degree symbol or the traditional school seal.

April Artifacts of the Month: What is a token?

A token is usually thought of as a coin-like object used as money.  Tokens are not used much today but were common in the past when coins were in short supply.  But in thinking about tokens in the North Carolina Collection, I began to realize that such a simple definition falls short.  Let’s look at some of the NCC tokens.

Phenix Mills tokenPhenix Mills token

The trade token is perhaps the most common variety of token.  The token above was issued by the Phenix Mills Store in Kings Mountain, N.C., most likely in the early 1900s.  Denominated simply as “10,” it is about the size of a dime, made of base metal, and was good for merchandise.  It likely would have been given to company employees in exchange for work or as small change from a purchase in the company store.  It was issued by the company, and its purpose was to keep wealth in the company store.

Charlotte transit tokenCharlotte transit token reverse

About the size of a quarter and made of two different metals, the Charlotte Transit token from 2000 is denominated $1 and is good for the trolley or for street parking.  While it served as a transportation trade token, its attractive design both commemorates and promotes Charlotte Transit.

Civil War tokenCivil War token

The cent-size 1863 copper token is an example of a Civil War patriotic token issued in the North.  It might have circulated as a cent, since coins were very scarce during the Civil War because of hoarding.  The token also functioned as propaganda and perhaps also as a morale booster.

cotton bale tokencotton bale token

Another type of token is from the Wilmington Champion Compress & Warehouse Company. This token is made of aluminum and probably dates to the early 1900s.  These were issued to workers who loaded bales of cotton.  The quantity of tokens possessed by a worker documented the amount of work he had done, one token for each bale carried.  The tokens could be redeemed for money or perhaps goods in a company store.  While these tokens served as a limited kind of money, their use also constituted a simple work accounting system.

There is no comprehensive reference for this aspect of Tar Heel numismatics.  At least one researcher is working on one, and it will surely tell us a great deal more about this surprisingly complex topic.

Carolina Elephant Token

Carolina Elephant Token

The Carolina Elephant token is the earliest known numismatic artifact that refers to the Carolinas.  It is dated 1694, before the 1712 separation of the Province of Carolina into North and South Carolina colonies.  The origin and purpose of the token remain enigmatic despite extensive research that includes a seminal article written by Neil Fulghum, founding Keeper of the North Carolina Collection Gallery.

The Lords Proprietors were ruling landlords of the Province until their descendants sold their interests back to the Crown in 1729.  The Proprietors’ early attempts to populate the Province met with little success, although there were incentives to migrate.

The token takes its name from its full-body image of an elephant on the obverse.  The reverse has the lettering: “GOD : / PRESERVE : / CAROLINA : AND / THE : LORDS : / PROPRIETORS . / 1694.”  The token is copper, 28 mm in diameter, and was probably struck at London’s Tower Mint.  The piece is about the same size and weight as the abundant half-penny tokens that circulated in late seventeenth century London, and this might be the source of its description as a “token.”  A token is a money substitute usually issued by merchants at times when government-produced coins were in short supply.  There is no evidence that it ever circulated in the Province of Carolina or that it was made for that purpose.

Fulghum’s article speculates that the token may have circulated in the Royal Exchange in London and at the nearby Carolina Coffee-House on Birchin Lane.  It is known that the Proprietors and their agents frequented these locations and gave weekly presentations about their colony at the coffeehouse.  The Carolina Elephant token might have been used as a promotional reminder to potential settlers of Carolina.  Holders of Carolina tokens might have been able to redeem the pieces for some offering or premium at the Birchin Lane establishment or at an affiliated company store.

The North Carolina Collection holds an electrotype copy likely produced in the nineteenth century and several modern souvenir copies.  Genuine Carolina Elephant tokens are quite rare, and this Artifact of the Month is an important addition to the NCC’s early North Carolina numismatic collection.

Artifact of the Month: Audubon’s Great Carolina Wren

This sheet showing the “Great Carolina Wren”, from John James Audubon’s The Birds of America, published in 1826-1832, is in the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It came to the University with a bequest from Josephine and Mangum Weeks in 1981, one of 76 prints from Audubon’s astonishing publication. This print is the first of several that the North Carolina Collection will feature on its website.

