Monday, December 30, 2013

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 6th for a new Spartan Story.

Spencer Residence Hall in the snow, 1950

Monday, December 23, 2013

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 6th for a new Spartan Story.

Foust Building in the snow, 2000

Monday, December 16, 2013

Minnie Lou Jamison: the second line of defense

Minnie Lou Jamison, a native of Rowan County, was one of the 225 students who entered the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) when the doors opened in the fall of 1892. From Scotch-Irish descent, Jamison attended a local academy in her native Rowan County and taught school for several years before applying to State Normal. In 1896, she accepted a faculty position in the Department of Home Economics.

Minnie Lou Jamison
Jamison focused her efforts on the school’s Home Economics Department until 1915 when she was given a leave of absence to accept a position as a home demonstration agent for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. This position grew out of the Smith-Lever Act, which had been established the previous year as a system of “cooperative extension services” to inform people about developments in home economics, agriculture, public policy, and other related topics. In her new position, Jamison formed rural women’s clubs to study foods and elevate knowledge of healthy diets, meal efficiency, and food conservation. She traveled to the most rural areas of the state, convincing women of the benefits of “simple home conveniences” such as fireless cookers, similar to a modern crock-pot.  At the request of many of these women, she wrote several pamphlets including “Plans for Community Club Work in the Study in Foods and Household Conveniences,” which saw three printings. This government publication was distributed throughout the United States in addition to many foreign countries.

On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany. The same year, Jamison was called back to the college to help with mobilizing the home front, the “second line of defense” of the War.  At the suggestion of Herbert Hoover, who was then the national food administrator, Jamison taught a ten day course in food conservation at the college. She began to give similar presentations to women throughout the state. Jamison reached over 18,000 women with her 200 demonstrations. These classes included canning, meat substitutions, creating recipes for cold dishes and balanced meals, and demonstrations of drying fruits and vegetables. She designed a community food dryer for her demonstration classes, and then shared it with the Women’s Defense League of Guilford County. It was estimated that more than 1500 pounds of fruit and vegetables were conserved in the dryer.
World War I Food Preservation
On May 14, 1918, Jamison became the secretary of the North Carolina College Volunteer Workers and of the Women’s Land Army. She rallied hundreds of girls throughout the state, creating units at most of the colleges, including the State Colored Normal School in Fayetteville, now Fayetteville State University, which was commended for bringing in members of the community to learn canning and food preservation.  These girls were asked to work within their communities to upgrade the standards of living, including recruiting well-trained teachers for state schools, assisting in the state’s farm work, and general community upkeep. An interesting part of this work was the early assistance of the state’s “mill girls,” who were an overlooked demographic. Young volunteers assisted these girls by forming reading circles, creating libraries, teaching music education, and even giving them helpful hints in making their clothes and hats. At State Normal, Jamison organized the students to preserve the food harvested from the college farm and to ration it for school use.  When the War ended, Jamison continued to work with rural women throughout the state through the Home Demonstration Extension division of the college. 

The Lady with the Powder-Puff Hair
Then it all ended. A nearly fatal car accident in June of 1922 kept her convalescing until 1924. When she returned to the college, which had since changed its name to the North Carolina College for Women, she did so as a freshman counselor. Jamison was extremely popular with the students, believing that “her girls could do no wrong.” She was well-liked with the students’ dates as well who would bring her favorite flowers and chocolates as a bribe to put in a good word for them. As these students graduated and forged out on their own, many still kept in contact with Jamison, still seeking her sage advice accompanied by her “quick wit and chocolates.”

Jamison went into semi-retirement in 1936, but continued in a part-time capacity as the head of the Student’s Building and counselor of social activities. She became known affectionately to her students as “the lady with the powder-puff hair,” noting her beautiful white hair. She loved social activities and into her eighties Jamison attended all of the college dances in a simple black velvet dress. Always entertaining, as well as modest, Jamison joked that she was glad that she had an “average” mind so that when she began to lose it, it wouldn’t be so noticeable.

Jamison dedicated her entire life to service and to the school. To show its appreciation, in the spring of 1939, the college named a residence hall in her honor. That same year, the students dedicated the school’s yearbook, Pine Needles, to her. Minnie Lou Jamison died in January of 1948 at the age of eighty-one, and was memorialized for her kindness, her sense of humor, and her love of flowers and music. But perhaps her greatest contribution was her push for improvements and modernizations in rural North Carolina, her innovations in food conservation, and her work in mobilizing the state’s second line of defense during a war that was to end all wars.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Warren Ashby Residential College

Today's Spartan Stories post was written by Sophia Kranz, a graduate student in UNCG's Library and Information Science department. In Fall 2013, Sophia interned in Special Collections and University Archives, processing a number of collections, creating finding aids, and developed an online exhibit on the history of computing on campus. The Warren Ashby Residential College Records, an archival collection Sophia processed during her internship, provided historical information for this post.

Located in Mary Foust Hall, the Warren Ashby Residential College is among the oldest continually operating living-learning communities in North Carolina. Wanting to keep the intimate academic experience at the university, “Residential College” was founded in 1970 by the Dean of Arts and Sciences Robert Miller and Professor of Philosophy Warren Ashby. In developing the residential college, they stressed the need for a community and wanted to develop a strong connection between liberal studies and community life, where its residents form a unity of academic and social experiences.

Instruction in Warren Ashby Residential College
Admission into the residential college is by invitation through student applications. The college wants a representative group of the entire class, academically, ethnically, economically, and by gender. Ashby students are offered priority access to an in-house academic program which focuses primarily on fulfilling the UNCG General Education Curriculum (GEC) requirements. Ashby provides a setting that encourages innovative study, small classes, unity of academic and social experiences, and close student-faculty contacts. The program is intended to challenge students to think critically and systematically about a variety of relevant issues and to link their academic fields to societal challenges. Students are usually confined to their freshman and sophomore years within the college due to more specialized studies in the student's junior and senior years. Following the two year stay in the residential college, most of Ashby's students become student leaders on campus and to achieve academic honors.

