Introduction to the History of Performing Arts at UNC Library Guide

UNC’s campus culture and the lives of students can be examined through the sometimes exciting, sometimes fraught lens of the performing arts.  From controversial visiting artists to the joyful and attentive work of student and faculty artists on campus, performance has played a major part in representing the sentiment of any given time in UNC’s history.

A sample of resources you might use for research and curiosity about UNC’s relationship with performance is now available through the History of the Performing Arts at UNC library guide.

Students and Teacher in Music Classroom
Music Department, circa 1940s-1969 [UNC at Chapel Hill Image Collection, Folder P0004/0694]
Following the resources in this guide, you may come across some interesting facts:

There are several sketches, drafts of music scores and notes from Paul Green’s work with Richard Wright on the theater adaptation of Native Son. Native Son is one of Wright’s most well-known works and was staged in 1941 by Orson Welles “with imagination and force” (Atkinson, 1941).

Preliminary Draft of Native Son [Paul Green Papers, 1880-2009, Folder 3278cb]

 

-Some performing arts groups on campus have been around longer than you might think. The Opeyo! Dance Company, founded by Herman Mixon in 1971, continues to participate in outreach. They still host Dancing for Hope in the Fall semester, a benefit offering donations to charitable organizations.

-Carolina Performing Arts’ records are surprisingly helpful for theater architects! Folders of information provide insight into the specifications required for remodeling Memorial Hall. The correspondence related to theater acoustics and audience seating are as architectural as they are performance-oriented in nature.

Visitors entering Memorial Hall
Transformed Memorial Hall [Carolina Performing Arts Records, 1990s-2014, Digital Folder DF-40428/2]
Using the Guide:

Kick off your research by using the Home tab as a directory to the subject, department, organization or medium you are exploring. For example, if you’re looking for the work of a playwright who was a professor at UNC, check for resources under the Academic Departments tab. If you’re looking for general photographs, ephemera or video, check the Visual Materials tab. You can access the library guide here.

Happy searching!

 

 

References:

Atkinson, Brooks (1941). “‘Native Son’ by Paul Green and Richard Wright, Put on by Orson Welles and John Houseman”. New York Times. Retrieved 10 April 2019 from https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1941/03/25/85265284.pdf

On This Day in 1968: Three In the Attic Released

An illustration featuring representations of three women, an attic roof, and a man in a birdcage. Includes the text "3 in the Attic" and information about the film.
A poster for the 1968 film “Three in the Attic,” which was filmed in part on the UNC Chapel Hill campus.

The farcical drama Three in the Attic was released on this day in 1968. The film is set at a fictional New England college, but was filmed primarily at and around UNC. The plot centers on one student, Paxton, who begins dating three girls at a neighboring school. Things take a turn for the worse when they discover his infidelity. Together they decide to lock him in an attic and torture him with their love.

When producers from American Film International approached UNC about using parts of the UNC campus for their new movie, Chancellor Carlyle Sitterson appointed Professor William Hardy of UNC’s Radio,Television, and Motion Picture Department to the task of reading the script and deciding whether or not the film was appropriate to be filmed at UNC.

Photograph courtesy of the Daily Tarheel

Hardy approved the script, writing to the chancellor that he only found one scene in particular, to be “considered marginal in taste.” In the same letter, he remarks that he is aware that there were other scenes with “sexual overtones” in the script, but it did not contain “homosexuality, any other perversion, or violence.” With this nod of approval and less than subtle homophobia, the filming commenced.

The film hit some roadblocks in the press, written off as a pornographic film or “skin flick”when a reporter at the Greensboro Daily News was denied entry to the set of the film. A graduate student who was on set that day informed the reporter that he saw nude actors walking by and that half of the crew was being kept out for some of the scenes being filmed that day. The resulting article, claiming they were filming a “skin flick” on UNC’s campus, sparked some debate and controversy. Letters poured into the chancellor and vice chancellor’s offices expressing concern for the integrity of the university. But by this time, the scenes being filmed at UNC were nearly done. As the filming in Chapel Hill came to a close, the director of the film, Richard Wilson, penned a letter apologizing for the “flurry of adverse publicity” the university was receiving, assuring the chancellor that the film was nothing more than a “social satire” and not a “skin flick” as the local news outlets were reporting.

