An evening with William Shatner at Memorial Hall, 1976


Shatner speaking with “pomp, bombast, humor, and terror.”  The Daily Tar Heel,  November 8, 1976

Trekkies unite! 41 years ago today, William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain Kirk, spoke at Memorial Hall, where he gave a performance about the history of science-fiction.

However, the Enterprise captain experienced less-than-smooth sailing in Memorial Hall on November 4, 1976.  The Daily Tar Heel reported on November 8, 1976, that Shatner “couldn’t command the film projector of the PA system to work” and was therefore unable to show planned video footage.

Despite the lost battle against machines, Shatner continued his performance with gusto. Although many guests left because of the technology problems, those who stayed enjoyed a passionate performance.

His appearance at UNC was part of a 40-day tour of 40 colleges and universities, and his performance at Hofstra University was recorded for distribution.

Advertisement in The Daily Tar Heel, November 1, 1976

Carolina Tweets #archiveunc

When you think of archives you might think of dusty old books and papers tucked away to be used by historians and other academics. Here at the University Archives we preserve plenty of old University records (that are kept dust-free, by the way), but our day-to-day work is actually very focused on the current moment. Without collecting materials that document the present day researchers can’t study the University in the future.

One way we archive the current moment is through collecting student life materials and UNC related web content. With only three full time staff members it can be tough to keep up with all the conversations, events, and activism happening on campus. We can’t do this alone. This is where you come in!

You can actively contribute to the documentation of what’s happening at UNC by using the hashtag #archiveunc on your public tweets or Instagram posts. That’s all you have to do! By using the hashtag, you opt in to having the posts archived for long-term preservation and research access.

How is the content archived? We will periodically use a tool called Archive-It to “crawl” the tweets or posts tagged with the #archiveunc hashtag. Once the posts have been crawled by the Archive-it tool, the data is preserved by the Internet Archive and we provide access through our Archive-It website.

What kind of tweets are we looking for? We’re open to any tweets or Instagram posts related to UNC academics, campus life, and events. For example:

  • Promoting a student organization event? #archiveunc
  • Protesting? #archiveunc
  • Promoting a cause? #archiveunc
  • Sharing activities or chalk messages seen on campus? #archiveunc

If you don’t use #archiveunc, we may be in touch to ask permission to add your social media content or website to the Archives. Collecting social media content as it unfolds is new for us. We’re experimenting, so how we ask for permission and the technology used may evolve over time. As things change, we’ll keep you in the loop.

We hope you’ll join us in this exciting new effort!

Not interested in social media? Other ways to get involved and help document Carolina history:

  • Submit photos of UNC shirts to the UNC T-Shirt Archive.
  • Connect with us regarding donation of student organization records, digital or print photos, videos, or campus posters/flyers. If it documents something happening at UNC, we’re happy to talk about adding it to the archives. Please email ( us to get the process started.
  • Nominate a UNC website for archiving. First check to see if we’ve already archived the website: If the website can’t be found in our web archives, send us an email ( to get the process started.

The Inauguration of Frank Porter Graham, 1931

Daily Tar Heel, 11 November 1931

Today in Chapel Hill, Margaret Spellings will be formally installed as the eighth president of the University of North Carolina System. As a proud UNC student and for my first blog post as a graduate assistant in the University Archives, I decided to look back at the inauguration ceremony of the first UNC System president, Frank Porter Graham.

Graham’s appointment as President of the UNC System followed just a year after he was inaugurated as President of UNC-Chapel Hill. There does not appear to have been a separate ceremony when he became system president, but his inauguration as UNC-Chapel Hill President was an elaborate event.

President Graham was officially sworn into office November 11, 1931.  It was no casual affair, either; according to the Daily Tar Heel, five thousand people came out to witness the ceremony.  The ceremony itself was planned to coincide with Armistice Day and the annual meeting of the Association of American Universities. 

Footage of Frank Porter Graham’s inauguration procession. From the North Carolina Collection.

The ceremony began with a procession from Bingham Hall to Kenan Stadium. As bells chimed from South Building, ten different divisions of marchers assembled at Bingham Hall, including student body representatives, the class of 1909 (Graham’s own graduating class), North Carolina state officials, and representatives from other universities across the United States. A trumpet signaled the beginning of the procession. As everyone took their place in Kenan Stadium, two minutes of silence were observed to honor the World War I armistice and the thirteen years of peace since then. North Carolina Governor O. Max Gardner opened the ceremony, and due to the absence of North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice W. P. Stacy, the Honorable W. J. Adams administered the oath of office. The whole ceremony was specially amplified so everyone in the large stadium would be able to hear the proceedings.   

