Thursday, July 11, 2019

New Exhibit in the Hodges Reading Room



“Setting a Proper Table: 1860-1960” 

“There’s something special about gathering a few favorite people for a meal. A beautifully set table is the perfect canvas for a delicious meal.”
Chantal Larocque

An elegantly set table is more than a backdrop for a good meal, it can also reflect social status, proper etiquette, and cultural traditions. Seemingly minute details, such as the placement of utensils, reflected important aspects of the meal, from as the status of the guests to the dishes being served.

The Victorian era in Britain saw a growing interest in table settings, a trend which was soon reflected in American society as well. With the rise of the middle class, many families were in a financial position to entertain, and purchased expensive crystal, china, silver, and ivory. The purpose was to closely emulate the upper class and nobility who populated their table with as many intricate service pieces as possible, requiring a knowledge of etiquette that would reflect their social station. Meals were served in “courses” (a la russe), allowing more space at the table for elegant china, utensils, and floral arrangements. The quality and quantity of serving pieces reflected the host’s wealth and station. The lower classes’ tables had plates made of wood and pottery, while the upper classes purchased fine china and employed silversmiths and craftsman to create sumptuous table settings.

Floral arrangements enhanced the tableware and in some cases decorators were brought in to install “artificial gardens” to delight guests. Dinner parties became popular and American tables were set with European tableware. Books were published by authors, such as Mrs. Isabella Beeton, to help the lady of the house keep up with table manners and settings.

Table settings became less extravagant in the years following World War I, as house staff diminished, and women moved progressively into the workforce. This trend would continue through the next war, as advances in household appliances and prepackaged meals required less extravagant table settings. Increasingly, the focus was to simplify – leaving more elaborate table settings to holidays and special occasions.

This exhibit, “Setting a Proper Table: 1860-1960,” features china and silver that would have been seen on tables from 1860 to 1960.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A New Addition and an Epic Story: The UNC Greensboro Cello Music Collection welcomes the manuscripts and papers of Lubomir Georgiev

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections &University Archives is pleased to announce the donation of an important addition to the UNC Greensboro Cello Music Collection. The archive has received the manuscripts, personal papers, recordings and photographs of Bulgarian cellist, teacher, and composer, Lubomir Georgiev. This is a second, critical part to the initial sheet music collection, which was received in 2014. As the original donation only consisted of annotated sheet music, these recently donated materials contribute to understanding the breathtaking story behind Lubomir Georgiev as a performer, teacher, composer, and political refugee.
Lubomir Georgiev (b. Dec. 24, 1951, Varna, Bulgaria - d. May 31, 2005, Tallahassee, FL) studied with cellist Zdravko Jordanov, composer and violinist Marin Goleminov, and composer and pianist Alexander Raytchev at the Bulgarian State Academy of Music “Pantcho Vladigerov” in Sofia. He graduated with his Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance in 1976 and his Bachelor of Music in Composition in 1978. A talented performer, Georgiev’s reputation was established quickly in Bulgaria. He became principal cellist and soloist for the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra by 1978, touring throughout Europe and North America with the symphony. As a composer, Georgiev was winner of the Youth Creativity Award of the Bulgarian Composer’s Union in 1980 for his Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, as well as first prize at the Carl-Maria von Weber International Competition in Dresden, Germany only a year later for his string quartet, Musica Multiplici Mentes. By his late 20s, Georgiev was a rising star as a performer and composer with ambitions to refine his musicianship and well along the path to making his name known worldwide. Unfortunately, to be overly aspiring in his homeland at this time was dangerous.
Georgiev performing as the soloist, 1981
Bulgaria between 1946 to 1990 actually was known as The People’s Republic of Bulgaria, controlled by the Bulgarian Communist Party in close alliance with the Soviet Union. It was a country in which the government diligently watched over and controlled the lives of its citizens, regulating external cultural influences so as to avoid any potential corruption or subversion to Communist ideology. Musicians, such as Georgiev, were permitted limited access to the arts and artists from non-communist countries, but there were few avenues for creative growth. The government enforced strict adherence to Communist values and state loyalty.
As an artist, Lubomir Georgiev recognized that Communism directly repressed the heart of his identity as a musician. When he became principal cellist in Sofia, it was demanded that he officially join the Communist Party, but he refused. Yet again, two years later in 1980, it was demanded that Georgiev join the Party, and he declined. Needless to say, this did not endear Georgiev to Communist officials. Georgiev’s clash with Communism culminated in 1986 during a visit to Bulgaria by the famous cellist, János Starker. This was Starker’s second visit to Bulgaria in which Georgiev was able to study with him, and on both occasions, Starker invited Georgiev to be his student at Indiana University Bloomington. The prospect to develop himself as a musician with such a legendary artist was the opportunity Georgiev craved and what was denied to him by living in a Communist country. He began making plans to travel to the United States to become Starker’s student.        

