Monday, March 26, 2018

UNCG-LIS Alternative Spring Break Students Work with Garden Club Scrapbooks

Over spring break week, UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) hosted three Library and Information Studies (LIS) graduate students for Alternative Spring Break. Jo Klein, Melissa Capozio, and Anthony Arcangeli spent the week working with scrapbooks contained within the newly acquired Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs Records.
Two scrapbooks from the Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs.
The students surveyed and inventoried the large collection of scrapbooks within the Council’s records. There are approximately 120 scrapbooks in the collection dating back to 1930, and each one contains photographs, newspaper clippings, handwritten correspondence, and ephemera. 
L to R: Anthony Arcangeli and Melissa Capozio recording information on the scrapbooks.
The interns’ work on the collection included documenting the name and date of the scrapbooks, assessing conditions of the items contained within the scrapbooks, reorganizing the boxes, and collecting contextual information for use in a collection finding aid. 

L to R: Jo Klein and Melissa Capozio working with the scrapbooks.
First, the interns worked to assess the condition of each scrapbook as a form of pre-processing for the collection. This included creating a description, and recording dimensions, content, and time period for each scrapbook. Interns also noted any factors that would need to be addressed during the preservation process, such as metal paper clips and staples or rapidly deteriorating items.

Students taking measurements of the scrapbooks.
After taking inventory of the collection, the scrapbooks were then reorganized into a more researcher-friendly format, and reboxed based on common attributes, such as time period covered and which garden club created the scrapbook.

Once reorganized, the interns went through each scrapbook and collected any notable data that might be used in the creation of a finding aid, such as the garden club presidents, the time periods the clubs were active, and major events and dates.

According to Jennifer Motszko, Manuscripts Archivist and the spring break project coordinator, the interns’ work saved Special Collections staff about two months of processing time, ensuring that the materials will be prepped for access and research far sooner than initially planned.

With this initial processing complete, Special Collections staff can begin work on a finding aid for the collection, and the materials will be available for research once full processing is complete.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

SCUA is Hiring for Student Employee Positions - Undergraduate and Graduate UNCG Students

SCUA is currently hiring for the following positions:

Positions Available January 2018

Special Collections, Manuscripts, and University Archives [Jackson Library] Student Assistant Position
The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives [ ] at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro relies on the skills and energy of its student employees to perform the necessary work in supporting research and learning.
SCUA currently has openings for students interested in working with University Archives and UNCG-related collections. Positions are available beginning spring 2018.

• assisting in the organization and inventorying of material, which includes but is not limited to Women Veterans Collection, rare books, manuscripts, cello music, and/or artifacts
• labeling processed and unprocessed collections
• packing/unpacking archival records, manuscripts, rare books, cello music, and related materials
• completing additional projects as needed
The successful applicant will be working on a variety of projects which may involve Special Collections and University Archives. Duties include, but are not limited to:

Student must be dependable, adaptable, detail oriented, able to follow complex instructions, work with diverse colleagues, and lift boxes weighing up to 40 lbs. This position will call for repetitive bending and lifting. The successful candidate will have excellent oral, written, and interpersonal skills and familiarity with MS Office software. Library or Archives experiences helpful, but not required. Knowledge of Library of Congress classification system helpful, but training will be provided. Strong interest in archival management, books, the books arts, preservation, history, and violoncello music appreciated and encouraged.
How to apply:  Search SpartanCareers

Monday, October 9, 2017

Celebrating 125 Years of Opportunity and Excellence: An Exhibit of UNCG History

As part of the University's celebration of 125 years of opportunity and excellence, the Hodges Reading Room in Jackson Library will feature an exhibit of UNCG history through the end of the academic year. Exhibit materials will rotate throughout the year, with new content added on a bimonthly basis. It will conclude on May 31, 2018.

Currently, the exhibit features materials from the founding years of the State Normal and Industrial School, including an original copy of the 1891 Act of Establishment in which the North Carolina legislature founded the institution, the letter sent to Charles Duncan McIver in June 1891 informing him that he had been named the school's first president, and photographs and other document reflecting the faculty and staff who were instrumental in the Normal's early years. Of particular note, the exhibit also includes the always-popular death mask of founding president Charles Duncan McIver, who passed away in 1906.