When the film came out, it was revealed that it was not pornographic, but did include scenes with partial nudity and adult themes, Professor Hardy wrote again to Chancellor Sitterson. He apologized for the terrible turn of events claiming the script he read “at the outset of the matter gave promise of something entirely different and certainly better than the final result.”

The negative attention the university received in relation to the film died down shortly after the release. Since the film came out, it has had a less than stellar reputation with one article calling the film “overpriced.” However, you might still want to watch it just to see if you recognize some of your favorite spots on and around campus.

If you watch Three in the Attic you might recognize some of these notable locations on campus and nearby:

  • The ATO house
  • Old Carrboro Railroad Station
  • Swain Hall
  • 115 Battle Lane
  • Durham Allied Arts

 

Resources:

The Daily Tar Heel, available online via DigitalNC.org.

Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Joseph Carlyle Sitterson Records, 1966-1972 (#40022)

The History of The Nutcracker at UNC

Attending a performance or two of “The Nutcracker” is a yearly holiday tradition among many families across the United States. It continues to be a staple in the repertoire of dance companies around the country and for countless theater-goers, a first glimpse into the world of ballet.

The ballet’s music was created in 1892 by Russian composer Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky based on the story The Nutcracker of Nurembourg by Alexandre Dumas. Dumas, the 19th century French writer most known for penning The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, adapted the story from E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov has been developed and changed over time. One of the most famous and reproduced renditions was created by George Balanchine, an enduringly prominent and influential figure in American ballet. (Fisher, 2012)

Like many classical ballets, modifications to the choreography have been made over time. Ballet training, aesthetic preferences and dancers capabilities are much different than they were when “The Nutcracker” was created (Daprati, Iosa & Haggard, 2009). Many artistic directors have also changed the racially and ethnically insensitive depictions of characters in the “Tea” and “Coffee” variations performed in the second act. One of the campaigns at the forefront of these changes today is the online platform Final Bow for Yellowface, led by New York City Ballet’s Georgina Pazcoguin (Lansky, 2018). Overall, directors have adapted the ballet to fit particular time periods, locations and tastes.

From the Daily Tar Heel, 16 May 1959.

At UNC, the first performance of The Nutcracker was by The Area Ballet in Memorial Hall nearly 60 years ago on May (not December!) 16, 1959. It was choreographed by John R. Lehman and sponsored by the UNC Music Club. (Daily Tar Heel, 1959). In 1978, the Carolina Dancers performed a funnier, “wilder” take on the traditional ballet with magicians on roller skates, punk rockers and candy cane pillows. It featured cameos from some of UNC’s faculty and notable dance professionals from across the Triangle. (Robinson, 1978). This performance was repeated in 1980, with appearances by UNC dancers, and again, dancers from around the city, such as M’liss Dorrance, Jack Arnold and Donald Blumenfeld (Moore, 1980). In 1989, the first occurrence of The Nutcracker: The Play was adapted by Karl Joos for Playmakers Repertory Company from the original E.T.A. Hoffman stories. (Daily Tar Heel, 1989). It has also been adapted by former Artistic Director David Hammond and current Chair of Dramatic Art and Dramaturg for Playmakers, Adam Versényi.

From the Daily Tar Heel, 6 December 1978.

UNC’s performance presenting organization, Carolina Performing Arts, has fused the tradition into the creation of their performance season every year. In 2009, the Carolina Ballet started performing The Nutcracker at Memorial Hall in addition to performing at theaters in Raleigh and Durham. The ballet, adapted by Artistic Director Robert Weiss, has plenty of occurrences of magical illusions, with bodies disappearing and appearing in boxes, trees growing and beds miraculously sailing across the stage on their own. (Strange, 2011). The audience is peppered with young people in awe of not only the magician Dosselmeyer’s tricks, but also the magic of attending live ballet.

Carolina Performing Arts 2012/2013 season brochure, Issu.

References and further reading:

Carolina Performing Arts. (2012, Dec. 31). Carolina performing arts 2012/2013 full season brochure. Issu.

Daprati, E., Iosa, M., & Haggard, P. (2009). A dance to the music of time: aesthetically-relevant changes in body posture in performing art. PLoS One4(3), e5023.

Fisher, J. (2012). The Nutcracker. Dance Heritage Coalition.

