Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Students in the snow in front of the
Main Building (now Foust), circa 1911

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 7th for a new Spartan Story.

Jackson Library and the McIver statue in the snow, 1995

Monday, December 24, 2012

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 7th for a new Spartan Story.

Snow scene showing the Main Building (now Foust), the Brick Dormitory, Spring Garden Street,  and Greensboro to the east of campus, looking towards downtown, circa 1893

Monday, December 17, 2012

Faculty Service During World War II

Today's post was written by Joseph Winberry, a senior history major. Joseph interned in Special Collections and University Archives during the Fall semester, and completed a resource guide focused on SCUA's World War II era materials ( Here, he writes about Woman's College faculty service during WWII.

Guy Lyle
On March 19, 1942, the News Bureau at Woman’s College released a letter to faculty stating that the organization was “compiling information on the college’s contributions to the war effort.” The letter went on to request that faculty members respond with a list of their individual involvement in the war effort as well as the names of any relatives who were serving in the United States Military. The responses varied in their tone and complexity.

“As you know I am serving as state director of the Victory Book Campaign.” Library Professor Guy Lyle reminded crisply. “This takes up pretty much all of my leisure time.” Professor Lyle’s background as a librarian at numerous academic and public libraries made him an obvious choice for leading an organization whose mission was to boost the spirits of troops by providing them with reading materials.

Sociology Professor Mereb Mossman was even briefer in her response: “I am training chairman of the Greensboro C.D.V.O.” She was referring to the Civilian Defense Volunteer Office which was established in 1941 to keep up public morale and involve ordinary citizens in defense planning.

Mereb Mossman
Hygiene Professor Victoria Carlson wrote in her usual style a long, detailed response to Nell Craig, director of the News Bureau. She explained that her brother was in the service and that she lectured to eight sections of her Home Hygiene and Care of the Sick classes. This class was modified to reflect wartime caveats. Many professors altered their classes during World War II in order to offer students and community members the skills that were needed for a nation at war.

In the same vein, Ruth Fitzgerald lamented that she was “physically unable to take on any extra work.” A professor of education, she joined Professor Carlson in increasing her work load on campus. These increases were sanctioned by Frank Porter Graham, President of the University of North Carolina System, who believed that heavy sacrifice was demanded of everyone in the university from the top down due to the war.

While some professors joined or lead organizations and others taught additional classes, faculty contributed to the war effort in a myriad of ways. These paths to service could be as simple as knitting clothes for soldiers, planting a victory garden in the community, or as involved as joining the military themselves, something a few Woman’s College faculty actually did.

Victoria Carlson
This outpour of faculty support for the war effort, encouraged and facilitated by the university administration, is significant for two reasons. First, there is noticeable (public) unity among the faculty about the nation’s involvement in and goals for World War II, a feature that would be lacking in more recent wars, mostly noticeably the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the involvement of students and faculty alike at an all-girls college demonstrates the social effects that the War brought to the United States. Necessity would shatter glass ceilings as women raced to fill the positions left behind by drafted men. Additionally, involvement of faculty in reaching and helping laymen and women on the home front enforced the image of Woman’s College as a source of civic communitarianism. The school’s service as a bridge between the citizens of the community and a wealth of intellectual, yet practical knowledge helped ready the school for its transition into a co-ed university in 1963, and will guide the university’s future well into the twenty-first century.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chronicling the Founding of the LGBT Student Organization (1971-1975)

Carolinian, Oct. 4, 1971 (p.7)
Although our University enjoys the benefits of a culture promoting equality and inclusivity, UNCG’s reputation for embracing diversity as an educational foundation was constructed over decades by student and staff advocacy. Among the more hidden stories of Civil Rights struggles at UNCG is that of the formation of a university-acknowledged student organization for LGBTQ students.

There are few records on the lives and activities of the University’s LGBTQ students, but the first evidence for the need of such an organization on campus can be found as early as 1971. By this time, the university had been reorganized as a co-educational institution, and although there is some evidence of a lesbian student population on campus for several decades (1), discrimination against gay male students provoked the first plea for tolerance in the student newspaper:

Last year it was decided by some members of the fraternity and a few other males that their image was being threatened by the gay men on campus. It was felt that those gay men were becoming too blatant to be tolerated. They had the audacity to be themselves occasionally...

