Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Holidays!

The staff of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives wishes everyone a happy holiday season! We're taking a break this week, but please join us on Monday, January 5th for a new Spartan Story.

Residence hall decorating in 1955

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays!

The staff of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives wishes everyone a happy holiday season! We're taking a break this week and next, but please join us on Monday, January 5th for a new Spartan Story.

Christmas Tree in the Elliott University Center Terrace, December 1960

Monday, December 15, 2014

UNCG's Moravian Lovefeast

From the early 1960s until the mid-1980s, the UNCG campus hosted an annual Moravian Lovefeast and Candle Service during the first weeks of December. Music, scripture readings, and messages delivered by local ministers were featured during the services, which were typically held in the Elliott University Center's Cone Ballroom. The services drew students, faculty, staff, and community members.

It was on a December evening in 1963 that the first Lovefeast was held at UNCG. Two Winston-Salem students, Phyllis Snyder Bargoil (class of 1964) and Almeda Tesh Dalton (class of 1965) invited their hometown pastor, the Rev. Thomas Presley, to Greensboro to lead the celebration. Almeda's father made the wooden serving trays which were used in the UNCG service until at least the early 1980s.

Twenty-eight people attended this first gathering, including Dean of Students Katherine Taylor, who encouraged the students to plan another Lovefeast the following year. Rev. Presley returned the following year to lead the Lovefeast, which quickly grew in popularity. Around 1967, the Lovefeast expanded from a single night to two nights of services. Eventually tickets were required (at no charge) to control the number of worshipers who attended each evening's service. By 1977, three nights of services were held in order to accommodate the crowd. It was estimated that the 1985 Lovefeast services drew over 600 attendees.

One of the central activities during the UNCG (or any) Lovefeast was the breaking of bread, signifying the union and equality of the worshipers. In the UNCG services, this included the sharing of traditional Lovefeast buns and coffee. Female servers would distribute the buns, while male servers carried trays of coffee. A Moravian blessing was said and worshipers would eat while the choir performed. The December 11, 1974 service, for example, featured a performance by the University Women's Choir of "Gloria," arranged by Benjamin Britten.

After the delivery of a message by a local minister, the lights were lowered and beeswax candles were distributed to the attendees. Candles remained lit as the worshipers departed the service. While the lit candles represented the sacrifice and love of Christ, the students at UNCG adapted them for another purpose. According to an interview with Rev. Presley in 1979, "If you carry the lighted candle back to your room, the wish you make will come true." At UNCG these lit candles moving across campus also foreshadowed the luminaries display, which typically occurred soon after the Lovefeast.

The last reference found in University Archives to a campus-sponsored Moravian Lovefeast is found in the 1986 Pine Needles yearbook. In reference to the services held in December 1985, the article notes, "fighting against outside claims that the feast - in its presentation of a Christian message and hymns - violated the spirit of the separation of church and state, administration members asked those delivering the 'message' at the two nights of ceremonies to look for a more 'universal focus' in what they said." Rev. Ron Moss of the Wesley-Luther House and Father Jack Campbell of the University Catholic Center led those services.

The Pine Needles article concludes with a quote from a student attendee, who left from the Lovefeast to study for final exams in the library. "When I came to the Festival I thought it would just be a social or something - or maybe a church service. But it wasn't. It was just a lot of people getting together to enjoy something beautiful. Sure, I heard people talking about how it was wrong, and how it violated students' rights, but I can't help but think that something as beautiful as that was couldn't have done anything but helped."

Monday, December 8, 2014

Home Management Houses

One of our school’s earliest programs, domestic science, required students to live in Home Management Houses for a portion of their time while earning their degree. The earliest house (referred to as “The Cottage”) was located on Tate (then Lithia) St. and was used by the school from 1914-1916. It was located near the present Taylor Theatre and Brown Buildings.
By the 1920s, the Domestic Science program had morphed into Home Economics.

The school built a new Home Management House in 1922 on McIver St. The house was designed by Harry Barton, who had designed many other buildings on the campus. During this time, the catalog described the course’s goals as “(a) management of household operations, (b) management of income, (c) management of family and group relations, and (d) management in relation to community obligations to the home. The practical work will be given in the practice house where each senior is required to live for six weeks.” The course was listed as 33 and 34 in early years and 405 later in the Annual Catalogs.

Exterior and Interior views of the Home Management House located on McIver St.
As the Home Economics program grew, more houses were needed for students to live-in for their required resident course in Home Management. Houses on West Market St. were bought and remodeled over the years as Home Management Houses. Apartments and duplexes were also acquired and used as Home Management Houses.

Students Inside one of the W. Market St. Houses
By the 1970s, the Home Economics program was changing again. Increasingly there was less emphasis on Home Economics Education and home making. In the early 1980s, the Home Management House residence course was altered to a normal 3 credit hour course. By 1983, the course was gone completely from the catalog.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Lost Architecture of UNCG, part 2

In last week's Spartan Story, we looked at three of the original campus buildings that no longer exist -- Brick Dormitory, Wooden Dormitory, and the McIver House. This week, we will focus on other buildings that were constructed during the earlier years of the institution that are no longer around.

A view down College Avenue, 1913

The Students' Building

The cornerstone of the Students’ Building was laid in 1902. Contributions from students, faculty, and visiting speakers allowed the completion of the three story structure in 1906. It housed the Domestic Science and Manual Training departments, the post office and book store, society halls, a banquet hall, and a 700 seat auditorium.

In 1932, in a general reorganization of the campus the post office moved from the Administration Building to the Students’ Building.

The building was razed in 1950, but the cornerstone remains visible on College Avenue, in front of the current Elliott Student Center.

