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May 27 2011

J. Edgar Hoover’s Guide to Etiquette

Contributed by Josh Hager

In 1970, campus demonstrations against the Vietnam War had become a constant site of conflict between students, police, and the National Guard, often deployed to keep the students under control. One of the most extreme examples of student protests gone horribly wrong occurred on May 4, 1970, when four students at Kent State University died after National Guard troops fired on assembled students. By the fall of 1970, top government officials feared that the next violent outburst could occur on any college campus. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover attempted to contain these incidents through more direct contact with students.

In a letter sent to all college newspapers through United Press International (UPI), and published in The Technician, Hoover entreated students to avoid using violence as a protest strategy, even while pointing out that student dissent is an important aspect of free speech. His stated concern was that extremists, who had “lost faith” in the United States, would continue to incite violence. Specifically, Hoover warned that several organizations were trying to entice students into their supposedly insidious memberships, including: Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA); the Trotskyist Youth Liberation League; and the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, a “Trotskyist dominated anti-war group.” In this tumultuous political atmosphere, Hoover had an urgent question: How could students exercise their opinions without becoming unwitting extremists?

Fortunately, Hoover himself had the answer: Citing his FBI experience, Hoover provided eight signs to students to help them determine if they are being “lured by extremists.” In the interests of historical knowledge and etiquette in the face of political violence, Historically Stated offers these paraphrased versions of Hoover’s eight tips. We leave it to the reader to decide if emulating J. Edgar Hoover is truly a wise idea.

    1. Do not disrespect your elders. Extremists have no respect for the older generation and will try to make you lose your respect as well. You can disagree with your elders but you must respect their hard work and sacrifices.
    2. Do not buy into the idea that your college is “a tool of the establishment” or “irrelevant.”
    3. Do not abandon common sense in favor of slogans and irrational debate.
    4. Do not become pessimistic and emphasize only the negative of life. The New Left and the SDS fail to see anything positive or constructive, yet America’s strength is in its optimism.
    5. Do not disrespect law enforcement; a police officer is your friend and needs your support.
    6. Do not fall into the trap of justifying any action, even criminal ones, under the guises of honorableness, sincerity, or idealism. An arsonist who justifies his crime through political ideology is still an arsonist.
    7. Do not believe that you, as a student, are powerless to change the United States through its democratic means. The American system is designed so that all citizens can exercise political authority.
    8. Do not demonstrate a lack of intelligence by “throwing bricks” at ideological opponents instead of engaging them in rational debate.

May 27 2011

Bell Tower Exhibit!

contributed by Rachel Trent

What’s 2,100 tons, 115 feet high, and granite and concrete all over? Why, the NC State Memorial Belltower, of course. You can find a fantastic new exhibit in the atrium of Withers Hall titled “Remembering the Memorial Belltower: The Many Faces of a Campus Icon.” The exhibit was put together by graduate students in the Public History program’s Advanced Museology class and coordinated by Special Collection’s very own blogger-extraordinaire Samantha Rich.

The exhibit, which features objects on loan from Special Collections, highlights the tower’s evolution—both physical and symbolic—since its inception as a monument to the thirty-four NC State alumni who died in the First World War. The tower’s construction, begun in 1921, was haltingly completed over the next twenty-eight years and finally finished with a formal dedication on November 11, 1949.

Today, the tower is many things: a symbol of the entire campus community, a starting and ending point for the Krispy Kreme Challenge, a spot for graduating seniors to pose for photos, and the site at which ROTC cadets receive their commissions. Make a trip down to Withers to catch the exhibit and learn about all the other things the tower has been over its ninety years! The exhibit will be on display through August 25th!

May 25 2011

Spotlight on student leaders: Women’s Student Government

contributed by Samantha Rich

In 1929, female students constituted only 3.9 percent of the NC State College student population (compare that to the 44.5 percent that comprises NC State today). Although women only represented a minor portion of the student population, they still felt a need to create an organization to resolve their campus concerns. In fall 1929, female students gathered to create their own “Women’s Student Government.” The women created a constitution, elected Geraldine Persons their first president, and received organizational approval from the Board of Trustees. The preamble to their constitution read, “The purpose of this organization is to establish a more loyal and friendly relationship between the girls of State College, to unite them for the common purpose of promoting scholarship; to foster wholesome recreational activities; to participate in college affairs, and to contribute to the welfare of our institution.”

