Monday, April 28, 2014

Naming of the Joseph M. Bryan Building

After operating for ten years in various locations around campus, the School of Business and Economics finally had a permanent home when the School of Business and Economics building opened in January 1980. Construction began on the building project in 1977 and the 123,000 square foot reinforced concrete structure was completed million in November 1979 at a cost of $4.9 million. A unique feature of the building was its computer and television distribution system, which connected all of the classrooms and faculty offices. This design allowed computer generated television programs to be broadcast to all classrooms.

Bryan Building
In July 1987, the UNCG Board of Trustees formally approved the renaming of the School of Business and Economics to the Joseph M. Bryan School of Business and Economics. It was the first time that a professional school had been named for an individual at the university. The honor was given to Mr. Joseph M. Bryan, an extremely successful local businessman, who upon retirement, dedicated his life to philanthropy by financially supporting universities, medical intuitions, and recreational facilities within North Carolina. At the time of the dedication, Mr. Bryan had already given UNCG a $1 million donation in 1983 and would later give another $5 million upon his death in 1995.

Although the business school was named after Mr. Bryan, the building that housed the academic departments was still known as the School of Business and Economics Building. In June 1989, Mr. Bryan pledged a financial gift of $666,000 to UNCG for the creation of a $1 million endowed professorship called the Joseph M. Bryan Distinguished Professorship. Shortly after his generous donation, UNCG President William Moran recommended to the UNCG Board of Trustees that the current School of Business and Economics Building be officially renamed the Joseph M. Bryan Building. In September 1989, the motion was passed by the board members and the building officially changed its name. Today, the name of building is commonly shortened to the Bryan Building.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Outdoor Gymnasium

Outdoor Gymnasium
Physical education was an important part of the curriculum of the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG). The program was expanded in the early 1920s to include gymnastics, outdoor sports, and folk and aesthetic dancing. New space was desperately needed to provide a sheltered area for outdoor sports and additional room for indoor activities. Previous space for indoor gymnastics had included a room in the Administration Building (later named the Foust Building), the Curry Building Chapel, and the basement of Spencer Dormitory.

When Mary Channing Coleman became the director of the physical education department in 1921, she rejuvenated the program and new athletic space was immediately planned. An outdoor gymnasium was affordable and would allow more space for athletics until a larger structure could be built. This new gymnasium was designed by local architect Harry Barton in 1922, at a cost of $9,871.83. It was a large wooden structure, measuring approximately 91 feet long, 51 feet wide and 20 feet to the top of the eaves.

Student Skaters in the Outdoor Gymnasium, 1942
In preparation for inclement weather, the Gymnasium was equipped with canvas “drops” which could completely enclose the building. In addition to physical education classes, the Outdoor Gymnasium became a popular spot for basketball, roller-skating, and rainy day activities. Located west of Shaw Residence Hall, the outdoor gymnasium was completed three years before the construction of the Rosenthal Gymnasium.  It would soon be overshadowed by the new gymnasium which was hailed as one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the country. Rosenthal Gymnasium included a swimming pool, an indoor golf room, a mirrored dance studio, and a bowling alley. The outdoor space was used during bad weather and for overflow physical education activities until 1964 when it was torn down.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Summer Studies at the Shore

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

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

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

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

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

The 1961-1962 course bulletin contains the last direct reference to the Invertebrate Zoology course conducted at the Beaufort facility by Shaftesbury (who had become professor emeritus in 1959). Current UNCG students, however, can study marine science in Beaufort as part of a 20-college Marine Science Education Consortium that send students to the Duke Marine Lab for a semester or for summer session.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lucille Pugh: Woman Lawyer

On April 28, 1899, Lucille Pugh of Lewiston in Eastern North Carolina wrote Charles Duncan McIver to petition for admittance to the State Normal and Industrial School. Pugh was the daughter of a cotton farmer, and, like many students who wrote McIver, her family was not able to cover the cost of tuition, room, and board. She wrote, "I am very anxious to attend the Normal College this fall, but am not able to defray my expenses." She asks if there are any jobs available at the school that she can perform, adding that she is "willing to do anything to get an education." After learning more about her education up that point, McIver offered her a position in the "laundry department." While Pugh admitted that she had "never ironed any," she was willing and able to do the work, as it meant she could further her education.

