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Featured Collections: Dean of Women and Women’s Government Association

Monday, March 4, 2013 4:43 pm

This post was written by Paige Horton, student assistant in Special Collections and Archives.

Women and Wake Forest have quite the colorful history. In honor of Women’s History Month we here at Special Collections dug around and found something very special for you: The Deans Record Group: Dean of Women (RG4.3), and Women’s Government Association (RG4.31) Collections.

The collection itself is made up of minutes, correspondence, and subject files that feature staff, student committees, and societies. The University Archives is home to the administrative paperwork available in the finding aid, and the Women’s Government Association handbooks can be found in the library catalog. Students can get a first-hand look at the Women’s Government Association (WGA) handbooks which details all the guidelines women had to live by at Wake Forest.

The History of Wake Forest provides an interesting look into the admission of women. Women of junior and senior status were officially admitted into Wake Forest College in 1942. The College came to this decision based on the amount of students they could potentially have:

From the Baptist junior colleges, young women were graduating and were going to other institutions to complete their college work. Among them were not a few who could not find the work desired in Meredith College or in any other Baptist college for women, and on that account they were going in increasing numbers to the University of North Carolina and other institutions, where they could get the instruction they desired. With them often went their brothers and friends, who normally would attend Wake Forest. If Wake Forest College would admit them they would go there, since they desired to be in a Baptist college. Another consideration was that for the duration of the war the income from students’ fees would be materially lessened by the drafting for the armed services of those who would be regularly among the students of the College, and that this loss might be reduced by the fees of the young women from the junior colleges who would not go to Meredith College in any event.

In 1943 a board member “presented a compromise which allowed women to enter Wake Forest in any class (previously they had been admitted only at the junior and senior levels); recognized university status for Wake Forest, giving it the right to develop as it thought best and committed the convention to greater support of Wake Forest through funding of development programs.”

The admission of women to Wake Forest College, along with the end of the war, had some unforeseen complications. In spring 1946 the campus total came to 1,000 students. There wasn’t enough space to house all the students but the college and the town worked together to “provide lodgings of some kind for everyone.” Women stayed in Bostwick and Hunter dormitories, “even in the basements and attics.”

The Women’s Government Association and the Dean of Women were created in response to the acceptance of women. According to the 1964 handbook, “The WGA is you. The officers are elected by you and will represent you in all matters pertaining to the life of the women of Wake Forest College. The WGA is not merely a law-making organization, but a group created to help give a sense of unity to all the women of Wake Forest College. The WGA desires to help you, and in turn, needs your support to make your years here a success.”

The WGA created a handbook instructing coeds on how they should conduct themselves while at Wake Forest. Some of the rules include:

Coeds could not ride in cars or airplanes without the written permission of their parents. They were forbidden to enter any man’s room or apartment, and fraternity houses were strictly off limits. Women could not smoke on the streets, and they were not allowed to possess or use alcoholic beverages. Only Seniors were permitted to date every night of the week and, in that activity, were forbidden to go to the stadium, the athletic field, and certain dark areas of the grounds.

The handbooks have a variety of codes of conduct but here are some of the more interesting ones!

1953-1954: Dating in parked cars during the evening is not permitted. A date is considered being in the company of a boy more than fifteen minutes.

Blue jeans are for picnics and hikes—not to be worn on campus or in the parlors except for unusual circumstances. Permission to wear jeans on the campus may be obtained from any member of the council.

Hose are worn when going to Raleigh.

1957-1958: Bermuda shorts may be worn to the phone booths, drive-in movies, miniature golf course, through the small parlor when leaving or entering the dorm to and form a car, on picnics, swimming, in the recreation room, and to the Farmer’s Dairy Bar. These rules apply except on Sundays. Bermudas may be worn on Sundays with raincoats or skirts.

1961-1962: A student may not go to the phone or be in the parlor without wearing shoes.

During serenades girls are asked to dress adequately and to be as courteous and considerate as possible. They are also asked to refrain from making excess noise whether they attend the serenade or not.

1962-1963: Second semester freshmen may go to the library any night, but must return to the dorm by 10:30. During this time she may go to the soda shop to get something, but may not sit down to eat it.

1965-1966: It’s a College rule that participation in or inciting a riot (and this includes panty raids) is subject to penalty.

