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Jan 26 2015

Cars of NC State

By: Brian Dietz

This past Friday, January 23, 2015, the Libraries hosted an event with Skip Elsheimer of AV Geeks and Jason Torchinsky, automotive journalist of Jalopnik, to screen and discuss vintage films about what it was like to own a car during the mediocre late 1970s and early 1980s. The Special Collections Research Center provided a couple dozen photographs of some of the many “Cars of NC State” for a slideshow that played before and after the program. Here are some of the slideshow highlights.

Students Packing Into Car, 1982

Students Packing Into Car, 1982

Guy Mendenhall's Homemade Car, 1931

Guy Mendenhall

Car Crash at Free Expression Tunnel, 1972

Car Crash at Free Expression Tunnel, 1972

Official Pace Car, 53rd Annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, 1969

Official Pace Car, 53rd Annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, 1969

Kids, Cars, and Lake Waccamaw Encampment, 1930

Kids, Cars, and Lake Waccamaw Encampment, 1930

Wolfpack Women…on the way to #1 Car Bumper Sticker, 1980

Wolfpack Women…on the way to #1 Car Bumper Sticker, 1980

Engineering student measuring model of car, circa 1950s

Engineering student measuring model of car, circa 1950s

Glare Experiment, 1950s

Glare Experiment, 1950s

These photos and lots more related to the cars of NC State are available as part of the 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.

By: Todd Kosmerick

The 13 Feb. 1958 Technician reported on a visit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Raleigh on Feb. 10 of that year.  This may be the earliest date in which NC State’s student newspaper published an in-depth article about Dr. King, who was speaking at a local church’s Institute of Religion event.  Before an audience of 1700 people in Broughton High School, King discussed non-violent resistance to segregation.  The most significant part of the speech for the Technician reporter was King’s statement that “integration will never be a reality until such a time comes that all men understand and trust each other.”  Viewers can now read the full article online.

This online Technician archives has recently been made available by the NCSU Libraries as part of our mandate to preserve the history of North Carolina State University and distribute that history widely to scholars, alumni, and the public.  The Technician, the university’s student newspaper, is now available online in a format that is easy to browse and search.     Approximately4000 issues from 1920 through 1990 that are digitized and indexed in the NCSU Libraries’ online collection.  More recent issues will be added in the upcoming year.  More information can be found at the NCSU Libraries News.

By: Jennifer Baker

These days, course catalogs are found online. Not as a unit, of course. The modern course catalog is a collection of webpages that hold the same information collectively that was once printed and bound as a single volume.  There are likely two important reasons for this – the university is huge and the internet is cheap and easily accessible.

So accessible that the Special Collections Research Center  digitized most of NCSU’s course catalogs and made them available through our Rare and Unique Digital Collections website. The most frequent request is for course descriptions to use in applications for graduate school, law school, and patents.

But if you look at earlier course catalogs, the information included far exceeds course descriptions and a campus map:

The 1974-76 Graduate Bulletin includes a list of tuition and fees, and gives suggestions for financial aid.

The 1962-64 State College Record includes information about college extension classes, including correspondence courses, evening courses, short courses and conferences – all of which allowed non-degree seeking students to take classes at the university level.

The 1945-46 Catalog Issue includes a section on “Educational Opportunities for Veterans” – who qualifies and how to apply.

Educational Opportunities for Veterans

The 1920-21 Catalog lists every student enrolled in every class.

These course catalogs not only provide basic information about classes and campus, but they are also a reflection of national trends in the microcosm of a college campus. The catalog from the 1920s can list all of the enrolled students because the university was fairly small and did not have a large enrollment. The information for veterans in the 1940s catalog provides for a booming student population, consisting in large part of veterans in the aftermath of WWII and the accessibility of college through the GI Bill. Financial aid in the 1970s is suggested as tuition begins to balloon and students are no longer exclusively from families who can afford to pay tuition outright.

Course catalogs are an often overlooked primary source.  The information in these catalogs provides a unique look into the makeup of the student population and the forces that governed university policy. To view these digitized course catalogs, please visit our Rare and Unique Digital Collections page or contact the Special Collections Research Center at

By: Rose Buchanan

By Rachel Jacobson and Rose Buchanan, Library Associates at the Special Collections Research Center

As archivists, our primary goal is to make historical records accessible to researchers and the general public. Whether we are selecting a collection for long-term retention or writing a collection description, we must remember that different people will use collections in different ways and for different purposes. Part of our job is to think like a researcher: to envision how researchers might use collections, and to arrange and describe collections in ways that make sense for those audiences.

