Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Making Their Mark: Historical Signatures in the Archives

Throughout history, signatures have wielded great power and importance. From John Hancock’s elaborate signature on the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to General Douglas MacArthur signing the Japanese’s surrender documents in 1945, a person’s signature has conferred identity and intent. Latin for “to sign,” a signature is a handwritten and sometime stylized description of a person’s name. The way in which a person writes his or her name changes throughout their life. However, just like a thumbprint, each person’s signature has its own unique characteristics.

The history of signatures can be traced back to 3000 B.C. when the Sumerian culture would affix seals to documents as a way to confirm authenticity. As the evolution of writing and the alphabet progressed, the use of handwritten representations of one’s name on documents to denote legitimacy and purpose expanded. To combat forgery, the Roman Empire created public notary’s who were minor government officials responsible for verify the identity of individuals and their signature. The use of signatures expanded beyond just formal documents with the rise of literacy and individualism during the Renaissance era (1300-1600 A.D) when people began to be recognized for their genius and achievement. The result was the artist’s signature and with it a new step in the evolution of the use and meaning of signatures.

While signatures are still used in today’s society to confirm identity, intent, and credit, they have also spawned a new phenomenon: autograph collecting. People who are into philography, the term used to describe the hobby of autograph collecting, seek a variety of signatures including those of Presidents, sports figures, celebrities, and other historical figures. While some people collect autographs simply for their historical value, others do so for profit. One of the most famous signatures in world is Abraham Lincoln’s whose autograph fetched $748,000 in 1991.

In recognition of the importance of signatures to history, The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives has selected from its collections a sample of historical signatures. Spanning over 220 years of United States history, the signatures touch on such issues as: women, North Carolina, Americana, UNCG, and U.S. Presidents. Some of the highlights from the exhibit include signatures by President Thomas Jefferson, woman suffrage movement activist Susan B. Anthony, scientist Albert Einstein, UNCG founder Charles Duncan McIver, and inspirational figure and advocate Helen Keller. This exhibit will be on display in the Hodges Reading Room from October 10, 2011 – January 16, 2012.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro: The First Hundred Years, 1891-1991

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives invites the UNCG and greater Greensboro community to witness the birth and development of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro through artifacts, documents, and images from the University Archives. This exhibit tells the story of how a small college, founded on ten acres of farmland in 1891, was able to overcome early setbacks to develop into the large, thriving University it is today. Divided into five eras corresponding to the names under which the University operated, the exhibit highlights important historical events including the Brick Dormitory fire of 1904, the death of founding president Charles Duncan McIver in 1906, and the growth of the College under Julius Foust. It also emphasizes the changes in student life including the introduction of college traditions such as Rat Day, the desegregation of the School in 1956, and the enrollment of male students in 1964. This exhibit will be on display in the Jackson Library Lobby from June 1 – September 30, 2011.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bernard Greenhouse, acclaimed cellist and founder of Beaux Arts Trio, dies at 95

Bernard Greenhouse, acclaimed cellist and founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio, passed away at his home in Wellfleet, Connecticut on Friday morning. UNCG has the honor of housing his expansive cello music collection in the Cello Music Collection of Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives. On a more personal note, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Greenhouse during the Cello Music Celebration for Luigi Silva in March 2004 as well as the Greenhouse Celebration of 2005 that not only marked his 90th year but also honored his donation of his personal library. On both occasions he displayed his noted warmth and good humor.

Online remembrances:
New York Times

The photo above is of Dr. William Finley and Mr. Greenhouse taken during the Silva Celebration in 2004.

-Carolyn Shankle

Friday, April 29, 2011

How To Serve Visiting Royalty ... 1970s Style

Are you getting ready to host a royal celebration? Do you want your party to have that retro feel? From the Purity Cheese Company, who produced the May-Bud brand, comes these party suggestions:

While Purity Cheese Company no longer distributes the May-Bud brand, you can still purchase it since Kraft Foods manages it through Churny Company, one of its subsidiaries.