You’ll be considered on a date if you leave the dormitory with a boy after 7:30pm. However, you are permitted to go to the library or to one of the science laboratories with a boy without being considered on a date.

1969-1970: You are asked to use good taste in what you wear both on and off campus. Sweat shirts and cut offs are discouraged! Slacks and shorts are not to be worn in administrative offices in Reynolda Hall, the Chapel, classes, or the Magnolia Room. Please do not wear slacks and shorts on the upper campus before two pm on Sundays.

1970-1971: Wake Forest students are expected to recognize that marijuana, LSD, and other psychedelic drugs are illegal…The University’s physicians, counselors, and chaplains are available to students who wish to discuss confidentially matters concerning drug use, subject to the legal limitations on confidential communication.

Naturally the inclusion of women on campus led to some unforeseen consequences. “Some of the campus hijinks over the years were coeducational in nature. The admission of women to Wake Forest had initiated an automatic rivalry which was sometimes friendly and on occasion somewhat sour.”

Some of these issues were explored publicly. One girl wrote into the OG&B saying: “It seems as if one must look like Liz Taylor to get a date. Have you boys ever realized that you don’t look like Clark Gable?…I believe that if given a chance the girls that aren’t so beautiful would prove cute enough for your adorable personalities…give the Wake Forest coeds a chance.” The newspaper received several responses from the male population in varying degrees of dissatisfaction. Winston-Salem also took notice to this ‘rivalry’. In 1966 a reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal surveyed the girls at 8 colleges and universities and reported that they found Wake Forest men to be “rude, crude, and unacceptable” and “retarded mashers.”  “Since admissions standards for men were lower, women tended to be more ambitious and intelligent, and they found it difficult to locate a marriageable man on the campus,” (History of Wake Forest IV, p.307-308).

Another aspect the collection provides interesting insight into is the creation and upkeep of the societies.  The societies the collection offers information on includes the Fideles, Rigels, Petales, Les Soeurs, S.O.P.H., Thymes, Laurels, and Strings. “The societies themselves are primarily social in their function. They hope to offer the coed a broader scope of social living and at the same time to make some contribution to the life of the College and the community as well as to the lives of the society members.”

The Student Affairs Committee held open-hearings in order to properly evaluate how the societies were functioning- around campus and this is what they found.

It appears that the societies are most important for the girls during their freshman and sophomore years: in other words, they apparently fill a need for entering girls as they orient themselves to ready-made identity groups and make minor loyalties and friendships within the larger loyalty to Wake Forest College. According to our findings, senior girls rank them at the lower side of the list of factors most important in their collegiate career. Apparently there is already operating an unconscious phasing-out of society-identity in the lives of some students who are most mature, more self-reliant, more scholarly. Therefore, we recognize the role of societies in this maturing process of the individual student and in their contribution to the loyalty to the academic community, but we think that for those girls who tend to outgrown them, we would encourage a procedure whereby their membership could relapse into an honorary status.

Overall The Deans Record Group, Dean of Women, and Women’s Government Association Collections offer an exemplary and unique inside look at the social lives of women at Wake Forest College. To access the collection students can view the finding aid to get a brief overview or make an appointment with Special Collection to view the collections.

What Are you Working On?

Friday, February 22, 2013 10:58 am

The ever-cheerful Molly works on the CRMF project

Senior Molly McCurdy has been working in Special Collections for her entire time at Wake Forest. She is so good at what she does for us, we save only the very best (most tedious and complicated) projects for her. Currently, Molly is finishing the CRMF (Church Record Microfilm) project that we launched about two years ago. The project consists of tracking down paper work and databases for over 1,000 churches from a variety of locations (including the often vilified Procite database), synthesizing the materials into Archivists’ Toolkit, exporting the EAD, and publishing the EAD in WakeSpace. The workflow is meandering at best, and the materials she has to work with are inconsistent and confusing. Molly does not let this deter her and approaches this project with enthusiasm and determination. Stay tuned for the soon-to-be-announced completion of the CRMF project! Thanks to Molly and all of our student assistants for their hard work!

Graylyn Estate Collection Finding Aid Complete

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 10:53 am

Special Collections and Archives is happy to announce the completion of the Graylyn Estate Collection finding aid. This collection contains information on the planning and construction of the estate as well as the many uses by both the Medical School and Wake Forest University. This is a highly used collection and we see wide reaching benefits from the publication of this finding aid. Many thanks to Sarah Appleby for her work on transcription.