Georgiev performing in a master class for János Starker in Bulgaria 
Georgiev’s choice came with great risk; to travel to the United States, he would need an American visa, but it was forbidden for a Bulgarian citizen to directly contact anyone at the American Embassy. The Bulgarian government feared not only the potential for espionage, but also that its citizens would defect. Consequently, Georgiev arranged a secret meeting with a cultural attaché to the American Embassy in Sofia. They were set to meet at 3:00 pm on May 5, 1986 at a park bench in front of the National Theater.
Georgiev arrived at the meeting place early and saw the attaché approaching. Before the diplomat got to the bench, two men abducted Georgiev and transported him to a nearby building in which he was imprisoned in the basement. He was interrogated for several hours about his motives for contacting the American Embassy. Eventually, he was sent back to his house with his wife, where he was told to remain until contacted. The Bulgarian agent who originally questioned Georgiev visited him after two days and informed Georgiev that he would be allowed to travel to the United States on one condition; Georgiev was to serve as a spy for Bulgaria. He was given permission to leave Bulgaria for five months to study with Starker and was forced to leave his wife behind in Bulgaria. Georgiev made it to the United States on January 8, 1987 and would not set foot in Bulgaria again until after the fall of the Communist government.

When it became apparent that Georgiev was not serving as a spy and had no plans to return to Bulgaria, government officials began to get nervous. Georgiev’s wife at the time, Rossitza Dontcheva Georgiev, had applied for a passport and visa to travel in 1987, and when she went to the police station to collect the documents, government officials were waiting for her. Rossitza was interrogated, and after it was ascertained that she could speak English, she was told that she was to travel to the United States to find and retrieve her husband, acting as a spy for the Bulgarian government for the forty days she was allotted for the task. Ultimately, Rossitza would travel to the United States and remain with her husband.
Physical residency in the United States did not mean that Lubomir Georgiev was safe against reprisal from the Bulgarian government for his defection. Georgiev had been scheduled for a five-concert tour in Japan during the Summer of 1987. As his status as a political refugee in the United States was not official yet, Georgiev technically was a Bulgarian citizen still, and the country would not issue the required permissions for him to travel to Japan, thus sabotaging his performance tour. Eventually, the Japanese Embassy did intervene, and the Bulgarian government did issue the permission, but it was issued five days after the tour began, making it impossible for Georgiev to participate in the tour.  
Although performing was impossible for Georgiev immediately after defecting to the United States, he was able to indulge in his original purpose. Once at Indiana University, Georgiev thrived, studying not only with János Starker, but with such great musicians as Fritz Magg and David Baker. He graduated with his Artist’s Diploma in Cello Performance from the Indiana University School of Music in 1988. This was an important year, as Georgiev officially was granted asylum on November 22, 1988. With protection granted by the United States, Georgiev was able to find employment, serving as principal cellist of the Richmond Symphony in Indiana from 1989 to 1993.
Georgiev with student
After settling in the United States, Georgiev became known as a teacher and performer. Georgiev was hired as an Assistant Professor of Cello at Florida State University (FSU) and began serving as principal cellist for the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra in 1993. He made multiple appearances as a soloist, in addition to performing in chamber ensembles. In 1995, after the fall of Communism in Bulgaria, Georgiev even returned to his birthplace of Varna on a tour to perform and teach a new generation of Eastern European cellists.  
The UNC Greensboro Cello Music Collection of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections & University Archives is excited to provide exposure and access to Lubomir Georgiev’s collection, bringing attention to the public the story of his life and providing support to researchers and performers. Once the manuscript compositions are processed and cataloged, there are plans to provide free digital access to Georgiev’s compositions and arrangements (copyright permitting), permitting researchers worldwide to explore Georgiev as a composer and allowing performers the opportunity to bring his music to life. Additionally, the collection includes materials that can be incorporated into class instruction, including the paperwork relating to his petition for asylum in the United States. Lubomir Georgiev is in good company among the other cellists represented in the UNC Greensboro Cello Music Collection, masters of their instrument and many of whom were political refugees.

Consisting of the archival collections of sixteen cellists, the UNC Greensboro Cello Music Collection constitutes the largest single holding of cello music-related material worldwide.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

An Intern’s Experience with Artifacts

*Sarah Maske is a senior at UNC Greensboro, with a double major in history and archaeology. She is interning in the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collection and University Archives for the spring 2019 semester. 