Dr. Richard Montali with a Burmese Python, circa 1982

At times, thinking like a researcher is easier said than done. For example, many of us have a background in the humanities, but are often responsible for arranging scientific collections. In such circumstances, we can find it difficult to decipher which topics or materials might spark the interest of or be important to someone from a different discipline. By conducting additional research about the donor or creator of a collection, and consulting with people knowledgeable about the topic or materials, however, we can learn to “think like a veterinarian.”

We are currently processing a zoological health collection for the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). The Richard Montali Papers is a collection that focuses on a veterinary pathologist, Dr. Richard Montali. He was an active member of many veterinary and zoological organizations, and was formerly the chief pathologist at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.; later, he served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Montali’s papers are of particular interest to students and faculty at N.C. State’s College of Veterinary Medicine because they contain research on infectious diseases in elephants, giant pandas, and New World primates, among others.

Dr. Richard Montali with a Tawny Frogmouth, 2004

With limited background knowledge about veterinary medicine or pathology, we faced a significant challenge in making Montali’s papers accessible to interested faculty and students. We had to ask ourselves a number of questions from the perspective of these potential researchers. Ultimately, it became clear that the most helpful way to organize the collection would be by animal or disease type and by zoological, wildlife, or veterinary organization or publication. Even this decision, which may seem simple enough, presented some problems when putting the collection guide together. For example, when we saw a name such as the tawny frogmouth, it was tempting to place documents about this animal with the amphibians. However, we discovered (with a little help from Google) that the tawny frogmouth is not actually a brown frog, but a brown nocturnal bird from Australia. Montali’s research on this creature would fit intellectually with other avian records, not with amphibian records.

Another challenging task came when we were confronted with medical slides, materials not commonly encountered in the SCRC. For archivists without a scientific background, the slides were difficult to interpret, particularly when they did not have accompanying documentation. For instance, was it possible to tell from which animal the slides simply labeled, “Ovary” or “Liver,” came? Perhaps not for an archivist just delving into veterinary records for the first time, but a veterinarian or a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) student will see these slides differently and the slides could prove to be invaluable to their research.

Therefore, from the earliest processing decision to the final arrangement and description, we had to determine the best way to organize Montali’s papers and appropriately add the slides to the finding aid. In the course of our work, we tried to think like veterinary researchers, anticipate researchers’ needs, and conduct a little of our own research in the process. The results of our efforts will appear in a new collection guide to be published on the web this month.

Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information on the Richard Montali Papers. Please also visit the SCRC’s website for more information on our zoological health collecting initiative.

By: Gwynn Thayer

The contracting firm D. J. Rose and Son Inc., based in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, has donated a major collection of historic architectural drawings and other documents to the North Carolina State University Libraries. Established in 1890 by builder David Jeptha Rose, D. J. Rose and Son is the oldest continuously operating general contracting firm in North Carolina.

Towering tobacco and textile mills, tall and elegant banks, classical courthouses in county seats, railroad stations large and small, electric power plants and fertilizer factories, hospitals and churches, and commercial buildings and residences in every style—for more than a century the Rose family firm constructed essential buildings of every kind throughout Eastern North Carolina and as far away as Florida and Maryland. Year by year, each generation of the firm filed away the records of their projects in nearly every town in the region.

The donors of the collection, Dillon Rose, Sr., and Dillon Rose, Jr., discovered the significance of the records after exploring NCSU Libraries’ website, North Carolina Architects and Builders at Dillon Rose Jr. saw the biography for architect William P. Rose (David Jeptha Rose’s brother) and contacted the library to ask if the D. J. Rose firm was to be included in the website. Catherine W. Bishir, Curator of Architecture at the Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries, learned from him about the family collection. Rose recalls, “I didn’t realize the importance of what we had until I talked with Catherine.”

To ensure the collection’s long-term preservation and access to researchers, the Roses agreed to donate the collection to the Libraries. The NCSU Libraries secured a matching grant from the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation of Greensboro, North Carolina, to enable the records—many of them more than 100 years old—to be cleaned by a conservation contractor.

The hundreds of rolls of drawings include works by some of the region’s leading architects for whom most records have been lost—Benton and Benton of Wilson, John C. Stout of Rocky Mount, Joseph Leitner of Wilmington, to name a few. Rows of boxes hold thousands of documents that tell the story of changing times and the work of many people, from local workmen asking for jobs to bills from distant suppliers of hardware and machinery. “It is a rich and amazing collection,” says Bishir. “We’ve seen just part of it, and can’t wait to see the rest of its treasures.”

