The nationwide prohibition of alcohol began 100 years ago. But the alcohol temperance movement had been fermenting in North Carolina for quite some time before that.
There were efforts to limit the use of alcohol in North Carolina as far back as the early 1700s, but the temperance movement didn’t begin in earnest until the 1800s. Tar Heels organized a temperance convention in 1837.
Such groups as the Order of the Sons of Temperance in North Carolina had their own newspapers, namely the Spirit of the Age. Individual temperance activists also gained national notoriety.
Carrie A. Nation (also spelled “Carry”) grew frustrated with the lack of prohibition enforcement in her native Kansas and became famous for taking matters into her own hands. She visited local saloons and used hatchets and rocks to break windows and alcohol bottles. Despite several stints in jail, she continued her attacks on bars, saloons, and taverns.
Although she was there to gather funds for a “home for drunkards’ wives in Kansas City,” she sold hatchets to her audience while she railed against the government “as an agent of the liquor traffic.” Because of these stunts, she was a fixture of state and national newspapers. As a member in good standing of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, she was popular among women, as well. On other occasions, she sold her books instead of hatchets.
During the summer of 1907, Nation toured North Carolina, warning crowds of the dangers of alcohol, cigarettes, and more. She drew attention to societal ills and didn’t pull punches. When she visited Salisbury on June 29, she decried drinkers and smokers alike, calling Salisbury “a hell hole” with “plenty of poverty, degradation and suffering…”
She also didn’t shy away from connecting alcohol consumption and moral decay to national politics. At one point, she said that the United States was in a “state of anarchy,” President Theodore Roosevelt was a “beer guzzling Dutchman,” and argued that there was no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. However, she did speak kindly of North Carolina Governor Robert Glenn because of his positive attitude towards temperance.
Despite her harsh words, she drew crowds everywhere she went – from Charlotte to Hickory to Durham to Oxford. Indeed, she was always fodder for newspaper writers, one of whom said she “does not seem to be the noisy, belligerent individual she has been pictured…”
Another said she was a “fanatic” yet “has an attractive face…”
Nation traveled to over half a dozen North Carolina cities during July and August 1907, speaking to delighted crowds of up to 4,000 people.
Her words likely had some effect on the state’s residents, because less than a year later, North Carolina voted to pass a state prohibition bill, the first in the country.
Prohibition won by over 44,000 votes, and went into effect on January 1, 1909. As for Carrie A. Nation, she moved to Arkansas and founded a home that she called “Hatchet Hall” before passing away in June 1911.
Nation left a legacy. In the 1930s, to protest the repeal of prohibition, women in Kansas pledged to keep the state alcohol-free using hatchets if necessary. Pearl McCall, a former assistant United States district attorney, urged women to take up hatchets themselves and march on Washington, destroying gambling halls in the process. She said, “what this town needs is a Carry Nation.”
Lost Cause apologist William Scarborough, whose doctorate and bachelor’s degree were from UNC Chapel Hill and whose papers occupy 27 feet of shelf space in the Southern Historical Collection, died May 17 at his home in Hattiesburg, Miss. He was 87.
Here’s what I wrote about Scarborough in 2017 after he sprang to the defense of the Confederate iconography embedded in the Mississippi state flag.
Walter Raleigh, a man of many talents and accomplishments, distinguished himself as a soldier, historian, poet, businessman, and politician. As an explorer, he helped set the stage for English colonization of the New World.
He was not, however, renowned for his facility with a paint brush.
Days before the 400th anniversary of his death this October 29, historians discovered a wall painting under layers of peeling paint in the Tower of London’s Bloody Tower, where Raleigh was once confined. This loosely painted sketch features a man wearing a laurel wreath. A self-portrait? Historic Royal Palaces staff believe the painting dates to the early seventeenth century, the period in which Raleigh was incarcerated in the Bloody Tower. See https://www.foxnews.com/science/sir-walter-raleighs-self-portrait-may-have-been-discovered-in-the-tower-of-london
In addition to sharing the painting with the public, the Tower has also opened a special “Lost Garden” to commemorate the anniversary of Raleigh’s death. This is one of several worldwide remembrances, including one at the North Carolina State Capitol on Saturday, October 27.
To learn more about the multifaceted Raleigh, visit the North Carolina Collection Gallery’s newest exhibition, Sir Walter Uncloaked: The Man, the Myths, the Legacy, on view through January 31, 2019.
It could have been the result of damage from hurricane Florence or tropical storm Michael. Maybe it was just (extreme) old age.
During the week of October 21, UNC Grounds Crew felled one of the most consistently photographed trees on UNC’s campus.
Don’t worry… the Davie Poplar is fine…
Another tree, not as prominent or easily identified as a landmark on campus as the Davie Poplar, a majestic Post Oak that was a fixture in images of Old West Hall (when photographed from the north side looking to towards South Building), was cut down.
The tree was there when Old West was constructed in 1823 and appears in the first images in the University’s possession of the building, dating from the 1880s-1890s.
In 2005 the (UNC) Chancellors Buildings and Ground Committee approved a report from the Task Force on Landscape Heritage & Plant Diversity.
In that report the committee identified and described it as:
“(Heritage Tree #) 74. Quercus stellata (Post Oak) — an impressive specimen.”
A rendering of a tree appears to be in the same location on the north side of Old West in this early engraving by W. Roberts from a drawing by William Momberger of the University campus as it appeared circa 1855 (Old West is right side of illustration).
It was difficult to get a “long-view” of the west face of the building AND include the Old Well…. without capturing “Tree 74” in the image.
On October 23, 2018 this is what remained of “(Heritage Tree #) 74. Quercus stellata (Post Oak) — an impressive specimen.”
(Images by Patrick Cullom)
During the days leading up to Halloween, North Carolina Miscellany is posting articles from North Carolina newspapers about one of our favorite Halloween characters, the witch.
