UNC Jubilee Performers: A List

Cover to the 1965 Carolina Jubilee pamphlet. From the Records of the Student Union.

From 1963 to 1971, the end of UNC-Chapel Hill’s spring semester was marked by Jubilee, a festival that lasted for three days.  Though it began as a small and fairly restrained affair on the lawn of Graham Memorial,  it expanded to bigger and more raucous events that took place in larger venues such as Polk Place and Kenan Stadium. Each year would feature an abundance of performers, and a list of those performers can be found below.

1963: The Four Preps; The Chad Mitchell Trio; The Jades; The Migrants; The Duke Ambassadors; The Harlequins; Iain Hamilton

1964: The Four Freshmen; Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs; The Serendipity Singers; Charlie Byrd; The Sinfonians;

1965: Johnny Cash; June Carter; Statler Brothers Quartet; The Tennessee Three; The Four Preps; The Platters with the Sinfonians; The Modern Folk Quartet

1966: Jay and the Americans; The Bitter End Singers; Warm Brows and Cool Tones; David della Rossa and Brooks; Charlie Byrd; Al Hirt

1967: The Temptations; Jim Kweskin Jug Band; Petula Clark; The Association; The Fabulous Five Combo; The Dynamics Combo

1968: Carla Thomas; Rufus Thomas; The New Bar Kays; Neil Diamond; Junior Walker and the All-Stars; Spanky and Our Gang; Nancy Wilson; Soul, Limited

1969: Chambers Brothers; Babe Stovall; Red Parham; Elizabeth Cotton; Alice and Hazel; Bill McElreath; Rev. Pearly Brown; Paul Butterfield Blues Band

1970: Sweetwater; James Taylor; Pacific Gas and Electric; Joe Cocker and the Grease Band; B.B. King; Grand Funk Railroad; Baby Boy Glover Resurrected; New Deal String Band

1971: Chuck Berry; Spirit; Cowboy; Muddy Waters; J. Geils; Brushy Mountain Boys; Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band; Allman Brothers; Alex Taylor; Tom Rush

Read more about Jubilee here.


Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1931-2013 (#40128)

Jock Lauterer Photographic Collection, circa 1964-1968 (#P0069)

Archibald Wright “Moonlight” Graham

“If you build it, they will come,” intones a mysterious voice at the beginning of Field of Dreams, the classic 1989 baseball movie. If you like baseball, you like Field of Dreams—that is an unavoidable fact of life. If you don’t like baseball, you also like Field of Dreams. There is no group that dislikes Field of Dreams; there are only those who have seen it and those who haven’t. The film’s high concept is flawless, after all: “what if baseball ghosts loved the Midwest more than the afterlife?”

As deserved as it may be, this post isn’t meant simply to sing the praises of Kevin Costner: one particular aspect of the movie relates to UNC specifically and especially.

Field of Dreams features an elderly doctor and ex-baseball player for the New York Giants, “Moonlight” Graham (played by Burt Lancaster). This character wasn’t entirely fictional and was based on one Archibald Graham, older brother of Frank Porter Graham: UNC system president, UNC student union namesake, and U.S. senator. President Graham admired his elder sibling and wanted to pursue a career in baseball himself, but luckily for the UNC system it didn’t take off.

Image of the UNC baseball team from the 1900 yearbook. Moonlight is the player with crossed arms on the far right, below the suited figure.

“Moonlight” was born in Fayetteville in 1879, and was a skilled baseball player since childhood. He pursued that passion for the game during his time at UNC-Chapel Hill (Frank Porter Graham did too, but as the Carolina Alumni Review points out, “it was Archie who could hit”). He put off advancing as a doctor to enter the minor leagues, and some suspect that’s where his famous nickname came from: moonlighting as a ball player to pay his way to a doctorate.

In 1902 he finally earned a certificate of medicine from UNC and completed his degree in 1905, at the University of Maryland. In 1909 he left North Carolina for the small town of Chisholm in Minnesota, where he established himself as the local doctor. As he lived there he became a beloved father figure to the community, only rarely returning to NC.