A second UNCG-themed exhibit currently in Hodges Reading Room explores the early history of the Alumnae (now Alumni) House, which opened in 1937. It was designed by Penrose V. Stout of Bronxville, New York, and modeled after Homewood in Baltimore, Maryland. Photographs, serving dishes, a guest register, and other items important to the Alumnae House are on display.

In future months as the exhibit contents are rotated, themes including social and political protests on campus, student organizations, and faculty contributions will be explored.

For more information on the University Archives and the University's 125th anniversary celebration, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Happy 125th, UNCG!

Today marks the 125th anniversary of the first-ever first day of class at the institution we now know as the University of North Carolina at Greensbroo!! On October 5, 1892, the doors of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) opened its doors for an initial class of 198 women from across North Carolina. The institution was originally chartered by the State of North Carolina in February 1891, with a mission of training female teachers and instructing them in “drawing, telegraphy, type-writing, stenography, and such other industrial arts as may be suitable to their sex and conducive to their support and usefulness.”

After a year spent planning the new school and constructing its facilities, classes began at the State Normal on October 5, 1892. Courses of study were divided into three departments: normal (teaching), business, and domestic science. The normal, listed as the leading department, included pedagogy classes as well as coursework in English, history, math, science, foreign language, art, music, and physical culture.

Founding the State Normal proved to be a milestone in education – and particularly women’s education – in North Carolina and throughout the United States. McIver and the early educators and students at the State Normal set the groundwork for UNCG as it stands today. One hundred twenty-five years after the first classes took place, the legacy remains.

Today, the University will celebrate with a Founders Day Festival on the Quad from 4pm to 6pm. There will be food trucks, live music, and a 125-foot long cake! More details can be found on the 125th website.

You can also study up on UNCG history with our Spartan Stories blog. Additionally, an exhibit focused on the history of the University will be featured in Hodges Reading Room in Jackson Library beginning next week. More details to come!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

University Archives Showcased in 125th Anniversary Celebrations

On October 5, 2017, UNCG will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first ever first day of school. On that day, nearly 200 women from across North Carolina traveled to Greensboro to attend classes at the State Normal and Industrial School. Over the last few weeks, the University Archives has been busy with pop up exhibits across campus to help promote the university's history and the anniversary celebration.

Following Chancellor Gilliam's State of the Campus address on August 8th, the staff of the University Archives presented a "pop up museum" exhibit in celebration of the 125th anniversary of UNCG's opening. Campus Weekly wrote a great summary of the exhibit.

We debuted our new "portable" university history exhibit (a series of five banners) on August 8th.
One exhibit case featured materials related to founding president Charles Duncan McIver and his wife Lula Martin McIver.
A second case highlighted African American staff on campus at State Normal as well as student life.
Textiles and artifacts on display included gym suits, a class jacket, a nursing university, a Neo-Black Society Gospel Choir robe, a typewriter used by JoAnne Smart Drane, and a drum signed by members of the Darlinettes.

On August 15th, the University Archives set up a pop up exhibit on College Avenue as part of Fall Kickoff, an annual event featuring student organizations and student services. And on the afternoon of August 17th, they presented an exhibit in Jackson Library as part of Rawkin' Welcome Week.

University history under the trees at Fall Kickoff

Stay tuned for information on more exhibits and other opportunities to learn about and celebrate our 125 years! You can also find updates on our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram).

Monday, August 7, 2017

Congressman J. Howard Coble Papers Available for Research

After several years of work, Howard Coble’s papers are now fully organized and available for research at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s University Libraries.

Coble speaking at UNCG in 2009.
The Congressman J. Howard Coble Papers is one of the largest collections at UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA). The papers were a donation from Congressman Howard Coble, who served North Carolina’s Sixth District for nearly 30 years.

University Libraries received the initial collection donation in 2007, as well as two additions during Coble’s life and another after his death in 2015.  Manuscripts Archivist Jennifer Motszko directed me during the last two years of organizing the collection.  As a student worker in SCUA in 2012, I was familiar with the legendary Coble collection, primarily because of its enormity. I was thrilled to be brought on board with this collection in August 2015.

The collection was organized and arranged with the help of funds donated by Congressman Coble, his supporters, friends and family. Finishing the collection included item-level organization, light preservation work, labeling, and description in the online inventory.

