Special Collections and University Archives

Memories from friends of Betty’s who worked with her through the years.

My memories of Betty Carter by Hermann J. Trojanowski

In September 1996, I first meet University Archivist Betty Carter when I began working in the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) of Jackson Library as a graduate student. Betty and her colleagues Janis Holder, Linda Jacobson, Carolyn Shankle, and Department Head Emmy Mills were most welcoming and became my mentors.

Betty and I became very close since Betty and I shared a love of history and the University. My first project under the direction of Betty was the processing of the Mary Callum Wiley Papers. Miss Wiley was a 1894 graduate of the State Normal & Industrial School (now UNC Greensboro) and became an author, editor, historian, and teacher in Winston-Salem. Betty gave me numerous tips and guidance in processing the Wiley Papers and creating an exhibit based on the Papers.

In the late 1990s, Betty met several times with the Class of 1950 reunion committee to plan their 50th class reunion. During the meetings, several remembers of the committee fondly remembered their classmates who had served in the various military branches during World War II. Since UNCG had been founded as a women’s college and the SCUA had numerous collections relating to women, Betty’s vision was to have a collection that would not only honor women veterans but also establish a research and teaching collection.

One of my most memorable memories of Betty was when she stood in front of the over 100 guests at the first luncheon to honor women veterans in November 1997. Standing at the podium with a gray archival box in her hands, Betty welcomed everyone and asked the veterans to donate their military related papers and items to the University so that each veteran’s collection would fill several gray boxes. In 1998, the Women Veterans Historical Project (WVHP) was officially established and consisted of three components: collections, luncheon, and oral histories.

After I graduated from graduate school, Betty hired me to conduct oral history interviews with several local women who had served in the United States Naval Reserve better known as the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II. Betty purchased the necessary audio equipment, compiled a list of possible interviewees, and wrote a set of interview questions. With Betty’s encouragement and guidance, I interviewed Ginny Mattson on January 9, 1999. Mattson was the first of hundreds of women veterans who would be interviewed for the Project.

Betty was very proud of the Project and wanted to make the Project more widely known. In 2005, she commissioned Brenda Schleunes to write a theatre production titled Star-Spangled Girls based on the artifacts, diaries, letters, interviews, journals, posters, and telegrams donated by the women who served in the United States military during World War II. The production has been a huge success and has been seen by thousands up and down the East Coast.

Betty was very passionate about sharing the history of the University and used every opportunity to give presentations, teach classes, and curate exhibits relating to the artifacts and collections held in University Archives, as well as leading campus tours. I vividly recall Betty and I schlepping a collapsible movie screen and slide projector across camps so she could give a presentation or teach a class.

Betty loved to collect papers and items related to the University’s history and she was relentless in pursing items that would enhance the holdings of the University Archives.  In the sweltering heat of July 2004, Betty and I drove to Caldwell County to pack the Lelia Judson Tuttle Collection. Tuttle graduated from the State Normal & Industrial College (now UNC Greensboro) in 1900 and taught in China from 1909 to 1942. During her time in China, she collected Chinese artifacts, documents, and textiles that she later donated to Caldwell County. In 2004, the collection was transferred to UNC Greensboro and has been used for classes, exhibitions, and presentations.

Between 2006 and 2007, Betty worked tireless to upgrade the Women Veterans Historical Project Curator and Assistant University Archivist positions from staff to faculty status. Betty felt that the two positions deserved faculty designation since Curator Beth Carmichael and my responsibilities were in line with other Jackson Library faculty positions.

Betty was a wonderful colleague and friend who I and many of her former colleagues at UNC Greensboro will greatly miss.

FINDING BETTY CARTER (Memories from Emilie Mills, Special Collections Librarian -1972-1997)

One balmy day in 1974 as I was leaving the NC State Archives building in Raleigh, one of their staff members came running after me. She explained that there was a former archives employee looking for work in Greensboro because her husband had gotten a job there.  Her name was Betty Carter, and she had a Master’s degree in history from Duke and until recently was a beloved and talented member of the State Archives staff. I remember that day so well that it is hard to think that was 47 years ago.

To this day I still believe the hiring of Betty for our Archives position was one of the brilliant moves of the second half of the 20th century. Once she came on board (initially part-time) she assessed and inventoried the archival materials pertaining to the history of the University. We had endless discussions about where to start, what must be saved, and determine what was missing. As it turned out, a great deal was missing from the library’s holdings, but Betty unearthed much of it over the years from various “hidey-holes” and hoarders on campus.  She had the instincts of a professional sleuth.