Mary Foust Residence Hall, circa 1973
The ARC offers a unique experience of having small classes held within in the building in relaxed environments, faculty offices, and having live-in faculty members. This results in a close knit community allowing its students to freely explore their academic, service, and social interests. Students are also encouraged to be a part of committees within the ARC and campus wide to develop leadership skills and collaborative learning opportunities.

On September 6, 2007, the UNCG Board of Trustees voted to officially name the residential college program in memory of Warren Ashby, who taught at the university for more than 30 years and was the first director of the residential college.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mourning the Legacy of Chinqua Penn Plantation

Exterior of Chinqua Penn

Like a scene from Citizen Kane, in April 2012, a public auction was held to sell hundreds of items from Chinqua Penn Plantation. Spanish religious sculpture, jade and quartz statues from the East, Italian Renaissance furniture, 16th century stained glass windows, rare books, rugs and tapestries – a life-time of collecting by the original owners of the house.  This sad chapter in the fate of a once grand manor would take place minutes away from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), which at one time had been closely involved with the history of the estate. Between 1959 and 2006, this beautiful mansion, located outside of Reidsville, North Carolina, was in the care of UNCG. The home and its almost 1000 acre grounds were given to the Consolidated University of North Carolina, which included the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State College (NC State), and Woman’s College (now UNCG), on October 20, 1959. This large and generous gift was accepted at a formal presentation ceremony by then Governor Luther H. Hodges on behalf of the university system and the people of the state of North Carolina. There were twenty Woman’s College students assisting at the presentation wearing their class jackets.

Woman's College students attending the presentation

The university system initially saw Chinqua Penn as a top tourist destination and a research center. UNCG would manage the house and NC State would develop a beef cattle and crop research center and operate a 4-H Club camp by the 25 ½ acre lake. The home was also seen as a perfect location for North Carolina students to study art and interior design. It was a treasure trove of architecture and decorative arts; a culmination of years of travel and collecting by Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Penn and his wife Margaret “Betsy” Schoellkoph Penn.  Mr. Penn was a native of Reidsville and a descendant of both William Penn and Thomas Jefferson.  Mrs. Penn was from an affluent New York family that helped harness power from Niagara Falls. The family pedigrees were buoyed by serious tobacco money. The management of tobacco interests in the East as well as three world tours gave the Penns an ideal platform from which to amass their extensive collection. To house these treasures, the Penns built a thirty-room mansion created from the stone that surrounded the land. It was decorated in an eclectic style with art and architecture from every corner of the world, including a full size stone and timber pagoda. Completed in 1925, they named the “plantation” Chinqua Penn, which was a combination of their family name and the chinquapin, a species of the American chestnut tree, which was indigenous to the area.

Interior photograph showing art treasures

The Penns had always intended to give the plantation to the state of North Carolina and when Mr. Penn passed away in 1946, Mrs. Penn began to make plans for the estate.  When she formally presented the home and grounds, worth over $6,000,000 in 1959, to the state she also gave the university system more than $750,000 to maintain the home and its vast farmlands, orchards, lakes, forest, and livestock. Provisions in this gift stated that she be allowed the status of lifetime tenant, giving her full rights to the property until her death and that after twelve years, if the management of the estate became “unfeasible,” the university system could dispose of the property as they saw fit.
For twenty-five years after Mrs. Penn’s death in 1965, UNCG and NC State oversaw the operations of Chinqua Penn.  Management and economic challenges faced by operating the estate, as well as over $2,000,000 in estimated repairs, forced the UNCG Board of Trustees to close the house to tours in 1991. A non-profit agency quickly formed in an attempt to keep the home open to the public, but “lack of funding, economic conditions, and debt” required them to give up the endeavor in 2002.

Gardens surrounding the house

Chinqua Penn’s fortune seemed to change when in 2006, Calvin Phelps, a local businessman also involved in the tobacco industry, purchased the home and 23 acres of land from the university system for $4,100,000. He immediately opened it for tours and planned to expand the use of the property to include a winery, overnight lodging, corporate conferences, and weddings. NC State continued to retain the Penn 4-H Educational Center. By 2012, besieged by financial and legal troubles, Phelps was ordered by the United States Bankruptcy Court to sell Chinqua Penn’s art, artifacts, and furnishings during a two-day auction in Greensboro, North Carolina. The items sold for more than $3,000,000, which was funneled to his many creditors. Some of the objects were purchased by Lindley Butler on behalf of the Museum and Archives of Rockingham County. On September 18, 2013, Chinqua Penn went into foreclosure, with SunTrust Bank purchasing the property for $1,400,000. The house now stands empty - its treasures dispersed and its future unknown.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Flashback 100 Years: Campus Life in 1913

One hundred years ago in 1913, Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as president of the United States, the first automobile road to cross the U.S. (the Lincoln Highway) opened, and R.J. Reynolds introduced to the world its new Camel brand of packaged cigarettes. Also, in May, State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG) celebrated its 20th graduating class. While the primary mission of the school (educating female teachers) remained the same, the school had changed and grown significantly since its founding in 1891.

College Avenue from Spring Garden Street, 1913
In 1913, Julius Foust was president of State Normal, leading a campus with approximately 60 faculty members and instructors. Among that teaching staff are names that might be familiar to individuals on campus today. Mary Petty (chemistry), Anna Gove (physiology and hygiene), Walter Clinton Jackson (history), E.J. Forney (stenography and bookkeeping), and new hire Harriet Elliott (political science) all have buildings on the current campus named in their memory.

