University of North Carolina Tuition – $60


Fisherman & Farmer
Fisherman & farmer. (Edenton, N.C.), 04 Oct. 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


When classes officially began on Tuesday, many in-state undergraduate wallets were $8,374 lighter after paying tuition and fees. Over the past four years, tuition has increased about $2000. However, a century ago, the cost of attending UNC held steady for 38 years. Between 1886 and 1924, tuition was only $60 for in-state students. The advertisements from a 1900 issue of the Fisherman & Farmer and an 1887 issue of The Progressive Farmer provide information about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including tuition and available curriculum.

Using an inflation calculator to adjust prices according to the historical Consumer Price Index data, a tuition payment in 1900 of $60.00 would be around $1,654 in today’s currency. The second advertisement lists room and board in 1887 at $5.00, which would be around $138.00 for a modern semester. In addition to this, education demand has gone considerably up as teaching faculty increased from 38 in 1900 to 3,696 active faculty in 2013. The newspaper images were obtained from Chronicling America.


The Progressive Farmer
The progressive farmer. (Winston, N.C.), 30 June 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Historically black — but without the history?

“Elizabeth City State University…  is talking about ending seven undergraduate degree programs because of state funding declines and enrollment shortfalls….

“Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, said the proposed cuts were ‘shocking and potentially debilitating,’ but she was especially concerned that an HBCU would deplete its capacity to teach history.

” ‘Nothing is more fundamental than history to students’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities as citizens of this diverse and still decidedly unequal democracy,’ she said. ‘Cutting out history means cutting out both memory and hope.’

“Elizabeth City was founded a quarter-century after the Civil War for the purpose of  ‘teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina.’

” ‘We’re talking about a university whose primary mission has been the education of African-American Southerners,’ said James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, ‘and to say to those students and to their parents and to the community that history is not important is deeply tragic.’ ”

— From “The End of History?” by Ry Rivard at Inside Higher Ed (Oct. 29, 2013)

Update: More protests against ECSU’s laying waste to “right sizing” its history curriculum.


Road trip to Charlottesville, wedding bells ahead?

Like Google Books Ngram Viewer before it, Wedding Crunchers — a searchable database of New York Times wedding announcements — has obvious limitations for serious research. But what’s so bad about a few passing screenfuls of entertainment and provocation?

Following up on last week’s look at how often the University of North Carolina and other colleges appear in the Times wedding announcements, let’s look at how often they appear together:

Crosscultural pollination I: UNC meets the Carolinas (but not as often as it meets Virginia).

Crosscultural pollination II: UNC meets the Ivies (but not as often as it used to).  


Where’s Hugh Bennett? Climate debate needs him!

“It’s one thing to persuade hipsters in Portland, Ore., or Brooklyn to grow organic — hey, how cool is an artisan radish — in their rooftop gardens. It’s a much tougher push to get Big Ag, made up mostly of stubborn older men, to change its ways.

“But imagine if a farmer led the cause against climate change. Franklin Roosevelt chose Hugh Bennett, a son of the North Carolina soil, to rally Americans against the abusive farming practices that led to the Dust Bowl. Big Hugh was blunt, smart and convincing. ‘Of all the countries in the world, we Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land of any race of people,’ he said, without apology.

— From “Hicks Nix Climate Fix” by Timothy Egan in the New York Times (March 7) 

For a little more background on the too-seldom-remembered Bennett (UNC, Class of 1903), click here.

For a lot more, click here.


UNC students, circa 1800, bridled at authority

“…When college students, like those at the University of North Carolina in 1796, could debate the issue of whether ‘the Faculty had too much authority,’ then serious trouble could not be far away….

“Between 1798 and 1808, American colleges were racked by mounting incidents of student defiance and outright rebellion — on a scale never seen before or since in American history….

“In 1799 , University of North Carolina students beat the president, stoned two professors and threatened others with injury.

“Finally, college authorities tightened up their codes of discipline. But repression only provoked more rebellions. In 1805, 45 students, a majority of the total enrollment, withdrew from the University of North Carolina in protest….”

– From “Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815” by Gordon S. Wood (2009)


Louisianans at UNC vowed to protect slavery

“As thousands of militiamen stared across Charleston Harbor at the scanty U.S. Army force occupying Fort Sumter, communities everywhere gathered to discuss the crisis….

“At a meeting of Louisiana students attending the University of North Carolina, 19-year-old Thomas Davidson recorded the proceedings. The Louisianans accused ‘fanatics of the North’ of robbing ‘the South of her most cherished liberties,’ and pledged their lives to the protection of slavery, ‘that Institution at once our pride and the the source of all our wealth and prosperity.’ ”

— From “What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery and the Civil War” by Chandra Manning (2007)


When Mark Twain met George Bernard Shaw….

Among the achievements of Salisbury native Archibald Henderson, the wide-ranging UNC mathematician (polymathematician?), were major biographies of George Bernard Shaw and Mark Twain.

Henderson (1877-1963) once had the opportunity to introduce the two to each other. “There was the greatest world’s greatest wit and the world’s greatest humorist, meeting face to face,” he recalled, “and nobody said anything funny.”

Instead, Shaw and Twain “stood there and lied to each other. Each man told the other that they had read everything the other had written…. that they were greatly influenced by the other’s writings….

“It was the greatest disappointment in my life.”


Antebellum Southern lit: ‘Sincere, enthusiastic’

“In 1898, Mr. George Stockton Wills, a graduate both of the University of North Carolina and of Harvard, made an elaborate study of the literature produced in the South before the Civil War. He brought to light a number of literary figures whose very names have been forgotten. The more you consider these figures, however, the more inevitable seems the neglect into which they have fallen. They were simple, sincere, enthusiastic writers, mostly of verse; but their work, even compared only with the less important Northern work of their time, seems surprisingly imitative….

“One plain cause of… this comparative literary lifelessness… has not been much emphasized. From the beginning the North was politically free and essentially democratic…. There was no mob; the lower class of New England produced Whittier….

“In the South, at least from the moment when slavery established itself, a different state of affairs prevailed…. Surrounded by a servile population of unalterable aliens… the ruling classes dreaded political experiment to a degree almost incomprensible in the North, where social conditions permitted men of power to neglect politics for personal business.”

— From “A Literary History of America” (1900) by Barrett Wendell

What’s the frequency, Ngram Viewer?

The Google Books Ngram Viewer may not be remembered as one of the 21st Century’s most useful (or statistically sophisticated) inventions, but the patterns revealed in its phrase-frequency charts can be addictively entertaining. For example:

— Tar Heel vs. Tarheel

— beef barbecue vs. pork barbecue

— North Carolina football vs. North Carolina basketball

— University of North Carolina vs. Duke University

— Research Triangle vs. Bermuda Triangle and isosceles triangle