Although the Women’s Student Government appeared to get off to a positive start, the State College Student Government quickly halted the Women’s Student Government in its tracks. In 1930, Student Government, which was comprised entirely of men, voted to “ignore the action of the women and subject them to the same rules that govern all State students individually” and asked the Trustees to “reconsider their action in permitting the establishment of a separate co-ed student government.” Student Government’s request to the Board of Trustees listed seven reasons why the Trustees should eliminate the Women’s Government, including the following two justifications: “a separate student government is not needed by 76 women students because the present governing body is functioning properly and fairly; because women at the college do not have dormitories and need no rules other than those which justly affect the present student body. . .” In an interview with The Technician, Women’s President Lorena Brinson highlighted the reasons why she felt an all female government was necessary: “Miss Brinson said that there is a great need for a woman government here at State because no boy would want to pass judgment on some misdemeanor of a girl. There are things, she said, for which girls are charged which are not appropriate for boys to discuss . . . She also asserted that a girl would not be capable of passing judgment on a boy in every case, if the co-eds were represented on the regular student council.”

Although the Women’s Student Government did not receive support from the existing Student Government, the Board of Trustees upheld its ruling and allowed the women’s organization to continue. The Women’s Student Government continued for approximately five years with limited support from Student Government. In the 1931-1932 academic year, Student Government contributed only $2.00 to the Women’s Government, a meager allocation for any student organization. In March 1932, The Technician declared, “The co-ed government has not made itself noticeable by any achievement, trial, or cooperative move and the question arises as to its necessity as a part of the institution.” Perhaps it was the lack of institutional support for the Women’s Government that led to its discontinuation around 1935. Because of the lack of existing Women’s Student Government records, it is unknown why the organization disbanded.

For more information on women’s history at NC State, please visit Historical State.

Sources: Technician (26 October 1929, 7 November 1930, 17 November 1930, 4 March 1932, 6 May 1932, 3 May 1935)

May 18 2011

Red, White & Black recap!

Dr. Walter Jackson

Dr. Walter Jackson describes what life was like for the first African American students at NC State.

On April 14, 2011, the NCSU Libraries, the Special Collections Research Center, and the African American Cultural Center co-sponsored an afternoon of programming that celebrated more than 60 years of African American history at NC State University.  The activities began in D.H. Hill Library’s Assembly Room as Dr. Blair Kelley, Associate Professor of History, gave a talk entitled “A Vision for Change: The Struggle for Equal Education.”  Dr. Kelley’s lecture discussed the long civil rights movement in higher education, providing a national context for civil rights events that occurred at NC State.

Next, attendees joined Dr. Walter Jackson, Associate Professor of History, on “Red, White & Black,” a walking tour of NC State’s campus highlighting locations of significance in the lives and experiences of African American students and the larger community.  The group made their way to the African American Cultural Center, where AACC Program Coordinator Toni Thorpe gave a tour of the facility and offered insight into the current experience of African American students.

The afternoon concluded with a reception at the African American Cultural Center, where students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators mingled and reflected on the African American experience at NC State.  Response from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and the Libraries look forward to future collaborations with the African American Cultural Center and the Department of History.

For those who were unable to attend, watch this blog for a announcement in the coming weeks of a mobile app that will allows users to take a self-guided audio version of the Red, White & Black tour.

To learn more about the history of African Americans at NC State, please visit Historical State.

May 16 2011

The Insect Museum

contributed by Rachel McCall.

At NC State there are over 1.4 million insects, in a museum that is. According to a NCSU bulletin in 5/5/2007,

Weevil on square that has been fully punctured, 11-1923

this space was created when individual professors began to put their collections together in 1952.

