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By: James Stewart

Bio and Portrait of S. B. Simmons

Better Living In North Carolina is a collaborative digital project between the NCSU Libraries and the Bluford Library at North Carolina A&T State University that is designed to reveal how agricultural practices transformed the state of North Carolina over the course of the last century. This can not be done without also uncovering new revelations about the men and women who worked as part of the NC Cooperative Extension Service and our state’s vocational education programs. We are proud to announce the availability of resources from the collection of two very significant men from the Archives and Special Collections of NC A&T State University and the state’s vocational education history.

S. B. (Sidney Britton) Simmons (1894-1957) was the state supervisor of vocational agriculture for African-American schools in North Carolina for over 30 years beginning in 1924. He was a nationally recognized champion of vocational agriculture and a graduate and post graduate of multiple colleges, including A&T College and the University of Illinois.

Photo (New Farmers of America North Carolina young male group)

He was one of the founders of the National Association of New Farmers of America (NFA), a vocational agriculture organization for African American youth. Simmons brought this organization to the Tarheel State as the North Carolina Association of NFA. The NFA and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) would merge together in the mid-1960s. As state director and through the North Carolina NFA, Simmons impacted the education of thousands of African American youth via school programs, camps, conferences, broadcasts, and competitions. Highlights from the Simmons collection include several photographs of young African American men and women at various camps, demonstrations, and conferences learning different agricultural practices, from curing tobacco to herding livestock.

Photo of a Girl Curing Turkish Tobacco

View the S. B. Simmons Collection, Archives and Special Collections, F. D. Bluford Library, North Carolina A&T State University

John D. Wray (1885 – 1937) was the state’s first African-American club (later 4-H) agent, or “Negro Club Leader,” beginning in 1915. He organized the first agricultural clubs in counties that up to that time did not have African American extension agents. The first clubs for homemakers, crop rotation, peanuts, and cotton were started during his 10 years as an extension agent. His office was located on the campus of NC A&T.

"Negro boys and girls attend short course at A and T College", article by John D. Wray. Wray contributed numerous farming articles to regional and national newspapers.

Like Simmons, Wray also previously worked for the Tuskegee Institute before coming to North Carolina. His writings of proper farming techniques were circulated to state and national newspapers. Like Neil Alexander Bailey, the state’s first African American extension agent, Wray specialized in the research of corn production, and his thesis on this topic is now available online. He later became an instructor of vocational agriculture at the Laurinburg Institute, and a professor at Florida A&M University.

View the John. D. Wray Collection, Archives and Special Collections, F. D. Bluford Library, North Carolina A&T State University

More on the life and work of John D. Wray can be found at John D. Wray and the Fight for Black Farmers – NC EATS.

The resources currently available in the Better Living collection continue to grow, and there will be many more to come on the life of John D. Wray, S. B. Simmons. and others who helped to advance the agricultural practices of North Carolina.

If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of imagesvideoaudio recordings, and text materials documenting extension history and other topics.

By: Laura Abraham

This week, you might come across some colorful, make-shift houses set up on the Brickyard. This is part of the annual Shack-A-Thon, where student groups are camping out to raise funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity. As a charitable organization, Habitat for Humanity contributes to building homes for low income families, both in collecting money for the new houses and organizing events for volunteers to help build them.

This year, from September 19 to 23, students will stay on the Brickyard in plywood shacks they’ve constructed themselves, night and day, rain or shine, all towards fundraising for the NC State University Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. A visit there will show you eccentric and creative houses, some with raffles, bake sales, games, and events. Even if you cannot make the trip, please donate towards this great cause here.

We wish everyone the best of luck, so please enjoy these images of past Shack-A-Thons from the Special Collections Research Center’s Edward T. Funkhouser Photographs Collection, and you can see for yourselves why it has become such a memorable tradition.

Again, please donate to this year’s Shack-A-Thon. If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and text materials documenting NC State history and other topics.

Sep 14 2016

BugFest 2016

By: Virginia Ferris

This Saturday September 17 from 9am-5pm, Special Collections and NCSU Libraries staff will be at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for BugFest 2016!  Stop by the NCSU Libraries “Ask Us” station on the 3rd floor (near the T-Rex fossil) for origami, stamps, coloring sheets from our digitized collection of Seguy prints, and more activities for the kids.

Our participation in BugFest has evolved from the Special Collections Research Center’s development of collections in entomology, including the Zeno P. Metcalf Research Collection, and the event, “Bug-O-Rama,” in the early 2000s that developed into the BugFest we know and love today. This poster for an early Bug-O-Rama included a creative depiction of the now demolished Harrelson Hall.

Praying mantis climbs over Harrelson Hall, Bug-O-Rama poster circa 2000.

Praying mantis climbs over Harrelson Hall, Bug-O-Rama poster circa 2000.

