Exploring the History and Legacy of Slavery at the University of North Carolina

In 2005, the University Archives put on an exhibit on the history of slavery at UNC. The exhibit materials provided evidence of the use of enslaved laborers in the construction of early campus buildings and as servants for students and faculty, and showed how proceeds from the sale of slaves were used to finance the University. It was an important exhibit— one of the earliest of its kind—but it was only a first step.

After the exhibit came down, scholars and many UNC students have continued to explore the history and legacy of slavery at the University. Last semester, Professor Jim Leloudis led an undergraduate seminar focused on slavery at UNC. The students dug deep into the archives, looking through correspondence, account books, and campus and government records in search of documents that could help further our understanding of the history and legacy of slavery in the building and funding of the university from its founding in 1789 through the end of the Civil War.

This month, we will begin to share some of their findings. Caroline Newhall, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, has been sorting through the materials that the students in the undergraduate seminar uncovered and will be preparing short articles describing what they found and talking about the research process. As these articles are completed, we’ll share them on this blog. Caroline’s first post, about an 1829 runaway slave advertisement, was posted last week. Her work this semester is supported by the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History.

As with the 2005 exhibit, these articles will tell only a small part of the story of slavery at UNC. By sharing these documents and stories, we hope to provide a starting point and to encourage others, including faculty, researchers, family members, and especially students, to continue to explore the history and legacy of slavery at UNC.

Posted in Slavery, University Archives, University History | Tagged | 3 Comments

“Ran Off from the University,” 1829

Runaway slave advertisement placed by S.M. Stewart in the Hillsborough (N.C.) Recorder, November 29, 1829.

From the Hillsborough Recorder, 29 November 1829.

On November 20, 1829, a slave by the name of James abandoned his station as a “college servant” at the University of North Carolina. A few days later, one “S.M. Stewart” placed an advertisement in the Hillsborough Recorder, the Petersburg Intelligencer, and the Norfolk Herald in which he offered a $20 reward for James’s recovery.

The advertisement Stewart placed begins:

TWENTY DOLLARS REWARD. Ran off from the University, on the night of the 20th instant, a negro man by the name of JAMES, who has for the last four years attended at Chapel Hill in the capacity of a college servant.

There are at least two possible explanations for James’s presence in Chapel Hill. Until 1845, UNC students were allowed to bring enslaved servants with them to campus. However, the description of James as a “College Servant” could have meant that James also served other students on campus. Early UNC students paid a fee for “servant hire,” which the University used to lease servants from local slaveholders. The college servants were employed in a number of jobs, including cleaning the rooms, tending fires, cooking, caring for animals, and work on the grounds. Some well-known enslaved college servants, such as November Caldwell and David Barham, worked on the campus for many years and were remembered fondly by students. What little we know about James at this point we have to infer from ad:

He is of dark complexion, in stature five feet six or eight inches high, and compactly constructed; speaks quick and with ease, and is in the habit of shaking his head while in conversation. He is doubtless well dressed, and has a considerable quantity of clothing.

James is described in detail, not only regarding his physical appearance but his mannerisms and habits as well. The more detail provided about a runaway, the more likely the chance of success in someone recognizing them from the description. Complexion featured as the primary means of identification in slave advertisements, both for slave sales and for runaways — slave traders and slaveholders had developed a language that formalized apparent differences in skin tone into racial categories.[3] Thus the ad identifies James as “dark” and “compactly constructed,” (probably meaning he was somewhat thin) as well as of average height for the period.

It is presumed that he will make for Norfolk or Richmond with the view either of taking passage for some of the free states, or of going on and associating himself with the Colonization Society.

The fact that S.M. Stewart, who placed the ad, expected James to head for Norfolk or Richmond, both port cities, and went to the trouble of placing the same ad in those locales’ newspapers meant Stewart likely had, or presumed he had, some knowledge of James’s intentions. While many runaway advertisements emphasized enslaved peoples’ families as potential destinations, Stewart seemed sure that James would attempt to head to the free states via the Atlantic, or go so far as to book passage to Africa through the Colonization Society.

We can also infer that Stewart was especially interested in capturing James by the amount he offers as a reward.

A premium of twenty dollars will be given for the apprehension of said slave. The subscriber would request anyone who may apprehend the boy to direct their communications to Chapel Hill. S.M. Stewart. November 24.