McIver Memorial Building

Not to be confused with the current McIver Building, which was built in 1960, the McIver Memorial Building was opened in 1908. Opened two years after his death, the building was named in honor of Charles Duncan McIver, founder and first president of the University. An east wing was added in 1920 and a west wing in 1922. Primarily, it served as a classroom space.

The McIver Memorial Building was declared unsafe in 1956 and razed in 1958.

Outdoor Gymnasium

The Outdoor Gymnasium, designed by Harry Barton of Greensboro, was opened in 1922. The open-construction building was located behind Rosenthal Gymnasium. It was approximately 91 feet long, 51 feet wide, and 20 feet to the top of the eaves.

In preparation for inclement weather, the Gymnasium was equipped with canvas “drops” which could completely enclose the building. In addition to physical education classes, the Outdoor Gymnasium became a popular spot for basketball, roller-skating, and rainy day activities. Located west of Shaw Residence Hall (near the site of the current tennis courts), the outdoor gymnasium was completed three years before the construction of the Rosenthal Gymnasium.

The outdoor space was used during bad weather and for overflow physical education activities until 1964 when it was torn down.


The YWCA Hut was built in 1918 at the end of College Avenue by the entrance to Peabody Park. A small group of students, known as the Carpenterettes, helped build the Hut because of the manpower shortage created by World War I.

The Hut was built in a bungalow style with a large central hall and open fireplaces. It was used for a variety of social functions. The YWCA secretary counseled students in her office in the Hut. The building was razed in the 1940s when North Drive was built.

Woman's Dormitory and Kirkland Dormitory

Both Woman's Dormitory and Kirkland Dormitory were craftsman style buildings designed by Hook and Rogers of Charlotte. Woman's Dormitory opened in 1912. Named in honor of the “Noble Women of the Confederacy,” it subsequently became known as “Senior Hall.”

Kirkland Dormitory, which opened two years later in 1914,  was named in honor of Sue May Kirkland, Lady Principal of the College from 1892 to 1914.

Both Woman's Dormitory and Kirkland Dormitory were razed in 1964. Currently, the Moran Commons and Plaza stands at the site that once housed the two buildings.

Park Gymnasium

This building, designed by McMinn & Norfleet of Greensboro, opened in 1961. From 1961 to 1964, it was called Curry Gymnasium. On February 24, 1964, the building was named in honor of Herbert W. Park, football coach of the Curry School Phantoms from 1936 to 1959.

Park Gymnasium was razed in 2004. This location is now the site of the Moore Humanities & Research Administration Building.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Lost Architecture of UNCG, part 1

At the time of its opening in 1892, the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) consisted primarily of four buildings: two dormitories, a "main building," and the president's house. Smaller outbuildings existed, but these four structures served as the heart of campus activity. Today, only the Main Building -- renamed the Foust Building in 1960 in memory of the institution's second president Julius Foust -- remains.

Campus in 1893 (from left to right:
McIver House, Wooden Dormitory, Main Building, Brick Dormitory)

What happened to the other original structures? What other buildings were constructed during the earlier years of the institution but no longer stand? This week and next, we will look at some of the lost architecture of UNCG -- the buildings that were but are no more. Today, we start with the three structures that stood on opening day of State Normal but no longer exist.

Brick Dormitory

Brick Dormitory, designed by Epps & Hackett of Greensboro, was one of the two campus building in the original campus plans created by the architecture firm of Epps and Hackett of Greensboro. It also known as the matron’s hall or the living building. Like the Main (now Foust) Building, Brick Dormitory was built of brick, trimmed with granite, covered with metal shingles, and plastered with Acme cement.

The three-story structure was built in stages. By 1895 it included a kitchen, an infirmary room, and a dining hall that held 150 students. A final wing was added at the rear of the building in 1903 to add more student rooms and larger dining and kitchen facilities. Brick Dormitory also served as a site for socialization amongst the students. In the evenings between study hour and lights-out, they sat on the steps, singing songs and telling jokes. 

The dormitory was destroyed by fire on January 20, 1904, with all of the residents escaping unharmed. The total loss due to the fire was evaluated at $64,458. It was located to the east of Main Building, approximately near the site of the current McIver and Taylor buildings.

Wooden Dormitory/Midway/Guilford Dormitory

Built in 1892, this 22-room dormitory was known at the outset as Wooden Dormitory. It was then nicknamed “Midway” after the Chicago Exposition of 1893 and later called Guilford Dormitory. This frame building was not included in the original building agreement between the school and the city of Greensboro, so the school's board of directors were forced to mortgage the property (along with the President's house) for $9,000.

As was the case with Brick Dormitory, students who lived in Wooden Dormitory were directly supervised by "lady assistants" who served almost as house mothers. The students in Wooden Dormitory, however, faced an extra challenge compared to those in Brick Dormitory. Rigid standards of dress dictated that no lady would be seen on the street without hat and gloves. Therefore, students had to be properly attired before they could walk from their room Wooden Dormitory to the dining hall in Brick Dormitory.

The College’s first “practice school” was housed in the right wing of the dormitory until the Curry Building (College Avenue) opened in 1902. The dormitory was razed in 1935 to make room for the current Alumni House.

President's House/McIver House

This two-story, ten-room house was built in 1892 on the southwest corner of College Avenue and Spring Garden Street for President Charles Duncan McIver and his family (around the site of the current Vacc Bell Tower). Although President McIver passed away in 1906, Mrs. McIver lived there until her death in December 1944. It was torn down in 1952 but has since been commemorated on two occasions.

