Friday, January 6, 2017

The Connection between Hidden Figures and UNCG

If you're going to see the new movie Hidden Figures, you might not realize the connection between the "human computers" in that movie and UNCG. The film focuses on three African American women who worked as "human computers" during the 1950s and 1960s. But one of the very first human computers hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, precursor to NASA) was alumna Virginia Tucker (class of 1930). Tucker earned a B.A. in mathematics and a minor in education from the institution that was then known as North Carolina College for Women. After four years of teaching, she took the Civil Service exam and earned an appointment at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (now Langley Research Center) in Virginia.

Tucker was one of five women who began work in September 1935 as Langley's first "Computer Pool." NACA did not have modern electrical computers, but instead relied on the work of "human computers," a pool of female mathematicians. These women were tasked with processing the huge amounts of data coming in from wind tunnel and flight tests. Using slide rules, charts, and her deep mathematical knowledge, Tucker and the other "human computers" performed intricate calculations that enabled NACA engineers to design and perfect airplanes. By 1946, Tucker had advanced to the position of Overall Supervisor for Computing at Langley, and she was tasked with managing a department of over 400 women in computing sections across the laboratory facility.

Tucker in the 1930 Pine Needles yearbook

You can read more about Tucker in this wonderful article in the Greensboro News & Record or follow up with more detail in this Spartan Stories blog post from 2015.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

UNCG's Online History: Now in One Convenient Location!

For the last two years, University Archives has been working with the Internet Archive and their Archive-It member service to capture and preserve numerous UNCG-affiliated websites. You can learn more about the beginning of this work in January 2015 in a previous blog post. Now, in addition to seeing the versions of the site that we have archived since 2015, you can view all of the earlier captures of many of these sites done by the Internet Archive in one location.

You can quickly and easily explore how a single department's web presence has changed over the years (and, in many cases, access documents and other information about the department/unit's work that was never available in another format). For example, the Elliott University Center website has been captured 150 times, with the earliest being on August 19, 2000. On that earliest site, you can learn about the EUC Renewal Project which began in 2000.
EUC homepage in 2000

EUC homepage in 2016


The website of the Office of Housing and Residence Life has been captured 232 times, going back to January 19, 2004. Using this site, a researcher could examine the changes in housing rates from 2004 (where the site proudly advertises that "all rooms have ethernet connections for each student!") to 2016.

Unfortunately, many of these earliest crawls can't display some images, and some of the links will not work (particularly if they link to another web domain). And we are still working with the Internet Archive on a few small issues with missing crawls. But, this web archiving work still gives us a great opportunity to explore the changes to UNCG's online presence while also preserving the valuable and often unique information on those sites for current and future researchers.

Geography Department website, 2000

Geography Department website, 2016
If you have any questions about our web archiving work, please feel free to contact us! Also, if you have a UNCG-affiliated site that is currently not being archived (meaning the domain can't be found in a search of this site), let us know. This includes websites that belong to departments, centers, student groups, faculty/staff groups, and other UNCG-affiliated organizations.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Composer C. Alan Beeler's Collection Donated to Special Collections & University Archives

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections &University Archives is pleased to announce the donation of the sheet music collection of composer Charles Alan Beeler (b. February 10, 1939 – d. April 28, 2016). Beeler began his studies at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington from 1957 to 1961, training with John Sibler and Will Ogden. Beeler earned his MA in Music Theory/Composition at Washington University, St. Louis, 1965 and PhD in Music Theory/Composition, Washington University, St. Louis, 1973, studying theory with Leigh Gerdine and composition with Robert Wykes, Robert Baker, and Harold Blumenfeld. His dissertation was titled “Winter Music, Cartridge Music, Atlas eclipticalis: A Study of Three Seminal Works by John Cage.” Ph.D. diss., Washington University, 1973.”

