Collections and Resources, Events, Exhibits, North Carolina Collection, Special Collections, UNC History

UNC Student Organizations Are Focus of Wilson Library Exhibit, Programs

From Di-Phis to Loreleis: A History of Student Organizations at UNC
North Carolina Collection Gallery
Wilson Library
Feb. 17 – May 31, 2011

Student organizations have long been integral to the UNC experience, from the Dialectic and Philanthropic societies established in 1795, to the more than 600 clubs, societies, and other organizations in existence today.

A new exhibit in the Wilson Special Collections Library explores this rich history and provides a window on student life through the years. From Di-Phis to Loreleis: A History of Student Organizations at UNC will be on view through May 31 in the North Carolina Collection Gallery, on the second floor of Wilson.

The free public exhibit features records, photographs, publicity materials, publications, and other items that document the evolution of student organizations from the University’s founding through the present.

Join us for these free events

Students Make It Last Longer
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
2-4 p.m.
North Carolina Collection Gallery
Wilson Library

Students are invited to a special viewing of From Di-Phis to Loreleis. UNC archivists will be on hand to talk about the exhibit and how student organizations can preserve their own history. Light refreshments will be served.

And They Talked—Always They Talked: 215 Years of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies
Thursday, April 7, 2011
5 p.m. Reception, exhibit viewing, and a capella performance by the Loreleis
5:45 p.m. Program
Wilson Library
Free and open to the public

Longtime Di-Phi member Kevin Cherry will discuss the origins and development of the societies. The lecture is the 2011 Gladys Hall Coates University History Lecture.

Staff from the North Carolina Collection, the North Carolina Collection Gallery, and the University Archives and Records Management Services, all in Wilson Library, worked together to identify representative documents and objects drawn from the three collections.

Among the items on display are:

  • A 1797 minute book from the meetings of the Philanthropic Society;
  • The original 1893 charter of Kappa Sigma fraternity, and photographs of an early Jewish fraternity (Zeta Beta Tau, 1927) and the first historically African American sorority (Delta Sigma Theta, 1973) and fraternity (Omega Psi Phi, 1983);
  • A photograph of a banquet held in the 1950s  by the Order of the Gimghoul, a secret society, in Chapel Hill’s Hippol Castle;
  • A 1948 photograph of Andy Griffith, performing in a Carolina Playmakers production of The Mikado.

The exhibit also takes note of such curiosities as The Ugly Club, an unauthorized organization formed in the 1830s to help—and haze—homesick students; clubs such as The Temperance Society that passed with an era; and the political, social, and service organizations that have made their mark on UNC through the centuries.

The exhibit looks not only to the past, but also to the future, said Jay Gaidmore, University archivist and one of the exhibit organizers.

Gaidmore said that the Library would like to be in touch with current students and alumni about organizations that they have been part of, so that records, memorabilia, and materials can be maintained and preserved by the Library. The Library is interested in both official records, and items such as photographs, publications, and objects used in activities of the organization that students and alums might have at home.

“So much of what we have now has come to us by chance,” said Gaidmore. “We’d like future Tar Heels to have the opportunity to know how much today’s student organizations contribute to UNC.”

If you have or know of materials relating to student organizations at UNC, contact Gaidmore at (919) 962-6402 or

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