Archie passed away in 1965, and the Chisholm Free Press honored him with a story:

He was the champion of the oppressed; the grand marshal of every football, basketball, and baseball game. He encouraged youth to train and play; he always carried that extra candy bar for the energy some lanky, hungry lad needed; he was the first one at the side of the boy who got hurt in any sport. Doc was just that kind of man.

Read more about Moonlight Graham here.

Sources and Recommended Reading:

Carolina Alumni Review: September/October 2005

Chasing Moonlight : The True Story of Field of Dreams’ Doc Graham

The Hellennian (1900)

The Rise and Fall of Apple Chill

The Apple Chill festival began in Chapel Hill in 1972, a time when the city was (as the 1972 UNC yearbook said) “a town of small, even shops interrupted by one higher roof with the unmistakable air of village compactness and tradition.”

Springtime would bring the festivities to a Franklin Street closed to traffic, and people from far and wide would join the revelry. The large street fair brought thousands of people into Chapel Hill each year and provided exposure for artists and musicians of all types. A group that became a mainstay of the celebration was the Apple Chill Cloggers, a folk dance troupe that has performed in 14 countries since their first festival appearance in 1975.

The first Apple Chill festival page from the 1972 edition of the Yackety Yack.

As the years flew by Apple Chill began to change and three major issues began to make themselves clear: the astronomical cost, the violence, and the unbelievably bad traffic. The 2004 celebration cost the town $43,593. In 2005 the cost had doubled: the town spent $87,233 for police and other costs.

Apple Chill, for all its charm, had problems more serious than merely draining the treasury (DTH 4/15/05). Rising crime resulted in an increased police presence as the years drifted by: in 1993 there was a shootout after the festival, in 2003 alone 12 fights were reported, and two people were injured in a stabbing at the Local 506 in 2004.

Apple Chill 1979. [Yackety Yack]
All good things must come to an end, and the increasingly violent events caught up with the festival. In 2006 Chapel Hill chilled for the final time. Around 30,000 people (and 235 police officers) attended that year, unaware that they would be the final attendees to celebrate in Chapel Hill proper. That year officers arrested 11 people and issued 87 traffic citations, but that was only the beginning of the troubles. At an unsanctioned event called “After Chill,” the fun and games finally ended as the violence reached a head: three people were shot.

Traffic was another problem of Apple Chill; roads were congested so badly that not even ambulances could navigate. The News and Observer reported on one particularly shocking 2006 incident (N&O 4/25/06):

One of the shooting victims had to be taken from Franklin Street to UNC Hospitals on a John Deere Gator, which is like an all-terrain vehicle with a cab on the back that was retrofitted to hold a gurney.

Apple Chill 1990. [Yackety Yack]
The death of Apple Chill, though tragic, was also a reflection of Chapel Hill’s evolving culture. It was no longer a small town, and Mayor Kevin Foy was forced to acknowledge that fact even when facing resistance from many Chapel Hill locals. “The town is not the same as it was 35 years ago; as the town grows, as the region grows, we have to be willing to change.”

Despite being ousted from Chapel Hill, Apple Chill events can still be found hosted in other cities (though the Spoonerism of a name makes a bit less sense as a result). From 2007 until 2010 the festival was held in Roxboro, NC. Since 2011 it has been held in Fayetteville.



Apple Chill Cloggers

“Chapel Hill Town Council Passes Resolution To End Street Fair”

“Chapel Hill Votes to Kill Apple Chill”

“Police: Chapel Hill Festival Shootings Probably Gang-Related”

The Daily Tar Heel (articles cited above)

The Yackety Yack

Noteworthy Firsts: Lenoir Chambers

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

Lenoir Chambers was one of the first three Carolina alumni, along with W. Horace Carter and Vermont C. Royster, to receive the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.

He graduated from Virginia’s Woodberry Forest School in 1910 and received an A.B. degree from The University of North Carolina in 1914. He then studied at the Columbia University School of Journalism from 1916 to 1917. After working on the Washington staff of the New Republic, he served overseas during World War I as a first lieutenant of infantry with the 52nd Infantry, Sixth Division. After the war, Chambers directed UNC’s news bureau until 1921, when he joined the Greensboro Daily News.

