Memorial Day

College for War Training brochure, 1942.  From the Records of the Vice President for Finance, #40011, University Archives.
College for War Training brochure, 1942. From the Records of the Vice President for Finance, #40011, University Archives.

While Memorial Day might traditionally mark the beginning of the Summer Season for vacationers, it is also an important day of remembrance for the United States.  Every year, we remember everyone who has died in the service of our country.

Order of Gimghoul, 1944.  From the Records of the Order of Gimghoul, #40262, University Archives.
Order of Gimghoul, 1944. From the Records of the Order of Gimghoul, #40262, University Archives.

Established in the wake of the Civil War, Memorial Day was set aside as a day of remembrance for both Union and Confederate soldiers who had died in the conflict. However, as time went on, Memorial Day was extended in order to honor all Americans who had died in armed conflicts since the Civil War.

We are proud of all of Carolina’s students and their family members who gave their lives in service to their country.

Do you remember anyone special on Memorial Day?  

Swim to Graduate

"Intramural: swimming, group of ten," 5 October 1961.  From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031.
“Intramural: swimming, group of ten,” 5 October 1961. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031.

We’re so proud of everyone who graduated yesterday! Congratulations! But did you know that up until 2006, all undergraduates were required to pass a swim test in order to graduate? Well, the swim test was not unique to Carolina. It used to be a requirement at many colleges and universities across the country. But where did the requirement come from exactly?

The legend at UNC, and many other campuses, starts with the death of a student by drowning. The student’s family decided to give a large endowment to the University after the incident but with the condition that all students know how to swim. This theory is nothing more than a myth though since many colleges and universities established swim tests during WWII when campuses became designated training programs.

In 1942, UNC was designated as a pre-flight training program by the US government, and the university was awarded funds to construct several structures on campus including the ROTC building, the outdoor pool, and the indoor track.  Of course, the midshipmen who were a part of the pre-flight training program had to learn to swim. During and after the war, national debates and discussions centered on whether America’s youth were fit enough to defend our country. So a compulsory swim test was implemented at UNC for men in 1944 and women in 1946.

The swim test remained unchanged until the 1970s when it was altered so that undergraduates had to swim 50 yds and tread water for 5 minutes. The test remained in place through the spring of 2006 when it was officially ended as a requirement for the fall semester.

"Swimming Physical Education," 31 October 1960. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031
“Swimming Physical Education,” 31 October 1960. From the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection, P00031

Did you have to take the swim test?  We’d love to hear about your experience! 

UNC Students Call for Health Care Reform!

It’s not what you think. We are not discussing the Affordable Care Act or even paying for health care. This is a historical look at just one health care issue at Carolina. In the 1980s, the question for some students was not what they would pay for health care but whether or not they would receive it with equity.

From Box 1:1:15, Records of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, #40118.
From Box 1:1:15, Records of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, #40118.

In November of 1983, Brian Richmond wrote to the Daily Tar Heel to reprimand the School of Medicine for turning down the opportunity to offer a scholarship to medical students who had come out as gay or lesbian. Richmond, the acting director of the Sexuality Education & Counseling Service, condemned the decision because as a sex counselor on a college campus, he had come to realize how difficult it was for lesbians and gay men to find good doctors for a variety reasons including prejudice, misconceptions, malpractice, anti-gay laws, and fear of AIDS. Richmond believed that supporting gay men and lesbians in their pursuits to become health care providers would be a step in the right direction. In his letter, he called on the Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Stuart Bondurant, to work with the gay and lesbian community on his campus.

A student's letter expressing his willingness to serve on the Committee.  From Box 1:1:15, the Records of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, #40118
A student’s letter expressing his willingness to serve on the Committee. From Box 1:1:15, the Records of the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, #40118

Dr. Bondurant stood by the decision not to offer a scholarship exclusively to gay and lesbian medical students, but he did acknowledge that the School of Medicine could better respond to the health care needs of gay and lesbian students. So, the idea for a Committee for Gay/Lesbian Health Concerns was born. The Committee would be composed of students, School of Medicine faculty, and Student Health Services staff. Due to scheduling conflicts in the Spring semester of 1984, however, the committee failed to meet and was put off until the following semester.

The next interaction we found between the School of Medicine and the gay and lesbian community occurred in 1985 when North Carolina’s Lesbian and Gay Health Project called upon the school to update their curriculum. The Project asked for health care issues unique to gay men and lesbians to be incorporated into study. The idea was to improve doctors’ understanding of health concerns particular to the homosexual community while dispelling common misconceptions.

So, long before the Affordable Care Act or the price of treatment, students have been concerned with health care services!

As a member of the Carolina community, what are your current health care concerns? Let us know by leaving a comment!