Enjoy more images related to bugs and entomology at NC State below.  Check out more of our bug-related collections in our digitized collections, find more on our website, and contact us for more information about our rare book and archival collections in entomology.

Woman being chased by people dressed as bugs on the Brickyard, circa 1970.

Woman being chased by people dressed as bugs on the Brickyard, circa 1970.

Beekeeping meeting in Boone, NC, 1953.

Beekeeping meeting in Boone, NC, 1953.

4-H club boy mounting insects in display boxes, circa 1955.

4-H club boy mounting insects in display boxes, circa 1955.

Entomology collection by 4-H students, 1956.

Entomology collection by 4-H students, 1956.

By: Todd Stoffer

The Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries has archived and digitized the first 70 years of the print edition of the university’s student newspaper, the Technician. These scans, found on our Rare and Unique Digital Collections, are an important source of information, when it comes to documenting the history of the university. We now are expanding on this collection by adding the Technician website to our NC State University Websites web archive. We have started harvesting the website’s content daily, attempting to capture and preserve all of the stories that appear in the online version of the student newspaper.

The Technician has recently reduced the number of days a week it produces a printed version. With more content appearing only in the online version, it becomes especially important to archive the website, to ensure that all of this content is preserved in its original and complete online form.

While we only recently added the Technician website to our collection, the Internet Archive crawled and archived site content as early as February 04, 1998. As you can see from the image below, the capture was not complete; all of the images are missing! It does show that the Technician has had an online version dating back to at least 1998, which is impressive considering that was only two years after the New York Times first established their web presence.

Comparing the web archive capture to the scan of the printed version from that date allows us to see what stories appeared in both places. With the limited amount of content available in the online version from 1998 it is pretty easy to see that most of the stories appear in both places. Following each story link from the Internet Archive capture of the website allows you to explore each of the stories that were captured.

For comparison, here is the archived version of the Technician website from August 29th of this year. As you can see from the screenshot below, now that we can direct the crawl and preserve the website ourselves we have a much more complete capture. This allows us to see every article and image, as it appeared on the site on that day, to more accurately record the history of NC State as it appears in our student media.

By: Virginia Ferris

To wrap up our series of posts about Harrelson Hall, we’re sharing several short recordings captured with alumni as part of the SCRC’s Wolf Tales program, our mobile oral history program to integrate more student voices to the archives.  We set up recording stations at events around campus to record the stories of alumni and students about life at NC State, and then add these recordings to the archives and share them online, so that future generations of researchers can learn about the history of NC State from the voices of those who lived it.

In the fall of 2015, the Wake County Alumni Network hosted a “Last Look at Harrelson” event to invite alumni into the building for one last farewell before demolition began.  We sat down with three alums who shared their different memories and experiences of Harrelson as students, ranging from the 1970s to the 2000s.  Their different stories show the range of feelings about the building, both positive and negative.

Click on any of the images below to view the full videos.

Danny Peele, Class of 1974

Danny Peele, Class of 1974

Danny Peele (‘74) shared memories of showing off Harrelson Hall to visitors from his small town, taking classes in Harrelson, and acoustical problems and echoes in the classrooms.

Matthew Williams, Class of 2014

Matthew Williams, Class of 2014

Matt Williams (‘14) spoke about his childhood memories of seeing Harrelson Hall while visiting NC State’s campus with his mother, an NC State alum, and later as a student at NC State, and the friendships he made in Harrelson through his involvement with student government.

Laurie Mitchell, Class of 2004

Laurie Mitchell, Class of 2004

Laurie Mitchell (‘04) talked about taking classes in Harrelson Hall, the challenges and functional issues of the building (including windowless rooms and inconveniently located women’s restrooms), positive memories of professors who taught classes in Harrelson, and appreciating the mid century modern design of Harrelson and its place as an iconic building on campus.

You can learn more about the Wolf Tales program and view upcoming recording sessions at our website, and view more recordings of alumni and current students sharing their stories of life at NC State here.  If you have questions or would like to learn more about Wolf Tales, write to, and if you have questions about using any of our collections always feel free to contact us!

By: Linda Sellars

As students and faculty return to campus and think of interesting research projects using Special Collections, our processing team is reassembling and gearing up to make more of our collections findable and usable for them.  From receiving a collection to making it available for research, many people are involved.  Today we’ll tell you a little bit about who they are and what they’ll be working on this fall.

We receive new collections and additions to existing collections nearly every week, and we make these collections available as soon as possible by preparing container lists and preliminary collection guides immediately when they arrive. Then they go into a queue for extra arrangement and description depending on how we expect they might be used, and on the availability of processors and space.