Students at State Normal had a choice of five courses of study to follow towards an undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Pedagogy, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. Total expenses for a year at State Normal fell around $200 (those taking select science or music classes as well as non-North Carolina residents paid additional fees). The $45 tuition fee, however, was waived for any student who promised to teach for two years in public or private schools in North Carolina after graduation.

1913 Campus Map
Only a handful of buildings remain from the time, including the Administration (now Foust) Building which dates back to the campus's opening in 1892. Additionally, Spencer Hall and the Carnegie Library (now Forney Building) were in use in 1913. A new "model cottage" had just been constructed on Lithia (now Tate) Street to allow home economics students to gain practical experience in home management. Students in the model cottage worked under a monthly budget to plan meals, order groceries and supplied, and do their own cooking and housekeeping "systematically and scientifically." A "training school" (later known at the Curry School) provided pedagogy students with similar practical opportunities.

Campus life was highly restrictive compared to modern standards. A campus bell rang to alert students of meal times, class times, and other mandatory events. Dormitory rules required students to have a written permission note from their parent or guardian allowing visits from men. Additional permission notes were required if a student wanted to spend a night out of the dormitories. Rules also designated when students were to observe quiet times in the dorms (the University Archives has a note written to President Foust reporting two students "for being out in the hall conversing audibly at least five minutes after the seven o'clock bell had rung"). Prior to lunch each day, students were required to attend a campus-wide chapel meeting, where "prayers, with the reading of the Scriptures, and singing, are a part of each day's exercises." Additionally, a mandatory "outdoor walking period" required students to participate in some form of physical activity each day at the designated time.

Senior Field Hockey Team, 1913
Social life on campus revolved primarily around the school's two literary societies: the Adelphian Society and the Cornelian Society. Each student upon arrival at State Normal was assigned membership in one of the two literary societies. The societies sponsored debates, produced plays, held special luncheons, published the campus's bimonthly newspaper, and essentially served as the school's primary outlets for extracurricular activities. Campus did, however, also include a Young Woman's Christian Association (YWCA), a college chorus and orchestra, and a campus dramatic club. The campus Athletic Association also provided another venue for activity, with the classes competing against each other in sports like basketball and field hockey.

The Class of 1913
The 1913 graduation week activities truly exemplified campus life during this time period. Dr. S.C. Mitchell, president of the University of South Carolina, spoke on "The Value of Personality." The newly-formed dramatic club gave its first public performance, captivating the audience with its rendition of Booth Tarkington's "The American." The graduating class presented the school with a portrait of former governor and education advocate Charles B. Aycock (who had died in 1912) as its class gift. And, as a gift in return, Foust gave each of the seniors a ride in his car -- an experience most of the students had never before had.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Annie Petty, State Normal's First Librarian

The library room in the Administration Building, circa 1895
When State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) first opened its doors in October 1892, it did not have a library or library books. Yet, founding president Charles Duncan McIver spoke adamantly of the “Library we are to have,” and he personally donated many of his books to begin the school’s first reference collection. Other faculty members followed suit, donating or lending books from their personal libraries in order to create a collection for student use. The school’s book collection continued to grow, and, in 1896, Annie Florence Petty was hired as State Normal’s first librarian.

Petty grew up in a Quaker family in the Bush Hill community, which is now part of Archdale, NC. Both she and her sister Mary received an early education at the New Garden Boarding School (although Annie graduated in 1894 after the school had already changed its name to Guilford College). Mary, who also completed a degree at Wellesley College, was the first of the Petty sisters to start work at State Normal, teaching chemistry at the school from 1893 through 1934. After a brief period teaching school in Red Springs in Robeson County, NC, her sister Annie arrived at State Normal in 1896 to manage the school’s burgeoning library.

Petty (second row, seated in front of tennis racket)
with other members of the Faculty Tennis Club, 1900
At the time of Annie Petty's arrival, the State Normal's library contained around 600 volumes and was housed in a small room across from the President's office in the Administration (now Foust) Building. Although her official title was “librarian,” Petty did much more than manage the book and periodical collection. She also received and sorted the campus mail, signed for package deliveries, and rang the campus bell to signal the change of classes every forty minutes.

After two years, Petty took a year’s leave of absence to attend the Drexel Library School in Philadelphia, where she gained additional professional training and developed a particular interest in reference services. Advanced professional training for librarians was not commonplace at the time. When Petty returned to her position at State Normal in 1899, she was the first professionally-trained librarian employed in the state of North Carolina.

State Normal's Carnegie Library building, 1905
Petty continued to develop the school’s book and periodical collection, and a dedicated library building was secured in 1905 when philanthropist Andrew Carnegie provided State Normal with a $25,000 grant to construct a campus library building (now known as the Forney Building). This was the first Carnegie grant to be given to construct a college library. Petty, her assistant, and a number of student workers continued to grow the collection and make the library a campus hub.

In addition to her work on campus, Petty was active professionally in the North Carolina Library Association (NCLA). She was a founding member of NCLA’s executive committee in 1904, and in 1908 she was elected as only the second president in the organization’s history. She served an additional presidential term from 1913-1915. She was also the first secretary of the North Carolina Friends Historical Society.

Mary and Annie (standing) Petty, 1952
In 1921, Petty left Greensboro for Raleigh, taking a position as Assistant Secretary of the State Library Commission. She continued her interest in reference librarianship, and was proud to be able to serve readers in her home county of Randolph by developing the state’s first traveling bookmobile. Petty remained at the State Library Commission for twelve years until her retirement. In 1933, she returned to Greensboro, where she shared a home with her sister Mary (who passed away in 1958).