Lansky, Chava. (2018, Nov. 30). NYCB’s Georgina Pazcoguin on her new initiative to eliminate Asian stereotypes in ballet. Point Magazine.

Moore, Tom. (1980, Dec. 5). ‘Nutcracker to be presented.’ The Daily Tar Heel, 88(68), 9.

Robinson, Cathy. (1978, Dec. 6). Dancers inject humor in adapting ‘Nutcracker’. The Daily Tar Heel, 86(68), 1.

Strange, Deborah. (2011, Dec. 1). Carolina Ballet’s the nutcracker updated with magic tricks”. The Daily Tar Heel.

The Daily Tar Heel. (1989, Nov. 17). The nutcracker: a play [advertisement]. The Daily Tar Heel97(93), 11.

The Daily Tar Heel. (1959, May 16). ‘Nutcracker suite’ performed in Memorial Hall at 8 tonight. The Daily Tar Heel, LXVII(167), 1.

New Collection: Danny Bell Photographs

We have just opened a new collection for research: photographs from Danny Bell. Bell has been at the heart of American Indian life at UNC since the late 1980s. He was one of the founders of the American Indian Studies program and has worked closely with the Carolina Indian Circle. Bell’s photos document performances, lectures, and classes, and include many images of Carolina Indian Circle events.

The photos now available for use in Wilson Library.

Carolina Indian Circle performance and beading workshop, ca. 1996-1997. Photo by Danny Bell.
Carolina Indian Circle performance and beading workshop, ca. 1996-1997. Photo by Danny Bell.

UNC Students Study Nike, 1998

Daily Tar Heel, 29 April 1998.

In the mid 1990s, Nike and other apparel companies drew criticism for labor practices in overseas factories they owned or used. UNC students and faculty were at the heart of the debate in the spring of 1998 when an entire class looked at Nike and its role in the global economy.

UNC began its relationship with Nike in 1993, when it signed its first agreement with the company to provide shoes and other athletic apparel for Carolina athletes and coaches. It was a new era for the basketball team in particular, which had worn Converse shoes since the 1960s.

When the University began negotiating a renewal of the contract a few years later, students began to bring up concerns about Nike’s labor practices. In the summer of 1997, student Marion Traub Warner started the Nike Awareness Campaign to educate other students about concerns over Nike’s labor practices. This was not just a UNC issue. Other universities with apparel deals with Nike, including Michigan, Ohio State, and the University of California, collaborated with an independent study of working conditions in factories used by Nike. In the fall of 1997, business students at Dartmouth released a study of pay rates at factories in Indonesia and Vietnam. Workers were found to be poorly paid and subject to dangerous environmental conditions.

Inspired by UNC student interest and an opportunity to study and learn from a current, global issue, UNC faculty members Richard Andrews, Nick Didow, and James Peacock offered a class in the Spring semester 1998 entitled “Economics, Ethics, and Impacts of the Global Economy: The Nike Example.”

The course drew national media attention, including a mention on ESPN. At the end of the semester, the faculty arranged for a staff member from Nike to be present for the students’ final presentations, which included recommendations for the company. They were all surprised when the company representative turned out to be Nike CEO Phil Knight. Nike took steps to address labor concerns in its factories and the University continued to renew its apparel contracts with Nike.

This topic and the class are covered at length in a new collection in the University Archives. The collection includes materials gathered and saved by Dr. Raymond (“Pete”) Andrews. It is a terrific resource for anyone interested in studying labor practices of apparel companies in the 1990s and the ways that college students at UNC and around the country helped to engage and possibly influence the practices of a major international corporation.

UNC faculty and students with Nike CEO Phil Knight (third from left), 1998. From the Richard Andrews Collection on The Nike Class, UNC University Archives.

Otelia Connor: UNC’s Guardian of Good Manners

Otelia Connor, from the Daily Tar Heel, 9 March 1963.
Otelia Connor, from the Daily Tar Heel, 9 March 1963.

Before there were Pit preachers, there was Mrs. Otelia Connor, an elderly Southern woman who patrolled the manners of Carolina students in the 1960s.  Instead of a Bible, she carried an umbrella to thwack those who ran afoul of her rules.  Though she reportedly only used the umbrella once, the threat of her wrath was enough to keep many in line—at least in her presence.  Connor was known as a campus gadfly, a character whose outsized personality kept her on the pages of The Daily Tar Heel.  Her mission and popularity led Time magazine to write a feature in which they coined the term “Oteliaquette” to describe her unique take on campus etiquette.  She later appeared on other media outlets, including The Mike Douglas Show and various radio programs.  Her moment in the national spotlight faded, though she continued to contribute to campus life until her death in 1969.