Betty began her magic with the papers of Charles Duncan McIver, the school’s founder and first president.  I would say she was totally immersed both professionally and spiritually with Dr. McIver, his school and family. She subsequently even named one of her cats for him!  

Another job change came to the Carters and Betty was off to Charleston, SC.  She took her McIver notes and drafts with her and continued to work on the description of the McIver papers.  Of course, there were many phone calls back and forth during this hiatus. When Betty’s family returned to Greensboro, this time for good, Betty was welcomed back to the Archives.

Betty’s dedication never went unnoticed by the library staff and the many faculty members who made use of the collections. Researchers from other institutions sang their praises over the ease of access to the archival materials and to the professionalism of the entire Archives staff.

I am proud to be able to speak of Betty as a loyal friend and colleague par excellence. I will never forget her and our years together.  She taught me much.

Memories from former Women Veterans curator Linda Jacobson

The nearly seven years that I spent working with Betty Carter in Jackson Library’s Special Collections/University Archives (SCUA) were some of the best and most transformative years of my life.  I began working in the department in the mid-1990s in a student role, but right away Betty treated me like I was an important part of the team. With her support and advocacy, I graduated to part-time and later full-time positions in the University Archives. Betty also encouraged me to complete my graduate degree, knowing that would be the only way I would reach my career goals.

Betty and I began working closely together when she established the Women Veterans Historical Project.  Through many long hours of grant proposal writing, advocacy, and hard work, Betty took one small donation of a World War II WAVES uniform and built the foundation for what is now an assemblage of almost 700 collections.  I was honored to be appointed as the first curator of this collection which allowed me to spend more time with Betty, traveling to auctions to bid on old uniforms or working together to plan the annual luncheon.  She often encouraged me to go outside my comfort level in this role, and I am the better for it. 

It was known across campus and beyond that Betty knew everything about UNCG’s history.  It seemed she was constantly being phoned or emailed by someone with a question.  Although she did not attend UNCG, Betty loved its history. We often teased her about her fondness for the school’s founder, Charles Duncan McIver (1860-1906).  Betty’s enthusiasm for UNCG’s history helped to raise the profile of UNCG and the archives.

Betty also had a big heart. This could be seen in how she counseled us in our affairs and entertained us in her home.  She also had a propensity for saving stray cats, most remarkably a family of six!

I look back with enormous gratitude for the time I spent at Jackson Library, and for having had the honor of working with Betty. 

Memories from Former Assistant University Archivist Janis Holder

Of the 26 years I spent on the staff of Jackson Library, the last 10, from 1993-2003, were spent working in Special Collections and University Archives. Jackson Library was large enough that you could work in one department while having absolutely no idea about the rest of the staff, much less what their jobs entailed. This was especially true of Special Collections and University Archives, which always seemed to be a place apart – a place of secrets and wondrous treasures that most of us would never know. 

It wasn’t until I started work in the Catalog Department in 1983, cataloging materials for Special Collections and University Archives, that I began to get to know Betty Carter. In 1993, when a position became available in SCUA, I jumped at the chance to apply, working first with Special Collections Librarian Emmy Mills, then directly with Betty in University Archives. Both of those women were enormously influential in my life.

The SCUA office space was relatively small, divided into cubicles for some semblance of privacy, and Betty and I worked on opposite sides of a cubicle divider. The lack of privacy never seemed to bother Betty, who maintained her equilibrium even during the period when a certain History professor claimed a table in our office while working on a history of the university. Though we had the greatest affection for him, he would sometimes insert himself into staff discussions and even comment on phone calls he overheard. Betty was his mainline to the records he needed for his research, and she was unfailingly polite and helpful while the rest of us were rolling our eyes.

Betty had a habit of kicking off her shoes while working and padding around the office in bare or stockinged feet. Shoes were always slipped quickly on when a patron materialized at the reading room door, of course. The enforced closeness of the SCUA staff led to a camaraderie that I valued and helped us through one of our greatest challenges as a department during a messy, dirty, 7-month HVAC system renovation that had the stacks under wraps and inaccessible. We were survivors. Heck, we were together in the office watching when the plane hit the second tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. 

