Monday, December 31, 2018

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 7th for a new Spartan Story.

Charlotte Holder Clinger (class of 1965) sits on a desk with a miniature artificial Christmas tree in the DCOI office, 553rd Recon Wing at Korat Air Force Base in Thailand in December 1968.

Monday, December 24, 2018

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 7th for a new Spartan Story.

Headline from the December 18, 1957 issue of the Carolinian student newspaper

Monday, December 17, 2018

From Dinner Parties to Afternoon Teas: Tips from Tea-Kettle Talk

Want some tips and guidelines for hosting the swankiest holiday dinner party in town? Look no further than the 1924 cookbook Tea-Kettle Talk, published by the Alumnae Association of the North Carolina College for Women (now UNC Greensboro). The cookbook 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."

For those looking to throw a fancy holiday shindig, the "Simple Table Service Suggestions" section of the book outlines three forms of service for a formal meal:

  • The Russian Service "requires well-trained butler and maids to serve each course from the kitchen. This method gives freedom to host and hostess to give greater pleasure to guests. The hostess is served first and leads in all the formalities, so that even the least sophisticated may be at ease."
  • English Form of Service. "In the English form of service the hostess serves the soup and the salad, and the host the meat. The remainder is left to the butler or maid."
  • The Compromise Service "is a combination of the above forms. The soup or cocktails may be placed when dinner is announced. The host serves the meat; the vegetables are passed by the butler from the serving table. The salad and dessert are usually served from the butler's pantry. The coffee service may be placed before the hostess or it may be served from the kitchen."

Perhaps you are throwing a less formal afternoon tea or coffee. Tea-Kettle Talk has some guidelines for hosting those events as well.

For a Five O'clock Tea or an "At Home," the book notes "cover the table with dainty madeira and place a vase of flowers in the center. If only tea is poured, place a tea service at each end of the table." Another more substantial option would be to "cover the polished table with a dainty centerpiece of linen and place a vase or bowl of cut flowers in the center. Place an attractive tray cloth at one end for the chocolate service and one at the other end of the table for the tea service. A plate of dainty sandwiches, another of macaroons complete the necessary refreshments."

A simple Afternoon Tea, the book notes, "is not a meal, but simply a cup of tea and a wafer; or in summer, a glass of iced tea or sherbet."

For those wanting more caffeine, the Afternoon Coffee is another option. Tea-Kettle Talk notes "if coffee is served from the living room, cover the table with a linen cloth. Place the cups and saucers, sugar, cream and silver coffee service at the hostess' place. Place a bowl of flowers in center, a plate of crackers or bread and butter sandwiches on either side. If coffee is served from the kitchen, a small tray is permissible in handling it."

In the pre-Keurig machine-era, a recipe for "Boiling Water Coffee" is provided by Minnie Lou Jamison, who served as editor of Tea-Kettle Talk. Jamison serving at the time as a freshman counselor but had previously been a faculty member in the Department of Home Economics and a home demonstration and extension agent across the state:

"One heaping tablespoon of each half pint of boiling water. Scald the pot. Pour the freshly boiled water over the coffee. Place the pot where the coffee will keep hot but not boil. Add a little egg or clean, crushed egg shell to settle it. When the color is rich and clear the coffee is ready to serve."

These service guidelines and recipes demonstrate the extensive work that went into planning and throwing a gathering during this era. They also show the importance of a maxim that is included in the final "Household Suggestions" chapter of Tea-Kettle Talk: "A place for everything, and everything in its place."

Monday, December 10, 2018

Revitalizing Spring Garden Press

A.B. Taylor & Company No. 2 Iron Hand Press
Tucked away in a hallway just outside of Martha Blakeney Hodges Reading Room on the second floor of Jackson Library’s main building is a 19th century printing press. Over the last several decades, the press has been used primarily by library staff for class demonstrations or to print small editioned items such as bookplates and broadsides.

When the press first arrived in the library in the early 1960s, it was in pieces and was missing a necessary toggle joint required for operation. Prior to the Internet Age, finding the missing parts or even a press of the same type to serve as a model for creating new parts was a tedious and time-consuming task. Charles Adams, the library director at the time of the arrival of the press, began writing letters with the goal of finding parts for the press. After a decade of letter writing, Adams turned over the search to Stan Hicks, the assistant library director at the time.

Charles Adams, Library Director at the time
the press was given to Jackson Library
Hicks, too, began writing letters trying to find either the missing parts or a similar press from which to create a model of the missing joint. Finally, in 1975, Hicks located another A.B. Taylor and Company No. 2 press in Mechanicsburg, PA. Pictures and sketches of the press were taken to make a wooden model of the toggle joint. At last, the press was in operation.

Drawing of the missing toggle joint based on a press
found in Mechanicsburg, PA in the early 1970s
Stan Hicks takes over the task of writing
letters to find the missing parts

Spring Garden Press has been the imprint of the library’s A.B. Taylor Company No. 2 Iron Hand Press housed in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) since becoming operational in the 1970s. The name was inspired by Spring Garden Street that runs through campus and serves as the university’s address.

View of Spring Garden Street in 2000

Throughout the 1970s to the early 2000s, members of the library staff letterpress printed commemorative broadsides, bookplates, and conducted many demonstrations of the press for UNCG faculty and students. Classes learned firsthand about printing history, including how type is set, how a form is inked for printing, and how the 19th century press transferred ink to paper.

Left: Emilie Mills, Special Collections Librarian, 1975
Right: The first item printed under the imprint Spring Garden Press
As time passed, fewer and fewer library staff knew how to operate the press and Spring Garden Press fell dormant for a few years. However, thanks to a generous Innovation and Program Enrichment grant received from the library, the circa 1850s printing press has been revitalized with the goal of engaging students, faculty, staff, and members of the greater Greensboro community.

SCUA staff training with Sarah Smith in November 2018
In November 2018, Sarah Smith, of Dartmouth College Library’s Book Arts Workshop, taught an iron hand press workshop for SCUA staff. The revitalization of Spring Garden Press was celebrated on November 29, 2018 as faculty, staff, and community members gathered to learn about the press, how it will be used in collaboration with folks both on campus and beyond, and to see a demonstration of its use. Once again, this press has been elevated from archaic artifact to an active tool of engagement with our community.

Keepsake coaster printed during the Revitalization of
Spring Garden Press event in November 2018
To learn more about the history of this antique printing press and how it came to UNCG, please click HERE.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Lighting the Campus with Luminaries

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

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

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

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

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