The Class of 1923, on the occasion of its 30th reunion, commissioned a small brick foundation from which the original 1892 School bell, or “University Bell,” would hang. In 1967, on the occasion of the University’s 75th anniversary, the student body voted to build a more elaborate brick setting on the site named Student Anniversary Plaza. Student Anniversary Plaza was renovated in 2005 to incorporate the Vacc Bell Tower.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Lost Clubs and Groups of UNCG

Every campus had them - groups and clubs that embody a time period where a certain activity was in demand or appeared relevant. From horseback riding, to women carpenters, to school plays performed by a swimming club, learning about these groups help to enlighten us about what was important and trending in different eras of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). This blog will focus on four groups or clubs that had a significant effect on the campus and its students. All photos shown in this exhibit come directly from the SCUA archives. Information about these groups was found in UNCG yearbooks, student handbooks, and various texts about the campus history. When looking at these student-based groups, what we can begin to interpret is how time and technology has altered what the students engaged in, or what they cared about.
Campus Y.W.C.A. group, 1908/09
One of the oldest groups on campus, the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.), elected its first president on December 6, 1892. This group of women was responsible for almost all of the religious activities that were held on campus, such as Sunday school, prayer meetings, and volunteering for other Christian organizations. Other important Y.W.C.A. based activities were missionary support, helping finance students who wished to travel to foreign countries for religious or social work, and publishing the Student Handbook from 1892 until 1935.


Playlikers group photo, 1938/39
The Dramatic Club was officially organized in 1912-1913, with a presentation of Booth Tarkington’s, The American, being a part of the Commencement that year. The club encouraged girls who wanted to act in plays to be in the spotlight as frequently as possible. By the 1920’s, the name had changed to the Playlikers, and Raymond Taylor had taken over as director of the drama department. The club began to travel across the state to perform and built a healthy reputation. One of the major traditions that formed was to present plays written by UNCG students.

Outing Club

Outing Club trip, Pilot Mountain, NC, 1967
“Going places and doing things” was the motto given to the Outing Club by the Greensboro Record writer, Bodie McDowell, in a brief article on the active group. The club was officially formed in 1966 by students that were avid climbers and knew of others interested in outdoor adventures. The club organized everything from skiing, horseback riding, and mountain climbing to canoe trips, camping, and sailing, at affordable costs for all students involved.

 Dolphin-Seal Club
Dolphin-Seal Club, 1963
Originally, when the club was formed in 1926, it was only known as the "Dolphin Club." Its aim was to help improve swimming stroke and technique. Later, the "Seal" was added to include women who wished to swim but were not as advanced as their “Dolphin-sisters.” By the 1930’s and 40’s, the club hosted many events to help raise money and entertain the campus through water-based plays and musicals. Though UNCG still has a swimming team, the Dolphin-Seal club is no longer part of the university.

This blog was created by Ralph Butcher, History Department Intern at the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, November 2014.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veterans Day Spotlight on UNCG Alumna and Women's Army Corps Brigadier General Mildred Inez Caroon Bailey

Mildred Inez Caroon Bailey was born in 1919 in Fort Barnwell, North Carolina, and raised in nearby Kinston. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in Flora McDonald College in Red Springs, North Carolina. She transferred to the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) in her sophomore year and graduated in 1940.

From Bailey's 1999 Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project Oral History:
At that time, transferring to Greensboro, that was a big step to the university level, and it was very impersonal and much larger. I was trying to work six hours a day to help pay my tuition and working very hard to keep my grades up, so I was extremely homesick when I first transferred there.
Woman's College Yearbook, Pine Needles 1940

From Bailey's 1999 Oral History, on working with the Dining Services through college:
One thing that I remember so much about that was the dietitian.... One of her jobs was not only the menus and the serving and the cooking, but to monitor the students who were working there. She felt that those of us who were working to get through school deserved the opportunity to not have to eat all of our meals as cafeteria meals and on the run, and so... we had to report an hour and a half before we were scheduled to start serving. We had a dining room of our own and a beautiful meal was served to us personally. When we finished that meal, then we went out and served the rest of the students.
Bailey was also a member of various student organizations while she attended the Women's College: The YWCA for three years, Le Cercle Fran├žais for years 3 and 4, Education Club year 4, and Classical Club years 3 and 4.

Woman's College Yearbook, Pine Needles, 1940 Classical Club Photo

Bailey joined the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the summer of 1942, and was sent to Officer Training School at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, where she was a member of Third Class of WAACs. Bailey was assigned to the Army Air Corps and stationed in Daytona Beach, Florida, until mid-1943, when the company she commanded was transferred to George Field Army Air Base in Illinois. Bailey was then sent sent to Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, for a short time before moving to Craig Field, Alabama, where she taught English to members of the French Air Force until the end of World War II in 1945.

From Bailey's 1999 Oral History, on joining the WAAC:
The newspaper said that women who were interested should contact the nearest army installation. Well, I wasn't interested enough to contact anybody, and I guess the nearest army installation was Fort Bragg at that time. I knew it existed, but I'd never been there. But a friend of mine who was very interested in it wanted to go to Fort Bragg and see what it was all about, so I went along with her for the ride. That's the way it all started.
My father said to me, “I'm not sure what you're doing and all that. You know what you're doing. But if you've made this decision, then your family stands behind you.” That summed the whole thing up. That was certainly not the attitude of a lot of people in this country when women started in the military service.
Bailey remained in the army after World War II and was sent to Miami, Florida, where she served as Vocational Guidance and Counselor Officer for veterans. In 1949, she was transferred to Stuttgart, Germany, with an Intelligence assignment. She was then sent to Munich to command a WAC attachment at the 98th General Hospital.