After a long and successful career spent building libraries and library collections at State Normal and across the State of North Carolina, Annie Petty died in 1962 following surgery for a broken hip. She was 91 years old.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Computers on Campus: A History of Academic and Administative Computer Centers at UNCG

Today's Spartan Stories post was written by Sophia Kranz, a graduate student in UNCG's Library and Information Science department. In Fall 2013, Sophia interned in Special Collections and University Archives, processing a number of collections, creating finding aids, and developed an online exhibit on the history of computing on campus. Two of the collections she processed -- the Academic Computer Center Records and the Administrative Computer Center Records -- provided historical information for this blog post.

It is late June 1980 and the campus is busy with excitement for the arrival of UNCG’s first dedicated academic computer. The new computer system, the VAX 11/780, is the first high capacity computer on campus and is “considered the top of the line” as noted by the Director of the Academic Computer Center, Dr. Theodore Hildebrandt. The new computer cost a fortune -- well close enough at $319,980. The VAX was purchased from the Digital Equipment Corporation in Maynard, Massachusetts, and was installed in the new Business and Economics building in early July by the Digital Field Service Engineers. The VAX had all of the latest features, including:
  • Internal memory for over one million characters
  • Magnetic disk storage with a capacity of over 250 million characters
  • Card reader
  • Two magnetic tape drives
  • Capacity to serve over thirty simultaneous interactive terminal users

Roscoe Allen, first director of the Administrative Computer Center
Computing on campus began with the Administrative Computer Center, which was established in the fall of 1967. The center was located in the Petty Science Building and placed under the direction of Roscoe Allen. It was formed to serve the administrative staff as well as the academic and research needs of its faculty and students. The demands of the center were met by an IBM 1401 computer that utilized IBM cards. Soon after in 1971, a new computer was purchased, the RCA 70/35 Spectra, a disk operating system with 65k bytes of memory. The new computer helped campus administration manage admissions, registration, student billing, electronic transcripts, and payroll.

Due to an increased workload and growing demands on the facility, the Administrative Computer Center was reorganized in 1973 and split into two units -- the Academic Computer Center and the Administrative Computer Center. Campus administrators continued to use the existing campus computer, while faculty and students connected to the Triangle Universities Computation Center (TUCC) in Raleigh through a medium speed batch terminal connection.

Joseph Denk, founding director of the Academic Computer Center,
with student Donna Newman, 1974-1975
The Administrative Computer Center remained under the direction of Roscoe Allen. With the division, the center stayed in the Petty Building and quarters were expanded to provide a reception area, Director’s office, and space for programming and systems staff. In 1982, after fifteen years as director, Roscoe Allen returned to full-time teaching as a professor in the Department of Business and Distributive Education. He was replaced by Dr. Eddy H. Cheng.

During the mid-1980s, Dr. Cheng designed a University Management Information System which significantly improved the computing capabilities of UNCG. It allowed campus administrative offices to access the main computer through their personal terminals and no longer required staff to go to the Forney Building, the center’s current location, to use it. By 1987, the center consisted of a staff of twenty-nine including the director.

After the split in 1973, the newly-formed Academic Computer Center opened its doors on October 1 with its main office in the Graham Building and an additional two locations in the Petty Science Center. The center was placed under the direction of Dr. Joseph R. Denk, along with five permanent staff positions and eight student assistants. The primary function of the center was to support instructional computing.  The center held workshops to help faculty and staff become acquainted with the computer and what it could offer. These workshops provided introductions about the facility on services, policies, file and data management, and basics of computing.

After a year, Dr. Joseph R. Denk resigned to become director of the New Jersey Educational Computer Network. The center was place under an Acting Director, Dr. Terry G. Seaks of the Economic Department. On August 1, 1976, Dr. Theodore Hildebrandt was named director of the center. Along with its full time staff, the center also hired student workers. The students were divided into two types: Student Consultants and Student Attendants. The Student Consultants were hired to provide help with programming and debugging for the student and faculty users. The Student Attendants dealt with the operation of the medium-speed HETRA terminal, providing courier service, and other housekeeping duties.

Student making punch cards, 1978
In 1978, the administrative office of the Academic Computer Center was relocated from the Graham Building to the Petty Science Building and then again in 1979 to the new Bryan Building. The new facilities provided for a separate room for reference materials used by Student Consultants to aid in consultations. Dr. Hildebrandt led a campaign to gather funds to acquire their own computer for the center and succeeded in purchasing one in 1980. The new academic computer, the DEC VAX-11/780, allowed for the center to not only have their own computer and not have to share with the Administrative Computer Center, but enabled them to no longer have to connect with TUCC. The new computer resulted in the building of thirteen new interactive terminals and allowed access in three other buildings on campus.

After ten years of leading the center, Dr. Hildebrandt resigned in 1986 and returned to teaching and research in the Department of Mathematics. Dr. Gary Grandon became the new director and saw great expansion. By 1988, the center was responsible for maintaining and providing user service for twelve student labs on campus, five faculty self-service labs on campus, and training for faculty and staff in the McNutt Building. Workshops and seminars were given on such topics as introduction to word processing and spreadsheets, hard disk organization and maintenance, desktop publishing, and presentation graphics for faculty.

Student computer lab, 1989
With the need for a campus-wide computer network, the Administrative Computer Center and Academic Computer Center merged back into a single operation in 1990 becoming Computing and Information Systems. The new unit was placed under the control of Richard L. Moore as an interim director. He was replaced a year later by James Clotfelter. By this time, the campus had successfully completed installation of a broadband cable system. Also, a growing number of faculty offices had computers from which academics could access all of the computing and communications services offered across the campus. 

It is amazing to think how far technology has come in the last thirty years. The cell phones that we carry in our pockets are capable of doing ten times what the VAX 11/780 offered and cost just a tiny a fraction.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Music on Demand, Part 1: Marketing Music Education to the State Normal and Industrial School Curriculum, 1892-1912

Glee Club, 1895-96. The only music training
provided at this time was vocal. 