Otelia Cunningham Connor, a widow from an illustrious North Carolina family, originally came to Chapel Hill for her son’s graduation from law school in 1957.  She fell in love with Carolina, and promptly moved to a modest apartment near campus.  Though the mother of two grown children, Otelia adopted the entire student body as her children and set about improving their manners from her base in Lenoir Hall.  Her rules ranged from common demonstrations of respect—such as holding the door for older people—to specific prohibitions against everything from chewing gum to bumping the back of her chair.  In general, she advocated friendly and thoughtful behavior as hallmarks of a proper upbringing and education.  She wrote of her calling, “The world expects good manners of a college graduate.  When I correct the young people it is because I think too much of them to see them go out into the world without the rudiments of good manners . . . . Most young people appreciate someone taking the trouble to correct their thoughtlessness.” Otelia Connor, “Manners Minder,” DTH (11 April 1962, pg. 2)

Dean of Students Charles Henderson described Otelia as an “anthropological treasure . . . a throwback to those lost days when manners counted for something, and when elderly ladies thought it their duty to preserve them.”  Students were more divided on her mission and methods.  Some students appreciated her contributions, as Stanley Cameron wrote to the DTH, “She is truly a pearl.  Carolina would not be the same without her.  Only a mature, reserved, detached woman like herself could display such keen insight in the life of this university.” Stanley Cameron, “Wants More Otelia, Wellman,” DTH (15 February 1963, pg. 3).  Others were more dubious, “Otelia Connor writes such stinging comments on the social manners of our times that she has been suspected of being the pseudonym of a crotchety editor whose pen has an acute case of acid hemophilia.” Alan K. Whiteleather, “The Pen’s Poison, But Manners Are the Motive: ‘Otelia’—It’s No Pseudonym,” DTH (13 February 1963, pg. 1).  Indeed, DTH editors had to reassure incredulous students that Otelia was indeed “real” on multiple occasions.

As the self-appointed guardian of manners, Otelia was often viewed as a prude.  The 1963 April Fool’s issue of the DTH (March 31, 1963) featured Otelia as a member of an imaginary “Human Relations Committee” to enforce the administration’s abolishment of sex.  Indeed, Otelia argued against pre-marital sex during a Di-Phi debate.  Otelia was also positively scandalized by a dance called the Thunderbird, citing its resemblance to “an orgy” and expressed concern that a male student might “shake his backsides right off,” continuing, “please excuse me from this bottom-shaking business.  Whatever it is, it is not a dance and shouldn’t be classified as a dance.” Otelia Connor, “From Otelia,” DTH (11 July 1963, pg. 4).

Despite her traditional ideas about sex and dancing, Otelia was more progressive regarding dissent.  As she wrote in a rare political letter to the editor, “When this country ever reaches the point where it is afraid of new ideas and afraid to let people express themselves in open and free debate, then democracy will already be dead, and waiting to be buried by the communist world.” Otelia Connor, “More Afraid Of J Birchers,” DTH (11 December 1962, pg. 2).  This is not to say that she embraced an activist worldview.  Although she claimed to support civil rights for African Americans, she objected to continuing demonstrations by the Civil Rights movement, “I think it would be the part of wisdom to consolidate the many gains they have made recently, and give the extreme segregationists a chance to accommodate themselves to the changes which have come about.”  Otelia Connor, “From Otelia On Civil Rights,” DTH (1 August 1963, pg. 5).

By the end of her life, Connor had recanted some of her earlier strictures regarding dancing, male-female relationships, and—in her final letter—long hair on men.  In that last article, she decried her earlier belief “that everybody should conform to the status quo, and that there should never be any changes.”  After exhorting men with long locks to keep their hair clean, she offered words of wisdom for all generations, “Let us all, students and adults, grow into maturity, and be ready to accept the next period of change around the corner.” Otelia Connor, “Time For Change,” DTH (31 July 1969, pg. 6).