Caption reads: “W.J. Adams, associate justice of the North Carolina supreme court, in the left of this photograph, is administering a formal oath inducting Frank Porter Graham into the presidency of the University, yesterday morning. Immediately behind the president is Governor O. Max Gardner. Other dignitaries concerned with the occasion appear in the background.” From the Daily Tar Heel, 12 November 1931

After the official swearing-in ceremony, the day continued with more events – a luncheon, official meet-and-greets with various university representatives, and musical performances by the music department and the glee club.  Since the 33rd annual meeting of the American University Association began the day following Graham’s inauguration, a large number of university officials were present for the ceremony and following events.  These officials included deans and presidents from Harvard, Columbia, Northwestern, and more.

Caption reads: “Pictured above are five distinguished men in the educational world who will be among the sixty-seven delegates attending the thirty-third annual meeting of the Association of American Universities which opens at the University of North Carolina Thursday, November 12. They also represented their institutions at the inauguration of President Frank Graham. Top row, left to right: Dean Howard Lee McBain of Columbia university, President Walter Dill Scott of Northwestern university, and Dean W. Whatley Pierson of the University of North Carolina, who is chairman of the committee on arrangements. Bottom row: Dean George H. Chase of Harvard university, and Dean H. Lamar Crosby of the University of Pennsylvania.” Daily Tar Heel, 12 November 1931

Daily Tar Heel, 11 November 1931

The Daily Tar Heel‘s dedicated inauguration issue didn’t skimp on descriptions of the event and praise for Graham and the future of the University, and so I end this post with a couple of my favorites quotes — ones that seemed to sum up the student body’s and the larger academic world’s opinion of the event and President Graham himself.

“Frank Porter Graham, who more than any other by his peculiar qualities of absolute impartialness, sincere support of the Ideal, unusual humanity, and indefatigable energy on behalf of the University and the state personifies that which education in its usefulness and inspirational service to the community and the commonwealth strives to accomplish.”

“Long now has education been satisfied to rest in conservatism restrained by tradition, when it should be the intellectual beacon guiding men onward into unknown but knowable. Too long have universities been sepulchers for the imprisoned culture of past ages. The time is at hand to loose Wisdom and Culture from their dungeons that they may serve mankind.  The presidency of Frank Porter Graham by its enlightenment can be the single greatest factor in lifting North Carolina from the intellectual rear guard of the forty-eight states to that position of preeminence which its long and illustrious history deserves.”

Daily Tar Heel, 11 November 1931

The Battle Challenge: Part Two

Ward_Flier_800-618x800Montgomery Ward Catalog Challenge, Part II
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015
5 p.m. Reception and viewing of materials | Lobby
5:30 p.m. Program | Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
Free and open to the public

Join us Tuesday evening for the final installment of the Kemp Plummer Battle Montgomery Ward Catalog Challenge, a program set in motion 100 years ago.

In 1915, former UNC president Kemp Plummer Battle presented the North Carolina Historical Society with a metal box containing a current Montgomery Ward catalog and a letter outlining a challenge – the box was to be opened in 1965 and in 2015, and the catalog compared to one from the present day. Back in April, we held the first installment of this challenge, which featured talks from UNC professors John Kasson and Dana McMahan. Tuesday evening, the discussion continues with talks from professors Peter Coclanis and Lee Craig.

Fitz Brundage, chair of the Department of History at UNC, will introduce the program. Special guest John Baumann, President and CEO of Colony Brands, which owns and operates Montgomery Ward catalog and online retailer, will also make brief remarks on the topic “Montgomery Ward Today.”

In preparation for the event, the 1915 and 1965 Montgomery Ward catalogs and Robert B. House’s 1965 essay have been digitized and are available online.

We hope you’ll join us Tuesday for the finale of this 100-year challenge!




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!




SOHP Interns’ Performance

On Wednesday, April 30 at 3:00 pm on the front porch of the Love House and Hutchins Forum, four undergraduate interns with the Southern Oral History Program will share a live performance based on their collected oral histories from this spring semester. Their project focused on gay and lesbian student activism and life at UNC-Chapel Hill from the 1970s onward, and their interviewees shared many remarkable stories.

The announcement ran in the Daily Tar Heel on 10 September 1974.
The announcement ran in the Daily Tar Heel on 10 September 1974.

The interns conducted research in the University Archives while preparing for their oral histories.  We’re excited to see them share the stories of Carolina students and staff!  

Class of 1988 Time Capsule will be Unearthed Tomorrow!