There was some talk among the homosexuals of starting a gay liberation movement here at school. When this “uppity” talk reached the ears of the other men they decided to act. They all got drunk and set about threatening people with violence. (2) 

It would be unlikely that the victims of such bullying would be willing to report threats, as homosexuality was not (and still is not) a protected class of minority by state law. Additionally, as homosexuality was officially classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association during this time, there was no pressure for University officials to investigate such situations.  However, the landscape for gay rights shifted in 1973, when the APA removed homosexuality from the list of diagnosable mental illnesses. It did not take long for LGBTQ students to organize, and by 1974, a “gay political social group” was forming on campus.

In November of 1974, a flier promoting the first meeting of a gay student organization was attached to a bulletin board in the School of Music. This flier was brought to the attention of Jim H. Allen, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Chancellor James S. Ferguson. In a letter to the Office of the UNC System President, Bill Friday, Allen requested for legal advice, asking:
  • What are the state statues for dealing with homosexuality?
  • What statutory prohibitions, if any, are there regarding the funding of a homosexual organization out of student activity fees?
  • May it be argued that to provide meeting space on the campus for a homosexual organization is to provide a form of support through the public revenues…?
In response, David N. Edwards, Jr., Special Assistant to the Office of the President, advised Allen that withholding institutional support from a student organization meeting the necessary requirements would be legally precarious, providing citations from three federal cases in which the court overruled university prohibitions against gay student organizations. Essentially, a gay student organization, with a mission to support its members and to educate the public, does not pose a danger to the campus or inherently violate university regulations. Also, the cases of the federal court overturning the prohibitions of other universities provided the administration of UNCG with legal support in permitting a gay student organization, should dissension arise from formal recognition.

The documentation formally requesting the recognition of the Gay Student Union of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro was submitted and approved in 1979, with Rev. Joe Flora, Presbyterian Pastor for Campus Ministries, as the faculty adviser. The stated mission of the organization was:
  • To educate the public about legal, social and personal aspects of homosexuality
  • To provide a support system for those in the organization
  • To represent the homosexual portion of the student body in matters relevant to homosexual students
The initial meeting of the Gay Student Union occurred in September 25, 1979, but the first meeting as a university-recognized organization occurred one month later, on October 25th. (3-4) Unfortunately, there is not a record of the founding members of the organization, but the initiative of these students established a network of support for LGBTQ students that has lasted over 30 years.

The Gay Student Union underwent many changes and overcame many obstacles over its history. The organization encountered many challenges through the 1980s well into the 1990s, but the struggles have led to the cultivation of a campus culture of support and advocacy. In fact, the 2012 Homecoming included the first homecoming for UNCG’s LGBTQA Alumni. As stated by attending Alumni, it was their first “homecoming-out.”

For those interested in researching the history of our LGBTQ students please contact the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives at scua[at]

(1) Oral history interview with Key L. Barkley, 1991 [OH003]. UNCG Centennial Oral History Project Collection, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
(2) "The Last Liberation," The Carolinian, October 4, 1971 [UA42.4.01]. Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
(3) "Gay Academic Union Formed," The Carolinian, October 30, 1979 [UA42.4.01]. Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
(4) "Corrections," The Carolinian, November 6, 1979 [UA42.4.01]. Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lighting the Campus with Luminaries

At 7am on a December morning in 1969, a number of UNCG students gathered in front of the Elliott University Center with 2000 candles, white paper bags, soufflé cups, and a really big pile of sand. With these supplies, they started a campus tradition which continues today: the annual luminaire display.

Alumni House with luminaries
Before the project could begin, Kim Ketchum, president of the UNCG senior class of 1970, presented the idea for the display to Katherine Taylor, dean of students, and to Terry Weaver, manager of the Elliott University Center. They agreed to allow the students to proceed with the display, and ultimately, the project received the blessing of Chancellor James S. Ferguson. Chancellor Ferguson provided money to purchase the sand and candles from his discretionary fund. The white bags and soufflé cups were donated by the cafeteria.