The first students to attend the State Normal and Industrial School in 1892 were greeted by a progressive curriculum, demanding competencies in many disciplines unfamiliar to women of that time. Charles Duncan McIver’s insistence that women educated in a liberal arts curriculum would remedy the state of education in the South acquainted these women with courses in classical languages, history, and literature, in addition to the expected training. With importance on providing education emphasizing a trade or skill set, however, how much support should be devoted to the fine arts? Was there a profit to providing these students with a music education?

Dr. McIver and the Board of Directors believed that at least a modest music education was of use to these future teachers and mothers, creating the Department of Vocal Music. Clarence R. Brown, one of three men in the original teaching faculty, was appointed by McIver, and Lina McDonald was hired as his assistant (McDonald died within a few months after being hired; she was hit by a train walking along west campus). Brown taught music privately in Winston-Salem, and in a letter to McIver, stated that he would not require a high salary, as he could use his trips to the School to recruit Greensboro students for individual instruction. As men faculty earned significantly more than women faculty (the rationale being men carried the financial burden of a family), Brown’s offer was both prudent and convenient. In addition to teaching classes in vocal music, Brown conducted the Glee Club, the first School music ensemble.

In the first annual catalog for the Normal and Industrial School, the Department of Vocal Music advertised itself based on three selling points. First, the department marketed itself by promoting the acquisition of a basic music education as an essential trend for Americans entering the workforce. Furthermore, the departmental mission insinuated that a lack of competency in music is detrimental to religious institutions, as the quality of a service would degrade. Since perpetuating Christian teachings was held as the responsibly of mothers and the female members of a congregation, vocal music instruction was deemed as especially critical for the education of women. Finally, the Music Department boasted itself as a democratic program in stating every student, “regardless of any special talent for music,” should have the opportunity to receive some form of music education. This advocating of music as a universally required skill for women was supported philosophically for all students, but only monetarily for future teachers.

The 1902 State Normal and Industrial School Orchestra
It did not take long for students interested in instrumental performance to petition for instructional support. In 1899, McIver, with agreement from the Board of Directors, hired Charles and Laura Brockmann (brother and sister) to form the Department of Instrumental Music. The Brockmann’s were familiar to the School, having operated the Brockmann School of Music on 410 East Market Street. Also, Brockmann students performed at campus events requiring instrumental music, fulfilling the role of the orchestra. Concentrating on piano and violin performance, the “Infant Orchestra” was introduced the 1900/01 academic year. While popular demand by students for an expansion of this music curriculum undoubtedly stimulated the creation of a new program, there was an additional motive. 

Because only classes for vocal music were offered by the School, students interested in instrumental tutelage sought out private instructors. In the Student’s Handbook for 1899-1900, of the ten advertisements featured in the back of the publication, half were offering services towards instrumental music lessons. All studios were near campus, and the prices listed ranged from $2.50-$4.00 per month per student. One instructor offered piano lessons in addition to the cost of board for convenient off-campus housing. Greensboro Female College (now Greensboro College) even paid to promote their voice and piano program in the handbook. Clearly, there was a market for instrumental music instruction, and the State Normal and Industrial School students appeared to be a solid customer-base, willing to pay extra for a more robust music curriculum.

The Department of Vocal Music and the Department of Instrumental Music existed primarily as self-subsidized programs; aside from faculty salary, little money was invested by the state for support. Music was categorized as a special type of class, requiring vocal students to pay an extra $20 in fees and instrumental students an additional $40 (unless they promised to serve as teachers for two years after graduation). Instrumental students brought their own instruments, with the exception of a piano, which under the $40.00 fee, rented the piano for one hour of practice per day. This meant that music students in the 1890s-1910s paid at least 20% more out of pocket to the School compared to other students.

Because music faculty earned income privately from independent students, their salaries were not comparably large. Aside from faculty salary and the purchase of $127.54 in sheet music in 1901, the Departments of Vocal and Instrumental Music were not only financially solvent as independent programs, but potentially profitable for the State Normal and Industrial School. The 1902 Board of Director’s report indicated that the Music Department earned $2,318.17, providing greater income for the campus than the campus farm or the Peabody Fund allotment.

The popularity of the music programs continued to increase. As of 1901, the School began to offer a music concentration within the Normal curriculum. The first Bachelors of Music degree was offered in the 1907/08 school year. Obviously, the special music classes not only were viewed as profitable to students as future educators, but to the institution, as well.

This is part one of a series of posts chronicling the history of music programs at UNCG. Part 2 on the early music curriculum will be posted on January 6th, 2014.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Spooky Spartan Story: The Ghosts of UNCG

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

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 21, 2013

Tea-Kettle Talk

October 21-27 is North Carolina Archives Week, an annual, week-long observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. This year's theme is "Celebrating North Carolina Food and Culture."


"We may live without poetry, music and art:
 We may live without conscience and live without heart;
 We may live without friends and live without books,
 But civilized man cannot live without cooks."

These lines from the Victorian-era poem "Lucile" by Owen Meredith (also known as Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton) served as the preface to a 1924 cookbook published by the Alumnae Association of the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG). The cookbook, titled Tea-Kettle Talk, was sold by the Alumnae Association for $1 per copy (an addition five cents for mailing). It collated recipes from the college's alumnae, faculty, and faculty wives alongside "suggestive menus for clubs," "simple table service suggestions," and "household suggestions." Many of the recipes hold titles that boast of being "my husband's favorite." Here are a few of the recipes that you might want to try for your next meal:

Banana Salad from Mrs. E.C. Durham (Roberta Womble)
Select large, smooth bananas, wash and cut off one strip of skin. Lift out one banana, cut in small pieces and add equal parts of nuts, apples, and celery. Pour mayonnaise dressing over the mixture and fill banana skins. Serve on lettuce leaves.