One of our Library Associates processing a collection

Special Collections staff, of course, work on arranging and describing collections year round. Our University Archives Specialist spends much of her time inventorying materials as they arrive from University offices. Right now she is also working on a project with the records of the Cooperative Extension Director’s office to describe them in a way that will make them easier to find and use, in preparation for digitizing them. Our Digital Program Technician is currently arranging and describing a collection of comic books. A staff member in the Libraries’ Acquisitions and Discovery Department also helps with processing collections. Her expertise in metadata and cataloging are particularly helpful, especially with some of the large collections she has worked on.

We have two Library Associates– part-time, entry-level professional archivists who are graduate students in public history or library science–who arrange and describe collections. They also help with other aspects of archival work, including helping pick up collections from donors, writing blog posts (stay tuned – you’ll be hearing from them!), and other special projects that come up during their time with us. Because they are new this year, they will start out with some smaller collections, and as the year goes on they will work on larger and more complex collections.

This semester we will have two other graduate students processing collections in the SCRC, one from NCSU’s Public History Ph.D. program and one from UNC-CH’s Library Science program. These particular students have both worked at our Public Service desk and have helped inventory collections while there. We are fortunate to have graduate student processors who have worked with researchers so they will have researchers’ needs in mind as they arrange and describe collections.

We will also have three work-study students working with us this semester. The majority of their work will be re-foldering and inventorying collections. They will remove collection material from the folders in which it arrives and will place it in acid-free folders, then label the folders clearly and consistently, place them in acid-free boxes, and list them in a spreadsheet or directly in ArchivesSpace, our collection management software. Students who work at our Reading Room desk also do this kind of work when they are not actively engaged in helping researchers.

Visit our website for more information about finding and using archival collections at NCSU.   You can also search directly within our collection guides or browse a list of our collections for more.  If you have any questions about how to find or use the collections, as always, contact us!  We are here to help you find what you need.

By: Todd Kosmerick

Terry Waugh, 1958

Edward Walter “Terry” Waugh is usually credited with the circular design concept for NC State’s Harrelson Hall, which was recently demolished.  To follow up from last week’s post, here are a few more facts about him.

He was born on 24 January 1913 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  During the 1930s he attended the School of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot Watt College of Engineering in Scotland, and he received the equivalent of a BA in 1935 and MA in 1938.

During World War II he came to the United States.  In 1944-1945 he had a fellowship at Cranbrook Academy, and he briefly worked under Eliel Saarinen.  In 1945-1946 he was a senior designer of movie sets for Columbia Picture, Inc.  He was a practicing architect for a few years in Kansas City, and in 1949 he and George Matsumoto designed the Kansas City Art Institute.  He also briefly taught architecture at the University of Kansas and the University of Oklahoma.

In September 1948 he became an associate professor of architecture in NC State’s School (now College) of Design.  He was among the original cohort of faculty and students that had come with Dean Henry Kamphoefner from the University of Oklahoma.  He taught at NC State during 1948-1951 and again 1958-1962.  During his second employment at the university, he performed additional duties as campus planner.

From 1951 to 1958 he was in private practice in Raleigh.  In 1960, he and his wife Elizabeth authored (with Henry Kamphoefner, advisor) the book The South Builds:  New Architecture in the Old South. During his career he also wrote a number of articles.  In 1965 he showed his paintings and drawings at an exhibit titled “Two Years of Architecture and Art” in NC State’s student union.

In addition to Harrelson Hall (designed with Holloway-Reeves), Waugh contributed to the design of various renovation projects on the NC State campus; to the Winston-Salem War Memorial Coliseum (with G. Milton Small); and the Forest Hills Shopping Center (with Raymond Sawyer) in Garner, North Carolina.  He also designed several houses in North Carolina (many featured on the NC Modernist Houses website), including his own at 3211 Churchill Road in Raleigh.  Through an arrangement between NC State and the government of Peru, Waugh design the campus for La Molina University (Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina) in that country.

Postcard of Harrelson Hall, 1962.

Postcard of Harrelson Hall, 1962.

Terry Waugh died in Raleigh on 24 February 1966. Architectural drawings for some of his buildings still exist.  Drawings and other documents about the design of NC State’s recently-demolished Harrelson Hall are included in the NCSU Office of the University Architect Records (UA 003.026) and the Holloway-Reeves Records (MC 00172).  Drawings for other Waugh-designed buildings also exist in the Edward Walter Waugh Drawings (MC 00148).

Aug 17 2016

Welcome Pack!

By: Jennifer Baker

The Special Collections Research Center would like to offer a sincere welcome to all new and returning students!

If you’ve never used the Special Collections Research Center before – maybe this is the year! As a repository for primary source documents, the Special Collections Research Center is a one of a kind resource. Our collecting areas reflect the strengths of the university – Architecture and Design, Veterinary Medicine and Forestry and Environmental Sciences are only a few. Did you know we also have collections in the areas of Agricultural Innovation, Animal Rights and Welfare, and Zoological Health? How about History of Computing, Textiles, Plant and Crop Sciences, Engineering, Entomology and Landscape Architecture?