Throughout the day, students stopped by to help assemble the luminaries. They carefully placed sand and a candle (balanced on the soufflé cup) in each bag. Ketchum and six other students used a Physical Plant vehicle to position the luminaries strategically along the campus streets. Around 6pm, students emerged from the residence halls to light the candles. As the luminaries burned, groups sang Christmas carols around the campus and gathered to drink hot cider and hot chocolate around a bonfire that burned in a metal pit. 

Ketchum recalled, “It was a success then, and it’s very gratifying that our class started a tradition that endures to this day. I think that this probably was the first large luminary display in Guilford County, and the rest of the area picked up on it.” 

Luminaries at Fountain Plaza, 1995
UNCG’s sororities and fraternities have carried on this tradition ever since, preparing the luminaries, lighting them, and cleaning up. In 2011 sustainable luminaires were introduced, which decreased prep-time and eliminated potential hazards. And, as is part of the campus tradition, when the candles burn out, students return to their studies, as Fall semester final exams loom in the immediate future.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Athletics and Active College Work

While competitive athletics are a major part of campus life at UNCG, early students had fight for their right to play ball. From its founding, the school (known at the time as the State Normal) 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. 

Letter from a student to President McIver asking permission
to start a campus Athletic Association, 1898
Students, however, wanted opportunities for athletic competition, not just physical activity. The graduating class of 1900 convinced school president Charles Duncan McIver of the need for a campus Athletic Association and purposefully-built athletic grounds. The campus Athletic Association was formally established in 1900 (15 years before the students established their own student government). By 1902, it had adopted the motto “Athletics and active college work go hand in hand.” 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.

The early Athletic Association, however, was purely intramural, with sponsored tournaments between the freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior classes. As a student noted, “We were taught very strongly the evils that would come from interscholastic sports. This emphasis on winning at any cost was the worst.”

But, in spite of potential evils, a “College Team” was created in 1905 to bring together the best athletes regardless of class. That team, however, didn’t play outside of campus until 1907. Then, they traveled across town for basketball and tennis match-ups against teams from the Greensboro Female College (now Greensboro College). According to the student newspaper, “Fine playing was done by both teams … [but] both the games of Basket Ball and of Tennis resulted in victories for our teams.”

Freshman hockey team, 1913
For the most part, however, team sports were limited to on-campus competitions between the classes. And the Athletic Association led the way in sponsoring activities. By 1914, the group offered events in basketball, tennis, field hockey, baseball, cricket, golf, camping, and gymnastics. They also sponsored May Day, Field Day, and various sports tournaments throughout the year. Through their dedication and persistence, the women of the Athletic Association ensured that athletics would be a strong component of their college life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Typhoid Epidemic of 1899

On November 15, 1899, Linda Tom, a freshman at The State Normal and Industrial College, passed away.  For the past several weeks, she had complained of having a fever, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and general pain in her abdomen. Doctor Anna Gove, the resident physician at the College, would determine that Linda’s death was the result of typhoid fever.  Typhoid fever, according to WedMD, is “an acute illness associated with fever caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria” which is spread through ingesting contaminated food or water. 

Unfortunately Linda’s death would not be an isolated incident.  Over the next two months, thirteen other students as well as one dormitory matron, would die from the illness.  In addition, over 55 other students would be diagnosed with typhoid fever but would be fortunate enough to recover.  To put some perspective on the severity of the situation, thirteen students was roughly equal to 3% of the student population in 1899.  If 3% of the approximately 18,000 students at UNCG today were to pass away, the number would total around 540 deaths. 

College President Charles D. McIver  and other administrators, struggled mightily to contain the virus and to ensure the continuation of the school. However, in 1899 there was no simple cure for the illness.  The only methods for treating patients and reducing the spread of the virus was to quarantine the sick, disinfect surrounding surfaces, and to provide comforting relief efforts.  One of McIver’s first steps was to close down the school until he felt the disease has been eradicated from the campus.  He then authorized the cleansing of the Brick Dormitory and surrounding buildings to prevent future outbreaks.  This included discarding all of the beds with wooden head and food boards, as well as all mattresses. In addition, all of the woodwork and walls were disinfected using harsh chemical products such as formaldehyde which left a lingering odor.