Betty was a champion, and an encourager. Fiercely protective of her staff and resources, unflagging in her promotion of University Archives, knowledgeable and scarily intelligent, she got things done while also content to work behind the scenes, and above all, she cared. She cared about preserving UNCG’s records, documents, and artifacts, and she cared about providing access to them. She modeled what a University Archivist should be, and I’m sure I internalized some of those traits for later use in my own stint as University Archivist at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Betty encouraged me to accept the nomination for a leadership position in the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA), knowing that the exposure would also be good for UNCG. She gave me leadership responsibilities and encouraged me to take every opportunity for professional development and, ultimately, encouraged me to interview for the University Archivist position at UNC-Chapel Hill, knowing that it might mean losing me as a staff member. She even held a reception for me at her house before I left and was never anything but supportive of my decision.

Betty never openly cared about personal credit or notoriety, but she certainly deserved it. When the Women Veterans Historical Project was named in her honor it went a long way toward recognizing the pivotal role she played in creating that nationally recognized collection. Betty never missed an opportunity to interview a veteran, and included her staff in the process, sending us off with a list of questions and assurances that we could get the job done. 

Memories from Carolyn Shankle, Special Collections Specialist

When I joined Special Collections & University Archives, on my first day there was a sign on my desk that said: “Keep your running shoes on!” This proves to be great advice as SCUA grows and adapts to both curatorial and technological changes. Betty Carter was a leading force behind these changes.

In the almost fourteen years I worked with her, she advocated for more personnel and higher banding for current personnel. She built strong connections with alumni and those connections resulted in funding for preservation as well as digitization projects.  Carter is best known for the Women Veterans Historical Project that now bears her name. In creating this new curatorial area, she combined her love for archival collections as well as her recognition of the importance of oral histories in documenting underrepresented perspectives.

Memories from Beth Ann Koelsch, Associate Professor and Curator of The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

I’m sure I join with many others in mourning Betty’s passing, and in feeling gratitude for a very special woman who touched many lives.

What I remember most about Betty is her fierce love for the World War II veterans who were part of the WVHP collection. She befriended a few of these women and would keep in touch with them for years after their oral histories were added to the collections. Betty was justifiably proud of creating and fighting for support for the Women Veterans Historical Project, and her legacy of scholarship will endure.

Although Special Collections and Archives (SCUA) staff provided virtual research and instructional support throughout the pandemic, the transition from having our doors closed to the public for so long to inviting the community back into our reading room has been an adjustment. Several SCUA staff worked on site in the library throughout the worst of the Covid epidemic, serving as critical liaisons between researchers and collections. During the Spring 2020 Semester, when almost all classes were online, our reading room was closed to the public, but we permitted researchers to schedule visits by appointment and continued to find innovative ways of meeting our community’s needs. As the Fall 2021 Semester approached, and the chancellor emphasized the need for an on-campus experience for students, we began planning on how to best meet our campus’ needs and open our doors to the public.  

Maximizing student success is a priority for us, and the department has risen to engage the challenges of meeting students’ educational needs during the pandemic. Before Covid, we provided over a hundred instructional sessions per semester, most of which were in-person. Adapting to the shift to online learning during the 2020-2021 school year, we modified many in-person classes into virtual sessions, and with the resuming of in-person classes in the 2021-2022 school year, we adapted, yet again, to provide the safest instructional experience possible for our students.

Many instructors with whom we collaborate feel that the experience of physically interacting with archival materials is crucial to the learning outcomes for their students. At the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester, we developed a strategy to accommodate instructors to the best of our abilities in order to ensure students would be able to experience archival research-based learning. Space was our greatest limitation — with spacing at the required three foot distance apart, the Hodges Reading Room, where we hold the lecture portion of instruction, could only seat fifteen students. Our Researcher Room, where we conduct hands-on exercises, could only support two students per table. This required limiting class size to fifteen students for one SCUA instructor, or doubling instructors and dividing classes. Larger classes certainly have required a degree of choreography to maneuver, but both students and instructors are delighted to return to the archive. 

In addition to classes, we are once again open to walk-in researchers, and have provided support for many academics during this semester already. With the closure of most archives during the pandemic and the lack of safety until the development of a vaccine, many scholars dependent on primary source material for their research were limited greatly in terms of academic publishing. Although we remained open by appointment for researchers, travel has been challenging for many scholars, especially those with home and family obligations. Knowing that many people would be reengaging their scholarship, we are pleased to open our doors to the public, though for the sake of safety, we limit the number of researchers at any one time to four people.