In 1829, a $20 reward would be equivalent to about $500 today.[1] Stewart likely came from a wealthier family if he could afford to pay others to track down his escaped “servant,” and could provide a relatively substantial award.[2]

Who Was S.M. Stewart?

The man who placed the advertisement appears to have been Samuel M. Stewart, a young white man who attended UNC in the 1820s, earning a BA in 1823 and a master’s degree in July 1829.[4] We know more about Stewart than we do James due to a larger paper trail. The daily lives of enslaved people, particularly women and children, often prove difficult to reconstruct as a result of “archival silences” – gaps in what was documented and what documentation was preserved.[5] It is thus primarily through Stewart and the advertisement he placed that we can learn more about James.

Stewart hailed from nearby Chatham County in North Carolina, just a few miles from Chapel Hill, and first entered the university as an undergraduate freshman in 1820. He graduated from the university in 1823 with 29 other young men who became leaders in politics, business, religion, and education.[6] Per newspaper articles from the period, Samuel passed his exams but did not merit any honors as a scholar.[7] He was a member of the Dialectic Society; one of his musings on fame is available in Wilson Library.[8]

We have not yet been able to find any additional information about Stewart after he left UNC in 1829. His entry in the Alumni History of the University of North Carolina lists only the years he earned his degrees; there is no information about his life or career after he graduated. A search of North Carolina census records in 1820 names several potential Stewart households in Chatham and Orange counties. In order to narrow down the results, information such as the fact that Samuel M. Stewart would likely have been around 14 when he entered the university as a freshman can prove helpful.[9] A search for families with males between the ages of 10 and 18 narrows down the pool to three households in Orange County: Charles Stewart’s household, which consisted of 9 free whites and 6 enslaved blacks; Samuel Stewart’s (1) household, which consisted of 11 free whites and 5 enslaved blacks; and another Samuel Stewart (2), whose small household had only 3 free whites. Samuel Stewart (2) can probably be ruled out as the household to which Samuel M. Stewart belonged; as a non-slaveholding small farmer, Stewart (2) would have been unlikely to send his only son to a university in this period. However, it is possible that Samuel M. Stewart indeed hailed from this household, and that he hired James’s service as a servant from another slaveholder (a practice common among UNC’s students) after arriving in Chapel Hill.[10] Furthermore, the reward Samuel offered in the runaway advertisement indicates a certain degree of wealth that most small farmers’ sons would be unable to offer in this period. The 1830 census shows only one “Laml Stewart” household, but the males of the household are too young to have been the correct Samuel Stewart. It appears that Samuel M. Stewart departed from Chapel Hill between the time he placed the advertisement in November 1829 and the census was taken.

From the records we’ve examined so far, we do not know what happened to Stewart or to James. Neither one left an easy-to-follow paper trail, but there are still many possibilities for further research, including census records from other states, probate records, court records, and more. It is our hope that as we discover and share more about the history of slavery at the University, we can inspire and encourage others to explore further and help to expand our understanding of the role of slavery and enslaved people at UNC.


Suggested Further Reading

Freddie L. Parker, Running for Freedom: Slave Runaways in North Carolina, 1775-1840 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1993)

Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999)

John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Thavolia Glymph, Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Edward Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (New York: Basic Books, 2014)

Manisha Sinha, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016)

Daina Ramey Berry, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Boston: Beacon Press, 2017)



[1] “$20 in 1829 → 2018 | Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, accessed Jan. 20, 2018,  http://www.in2013dollars.com/1829-dollars-in-2018?amount=20.

[2] John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 167-168.

[3] Walter Johnson, “The Slave Trader, the White Slave, and the Politics of Racial Determination in the 1850s,” The Journal of American History, Vol. 87, No. 1 (Jun 2000), 13-38.

[4] Freeman’s Echo (Wilmington, NC), Jul. 11, 1829.

[5] Enslaved people are not often found in the genealogical histories of the white families who bought them, enslaved them, and sold them. Nor were enslaved peoples’ names, birth dates, family members, professions, and addresses included in any census or in most records until after emancipation. Prior to 1870, only free black men entered the census record with names. From 1790 to 1860 the census only enumerated enslaved black people as part of whites’ personal wealth, and then by age, sex, and coloring. Enslaved people most often entered the historical record in glancing mentions made by literate whites in the antebellum era. Enslaved peoples’ further lack of control over their own names and homes as part of a paternalist and racialized slave system creates difficulties in locating particular individuals. Court cases, deeds, bills of sale, marriage records, county will books, probate records, and runaway slave advertisements remain the primary means by which to secure the names of slaves and details about their lives.