French Toast from Kathleen E. Pettit
Dip slices of bread in well-beaten eggs to which salt and pepper have been added. Drop the egg-covered bread in frying pan of hot lard. A cut of butter melted in the frying pan with the lard adds much to the taste. Turn the slices of bread at intervals until both sides are a golden brown. This is a good breakfast food.

Creamed Dates from Mary E. Coffey
Break white of an egg into a glass, add an equal quantity of ice water and one teaspoon vanilla. Beat until light, add little at a time enough powdered sugar to make a smooth fondant. Remove seeds from dates and fill with mixture. Half a walnut may be stuck in side of dates if desired.

And finally, for those looking for guidelines on table settings, Tea-Kettle Talk offers this guidance:

     Cover the table with a silence-cloth and carefully spread the white linen over this. On an attractive centerpiece place a low jar or vase for cut flowers. Let the flowers be of one kind and color, as far as possible, without a heavy fragrance.
Home Economics students practice tea service
     Place the napkins, carefully folded, to the left of the plates. In placing the silver, arrange it so that each piece shall come in the order for use from the outside toward the plate. Knives, with blades turned in, to the right of the plates; spoons to the right; all forks to the left, unless an oyster fork is used, in which case it should be on the right, with the tines resting on the plate. The plates, knives, forks, spoons, and napkins should be placed one inch from the edge of the table. The glass should be at the end of the knife-blade, and the salt should be placed in front of the plate.
     The bread and butter plate should be at the end of the forks to the left. Soup ladles, bonbon spoons, and rest for carving set should be on the table.
     Olives, almonds, celery, and bonbons are placed on the table.

Monday, October 14, 2013

From Falderal to Homecoming: Celebrating UNCG During Autumn

Today's post was written by senior Rachel Sanders, a student employee in Special Collections and University Archives who has previously written posts about the freshman experience and Pearl Eugenia Wyche (class of 1903)

1979 Pine Needles
Over the course of UNCG’s history, there have been numerous changes to campus traditions and activities. One of the best examples of traditions that survived these changes is Homecoming. In the late 1960s, a tradition called “Falderal” -- sometimes called “the Fall Charlies” -- was started on campus. These events were much like Homecoming today; special guests, sporting events, and free food were plentiful.

The earliest materials that were saved from Falderal celebrations are from 1972, but the best-recorded Falderal celebration was in 1979. The first (and seemingly the only) Falderal mention in the Pine Needles yearbooks is in the 1979 volume – the same year that Chancellor William Ferguson resigned. During that year, the Student Government raised money so that students could have beer to drink at Falderal because there was a specific mention in North Carolina state law saying that student fees could not be used for the purchase of alcohol – a law which is still in effect today (Section II Class 1). In 1979, the celebrations included Tom Chapin, the Bee Gees, the Fat Jack Band, the Doobie Brothers, and several movies for public viewing. In that year, the students who were part of the special events committee baked a 500-pound cake to share with everyone else.

1979 Pine Needles
The transition from Falderal to what we now know as Homecoming seems to have taken place around 1982, though there were alumnae “homecomings” in 1942 and 1978 (some documents claim that the first homecoming was in 1951, but we know that this isn’t true based on mailing records). The 1982 celebration included many of the same elements as Falderal, but the events were on a larger scale with some added elements – concerts (including Rick James!), movies, lectures, presentations, a parade, a soccer game versus Erskine College, fireworks, an art show, and a Founder’s Day dinner. In 1982, the first homecoming queen was crowned – Elizabeth Ford ’83, escorted by Joey Katzenstein. The next year, the first African-American queen was crowned – Cynthia Moore. Since 1982, Homecoming has been held on UNCG’s campus each year at approximately the same time – October. In 1990, a 5K race was added to the celebrations, attracting even more people, not only from UNCG’s campus, but others from the Greensboro community.

Learn more about this year's Homecoming festivities at: Enjoy Homecoming, and keep the Spartan Spirit alive!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Sad Story of the Bailey Sisters

Sarah Bailey
In the fall of 1899, a typhoid epidemic swept the campus.  One of the most tragic stories to emerge from the epidemic was that of Sarah and Evelyn Bailey. The girls were the only children of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bailey of Mocksville, North Carolina. Thomas Bailey, an attorney, banker, and philanthropist sent his daughters to the State Normal and Industrial College (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) for their education. The sisters were very close and were constantly together. Both girls were exemplary students and were members of campus literary societies and religious groups. Sarah was the eldest and was described as a fine girl, one of the brightest in her class. Classmates found younger sister Evelyn quieter and dependent on her older sister. In her application letter to the school, Evelyn requested only that she room with Sarah.

Evelyn Bailey
In early November of 1899, over one hundred students living in the two campus dormitories fell ill; Sarah and Evelyn were among them. Soon after, the school mourned the death of Linda Toms, a student from Shelby. Campus physician, Dr. Anna Gove, reported the cause of death as typhoid. At least forty-eight cases of typhoid would eventually be diagnosed at the school. Sarah’s condition quickly deteriorated and she died on November 29. Thomas Bailey took Sarah back to Mocksville for burial on Thanksgiving Day. The Baileys were careful not to tell Evelyn of her sister’s death as they feared it would impede her recovery. Sadly, five days before Christmas, Evelyn also succumbed to the disease. In the end, thirteen students and one dormitory matron were dead. It was eventually discovered that the epidemic was the result of drinking well water contaminated by a defective sewer line that ran under the Brick Dormitory, the location of the college’s early dining hall.

Mr. Bailey remained loyal to the school after the death of his daughters, even agreeing to be on the Board of Directors. He created a scholarship in their names and when the Students’ Building an was constructed on campus in 1902, he was one of the major contributors. Bailey donated the funds for a beautiful memorial room which had large stained glass windows that faced College Avenue. He also commissioned portraits of his daughters to hang in the memorial room. It is generally believed that William George Randall, a North Carolina artist who had created portraits of the school founders, painted the oval portraits of Sarah and Evelyn, probably from photographs. These portraits are now part of the University Archives collection.
Bailey Memorial Room

Monday, September 30, 2013

Spartan Pets: Faculty and their Dogs in UNCG History

Mary Channing Coleman and Bonnie
In an oral history interview conducted in 2006, Celeste Ulrich (Woman's College class of 1946 and professor in the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from 1956-1979) discussed her life-long love of dogs and her extensive time spent training animals. She noted that, when she arrived at Woman's College as a student in the Fall of 1942, she felt at home because so many of the faculty members had dogs.

For Ulrich and many other students at WC, these faculty pets served as a conversation starter or a way for students to move past shyness or intimidation. As Ulrich stated, "students that were frightened of teachers and so on would come in and pet the dogs, and pretty soon they'd be talking to the teachers about what their real problems were."

Katherine Taylor and Suki
Faculty dogs appear quite frequently in stories of campus history. Mary Channing Coleman, who led the physical education program from 1921 until her death in 1947, was well known among the student body for being a challenging and intimidating instructor. But she was equally well known for her fox terrier, Bonnie. Bonnie traveled with Coleman around campus and even to class. In Ulrich's word, Bonnie "was just as equally ferocious as Miss Coleman."

Katherine Taylor, a 1928 graduate and Dean of Students from 1948 until her retirement in 1972, was also known around campus for her dogs. One of Taylor's pets, a one-eyed basset hound named Suki, made an unexpected appearance in the 1967 Pine Needles (the campus yearbook). According to John Robinson, who served as the photography editor that year, he needed a photograph of Taylor for the yearbook, but he was on a tight deadline. He managed to catch her on campus as she was taking Suki for a walk. Robinson felt bad about taking a photo of Taylor when she was unprepared and "she didn't even have a chance to brush out her hair." But, after the yearbook was published, Taylor thanked him for the picture, saying it was one of her favorites because it captured Suki's "good side."

Faculty dog show (Bardolph, Taylor, and Griffin)
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a faculty dog show was held as part of the Purse Drive, a campus-wide fundraising activity led by the WC's Service League. In 1958, the dog show, held in the Elliott Hall ballroom, concluded the week-long charity effort. In 1962, the Pine Needles featured a photograph of Taylor along with professors Richard Bardolph (History and Political Science department) and Ellen Griffin (Physical Education department) at the dog show. Suki can be seen hiding in the background.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A short history of the Printing Press at Jackson Library

If you have ever ventured to the second floor of Jackson Library’s main building, you might have noticed an antique printing press sitting in the corner near the stairs.  The press is a A.B. Taylor Company Printing Press No. 2 and was built between 1854-1855. This history of how the library acquired such a unique historical artifact began in March 1960 when Mrs. Martha Hodges, wife of NC Governor Luther H. Hodges and head of the Friends of the Library at Woman’s College (now known as UNCG) received a letter from E.A. Resech, editor of The Chatham News. Resech, who is the executor and trustee of the late Miss Beatrice Cobb, wanted to offer the printing press as a gift to the Woman’s College.  Mrs. Hodges forwarded the letter to library director, Mr. Charles Adams, who eagerly accepted the printing press on behalf of the library.

Prior to arriving at the library, the printing press resided in Lenoir, North Carolina, where it was used to publish the Lenoir Tropic newspaper in the 1880s.  According to legend, the press was purchased from Greeneville, Tennessee where it was believed former 17th president Andrew Johnson used it as part of a printing business. In 1890, the press was purchased by Mr. W.C. Ervin, the father of Miss Cobb and the founder of the Morganton Herald, and moved to West Virginia. 

Unfortunately, when the press arrived at Jackson Library, it was not in working condition and was missing several important pieces, including a toggle joint, a tympan, and a friket. In a desperate desire to have a working printing press, Adams and assistant library director Stan Hicks began a decade-long search for the missing pieces.  After numerous letters and years of unsuccessful searching, Hicks finally had a breakthrough in 1975 when he discovered another No. 2 Taylor press in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  After photographing and making sketches of the press, machinists in Greensboro were able to reproduce the missing toggle joint and craft the other missing pieces.  In May 1975, the printing press was once again in full working order.

It was also discovered in 1974 in correspondence with Hugh Lawing, a historian at the Andrew Johnson National Historical Site, that the press did not belong to Andrew Johnson.  Instead, the press more likely belong to Andrew Johnson, Jr. the son of President Andrew Johnson.  It was well known that he and Thomas Maloney, grandson-in-law of President Johnson, published the Greeneville Intelligencer, a weekly newspaper in the mid-1870s. The press is currently still in use today at Jackson Library and has been used most recently to create special printings for various library events.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Freshman Experience

Today's post was written by Rachel Sanders, a senior history major who works in the Special Collections and University Archives.  Rachel is also chair of the Student Libraries' Advisory Council and works with the Libraries' Digital Projects on the grant "Preserving Local History: A Field-Based Digitization Pilot Project."
Being a freshman in college is not an easy thing – and it never has been! Here in the UNCG University Archives, we have information about how freshmen were welcomed and oriented to campus dating back as early as 1896. Back then, things were quite different from today in a lot of ways – including how freshmen were treated.