The collection has now expanded with the help of donations by researchers and individual donors. It is considered one of the best for studying North Carolina insects and is the largest south of the Smithsonian. Its only rivals in the south are the University of Florida and Texas A&M.

The University uses this museum for research on biodiversity and evolution. It is also used in insect diversity labs and butterfly exhibits are used in teaching at local schools. The insect collection is important for science and the university because experts believe 80 to 95 of the worlds insects have not been collected, described, and named. If you would like to visit the museum it is on the 4th floor of Gardner hall and is contained in 2 rooms.

Bee flying near a flower, 8-13-01

For more information about interesting sites on campus, take a look at our buildings and reference collection

For more information on Entomology at NCSU take a look at or for a closer look at cicadas, leafhoppers, planthoppers, spittlebugs, and treehoppers check out

For more images like the ones above please visit

May 12 2011

Microbooks: The Kindle of 1970

contributed by Carolyn Chesarino.

“There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.”- Poet and activist Audre Lorde

Microbook Advertisement

While processing the William Dallas Herring Papers (, I was surprised to see a pair of folders filled with materials advertising the concept of “Microlibraries.”  The idea behind the microlibrary was not entirely new.  Microfilm was thought to be a cheaper alternative to housing masses of physical books. Issues of budget costs, space constraints, and expensive storage costs have a long history in library management.

Book vs. Card

Enter the microbook.  What if you could replace your heavy, deteriorating, dusty 1000-page bound volumes with a 3 x 5 inch card? Durable, light, and cheap, proponents of the so-called microbook argued for this solution to libraries’ perpetual problems: lack of space and limited resources.

But if libraries replaced their holdings with index card-sized microbooks, people would naturally want to check these new materials out. Library Resources, Inc., a division of Encyclopaedia Britannica Company and the financing force behind microbooks, introduced a 3 to 5 pound personal reader that would cost consumers $150.00. I checked several inflation rate calculators and learned from the US Department of Labor ( that $150 in 1970 had the same buying power as $851.38 does today. It seems like only yesterday (November 2007, to be exact) when Amazon’s Kindle e-reader debuted at $399. (

Microbook vs. Actual page

The William Dallas Herring Papers primarily document the activities of the North Carolina State Board of Education from 1955 through 1977. This collection is a window to the decision-making behind the policies that shaped public education in North Carolina as well as North Carolina State University’s role in that process. Given NCSU’s reputation as a leader in technology and innovation, it is interesting and fortuitous to see a bit of the history of technology within this collection.

To see the William Dallas Herring collection,  including several examples of microbooks,  please visit us at

May 05 2011

University Student Center Scrapbooks

Christmas Dance, Erdahl-Cloyd Union Center, Dec. 3, 1960

contributed by Rachel McCall.

I love to preserve memories from my childhood and college years. Most of you probably have a box full of toys or ribbons and awards. NC State does this through the Special Collections department. Along with other documents the university has  scrapbooks  from the Erdahl-Cloyd Student Center (now the west wing of D.H.Hill).

The scrapbooks from 1961 and 1963 show how the university has grown. The scrapbooks boast of trips, competitions, cultural events, and clubs. It leaves you with nostalgia for the close knit community of NCSU in the 1960s.

The 1961 scrapbook contained a lot of fun events that the university does not offer today- university picnics, dances with other schools, bridge lessons, and beach trips. The scrapbooks also contained newspaper clippings and pictures from the time period.

In the 1963 scrapbook the most interesting things were different programs not thought of today. There are booklets for married couples that advertise not only activities for families but also college department clubs for the wives of the members, i.e. the Engineering Wives Club. It also had pictures from dances and the opening of the Erdahl- Cloyd Student Union. One of the most interesting things to look at is the posters advertising new events. They are drawn instead of printed and sometimes advertise interesting events, like when a college union  promised to feed students until they were full because they ran out of food at the last event. If the students were not full they got free steel engravings of George Washington.

Looking through these scrapbooks is a great way to learn about university history. It can also be useful for student groups to get ideas for new events that can keep their organization close and involved as the classes of the 1960s.

For more information on university scrapbooks visit us at:

For more photographs like the one above visit us at: