“A Carolina Lady:” Navigating Campus Rules for Women in 1958

The Women's Honor Council for the 1958-1959 academic year. From the 1959 Yackety Yack, http://digitalnc.org
The Women’s Honor Council for the 1958-1959 academic year. From the 1959 Yackety Yack, http://digitalnc.org

When new women students arrived on campus in the fall of 1958, their orientation likely included advice on many topics familiar to today’s students. But they also received an introduction to something else — the complicated and often confusing set of rules that governed women’s lives on campus.

In 1958, there were 1,320 women students at UNC Chapel Hill — about 19% of the student population. It was five years before the University would admit women students without consideration of their intended major and residence and 14 years before the passage of Title IX, which banned sex discrimination in federally-funded education.

Rules for women enrolled at UNC included strict curfews and guidelines for dress and behavior in campus spaces, and were often subject to interpretation. At an orientation for women students in 1958, Women’s Honor Council chair Nancy Adams gave advice for avoiding violations of the code, explaining what it meant to be “a Carolina Lady.”

Advice for first year women students, 1958. From the Office of the Dean of Women Records (#40125), University Archives.
Advice for first year women students, 1958. From the Office of the Dean of Women Records (#40125), University Archives.


In 1962, Adams returned to UNC as Assistant Dean of Women. After three years in that position, she turned her attention to activism, advocating for civil rights and American withdrawal from Vietnam.

Graffiti on Silent Sam: 1968 and 2015

Last weekend,”Silent Sam,” the Confederate memorial located on McCorkle Place, was spray painted with “KKK,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Murderer” with an arrow pointing to the Confederate soldier above. The monument was covered before being cleaned a few days later.

The incident highlights Silent Sam’s place in the ongoing discussion of race, campus landmarks and spaces, and university history. It also reflects the renewed push against the display of Confederate symbols since the racially-motivated attack in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17.

However, while the action was timely given these current contexts, it isn’t a first. Most strikingly, in early April 1968, as the country was gripped by grief and unrest following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Silent Sam was splashed with red paint and its base covered with words and symbols.




Electing a President: 85 Years Ago Today

Yearbook dedication to Frank Porter Graham, 1931. From the Yackety Yack, DigitalNC.
Yearbook dedication to Frank Porter Graham, 1931. From the Yackety Yack, DigitalNC.

Eighty-five years ago today on June 9, 1930, Frank Porter Graham was elected president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

According to the minutes of the Board of Trustees:

Mr. A.H. Graham, Chairman of the Fact-finding Committee appointed at the meeting on March 4, 1930, to investigate the availability of a new president for the University, made a very comprehensive report. He laid before the Board the names of the following ten persons, any one of whom, in the opinion of the committee, would make a satisfactory president: H.G. Baity, R.D.W. Connor, Frank P. Graham, R.B. House, Archibald Henderson, Louis R. Wilson, all of the University faculty, Ivey Lewis, of the University of Virginia, Howard Dement, of the Asheville School for Boys, Skelton Phelps, of Peabody College and John L. McConnaughy, of Connecticut Wesleyan.

Four ballots were taken, in which professors R.D.W. Connor and Graham took the lead. In the end, Graham won with 47 of 82 votes. The minutes continue:

Mr. Frank P. Graham having received a majority of the votes cast was declared elected president of the University. Mr. Daniels moved to make his election unanimous which was carried.

Governor Morrison moved that a committee of three be appointed to notify the new President of his election and bring him before the Board. Seconded and carried, the following committee being appointed: Messrs. Morrison, Daniels, and John J. Parker.

Judge Biggs moved that the salary of the new President be the same as that received by retiring President Chase. Carried.

President-elect Graham being presented to the Board was visibly overcome with emotion at the honor conferred upon him. After a moment of silence he announced that “with your help and with the help of God I accept the Presidency of the University.”

A brief recess was taken in order that the trustees might congratulate the new President.

Board of Trustees Minutes, June 9, 1930. From the Records of the Board of Trustees (#40001), University Archives, Wilson Library.

Disorder in Old West: the Student Riot of August, 1850

Charles Phillips
Charles Phillips

On the night of August 13, 1850, Charles Phillips, then a tutor of mathematics, heard “loud vociferations, high words, as of persons quarrelling, and other noises” coming from Old West (then known as West Building). As he went to investigate the disturbance, he could not have anticipated that the evening would end with him and a colleague cornered in a dorm room, fending off rioting students.

In his first sweep of West Building, Phillips found most of the students quiet in their rooms, but heard and saw students yelling and throwing stones at each other outside. He ran into his colleague Dr. Elisha Mitchell in the hallway, and they continued the investigation. In one room, the professors found “great disorder—the beds rumbled, the chairs in confusion, the floor very wet, and the remains of a stone vessel scattered up on it.” They found a nearly empty jug of whisky under the bed.