A plaque on a lawn that reads "time capsule dedicated by class of 1988/Buried May 1988 to be opened in the year 2013"
Photo of the Class of 1988’s time capsule burial site and marker courtesy of University Relations.

Join University Archives staff  tomorrow, Friday Nov. 8th,  as we watch the class of 1988’s time capsule be unearthed after 25 years underground.

Digging begins on Polk Place (near South Building) at 1 pm.

We wonder what will be inside… whatever it is, it’s coming to the Archives! The capsule’s contents will be on display all weekend in the lobby of Wilson Library.


More info on the time capsule and unearthing event can be found here. What would you bury in a time capsule today?



A Visit from NPR’s Carl Kasell

Last month, as NPR’s Carl Kasell visited campus, we were excited to welcome him to Wilson Library for a tour. Graduate assistants Kate Ceronie and Jennifer Coggins, who did research for the event and put together an exhibit for the reception that evening, gave Kasell a preview of the exhibit and chose additional materials for viewing in the Grand Reading Room of Wilson Library. He viewed photos of the early days of WUNC, letters from WUNC listeners, scripts from the American Adventure radio series for which he was an announcer,  a yearbook from his sophomore year, scripts of advertisements he and Charles Kuralt recorded as students, and more. Enjoy the photos below of Kasell’s visit, taken by Mark Perry.

Carl Kasell and the Early Years of WUNC

Yackety Yack, 1954
Yackety Yack, 1954

When WUNC began airing NPR’s Morning Edition in 1980, it wasn’t the first time newscaster Carl Kasell’s famous voice had gone out on the station’s airwaves. In fact, when WUNC was dedicated as a student-run FM station in 1953, Kasell (class of 1956) was part of its first staff.  Kasell, who retired from Morning Edition in 2009 and now serves as the official judge and scorekeeper of NPR’s popular quiz show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is returning to UNC next week to discuss his life and career in “An Evening With Carl Kasell.”

Script for a "Variety Vacationland" ad performed by Carl Kasell and Charles Kuralt in 1953 (Department of Radio, Motion Pictures, and Television Records #40086, University Archives, Wilson Library)
Script for a “Variety Vacationland” ad performed by Carl Kasell and Charles Kuralt in 1953 (Department of Radio, Motion Pictures, and Television Records #40086, University Archives, Wilson Library)

As an announcer and operations manager for the WUNC, Kasell spent much of his time on campus in Swain Hall, where WUNC operated from its founding until 1999. He lent his voice to programs including American Adventure, a series broadcast nationally by NBC in 1955. He announced upcoming segments, played parts in advertisements, and read news (including the outcomes of UNC basketball games).

In 1955, Kasell helped to engineer what was perhaps the first stereo broadcast on radio. While broadcasting a musical performance, WUNC collaborated with local station WCHL to set up a microphone on either side of the performers–one broadcasting to WUNC and the other to WCHL. Listeners were advised to turn on two radios on either side of a room, one tuned in to WUNC and the other to WCHL, and this created a stereo effect.

A 1987 ad for NPR's Morning Edition from Listen! magazine
A 1987 ad for NPR’s Morning Edition from Listen! magazine

Join us Tuesday for “An Evening with Carl Kasell” at the Genome Sciences Building. Materials from University Archives related to Kasell’s time at WUNC–including photos, newspaper clippings, scripts, and more–will be on display during the reception preceding the program. The event is free and open to the public. The reception begins at 5:00, to be followed by the program at 5:30.

Event details for “An Evening With Carl Kasell”

(NB: this post was edited on March 5, 2014.)

A Bygone University Day

UNC President William Friday greets US President John F. Kennedy (University Day, John F. Kennedy Visit: Photographs, 1961, in the Office of President of the University of North Carolina (System): William C. Friday Records #40009, University Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

On October 12, 1961, Present John F. Kennedy came to UNC at Chapel Hill to celebrate University Day.

William C. Friday, president of the Consolidated System of North Carolina (before it became the University of North Carolina system) remembers that day:

It’s an experience to go through a visit of the President of the United States. . . . I had called every high school around here. Because I wanted the children to have the experience I had. . . . We invited all the faculty here. And everybody in town. And they filled the place up. It was a glorious day of sunshine. . . . Well, the big limousine rolled up, and Governor Sanford got out, and President Kennedy walked up to me and said, ‘Happy Columbus Day.’ October 12 was Columbus Day also. And that meant a lot to him, you know. . . . A lot of people asked, you know, “What did he say to you?” Well, I say, “Well, his first question was, ‘Who won the game last Saturday?'”

(Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, December 3, 1990. Interview L-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)