The financial cost of containing the disease was expensive with repairs and replacements totaling above $8,000.   A recently received $5000 grant from the North Carolina State General Assembly that was supposed to be used to build a much needed new gymnasium was divert to help cover expenses.  As a result, the College went into debt and did not fully recover financially until 1908.

An investigation into what caused the massive outbreak was conducted by the North Carolina Board of Health.  The lead investigator, Dr. Richard H. Lewis, concluded that a central water well located near the Brick Dormitory had become contaminated when sewage leaked into the water from a fractured sewer pipe. As a result of these findings, all three of the water wells on campus were filled in and the College was connected to the City of Greensboro water supply.

 In the United States today, there is very little concern about typhoid fever because of the increase in sanitation standards.  In addition, the treatment for the illness is antibiotics, which can quickly contain the fever and help prevent death. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day Spotlight on UNCG Alumna and Air Force Veteran Charlotte Holder Clinger

The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project (WVHP) was begun in 1998 with the enthusiastic support of Woman's College (the precursor to UNCG) alumnae who were World War II veterans. These vets' oral histories, uniforms and other military related materials formed the foundation of the WVHP. Of the 523 current collections in the WVHP, 111 of these are from women who have UNCG connections, including undergraduate and nursing school alumnae, faculty and veterans who used the G.I. Bill benefits for their education.

One of these alumna is Charlotte Holder Clinger. Clinger was born in 1943 in Asheboro, North Carolina. Her family moved throughout the Carolinas while she was growing up, and moved to Queretaro City, Mexico, for one year when she was a senior in high school. Holder attended Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina, for one year, the University of the Americas in Mexico City for one year, and then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). She graduated from UNCG in 1965 with a degree in history.

Clinger joined the air force in August 1967. She attended Officer Training School for three months at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Charlotte Holder Clinger at Officer Training School, 1967

From Clinger's 2006 Oral History Interview:
I set off in August of 1967 to Officer Training School [OTS], and that's a three-month course at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for officers. It's basic training for officers, really, is what it is. But I had no idea what I was getting into. So the day that they said, "Well, we're going to have a lawn party," I thought finally we're doing something that I consider civilized. Well, a lawn party turned out to be us in our gym shorts out there picking grass from between the sidewalks. No kidding.

Clinger then sent to Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado, for intelligence training in November. While at Lowry, Clinger met her future husband, Noel Clinger.

In fall 1968, Clinger received orders to the Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base in Korat, Thailand, where she was the first woman ever stationed with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. She did intelligence briefings and debriefings during that one-year tour, which also included temporary duty at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Air Field.

Clinger briefs air crews, circa 1969. The 553rd Recon Wing's shield, with batcat logo and "Cavete Cattam" (Beware of the Cat) motto, can be seen behind her.

 From Clinger's 2006 Oral History Interview:
So my job was briefing and debriefing, intelligence, basically. I put briefings together to tell the crews what they were going to be facing, what they were going to be doing, how it looked out there, what to stay away from, because if there was something—As slow as the Connie was, if there was something like a SAM, Surface-to-Air Missile, in the area, they needed to change where they were going to be flying, because they couldn't fly over SAMs, they'd be dead. So it was my job to keep them from getting killed. 
Clinger returned to the United States in September 1969 with orders to Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas, where she worked in intelligence at the 12th Air Force Headquarters with the Tactical Air Command. 

Clinger poses in the cockpit of a plane while on a Junior Officer's Council trip to an Army base near Bergstrom Air Force Base in Texas, circa 1970.

 From Clinger's 2006 Oral History Interview:
I was sent back to Austin, Texas, and was stationed there at Bergstrom where they had F-4s. They had an RF-4 training unit, R for Reconnaissance, what they called RTU [Replacement Training Unit]. That was an interesting tour also. I was at 12th Air Force Headquarters in their intelligence office, so I went out and did a lot of assistance visits. On the occasion when they went to a recce [reconnaissance] unit, I went out as part of the IG team, the Inspector General team.
In January 1973, Clinger returned to Southeast Asia, this time assigned to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base. She initially did intelligence work for F-111 fighter bombers, then worked as wing executive officer under Colonel Thomas Lacy.