Slave Labor and South Building

South Building, often called “Main Building” in early university records, was one of the first buildings constructed on campus. Work began around 1798.[1] It is currently the central administration building on campus, housing the Office of the Chancellor, the Executive Vice Chancellor, and Provost. South Building is located in the heart of the original campus where the first structures built by white and black workers are located, including Old East, Old West, Gerrard Hall, the Steward’s Hall, Person Hall, and Smith Hall. At least 35 known enslaved laborers, who were skilled brick-masons, carpenters, and artisans, and who likewise provided labor such as transportation of materials, contributed extensively to the construction of South Building and its subsequent repairs.

Gaps remain in the archival sources and historical records regarding enslaved peoples’ involvement in the original construction of structures such as South Building. University financial records list payments made to Samuel Hopkins in 1798 for his supervision of work on “Main Building,” and to Major Pleasant Henderson for procuring roofing shells and taking over the duties as superintendent in 1799. These records emphasize the involvement of white men, however, and provide little detail on the construction process. It was not until the 1820s and 1837 when extensive repairs and additions were made to South that enslaved workers were mentioned by name and with some degree of specificity regarding the nature of their labor.[2] There is a mention of “7 days labor of a hand moving” the steel and iron; no names are provided, however, for the enslaved men who contributed to the initial construction on South Building.[3]

Various issues, including the temporary loss of funds from escheated property (including enslaved people) hindered the building’s completion until 1814.[4] South Building stood as one and a half roofless stories from 1801 and 1811.[5] Trustees began raising funds for the university through donations, called subscriptions, in 1803. President Joseph Caldwell himself traveled throughout North Carolina in 1809 and 1811 collecting funds from elite North Carolinians. Construction on South Building resumed in 1811 once enough subscriptions were collected. Contractor John Close oversaw the completion of South Building in 1814, but the records do not indicate whether he used enslaved labor during construction.[6]

The Board of Trustees and the Building Committee hired architect William Nichols in 1822 to divide the Prayer Hall in South Building into two stories. Over the course of several years, enslaved laborers added a ceiling, and converted existing rooms into a chemical laboratory, and a library and lecture room.[7] From 1824 to 1826, Nichols and his laborers, which included several dozen enslaved men hired out from trustees and other local slave owners, worked to remove the leaky cupola, make the roof on South Building “continuous,” and to build a belfry.[8] Clayton, Daniel, Peter, Sam, Toney, and Will quarried rock, made repairs, and performed carpenter and sawyer work on multiple buildings in addition to South Building, including Old East, Old West, and Steward’s Hall under Nichols’ supervision.[9]

Thomas Waitt and his workers completed covering the roof of South Building in tin in 1837. A bill to the trustees listed the full names and wages of white workers, and listed the names of enslaved plasterers and masons Stewart, Chester, Peter, Calvin, Evans, laborers Lewis, Tom, Redin, Abraham, Jordan, and unspecified labor performed by unnamed hands.[10] Isaac, Jorge, Lewis, Luke, Ransom, and Sam were listed on a bill detailing that they had labored on South Building’s cupola and belfry, along with putting a new roof and portico on Gerrard Hall.[11]

No further repairs were commissioned for South Building until 1860. Architect and builder Thomas Coates and his laborers began construction on a new cupola after the first burned down in 1856.[12] However, no records have been found which detail who the laborers involved in this project were.

While William Nichols compiled extensive records which documented enslaved workers’ various duties and skills, other builders either kept far fewer records of their efforts, or such records were lost or destroyed.[13] What records do exist, however, prove the necessity of enslaved people to the university’s existence, their centrality in maintaining the university’s functions, and that the funds provided for construction, repairs, and additions to South Building and others came from slaveholders whose profits were made through the efforts of enslaved people.

[1] Board of Trustees for the University of North Carolina Records, 1789-1932, #40001, Series 1, Minutes 1789-1932, Oversize Volume SV-40001/3, 7/11/1799, 20-22.

[2] University of North Carolina Papers, 1757-1935, #40005, Series 1, Folder 79, 2/1/1823; Folder 82, 7/3/1823; Folder 86, 3/1/1824; Folder 101, 5/15/1826; Folder 103, 8/9/1826; Folder 104, 9/1/1826;

[3] Ibid., 70.

