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