Perhaps the recipes above will inspire one of your own parties.
Bon app├ętit!
-Carolyn Shankle

How to serve visiting royalty. Mayville, Wis. : Purity Cheese Co., c1970.
Home Economics Pamphlet Collection TX731 .H5950 1970

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

North Carolina and South Carolina archivists learn about the WVHP in Morehead City

WVHP hits the road!

Curator Beth Ann Koelsch, USAF veteran/WVHP oral history interviewer/UNC Greensboro PhD candidate Therese Strohmer, and Navy veteran Pat Childers gave a presentation and conducted a panel discussion at the 2011 joint conference of the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) and the South Carolina Archival Association (SCAA) in Morehead City, NC on April 1, 2011.

The session Preserving the History of Women Veterans in the Carolinas began with Beth Ann discussing how the WVHP came about and how veteran community involvement helps it grown. Next Beth Ann presented a history of women in the WVHP who served at Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point , the Charleston (SC) Naval Base, and Parris Island.

In her presentation Beth Ann showed photos and used excerpts from oral histories.

Finally, panelists Beth Ann, Therese and Pat discussed their roles and participation in the WVHP, and issues concerning oral history interviews with women veterans. The session was well received and Beth Ann made great contacts with other archivists and friends and supporters of women veterans.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thank you to Irene Parsons

Irene Parsons of Wilkes County, North Carolina, passed away on March 10, 2011. Irene spent three years with the Women’s Reserve of the Coast Guard (SPARs) from 1943 until 1946. Afterward, she had a long career with the Veteran’s Administration, retiring after almost thirty years of service.

She was a long time supporter of the Women Veterans Historical Project and she shared her oral history interview with us in 2005.

You can read the transcript here:

Irene bequeathed an endowment to the WVHP in her will. Her generosity, as well as that of many other veterans who have donated to the Project, is vital. As curator, I am focusing our resources on our oral history efforts. In the last year, we have added the stories of over 30 more women veterans to the collection. We post the full transcripts on line and researchers worldwide are able to learn from these women’s stories. Each oral history costs about $750 to conduct, transcribe, and edit, and support such as Irene’s makes these oral histories possible.

Linda Burr and Irene Parsons at the Women Veterans Luncheon, November 2009

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hodges Reading Room Reopened to the Public

The heat is on!

The Hodges Reading Room is open to the public and researchers from 9-5 Monday through Friday. There is construction going in in Jackson Library so do be mindful as you make your way to our door.

Thank you for your patience as we continue our renovations.

-Carolyn Shankle

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hodges Reading Room Closed to Public Temporarily


Due to the renovation of Jackson Library, some of the steamlines have been disconnected. The Hodges Reading Room and staff work areas have been without heat for two weeks and this situation will continue at least through the end of March. We have closed our reading room to the public for health and well-being of researchers and staff members.

The Lois Lenski exhibit is closed unless we are contacted in advance. We are encouraging researchers to schedule visits beginning in April. Should a researcher need to use our collections during the remainder of March, please contact us so that we may make arrangements.

We appreciate your patience during this time. We will post updates to this blog. You may read more about the overall renovation project on Mike Crumpton's blog, Jackson Library Renovation Project.

-Carolyn Shankle

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Men’s Athletics at UNCG

Athletics has been an important part of the curriculum at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), since the University opened as the State Normal and Industrial School in 1892. From the beginning, the School was known for its physical education and intramural sports programs for women.

Men’s athletics at UNCG can be traced back to 1932/33 when 75 undergraduate men were admitted as day students for one year during the Great Depression. These men formed a basketball team called the Tomcats and played against local college teams such as Elon College, Guilford College, and High Point College, as well as business teams such as Jefferson Standard Life Insurance.

After the University became co-educational in 1964, men participated in the intramural program, which featured basketball, billiards, bowling, fencing, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, table tennis, and volleyball.

In 1967, the intercollegiate program for both men and women received formal recognition from the University and the “Spartan” nickname was adopted for all teams.


Undergraduate men gave their basketball team the nickname “Tomcats.”

The intercollegiate program for men and women received formal recognition from the University. Men participated in basketball, cross country, golf, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.

During the fall of 1967, the nickname “Spartans” was adopted.