[4] “South Building,” UNC University Library, 2005, http://docsouth.unc.edu/global/getBio.html?type=place&id=name0001062&name=South%20Building; Kemp Plummer Battle, An Address on the History of the Buildings of the University of North Carolina (Greensboro: Thomas, Reece & Co., Printers, 1883), 11, 134.

[5] Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, Volume I: From its Beginning to the Death of President Swain, 1789-1868, (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1907), 126-127.

[6] Battle, An Address, 11, 134.

[7] Battle, History of the University, 281-282; Archibald Henderson, “Chapter 9: Old West and The New Chapel; President Polk’s Visit,” The Campus of the First State University, (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1949), 85.

[8] Battle, History, 282.

[9] Folder 79, 2/1/1823; Folder 82, 6/4/1823; Folder 86, 3/1/1824; Folder 101, 5/15/1826; Folder 104, 9/1/1826.

[10] “Thomas A. Waitt’s bill for labour,” UNC Libraries, last modified 2005, https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/items/show/3360.

[11] UNC Papers, Series 1, Folder 101, 5/15/1826.

[12] Battle, History of the University, 653.

[13] Battle, An Address, 134.

The Full List of Names of the Enslaved Workers Who Built the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

As part of ongoing efforts to reckon with its past, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently joined several dozen universities and colleges in becoming a member of Universities Studying Slavery (USS). This “multi-institutional collaboration” aims to facilitate an environment of mutual support in order for these institutions to “address both historical and contemporary issues dealing with race and inequality in higher education and in university communities as well as the complicated legacies of slavery in modern American society.”

Each of these institutions has employees and students who have begun extensive research into universities’ founders’, employees’, trustees’, donors’, and students’ exploitation of enslaved peoples’ labor in order to to build, maintain, and serve the needs of higher learning in the United States. Undergraduates in Dr. James Leloudis’ HIST 398 course, entitled “Slavery and the University,” and graduate student research assistants conducted extensive research into the university’s use of enslaved labor and its role in the slave trade. In my capacity as a graduate research assistant for the History Task Force during the Spring 2018 semester, I expanded upon, collated, and formalized this research into a list of the names of enslaved people who have thus far been identified as workers and builders on and around the campus. This list includes the names of identified enslaved people, as well as information on their duties and the years in which they worked on campus.

In order to aid further research into these people and their lives, a more complete list is available below, which includes the names of identified enslaved people’s owners, and the sources in which enslaved people’s names were found. The aim is to provide such information to acknowledge and honor the previously unnamed enslaved people who literally built the university; to facilitate better understandings of the contexts within which the university operated; to promote further interest and research into the university’s past and its involvement with slavery; and to begin the process of reconciling the university’s past with its present.

More information on enslaved people not currently included in these lists will continue to be published as researchers, including undergraduate and graduate students, archivists, genealogists, and historians continue their work. Several employees, trustees, and presidents of the university provided their enslaved workers as hired labor in currently unknown capacities; attorneys throughout the state of North Carolina sold escheated enslaved people to fund the university’s operations; and Chapel Hill townspeople boarded enslaved people hired out to work on the campus.

In order to facilitate further research, the full spreadsheet of known enslaved laborers, along with associated owners and citations to relevant archival sources is available below. Click the link to download a copy of the Excel file.

Known Enslaved Workers at Chapel Hill

The Names of the Enslaved People who Built the University of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was founded in the midst of a slave society by slaveholders. Enslaved people were present on campus from the laying of the cornerstone of Old East in 1793 until the end of the Civil War in 1865. Enslaved people built the earliest structures on the campus, many of which still exist. Old East, Old West, Gerrard Hall, South Building, Steward’s Hall, Person Hall, Smith Hall, and the original President’s House all took shape under the skilled hands of enslaved people owned or hired by the University’s trustees, employees, students, architects, and the townspeople of Chapel Hill. Enslaved people made repairs, provided supplies, and attended upon students and faculty as servants. This post is part of a series looking more closely at records documenting slavery at UNC. Explore all of the posts here.