Witches tended to be the scapegoat for just about any problem in a person’s life. One common complaint attributed to a witch’s curse was being unable to churn your milk into butter. You could churn and churn, but the milk would never thicken. To fix this predicament, you first had to expel the witch from the churn by taking an old horseshoe and heating it to glowing hot in the fire. It was best if that horseshoe “had been worn on the left hind foot of a baldfaced horse.” You would then take the glowing hot horseshoe, drop it into your churn, and sure enough the butter would come forth.
Lest you need reminding, Election Day is 26 days away. Candidates and their supporters are knocking on your door, calling you at supper time, and filling your mailbox with campaign literature. We have no way to protect your doors or keep your phone from ringing. But we’re glad to help with the mailbox clutter. As with past elections, we’re collecting campaign literature. Instead of dumping those mailings in the recycle bin (we hope you’re recycling!), send them to us.
Our collection of campaign ephemera includes more than 5000 items and dates back to the 1800s. We want to ensure that researchers in 2068 or, heck, 2118 are able to learn a little about today’s campaigns. We’re keen to document campaigns throughout North Carolina for General Assembly, U.S. House, and constitutional amendments. That’s hard to do from our spot here in the Triangle. Please help us. Hold on to those mailers, flyers and voter guides. Then when you can stomach the clutter no longer, send the material our way. The address is:
P.O. Box 8890
Wilson Library, CB#3930
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-8890
One final note. We like knowing about the yard signs, particularly ones that strike you as unique. Unfortunately, they take up significant space and it’s hard for us to store them. Before you send us the actual sign, would you mind taking a photo of it and emailing the file to us as an attachment? The address is firstname.lastname@example.org Please remember to tell us where and when you spotted it.
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.
Photographic black-and-white negatives and prints in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection document both events, plus a number of artworks loaned for the debut exhibition.
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.
As renovations on the brick walkways in the “The Pit” and surrounding areas (Lenoir Hall, Davis Library, Graham Student Union, and Student Stores) continue through the summer, ground is regularly being uncovered that has literally “not seen the light of day” for numerous decades. During my 10 years as the Photographic Materials Processing Archivist for Wilson Library Special Collections, I have had the privilege of being able to work with thousands of images (drawings, sketches, photographs, etc…) depicting the University campus as it has grown and changed over the years. Often, as I walk around campus, I find myself thinking of how areas looked before other building were added to the landscape of campus. I do this so that when I see historical images, I can sort of “deconstruct” to what campus looked like at the time an image was made, and more quickly orient myself to what I am looking at.
On the morning of June 20, on my way in to the office, I walked from the bus stop on South Road at the Student Stores up the brick stairs between the Student Store and the Frank Porter Graham Student Union Buildings….
As I reached the top of the steps, I noticed some stone work that had recently been uncovered directly in front of the Graham Student Union Building…
This stonework looked familiar to me…where had I seen it before? Then it hit me; this must be what is left of the staircase that existed before the 1999-2004 renovations to the Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building. I honestly could not recall (from my own memories of campus) what this area looked like before the renovations and additions began in 1999.
(Good thing we just happen to have SOME images of the campus from days past in the Wilson Special Collections Library)
View of demolition of “original” brick stairs at Frank Porter Graham Student Union Building, circa 1999-2000 Image from News Services of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40139, University Archives Digital Folder DF-40139/0169
When I walked by the next day, the stonework was gone and the whole section had been dug out. It was a brief look into the past, now covered up again, as the campus continues to grow to fit the needs of its students. Now we are back to the image that started this post.
Thanks to the efforts of Carolina undergraduate Elizabeth Trefney, UNC is privileged to be hosting an exhibit featuring a panel from the historic AIDS Memorial Quilt. The panel will be on display in the Carolina Student Union Building through January 31. The exhibit serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating global impact of HIV/AIDS, a point also emphasized by a collection of photographs in the North Carolina Collection’s Photographic Archives.
Trefney’s interest in coordinating the Student Union exhibit is both universal and personal: She wanted to remind the UNC community of those whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS, and in particular to honor her late uncle, Jeremy Trefney (1957-1988), who passed away due to complications from HIV and is memorialized on a panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The quilt panel’s presence also celebrates the role of UNC’s School of Medicine and other medical research facilities in making groundbreaking advances in HIV/AIDS treatment.
The Jerome Friar Collection
Coincidentally, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives in the Wilson Special Collections Library holds a collection of photographs that contains images of the quilt on the National Mall in Washington, DC on the Mall, starting with its origins in 1987 and depicting its subsequent periodic display through the late 1990s.
The photos were made by Jerome Friar, a North Carolina native and photographer who worked in DC in the 1980s and 90s. Friar worked for a stock photography group called Impact Visuals, which provided timely and relevant images to social justice organizations for use in their publications. (Our younger readers may be surprised to learn that such a service was necessary in pre-Internet days.)
The Jerome Friar Collection contains approximately 240 (on 13 different rolls of film) images of the quilt on the National Mall. The images taken on October 11, 1987, 1989, 1992, and circa 1995-1997 show how the quilt’s display evolved as the numbers of HIV/AIDS victims grew, as the disease became more widely diagnosed/recognized, and as some of the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS began to recede.
Friar was most likely assigned to cover the quilt when it was first displayed on the National Mall in 1987 because it was one of the first large public events organized by AIDS activists. In addition to the images of the quilt, Friar’s photographs also depict numerous HIV/AIDS-related demonstrations organized by groups such as ACT-UP, intended to raise awareness of the disease among politicians in Washington in the 1980s and 90s.
A rare opportunity
If you’re on or near the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, don’t miss the chance to see the quilt panel while it’s in the Student Union, through January 31.