Beeler taught theory and composition at Wisconsin State University at Stevens Point for four years and at Eastern Kentucky University as Professor of Music Theory and Composition for thirty-six years. While at Eastern Kentucky University, Beeler was the co-author of a four volume music theory textbook. In addition to teaching and composition, Alan Beeler was a talented oboist, teaching oboe and performing in faculty ensembles and the EKU orchestra. His many compositions include works for solo piano, chorus, chamber ensemble, string orchestra, full orchestra, and voice. Several of his works were recorded by PARMA Recordings, Navona Records, and Ravello Records. His compositions have been performed by the Prague Radio Orchestra directed by Vladimir Valek and by the Slovak Radio Symphony conducted Kirk Trevor in Bratislava, Slovakia among others.


The Charles Alan Beeler Collection contains over a hundred manuscript compositions and arrangements, in addition to other music for multiple instrumentation, and some personal papers. Beeler joins a growing collection of composer archives represented in the UNCG Special Collections, including Harold Schiffman, Egon Wellesz, Peter Paul Fuchs, and Rudolf Matz

Friday, November 4, 2016

Nicholas Anderson & Margaret Rowell Join the UNCG Cello Music Collection

Margaret Avery Rowell and Nicholas Anderson



The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections &University Archives is pleased to announce the donation of two collections. Nicholas Anderson and Margaret Rowell join the company of the legendary artists represented in the UNCG Cello Music Collection. These collections are donated by the family of Nicholas Anderson.

Cellist Nicholas Anderson was acclaimed as an outstanding interpreter of the solo concert repertoire. His unique and inspired performances were received with the highest praise and enthusiasm by audiences and critics alike. Anderson began playing the cello at the age of eight, and made his first solo appearance on television the following year. In his early teens, Anderson studied in Pittsburgh with Theo Salzman, Principal Cellist of the Pittsburgh Symphony and Professor of Cello at Carnegie Mellon University. He spent his high school years as a resident student at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Anderson’s cello playing thrived there under the mentorship of Irving Klein, cellist of the internationally renowned Claremont Quartet. It was during this time that he performed in the master classes of Janos Starker, and studied in the summer with the great "cellist's cellist" Leslie Parnas.

Following this period, Anderson studied at Aspen with Claus Adam, cellist of the Juilliard Quartet, and at the age of nineteen, was invited to study at the Juilliard School. However, he became aware of the work of the master cello teacher Margaret Rowell in California and decided to turn down Juilliard and move to California to study with her in 1971. This evolved into a 24-year collaboration, and as his solo career flourished, Anderson became an expert in Rowell's revolutionary methods, both as a performer and teacher.

In terms of his career as a performer, Nicholas Anderson debuted at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. After moving to New York, his numerous solo concert appearances included the 92nd St. Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, Mannes College of Music, American University, and Community Concerts/Columbia Artists. He has made a specialty of performing the cycle of Beethoven Cello Sonatas, as well as the complete Bach Solo Cello Suites. Anderson premiered many works, as a champion of creative musicality in modern compositions.

In addition to serving on the cello faculty of Queens College, Anderson coalesced the teachings of Margaret Rowell into a dynamic series of classes called the “Breakthrough Cello Seminars,” which he presented worldwide. Organizations that have benefited from Anderson’s seminars include the Associated Music Teacher's League of New York, San Francisco State University, University of Hawaii, Fresno City College, the Pennsylvania Cello Society, the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Academy of New York, and the Sinfónica Juvenil in San José, Costa Rica.

Margaret Avery Rowell (1900 Redlands, CA- April 21, 1995 San Francisco, CA) was among the most prominent cello pedagogues of the 20th century. In the 1920's and 30's, Rowell had an eminent performing career as the cellist in the Arion Trio, which broadcasted live on NBC radio six days every week. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1923. In 1927, she contracted tuberculosis and was hospitalized for three years. She later recovered, but after not touching the cello for such a long period, she found that while she still knew the technique and the music, she had lost the instinctive feeling of connection with the instrument. During the journey of Rowell’s intensive journey to recover her physical skill of cello performance, she was able to make conscious the mechanical processes taken for granted by “natural” musicians that she had previously done masterfully but unconsciously. This gave her an unprecedented access to the missing domain of cello-playing, which not only applied to her own work as an artist, but served as the basis for transmitting a breakthrough to generations of other cellists. As a result she came to be in tremendous demand as a teacher of the rarest value.