Much of the collection involves railroad facilities—depots, turntables, platforms—especially those for the present Atlantic Coast Line (ACL), the lifeline of the region’s economic development. The company’s location by the railroad linked it to projects near and far, including the rail-oriented warehouses and factories where hundreds of workers sold or processed the region’s principal crops of cotton and tobacco.

As Gwyneth Thayer, Associate Head and Curator of Special Collections, who orchestrated the cleaning project, states, “Thanks to the Rose family and the Covington Foundation, historians and the interested public for years to come can learn about transportation and industrial history as well as architecture in ways that would never have been possible otherwise.”

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at the NCSU Libraries continues to assemble and archive the work of leading architects and builders to make these unique materials available to a wide audience. The SCRC has collected the papers of key architects, including G. Milton Small, Jr., George Matsumoto, and William Waldo Dodge, as well as those of past and present faculty members of NC State’s College of Design such as Henry Kamphoefner, Marvin Malecha, Matthew Nowicki, and Frank Harmon.

The SCRC holds research and primary resource materials in areas that reflect and support the teaching and research needs of the students, faculty, and researchers at the university. By emphasizing established and emerging areas of excellence at NC State University and corresponding strengths within the Libraries’ overall collection, the SCRC develops collections strategically with the aim of becoming an indispensable source of information for generations of scholars.

By: Laura Abraham

While N. C. State students are taking exams, let them take comfort that they are not the first to go through this end of year stress.

Here are some pictures of students hitting the books from the archives of NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. Please visit our online Rare and Unique Digital Collections to learn more about University history. Best of luck to you all!

These photos and lots more are available as part of the 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.

By: Cathy Dorin-Black

A selection of posters was recently added to the Union Activities Board (UAB) Records held by the University Archives. The posters date from the 1970s to the 1990s, and they mostly reflect UAB-sponsored performances that took place in Thompson Theatre.  UAB was originally founded in 1951 as the College Union Board of Chairmen in order to promote social and cultural programs for students. It was renamed the Union Activities Board in the early 1970s. It sponsored many dramatic performances that were shown in Thompson Theatre. 

Flashback to the 1960s poster

The posters showcase the variety of plays performed in Thompson Theatre, including those authored by Henrik Ibsen, Tennessee Williams, and William Shakespeare. Also included is a poster for the rock musical “Viet Rock,” which was a theatrical protest against the Vietnam War. There are also posters for original productions, such as multimedia shows sponsored by the School of Design and directed by Gene Messick.  The posters also highlight a children’s theater program that centered on the fantasy world of the “Frog Pond.”

Viet Rock poster, 1970

A Stranger in Frog Pond poster, 1987

UAB also sponsored other activities, such as talks given by special visitors to campus, exhibits, and an annual medieval-style Madrigal Dinner. Notable among the posters for those events is one describing Germaine Greer as a “Saucy Lady Activist.”

Germaine Greer poster, 1974

Please consult the “Posters and Flyers” series in the Union Activities Board Records online collection guide for more information about these materials. Related sources include digitized images of Thompson Theatre performances as well as the ARTS NC STATE history of University Theatre. To request to view any of the posters, please use our webform.

By: Gwynn Thayer

The Special Collections Research Center has been busy this fall partnering with various faculty members at NC State as they use Special Collections materials in the classroom. Dr. Margaret Simon recently brought in two of her English classes to study some of our rare book collections. The undergraduates enrolled in English 261 were learning some of the basics about rare books; one perennial student favorite was “A Display of Heraldry” by John Guillim, which includes hand-colored coats of arms from England. The author of the book was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. A similar version, a partial manuscript draft of the book (ca.1610), was recently featured in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s blog.

Dr. Simon also brought in an example of a parchment sheet from her own collection that the students could examine closely, and compare visually with an example of a manuscript leaf in Special Collections. The students also spent some time studying and appreciating the “book as object,” noting early bindings (and later re-bindings) as well as metal clasps and evidence of contemporary repairs with re-used manuscripts.

By: Brian Dietz

We like to have fun at the SCRC, and sometimes that means poking fun at ourselves. In that spirit, today’s post falls into the category “betadata.” For us, often intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, description (or metadata) is always in beta. Which is to say, it can always be improved. So, on this day before Thanksgiving, I share with you an image of North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford (1961-1965) and a turkey, which expressed, before it was fixed, the beta-ness of metadata records.

