Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer Studies at the Shore

On June 15, 1931, Archie D. Shaftesbury, Associate Professor of Zoology at the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG) wrote Mary Taylor Moor, the school's registrar, regarding a proposal "to conduct a three weeks summer term in zoology at Beaufort during this and succeeding summers." Shaftesbury emphasized that "it is our intention to reserve this work for certain selected students, rather than to open the course to classes of any considerable size." He asked Moore to quickly take the proposal to the "college credit committee" to ensure that students planning to participate that summer would be eligible for course credit.

Dr. Archie Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury's work to bring students to Beaufort for marine zoology study continued to develop, and, in 1934, student members of the school's Zoology Field Club actively joined in by writing their alumni members for support "in the establishment of our marine laboratory on the North Carolina coast." They asked that each former member pledge $10 ($5 in 1935 and $5 in 1936) to support the development of these research facilities. These efforts paid off. In 1935, work began on the construction of the "Carolina Marine Laboratory" in Beaufort. Previously, students had made use of local high school classrooms as well as U.S. Bureau of Fisheries laboratories and boats for their summer studies.

Beaufort continued to grow as a hub of marine research. In addition to the active U.S. Bureau of Fisheries facility and the newly-constructed NCCW laboratory, Duke University established a presence in the town in 1937 with the purchase of 11.5 acres to house a third research facility.

In 1938, the NCCW facility in Beaufort featured a course in Invertebrate Zoology, a class "designed for seriously minded advanced college students, high school teachers, and others who may be interested professionally in biology." An information pamphlet sent to prospective applicants to the course noted that "while the work is not a vacation in the ordinary sense, the experiences offer a pleasant change from the confines of the classroom and laboratory together with an unusual opportunity for observation and study." Classes were held between June 13 and July 9.

Biology students studying  at Beaufort, ca. 1940
That same summer, NCCW's presence in Beaufort expanded beyond marine research as the art department established a 26-day "summer colony" in the town. Gregory D. Ivy, head of the art department and manager of the "colony," proclaimed the project to be an "experiment." The academic work centered around coursework in "advanced landscape painting," which focused on "the theories and methods used by the post-impressionist cubists, and surrealists." It appears that this was indeed a limited experience, as the bulk of the NCCW use of Beaufort focused solely on marine biology. 

The 1961-1962 course bulletin contains the last direct reference to the Invertebrate Zoology course conducted at the Beaufort facility by Shaftesbury (who had become professor emeritus in 1959).

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