Thursday, June 8, 2017

Celery Vases: Forgotten Stars of the Victorian Dinner Table

During Summer 2017, the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives will have an exhibit of the Jacocks Celery Vase Collection in the Reference Exhibit Cases. The collection is comprised of 24 matching pairs of celery vases. It is a small part of a 700-piece collection of pressed and cut glass celery vases that was willed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by W.P. Jacocks, who helped to develop the first public health nutrition program in North Carolina. Jacocks, a one-time quarterback at UNC Chapel Hill, went on to receive a Doctorate of Public Health from Johns Hopkins. In the early days of the Public Health Program, Dr. Jacocks was active in the “Hookworm” program, working to eradicate hookworm disease and other ailments in South Asia. In 1942, Jacocks retired to Chapel Hill and he passed away in 1965.

Jacocks began collecting the vases in the 1940s, during his tenure with the State Board of Health in North Carolina. In Victorian times, celery was presented in beautiful and expensive cut glass vases, seen as symbols of wealth. Celery was considered a “high status” food due to its labor intensive growing process and difficulty to keep fresh and was an expensive vegetable. During its period as a status symbol, celery was displayed prominently near the center of the table as an important part of the setting. Pressed glass vases made from a mold were less expensive and therefore more accessible to middle class families. Both pressed and cut glass vases can be seen in this collection. In the final decades of the 1800s, the popularity of celery vases gave way to the celery dish, an attractive, subtle way to show sparkle and still add prestige to the table.

The concept of the celery vase demonstrates how taste and luxury change over the centuries. Scarcity and labor cost made celery a “fashionable commodity,” but as celery gradually became easier to grow, harvest, and keep fresh it was no longer a “rare” or expensive vegetable. In addition, glass décor, including celery vases, became more accessible and less prestigious and its once prominent place on the dinner table declined.

These pieces from the Jacocks Celery Vase Collection were given to the university in 1983. Gladys Strawn Bullard, Jacocks’ former colleague in the state nutrition program and Vice Chairman of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Board of Trustees, requested a permanent gift of the celery vases for an exhibit in the School of Home Economics.

The vases, along with a commemorative certificate, were presented to UNCG Chancellor William Moran, by UNC Chapel Hill chancellor, Christopher C. Fordham III. An exhibit was created in recognition of the contributions of UNCG alumni in the state’s nutrition program, which was displayed in the entrance of the School of Home Economics, now the Stone Building on College Avenue. In 2011, the collection became part of the University Archives Artifact Collection.
This blog was written by Jenay Solomon and Sara Maeve Whisnant

Monday, April 24, 2017

125th Student Researcher Jobs Available!

Beginning in October 2017, UNCG will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the opening of the institution as the State Normal and Industrial School. In anticipation of this year-long celebration, many departments and units across campus will be researching their organizational histories and using the resources in University Archives to plan and promote their commemorative events. Additionally, the University Archives will be working on numerous events and activities to help promote institutional history. We are currently seeking two student researchers to help with our work on this fun and exciting celebration!

These positions are only open to undergraduate and graduate students who will be enrolled at UNCG during the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters. Each student researcher will be expected to work 10-12 hours during the academic year (pay rate is $10 per hour). Preference will be given to students who are able to work the complete academic year (as opposed to just the Fall 2017 semester).

The positions are available to start in either Summer 2017 or Fall 2017. No previous work experience in archives is required (although, that is always a great bonus!), but an interest in UNCG history and a willingness to learn are absolutely necessary.

If you are interested in working as a student researcher in the University Archives during the 125th anniversary celebration, email, including your resume along with a cover letter that addresses why you are interested in the job.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Exhibit in Hodges Reading Room: "Athletics and Active College Work"

A new exhibit titled "Athletics and Active College Work: Women's Fitness and Sport at State Normal, 1892-1920" is now on display in the Hodges Reading Room in Jackson Library. This exhibit explores women's athletics at the turn of the 20th century through the lens of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG).

From its opening in 1892, the State Normal and Industrial School emphasized physical activity and personal health. Curriculum in the first year of the school’s existence (1892-1893) included the Department of Physiology and Heath, which had two objectives: instruction in hygiene and an individualized program of exercise. A course in Physical Culture was required of all students, and all faculty members were expected to be able to give instruction in the subject. The work included gymnastics, calisthenics, and other exercises that were meant to promote the student’s general health and strength. These courses took place in the campus gymnasium, a small room located on the top floor of the northeast section of the Main Building (now Foust).