Governor Terry Sanford holding a turkey named Chef Boy

Governor Terry Sanford with turkey Chef Boy on leash

Transcribed in the descriptive record is what was found written on the back of the print:

Chef Boy’s introduction to Gov. Terry Sanford re economic importance of turkey industry to North Carolina

Simple enough? Keep in mind we don’t know who jotted that on the print. And it’s a vague statement. Could a man holding an animal on a leash also be said to be receiving an introduction? Is the guy on the left, the one with the box, the one being introduced to the turkey? To those who recognize Sanford, it’s clearly a picture of him, and he’s got a turkey, named Chef Boy, on a leash. And this is what the image’s title is now. When the image was first described, however, the descriptive record creator record didn’t appear to know what Sanford looked like (or try Googling his name), because, despite the clues in the inscription, the image was given the title:

Chef Boy with turkey on leash

Which makes it sound like Sanford is Chef Boy. Now, in a way, I like this title better. Although it’s not accurate, it’s fun, it’s simple, and there’s good metre. (Also, giving a turkey the name “Chef Boy” seems cynical.) While I like to think of a person having the nickname Chef Boy, my guess is the record creator thought that Sanford was a person whose last name was “Boy” and that his professional role was a chef. Like how we might call Gordon Ramsay “Chef Ramsay.” Maybe it was thought that the chef, Chef Boy, was debuting this beautiful bird before cooking it for some official meal. (An alternate interpretation is that the record creator was a Sanford detractor who figured the bird was indeed named Chef Boy.)

Oddly enough, the image’s record included the heading for Terry Sanford, which linked this image up with other images of Sanford, even though it wasn’t clear to the person who created the original record which person in the photograph was Terry Sanford. This small act made the image a bit more discoverable than it would have been otherwise.

All this to say, description is iterative, there’s always time to improve it, and things in need of fixing have a way of surfacing. I found this image, for instance, by viewing what visitors to our digital collections site were viewing, using the site’s Now feature.

The photo of Chef Boy, and lots more, is available as part of the 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.

By: Linda Sellars

Contributed by Rose Buchanan and Rachel Jacobson

John Augustus Moore, Jr., to John and Mabel Moore, March 26, 1945

Although born in 1917, John Augustus Moore, Jr., was like many young people today. He grew up in semi-rural Franklinton, North Carolina, as the youngest of three children. His father, John Sr., ran the Sterling Cotton Mill Company, while his mother, Mabel Vann Moore, raised the three children and was active in community service. John Jr. went to UNC-Chapel Hill for his undergraduate degree, where he made new friends, rushed a fraternity, and struggled with tough courses. Like many students today, John Jr. also worried about the future; he wanted to go to graduate school for business, but he was not sure if his grades were good enough. When he was finally accepted into the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1939, John Jr. (and his parents) breathed a sigh of relief. His future would be bright indeed.

But then something happened, something that separates John Jr.’s experiences from those of young Americans today. John was drafted. He and his family suspected it was coming, as the United States had declared its intentions to go to war with Germany and Japan in 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Moreover, John Jr. had a low draft number, meaning that he would be in the first wave of men called into combat. When he received that call in 1942, not long after graduating from Wharton, John packed up, said goodbye to his family, and moved to Florida to begin training.

Mabel Vann Moore to John Augustus Moore, Jr., June 1945

We are familiar with John Augustus Moore, Jr.’s story, similar to many other Americans’ experiences during World War II, because his family’s letters and papers were recently donated to the NCSU Special Collections Research Center. This collection, the Elizabeth Vann Moore Family Papers, includes family history materials as well as extensive records about the day-to-day operations of the Sterling Cotton Mill. The letters between John Jr. and his family date mainly from the late 1930s through the 1960s, and they include his wartime correspondence. John wrote frequently to his mother, Mabel, while he was in military training and later, while he served in the Pacific Theater as a Captain of the Army Air Force. John talked about conditions in the Army and how he missed Mabel’s cooking, but also about the course of the war and when he thought it might end. The letters that Mabel and others sent to John updated him on events at home and expressed their hope that he would return safely. The letters are therefore an excellent resource on soldiers’ experiences in World War II and their families’ experiences at home.

John Jr.’s military service ended with the conclusion of the war. After his father’s death in 1947, John Jr. returned to North Carolina and took over the management of the Sterling Cotton Mill Company. He married Margaret (Peggy) Parsley Young in the early 1950s, and had a son, John Augustus Moore III, in 1956. Although he died in 1982, John’s memory lives on in the letters and memorabilia preserved in Special Collections. For more information about John and his family, please consult the Special Collections Research Center staff.