Sixteen-year-old Pugh arrived at State Normal in October 1899 to begin her studies. But her financial woes continued. In November 1899, she borrowed money from McIver to travel home, but was unable to repay it upon her return. Prior to each successive semester, she writes McIver to petition for a campus job, fearing that a lack of funds would prohibit her from returning to State Normal. In the Summer of 1901, she went so far as to move to Atlantic City, NJ, to take a job as a cashier in hopes of raising enough money to cover her college expenses for the following year. That job, combined with a gift from an undisclosed source, gave her enough money to return to State Normal in the fall. But by January, she had no more money and her father, who was ill with "yellow chills" (likely malaria), was unable to harvest a crop and could not pay her school bills. She was forced to leave the school in early 1902.

Sadly, Pugh's story was not an uncommon one. Many State Normal students were forced to withdraw before completing the program due to the financial strain on their families. What Pugh did after leaving State Normal, however, sets her in a class by herself. She traveled to New York to visit an aunt, and, after working for a while as a stenographer, she enrolled in night classes at the New York University Law School. In 1908, she graduated and was admitted to the New York Bar Association at the age of 24.

Only four years later, Pugh became the first female lawyer in the country to defend an accused murderer when she was assigned the case of LeRoy Poindexter, an African American man accused of killing a white man over a game of craps. In her defense of Poindexter, Pugh argued that his 14th Amendment rights had been violated because neither the grand jury that indicted him nor the special jury impaneled to try him had any African American members. This was a common situation in most New York courts, but Pugh's argument against it was extremely progressive. In fact, it wasn't until 23 years later that an American court saw a reversal of a conviction of black man for murder on the grounds that African American were excluded from jury service. Ultimately, Pugh's arguments proved only partially successful. Poindexter was convicted not of murder but of manslaughter in the 2nd degree -- the least of the charges against him. He was sentenced to seven and a half to 15 years in the state penitentiary.

"Miss Pugh as she appears for social occasions," 1925
Her criminal and civil casework continued, but in 1917, her personal life became front page news when she filed for divorce from Ray E. Pierce, her husband of nine years. While they had married in 1908, they lived apart and, because she worked using her maiden name, few people knew Pugh had ever been married. In 1915, however, she had actually written an article in the New York Times in opposition to the commonly-held belief that married women were required to use their husband's last name in any legal documents. She continued this argument in 1920, stating that "women's efforts to retain their names after marriage are the first faint whirring of the clock of time about to strike freedom for women."

Even more scandalous than her marriage and divorce was her choice of attire in court. A November 1912 headline referred to her as a "girl lawyer in male attire in the court." The article described her as dressed in "conventional man's attire, except the trousers ... On her head she wore a natty derby. A standing collar with a four-in-hand tie showed above her short, mannish coat." Pugh herself stated, "I believe that the business woman should do away with the air of special privilege, which ultra-feminine clothes give a woman, when she is acting in fair competition with men. Her clothes should be impersonal. She should not use her sex to create an advantage in a business situation, for she is then employing unfair tactics."

"Miss Pugh as attired for business," 1925
Pugh continued her legal work and advocacy for women's rights for decades. In 1925, she represented Lillian N. Duke, recently-deceased tobacco magnate J.B. Duke's first wife, in her efforts to claim some of Duke family fortune. In 1931, she was a leader in the effort to allow women access to the Bar Association of New York City's building. And in 1937, she was fined $250 and sentenced to ten days in "the workhouse" for contempt of court after charging a municipal court justice with malice and bias when he ruled against her request for a mistrial. A New York Times article quotes her as claiming the judge decided against her because she "licked [him] in the Municipal Court fifteen years ago." Later, her sentence was reduced to a censure only, after it was determined that the judge himself "provoked the remarks which he regarded as contemptuous."

On May 13, 1960, Lucille Pugh died in New York. Even then, her reputation preceded her, as her obituary stated: "Lucille Pugh, 75, a mannishly attired, pipe-smoking woman lawyer who gained national attention through her handling of both criminal and civil cases, died Thursday."