The Night Before Christmas at the Phi Mu House

In the winter of 1965, the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Phi Mu Sorority had moved into their new house at 211 Henderson Street.  The move was festive and joyful.  To celebrate the season, the sisters wrote their own version of the poem The Night Before Christmas. 

We came across the poem in the scrapbook that the Gamma Lambda chapter recently loaned to us. The clatter that awoke the sisters in this poem, however, was not from reindeer on the roof but from “caroling boys with their bottles of cheer!”

Phi Mu's rendition of "The Night Before Christmas," 1965. Click for a larger version.
Phi Mu’s rendition of “The Night Before Christmas,” 1965. Click for a larger version.

Happy holidays from everyone at University Archives and Records Management Services!

December 18th: A Mandate from the State, and the Chartering of UNC

UNC Chapel Hill's historic marker which proclaims its status as the first state university.
The historic marker that proclaims UNC’s status as the first state university.

December 18th is an important day in both United States and North Carolina history. Several important historical events have happened on this day.

For example, the Mayflower docked at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts on December 18th, 1620.

But at University Archives, December 18th is important for two different reasons. One, the mandate for a state-run university in North Carolina, and two, the chartering of the University of North Carolina.

After the Declaration of Independence was signed, North Carolina ratified its first constitution, the Constitution of 1776, on December 18th, 1776. It was in this document that the provincial congress first called for a state-run university.

Article 41 of the Constitution of 1776 set forth the following mandate:

“…that a school or schools shall be established by the legislature, for the convenient instruction of youth, with such salaries to the masters, paid by the public, as may enable them to instruct at low prices; and, all usefull [sic] learning shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more universities.”

However it was not until 1789 that the University of North Carolina was chartered.

The minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees from from Volume 1 of the Board of Trustees Records (40001)
The minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees from from Volume 1 of the Board of Trustees Records (#40001). Click to view a larger version of this image.

On December 18th of that year, the Board of Trustees convened for the first time in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It was at that meeting that William Richardson Davie informed the trustees that Colonel Benjamin Smith had donated 20,000 acres of land in what would become Tennessee to the University. The trustees sold the land and used the resulting funds to support the fledgling institution in its early years. Later, the Trustees chose to honor Colonel Smith by naming a campus building after him– Smith Hall, which was completed in 1851. Smith Hall is now known as the Playmakers Theater.

While the landing of the Mayflower is a very important moment in United States history, the chartering of the nation’s first public university to open its doors is important, too.

Today we celebrate the University of North Carolina, which has been serving the state for 218 years. But our University would be nothing without the students, faculty, and staff who learn, teach, and work here. Thank you all, and happy December 18th!

Wilson is Open Late for Studying!

During exams study spaces in Wilson Library will remain open until 9 PM.

One sleeping, one studying. From the Design Services Department Records, box 6, Collection #40324).
One sleeping, one studying. From the Design Services Department Records, box 6, Collection #40324).

We’ll be open late Thursday and Friday, December 5th and 6th; and again Sunday, December 8th through Wednesday, December 11th. If you are looking for a peaceful and inspiring place to study this exam season, please stop by to see us!

 

 

A Beautiful Legacy: Collecting Greek Life at UNC

Phi Mu Chapter Association (alumnae) President Debra Pickrel and House Corporation Director Karen O’Donnell Dias discuss which materials the chapter will present to University Archives first.
Phi Mu Chapter Association (alumnae) President Debra Pickrel and House Corporation Director Karen O’Donnell Dias discuss which materials the chapter will present to University Archives first.

Over the past year and a half, UNC Chapel Hill’s University Archives has actively pursued student groups in an effort to better represent the history of student life. However, there are a lot of student groups to choose from on our active campus. One of our priorities has been to collect Greek life materials. Because more than 3,000 students on our campus are involved in Greek life, fraternities and sororities are a part of the Carolina Experience for many students.

This semester, Phi Mu will be the first of UNC’s sororities to deposit its materials in University Archives for safekeeping. While we have some fraternity records (including Delta Kappa Epsilon and Chi Psi), sorority records have been noticeably absent in our holdings. As the Gamma Lambda chapter of Phi Mu approached planning for its 50th anniversary in 2014, alumnae began to reflect on their chapter’s history. Realizing that historic materials were stored in several disparate places and that many items could use conservation and preservation, they were eager to find a way to store them in a single location under archival conditions. Participating in the new University Archives initiative will accomplish this and facilitate all future anniversary research.

Phi Mu Chapter Association (alumnae) President Debra Pickrel (center left) shows University Archives and Records Management graduate assistant Morgan Jones a construction photo of the sorority’s house at 211 Henderson Street as Chapter Historian Lauren Spoenimon (far left) and Chapter President Mary Maher (far right) look on.
Phi Mu Chapter Association (alumnae) President Debra Pickrel (center left) shows University Archives and Records Management graduate assistant Morgan Jones a construction photo of the sorority’s house at 211 Henderson Street as Chapter Historian Lauren Spoenimon (far left) and Chapter President Mary Maher (far right) look on.