Elisha Mitchell
Elisha Mitchell

Upon leaving West, the professors encountered Manuel Fetter, professor of Greek language and literature, and retreated to the Laboratory to discuss the situation. However, as they left the Laboratory, they were immediately attacked. Phillips recalled:

Because of the vollies of stones which swept the passage I kept close to its northern wall, and looking through the opening that leads to the front door of the building I noticed a group of persons standing before the door. Immediately a volley of stones (or bats) entered, and a person passed me quickly accompanied by another volley. On speaking to him, I recognized Prof. Fetter who told me that he had been violently struck on the hand and leg. So violent was one of the blows that his cane was knocked to a distance from his hand.

Manuel Fetter
Manuel Fetter

When they eventually made their way back to West Building, they were met by more rowdy students, some disguised with blankets or fencing masks. As some students escaped through the windows, others began lobbing stones and sticks at the professors. The professors barricaded themselves in a student’s room, but the rioters continued their attack, knocking out a panel of the door. Phillips explained:

Discovering our exact position [in the room], those outside endeavoured to hit us by throwing obliquely into the room through the door and windows, and by introducing their hands so as to throw sideways directly at us. One individual introduced through a window, a stick two or three feet long and of the size of one’s wrist, evidently intending to swing it around and so strike us. As missiles were still entering the room, and our present was the only safe position, I immediately seized a chair and as an act of self defence urgently necessary, threw it in the direction of the concealed assailant. This act rendered the students outside much more excited, and threats of great violence, even to the getting our heart’s blood, were uttered for our striking a student.

After about an hour, a student, J.J. Slade, was able to reason with the rioters and escort the professors out on the condition that they leave campus immediately. The professors left and reported the night’s events to the president. They returned later that night with several other faculty members and searched the residence halls, but the disorder had subsided and most students were asleep in their beds.

The student who had come through the window with a club (and subsequently been hit by a chair) was expelled, but most students involved in the riot were not identified.


Charles Phillips’ testimony on the events of August 13, 1850. From the University Papers (#40005), University Archives, Wilson Library.


Lawrence Giffin Appointed Electronic Records Archivist

giffin_lawrence_11_001We are excited to announce that Lawrence Giffin has returned to University Archives and Records Management Services as our new Electronic Records Archivist! His first day was April 1, 2015.

In this position, Lawrence will work to ensure that the University’s electronic records are properly managed and preserved, and will assist other units in Wilson Library with the management and preservation of the born-digital materials in their collections.

Lawrence earned a Masters in Library Science from Queens College, where he specialized in archives, records management, and preservation. He has worked as a processing archivist both at NYU’s Fales Library and at Duke’s Rubenstein Library. From 2011 to 2014 he served as Records Services Archivist here in UARMS, and he most recently served as Electronic Records Archivist at the State Archives of North Carolina.

Lawrence can be reached by email at lgiffin@email.unc.edu and by phone at (919) 962-6402.

Welcome back, Lawrence!

The Battle Challenge: 100 Years in the Making

flyer1This Wednesday, Wilson Library and the UNC Department of History are putting on the first of two events that are 100 years in the making.

It all started in 1915, when former UNC president Kemp Plummer Battle presented the North Carolina Historical Society with a sealed tin box. The box contained a Montgomery Ward catalog and was accompanied by a letter that outlined an unusual request. He asked that in 1965 and 2015, a member of the University community be appointed to write an essay on the changes in American life the catalogs showed.

In 1965, Chancellor Robert B. House was appointed to take on Battle’s challenge, writing an essay called “Great and Important Changes.” After comparing the 1915 and 1965 catalogs, House returned the 1915 catalog to Wilson Library and added the 1965 catalog for use in 2015.

Kemp Plummer Battle [From the 1919 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library]
Kemp Plummer Battle [From the 1919 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library]
This year, the University is taking on the challenge with two lecture events. On April 8th, John Kasson, UNC professor of history and American studies, and Dana McMahan, UNC professor of journalism and mass communication, will address the topic “Mail Order Catalogs and Consumers.” In September,  Peter Coclanis, UNC professor of history, and Dr. Lee Craig, professor in the Poole College of Management at NC State University, will speak on “Mail Order Catalogs and the American Economy.” Both events will be moderated by Fitz Brundage, chair and professor of history.

At both events, there will be a display of items related to the challenge, including Battle’s original instructions, the 1915 and 1965 catalogs, and Robert B. House’s 1965 essay. Light refreshments will be served.

Please join us at 5:30 this Wednesday in the Pleasants Room of Wilson Library for this exciting event!




New resource for archiving email

From the News Services Multimedia Library
From the News Services Multimedia Library

University Archives has added a new resource to our Records Management Guidelines page, specifically to help you archive your email. Whether you are preparing to transfer your office’s email correspondence to University Archives or just want to back up your personal messages for posterity, our new guide to exporting email will help you along the way.