In 1953, Bailey returned stateside to Washington, D.C., where she worked in the Intelligence branch of the Military District of Washington headquarters. In 1957, she graduated from Strategic Intelligence School, and then reported to Fort MacPherson, Georgia, where she served as the Head of Recruiting for the Southeastern United States for three years. In 1961, she was put in charge of the WAC detachment at Fort Myer, Virginia, the largest detachment in the U.S. From 1963 to 1968 Bailey organized and traveled with the Women in the Military presentation tour. The stage show featured a broad scope of historical military and civilian fashion, ranging from Ancient Egypt to contemporary uniforms. The tour was used to boost recruitment to the WAC and also general public relations. They performed at shopping malls, Rotary Clubs, state fairs and schools.
Mildred Bailey in WWI-era dress, 1967 Object ID: WV0413.6.016

Upon returning to Washington, she worked as a Liaison Officer for the Senate. In 1970, she made Deputy Commander at the training center in Fort McClelland, Alabama. On 2 August 1971 Bailey became the third Director of the Women’s Army Corps and was promoted to Brigadier General. She retired from the army in July 1975.

Jimmy Carter with WAC personnel, circa Oct. 20, 1978. President Jimmy Carter signed Public Law 95-485 disbanding the Women's Army Corps as a separate corps. WV0360.6.009
Mildred Bailey married Roy Bailey in the early 1940s while stationed at Daytona Beach. He passed away in the early 1960s.

Mildred Bailey died 18 July 2009 in Washington D.C.

Written by: Sara Maeve Whisnant

Monday, November 3, 2014

100 Years Ago: Campus Life in 1914

On Monday, September 21, 1914, classes began for the 582 women enrolled as students at the State Normal and Industrial College. All but 18 were residents of North Carolina, and they represented every county in the state. As the Course Bulletin from that year noted, "every county has its proportionate number of appointments, and the advances of the Institution are, to the extent of its capacity, open on similar terms to all."

The college offered give general courses of study for the students, leading to Bachelor of Pedagogy (for those intending to teach), Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, and Bachelor of Music degrees. Twenty academic departments employed 69 faculty members to teach classes ranging from Principles of Teaching and Classroom Management to Household Decoration and Furnishing to Theory of Gymnastics.

Class of 1914 basketball team
State Normal offered no scholarships for undergraduate students, but provided free tuition to those "who signify their intentions to teach upon such conditions as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors." Each student applying for free tuition was required to sign a formal agreement affirming their desire to pursue teaching as a post-graduate career and stating that, if she "can secure employment and my health permits," she will teach in either public or private schools in North Carolina for at least two years after completing her studies. For those who did not wish to teach after leaving State Normal, tuition fees were $45 per academic year ($65 for non-residents of North Carolina).

Additional fees, including board in the dormitories ($104), laundry service ($18), fuel and lights ($10) and a library fee ($2), brought the total of basic expenses for a year of school at State Normal to $195 (including tuition). Further fees were assessed for students taking courses with a laboratory component and certain business classes. A $5 annual charge also covered the expenses related to textbooks (the College provided the students with the books they needed for each class).

Scene from "Anita's Trial" by the Adelphian Literary Society, 1914
Students were able to join a number of different organizations, but perhaps the most influential groups in terms of campus life were the literary societies. In 1914, there were two literary societies on campus - the Adelphians and the Cornelians. These groups organized plays, lectures, debates, socials, and other activities for members and campus at large. Students were not required but were strongly encouraged to join one of these two societies. As noted in the Course Bulletin, "after observing for several years the general progress of those students who are members of these Societies, and those who are not, the authorities of the College do not hesitate to say that is a great mistake for a student not to become a member."

Gladys Avery, 1st SGA president
The two literary societies also worked together to publish the bimonthly State Normal Magazine, which included "timely articles on current educational questions, with material relating to the past history of the State form[ing] a considerable portion of its contents." State Normal Magazine was led by a Board of Editors elected from the Adelphian and Cornelian literary societies. Additionally, guidance was provided by a member of the faculty who was appointed Advisory Editor.

1914 also saw the organization of the Student Government Association, with its legislative and executive divisions (although the official Board of Directors resolutions approving the creation of the Student Government Association was not approved until 1915). Gladys Avery was elected as State Normal's first ever Student Government Association president.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghosts of UNCG: A Special, Spooky Spartan Story!

To celebrate Halloween, we repeat this blog post, originally posted in October 2012 by Hermann Trojanowski, who retired from Special Collections and University Archives in 2013. We hope you enjoy this extra spooky Spartan Story.

Spencer Residence Hall
Tales have long circulated about the ghosts that allegedly haunt the campus.  In the late 1960s, the Spencer Residence Hall ghost was known simply as “The Blue Ghost” or “The Woman in Blue.”  In the early 1980s, students gave her the name “Annabelle,” possibly alluding to the subject of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem “Annabel Lee.” 

Legend has it that Annabelle is the spirit of a student who hanged herself many years ago in one of the building’s bell towers; however, no such suicide has ever been documented.  A member of the residence hall staff reported that Annabelle had “appeared as a blue shadow on two occasions in the Spencer’s main parlor and when the building was closed for the Summer in 1976, the same staff member heard the ghost “dragging something on the floor out in the lobby.”There have been other reports of a blue haze passing by a second-floor laundry room and of objects being flung across rooms.

In South Spencer in the early 1980s, an apparition reportedly awakened two different staff member on two separate occasions by walking into their rooms. The building had been closed for vacations both times. It is not known whether this was Annabelle or another ghost or ghosts.

Mary Foust Residence Hall
Build in 1928, Mary Foust Residence Hall was named for Mary Foust Armstrong, daughter of the college’s second president, Julius Isaac Foust.  Mary was a member of the class of 1920 – she died in childbirth in 1925. Some believe that her ghost took up residence in the dormitory that bears her name, because rumors have floated around for years about random “unexpected crying” and “funny noises” on the hall’s second floor.  Mary Foust’s portrait, which had hung above the fireplace, disappeared some time back without a trace.  Another rumor about Mary Foust Hall was that in the 1950s, three nursing students hanged themselves from the rafters in the attic.  Investigations have shown that the structure of the beams would make hanging very difficult but still the rumors persist.