The Birds of America is one of the pinnacles of book making. In the first place, it was printed on “elephant folio” paper, entire sheets of paper in the standard size for paper at that time, about 39 1/2 X 26 1/2 inches. Between 1757 and 1784, James Whatman I and his son James II had developed a process at their mill near Maidstone, England, for making heavy smooth paper of this size. By 1826 this paper, usually folded into smaller sizes, had become a staple for printing fine details of new type-faces, maps, technical drawings, and hand-colored pictures in books. Audubon eventually engaged two London printers, Robert Havell and his son Robert Jr., to use the full size of these sheets to reproduce his illustrations of American birds. It was the most elaborate and intricate such production ever attempted. Even as the project proceeded, lithography was supplanting engraving as the technique of choice for illustrated books. Audubon had caught a wave of etching and engraving at its crest.

Eventually fewer than 200 copies of the 435 elephant folio pages were printed and each was hand-colored in the Havells’ shop. During the more than six years it took to finish this task, the sheets were issued in sets of five (67 sets in all to make the total). Subscribers included scientific societies, universities, and wealthy people in America and Europe, including the kings of France and England. Most subscribers had the sheets bound in London into four volumes of 100 sheets each (with 135 for the final volume), which were then shipped separately in tin boxes at intervals of a year or more.

Audubon insisted on using the full size of the paper in part because he intended to illustrate each bird, even the largest, in life size. Having committed himself to such large sheets, he often made use of the space available to depict his subjects grouped and also engaged in characteristic behavior. Even so, most small birds were printed from plates that were much smaller than the elephant folio sheets. In each set of five sheets, only the first used a copper plate the size of the paper; the second used a plate half that size, printed in the middle of the paper; and the remaining three used quarter-sized plates, so that half the width and height of each sheet around the centered image was left blank. UNC’s sheet with the Great Carolina Wren is an example of one of these small prints, suitable for small birds.

Like all other sheets in the Weeks’ collection, the Great Carolina Wren is no longer bound. At some time in its first 100 years this sheet had several inches of the blank paper around the image trimmed away in order to frame the image in a more balanced way. Although the trimming improved its presentation, it certainly reduced the value of this print. None of the other sheets in the Weeks’ collection, with one exception, has been trimmed so much. Despite its reduced monetary value, this example of Audubon’s Great Carolina Wren is in superb condition.

The two birds and the flower are compelling in several ways. For me, most important is the birds’ behavior. It is obviously early springtime, with the red buckeye in bloom and the male wren mounted on high to belt out his song. His full throat, fanned wings, and tense tail catch the bird’s stance so perfectly that his song almost bursts from the page. Audubon’s account of this species, in the first of his five-volume Ornithological Biography, published in 1831 soon after the elephant folio sheets, describes the song as “Come-to-me, come-to-me.” There can be no doubt that Audubon imagined the male addressing this fervor to his mate. We see her, coy as are many female birds, slipping through the branches below the male, apparently intent on her own pursuits.

The “dwarf buckeye, Aesculus pavia”, as Audubon notes in his text, favors “swampy ground” along the southeastern coastal plain. Audubon no doubt found it with the wrens in Louisiana at Bayou Sara along the Mississippi well above New Orleans. It was here, during 1821 or 1822 near Oakley Plantation (now the Audubon Memorial Park outside St. Francisville), that Audubon must have painted these wrens. His teen-aged assistant, James Mason, probably did the buckeye, although the overall composition was surely Audubon’s. At any rate, decades later Mason claimed that Audubon had promised to acknowledge his contribution in painting many of the plants in the backgrounds of the birds, although Audubon never mentioned Mason on the sheets for The Birds of America.