The joint efforts of researchers, archivists, historians, students, and administrators has resulted in the identification of more than 100 enslaved people who built and labored at the University from 1795 to 1865. Students in History 398, an undergraduate seminar on slavery taught by Professor Jim Leloudis in Fall 2017 contributed significantly to this research.  The list of 119 names enumerated below is neither exhaustive nor complete, and it is certain that countless enslaved people who built, worked at, and contributed to the University will never be identified. Enslaved women and children are likewise largely absent from this list, but it is hoped that future work will uncover more information about their presence at and contributions to the University. While we only have brief glimpses into the personal lives of the enslaved people who built and sustained the University, their places within the broader contexts of the University and the Chapel Hill community allows for some understanding of their experiences, and most importantly, their humanity.

Note: Some names are repeated several times or have slightly different spellings, and may indicate multiple mentions of the same person; however, in a number of instances, men with the same name had different owners, and so the names are kept separate for the sake of accuracy and clarity. Additionally, there are several sources that mention unnamed enslaved peoples’ work, which have been omitted here for clarity. We are in the process of preparing, and will soon share, a spreadsheet with full citations to the records that mention the people listed below.

Name Occupations and Labor on Campus
“John Hoggs man” or John Hoggsman Labor on belfry and cupola in South Building; putting roof and portico in Gerrard Hall in 1826
[Mason’s] Tony Sawyer; repairs to Old East about 1823
Abel College servant hire in 1830
Abraham Repairs to South Building in 1837
Adams Labor on Old West in 1823
Albert Plasterer on additions to Old West in 1846; Brother of plasterer Osborne
Aldeman Building Gerrard Hall in 1826
Allaman Labor on Old West in 1823
Allan Labor on Old West in 1823
Allan Labor on Old East in 1824
Allman Repairs to Old East foundation, taking down old gable, cleaning bricks about 1823
Anderson or Andson Sawing work on Old East and Old West in 1823
Austin Labor on unspecified buildings 1825-1826
Ben Servant hire at President’s House, 1850
Ben Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Benny Labor on observatory, digging pits in 1832
Bill Carpenter labor on Old West in 1823
Bob Labor on observatory, digging pits in 1832
Bob Labor on Old West in 1823
Bob Bricklayer on Old West in 1823
Bob Repairs on Old East about 1823
Cad Labor on Old West and Old East in 1824; May have run away from the university in 1825
Calvin Plasterer and mason, repairs on South Building in 1837
Caplen Labor on Old East about 1823
Ceaser Labor on Old West in 1823
Charles Construction of Old West in 1823
Charles Labor on Old West in 1823
Chester Plasterer and mason, repairs on South Building in 1837
Cicero Plasterer and mason, repairs on South Building in 1837
Clayton Quarrying rock, making brick, repairs for the President’s House, Steward’s Hall, Gerrard Hall, South Building, and Belfry in 1826
Clayton Building Gerrard Hall, known as the New Chapel, in 1826
Clinton Labor on Old West in 1824
Clinton Labor on Old West and Old East in 1824
Clinton Plasterer and mason, repairs on South Building in 1837
Daniel Hired by William Nichols for unspecified labor in 1822
Daniel Quarrying rock, making brick, carpenter on repairs for the President’s House, Steward’s Hall, Gerrard Hall, South Building, and Belfry in 1823-1824, 1826
Dave Labor on belfry and cupola in South Building; putting roof and portico in Gerrard Hall in 1826
David Barham College servant hired from William Barham by Professor James Phillips in 1830
Davy Construction of Old West in 1823
Dick Brick work on Old West 1823-1824
Dick Building Gerrard Hall, known as the New Chapel, in 1826
Edmund College servant; Improvement of grounds in 1848
Emmeline Washerwoman, seamstress for students in 1846
Ephraim Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Evans Plasterer and mason, repairs on South Building in 1837
Frank Apprentice to Harry on unspecified labor in 1826
Gee Plasterer and mason, repairs on South Building in 1837
George Unspecified labor in 1826, included on list of hires for work on the President’s House, Steward’s Hall, Gerrard Hall, South Building, and Belfry
Glasgow Brickmaker on repairs to President’s House, Stewards Hall, Gerrard Hall, and South Building Belfry
Harry Unspecified labor in 1826, had an apprentice named Frank
Harry Building Gerrard Hall in 1826
Harry Building Gerrard Hall in 1826