During these times of strain and uncertainty, our department discovered creative ways of affirming our department’s mission of promoting research-based learning and making materials accessible. Through the persistent uncertainty, we will continue to collaborate with instructors and find creative ways of promoting learning and providing research support.  

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections & University Archives is pleased to announce the acquisition of the records and publications of the Brooklyn Arts Press. Brooklyn Arts Press (BAP) is devoted to publishing new works by emerging artists. The purpose of the press is to serve the community by publishing great works of varying aesthetics side by side, subverting the notion that writers and artists exist in vacuums, apart from the culture in which they reside and outside the realm and understanding of other camps and aesthetics. The press believes experimentation and innovation, arriving by way of given forms or new ones, make our culture greater through diversity of perspective, opinion, expression, and spirit. The collection also includes material relating to Augury Books, an imprint of BAP since its incorporation in 2017. Augury Books authors have received awards such as the O. Henry prize for short fiction, the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s “Discover” Award for creative nonfiction, and the Tony Quagliano International Poetry Award. Authors have also been nominated for the CLMP Firecracker award, the Lambda Literary Arts award, and have been featured on the Poetry Society of America’s and the Academy of American Poets website. 

The Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Brooklyn Arts Press, Joe Pan, is a graduate of UNC Greensboro’s Department of English, having studied with Fred Chappell, Stuart Dischell, and Lee Zacharias. He also worked as an intern on the Greensboro Review with Jim Clark. 

Stacey Krim and David Gwynn are collaborating with the Office of Intercultural Engagement to provide an exhibit and lecture on the history of gay bars in Greensboro as part of LGBTQ+ History Month. The exhibit, which complements, the current exhibit by the Jackson Library reference desk, was put up on National Coming Out Day (October 12th) and will remain available for viewing at the Intercultural Resource Center until the end of October. Gwynn’s lecture on the history of gay bars in Greensboro will be held at the same location on October 26th at 12:30pm.

A History of Greensboro LGBTQ+ Bars and Clubs Exhibit in the Intercultural Resource Center

by Audrey Sage

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Special Collections division recently acquired a copy from the limited edition of Louise Levergneux’s book “Surveillance” to add to their artist book collection. This unique work questions the prevalence and abundance of security devices that track our movements and actions, every hour, around the world. She asks, “Who’s watching?” Who monitors and uses these collections of visual data of which we have become, sometimes unknowingly and without consent, a part?

“Is privacy a thing of the past?” We are no longer guaranteed our freedom and anonymity as technology is developed and information is tracked, monitored through facial identification, and logged.

Levergneux photographed security warning signs she encountered while traveling and incorporated these images into her tunnel book, creating an overwhelming view as you look through this passageway of notifications into the lens of a camera. A fake security camera is mounted on the cover alongside a power switch. Once you open the book, timed warning beeps sound and ultimately a flash erupts, to simulate the flash of a camera documenting your exposure.

“CCTV (closed-circuit television) is the bane of mass surveillance, which erodes intellectual freedom and deconstructs the social fabric of our society… Through built-in backdoors, security agencies can tune in to our phone calls, read our messages, capture our photo, look through our emails, steal our files … Anywhere, 24/7!”  -Levergneux

Housing this artist book was essential for us to protect and preserve its carefully constructed format.  The mechanism requires two AA batteries, that the artist recommends storing separately when not in use.      


We designed a box that has a peek-a-boo circular window over the security camera dome. The volume slides into the housing recess, under side ridges that hold the book in place, keeping the book secured when the clamshell enclosure is moved. There is a small, covered compartment to store the batteries with an interior strap that lifts the batteries forward, simplifying retrieval. 

Louise Levergneux’s Surveillance presents us with a moment or two to reflect upon those who surveil, among other things. To what end is this data being collected, for what use? This data has proven to be useful, to protect victims and identify those up to no good.  This data has conversely been used by those up to no good, harming and manipulating individuals.  We have slowly and steadily found ourselves living in a world where nearly everything we do can be monitored, blindly enjoying the conveniences and thrills of technology, and like the frog in the frying pan, as the heat rises, we find it may be too late to hop out.