When Phi Mu’s Gamma Lambda chapter colonized at Carolina in 1964, the Board of Trustees had just approved the admittance of women regardless of their residence or major; however, admittance was still extremely competitive because of the scarcity of housing for female students. With the loan of Phi Mu’s 1964-1965 scrapbook and other materials to University Archives, researchers and chapter sisters alike will be able to understand how Phi Mu began its first 50 years on Carolina’s campus.

We look forward to working with Phi Mu as well as other sororities this year to increase the representation of Greek organizations in University Archives!

If you are a member of a Greek fraternity or sorority and wish to deposit materials in the archives for safe keeping, please contact us!

The New Indentured Class

President Bill Friday, 28 July 1977, From the NCC Photographic Archives. Black and White 120 Roll Film, 37875.
President Bill Friday, 28 July 1977, From the NCC Photographic Archives. Black and White 120 Roll Film, 37875.

In 1982, UNC System President Bill Friday wrote suggestions to give before the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education.  His suggestions were a response to President Reagan’s proposals to cut student financial aid. One of President Friday’s counterpoints to the proposed budget cuts follows.

“Transferring an increasing level of the cost of education from society to the current user of education services will create a new indentured class of individuals who may have borrowed more heavily for their education than their future earning power can accommodate.” 

President Friday's defense of his address to the subcommittee. From folder 1846, Box 50 of the Records of the Office of the President: William Friday, Collection 40009.
President Friday’s defense of his address to the subcommittee. From folder 1846, Box 50 of the Records of the Office of the President: William Friday, Collection 40009.

 

For many students, President Friday’s prediction of an indentured servitude may be becoming a reality. The Condition of Education 2013 was recently released by the Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics.  According to this report: “In 2010–11, the average student loan amount, in constant 2011–12 dollars, was $6,800, which was a 39 percent increase from 2000–01, when the average student loan amount was $4,900. Of the 4.1 million students who entered the repayment phase on their student loans in fiscal year (FY) 2010, some 375,000, or 9 percent, had defaulted before FY 2011.”  See the full report here.

What are your thoughts on student loans, student debt, and financial aid?

An exhibit on President Friday, “Bill Friday: In His Own Words,” will go on display in the Wilson Library on October 8th. The exhibit celebrates President Friday’s life of impact on the University, the State, and the Nation. You can also view an online exhibit The Legacy of William C. Friday in The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History.

Selected Dialectic Society Records Digitized as Part of a Documenting the American South Project

As part of the digitization of the Joseph Lawrence Dusenbery’s journal for “Verses and Fragments: The James L. Dusenbery Journal (1841-1842)“, a few selected documents  from the records of the Dialectic Society held in the University Archives have also been digitized.

These documents include an address to the Dialectic Society by his brother, Edwin Lafayette Dusenbery, in 1845, and the Dialectic Society Library Circulation  Records of Joseph, and two other brothers, Henry Mcrorie and William Brevard.

Dusenbery’s journal is the “heart” of this online resource. Kept by him during his senior year, the journal is an amazing resource for those interested in student life at UNC in 1841 and 1842.

Collecting the Student Experience

What are your fondest memories of college? Were they formed outside the classroom, hanging out with your friends? Did you warmly remember hours spent singing with the chorus, helping your friend run in student elections, or building sets for an upcoming play?

For participants, these activities rounded out their student experiences. Sadly, the events and memories are too fleeting; little pieces are lost with each graduating class until they are all but forgotten. Last fall, The Daily Tar Heel highlighted this lack of student organizational history in an article focusing on Company Carolina. The article incurred the wrath of many Company Carolina alumni, who believed they had left the group with plenty of unforgettable history!

University Archives would like to help students and alumni better preserve their collective memories. Towards that goal, we are actively seeking to assemble records produced by student organizations. These records might include items such as meeting minutes, rules of governance, production records, ephemera, photographs, and website content. This summer, as we test the best methods for collecting these records, we are focusing on two student theatre groups: the already-inspired Company Carolina and the long-running Lab! Theatre. Eventually, we hope to make contact with many other student groups.

Here’s where you can help! We encourage all current student groups to contact us so we can discuss transferring their records to the University Archives. We are also happy to offer groups advice on how they can preserve their own records. If you are a UNC alumnus with records from your own time working with a student group, we would also like to hear from you! Help us make the student experience part of Carolina’s permanent archival record.

Scene from Lab! Theatre's 2000 production of "Crimes of the Heart"