Chambers was married to Roberta Burwell Strudwick in 1928. They had a daughter, Elizabeth Lacy, in addition to a son from Ms. Chambers’ first marriage, Robert Strudwick Glenn.

In 1929, Chambers became associate editor of the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk under editor Louis I. Jaffe. Chambers became editor of the Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch in 1944 and editor of the Virginian-Pilot in 1950, after Jaffe’s death. He was also the author of the biography Stonewall Jackson (1959) and Salt Water and Printer’s Ink (1967), a history of newspapers in the Norfolk, VA area.

Chambers was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his series of 12 editorials on the school integration problem in Virginia. He was very opposed to segregation, much to the surprise of those who knew him as a North Carolinian and the biographer of a Confederate general. His series in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot began with “The Year Virginia Closed the Schools,” published January 1, 1959.

Lenoir Chambers in 1914. [From the Yackety Yack yearbook, 1914].

The story is this: in 1958, Virginia closed the doors of a Warren County high school in Front Royal and two schools in Charlottesville. Perhaps most personally to Chambers, six schools in Norfolk were closed. The reason? To avoid desegregating them. With this action, Chambers wrote, the state denied nearly 13,000 children “the kind of education which the people of Virginia had in mind when they wrote… their Constitution.” This first editorial ended with a call to action:

The question Virginians must ask themselves on this New Year’s Day is what they can, and will, do in 1959 to recover from the tragedy of 1958.

The final editorial of the series was “The Year Virginia Opened the Schools,” published on the final day of 1959. Thoughtful and sober, it too ends with a challenge:

But the old years of impracticality, unconstitutionalism, and futility are on the way out. If Virginia can produce more willingness to face the facts and fresh qualities of initiative and leadership in dealing with them, the year the state opened the schools can lead to a new year of hope.

Between the poles defined by those two editorials, much changed in Virginia. Resistance to desegregation crumbled in the face of public school teachers, angry parents, and complaints by business owners. Eventually peaceful desegregation, on a limited scale, took place.

Chambers retired in 1961 and afterward continued to write and lecture and to serve on many civic and historical boards, including the Society of Newspaper Editors, the Virginia Historical Society, and the National Conference of Editorial Writers. He passed away in 1970, but Robert Mason’s letter nominating him for the Pulitzer is an admirable tribute to his spirit.

He never wavered. He wasted no time on the fiction of what might have been or might be. When some of his colleagues of the Virginia press at last joined him in his view, he welcomed them warmly, and he did not chide them for the lateness of their education.

It is not too much to say, I am persuaded, that Lenoir Chambers has done more, and under conditions more vexing and longer sustained, to give logic and direction to Virginia, and to the whole South, in the school problem than any other editor.

Many of Chambers’ papers are preserved in the Southern Historical Collection at Wilson Library.

Sources and Further Reading:

Lenoir Chambers Papers (#3827), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Lenoir Chambers Wins the Pulitzer Prize!The Virginian-Pilot May 2, 2013

Salt Water and Printers Ink. Lenoir Chambers. The University Of North Carolina, 2011.

Stonewall Jackson. Lenoir Chambers. Broadfoot Pub. Co., 1988.

Yackety Yack, 1914


Noteworthy Firsts: Dr. William Alexander Darity, Sr.

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

Image result for Dr. William Alexander Darity, Sr. unc
Darity in 2011. [From University of Massachusetts-Amherst].
Dr. William Alexander Darity, Sr. was born January 15, 1924, in East Flat Rock, North Carolina. He was born to Aden Randall and Elizabeth Smith Darity, neither of whom had an education past 6th grade. Nonetheless, Darity went on to pursue a collegiate education. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Shaw University and his Master’s of Science in Public Health from North Carolina Central University.

In June 1964, he became the first African-American to earn a Ph.D from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in what is now the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior, an accomplishment that only took him only two years to complete. His thesis was titled Contraceptive Education: The Relative Cultural and Social Factors Related to Applied Health Education with Special Reference to Oral Contraceptives.

Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Darity accumulated 10 years of international experience with the World Health Organization, where he focused on malaria eradication. He also spent two years working with The North Carolina Fund, an anti-poverty agency. Afterwards, in 1965, Darity joined the University of Massachusetts-Amherst faculty; there were only three full-time faculty members in the public health department when he joined. Darity also helped to found the Black Caucus of Health Workers of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in the late 1960s. He became head of the department in 1968 and was named dean of the School of Health Sciences in September 1973.  Immediately before his appointment at University of Massachussetts-Amherst, Darity served as Director of Program Development for the North Carolina Fund, Inc. (a statewide, privately funded, non-profit, anti-poverty organization). 

Darity in 1974. [From Gillings School of Global Public Health].
In 1977 he received a Distinguished Service Award from the UNC School of Public Health Alumni Association, and he served as a member of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees from 1985 and 1991. In 1996 UNC named him a distinguished alumnus. In 2014 he was inducted into the Golden Rams Society, a group for alumni who matriculated at the University 50 or more years ago.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute, one of Darity’s final research efforts at University of Massachussetts-Amherst was both extensive and important. He served as the principal investigator for a $3.4 million, five-year research study on smoking and cancer in black populations; the study explored the multitude of factors that lead to smoking and the accompanying health risks among low-income black communities.

After retirement, he continued to use his influence to do good. After his urging upon his retirement, the UoM-Amherst Division of Public Health became a School of Public Health with its own dean. The Division of Nursing also became a School of Nursing with its own dean. Moreover, he served as senior associate and deputy director for the Asia and the Near East for the Population Council of New York. He passed away in 2015 at age 91.


Noteworthy Firsts: Sallie Walker Stockard

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

A portrait of Sallie Walker Stockard [From the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives]
In 1898, Sallie Stockard became the first woman to graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a thesis called Nature in Poetry. A few years later she triumphed again, earning a masters degree.

Before attending UNC, Stockard went to other institutions. In 1892, at the age of 23, Stockard enrolled in Guilford College — a school only 4 years old at the time.

The trustees of UNC voted to open its doors to women for postgraduate studies in January of 1897. Five women including Stockard were accepted, but the university was unprepared for the possibility that a woman would actually complete a degree. When Stockard did finish (the only one of the four to do so), she was excluded from all ceremonies, including the actual presentation of degrees and class pictures. She would stay on at UNC until earning a masters degree in 1900.

After obtaining her master’s degree, she left North Carolina for Clark University in Massachusetts where she published a dramatization of the Song of Solomon. By 1904 she had moved to Arkansas, where she married. She then moved to New Mexico, where she had two children. She separated from her husband soon after the birth of her second child, and in the 1920s, she moved to New York City and enrolled in Columbia University’s Teachers College. In 1924 she received a second masters degree there.

Over the course of her life, Stockard published several books on local history, both in North Carolina and other places she lived. Her master’s thesis at UNC was The History of Alamance, and was reprinted by the Alamance Historical Museum in 1986. Her second book, The History of Guilford County, North Carolina, was published in in 1902. In Arkansas, she published A History of Lawrence, Jackson, Independence and Stone Counties of the Third Judicial District of Arkansas.

In the 1940s, she wrote an autobiography detailing life in rural Alamance and her UNC experience, Daughter of the Piedmont: Chapel Hill’s First Co-Ed Graduate. Around the same time she founded a newspaper,  the Nassau Golden Fleece News Gleaner, in her new home of western Long Island, NY.

Stockard passed away at age 93 in Long Island.

Sources and Further Reading:

103rd UNC Commencement Pamplet

Dean, Pamela. Women on the Hill: a History of Women at the University of North Carolina. Division of Student Affairs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1987.


“‘Daughter of the Piedmont’ by Sallie Walker Stockard” in Miscellaneous Writings, circa 1893-1956 #03704-z, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Finding Aid: https://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/03704/

“Stockard, Sallie Walker (1869-1963): Scan 1” in Digital North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives

Stockard, Sallie Walker. History of Guilford County, North Carolina. Nabu Press, 2010.