[6] Kemp 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), 791.

[7] “University,” The Raleigh Minerva (Raleigh, NC), Jun. 30, 1820; “University of North Carolina,” The Hillsborough Recorder (Hillsborough, NC), Jun. 13, 1823.

[8] Samuel M. Stewart, “Inaugural Address, 26 March 1823,” Dialectic Society of the University of North Carolina Records, 1795-1964.

[9] Battle, 571.

[10] Ibid, 230.

[11] William Mebane, “Five Dollars Reward” North Carolina Journal (NC) Mar 3, 1797; Solomon Neville,  “Fifty Dollars Reward,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Sept 16, 1814; Solomon Neville, “Twenty Dollars Reward,” The Star (NC), Apr 5, 1811; Wyatt Ballard,  “Ran Away,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), May 21, 1804; Charles King and Stephen Lloyd,  “Notice,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Oct 6, 1805.

[12] Christopher Barbee, “Ten Dollars Reward,” Hillsborough Recorder (NC), Jul 25, 1831; E. Mitchell, “Fifty Dollars Reward,” North Carolina Standard (NC), Mar 13, 1835; Charles R. Yancey, “30 Dollars Reward,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Jan 9, 1829; Louisa S. Thompson, “Fifty Dollars Reward, Stop the Runaways,” The Weekly Standard (NC), Aug 12, 1846; Joseph Hawkins, “$50 Reward for Cut-Finger Cad,” Raleigh Register and North Carolina Weekly Advertiser (NC), Feb 11, 1825.

Posted in Slavery, University Archives, University History | 1 Comment

The Avery Incident, 1977

On April 22, 1977, Brooksie Harrington wrote a letter to The Daily Tar Heel about an event that occurred as he hurried past Avery dorm three days prior.

As I passed, I was bombarded with racial slurs and obscenities. Now if I had been as utterly stupid as the person shouting, I would have gladly sought him out and beat him senseless. But the coward shouted from one of the upper floors. Not only that but I was drenched with water, as some of the guys threw water from the upper windows. (DTH 4/22/1977)

As it turned out, Brooksie wasn’t the only victim. Around midnight, a large group of black students fell victim to the assault after attending a Campus Governing Council meeting where they demanded increased student government funding. According to Black Ink, the official publication of the Black Student Movement, three groups of BSM members were pelted with “water bags and obscenities” (Black Ink 9/9/77). The organization sought to prosecute several residents of Avery with little success, insisting that the incident was racially motivated.

A 1977 collage of UNC African American students in an issue of Black Ink.

BSM Vice-Chairperson Phyllis Pickett didn’t buy that the event was a prank, asking, “[h]ow many people pass by [Avery] at 12:00, coming from the library or whatever? Definitely not enough to hit with such a large quantity of water” (Black Ink 9/9/1977).

An investigation was carried out by Lt. David Williams of the University Police, who filed a comprehensive report containing accusations by fifteen black students. The Student Attorney General at the time, Elton Floyd, decided not to prosecute the water balloon throwers because there was a “lack of sufficient evidence” (DTH 10/17/1977). Despite having insufficient evidence, Floyd held a report by the University Police for 6 months, a report containing signed confessions of involvement by seven of Avery’s residents. Each confessed to different degrees of involvement, but all insisted that the prank wasn’t a purposefully racist attack.

In his written deposition for the police, which was quoted in Black Ink, Avery resident Scott Young said “The Blacks totally blew this thing out of proportion and just wanted some added attention. Because of the Blacks’ falseness etc. of the facts concerning this incident, my opinion of the Black is considerably lower.” (Black Ink, 9/7/1977)

Another Avery resident, David Osnoe, said in his deposition, “There is no need for a BSM (Black Student Movement) because it is a separate, distinct, racist organization. It should be changed to be called ASM (All Students Movement) to promote brotherhood and friendship between all races here at the University” (Black Ink 9/9/1977). In 1977, fewer than 7% of students were African American.

Lt. Williams agreed with the Avery residents in his summary of the case: “The Avery Incident appears to have been a prank that later turned racial, rather than being racially motivated from the beginning.”  The confessions by the residents of Avery were inadmissible in Honor Court because the University Police told residents that statements wouldn’t be used against them for prosecution (DTH, 10/17/1977).