SCUA intern, Sarah Maske
This semester, I am interning in the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) for HIS 390, a course offered by the History Department as a way for students to gain experience in the Public History field. My main project is to process material for the University Archives artifact collections. I am two and a half months into my semester long internship and I have loved every minute of my time here. The last four years I have spent a lot of time researching in the archives, but to work inside the stacks and to be a part of caring for a collection is a whole new experience for me.

I want to share some of what I learned about processing materials, and what it is like working with artifacts related to the University. Archival processing is essentially how materials are added to an archival collection. I found that researching the origins of an artifact and its significance to the University is my favorite part of the internship. Nevertheless, this is also one of the most frustrating parts of processing because sometimes it is hard to track the history of an artifact. Yet when your research is fruitful, it is so exciting!

Diebold Safe
When I am researching, I try to picture what type of life the artifact had. I sometimes wonder if an artifact was a person what stories it would tell. My favorite books as a child were the Strange Museum series by Jahanna N. Malcolm. The series was about two siblings who lived above a museum, and if they touched an artifact after the museum closed, they would travel back in time to meet the artifact’s owner. When I am processing an artifact I always think about this series. It is moments when I am struggling to find information on an artifact that make me wish time travel was not limited to a work of fiction.

So far, I have processed or reprocessed, at least 50 artifacts and each are unique in their own way. Some artifacts are connected to buildings (you would be surprised by how many bricks are in the artifact collection), while others are connected to a single student or faculty member. Some are important awards and others seem like the most obsolete objects, such as laundry cards. As a researcher with an archaeology background, I find these little artifacts rich resources to understand the everyday life of the students. For example, a laundry card contains a list of different articles of clothing, so as a researcher the card illustrates what types of clothing were popular in the 1940s.

Woman's College Make-Up Case
Sometimes I think about what artifact I could add to the collection that would be memorable and aid a researcher in understanding what it was like to be a student on campus in 2019. Would my flyer I kept from a lecture on Roman pigments or my Honors Ambassador name tag be helpful to a future researcher? To be honest, I keep a lot of objects and notes from my time at UNC Greensboro. Any flyer from an important event or course notes go in chronological order to be packed away in my room at home. At times, I worry that I toe the fine line between hoarder and collector. Anyone else would throw it all away, but I would like to think someone in the future, who thinks like me will think my notes from my courses and keepsakes are interesting. As someone who is actively using the artifact collection, I am appreciative of the people who thought to donate their buttons, rain caps, stickers, toasters, and paperweights. Each one of these artifacts lets me see a small glimpse into the past.

Every time I work in the archives, I experience something new. SCUA has a wide variety of artifacts, whether it’s bricks from demolished buildings, a makeup case, a handkerchief from a former Queen of England, or even an antique crib. One day, I might crawl under a chair to look for manufacturer’s markings and the next day box buttons from the most recent campus event. I am so lucky to work with artifacts that have interesting histories. Working with the University Archive Collection has helped me grow as a public historian, and I am forever grateful to SCUA for this experience.




Monday, April 1, 2019

Reminder: Triad History Day is April 6th!!

Join us for the first annual Triad History Day on Saturday, April 6, 2019, from 10AM until 3PM, at the Greensboro History Museum (130 Summit Ave, Greensboro, NC 27401)!

Triad History Day is a one-day public festival focused on Triad history, both the stories and the people who preserve them. The event will feature a “history hall” with displays from history organizations, a series of lightning round talks focused on local history, as well as booths focused on oral history, preservation advice, and digitization of community materials. Learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1245098408985423/ 

We need volunteers too! Please sign up here if you would like to help us make this an awesome event: http://go.uncg.edu/triadhistoryvolunteers



Participating institutions include:

  • African American Genealogical Society 
  • Alamance Battlegound 
  • American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation 
  • Belk Library, Elon University 
  • Blandwood/Preservation Greensboro 
  • Bluford Library, NC A&T State University 
  • Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum
  • Digital Collections, University Libraries, UNC Greensboro 
  • Green Book Project, NC African American Heritage Commission 
  • Greensboro History Museum 
  • Greensboro Public Library 
  • Guilford County Register of Deeds 
  • High Point Museum 
  • Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Greensboro 
  • Holgate Library, Bennett College 
  • Mendenhall Homeplace of Historic Jamestown Society 
  • Moravian Archives 
  • North Carolina Collection, Forsyth County Public Library 
  • O'Kelly Library, Winston-Salem State University 
  • People Not Property, UNC Greensboro 
  • PRIDE of the Community, UNC Greensboro 
  • Quaker Archives, Guilford College 
  • Well Crafted NC, UNC Greensboro 
  • ZSR Library, Wake Forest University

Friday, March 15, 2019

New Exhibit!: "UNC Greensboro Back to the Future: The Story of the 1960s"

On March 14, 2019, more than thirty people stopped by Hodges Reading Room for an open house event to celebrate our new student-curated exhibit "UNC Greensboro Back to the Future: The Story of the 1960s." Student curators provided visitors with personalized tours of the exhibit and provided reflections on their experiences researching campus history.