This dwarf buckeye is now usually called the red buckeye, to distinguish it from other dwarf buckeyes, although its scientific name remains the same. As for the bird, Audubon was the first to classify this species correctly with other wrens, by including it in the genus Troglodytes. Soon afterwards it was allocated within the wrens to the genus, Thryothorus. Alexander Wilson, Audubon’s predecessor in American ornithology, had recognized the bird’s similarity to other wrens but was confused by Linnaeus’s classification and, in his American Ornithology published in 1810-1814, placed it with creepers, in the genus Certhia. Surprisingly, the species had not been mentioned before by any American naturalist, with one exception and only in a cursory way. Wilson’s friend, William Bartram, had included it in his list of birds encountered between Pennsylvania and Florida in his classic Travels through North & South Carolina, etc., published in 1791. Confused about what kind of bird it was, he calls it “Motacilla Caroliniana (regulus magnus) the great wren of Carolina.”

Bartram included an asterisk beside this wren to indicate that it arrived in Pennsylvania during spring and returned southward after nesting. Wilson, however, could not confirm, “based on my own observations,” that it then nested in Pennsylvania. Audubon added from his experience that the species extended northward “nearly to Pittsburgh” and that a few were seen near the Atlantic coast as far north as New York. He himself found a nest “in a swamp” in New Jersey a few miles from Philadelphia. Nowadays, in contrast, the Carolina Wren nests as far north as Connecticut and occasionally Massachusetts. Like a number of other species in these days of global warming, the Carolina Wren has been spreading northward.

When teaching Avian Biology to undergraduates at UNC before my retirement, I used to make a lame joke, “How did the Carolina Wren get its name? It isn’t any more characteristic of North Carolina than anywhere else in the southeast, and it isn’t even sky blue!” The answer, as we have seen, is that Bartram associated it with his travels in the Carolinas, no doubt both North and South. Because it is such a drab, retiring bird, even the most adventuresome naturalists had overlooked it throughout the colonial period. Wilson was the first to notice its quixotic behavior, “disappearing into holes and crevices … then reappearing”, but Audubon’s image is the first, and perhaps still the greatest, likeness of its boisterous song and frenetic skulking. Despite its ubiquitous presence around homes throughout North Carolina, the Carolina Wren still escapes notice too often. Audubon to this day ranks as one of its keenest observers.

R. Haven Wiley is an emeritus professor in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Artifact of the Month: Nurse Cape

Did you know that the design of the nurse’s uniform evolved from the nun’s habit? At one time the convent was a common place for the sick to receive care, and the nuns did the nursing.

The cape was a standard part of the nurse’s apparel, a practice that endured into the 1980s. Our recently donated cape was worn by Nancy Hege Paar, a member of the UNC School of Nursing’s fifth class of Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates in 1959. Like many such capes, it is gray and mid-length. It appears to be made of wool, including the lining. The lining is a blue-gray, perhaps the closest match to Carolina Blue available from the Snowhite Garment Sales Corporation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The initials “U. N. C.” on the collar further brand the cape.

Photo of Nancy Hege from 1959 Yackety Yack
Nancy Hege, 1959 Yackety Yack

The nurse’s cap was originally employed to keep a nurse’s hair neatly in place and to present a modest and orderly appearance. In the latter part of the 19th century, the form of the cap evolved to signify a nurse’s school. The cap became a symbol of the profession, often shrinking to be a token rather than a functional piece of clothing.

Today, both cape and cap are less common components of a nurse’s apparel. Scrubs have replaced them, providing a unisex uniform for both women and the increasing number of men in the profession.

Photo of UNC Nursing students, 1959
UNC School of Nursing students, 1959. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives

Artifact of the Month: 1940s UNC plate

This UNC plate — our June Artifact of the Month — has traveled all around the country, three times from coast to coast, and survived a near calamity in 1994. Seventy years after beginning its journey it has come to rest back in Chapel Hill.

UNC plate

The plate was a gift to Charles Gremer and Grace Towery, Class of 1946. The two married four months after graduation and began the peripatetic life of a military family as Charles pursued a career in the Navy.

Charles Gremer & Grace Towery
Grace Towery and Charles Gremer in their senior class photos in 1946.

After transferring from Great Lakes, Illinois to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard in New York, Charles and Grace visited an aunt named Jenny, who gave them the plate in honor of their status as Tar Heels.