BSM chairperson Byron Horton said that he didn’t consider the Avery incident a closed case and that he would continue to push for the prosecution of those responsible “to eliminate recurrence of such incidents” (DTH 10/21/77). Despite Horton’s protests, Floyd only reiterated that the case was closed (DTH 10/26/77).


Daily Tar Heel (articles cited above).

Black Ink (articles cited above).

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill records, 1945-1990 (bulk 1973-1980)
Finding aid: http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/40301/

Posted in University Archives, University History | Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes: Introducing Really Old Website Resurrector (ROWR)

From time to time the University Archives finds copies of departmental websites stored on CDs or DVDs as directories of html and other associated files. These websites are usually no longer available on the web. When we receive CD/DVDs from University departments, the files are carefully copied from the optical media (a relatively unstable storage medium) and deposited with our repository which is designed specifically for digital materials preservation. However, accessing a website as a directory of individual files rather than web pages in a browser leaves something to be desired. The content might be available, but the use is very different than what was originally intended. Additionally, from an archival standpoint we would like all archived websites to be stored in the WARC file format (an international standard).  

In reviewing these items in our collections last year, I began to wonder if it would be possible to temporarily host the websites again. Once hosted online, we could crawl the website with Archive-It, which is the tool we use for website archiving. This method would allow us to provide access to the webpages as a site, connect the websites with the rest of our archived website collections, and generate a WARC file copy of the site’s contents. Luke Aeschleman, then of the library’s software development department, helped me with this project by creating a tool, ROWR, to clean up links and prepare for hosting the site.  

ROWR prompts the user for a directory of website files as well as appropriate actions for modifying or removing links. ROWR creates a copy of the site prior to making changes so it is possible to reset and start over, if needed.  ROWR also keeps track of the files and folders it has scanned, so it is possible to stop and continue review of the site later.

ROWR essentially produces a website that has a new artificial URL to facilitate temporary hosting of the website through a library server. This URL is then added to the Archive-It application and we run a standard crawl of the site. Once the crawl is tested and finalized, we take the website down from the library server.  

We tested this approach with two websites. Overall the process works fairly well, but I did come up against some unique collection management and description needs. For example:

  • Do we need to keep a copy of the files from the CD/DVD or can we discard it and just use the Archive-It version?  
  • The crawl date in Archive-It is completely different from the date the website was created and originally used. How should we represent these dates to users in metadata and other description?  
  • ROWR is changing the content and we are creating an artificial URL, so how do we communicate this to users and what would they want to know about these changes?  
  • It can be time consuming to use ROWR and clean-up all the links.

I decided that we should keep the copy from the CD/DVD available in the repository as it is representative of the original website and the verison in Archive-It contains an artificial URL. To address the other issues we added some language to finding aids:

“An alternative version made for access is available hereThis website was transferred to the University Archives on optical disc. To aid preservation and access the website files were temporarily re-hosted online and archived with Archive-It in 2017.”

In Archive-It, I also created a URL group (“website cd archives”) for the websites that were part of this test project in an attempt to set them apart from our typical web archiving work. I’ve not yet found a satisfactory way to provide context for these website in the Archive-It access portal with Dublin Core metadata, but I hope that the group tag can be a clue that more information exists if a user were to ask us.  

These two approaches to description are likely not the permanent solutions to the collection management challenges, but it is a starting point that provides an easier way to access these particular websites online. A future project for us will be to assess metadata description in Archive-It for all of our archived websites.  

ROWR is in an early iteration and is not being actively developed at this time, but you can find the code on the UNC Libraries’ GitHub. In the months since we wrapped up this project in the summer of 2017, the Webrecorder team introduced a tool called warcit. The tool can transform a directory of website files into the WARC file format. The resulting WARC file could then be accessed in the Web Recorder Player application. This new tool is something else we’ll be exploring as we continue to improve procedures for the preservation and access of website archives transferred to us as file directories.  