Clinger speaks to Colonel Lacy while stationed at Takhli Air Force Base in Thailand in 1973.

Clinger returned to Austin in July 1973. In December 1973 She married Noel Clinger and transferred back to Lowry AFB, where they both taught in the intelligence school. In 1975, Charlotte Clinger resigned active duty and joined a reserve unit of the Air Force Intelligence Service based at Lowry, while working on a master's degree at the University of Northern Colorado. In the late 1970s, the Clingers joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and moved to Fairfax, Virginia. During that time Clinger also became the first woman to command a Joint Military Reserve Training Command unit, which she did from 1991 to 1994. Clinger retired from the reserve as a full colonel in 1994 and retired from the CIA in 2001.

Colonel Charlotte Holder Clinger (center, in civilian attire) receives a certificate from Lieutenant General John Gordon, joined by Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, circa 1994.

 From Clinger's 2006 Oral History Interview:

When I made full colonel, which is unusual, there aren't many women full colonels, particularly not in reserve, I became the unit commander. So I was the first female commander of that unit, Joint Military Reserve Training Command. Then later, and that was from '91 to '94 was my last command. Then I retired in '94, November of 1994, and in 1997 CIA gave me an award as a woman military pioneer in their fiftieth anniversary, which I was very proud of. It was one of—because one of the reasons they wanted to acknowledge me was that I was the first woman commander of a Joint Military Reserve Command unit.
From Clinger's 2006 Oral History Interview:

Interviewer: You said that there were several negatives about being a woman in the military. What do you think the biggest ones were?

Clinger: The perception that you don't belong there. I didn't get that feeling most of the time, almost never. I felt like I belonged and did a job, but there are still people, women more than men, who are outside the military who feel that women don't belong in the military. You know, you feel like—I feel like, who are they to say what your calling is? Who is any human being to say what another person's calling is? I feel that way about all things that women aspire to or men aspire to. Who is anybody else to say what your calling is, whether it's being a minister or a nurse or a doctor or in the military? If it's your calling, the thing that you can do well, meaning the thing that you can do well, press on, you know, press on.
To learn more about Charlotte Holder Clinger, visit her WVHP page:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Black Power Forum of 1967

Throughout the 1960s, Greensboro served as a key site for the civil rights movement. After the Sit Ins and protests of the early 1960s, the middle of the decade saw the ideals of black self-determination and pride being spread throughout Greensboro and the nation. The term “Black Power” first entered the national consciousness through Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader Stokely Carmichael’s speech at the March Against Fear in 1966. Black Power soon became known as a movement for solidarity within the black community and the fight for racial independence.

Agenda for November 1, 1967,
the first day of the Black Power Forum
While students at North Carolina A&T University stood as leaders in the movement, discussions were not limited to the area’s historically black colleges and universities. On November 1-3, 1967, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro played host to a controversial Black Power Forum, organized in large part by the UNCG Student Government Association to “inform students and faculty members of this movement and its actions and to give us a chance to discuss Black Power, its history, its political and social implications for us and the nation.” 

The forum was organized around three topics: “Black Power past and present,” “the ghetto,” and “Black Power and the self-image of the Negro.” Speakers from across the country were brought in for presentations and discussions held in Cone Ballroom. Attendance the first day was judged “poor” with fewer than 75 attendees at the initial session, but by Thursday evening attendance had grown to 800. A UNCG report summarizing activities after the conclusion of the Forum noted “that off-campus people outnumbered UNCG students and faculty, that they were primarily Negroes and males, that a considerable number of them seemed to be sympathetic toward the concepts of Black Power, and that they often expressed their feelings with applause or cheers.”

The Forum did not occur without controversy. Editorials and essays declared that the University had been “used” by activists with a specific agenda. Rumors abounded that Ku Klux Klan members planned to attend the Forum, and UNCG Chancellor James Ferguson was forced to ask police officers with the City of Greensboro to attend each of the scheduled sessions to “guard against possible trouble.”