Students, however, wanted more. In 1898, they petitioned State Normal President Charles Duncan McIver for a designated space for them to participate in team or outdoor sports, including basketball and tennis. The Class of 1900 finally convinced McIver that the school needed both athletic grounds and a campus Athletic Association. He and the school’s Executive Committee ordered that an outdoor playing field be prepared, "surrounded by an evergreen hedge or some other construction to avoid observation from without." Members of the Class of 1900 did most of the work involved in cleaning and preparing the new athletic field, including clearing the area of brush and debris, marking the fields, and installing nets and basketball goals.

Although it received little to no financial support from the school, the State Normal’s Athletic Association grew, electing officers, forming committees, and planning for the long-term upkeep of the fields. Additionally, the organization developed intramural tennis and basketball tournaments, with each class establishing its own team. In 1902, the Association adopted their official motto: "Athletics and Active College Work Go Hand in Hand."

In the "Athletics and Active College Work" exhibit, you will see photographs of the many basketball, field hockey, tennis, and baseball teams that competed in the Athletic Association tournaments and Field Day competitions. Also on exhibit is a gym suit worn by students during this time.

The exhibit will be on display in Hodges Reading Room through August 1st. It is available for viewing during SCUA's normal operating hours (typically Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm).

Monday, April 17, 2017

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

 SCUA is currently hiring for the following positions:

Positions Available April 2017

Literary Map - Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Graduate Student Assistant
Greensboro, North Carolina - On-Campus - Non FWS
The Graduate Assistant/s will be working with the Literary Map of North Carolina ( This online map reflects North Carolina’s rich literary heritage and serves as a geographic guide to both famous and little-known writers, of any and all literary genres, who were born here, who moved here, who retired here, who were educated here, or who wrote about the area. The works represented on this map include novels, biographies, historical works, poetry, plays, short stories, children’s books, and young adult literature.

The Graduate Assistant/s will be responsible for researching information concerning North Carolina authors and inputting corresponding names and bibliographical information into the Literary Map of North Carolina database and other related projects.
• Demonstrated research skills
• Knowledge of current web technology
• Superior communication skills
How to apply:  Search SpartanCareers

Oral History Transcriber - Women Veterans Historical Project, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections & University Archives
Greensboro, North Carolina - On-Campus - Non FWS

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives department within University Libraries is seeking to hire a motivated and resourceful individual to assist in the transcribing, researching, and editing of oral histories. The successful candidate is expected to work 8 hours per week and directly report to the curator of the Women Veterans Historical Project and the Assistant Dean.

Job Description:
Successful candidate will edit, research, and transcribe audio interviews from the department’s Women Veterans Historical Project and University Oral History Collection. These interviews were collected on audio tapes and digital files. The employee will also assist in metadata creation. The focus of this position is to make the oral history collections more accessible to the research community.

Position is available to begin summer 2017.

• Transcribe oral history interviews from audio files (using relevant style guide); (60%)
• conduct research in order to add, clarify, correct historical information; (5%)
• edit transcriptions for accuracy; (25%)
• metadata creation: (5%)
• provide weekly updates to supervisor. (5%)

• must be dependable, adaptable, detail oriented, and able to follow instructions;
• excellent keyboarding skills and good working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and databases;
• good organizational skills and the ability to multi-task;
• ability to work under own initiative and as part of a small team;
• methodical approach, with an eye for detail and ability to concentrate for long periods;
• ability to handle and respect sensitive and confidential information. 
How to apply:  Search SpartanCareers

Positions Available May 2017

Special Collections, Manuscripts, and University Archives [Jackson Library] Student Assistant Position
Greensboro, North Carolina - On-Campus - Non FWS

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 summer 2017.

Student will be working on a variety of projects which may involve Special Collections and University Archives. Duties include, but are not limited to:
• 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

See our collections here:
Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project:

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

Positions Available Beginning in August 2017

University Archives and Manuscripts Federal Work Study Student Assistant
Greensboro, North Carolina - Federal Work-Study (FWS)
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.
Student will be working on a variety of projects including, but not limited to, Manuscripts, University Archives, and the Women Veterans Historical Collection. Duties may include processing and writing finding aids for a backlog of small collections, assisting in the re-organization and inventorying of materials, processing, labeling, sleeving historical photographs, editing and creating abstracts for oral history interviews, and completing additional projects as needed.

Student may interact with researchers and be required to answer basic reference questions or direct them to information resources.