Posted in Born-Digital and Electronic Records, University Archives | Tagged | 2 Comments

High Noon Society, 1974

On November 19, 1974, a group of parents took it upon themselves to write Chancellor Ferebee Taylor an ultimatum: “It is the consensus of my husband, myself, and a large number of our friends (including several attorneys), that if action is not taken to stop this illegal activity on state-owned property that we may bring suit against the university…”

An image from The Daily Tar Heel opinion page. (DTH, 10/18/1974)

The source of the writer’s ire is an organization known as the High Noon Society. The purpose of the club, as reported by its 227 members in the October 25, 1974 issue of The Daily Tar Heel, was to gather at the Bell Tower or Forest Theatre and “take it easy.” Students would form a crowd and just get to know each other, relaxing and taking a moment to unwind from the stress of academics. So why did the club attract so much attention from concerned parents?

Mostly it was because of the marijuana.

The Daily Tar Heel reported that the club was a group that “smoke[s] pot and socializes on Fridays at noon,” and they certainly weren’t wrong. (DTH, 1/10/1975) “To imply that there is no marijuana smoked would be less than candid,” admitted even a letter defending the club. (DTH, 10/25/1974) High Noon quickly became famous as High Noon, and the publicity caused it to blossom from a dozen members at its formation to a large gathering approaching 300 members.

News release from the Dean of Student Affairs Donald Boulton, 9 January 1975.

By early January 1975, press coverage and public interest had pushed UNC’s administration into action. A mysterious plan was announced to “halt the marijuana use of the High Noon group,” but its members were unphased. The club met that Friday and smoked pot anyway, and the university put its plan into action. Several photographers were placed atop Wilson Library to photograph around 50 of the Nooners entering the Bell Tower lawn. The Daily Tar Heel reported that an assistant dean of student life admitted that surveillance was part of the plan to end the smoking. (DTH, 1/10/1975)

At the same time photographers were spying on them, leaders of High Noon held a conference with 30 members about alternatives to smoking pot. A High Noon with beer or liquor rather than weed was an idea tossed around for a while. The group then remembered that public consumption of alcohol is also against North Carolina law. Around half the Nooners smoked pot after the photographers left, blazing it even in the face of adversity. (DTH, 1/13/1975)

Several Chapel Hill lawyers declared that the photos would have no value in court, mostly because it was impossible to tell whether the club was smoking tobacco or weed. One lawyer went so far as to call photographing High Noon “the most incredible, mind-boggling invasion of civil liberties [he’s] seen in a long time.” (DTH, 1/17/1975)

The Chapel Hill town council later met with the police to discuss the photos. It’s unclear how the meeting ended, but the High Noon Society disbanded shortly thereafter, ending its short (but dramatic) life. It’s not easy being green.


“High Noon, 1974” in the Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Nelson Ferebee Taylor Records #40023, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Finding aid: http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/40023/

Various articles from The Daily Tar Heel cited above.

Posted in University Archives, University History | Leave a comment

Dean Smith Papers Now Available for Research in Wilson Library

Publicity photo for Smith’s biography, A Coach’s Life, first published in 1999. [Folder 129, Biography: Photographs of Dean Smith]

We are thrilled to announce that the personal papers of Dean Smith are now available for research in Wilson Library. Donated by Coach Smith’s family earlier this year, the papers include materials from his youth in Kansas, scrapbooks kept by his parents for many years, and files kept by Smith in his retirement. The collection offers the opportunity to learn more about Smith’s life and interests, his work after he left coaching, and the lasting impact he has had on his players, fellow coaches, and Carolina fans everywhere.

The papers contain materials going as far back as 1946, with a report Smith wrote on his hometown of Emporia, Kansas. (He got an A.) There is a program from the NCAA champion 1952 Kansas men’s basketball team, of which Smith was a member, along with copies of his yearbooks from the University of Kansas.

For those interested in learning more about Smith’s career at UNC, there is a wealth of information available in scrapbooks that were maintained by his parents over several decades. These include newspaper clippings and programs and are a great way to follow the progress of some of Smith’s legendary Tar Heel basketball teams.

The largest part of the collection is the files from Smith’s retirement office (as he often said to his correspondents, after retirement he still went to the office every morning, but he left whenever he felt like it). The retirement files include lots of correspondence with friends and coaches. Smith faced a seemingly endless number of invitations to speak and to accept awards. He accepted some, participating in ESPN’s 25th anniversary celebration and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year award. Perhaps of more personal importance, he traveled Kansas in 2001 to accept the Kansan of the Year award and returned again in 2007 for the 55th anniversary of the 1952 basketball team. His papers show that he kept up with many longtime friends and family members in Kansas.