After two years of fits and starts, punctuated by a detour into work with another collection, I wrapped up arranging and describing the collection in July 2017. As a new archivist, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far.

Working with Coble’s papers let me see many archival theories and best practices put into action – including everything from organizing government documents, to protecting private student and health information. Due to its size and varied materials, the collection also let me experience working with new formats, including artifacts and textiles. 

The completed collection comprises 273.8 linear feet, which is 193 boxes of materials. The collection includes a large portion of materials from his career as a legislator, as well as materials related to his service in the Coast Guard, personal materials like family scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials.

Howard Coble in the U.S. Coast Guard, ca. 1950s.
Coble in the U.S. Coast Guard, ca. 1950s.
As I mentioned, the collection was mythic in my mind for its proportions.  It was nearly double the size of the largest collection I had previously organized (the International Double Reed Society records, also housed at UNCG).

Imagine my surprise last August when an additional 30 boxes of constituent correspondence was discovered at the National Archives! The collection was also instructive in patience, and best practices for growing collections.

The Coble collection has a little bit of something for everyone – you can see a Styrofoam boater hat used in one of Coble’s campaigns, to a letter to Coble signed by Bruce Springsteen thanking him for his work on intellectual property issues.

Throughout his time as a Congressman, Coble and his staff were known for attention to resolving constituents’ problems on a case-by-case level. His attention to detail in relation to his constituents’ lives was legendary – you could name your high school in his district, and he would begin talking about the team’s mascot.

In addition to the personal attention to his constituents, Coble was also involved in major legislative and historic changes throughout his tenure as a Congressman. His papers offer a unique glimpse into the political climate of both North Carolina and the country for nearly 30 years.

Some of the topics covered by the collection include the tobacco and textile industries in N.C., immigration, the Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars, same-sex marriage, the Clinton impeachment proceedings, and the rise of the tea party movement.

I was fascinated by the breadth of opinions expressed by constituents. It was both comforting and difficult to see many of the same issues we struggle with today being discussed in letters from 1985 – debates on health care, civil rights, the role of America in foreign countries, and the perennial favorite of taxes have been contentious topics for years.

Coble speaking at a tobacco tax rally, ca. 1980s.
Despite the continuity of certain political issues, the changing of political and social life was evident, particularly on some hot button issues. Most constituents were unanimously opposed to same-sex marriage as late as the early 2000s – but the growth in dissenting opinions over the course of Coble’s career was self-evident and reflective of the developments at the federal and court level.

I certainly lingered over issues that I saw paralleled in today’s life, taking a few seconds to read a line or two about someone’s life from 1985. Despite differences in opinion or feeling removed by the span of time, every constituent’s letter was touching because it represented the American ideal of participatory government.

UNCG’s University Libraries is thrilled to be able to offer full access to Coble’s papers and let patrons catch of glimpse of this political and social history. Staff in Special Collections and University Archives worked to arrange, describe, and make these papers available to students, researchers, faculty, and the general public.

Researchers can access the online inventory to browse the holdings in the collection. To access the materials, please contact SCUA via email or phone to schedule an appointment.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Announcing “Well Crafted: A History of Downtown Greensboro Brewing”

UNCG University Libraries is excited to launch the new project “Well Crafted: A History of Downtown Greensboro Brewing.” This project will collect and promote the history of breweries in downtown Greensboro from the saloons of the 1890s to the craft breweries of today. We will be conducting oral history interviews with many of the key players in the downtown Greensboro brewing scene, digitizing materials related to local brewing history, and creating timelines and maps to help trace the changes in the brewing industry in Greensboro.

You can follow our progress and learn more about local beer history on our soon-to-be-launched website: We’ll also be active across a number of social media channels:
Also, stay tuned for details on a big project launch event in April 2018 (coinciding with North Carolina Beer Month)!

Image of the Cascade Saloon in Downtown Greensboro (1904-1905), taken from the pictorial promotional booklet “Southward the Sun of Progress Shines.”

Well Crafted is supported by the 2017-2018 UNCG University Libraries Innovation and Program Enrichment Grant Award. Project leaders are David Gwynn (ERIT), Richard Cox (ERIT), and Erin Lawrimore (SCUA). If you have questions, you can contact us through social media or at wellcraftednc AT gmail DOT com.