Henderson Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Henry Labor on Old West in 1823
Henry Repairs to Old East about 1823
Henry Labor on Old West in 1823
Henry Labor on Old West in 1823
Henry Smith College servant
Isaac Labor on Old West and Old East in 1824
Isaac Construction of Old West, labor on Old East in 1823
Isaac Labor on belfry and cupola in South Building; putting roof and portico in Gerrard Hall in 1826
Isom Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Jack Labor on Old West in 1823
Jacob Carpenter work on Old East and Old West, 1823-1824, 1826
Jim Construction of Old West 1823-1824, 1826
Jim Labor on Old West in 1823
Joe Construction of Old West 1823-1824, 1826
John Labor on Old West in 1823
John Sawyer on Old East, unspecified labor on Old West in 1823
Jonathan Waiting on masons “while at window sills” on Old East; assisting in hauling sand and rock about 1823
Jorge Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Jourdan Master workman and carpenter, construction of Old West 1823-1824, 1826
Jourdan Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Lewis Labor on Old West in 1823
Lewis Labor on belfry and cupola in South Building; putting roof and portico in Gerrard Hall in 1826
Lewis Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Luke Labor on Old West and Old East 1823-1824
Luke Repairs on Old East about 1823
Luke Labor on belfry and cupola in South Building; putting roof and portico in Gerrard Hall in 1826
Luke Building Gerrard Hall in 1826
Luke Hired for unspecified labor in 1825
Moses Labor on Old West in 1823
Ned Labor on Old West in 1823
Ned Labor on Old East in 1824
Ned Building Gerrard Hall in 1826
Ned Peek Brickwork on Old West in 1823
Nelson College servant hired from Elizabeth King by Professor James Phillips in 1830
Nelson Repairs on Old East about 1823
Nelson Building Gerrard Hall in 1826
November Caldwell College servant in South Building and Old East for 30 years; wood collection
Osborne Mortar work and plasterer on additions to Old West in 1845; brother of plasterer Albert
Peter Repairs to Old East, President’s House, Stewards Hall, Gerrard Hall, and South Building Belfry in 1824
Peter Building Gerrard Hall in 1826
Peter Plasterer and mason, repairs on South Building in 1837
Peter Labor on Old West in 1823
Peter Labor on Old West in 1823
Philip Hired by William Nichols for unspecified labor in 1822
Phillips Carpenter work on Old East and Old West, 1823-1824, 1826
Ransom Labor on belfry and cupola in South Building; putting roof and portico in Gerrard Hall in 1826
Redin[?] Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Sam Hired for unspecified labor in 1826
Sam Labor on Old West in 1823
Sam Carpenter on repairs to Old East, President’s House, Stewards Hall, Gerrard Hall, and South Building Belfry in 1824, 1826
Sam Labor on belfry and cupola in South Building; putting roof and portico in Gerrard Hall in 1826
Sam Morphis Hired himself out as a hack driver, dates unknown
Sim Fred College servant; Improvement of grounds in 1848
Stephen Construction of Old West 1823-1824, 1826
Sterling Sawyer laboring on Old West, repairs to Old East in 1823
Stewart Plasterer and mason, repairs on South Building in 1837
Thomas Laborer on repairs to South Building in 1837
Tom Hired out at university for cutting wood in 1820
Toney Bricklayer laboring on Old East, Old West, Gerrard Hall, Steward’s Hall, and South Building belfry 1823-1824, 1826
Will Sawyer laboring on Old East, Old West, Gerrard Hall, Steward’s Hall, and South Building
Willis Rock work for improvements to college grounds in 1848
Willis Labor on South Building and Gerrard Hall in 1826
Wilson Caldwell College servant
York Construction of Old West 1823
Young Rock work for improvements to college grounds in 1848
Zack Hired for unspecified labor in 1826

 

A New Addition of Athletics Photographs from the 1960s and 1970s

We are excited to announce that a new accession of photographs to the Department of Athletics Collection is available for research. This accession is particularly special since it contains images of less-documented sports — including women’s sports and intramural sports — from the 1960s and 1970s.

Included in this addition are images of the Titleholder’s Championship (also called the Women’s Pro Tournament), held at Southern Pines and sponsored by UNC in 1972.  The Titleholder’s Championship was only a handful of championship-level events for professional women’s golf in the 1970s, and the winner of the event — Sandra Palmer — was one of the most accomplished female golfers of the time. The addition also includes photographs of the 1963 renovations to Kenan Stadium.

The selection of photos below include images of men’s intramural handball; women’s intramural basketball, volleyball, tennis, and bowling.