Black Power Forum participants, 1967
Additionally, administrators expressed concern that the sessions “did not produce a detached, objective examination of the ideas of Black Power but were given over to vigorous exhortations in support and advocacy of the movement.” But they could not deny that the Forum provided students with a learning opportunity. As stated in the UNCG report, “today’s students, today’s citizenry in general must learn all they can about the nature of Black Power and the forces that brought it into being. They need to be aware of the task before them. Above all, they should not wait until a crisis develops – until there is a riot in the streets – to gain knowledge of this troublesome subject.”

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Ghosts of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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 22, 2012

Chancellor's Residence on the Move

In 1922, the Building Committee of the Board of Directors at the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG) reported that the state government had approved a measure to allow for the construction of an official home for the president of the institution. This home, according to the official meeting minutes of the Board, would give the president a residence "where he can be at all times in close touch with the faculty and student body." Greensboro architect Harry Barton (who also designed the Quad, Aycock Auditorium, and four other campus buildings) was tasked with the construction.

Chancellor's Residence, circa 2003
This stately Georgian home served as the official residence for campus leaders from President Julius Foust through Chancellor Patricia Sullivan. During the years, it served as a home and a site for hosting special events and dignitaries. Robert Frost, Eleanor Roosevelt, Madeleine L'Engle, and William F. Buckley were all entertained there. But in 1996, Sullivan moved from the residence to a home in Irving Park, which the campus continues to use rent-free thanks to a contribution from the Bryan Foundation.

The Chancellor's Residence stood vacant for three years, and campus trustees and administrators began to debate the home's future. Could it be renovated, or should it be demolished to make way for new construction? In September 1999, the Board of Trustees voted to raze the building, noting that a major renovation of the home into office space would cost more money than constructing a new building  and citing an opportunity for development of new office space on the valuable site.

Alumni and other concerned citizens quickly spoke up. Letters flooded into offices of campus administrators, and letters to local newspaper editors were published asking the Board to reconsider. But in 2000, the demolition recommendation proceeded with approval from the UNC Board of Governors and the Council of State. The organization Preservation North Carolina (PNC) began advocating for the residence's renovation, arguing the building's importance based upon its connection to UNCG's history, its contribution to the appearance of the campus, and the prominence of its architect. Just three weeks before the house's scheduled demolition date, UNCG administrators gave PNC until mid-2001 to raise the estimated $1.8 million necessary to relocate and renovate the building. PNC was able to privately raise the necessary funds (after a few deadline extensions), and on June 7, 2003, the 420-ton home was moved to its new location (900 feet from its old site). Private donors also funded necessary interior and exterior renovation work.
Chancellor Sullivan and former Chancellor William E. Moran
with the Chancellor's Residence on its moving day, 2003

In 2005, the Chancellor's Residence officially reopened as the Jane Harris Armfield and Emily Harris Preyer Admissions and Visitors Center. As PNC noted in a letter to supporters of the project, the house could continue its usefulness and "provide enticing space for student recruitment and alumni development ... [and] bear witness to the major advances in the higher education of women made during the 20th century in North Carolina, while helping shape the future of the university."

Monday, October 15, 2012

William Friday and UNCG

On Friday, October 12, 2012, former UNC President William ("Bill") Friday passed away at the age of 92. He had a great impact on all aspects of education in North Carolina, including the institution we now know as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Friday's relationship with UNCG (at the time, it was Woman's College) began in 1951 when he was named Assistant to the President in the offices of the Consolidated University, which included W.C., N.C. State, and UNC Chapel Hill. His task, as outlined by President Gordon Gray, was to "work with and through" alumni secretaries at the three schools to plan and promote an annual alumni giving campaign.

In 1956, Friday was asked to lead an investigation into W.C. Chancellor Edward Kidder Graham. He brought together a panel of campus leaders (including university Vice President William D. Carmichael as chairman, acting Provost William M. Whyburn, and graduate school Dean William W. Pierson) to conduct hearings that lasted five full days. Over 130 individuals provided confidential testimony to the panel on Graham's leadership of the campus, and ultimately Graham was persuaded to submit his resignation effective at the end of the school year.