For more information on managing and archiving email, see the “Email Retention” section of our Guidelines page or contact us at recman@unc.edu.


Remembering Dean Smith

Dean Smith pictured on the cover of the program for the 1966-1967 season. From the Records of the Office of Athletic Communications (#40308), University Archives.

Few people in UNC’s history are as iconic and universally-beloved as basketball coach Dean Smith, who passed away this Saturday at age 83.

Smith arrived at UNC in 1958 as an assistant basketball coach under Frank McGuire. Three years later, he took on the role of head coach during a difficult time for the team. After a massive 1961 gambling conspiracy in which players from 22 schools threw the outcome of games, the team faced sanctions by the NCAA and the resignation of Coach McGuire.

Despite assuming leadership in such a challenging time, Smith soon brought the Tar Heels to the top, winning three consecutive ACC titles in 1967, 1968, and 1969. In his 36-season career, the team made eleven appearances in the Final Four and won two NCAA championships (1982 and 1993). Smith was credited with the invention of several basketball innovations, including the four corners offense, and retired with 879 career wins, a record which went unbroken for a decade. During his tenure at UNC, he coached an array of basketball legends including Phil Ford, Billy Cunningham, Charlie Scott, Bob McAdoo, James Worthy, Michael Jordan, and Vince Carter, just to name a few.

However, it was not Smith’s skill as a coach alone that made him an icon. Committed to racial integration, he used his influence to promote the integration of local businesses and was the first coach in the ACC to recruit black players. He emphasized the importance of

Smith speaking to players. From the 1973 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection.
Smith speaking to players. From the 1973 Yackety Yack, North Carolina Collection.

personal integrity and promoted academic excellence for his players, opposing freshman eligibility for high-profile sports. Perhaps most of all, Smith is remembered for his life-long devotion to his players, remaining a mentor and friend to many of them long after they left Carolina.

A “Revel” in South Building

Minutes of the faculty, 27 January 1855. From the General Faculty and Faculty Council Records (#401406), University Archives.
Minutes of the faculty, 27 January 1855. From the General Faculty and Faculty Council Records (#401406), University Archives.

One hundred and sixty years ago today, eight UNC students were having a rough Saturday morning. The night before, the young men participated in a “revel” in South Building, which was then a residence hall. The party was thrown by friends of candidates for the coveted positions of commencement Chief Marshal and ball manager. According to Kemp Plummer Battle’s History of the University of North Carolina, candidates for these positions sometimes sought to curry the votes of their classmates with alcohol. The party was broken up by members of the faculty charged with maintaining order on campus overnight, and the students were ordered to appear before the faculty at 10 AM to answer to charges of intoxication.

At that time, it was illegal to operate a bar within two miles of the University or to sell alcohol to students within two miles of the University without the permission of the faculty. Drinking on campus was strictly prohibited. As President David Lowry Swain explained in an 1853 letter to parents:

Any student who may be seen publicly intoxicated, or in whose room ardent spirits may be found, shall be forthwith suspended or dismissed, as the circumstances of the case may seem to require. This ordinance has been and will be faithfully carried into execution in every instance of its violation.

Letter from UNC President David Lowry Swain to parents, Feburary 1855. From the University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives.
Letter from UNC President David Lowry Swain to parents, Feburary 1855. From the University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives.

The morning after the party, the guilty students gathered before the faculty to testify. The Faculty minutes explain that three students were “found to have participated in the drinking of spirits but were not convicted of intoxication,” and letters were sent to their parents. Four others, including President Swain’s son Richard Caswell Swain, were “according to their own statements and the testimony of the profs who saw them [found] guilty of intoxication and suspended three weeks.” Another student from the party had been called before the faculty but was “found by Prof. C. Phillips to be too much intoxicated this morning to come and answer the charge of being intoxicated last night.”

A few weeks later, perhaps in response to incidents like this one, President Swain issued a notice to parents asking for their support of a new regulation. Its aims were twofold–to further limit students’ ability to purchase alcohol and to curb student debt. Under the new rule, students would not be able to accrue debts in their parents or guardians’ names without their written permission, or, in the case of purchases made within two miles of the University, the permission of a faculty member. The revised statue was approved by the following spring.


“Phi Mu on View” celebrates 50 years of Phi Mu at Carolina

phi mu signThis weekend, many alumni and their families will return to campus for Homecoming, but for the sisters of Phi Mu’s Gamma Lambda chapter it will be an especially exciting occasion. The chapter is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a weekend of events including an exhibit in the lobby of Wilson Library.

The exhibit “Phi Mu on View” will feature the chapter’s 1964-1965 pledge scrapbook, records and photos related to the chapters’ purchase and renovation of the historic Brockwell House, the first issue of the Gamma Lambda Triangle, and much more. The chapter loaned these materials to University Archives last year.

The exhibit opens at noon on Friday, November 14th and will run through the weekend.