The family kept the plate through many moves and life events, taking it from Staten Island to Norfolk, Virginia, where it stayed during Charles’ time in Korea on the Battleship New Jersey; cross-country to Monterey, California; back across the country to Norfolk; then to Charleston; then San Diego; and finally to Los Angeles, where Charles began civilian life.

In LA, the plate held a place of honor perched atop a grand china cabinet. On January 17, 1994, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake just five miles from the Gremer home sent the plate sailing eight feet to the floor. It barely missed a ceramic tile table and, miraculously, suffered only a chip.

Grace took it to a professional restorer who repaired it and the family returned it to its place on the china cabinet — now with earthquake securing.

Charles and Grace Gremer today
Charles and Grace Gremer today

Twenty-three years later, Mr. & Mrs. Gremer write, “Now it is time to part ways. Charles and Grace are now moving to a smaller home and the plate is ready for a new home of its own. It has been a good companion with lots of shared memories. But it is a Tar Heel and we know that UNC will welcome.”

We’re pleased to include this storied piece in our collection, and to give it a new home in seismically stable Chapel Hill.

Artifacts of the Month: Jubilee program and button

The arrival of commencement weekend gives us a welcome opportunity to look back at spring traditions at UNC. The NCC Gallery honors those traditions with a display of Carolina traditions, including this Jubilee program and pinback button — our May Artifacts of the Month.

Jubilee program

Jubilee button

Jubilee was an annual concert that celebrated the end of the spring semester at Carolina from 1963 to 1971. What began as a small concert featuring a few acoustic performers in front of Graham Memorial in 1963 grew to become a can’t-miss festival-style rock show at Navy Field in 1971.

Over the years, Jubilee brought performers in a variety of genres to UNC, including Johnny Cash and June Carter, Neil Diamond, the Temptations, Joe Cocker, the Association, B.B. King, the Chambers Brothers, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears — as well as lesser-known (or less remembered) acts.

The 1969 UNC Yearbook, the Yackety Yack, called it “The biggest weekend of the year — of the past three years.”

The program from that year describes the event in these groovy terms:

Jubilee program close-up

Jubilee ’69 is not a series of concerts, but an environment for activity. The key ingredient is the creative energies of those who come to it. The concept behind this year’s planning is to encourage students to meet and mingle, to create their own experience out of an environment of color, form, and ideas.

Two years later, in 1971, Jubilee imploded under its own excess.

In advance of the ’71 event, the Daily Tar Heel reported that Jubilee would have a new, small stage in addition to the main stage. The small stage would provide “entertainment ranging from cartoons to concerts featuring standouts at the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention,” as well as the UNC Jazz Lab Band and Durham soul act Shamrock.

Headliners would include the Allman Brothers, Chuck Berry, Spirit, Cowboy, the J. Geils Band, Tom Rush, and Muddy Waters.

According to the article:

In addition to the major concerts and the entertainment on the small stage, Jubilee ’71 will include an Astro-bounce, a slip and slide, balloons, soap bubbles, three large foam rubber piles and all kinds of food.

Carolina Union President Richie Leonard was quoted by the DTH saying he hoped the activities “will keep as many people as possible involved at all times.”

Leonard got his wish: The crowds at Jubilee ’71 peaked at 23,000 on Saturday night.

The event, which had been getting larger and more unruly for a few years, had reached maximum mayhem. Gatecrashers tore down fences, the huge crowds damaged the grounds at Navy Field, and noise complaints multiplied.

A week afterward, the Student Union Activities Group called an end to Jubilee, recommending that it be replaced by smaller events spread throughout the year.

The University Archives holds a film from 1971 Jubilee in the Records of the Student Union. A short clip from the beginning of the film is available here:

For the next two years, students argued for Jubilee’s revival, with student government candidates making its reinstatement part of their election platforms.

The name Jubilee was eventually revived for a new annual spring concert — but not until 2015, when the Carolina Union Activities Board brought hip-hop act Rae Sremmurd to Hooker Fields. But the smaller, more contained 21st-century Jubilee resembles its wild namesake in title only… for now.

If you’re curious about other spring traditions at Carolina, stop by the Gallery and see our exhibit!