Smith’s papers reflect his interest in faith and social issues, including a number of articles he was reading and discussing. There are a few files on political fundraising he participated in and a very interesting folder on discussions he had about running for U.S. Senate in 1990. The papers also include drafts of his autobiography, A Coach’s Life, first published in 1999, along with audio cassette recordings of interviews conducted with Smith by John Kilgo and Sally Jenkins, who collaborated with Smith on a revised edition of the book.

If you have questions about the collection, or if you’d like information about using the Dean Smith Papers, contact Wilson Library at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu.

Posted in University History | 3 Comments

Carolina Firsts: Vermont C. Royster

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.

When Vermont C. Royster began his studies at UNC in 1931, he was no stranger to the campus.  He was born in Raleigh, and his father, Wilbur Royster, was a professor of Greek and Latin at the university. Although Royster did receive his degree in Classics, his mark on UNC as a student, alumnus, and professor was made through his journalism — writing for the Wall Street Journal and later teaching at the School of Journalism. Royster was one of the first UNC alumni to receive a Pulitzer prize in 1953 (the same year as W. Horace Carter), and he later received a second Pulitzer in 1984.

Royster’s profile in the 1935 Yackety Yack.

Royster began his journalism career at UNC, where he worked for several campus publications, including The Daily Tar Heel and The Student Journal.  During his senior year, he revived and wrote a column in the Daily Tar Heel titled “Around the Well,” which highlighted and described various campus happenings and gossip.

In addition to being drawn to journalism at UNC, he was also an active writer and participant in the Department of Dramatic Arts.  As part of a play-writing course, he wrote and staged two plays — Shadows of Industry and Prelude — both of which can be found in the archives.

After graduating, Royster went on to begin the journalism career for which he is well known.  He moved to New York and began working for the Wall Street Journal in 1936.  He retired from the Wall Street Journal in 1971 and joined UNC’s School of Journalism as a faculty member later that year.  Over the course of his career — both as a professional journalist and university professor — he won two Pulitzer Prizes: the first in 1953 for Editorial Writing and the second in 1984 for Commentary.

Royster died in 1996, and his personal papers are housed in the Southern Historical Collection at Wilson Library. In addition, Royster published several books over the course of his life — including My Own, My Country’s Time, A Pride of Prejudices, and Journey Through the Soviet Union — all of which can be found in UNC Libraries.

Sources & Additional Readings:

Collection of “Around the Well” columns

“Vermont C. Royster (1914-1996),” written by Will Schultz.  North Carolina History Project. http://northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/vermont-c-royster-1914-1996/.

Vermont Royster papers #4432, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Essential Royster: a Vermont Royster reader. edited by Edmund Fuller. Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books, 1985.

My Own, My Country’s Time: a journalist’s journey. Vermont Royster. Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books, 1983.

A Pride of Prejudices. Vermont Royster. Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books, 1984.

Journey through the Soviet Union.  Vermont Royster. New York, D. Jones [1962].

Posted in Carolina Firsts, University Archives, University History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Events, From the Archives, University Archives | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Graham Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics, 1935

From the University of North Carolina Portrait Collection (#P0002), North Carolina Collection.

In an article published Friday, the Raleigh News and Observer‘s Rob Christensen made reference to former UNC president Frank Porter Graham’s plan for intercollegiate athletics, known as the “Graham Plan.” The plan, developed by Graham and colleagues at a 1935 meeting of the National Association of State Colleges, was intended to suppress corruption and de-emphasize the role of athletics in university life. It limited athletic recruiting and abolished athletic scholarships, forbade post-season play, required athletes and athletic departments to provide accounts of their income and expenses, and placed athletics under the control of the faculty. Despite having support from administrators at many other colleges and universities, the plan faced significant opposition and was not successfully implemented.

You can read the plan’s proposed regulations here:

Standards of Athletic Eligibility, as Endorsed by the National Association of State Colleges (November 21, 1935)

This document comes from the Records of the Office of the President: Frank Porter Graham (#40007), which includes 20+ folders of correspondence and other materials related to the plan.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New in the Archives: Newsletters from the School of Pharmacy

Recently we were pleased to receive a series of newsletters from the UNC School of Pharmacy. These newsletters provide a window into the activities of the School and its students from 1962-1965 and frequently feature creative cartoon covers. Check out a preview below, and stop by Wilson Library to browse the collection!


Posted in New and Noteworthy, University Archives | Tagged , | 1 Comment