Invitation to the inauguration of Friday as
President of the Consolidated University of
North Carolina, 1957
Soon after the hearings, Friday was tapped as the next President of the Consolidated University of North Carolina after Gray left for a position in the Department of Defense. His handling of matters at W.C. was cited as evidence of his ability to lead the organization. He was officially inaugurated on May 8, 1957 at a ceremony at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh.

Four years later, North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford created a Commission on Education Beyond the High School, which was headed by Winston-Salem lawyer Irving Carlyle. Friday was a member of this group, which became known as the Carlyle Commission. The Commission's report, published in 1962, predicted a near doubling of college enrollment in North Carolina by 1975 and called for a major overhaul of the state's higher education system. This report led the 1963 state legislature to create a community college system and elevate existing state-supported two-year colleges in Charlotte, Asheville, and Wilmington to four-year institution. These campuses joined the existing Consolidated University schools to form the UNC System.

Directly impacting W.C., all of the schools in the UNC system were to be made coeducational, and the name of the Woman's College was officially changed to The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Most alumnae opposed the change, and the current student and faculty populations were divided. But ultimately the name change was made effective in July 1963, and the first male undergraduates were admitted to UNCG in Fall 1964.

During his time as UNC President, Friday supervised the consolidation and growth of all of the schools in the UNC system. He fought against a 1963 state-legislature-supported speaker ban, which would have forbidden all colleges and universities receiving state funds from bringing on campus a speaker who was "a known communist or who had pleaded the Fifth Amendment in refusing to answer a question about communist affiliation." He managed the System through the turbulence of the student and social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. And in 1986, after 30 years at the helm, Friday retired from his position as UNC President.

Friday speaking at UNCG's 1988 commencement
After retirement from UNC, Friday continued to be a champion for education, leading the William R. Kenan, Jr., Fund and serving as a founding co-chairman of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. He returned to UNCG as the speaker for the 1988 commencement ceremony. There, he stressed the importance of access to educational opportunities for all North Carolinians. Stating that (at the time) one million North Carolinians lived in poverty, and over 800,000 faced illiteracy, he implored the graduates to take responsibility to the quality of education in the state. Friday concluded his speech to the students, saying, "You must now take your place in that great tradition of responsible and useful citizenship to build an even stronger society where no child will suffer the bondage of poverty and illiteracy and no citizen will fail to know the joy of personal freedom, of reassuring self-respect and the integrity of his or her own person. This is your new assignment and it's going to take a lifetime of courage, of diligence and service."

Monday, October 8, 2012

McIver Statue Centennial, 1912-2012

Charles Duncan McIver, ca. 1895
Charles Duncan McIver was born on September 27, 1860, to Henry McIver and Sarah “Sallie” Harrington McIver in Moore County, North Carolina.

He entered the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill in 1877 and graduated in 1881.  After graduating from UNC, he accepted the assistant headmaster position at the Presbyterian Male Academy in Durham, North Carolina.  McIver was elected principal of the newly established graded high school in Durham in 1882.  After two years, he resigned his position in Durham for a teaching position at the Winston Graded School in Winston, North Carolina, where he met his future wife, Lula Martin.  They were married on July 29, 1885 and had four children.
McIver accepted the position of head of the literary department at Peace Institute, a girl’s school in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1886.   While in Raleigh, he lobbied for a normal or teacher training school for women.
In 1889, he and Edwin A. Alderman were chosen by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to conduct a series of teacher institutes to instruct teachers and enlighten the public about the need for a normal school in North Carolina.
With an annual salary of $2,500.00, McIver was appointed the first president of the newly established State Normal and Industrial School in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1891.
The McIver Statue in front of the
McIver Memorial Building,ca. 1956
Unfortunately, he died on September 17, 1906, at the age of 45; however, he did see his dream of founding a college to educate women in North Carolina realized – that institution is now known as The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Shortly after McIver’s death, a committee was appointed by Governor Robert Glenn to raise funds to erect a statue in McIver’s memory.  Two bronze eight-foot statues of McIver was sculpted by French-born American artist Frederick W. Ruckstuhl in Paris, France, and cast by the Fonderie Nationale des Bronzes in Brussels, Belgium. The original statue costing $7,000 and was erected on the State Capitol grounds in Raleigh, North Carolina, and dedicated on May 15, 1912.  A duplicated statue costing $1,100 and was erected on the campus of the State Normal and Industrial College now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  The statue was dedicated on Founders Day, October 5, 1912, and stood in front of the McIver Memorial Building.