The campus’ most well documented ghost reportedly inhabits Aycock Auditorium, which opened in 1927.  An interview with Raymond Taylor who taught drama and play presentation and was the director of dramatic activities on campus from 1921 until his retirement in 1960, reveals that Taylor not only believed in the ghost of Aycock Auditorium, but recounts his personal experiences with the ghost. 

Raymond Taylor
According to Taylor, “at one time a sort of colonial mansion stood on the corner where Aycock is.  There dwelt in this mansion an old lady all-alone.  After a while she became extremely unhappy about her lonely state and went up in the attic and suspended herself from a rope on the rafters.  Having committed suicide there, she determined to stay on as a ghost.  When they tore down the building, she haunted the area for a long time until Aycock was finally built, and then she adopted that for her home.  She seemed, when I knew her to delight in the upper reaches of Aycock foyer where she assumed the guise of lights that flitted from ceiling place to ceiling place and dragging chains and clanking objects over the floor down in the lobby up to my office door.” 

Taylor goes on to tell the story of an incident that occurred one afternoon when he and the Aycock janitor were working on the set for a play.  The whole building was locked up, and since it had been an extremely hot afternoon, he and the janitor undressed down to their briefs to work.  Taylor had left his clothes neatly in a pile.  During the afternoon, a storm came up that raged and roared for quite a while and after the storm was over, Taylor went upstairs to dress and found that his clothes had been disarranged.  He had been wearing a vest with a watch chain across it, and his watch chain had been arranged on the table in the form of a cross.  His other clothes were “helter skelter all over the place.” Taylor just knew this was the work of the ghost of Aycock Auditorium.
Aycock Auditorium

Many nights, while working in the auditorium, Taylor would hear all sorts of strange noises.  He tried to explain some of them by saying that they were the echoes of passing cars or the reverberations of the passing trains shaking the building, but one night he and a colleague, Jimmy Hogue, were sitting in his officer around midnight talking.  Hogue was sitting with his back to the door.  All of a sudden the door opened, and a cold air came in, and they heard the receding clank of chains.  They got up and turned on the lights in the hallway and looked all over, but could never find an explanation for that occurrence.

Jane Aycock
Students have given the Aycock spirit a name, Jane Aycock, and say that she is the daughter of the man for whom the auditorium was named; but Governor Charles Brantley Aycock, whose two wives bore him nine children, had no daughter by that name.  Supposedly she killed herself in the auditorium, a noose around her neck, her body dangling from the fly-loft over the Aycock stage. But the only deaths the auditorium has witnessed have been those acted out on stage, not over it.

According to an article in the Winston-Salem Journal in 1977, written when Aycock Auditorium was 50 years old and was getting ready to reopen after renovations, the drama majors were so attached to the specter that it became something of a tradition to introduce her to new students. “An unsuspecting freshman would be handed a lighted candle and shown the stairway leading to the attic, reportedly the ghost’s favorite turf.  Then the drama majors… would solemnly watch as the flickering flame floated away into the gloom.  They knew there was a certain spot in the attic where a draft always blew out the candle.  It would take a few minutes for the novice spook chaser’s eyes to adjust to the darkness.  Then, the victim would see a shape – a human shape – shimmering in the inky blackness.  The drama majors always got a kick out of hearing the screams that usually followed.  It’s surprising what a coat of luminescent paint can do for a manikin borrowed from the theater’s prop shop.”

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Beginning of Physical Education on Campus: 1892 – 1917

Dr. Miriam Bitting, first campus physician, ca. 1892
When the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) first opened its doors in the fall of 1892, the Department of Physiology and Physical Culture was in place. Its purpose was to educate the students in the care and training of their bodies and to encourage health and wellness. The program included gymnastics and calisthenics to promote strength and improve the posture of the students. Exercise classes were held in the school’s first gymnasium, located in the northeast section of the Main Building (now the Foust Building), which was equipped with weights, bars, and exercise machines. Training included increasingly difficult exercises meant to develop the body and create strong, graceful, and dignified young women. Miss Maude Broadaway was the director of the gymnasium and led the exercises that were designed to be easily translated into the classroom, as many of the State Normal students were studying to become teachers.

Miriam Bitting was both the resident college physician and the head of the department. She taught a class on physiology and made morning and evening rounds of her students, offering suggestions regarding room ventilation, hygiene, and clothing. Dr. Bitting was very progressive in thought and encouraged the girls to reject their corsets for better movement and general health - giving the State Normal girls the reputation for a good postures and large waists.

Maude Broadway wearing a traditional gym suit, ca. 1893
Dr. Anna Gove, second campus physician, ca. 1894

When Dr. Bitting left the following year to get married, she was replaced by Dr. Anna Gove. Dr. Gove was a graduate of the Woman’s Medial College of New York Infirmary and had also studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was Dr. Gove who began the “walking period” or “exercise period” that required each girl to spend at least an hour per day participating in outdoor activities, which could include walking or games.  In 1900, the gymnasium in the Main Building was converted to a library and this daily exercise period would become even more important. The campus Athletic Association was founded the same year.

First athletic field, across from Spencer Dormitory
During the 1907/1908 academic year, the Department of Physiology and Physical Culture changed its name to the Department of Physical Training, remaining within the Hygiene Department and retaining Dr. Gove at its head. Miss Ruena West, specially trained in physical education, was also hired to serve as physical director. The program concentrated on exercise regimens tailored to the needs of the individual, and also included sports such as basketball and tennis. An exercise room was incorporated into Spencer Dormitory, which could be used throughout the seasons. Field Hockey was added a few years later and a large area was designated across from Spencer Dormitory for an athletic field. Popular courses such as folk dancing and rhythmic dancing were added in the 1911/1912 academic year, but the program also continued to focus on physical evaluation, drills, and indoor and outdoor games. In 1917, the department officially became the Department of Physical Education.                                                                                                                                           

Monday, October 20, 2014

Basketball before Co-Education

October is North Carolina Archives Month, an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. The 2014 NC Archives Month theme is "North Carolina at Play: Health and Leisure in Our State.” All of our Spartan Stories in October will focus on this theme.
From its founding in 1891, the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) emphasized physical activity and personal health. Curriculum in the first year of the school’s existence (1892-1893) included the Department of Physiology and Heath, which had two objectives: instruction in hygiene and an individualized program of exercise. A course in Physical Culture was actually required of all students. The work included gymnastics, calisthenics, and other exercises that were meant to promote the student’s general health and strength.