The Thomas K. Hearn, Jr. Collection Finding Aid, Part Deux

Monday, February 18, 2013 3:21 pm

We are happy to announce that the processing of the Dr. Thomas K. Hearn, Jr.  collection and finding aid are now complete.    An intern for Special Collections, Mary Ann Ramsey,  began the processing of the materials a few years ago, and did a through job with a sizable part of the collection.  I picked up the processing last year and completed it after several “rogue” boxes were discovered, which caused it to take longer than originally anticipated.  Now that all of the materials have been organized,  the first and second parts make a complete collection that tells the story of Wake Forest from 1983 until 2005.   The materials in the collection reflect Dr. Hearn’s time at Wake Forest as President of the university as well as after his retirement in 2005.  Dr. Hearn presided over the school during times of great change and growth, which can be seen in the correspondence, speeches and articles that are part of this collection.  His legacy of service to Wake Forest and the community is preserved in the archives and will be a wonderful resource for researchers.

See the new, completed finding aid here: Thomas K. Hearn, Jr. papers

New Acquisitions: Jan Hensley’s NC Authors Collection

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:55 am

ZSR’s Special Collections received an exciting addition to its Southern American literature collections in 2012 with the gift of Jan Hensley’s personal collection of materials by and about North Carolina authors. Mr. Hensley, who attended WFU in the 1960s, is a photographer, author, and collector who has been active in the North Carolina literary world for nearly 50 years. He is best known for his candid photographs of authors, which have been exhibited at Wake Forest and at many other venues throughout the state.

The Hensley Collection will be transferred to SC&A over the next three years. We received the first shipment of materials in December 2012 and have begun cataloging and processing. The first collections are materials by Burke Davis, Robert Watson, and Reynolds Price. Included in the Price collection is a bound volume of The Hi-Times, the student newspaper of Needham Broughton High School in Raleigh, NC. Price was chief editor of the paper during his senior year.

The Hensley Collection includesa wide array of print, audio, graphic, and archival materials.  Most authors represented are from North Carolina, but a few are from other regions in the South. The collection includes many books, most of them first editions and many of them autographed or inscribed by their authors. But it is the more ephemeral materials in the collection that may prove most valuable to researchers in the long run.

Jan Hensley’s collecting scope included things like small chapbooks, broadsides, journal and serial publications of poems and stories, and posters and flyers advertising author appearances or other events. Mr. Hensley also kept personal notes on his interactions with authors and made audiotapes of readings and question-and-answer sessions. These types of materials can document the early career of an author who went on to later renown, or the changes in literary publishing over several decades, or the interactions between authors and the reading public. Taken as a whole, the Hensley Collection provides not only a wealth of information on individual authors, but also a snapshot of the literary culture of North Carolina over the past half century.

Featured Collection: George Pennell Collection of Circus Ephemera, Photographs, and Papers

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 9:17 am

This Featured Collection was written by Paige Horton, a student assistant in Special Collections and Archives.

The George Pennell Collection of circus ephemera, photographs, and other materials is an intriguing collection made of a compilation of legal documents, personal letters, pictures, and memorabilia from his time working as an attorney with various circus and carnival companies. Special Collections was gifted the collection from George Pennell’s son, Timothy Pennell, in late 2007.

George Pennell graduated with a degree in law from Wake Forest College and later was a member of the Board of Trustees. His son Timothy Pennell followed in his father’s footsteps. At Wake Forest , Timothy graduated with a B.S. 1955 and a M.D. in 1960. After graduation he went on to work as a surgeon at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine.

George Pennell’s life as an attorney working in the amusement industry had him juggling multiple vocations. Primarily, he was the attorney for owners and their shows. However, Pennell was also hired by circus and carnival companies to “procure some acts which they desire to contract and pay a flat rate.” He organized big fairs with multiple circus companies: “I have had 2 phone calls from two of the Big Shows tentatively wanting Asheville for the coming fall…I am reorganizing this Fair with a new corporate setup,” (Nov. 28, 1950). He also had the “Power of Attorney for rental purposes on the Lot” (Feb. 14, 1951) which allowed the circus to rent land out for the duration of their performances from local owners.