This exhibit was curated by graduate student Erin Blackledge with assistant from undergraduate students Alexis Castorena and Malory Cedeno. Sarah Colonna, Associate Faculty Chair for Grogan College, and Erin Lawrimore, University Archivist and Associate Professor, served as grant coordinators and faculty advisors for the exhibit. Student curator stipends were funded through a grant from the UNC Greensboro Interdisciplinary Collaboration Committee.



"UNC Greensboro Back to the Future" is available for viewing in Hodges Reading Room through June 2019. Hodges Reading Room is on the second floor of Jackson Library. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm.

By combining reflections and poems from current undergraduate students from Grogan Residential College with primary sources from the 1960s, "UNC Greensboro Back to the Future" explores the enormous social changes that arose during this momentous decade and demonstrates how UNCG students today reflect on its past. Topics explored include campus desegregation, civil rights movements, and the transformation from Woman's College to UNCG.


This exhibit is part of UNC Greensboro's year-long celebration "The '60s: Exploring the Limits." You can learn more about the campus's upcoming events and activities to examine and understand this decade at sixties.uncg.edu.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Save the Date! Triad History Day is April 6th


Join us for the first annual Triad History Day on Saturday, April 6, 2019, from 10AM until 3PM, at the Greensboro History Museum (130 Summit Ave, Greensboro, NC 27401). Triad History Day is a free one-day public festival focused on Triad history, both the stories and the people who preserve them.

The event will feature a “history hall” with displays from history organizations, a series of lightning round talks focused on local history, as well as booths focused on oral history, preservation advice, and digitization of community materials. Visitors can learn more about local archives, museums, libraries, and other historical organizations in the “history hall.” Participating institutions include representation from all over the Triad. See the complete participating institution list below.

 Visitors with photographs or other records that help document Triad history can bring materials to the scanning station at Triad History Day. There, archivists will scan the materials for inclusion in UNC Greensboro’s community history portal. Visitors will also receive a copy of the scan.

 An oral history booth will allow participants the opportunity to record a 15-minute interview about an interesting story related to the Triad region. Interviews may involve two friends having a conversation, a family member interviewing a family member, or an individual being interviewed by a UNCG graduate students serving as an oral history facilitator. Interviews would be made available through the TriadHistory.org digital collection portal.

 A series of short talks about local Triad history will take place throughout the day, with speakers announced in late March.

 You can get updates and reminders for Triad History Day via our Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/1245098408985423/

We hope you'll join us for a fun, family-friendly celebration of Triad history!



List of participating institutions: 

  • African American Genealogical Society
  • American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation
  • Belk Library, Elon University 
  • Blandwood/Preservation Greensboro 
  • Bluford Library, NC A&T State University 
  • Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum 
  • Digital Collections, University Libraries, UNG Greensboro 
  • Green Book Project, NC African American Heritage Commission 
  • Greensboro History Museum 
  • Greensboro Public Library 
  • Guilford County Register of Deeds 
  • High Point Museum 
  • Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Greensboro 
  • Holgate Library, Bennett College 
  • Mendenhall Homeplace of Historic Jamestown Society 
  • Moravian Archives 
  • North Carolina Collection, Forsyth County Public Library 
  • O'Kelly Library, Winston-Salem State University 
  • People Not Property, UNC Greensboro 
  • PRIDE of the Community, UNC Greensboro 
  • Quaker Archives, Guilford College 
  • Well Crafted NC, UNC Greensboro 
  • ZSR Library, Wake Forest University

Monday, February 18, 2019

Kick Off Event for Archives, Archiving, & Community Engagement

Join us on Friday, March 15th at 2pm for a kick off event for the campus-wide Archives, Archiving, and Community Engagement discussion group. This group will be led by UNCG University Archivist Erin Lawrimore and is sponsored by UNC Greensboro's Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE) Faculty Fellows Program.

We will meet in Hodges Reading Room (219 Jackson Library) to chat about how we can collaborate to ensure that artifacts of community-engaged scholarship as well as the archives of our partner communities are preserved in a sustainable, accessible way.



Everyone - faculty, staff, administrators, students, and community members - is welcome to join us and help guide the direction of the group's discussions throughout 2019. For more information, please see: http://communityengagement.uncg.edu/archives-archiving-and-community/.

You can also keep up with the event via Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/events/784479635220770/.