For more information about this artist, please visit her website:

Bars and clubs have been important social, cultural, and political spaces for the LGBTQ+ community for many years. In addition to providing a (relatively) safe space for meeting new people and socializing with friends in an era when open socializing had many potential negative consequences, bars also provided a palace for sharing of political and health-related information, particularly during the AIDS crisis. Many bar owners were also active in the community, hosting fundraisers and providing meeting space for community groups. Bars also provided a very specific place where newcomers and visitors could introduce themselves to the community and begin becoming  a part of that community. Greensboro was somewhat unique among Southern cities of its size in that it often was home to multiple bars serving the LGBTQ+ community, starting with the General Greene Grill downtown in the late 1950s and into the present with Chemistry and Twist Lounge. Bars specifically focused on an LGBTQ+ clientele have become smaller and less a part of everyday life for the community than in the past, but still provide a valuable social outlet for many members of the community, preserving an important historical and cultural link.

Staff of XTC c. 1990s

If you are strolling through Jackson Library, take the time to drop by and check out our new exhibit by the reference desk, “Out for the Evening, a Taste of Gay Nightlife in Greensboro.” The material featured in this exhibit is part of the PRIDE of the Community, the first large-scale initiative to document LGBTQ+ history in the Triad region of North Carolina. Originally founded through a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in partnership with the Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center, this ongoing project collects and makes accessible the rich history of the Triad LGBTQ+ community through community-contributed resources, donated archival materials, oral history interviews, and other outreach activities. If you are interested in learning more about this project, please visit or contact us at

By Katherine Widner

*Katherine Widner was a UNC Greensboro Library and Information Science Student who wrote this article in conjunction with her final Capstone Project, the North Carolina Cookbook Storymap.

In my work with the NC Cookbook Collection of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives here at UNC Greensboro, I’ve come to learn a lot about traditional southern ideas and ideals. Though the cookbook collection has a wide variety of cookbooks all created with different purposes in mind and all coming from different entities over the last 80 or so years, there was one particular thing about this collection that caught my attention immediately when I began my work. Currently, there are 80 books in the collection that have been cataloged, 30 of those have been digitized and, of course, the collection is ever-expanding. But in mapping the basic data of these books, it becomes obvious that a huge majority of the collection, currently, is church cookbooks.

Figure #1

When I realized that so many of the books were created and disseminated by churches and church communities, I was intrigued. I found myself wondering why there were so many church cookbooks, and what all these books have to say about our ideas surrounding church itself—be it religion, faith, or just the idea of fellowship in general. The more I explored these texts, the more I recognized that it is in the shared similarities and the distinct differences between each book’s stories and histories that the truth rests.

Before I delve into my findings and thoughts, I do think it is important to also note that this collection is a work-in-progress (as all collections are, really). Though I will state my thoughts about the books I worked with this semester, I think it’s important to remember that this is not the entirety of the collection at all. Though all of the religions in the books in the collection right now are Christian or Christ-centric religions, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other religions yet to be cataloged or digitized. I also think it’s important to note the variety of denominations within the spectrum of Christianity that are currently represented in the collection because it not only gives us an idea of denominational trends in cookbooks over the years, but it also gives us a rough sketch of the history of our state. Additionally, in the creation of this StoryMap project, we can further map denominational clusters in different regions of North Carolina, as well as work to highlight trends or denominations that may be often overlooked or purposefully ignored. These are all prospective ideas for the future, however, so for the time being I will focus on my work with the present collection.

Figure #2

As previously mentioned, the books in the collection currently are Christian or Christ-centric religions. This is particularly interesting because the Bible of Christian tradition is centered, believe it or not, all around food. From the forbidden fruit in Genesis to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Revelation, with every story and parable one can find faith, food, and fellowship. Food in the Christian tradition, be it metaphorical or literal, has a rich history that has been documented and practiced by many. The very person the whole religion is centered around, Jesus Christ, was (according to different testimonies) a man who liked food and partook in meals and feasts quite often, even using food to teach his people ideas surrounding religion. In fact, throughout his life, food was an important part of his teachings. He celebrated Passover and the Lenten season, he often fasted, and he prayed and thanked God before his meals. He provided food for over 5,000 people from only five loaves and two fish, and he also turned water to wine. He often used food in his stories to help relate his message to his followers, as can be evidenced in the parables of the cursed fig tree and the leaven, to name only a few. He is said to have shared meals with people seen as social pariahs, such as tax collectors, uninvited guests, and people who thought themselves (and were often viewed by others) as small and unworthy. Before his death, which he knew was coming, he sat with his disciples and had a feast (the “last supper”) where he told people that his body was bread, and his blood was wine—that he was the lamb of God, sent to be sacrificed to save the world. Even after his death and resurrection, he revealed himself as a stranger to some of his disciples on the road, and it was only when they sat down to eat a meal together that they realized, through how he spoke and broke his bread, that he was Jesus. Through everything Jesus did, and throughout the history of Christianity, one can always find food. The question remains, however, why? What is it about food that is so important to religion and, more specifically, Christianity?