On February 17th, UNCG joined the Dixie Conference.

The men’s basketball team, coached by Larry Hargett, won the Dixie Conference Championship and completed in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Ryan Fox won the individual national title in Division III men’s golf.

UNCG captured its first men’s national championship in soccer with Mike Berticelli at the helm.

Nelson Bobb was hired as the first full time athletic director.

Men’s soccer player Eddie Radwanski, the first two-time All-American in the program’s history, was the first pick in the Major Indoor Soccer League draft.

Under Michael Parker’s direction, the men’s soccer team became the first in NCAA history to win three consecutive national championships, in 1985, 1986, and 1987.

In February, the University announced plans to elevate the athletic program from Division III to Division I.

UNCG joined NCAA Division II.

UNCG joined NCAA Division I.

The Soccer Stadium opened.

UNCG joined the Big South Conference.

Brian Moehler became the first Spartan to sign a professional baseball contract.

Men’s soccer won the 1993 Big South Championship. Shawn Mahoney was
named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Men’s soccer won its second straight Big South Championship on November 5th. Larry Feniger was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

UNCG Baseball claimed the Big South title and won two games in the NCAA Regionals. Mike Gaski was named Big South Coach of the Year.

On April 15th, men’s tennis captured the Big South Championship.

Men’s basketball won Big South regular season titles for second year in a row.

On March 2nd, men’s basketball won the Big South Tournament Championship.

On May 18th, men’s baseball won the Big South Tournament Championship.

Mike Gaski was named Big South Coach of the Year.

Wrestling, in its first year in the Southern Conference, tied for the 1997 SoCon title. Joe Stanton became the first and only three time NCAA qualifier in UNCG history.

Siggi Eyjolfsson became the first First-Team All-American in UNCG men’s soccer Division I history.

Men’s soccer claimed it first Southern Conference title and first NCAA Division I Tournament win.

The UNCG Baseball Stadium opened on February 12th.

Wrestler Dax Pecaro records his second straight undefeated season in the Southern Conference.

On March 4th, the men’s basketball team won its first Southern Conference Championship.

On February 11th, men’s soccer player Alejandro Moreno was selected by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the third round of the 2002 MLS SuperDraft.

On March 13th, the men’s basketball team received their first ever invitation to the National Invitation Tournament.

On May 30th, pitcher/outfielder Ryan Gordon was named first team All- American by Louisville Slugger.

In March, Darren Burns was named the Southern Conference Freshman Wrestler of the Year.

On October 17th, UNCG received its first No. 1 national ranking since moving to Division I.

In May, Charles Jones became the first Spartan to qualify for the NCAA Track and Field Championships.

In February, Jeff Williams earned his second consecutive conference title in the 800 meters at the Southern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.

UNCG alumnus Andy Bare qualified for the 106th US Open, becoming the first Spartan to qualify for a major golf tournament.

On September 27th, Kim Record was appointed Athletic Director.

UNCG Basketball began playing home games in the Greensboro Coliseum.

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to have an exhibit about men's athletics at UNCG on display in the Jackson Library/Elliott University Center Connector from January 7 – April 7, 2011.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Elizabeth Cowling Celebration

The Elizabeth Cowling Cello Celebration March 24-26, 2011

UNCG School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Greensboro, NC

Honoring cellist and scholar Elizabeth Cowling

Cello choir showcases and master class performance opportunities available to registered participants.

Direct all inquiries to Alexander Ezerman / 336 334 5518

Event Website
Elizabeth Cowling Collection
Cello Music Collection

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lois Lenski: Voices of Children

February 7 - March 18, 2011
Hodges Reading Room

Lois Lenski (1893-1974) was one of the most popular and most gifted among children's authors and illustrators of the twentieth century. This small exhibit is an attempt to document her talent and to show, in her own words, her intense feelings for the proper literature and education for children.