1909 State Normal senior class basketball team
Around the same time, basketball for women was beginning to gain popularity across the nation. Basketball rules for women were first introduced in 1892 at Smith College. These rules were modified specifically for the women’s game, as it was feared that the women could not physically or mentally handle the strain of the men’s rules. The court was divided into three areas with three players from each time in each area (nine total players per team). The ball moved from section to section by passing or dribbling. Players were limited to three dribbles and could hold the ball for three seconds. No snatching or batting the ball away from a player was allowed.

Students at State Normal gravitated towards the game and actively sought opportunities for athletic competition. In 1900, the campus Athletic Association was formally established (15 years before the student government was founded). In a space that is now the site of the Petty Science Building, the women of the Athletic Association cleared and prepared playing grounds, marked the fields, and installed nets on four tennis courts and basketball goals. A primary goal of the Athletic Association was to support competitions between the classes (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors). They held their first basketball tournament in 1900, and in 1902, they adopted their official motto: “Athletics and active college work go hand in hand.”

Intramural basketball game in Rosenthal Gym, 1942
Competition continued to be solely among State Normal students until 1928, when the school (at the time, known as the North Carolina College for Women) hosted the first annual intercollegiate Play Day in North Carolina. Students from seven schools from around the state came to play a variety of sports (including basketball), but they were not competing for their particular schools. Instead, teams mixed students from the different institutions in order to discourage over-competitiveness.

Permanent facilities were also constructed to allow space for basketball and other competitions. In 1922, a 50 x 90 foot outdoor gymnasium was constructed, and it hosted many of the Athletic Association competitions. The structure consisted of little more than a floor and a roof supported by posts. Rosenthal Gymnasium was completed in 1925. Boasting a swimming pool, basketball court, and other amenities, it was praised as one of the best facilities of its kind in the country. In spite of the upgrade to the facilities, the competitions continued to be intramural only.

Intercollegiate basketball competition, 1963
In the 1940s, Woman’s College began experimenting with a few low-key intercollegiate matches at Play Day. In March 1944, the Carolinian student newspaper was happy to report victories by the WC basketball teams over Guilford and Greensboro Colleges at the recent Winter Sports Play Day in Rosenthal Gym. This experiment, however, only lasted a few years. Intercollegiate competition didn’t resume with any frequency until 1963.

In 1963, the final year before WC became UNCG and admitted male students, the school began its first full schedule of intercollegiate women’s basketball competition. The 1963 team was coached by Ellen Griffin, a 1940 graduate of Woman’s College, an instructor in the physical education department, and a nationally renowned golfer. The team won three of its four games against nearby colleges and paved the way for the current Spartans women's basketball team.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"A Tricky Little Course:" A History of the Campus Golf Course

October is North Carolina Archives Month, an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. The 2014 NC Archives Month theme is "North Carolina at Play: Health and Leisure in Our State.” All of our Spartan Stories in October will focus on this theme.

Mary Channing Coleman, director of the physical education department at Woman's College from 1920 to 1947, was a strong force for the development of athletic resources on the WC campus. In addition to advocating for the construction of the first building used solely as a gymnasium, Coleman oversaw the development of tennis courts and other facilities for WC students to use in both academic and recreational pursuits. In the fall of 1929, a single golf hole was constructed on the west side of Rosenthal Gymnasium, and plans called for extension to a nine-hole course.

WC students on the campus golf course, 1940
In Fall 1933, President Julius Foust announced the approval of a number of Civil Works Administration (CWA) projects at WC, including the much-anticipated golf course construction. In a March 9, 1935, memorandum, Dean of Administration (and future college president) Walter Clinton Jackson announced that "the little golf course which was constructed here last year as a CWA project is now ready for use." The 1935-1936 College Bulletin lists a nine-hole golf course among its description of athletic facilities, noting that "lessons in golf will be available as part of the work in Physical Education."

At its initial opening, the course faced challenges due to low use. A Woman's College Golf Club was founded to maintain the course, with low-cost memberships offered to students, faculty, alumnae, and guests of members. In a 1937 memo, however, Jackson noted that "for two years and more, the whole matter [of the golf course] was a source of unending difficulties, annoyance and trouble. Neither the faculty nor the students would support the club." In 1940, the course was reduced to three holes due to poor patronage and high costs of upkeep. During World War II, the remaining three holes were left unmaintained.

Golf exhibition at the WC course, 1959
It would be the Fall of 1954 before plans for a new campus golf course took form. While this course would occupy the same physical space as the previous course, it would not follow the design of its predecessor. Instead, this new course would be developed with leadership from WC alumnae and faculty member Ellen Griffin, an innovator in golf instruction and one of the three original organizers of the Women's Professional Golf Association (now the Ladies Professional Golf Association, or LPGA).

The grand opening of the new course took place in October 1957. The Physical Education Department's Christmas bulletin reported that "we had all of the finest local pros play the course the opening day. It was exciting with radio and television coverage and lots of pictures ... It's a tricky little course and being used a great deal by all of the college community." The nine holes measured only 1,120 yards, about a third the length of nine holes and a regular golf course, and had a par of 31.