Stockard, Sallie Walker. History of Lawrence, Jackson, Independence, and Stone Counties of the Third Judicial District of Arkansas. Little Rock: Arkansas Democrat Co., 1904.

Noteworthy Firsts: Johnston Blakeley

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

Captain Johnston Blakeley (sometimes spelled Blakely) was a successful naval officer during the War of 1812 and the first University of North Carolina alumnus to give his life in military service to the United States.

Blakeley had a long journey to Chapel Hill. Born in County Down, Ireland in 1781, he immigrated to the United States with his family in 1783. Tragically, his mother died during the voyage. His family lived in Wilmington, NC, but he spent much of his youth in school in Flatbush, Long Island, NY.

In 1796 he entered UNC (making him a contemporary of Hinton James) and was a member of the Philanthropic Society by 1797. The first speech he gave to the society “spoke on the happiness of ye farmers.” His later speeches and compositions covered a variety of topics: the education of women, Jacobinism, the advantages of education, self-government, the state of France and America, Brutus’ speech to the Romans, advantages of riches and poverty, and tobacco. He even gave a reading of Ulysses’ speech to Alcinous and the queen from The Odyssey.

A 1797 record of Blakeley’s presentation to the Philanthropic Society about women’s education [From the Records of the Philanthropic Society, University Archives].
In 1797, when Blakeley was 16, tragedy struck again. His father died and he was orphaned, becoming a ward of Edward Jones of Rockrest, Chatham County. Moreover, he was left without money due to a disastrous fire that destroyed his family’s warehouses.

Portrait of Johnston Blakeley. [From the North Carolina Portrait Index, North Carolina Collection].
In 1800 he joined the U.S. Navy as a midshipman, becoming a lieutenant seven years later. In 1812 he served on the President and the Enterprise before being made  Master Commandant and put in command of the Wasp and its 173 person crew.  In 1814 he sank and captured a number of British ships, among them were Three Brothers, the Bacchus, the HMS Reindeer and HMS Avon. He also captured the Atalanta, a supply ship laden with wine, brandy, and silk. Though Blakeley had a custom of burning the ships he battled, there was doubt as to the Atalanta’s nationality. Instead, he put Midshipman David Geisinger and a prize crew aboard. On September 22, 1814 the Atalanta set sail to Savannah, Georgia, where she arrived safely in November. No further word was ever received from the Wasp.

A Wilmington marker memorializing Blakeley. [From North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program].
Rumors abound about Blakeley’s mysterious disappearance. A privateer claimed to have seen the Wasp off the Canary Islands. The British frigate Lacedemonian was believed by some to have sunk her off Charleston, South Carolina. John C. Calhoun even heard a report that she was operating in the Pacific Ocean. It’s more likely that the Wasp simply sank due to winds, but whatever the case he and his men never returned.

In January of 1815 his wife, Jane Hoope Blakeley, gave birth to a daughter, Udney Maria. The following year the North Carolina legislature resolved to pay for Udney’s education and to provide the family with funds. The legislature planned to give Udney a sword in memory of her father, but in the end, at her mother’s suggestion, she was given a  silver tea service. In 1904, the US Navy honored Blakeley with the naming of a battleship, the USS Blakely.

A poem written by a “highly gifted and accomplished young lady” demonstrates the power of Blakeley’s legacy:

No more shall Blakeley’s thunder roar
Upon the stormy deep;
Far distant from Columbia’s shore
His tombless ruins sleep;
But long Columbia’s song shall tell
How Blakeley fought, how Blakeley fell.


Homans, Benjamin. Army and Navy Chronicle. Vol. 6, 1838.

“Johnston Blakeley, 1781-1814.” North Carolina Portrait Index, 1700-1860. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. p. 25.

“Minutes, 1795-1959.” in the Philanthropic Society of the University of North Carolina Records, 1795-1959 #40166, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program, ID D-37

S. M. Lemmon, Frustrated Patriots: North Carolina and the War of 1812 (1973).

Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library (Record Group 45), United States National Archives.