Born and reared in Ohio, Lenski gravitated early to a career in art. Although she majored in education at Ohio State University and prepared for a career in teaching, she took many art courses in college, decided on art as a vocation, and pursued this career at the Art Students' League in New York, furthering her art studies in England and Italy. At the Art Students' League,she became an assistant to the muralist Arthur Covey and married him in 1921. Advancing from part-time jobs designing greeting cards and drawings for advertisements, Lenski spent the decade of the 1920s illustrating the works of others, primarily for children's books. In addition to illustrating works such as Padraic Colum's The Peep-Show Man and Kenneth Graham's The Golden Age and Dream Days (which allowed her to exercise her passion for medieval costume and culture), she developed an association with the New York publishing firm Platt and Munk, illustrating such well-known works as Cinderella and The Little Engine That Could.

At the suggestion of an editor, Lenski decided to try her own hand at writing for children, publishing in 1927 Skipping Village, based on her own childhood experiences in Anna, Ohio. In her long and illustrious career as both writer and illustrator, Lenski authored more than eighty books for children of various ages, including the immensely popular "Davy" and "Mr.Small" series for younger readers and the influential and provocative "Roundabout America" and "Regional America" books for older children, as well as historical novels and poetry. In addition to providing riveting entertainment, her books invariably made a plea for tolerance and understanding among all people. Among her many awards were the Newbery Medal for 1946 for Strawberry Girl, one of her fifteen regional novels for young readers, and the National Child Study Association Award in 1948.

Special Collections & University Archives, Jackson Library, has many signed first editions, translations, manuscripts, original art work, artifacts, and ephemera in its Lois Lenski Collection, as well as a collection of miniature and early children's books collected by Lenski.

For her many contributions to children's literature, Lois Lenski in 1962 was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

-Dr. William K. Finley

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What They Were Wearing While They Were Reading; The 1920s

January 24 – March 31, 2011
First Floor Lobby, Jackson Library

The 1920s was one of the most exciting decades in US history. It was a time of prosperity and excess when Americans embraced a modern culture, which included dancing to the “Charleston” and joyriding in Ford Model T automobiles. Women won the right to vote, attended colleges in droves, and sought out careers outside the home.

Prohibition began on midnight, January 16, 1920, making “intoxicating liquors” illegal to transport, consume, or sell. Prohibition created an underground bootlegging industry, which fueled widespread criminal activity. Men like Al Capone rose to power, ordering the largest gangland hits in crime history known as “the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”

Jazz was hot! Singers such as Charles Peterson, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and Rudy Vallee were popular and could be heard on a new invention, which allowed entertainment to be broadcast into America’s living rooms - the radio. Americans were also flocking to movie theaters to see popular stars as Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson.

Other important milestones of the 1920s included Babe Ruth setting the home run record in 1927, celebrity pilot Charles Limbergh flying solo across the Atlantic in 1927, and archaeologist Howard Carter discovering the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922.

The decade came to a screeching halt on October 29, 1929, with the most devastating stock market crash in US History. The panic of 1929 sparked the Great Depression and the economic downturn of the 1930s.

This exhibit focuses on the fashions, literature, and cultural aspects of the 1920s. It features the textile collection of Dr. James Carmichael, professor of the UNCG’s Library and Information Studies program.

-Kathelene McCarty Smith

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Celebrating the Cello Music Collection: The Greenhouse Legacy

Among the most distinguished cellists of the 20th and early 21st centuries, Bernard Greenhouse, now in his 95th year, continues to teach at his home on Cape Cod and to inspire music lovers the world over, largely through his many recordings with the Beaux Arts Trio. As the founding cellist of this legendary trio, Greenhouse joined forces in 1955 with pianist Menahem Pressler and violinist Daniel Guilet (later followed by Isidore Cohen) to perform and record the entire standard piano trio repertoire before retiring from the group in 1987. However, as Greenhouse is ever quick to point out, his career on the international chamber music stage represents only one dimension of a richly varied musical life. This exhibit of materials from his personal library, now part of UNCG’s monumental Cello Music Collection, throws welcome light on the range of Greenhouse’s activities—as a virtuoso cello soloist, as a student of Casals, as a collaborator with composer Elliott Carter, and as the long-time cellist of New York’s Bach Aria Group.
- Mac Nelson

Exhibit dates : January 24 - February 3, 2011