During her 60-year career, she was known as “the dean of cello teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area,” serving as distinguished Professor of Cello at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Stanford University, San Francisco State University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Mills College. Rowell founded the highly successful California Cello Club, which engaged masters such as Gregor Piatigorsky, Mstilav Rostropovich, Janos Starker, and Pablo Casals to speak to Bay Area cellists. The University of Indiana at Bloomington honored her with the title of Grande Dame du Violoncelle, and the American String Teacher Association presented her with their Distinguished Service Award.

Nicholas Anderson and Margaret Rowell are now the 14th and 15th musicians to be represented in the UNCG Cello Music Collection. Consisting of the archival music collections of Luigi Silva, Elizabeth Cowling, Rudolf Matz, Maurice Eisenberg, János Scholz, Fritz Magg, Bernard Greenhouse, Laszlo Varga, Lev Aronson, Lubomir Georgiev, Marion Davies, and Douglas Moore, Ennio Bolognini, Nicholas Anderson, and Margaret Rowell, the Cello Music Collection at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro constitutes the largest single holding of cello music-related material worldwide.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from SCUA!!

In addition to our annual sharing of UNCG Ghost Stories, we wanted to show off additional fun and spooky items from our collections for Halloween! Enjoy this selection of fabulous covers from books in our American Women's Detective Fiction Collection:

Garden City, N.Y. : Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday, Doran, & Co., 1941
Philadelphia : J.B. Lippincott Co., 1939


New York : William Morrow and Co., 1942

New York : Scribner, 1943

Philadelphia, New York Lippincott Co. 1941


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ennio Bolognini Joins the Cellists Represented in the UNCG Cello Music Collection

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections &University Archives is pleased to announce the addition of Ennio Bolognini’s personal papers, photographs, and artifacts to the UNCG Cello Music Collection. Ennio Bolognini (1893-1979) was an Argentine-born cellist, composer, conductor, pilot, and professional boxer. Referred by Pablo Casals as “The greatest cello talent I ever heard in my life,” it is rumored that even Emmanuel Feuermann stated, “For my money, the world’s greatest cellist is not Casals, Piatigorsky, or myself, but Bolognini!”

Bolognini began studying cello performance with his father (Egidio Bolognini), completing his education with José García at the St. Celicia Conservatory in Buenos Aires. He debuted as a soloist at twelve years of age, winning the Luigi Rovatti cello (presently in thecollection of the Smithsonian) at an Ibero-American International competition. Bolognini was awarded an honorary doctorate of music by the University of Buenos Aires in 1921, and spent two years conducting in Chile before immigrating to the United States.
Caricature of Sammy Davis Jr. on manuscript music in the hand of
Ennio Bolognini

Bolognini moved to the States to serve as the sparring partner boxer Luis Firpo to prepare Firpo for his match with Jack Dempsey. Bolognini had been welter-weight champion of South America in the past. In addition to music and boxing, he was also an avid pilot, co-founding the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the United State Air Force during World War II. Bolognini was responsible for training cadets to fly B-29 bombers. He was known to be extremely proud of his talent in flying, honored to be a member of the elite “Quiet Birdmen’ Pilots” organization.

Bolognini served as principal cellist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1929 to 1930, when a dispute made him quit the orchestra. After leaving, he enjoyed a successful career as a soloist in the night club scene, as well as performing in major music festivals such as Ravinia. In 1951, he moved to Las Vegas, performing in casino orchestras and founding the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra in 1963. Within the course of his career, Bolognini composed seven pieces for cello, six of which are dedicated to noted cellist Christine Walewska, one of his students.   



The Ennio Bolognini Collection is a small, but growing collection donated by his wife, Dorothy Barber Bolognini. Presently, it contains a few manuscript musical sketches, caricatures drawn by Bolognini, articles, concert programs, and photographs relating to his life and career. Ennio Bolognini is the thirteenth cellist represented within the UNCG Cello Music Collection. Consisting of the archival music collections of Luigi Silva, Elizabeth Cowling, Rudolf Matz, Maurice Eisenberg, János Scholz, Fritz Magg, Bernard Greenhouse, Laszlo Varga, Lev Aronson, Lubomir Georgiev, Marion Davies, and Douglas Moore, the Cello Music Collection at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro constitutes the largest single holding of cello music-related material worldwide.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Happy Founders Day, UNCG!