The McIver Statue after restoration, 1990/91
After the McIver Memorial Building was razed in 1958 and the current McIver Building erected in 1960, the statue was relocated to the area in front of Jackson Library, a more central location on campus.  Starting in the late 1950s, students began to paint and decorate the statue, so by the 1980s, the statue was in disrepair due to the weather and being periodically cleaned with cleaning solutions.

In November 1990, the statue was shipped to Karkadoulias Bronze Art, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio, to be cleaned and restored.  After the restoration, which totaled $7,500, the statue was returned to campus on May 10, 1991 in time for the university's centennial celebration.
Since its dedication 100 years ago, the McIver Statue has been and continues to be one of the most recognizable images on campus.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Starting Classes at State Normal

The institution now known as The University of North Carolina at Greensboro was originally chartered by the State of North Carolina in February 1891. The school was founded to train female teachers and instruct them in “drawing, telegraphy, type-writing, stenography, and such other industrial arts as may be suitable to their sex and conducive to their support and usefulness.” Leading the charge in the establishment and development of the school was Charles Duncan McIver, a staunch advocate for public schools, teacher education, and higher education for women. After the state legislature approved funding, McIver was named the first president of what would be called the State Normal.

View of the State Normal campus from Spring Garden Street, 1894
Four North Carolina communities put forth offers to be the home for the new school: Durham, Graham, Thomasville, and Greensboro. Ultimately, Greensboro won due to its relatively central location and the convergence of railroad lines from six directions. After a year spent planning the new school and constructing its facilities, the State Normal officially opened its doors for an initial class of 198 female students from across North Carolina on October 5, 1892.

Classes offered at the State Normal were divided into three departments: normal (teaching), business, and domestic science. The normal, listed as the leading department, included pedagogy classes as well as coursework in English, history, math, science, foreign language, art, music, and physical culture. This department also served as the academic home for McIver. In addition to serving as President of the school, he taught courses in pedagogy, education, and civics – courses that maybe went on a bit longer than anticipated. A memoir written by a staff member noted that “both in class and in chapel, he kept the students after the appointed hour so frequently that faculty members tried to avoid having their own classes scheduled in the following periods.”

President Charles Duncan McIver and the State Normal faculty, 1893
The standard course load for these new students included 22 to 27 class meetings per week, divided among six or eight individual courses. Study time was curtailed by the dormitory lights-out rule from 10 pm to 6 am, designed to ensure that students got adequate sleep. Every freshman regardless of major took the same eight courses in algebra, English, general and English history, Latin, physical geography and botany, drawing, vocal music, and physical culture, except that domestic science students substituted sewing for drawing.

Founding the State Normal proved to be a milestone in education – and particularly women’s education – in North Carolina and throughout the United States. McIver and the early educators and students at the State Normal set the groundwork for UNCG as it stands today. One hundred twenty years after the first classes took place, the legacy remains.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcome to Spartan Stories!

Welcome to Spartan Stories! Here, staff of the University Archives at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro will share tales from the long history of our institution. From its founding in 1891 as a publicly-funded school for women's higher education to its current standing as a learner-centered public research university, UNCG has a unique history filled with interesting stories. On this blog, we look to share these stories with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and others who wish to learn more about how our university became - and, in many ways, has always been - a source of innovation and leadership within North Carolina and beyond.

View of campus along College Avenue, 1905
Join us every Monday morning (beginning October 1, 2012) as we tell a new Spartan Story. You can subscribe to the blog via RSS feed or email using the options on the right side of the screen. And please feel free to share links to the site with anyone you feel would be interested. We hope you will enjoy our glimpses from the past as much as we enjoy sharing them!