Each collecting area has anywhere from just a few to several hundred collections. These collections are organized and searchable through collection guides, which provide a basic inventory of the contents of a collection. Collection guides allow you to narrow your search from several hundred possible boxes to just a few – something that can make a huge difference in the amount of material you have to go through!

The Special Collections Research Center also has a fantastic site for digitized materials. The Rare and Unique Digital Collections page hosts thousands of digitized items. University Archives photographs can be found here, along with architectural drawings, student organization constitutions, and Cooperative Extension materials to name just a few.  NCSU sports lovers can also view photographs and coaches’ films taken from the bleachers and used for training purposes.

N.C. State vs. University of Houston in the 1983 NCAA Championship

In short, the Special Collections Research Center has a wealth of material available to the campus community. We hope to see you soon!

For more information on accessing materials in the Special Collections Research Center, please contact us at

By: Todd Kosmerick

Harrelson Hall floorplan, 1959

With demolition completed recently, the landmark Harrelson Hall is at an end.  We wanted to continuing looking back at its earliest days, and we developed the timeline below to show how the building came to be created:


The North Carolina General Assembly authorized construction of a new classroom building on the NC State campus.

Plans were developed for the new classroom building to be circular.

August 1957

The Building and Grounds Committee approved the space between Polk and Williams Halls as the location of the new classroom building. 

February 1959

The Board of Trustees approved the official naming of the new classroom building as Harrelson Hall in honor of Chancellor John W. Harrelson.

Architecture professor Terry Waugh was responsible for Harrelson Hall's circular design.

March 1959

Architectural plans for Harrelson Hall were released to the public.  The architects were Holloway-Reeves and Associates, aided by architecture faculty member E. W. “Terry” Waugh.  Waugh was responsible for the circular design concept, believed to enclose the largest amount of space with the least amount of materials, a necessary requirement during a time of teacher shortages and increasing enrollment.  The pie-slice shapes of interior spaces was thought to make perfect classrooms, some of which could hold 200 students.


Plans for the “round classroom building” were finalized; construction began.  T. A. Loving and Company was the general contractor.  Concrete was a major material used in construction; some parts of the building were precast and others poured in place.

Containing the bathrooms and spiral ramp, the core of the building was constructed first.

The core of the building (including the bathrooms, utilities, and ramp) was constructed first.


Construction was completed.  The university stated the final cost was $2,250,000 (later that was revised down to $1,990,000).  At first the university claimed the building’s 77 classrooms could hold 4,500 students.  This may have been overly optimistic; a few years later, the campus facilities office stated that Harrelson Hall could seat only 3,254 students.  Nevertheless, both numbers are impressive because a total of 7,117 students were enrolled at NC State during the Fall 1961 semester.

November 1961

The public first glimpsed the inside of the building.  Only one floor was completely furnished for an open house on November 4.  At another open house on November 18 as part of Homecoming festivities, 1,200 people filed through the building.  While most comments were favorable, some criticism was noted:  people complained of noisy steam pipes, a lack of bathrooms for women (there was only one), and potential dangers with the ramp.  Some noted that it took significantly longer to walk the ramp than climb the stairs.

Harrelson Hall nearing completion in 1961

The Department of Mathematics was the first unit to move into the building.

February-March 1962

Students had already begun calling the building “The Pie” and having fun with it:  the February 8 Technician reported on a student roller skating down the ramp.  Landscaping was still incomplete, and students and faculty complained of mud and weeds surrounding the building (it would be five more years before the Brickyard was constructed).  Over time, complaints about the building mounted, including noisy air conditioning, curved chalkboards, and disorienting corridors and ramps.

7 March 1962

The building was officially dedicated as part of NC State’s 75th anniversary ceremonies and the 100th anniversary of the Morrill Act creating land-grant colleges and universities.

April 1962

The Building and Grounds Committee recommended funds for landscaping around Harrelson Hall and development of detailed landscaping plans for the open space nearby.

By: Laura Abraham

This Friday is the start of NC State’s Wolfpack Welcome Week, the traditional event to welcome new students, helping them adjust to life on campus and prepare for their upcoming class schedules, as well as greet returning students. NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center would like to commemorate the new semester with a sampling of images from digitized materials in our Rare and Unique Digital Collections.

For those unfamiliar with the Special Collections Research Center, we hold and manage the University’s unique archival materials, and you can find us in the D. H. Hill Library. We have a large digitized collection of Special Collections materials available online. This includes images like these, where students from years past are moving into their dorms, attending student orientation, and registering for classes.

We hope this school year goes wonderfully for you! If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics. If you are interested in learning more about our materials or viewing them, please see information on using Special Collections materials and use our Special Collections Request Form.