A. R. Newsome, “Udney Maria Blakeley,” North Carolina Historical Review 4 (1927).

Noteworthy Firsts: Irene Dillard Elliott and Anna Forbes Liddell

At the University Day celebration on October 11, 2016, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program to name scholarships after notable “firsts” in UNC history. In recognition of the individuals recognized as pioneers at UNC, the University Archives is publishing blog posts with more information about each of the twenty-one “firsts.” This post is part of that series.

1924 was a big year for UNC-Chapel Hill: that year, the university awarded doctorates to women for the first time. The two recipients were Irene Dillard Elliott and Anna Forbes Liddell.

Irene Dillard Elliott
Elliott earned a BA from Randolph-Macon Women’s College; she went on to earn an MA from the University of South Carolina in 1921. Her next stop was UNC, where she earned a Ph.D. in English. Her dissertation was A History of Literature in South Carolina. After receiving her Ph.D., she made her return to University of South Carolina, becoming an English professor and the first dean of women in the school’s history. She retired in 1935, but then returned in 1946 as a professor of English at USC to compensate for teachers lost to World War II. She continued teaching until 1964.

In addition to her teaching and administrative duties, Elliott founded the South Carolina chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In the 1960s, Dr. Elliott gave funds to start a scholarship fund for students at the Tamassee DAR School and Children’s Home, located in upstate South Carolina. Through the Elliott Scholarship Fund, the chapter currently gives funds each year to the Tamassee DAR School for scholastic purposes.

The 1924 UNC commencement pamphlet listing the theses of Dillard and Liddell.

Anna Forbes Liddell in 1969. [From Florida Memory, photographed by Richard Parks].
Anna Forbes Liddell
Anna Liddell received her BA from UNC in 1918 and an MA from Cornell in 1922. She returned to UNC, earning a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1924. Her dissertation was titled, The Logical Relationship of  the Philosophy of Hegel to the Philosophies of Spinoza and Kant. 

Liddell was an active suffragette in addition to being an academic. In 1913, prior to joining the university, Liddell helped to form the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League in Charlotte. In a Life magazine contest to see who could produce the best original article on feminism, her entry was one of eight selected and purchased from among the 3,000 submitted.

From 1925 to 1926, Liddell was professor of social studies at Chowan College. In the fall of 1926 she joined the faculty of the Florida State College for Women (which became Florida State University in 1947), where she taught philosophy until her retirement in 1962. She served as head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion from 1932 to 1951.

In 1978, then 87 years old and using a wheelchair, she attended a rally in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida and rebuked lawmakers for not supporting the amendment. Liddell passed away in 1979.


Florida Memory

Lambert, Barbara Elizabeth. “Liddell, Anna Forbes.” Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 4, L-O. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Mack, Tom, editor. South Carolina Encyclopedia Guide to South Carolina Writers. Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2014.


South Carolina Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution

South Carolina Encyclopedia entry on Irene Elliott

129th UNC Commencement Pamphlet

Walter James Forbes Liddell Papers, 1831-1914
Finding Aid: https://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/00904/


Gimghoul Coded Yearbook Messages

A portion of a yearbook page that says "The Order of Gimghouls" at top and features the Gimghoul icon of a creature behind a column holding a key. Its tail spells "Gimghoul." A message, in code, is below.
An excerpt from the Gimghouls page in the 1890 UNC yearbook.

If you were to examine a UNC yearbook, you would encounter the expected contents: sports pages, page after page of fraternities, and reminders of the year’s major events. However, there are more mysterious things lurking in those pages courtesy of the Order of Gimghoul: coded messages.

A bit of background knowledge is needed to understand any of this in the first place. The Order of Gimghoul, a males-only secret society, was founded in 1889 by Edward Wray Martin, William W. Davies, Shepard Bryan, Andrew Henry Patterson, and Robert Worth Bingham, all students at UNC-Chapel Hill. The legend of Peter Dromgoole was used as the basis for their society and it was founded as the Order of Dromgoole. The name was later changed to Gimghoul “in accord with midnight and graves and weirdness.” Martin created the initiation ritual, constitution, and bylaws, and as years passed they evolved. The order consolidated its beliefs and customs into a combination of the Dromgoole legend and the ideals of Arthurian chivalry.