Indeed, the course saw extensive use for class instruction, clinics, and exhibitions. WC hosted the National Women's Collegiate Golf Tournament in 1953. Griffin directed the LPGA National Golf School on the course from 1961 to 1963, and a number of LPGA touring professionals used the course to teach lessons or play exhibitions. In Spring 1962, eight sections of Beginning Golf were offered through the Physical Education Department.

A view from the 9th hole tee, 1968
At the same time, however, campus administrators were beginning to question the course, both in terms of costs of maintenance and use of land. Chancellor Otis Singletary wrote in 1966 that "the University has been questioned frequently over the past few years, both officially and unofficially, concerning the future of the golf course. This usually arises in connection with the University's need for land for additional building. Our standard has been that land is too valuable for us to keep this entire area as a golf course. We hope we might keep one or two fairways for instructional purposes in golf, but that much of this land would be needed for other outdoor physical education facilities." Although no immediate action was taken, two years later, Griffin left UNCG to open her own golf teaching facility.

In the ensuing years, construction of the new campus recreation center, other outdoor recreation facilities, and additional campus parking eliminated most of the course's nine holes. Maintenance was spotty, with many fairways becoming overgrown and drainage problems plaguing others. Finally, in 1998, campus administrators broke ground on a 150-yard practice fairway with two greens and a bunker on the West Market Street side of campus. The fairway and greens occupy what was the sixth hole of the nine-hole course.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Piney Lake: "The Country Club of W.C."

October is North Carolina Archives Month, an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. The 2014 NC Archives Month theme is "North Carolina at Play: Health and Leisure in Our State.” All of our Spartan Stories in October will focus on this theme.

"Tired of studying? Tired of going to classes, of going to the dining hall, of going to Aycock? Tired of your roommate? Your counselor? Yourself? ... Pack up a pair of blue jeans and an old shirt, throw in a beat-up pair of sneakers, and take off to the Country Club of W.C., Piney Lake." This begins an October 1, 1956 Carolinian article announcing the purchase and opening of the Piney Lake property to the Woman's College students.

Piney Lake was purchased by WC on August 7, 1956 from Abe Blumenthal, a Greensboro business man who had used the property as a country estate for a number of years. For a purchase price of approximately $65,000, the college purchased the 40+ acre property situated six miles south of Greensboro. Acting Chancellor W. W. Pierson noted, "since WC trains scores of recreation directors and camp counselors, Piney Lake will be an ideal place for the more effective training of girls entering these fields of work."

WC students at Piney Lake, 1956
With its opening to WC students in Fall 1956, Piney Lake became the primary center for recreation activities. Students were able to make use of the four-acre lake, which featured a concrete pier, aluminum boats, and a concrete float with regulation fixtures. The grounds also featured a number of buildings and other structures for students to use, including a large residence, a caretaker's home, a barn, a garage, a recreation pavilion, tennis courts, and dressing rooms. The Carolinian article even notes that the main residence housed a baby grand piano, "a feature which will appeal to tired music majors who desire to take a businessman's holiday."

Marjorie Leonard, a professor in the Department of Physical Education, and her "cocker spaniel and watchdog" Liz were the first permanent residents at Piney Lake, living in the caretaker's house.She took on the role of "area supervisor." While carrying a full teaching load, Leonard organized use of the Piney Lake facilities, cared for the grounds, and managed supplies and other needed items.

Map of Piney Lake, from the Junior PE Majors Camp scrapbook, 1960
In addition to serving as a recreation center for student activities, Piney Lake was an instructional hub for a number of disciplines. Junior Physical Education majors spent weeks at Piney Lake at "Major Camp," training in recreation management and education. In the summer of 1957, 13 WC students and 18 members of fifth and sixth grade classes at the Curry School participated in a week-long camp at the site. This experimental "enrichment class" consisted of courses in soil conservation, water biology, forestry, wildlife, nature study, boating, swimming, and crafts. Most of the classes were taught by the WC students or faculty members. Day camps continued for many years, opening to children of summer school students, faculty, Curry students, and the community at large.

Piney Lake was managed by the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) from its opening until 1976. After nearly twenty years of management by part-time staff, in Spring 1975, the decision was made by head of HPER to hire a full-time director for Piney Lake at the salary of approximately $10,000 per year. Soon thereafter, management responsibilities transferred to the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism in 1976, but programming and use of the facilities remained the same. In fact, in 1979, Piney Lake was one of only six sites in the nation to be designated a National Environmental Study Area (NESA) by the U.S. Park Service. This designation recognized UNCG's use of Piney Lake to provide "exemplary programs in environmental education."

Students canoeing at Piney Lake, 1995
Questions over the use and funding of the Piney Lake facilities came to light in the 1990s, however. In September 1995, a consultant's report on student activity fee issues concluded that Piney Lake should be state or self-supported, not supported by student activities fees as it had been since its inception. Dean Robert Christina of the School of Health and Human Performance responded in November, declaring that "Piney Lake is a recreation center that has no academic program." In June 1996, the Chancellor officially responded to the report, indicating that Piney Lake should become self-supported by user fees over a five-year period. This transition, however, was not smooth. In January 2001, Piney Lake closed for all but Team Quest use. No summer camps were held for the first time since Piney Lake came into university hands

On July 1, 2001, administration of the facility was transferred to Campus Recreation, and three years later, "informal recreation" was re-established at Piney Lake. Today, Piney Lake remains under the administration of Campus Recreation, and  student organizations, departments, and other groups are able to reserve the facilities for their use.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Doughnut for All Ages

The Doughnut as of 2014
Hidden deep within W.C. Jackson Library, secreted away from the public thoroughfares, there is The Doughnut. It is a thirty-three year old doughnut. Miraculously, The Doughnut has resisted corruption for over three decades. Each year, between fifty to seventy-five people pilgrimage to view this venerable confection, and such visits are considered an initiatory ritual for all library employees. Although it is spoken of in tones of pride and respect presently, the prominent pastry’s “birth” is of humble origin.