Though there are truly no correct answers to these questions, I feel like the cookbooks in our collection help to shed light on the mystery. In these cookbooks you don’t typically find recipes entrenched in the Christian tradition (like Jesus’ homemade apple pie recipe, for instance). Instead, you find a hodgepodge of hand-me-downs—a patchwork quilt made of the lives of normal people. Though the people behind these books practice Christianity today in modern churches, their version of Christianity is not the same as it has always been, and in examining these cookbooks we are able to see snapshots of our history, not as one people united under one religion, but instead as just people, united by the fact that we all love and need food.

So, what do these books have to tell us? At the surface level, it’s easy to assume these church cookbooks are just relics of the past and nothing else, but in examining how they are constructed, the purpose and message of these books becomes more and more evident. Though these books are all from different churches, some of them share the same formulas and layouts (in fact, some even share the same recipes because they used the same publishers). The formula is pretty straightforward: typically, these books start with their cover page, either with a photograph of the church or an illustration of something, and on the pages before the index of recipes (if there is an index—and sometimes, there is not) they usually have the people responsible for the making of the cookbook and/or recipes (such as cookbook committees, youth groups, Sunday school classes, etc.). A lot of times you’ll also find a note from the person in charge such as a pastor or priest, usually with a brief summary of the church’s history, as well as a dedication page to someone important or perhaps even deceased. It’s also very common to see the church’s creed or mission listed and printed (for some reason, there was a trend where the mission was printed on what seems to be a clipart scroll or sheet of paper). There are also, of course, pages with simple prayers or blessings referencing food written on the first few pages (such as, “be present at our table, Lord” or the popular Moravian prayer adapted from a traditional Lutheran prayer, “Come, Lord, Jesus, our Guest to be, And bless these gifts bestowed by Thee”). Though it may not seem like it at first, these similar formulas show a fair amount about these churches and their history.

Though none of the books explicitly explains why the churches are selling or distributing books (one can assume it is for fundraising or community building, typically,) one can still see that these churches find it important, if not necessary, to engage in the long tradition of making and disseminating church cookbooks. Further, though it would be easy to contact a publishing house and purchase a generic, customizable cookbook with recipes and housekeeping tips in it (there are two in this collection that seem to have done that) most of the time, the people of these churches choose to create the cookbooks themselves. They ask parishioners and community members for recipe contributions and in the end, though sometimes they aren’t the prettiest or most professional looking books, they are really the most fascinating and representative of their various communities. In their whimsical illustrations, humorous titles, handwritten marginalia, and funky recipe names (such as Ham Baked in Milk, Chili Cheese Festivity, and ‘Nut Nut’ Pie, to name a few) I believe we can find very authentic reflections of these communities, as well as the time periods in which they were published.

Though commentary on faith, fellowship, and food are typically to be expected when examining church cookbooks, there was one more aspect that really struck me in my work with these books, and that was the role of women. As a woman living in 2021, I don’t associate women with housework or with cooking; I see that as a more antiquated, more conservative idea. In working with these books, I was definitely expecting to see these outdated ideas about female identity at the forefront, obvious and transparent, and in some cases, I did. Surprisingly, however, I most often saw women using their roles as homemakers and cooks as moments of autonomy and power, rather than as submissive objects under the thumb of a father, husband, or other person. Unsurprisingly, a majority of the church cookbooks were made by women, be them women in cookbook committees or in women’s fellowship groups at the church. Further, the women who made these books and/or contributed recipes oftentimes seem, in the texts at least, to be aware of their roles and how they may be viewed by society.