It was obvious to everyone that Pennell loved his job. He admits this to a friend in a personal letter joking, “if I didn’t enjoy being around show people I certainly would never accept employment.” It is also evident that the people Pennell worked for appreciated him just as much. In 1965 Pennell received a certificate of appreciation from Jack Smith (managing director) and Alex Irwin (chairman of the board) of Robbins Bros Circus for “your contribution and service in the furtherance of the outdoor circus industry.”

While the collection is primarily about Pennell’s life as an attorney, it also sheds light on the amusement industry in the mid 20th century. The collection contains a multitude of pictures and circus books giving a well-rounded view of the industry. And, as can be expected with a collection about the circus, there are several entertaining photos of the so-called “assistant freaks,” and a letter explaining the “circus slang.”

The collection also gives an inside look at some of the big name circus’ today, namely Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus. At the time Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey’s show, The Greatest Show on Earth, may or may not have been the greatest show in the world but it was most definitely the largest. According to the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus website, The Greatest Show on Earth consisted of “100 double-length railroad cars and 1,200 employees…[it] was arguably the largest traveling amusement enterprise up to that time.”

Pennell did work with the company for well over a decade. The collection sheds insight into Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus route book, management, and legal contracts. The documents show both the overwhelming success of their show The Greatest Show on Earth and the decline. Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey gave their last tented performance on July 16th, 1956. The collection has a copy of the newspaper clipping the details the ending. In it John Ringling North, head of the circus, says “the tented circus as it now exists is, in my opinion, a thing of the past.” The shut-down was prompted by the audience’s changing tastes but also by “labor troubles, bad weather, and rising costs.”

The George Pennell Collection is a well-rounded collection that has great research potential for Wake Forest students, staff, and faculty. To access the collection students can view the finding aid to get a brief overview or make an appointment with Special Collection to view the collection.

Clarence Herbert New Collection announced in Archival Outllook

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 1:04 pm

CHN Archival Outlook

In the November-December 2012 issue of The Society of American Archivists publication, Archival Outlook it was announced that the Clarence Herbert New (1862-1933) Collection had been processed. Now, the world knows. New was a prolific writer and world traveler. The C. H. New Collection is very rich with albums of photographs, coats of arms, maps from around the world, scrapbooks of world voyages and of course New’s writings in The Blue Book and Free Lances in Diplomacy. The finding aid may be explored here.

What Are You Working On?

Thursday, January 24, 2013 1:23 pm

Tessa and Bill working in the digitization lab

 

It is with great excitement that we share this “What Are You Working On?” Tessa and Bill are both working on digitizing and creating metadata for the University Archives Photograph Collection (RG10.1). This photograph collection is extremely valuable in content ranging from the Old Campus to modern events. The provenance and organization of this collection are rather unclear, making digitization and online searchability even more desirable. We have only just begun this project, so stay tuned for updates and releases. Thanks to Tessa, Bill, and all of the student assistants who make our work possible!

The Helen Barnette series is complete!

Friday, November 2, 2012 1:39 pm

Helen Barnette

You may remember another post about Henlee Barnette’s Correspondence series being complete. Well, we have now updated the finding aid to include his second wife, Helen Barnette’s (née Poarch), papers. Henlee Barnette’s first wife died, leaving him with two young sons. He later married Helen and they added a girl and boy to the family.

Helen Barnette is well represented in the previously processed correspondence of her husband, but her series of materials illustrates her achievements in education. She was a well educated and well respected member of the Baptist community. Her series will be an asset to researchers.

RG11.1, Audio Recordings: Reel to Reels Processing is Complete!

Friday, November 2, 2012 10:50 am

Special Collections and Archives is excited to announce the completion of the inventory and finding aid for RG11.1, Audio Recordings: Reel to Reels. This collection consists of over 500 recordings that sometimes take up to five reels per title. This is a massive collection.

Now that we have a comprehensive list and description of what is actually in this Record Group (RG) we can move forward with ways to access the content. We have sent out a small group of reels to be digitized, but it is only a drop in the bucket.

Focusing mainly on the 1960s through 1980s the Audio Recordings provide a glimpse of what was happening on campus during these times of tremendous change. This is a great asset to the University record and we look forward to completing finding aids for all of the audio recording formats in our holdings.

Box 16 of 26

Audio Recordings in the stacks

None of this could be possible without the hard work of our student employee Charles, who transcribed paper finding aids and arranged each of the reels. Thanks to Charles!

The amazing Charles


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