MUST HAVE FEDERAL WORK STUDY AS PART OF FINANCIAL AID. 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, archives, or museum studies experiences helpful, but not required. Strong interest in preservation and history appreciated and encouraged.
How to apply:  Search SpartanCareers

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

125th Anniversary Student Researchers Celebration

Please join us on Friday, April 28th at 3pm in Hodges Reading Room for a celebration of our 125th Anniversary Student Researchers. These six student researcher positions were made available thanks to generous support from the Office of the Chancellor. Our student researchers this year have done so much great work -- everything from oral history interviews to pop up exhibits to historical research for campus departments (and more!).

Our 125th Anniversary Student Researchers this year are:
  • Agotime Adefunmi-Shongode, a senior studying Communications and Media Studies
  • Ashlie Brewer, a sophomore majoring in Music Education 
  • Brittany Hedrick, a 1st year History graduate student
  • Kaitlyn Jessee, a sophomore double major in Dance and Geography
  • Sara Maeve Whisnant, a 2nd year Library and Information Studies graduate student
  • Lacey Wilson, a 1st year Public History graduate student
At the event, each of the students will talk briefly about their work this year, and then we will have a reception in the lobby to thank them for all of their hard work. We hope you can join us!

Monday, April 10, 2017

SCUA Welcomes Class of 1967 with Reunion Exhibit

On Friday, April 7th, SCUA staff continued their annual tradition of mounting an exhibit to welcome the 50th anniversary class back to the UNCG campus during Reunion Weekend. This year's exhibit, focused on the Class of 1967, featured their class jacket, yearbooks, scrapbooks, class newsletters, photographs, and more from University Archives. Materials on women in the Vietnam War from the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project were also displayed.

The Class of 1967's class banner, which is part of our University Archives Textile Collection, was prominently featured in the exhibit. It also made an appearance during the class meeting on Friday morning and at their luncheon on Saturday.

We want to thank everyone who stopped by the exhibit. We hope you had a wonderful Reunion Weekend and a wonderful return to UNCG!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Paul Tobias becomes the 16th cellist represented in the UNCG Cello Music Collection

Paul Tobias has been called a "master of the music and his instrument" by the New York Times, while the San Francisco Chronicle hailed him as "a fired-up, brilliant cellist in the great romantic tradition of Casals". He studied under Gregor Piatigorsky, Margaret Rowell and Bonnie Hampton, and under Leonard Rose, Zara Nelsova, and Claus Adam at The Juilliard School.
Among the many orchestras with which Tobias performed are the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Seattle Symphony. Following his debut under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, he performed with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Sergiu Comissiona, Raymond Leppard, and Zubin Mehta.
The many awards bestowed on Tobias included a Walter W. Naumburg Foundation Prize and the Gregor Piatigorsky Award (presented by the Violoncello Society which proclaimed him "outstanding young American cellist"). Following his first performances with the New York Philharmonic under Pierre Boulez (broadcast over the CBS Television Network), he was given the honor of performing the American premiere of the Pederecki Cello Concerto at the Kennedy Center with the composer conducting the Polish National Radio Symphony. Particularly noteworthy, Paul Tobias championed uncommon and difficult cello works that he believed should be more widely heard.  For example, Tobias was recognized as a pre-eminent interpreter of Samuel Barber's Cello Concerto and of the autograph version of Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, which he edited for its premier publication by Edwin F. Kalmus.
In addition to solo performances in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, and the Metropolitan Museum, Tobias also participated as a chamber musician at the Aspen Festival and the Marlboro Festival (for five consecutive years at the personal invitation of Rudolf Serkin). Paul Tobias can be heard on recordings for CBS and the Marlboro Recording Society. His performances have been broadcast over NPR, PBS, CBS Television, and numerous European radio stations.  A one hour documentary on Paul Tobias has been broadcast throughout the U.S. over various PBS Television stations.
Additionally, Paul Tobias was Artistic Director of New Heritage Music, a non-profit organization that commissions new works in honor of people, events, and themes central to history. Among composers designated to date are Chen Yi, Michael Daugherty, David Ott, Behzad Ranjbaran, David Sampson, Peter Schickele and Dan Welcher. The American Symphony Orchestra League calls New Heritage Music "a success story in creating new audiences with new music.”
A former Lecturer in Music at Harvard University and pre-concert lecturer for the New York Philharmonic, Tobias also served on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the University of California at Berkeley. A member of the faculty of the Mannes College for Music, New School University in New York, he was the recipient of its Distinguished University Teacher of the Year Award. Tobias authored numerous articles for American String TeacherThe Juilliard Journal, the Journal of the Conductors GuildStrings, and The Strad.
Paul Tobias is the 16th musician 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, Douglas Moore, Ennio Bolognini, Nicholas Anderson, Margaret Rowell, and Paul Tobias, the Cello Music Collection at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro constitutes the largest single holding of archival cello music-related material worldwide.