October 5th is the day we celebrate Founders Day and the opening of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) in 1892. Here are some fun UNCG Founders Day trivia facts for you!


  • On October 12, 1909, the first official Founder's Day was dedicated to the memory of State Normal founder and President Charles Duncan McIver, who had passed away three years prior. Alumnae met in groups across the state, and students placed wreaths on his grave in Green Hill Cemetery. In a letter to alumnae, the Alumnae Association wrote, "We hope that such a day may help the students to understand and appreciate the life work of Dr. Charles D. McIver, the founder and first president of our college. This day will also help impress upon them their relation to the state. For the opportunities offered at a State's College they must as good and useful citizens give their best efforts and services to the state."
  • In 1911, the date of the event was moved to October 5th in celebration of the day in which classes first began at State Normal in 1892.
Wreath laying at McIver grave site in Green Hill Cemetery in 1939
  • In 1912, the McIver Statue was dedicated on Founder's Day. It originally stood in front of the McIver Memorial Building [site of the current McIver Building], but was moved to its current location in front of Jackson Library in the late 1950s.
  • In 1942, during the 50th anniversary celebration, the Litany of Commemoration for Founders Day by Josephine Hege was first introduced.
  • The 1948 Founder's Day ceremony was the first to be broadcast on the radio. Other programs throughout the 1950s were also carried and distributed statewide by local radio station WFMY.
  • 1955 is the first reference we can find in the archives to the Founder's Day ceremony being televised. L. Richardson Preyer delivered the annual Founder's Day address, and it was televised live on WUNC-TV.
  • 1955 is also the first year that a wreath was placed at the McIver statue. Previously, the wreath-laying ceremony was only at the McIver grave site in Green Hill Cemetery.
Wreath laying at McIver statue on campus in 1957
  • In 1958, the address given as part of the Founder's Day ceremony was officially named the McIver Lecture. Dr. Frank Porter Graham, first president of the UNC Consolidated System and, at the time, U.N. Representative for Pakistan and India, delivered the first McIver Lecture.
  • On Founder's Day in 1959, a cornerstone from the previous McIver Memorial Building (razed in 1958) was laid to start construction on the new (current) McIver Building.
  • In the early 1970s, Founder's Day was encompassed within a larger "Falderal" celebration. Falderal also included a campus-wide lunch, a soccer game, celebrations on the Quad, and fireworks.
  • The 1973 Founder's Day celebration featured a 48-foot long cake that weighed in at 900 pounds (300 pounds of icing alone!). There was also a hula hoop contest, a live band, and other activities.
Serving of the giant cake at Founder's Day in 1973
  • In 1977, the Alumni Association launched a McIver Conference, usually a two-day conference featuring lectures by faculty, alumni, and other scholars on art, architecture, and history.
  • Around 1980, the text for the programs and other references switch from "Founder's Day" (singular) to "Founders' Day" (plural). In University Archives, we have a copy of a program from Founders' Day in 1980 where an alumna circled the apostrophe and wrote "I thought this was a typographical error."
  • The McIver Medal was established by the UNCG Board of Trustees in 1983 to recognize "distinguished public service to the state or nation performed by a North Carolinian." It was first awarded in 1985 during the Founders' Day program.
  • 1989 is when the apostrophe was dropped and we went from "Founders' Day" to "Founders Day." All official references since have been apostrophe-free.
To learn more about UNCG history, be sure to read the Spartan Stories blog. A new story is published every Monday morning. You can subscribe via email or RSS feed on the blog site (located in the column on the right side of the page when viewing on a desktop browser).

Today is also #AskAnArchivist Day on Twitter, so be sure to follow us (@UNCGArchives) and send us your questions about UNCG history!