Despite being secret, the Order frequently has a yearbook page. The first Gimghoul page appeared in The Hellenian in 1890. Since the Order’s creation, the Rex—the term for the  Gimghoul leader—has been expected to write a coded message in the yearbook each year, and a message has appeared in almost every yearbook produced since 1892. The Hellenian yearbook was replaced by The Yackety Yack in 1901, but the messages continued. On occasion, a message from a preceding year will be repeated.

The messages are almost always accompanied by the Gimghoul emblem, a ghoul that grins wickedly and spells out “Gimghoul” with his tail. In his left hand he holds the Mystic Key, in his right the Cross of Gimghoul. Each emblem also includes the moon, a group of 7 stars, and a column set on a triple foundation.

A selection of the decoded messages are presented in their entirety below.

1895: “Now let us all take caeer [cheer] and eook [look] to wxat’s [what’s] to come for tas’s a prospaeons [prosperous] year in whiya [which] we ael aape [all hope] wox to moy it be.”

The writer of the 1895 message made a minor alteration to the key used to code “Gimghoulese,” but even with this taken into account the message is garbled. The writer made mistakes in his use of the alphabet square, making it difficult to decipher. In addition, it was evidently handwritten: the typesetter misunderstood several letters.

1896: “On being tied to a tree in the initiatiop [initiation], Butlxr [Butler] desertbd [deserted] He was chughk [caught] in bed and initiated nevertheless. The Devil is hard to beat.

Yours–Valmar VIII”

The Butler mentioned here was a math instructor initiated in 1895-6. The process was a complicated one: neophytes would gather in Room 22 of South Building around midnight, awaiting their fate. Eventually, a robed and hooded figure would arrive and lead inductees eastward, on a path through Battle Park. A secondary, harsher path to Piney Prospect would be used to reach the final initiation point, Dromgoole Rock. There would stand the Rex himself, who would finally declare one a member.

The mysterious author, Valmar VIII, was the Rex William R. Webb. A Valmar is credited as authoring most messages.

1899: “In this, the tenth year, let every loyal knight renew his love for Gimghoul, and aid in continuing its noble work. Valmar X”

1901: “Read ‘Guinevere’ lines 460-480, in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Valmar XI”

The lines referred to read as follows:

In that fair Order of my Table Round,
A glorious company, the flower of men,
To serve as model for the mighty world,
And be the fair beginning of a time.
I made them lay their hands in mine and swear
To reverence the King, as if he were
Their conscience, and their conscience as their King,
To break the heathen and uphold the Christ,
To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,
To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,
To honour his own word as if his God’s,
To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,
To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
And worship her by years of noble deeds,
Until they won her; for indeed I knew
Of no more subtle master under heaven
Than is the maiden passion for a maid,
Not only to keep down the base in man,
But teach high thought, and amiable words
And courtliness, and the desire of fame,
And love of truth, and all that makes a man.

1902: “We saould not pass from the iarth uithknr trcces to corry oqd memonh xvb postesity.”

This message is supposed to read “we should not pass from the earth without leaving traces to carry our memory to posterity.”

1903: “The wise leader is he who knows when to follow.”

1904: “The great works in this world spring from the ruins of greater projects.”

1911-1914: “Sir Knights, remember noblisse oblige and be courageous, be loyal, be true. Valmar XXII”

1915, 1918, 1919: “To all Sir Knights the world around, greetings from Hippol Castle, Glanden.”

1921: “To Sir Knights the world over — greetings!”

1922, 1923: “Never let nothing get you down.”

1924: “Fight to the finish and never say die.”

1925: “One thing is forever good; that one thing is success.”

1930: “Courage, loyalty, truth, love: these four badges, Sir Knights, you must ever wear.”

1935: “The power to meet life with love and courage is all that makes life worth living.”

1944-1946: “Speed to all ye Sir Knights of the Order who have entered the service of our great country.”