The hors d'oeuvre tray at a library staff orientation in November of 1980 concluded in a common scenario. Whether owing to caution against a breach of etiquette or fearing the appearance of gluttony, a single doughnut remained untouched and alone on the tray. Additionally, as is another common situation in such informal social occasions, no one claimed responsibility for cleaning away the food after the party. This lone survivor of the carbohydrate laden feeding frenzy, a Dunkin’ Donut cake doughnut, remained forgotten on its platter.

Several days later, opportunity arose for The Doughnut to establish itself as a working member of the UNCG community. The employees to the library bindery (now Preservation Services) procured an old stereo from which they hoped to listen to the university radio station. Tragically, no amount of modification to the antennae improved the reception. After everything from framing wire to metal binders was added to make the signal listenable with no improvement, all eyes fell upon The Doughnut. It was added to one of the binder clips on the improvised antennae, and the “college radio station came in loud and clear.” The radio was replaced over the following months, but The Doughnut remained suspended from the binder clip for the next five years. Over the years, it is reported that many people would notice the doughnut, but no one ever inquired as to why it was hanging in the library.

After five years, an accidental collision with a student freed The Doughnut, and to the amazement of everyone, it “clincked to the floor like a piece of stoneware.” One small fragment was chipped from its ossified body, but it remained intact otherwise. By this time, The Doughnut had shrunk to about ten percent its original size. In honor of its years of service and impressive fortitude, The Doughnut remained in the library, both as an esteemed artifact and as a valued colleague.

Initially, The Doughnut was honored on the five year anniversary of its arrival to UNCG, much like any other UNCG employee. The Jackson Library Staff Association held the First Annual Doughnut Festival in 1985, in which celebrants were encouraged to adapt song titles, movie title, opening lines of books, and compose poetry to exalt what was becoming a workplace icon. Notable entries in the song category included “Don’t Come Home Drinkin’ with Doughnuts on Your Mind” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Doughnut.”   

On its tenth anniversary, a black, velvet-lined case was constructed specifically for The Doughnut, but it was the twentieth anniversary in 2000 that brought The Doughnut to national attention. The Doughnut had been embraced by the local North Carolina media, but the Associated Press picked up the story for the twentieth anniversary. An article about The Doughnut made it into the Chronicle of Higher Education and National Public Radio. Famously, it was billed above the Pope in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not column in 2001. Having matured from its two decades of fame, The Doughnut was installed into a professionally constructed glass exhibit case in 2010.

This November will be the thirty-fourth anniversary of the Doughnut arriving at UNCG, ranking its years on campus among many employees looking towards their retirement. Rest assured, there are no rumors circulating of The Doughnut’s retirement. Although not formally accessioned into the university’s archives, The Doughnut remains a permanent figure in Jackson Library lore.     

Monday, September 22, 2014

Darlinettes and Rhythmettes: Big Band Sounds at the WC

In 1942, big band music from the likes of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman were all the rage, but local big bands were hard to find. Most of the musicians in these groups were male, and they were being drafted into military service during World War II. But a group of students at the Woman's College stepped in to fill the void, forming the Darlinettes and their four-member vocal group, The Rhythmettes, in 1942.

Practicing in the Brown Music Building
Many of the Darlinettes' and Rhythmettes' performances took place at Woman's College. They played many of the formal dances and "soldier dances" held on campus during and immediately after WWII. But the group was not confined to the WC campus. They played shows at the USO Club on North Elm Street, and they entertained troops stationed at the Army Air Corps' Overseas Replacement Depot in Greensboro. In 1946, they traveled to Asheville to provide entertainment at the 1st annual conference of the 191st District of Rotary International. Cleveland Thayer, General Chairman of the Distrct, wrote to offer his personal thanks to the Darlinettes for "the fine work of your orchestra."

The founding leader of the Darlinettes and Rhythmettes was Cherry Folger, who also played trumpet. Folger was reportedly the first trumpet major in the history of WC, and was quite the musician and leader. At the age of 14, she was fronting an all-male musical group in her hometown of White Plains, NY. According to a newspaper article from 1943, she "often hits high 'E' above high 'C' on the instrument, and has been known to touch high 'G.'" She formed the Darlinettes soon after arriving at WC in 1942 (she transferred after spending her first two years of college at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester).


When Folger graduated in 1944, Doris Funderburk took over the baton for the Darlinettes. Under Funderburk's leadership, the Darlinettes continued their busy performing schedule. But they also found time to record an album, titled "Autumn Serenade." The 78 rpm records were made May 26, 1946, at the Vic Smith Recording Service in Greensboro. They featured 10 songs, including an original piece written and orchestrated by Funderburk called "You Don't Get it From Books."

The group continued performing, with membership swapping out with each graduation, through the early 1950s. Many of the Darlinettes took up non-musical careers after graduation, but a few continued in a musical path. Frances Stevens Snipe of Clemson, SC, sang with Greensboro band leader Burt Massengale's group for a number of years. Mary Sampson Irvin played trombone with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. And Doris Funderburk Morgan served as the organist at the old Charlotte Coliseum for many years, playing music to enliven crowds at the Charlotte Checkers ice hockey games.

In September 2002, several members of the Darlinettes were reunited at an event organized by Burt Bruton, the nephew of the late Sue Bruton, an original member and saxophonist in the Darlinettes. The following May, the UNCG School of Music declared May 2 to be Darlinette Day. They hosted an event featuring Darlinettes members and established a Darlinettes Artist in Residence Endowment Fund, aimed at bringing female jazz artists to the school.