Student life in the 1890s
In 1896, the welcome program was spread out over three consecutive days at the beginning of October. The “Organization Exercises,” as they were then called, were used to test students’ abilities in English, Arithmetic, Languages, and Drawing. Other subjects tested included Botany, Geography, and Physiology. The same was true for the 1897 program. It’s clear from reading documents from this era that the girls who attended the college were not given much independence or choice at all with regard to their education and orientation. The events all appear to be quite structured and uniform - everyone was together at all times during these sessions.

1918 College Night Reception program
Around 1918, things started to change. During that year’s orientation, there was a college night reception in which the student body president and the campus Y.W.C.A. president spoke and the girls sang the college song. There were also presentations by each class (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior) and presentations by each literary society on campus (Dikean, Cornelian, and Adelphian). Groups like the Athletic Association, the Dramatic Club, and the Farmerettes came to the reception to promote their groups and to demonstrate the skills that girls could hope to improve if they joined those groups. On this night there was also a presentation by the College Magazine and the local Red Cross chapter.

By 1929, things were more personal and the girls were trusted with more responsibilities – supervision and structure were relaxed a little, and the 1929 freshman program had stretched out to a weeklong event. As the campus grew, girls in orientation sessions were split into many different groups and given tours of the library, the infirmary, and other campus buildings. They also had group pictures taken – many of which can be seen in the photograph collections here at University Archives. Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, this format for welcoming students was retained, and eventually these orientations began to include auditions for ensembles and groups around campus.

Student reception, ca. 1950s
Since the mid-twentieth century, things have gone through even more radical changes. In 1989, the Office of Academic Advising and Support Services published a “Freshman Survival Guide” to help new students find all of the new resources that were available on campus – this guide also gave students information about what those offices could do for the students (now men and women were on campus). Today things are similar, but with a modern twist. As the student population at UNCG has increased, so have initiatives to welcome and acquaint students with the massive amounts of programs and resources available to them. Now we have an entire program in the summer called SOAR (Spartan Orientation, Advising, and Registration), and a program known as “Your First Year,” which welcomes new students to campus with tours, parties, exhibitions, and other special events. You can find more information about this program here:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Food Service Workers' Strike of 1969

Cafeteria food service on campus was first introduced in the 1950s, but dissatisfaction soon mounted as growing enrollments brought longer lines and complaints about the choices and quality of the food offered. In 1964, the Carolinian student newspaper ran a comparative analysis of the food services offered at UNCG, Chapel Hill, and N.C. State, finding the other two institutions’ services superior to those on the Greensboro campus. In response to this criticism, the university gave up its own food service that summer and, for the first time, contracted with a national campus food service, ARA-Slater (now Aramark).

This relationship between UNCG and ARA-Slater would last for forty-five years (until 2009), but not without controversy. The first strike against ARA-Slater occurred in December 1964, when black full-time employees objected to a proposed pay cut, even though they were already being paid only ten cents an hour more than primarily white part-time student employees.

Scene from the picket lines of the ARA Strike, 1969
By 1969, tensions had increased. Following strikes at UNC-Chapel Hill and at North Carolina A&T, ARA-Slater employees at UNCG - including some who were students at A&T - went out on strike on March 26. The issues included the hourly wage, lack of overtime pay, sick and holiday pay, performance reviews, and dismissal procedures. A flyer noted that the "demands must be met as soon as possible but no later than immediately." While not overtly related to race, the workers' grievances underscored the differences in opportunities and expectation afforded to the university's primarily white students and the primarily black staff that served them. As Chancellor Ferguson would later recall, "Initially, the strike was not a black and white issue, but in time an element of race conflict was involved because most of the workers were black."

Following the walkout, the SGA voted to support the striking workers and to call for a boycott of the cafeteria. In a controversial move, SGA also voted to use student funds to hire an attorney to represent the striking workers. On the night of March 31, a crowd of approximately 1200 students, including activists from A&T, demanded that Chancellor Ferguson answer their demands. Ferguson agreed to address the campus the next day, at which time he stated that he must remain neutral. Behind the scenes, however, Ferguson was involved in the negotiations between ARA-Slater and well-respected black attorney Henry Frye. In the end, ARA-Slater offered the striking workers even more than they had requested, and the strike ended April 2. Despite calls for competitive bidding, ARA-Slater's contract was renewed for the following year.

Monday, September 2, 2013

School Spirit at UNCG: Banners and Pennants

Class of 1951
Banners and pennants have been a part of college life since the early twentieth century, but they have a long and remarkable history. The word “banner” originates with the Latin word “bandum,” meaning a cloth used to make flags.  Throughout history, banners accompanied official proclamations or edicts. They were decorated with heraldry and were commonly used in battle as rallying points and as a way to identify units of soldiers. Early square or rectangular banners led formal processions and could also be seen as decorative additions to churches or castles.

On the UNCG campus, banners were created by each class, displaying the graduating year or the class motto. The early mottos were in Latin. Each banner reflected the class color, alternating between red, green, blue, and lavender. Often, the banners had embellishments such as gold roping, tassels, and trim.  During reunion weekends, class banners were used as gathering points and for the alumnae parades. 

Pennants had a nautical beginning. They began as long, tapering, triangular flags, used on ships for identification or to signal other vessels. The triangular pennant shape was used in recent years to recognize sports teams, especially professional baseball teams. The pennants’ association with college sports made it a common sight in college dormitory rooms and soon college’s themselves were represented, usually incorporating school colors.

UNCG has a long and rich history of class pennants. Students used large pennants, sporting their class graduation year and decorated with their class colors, to represent themselves at gatherings and sporting events. Smaller versions, using school colors and the current school name, decorated dormitories and can still be purchased in the campus bookstore. The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives has a large collection of banners and pennants, the earliest created during the turn of the 19th century. Please browse the banners and pennants in the University Archive’s textile collection.