A yellowed page featuring a square of letters and instructions for deciphering a code.
The alphabet square used to decipher the messages until 1895. [From the Order of Gimghoul Records, University Archives]
These translations come from Gimghoul Pages, an unattributed collection of Gimghoul yearbook pages found in the Records of the Order of Gimghoul. The book also includes a cipher for anyone who might want to do decoding for themselves, but most decoding will be fruitless; in 1895 the Order changed the alphabet square in an unknown manner. Additionally, the codes are frequently garbled thanks to the typesetters’ difficulty in understanding the messages.

Due to the secret nature of the Order, Gimghoul records in Wilson Library that are less than 50 years old are closed to everyone but members of the Order and those with written permission from the current Rex. However, records older than 50 years (including the materials referenced here) are open for research in Wilson Library.


“Papers (Open), 1832-1996” in the Order of Gimghoul of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1832-2009 #40262, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Hellenian and Yackety Yack yearbooks, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (View online via DigitalNC)

Order of the Golden Fleece: Frank Porter Graham Lecture on Excellence Speakers

Founded on April 11, 1904, the Order of the Golden Fleece is the oldest and highest honorary society at UNC. The presiding officer of the organization is called the Jason, and members of the order are called “argonauts.” Membership in the club was closed to women until 1972. Initiates to the society are classically inducted in public “tapping ceremonies,” an event where “giants” (the name for members of the Order disguised in black hoods) roam the audience of a campus event “tapping” those chosen for membership. After the ceremony, a guest speaker is called onto stage to give a lecture. Prior to the 1960s, the ceremony did not always include a lecture. In 1980, the guest lecture was named the Frank Porter Graham Lecture on Excellence. The following list is an incomplete timeline of speakers hosted by the Order of the Golden Fleece.

1930: Harry Woodburn Chase, UNC President

1942: Dr. Urban T. Holmes reads “Jason and the Argonauts”

1954: R. Mayne Albright

1955: Justice William H. Bobbitt

1958: Clifton L. Moore

1959: Lenoir Chambers

1960: Albert Coates

1961: Terry Sanford, NC Governor

1965: Frederick Henry Weaver

1966: Lennox Polk McLendon, Jr.

1967: Edward M. Yoder, Jr.

1968: Professor Walt Spearman

1969: Charles Kuralt

1970: Tom Wicker of the New York Times

1971: Richardson Preyer, NC Congressman

1972: William D. Snider, Editor

1973: James B. McMillan, Federal District Court Judge

1974: Julius L Chambers

1975: Howard Lee, Mayor of Chapel Hill

1976: Ed Yoder

1977: Hamilton Hobgood

1978: Samuel R Williamson

1979: McNeil Smith

1980: Charles Kuralt

1981: Richardson Preyer

1982: Hargrove Bowls, Jr.

1983: Jim Hunt, NC Governor

1984: James Cooper, U.S. Congress, Tennessee

1985: Dean Smith

1986: James Leutze

1987: Terry Sanford, U.S. Senate, N.C.

1988: Anson Dorrance

1989: Alexander Heard

1990: Judith A Hines

1991: Julius L Chambers

1992: Willis Padgett Whichard

1993: Richard Allen Vinroot

1994: Marie Watters Colton

1995: Chuck Stone, Jr.

1996: Shelby Foote

1997: Dr. Julius Chambers

1998: Edwin M Yoder, Jr.

1999: Erskine Bowles

2000: Benjamin S. Ruffin

2001: Richard J. Richardson

2002: Doris Betts

2003: Robert Kirkpatrick

2004: Dr. Francis Collins

2005: Phillip Clay, MIT Chancellor

2006: Woody Durham


2008: Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat

2009: Jonathan Reckford


2012: F. Taylor Branch


2014: Mia Hamm

2015: Carol Folt

2016: Thomas W Ross, Sr.

2017: Kevin Guskiewicz

2018: Bland Simpson



Daily Tar Heel (articles cited above).

Order of the Golden Fleece of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1904-2017
Finding Aid: http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/40160/

G. Nicholas Herman, The Order of the Golden Fleece at Chapel Hill, 1904-2004 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library, 2005), 58.