Figure #3

A favorite book of mine from the collection is a prime example of this. The cookbook, Moravian Ministers’ Wives’ Favorite Recipes with Devotional Gems (1973), from Immanuel Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, is specifically by and about women’s’ experiences, and there are many moments throughout the book where the ladies seem to be commenting, tongue-in-cheek, on their roles in the household, the church, and the community. One of the first examples of this comes from the president of the women’s fellowship of the church, Mrs. Eugene F. Grace, who, after thanking those who contributed to the book, inserts a humorous quote: “An ungrateful man is like a squirrel under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from” (p. 000b). Though one could argue this is just supposed to be a witty moment, one could also argue that this moment serves as a nod to the importance of women within the hierarchy of the church, as they are the ones often expected to and entrusted with the duty to provide sustenance and succor to the men in their lives. It’s also interesting to note that the cover of this book has been altered slightly by someone with a pen, who changes the name to Ministers’ Wives’+ Husbands’ Favorite Recipes. Though we could sit and consider forever who altered the title and why they felt compelled to insert “husbands” into this book by and about wives, I think it’s more important to note that the change was made and make of it what we will.

In one of the many food-centric parables of the Bible, Jesus vouches for his disciples to the Pharisees, who are shocked to see them picking grain as they walk in a field on the Sabbath. Jesus reminds them of how the old rules of their religion were broken even by the most pious of men (David) and tells them plainly: “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28, NLT). That is what I believe these cookbooks show us today. Jesus recognized and preached about the needs of the people being more important than adhering to ritual or tradition, and these books, though they may seem small in the grand scheme of things, continue to teach that message. These cookbooks are not only about community, but they are, most importantly, reflections of fellowship regardless of religion or creed—about faith in one another, as well as in our respective gods and beliefs. The recipes in these books, be them new (in their time period) or passed down through generations, signal how we, as humans, grapple with not only our needs and desires for food, but also how we shape ourselves and our identities around our spiritual beliefs. In the words of author and Episcopal priest Douglas E. Neel, “studies of the mundane topic of food help [us] to understand Jesus’ spiritual teachings: his parables about food and farming, the social and economic climate of the times, the stresses people faced as they sought answers in Jesus.”


Holy Bible: New Living Translation. (2004). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Neel, D., & Pugh, J. (2013). The Food and Feasts of Jesus: The Original Mediterranean Diet, with Menus and Recipes (Religion in the Modern World). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Further Reading

Blakemore, E. (2017). What Amateur Cookbooks Reveal About History. JSTOR Daily.

Church Cookbooks Offer a Taste of Methodist History. (2019). United Methodist Church Online.

Ferguson, K. (2020). Cookbook Politics. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Patrick Dollar Acknowledged with the Martha Ransley Staff Service Award

Patrick Dollar

The University Libraries Staff Service Award was established in 1997 upon the retirement of Martha Ransley, former Head of the Circulation Department, “To recognize and reward members of the SHRA Libraries Staff who provide outstanding leadership and service in furthering the accomplishment of the mission of the Libraries to provide service to students, faculty, staff and members of the community which the University serves.

Beth Ann Koelsch Takes Leave

Beth Ann Koelsch

Beth Ann Koelsch, the curator of the Women Veterans Historical Project, will be taking a leave for the fall 2021 semester to conduct research about the experiences of American Servicewomen stationed in South England during the World Wars.

Erin Lawrimore and Colleagues Publish Book

University Archivist and Associate Professor Erin Lawrimore has co-authored a book titled North Carolina Triad Beer: A History. From the book’s description: Now centered on Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point, the Triad was home to one of North Carolina’s earliest brewery operations in the Moravian community of Bethabara. Easy access by rail and then highways attracted national breweries, and starting in the 1960s, the region began producing beer for companies like Miller and Schlitz. The passage of the “Pop the Cap” legislation led to an explosion of craft beer and brewpubs, and in 2019, three of the top five producing craft breweries in North Carolina were anchored in the area. Local beer historians Richard Cox, David Gwynn and Erin Lawrimore narrate the history of the Triad brewing industry, from early Moravian communities to the operators of nineteenth-century saloons and from Big Beer factories to modern craft breweries. This book is an extension of Well Crafted NC, a research project focused on documenting this history of beer and brewing in North Carolina. North Carolina Triad Beer: A History is part of The History Press’s American Palate series, and will be available for purchase on July 19, 2021.

End of Prohibition Celebrated in Asheboro!

As part of a larger event celebrating the anniversary of the end of Prohibition in Asheboro (an event discussed in the book!), the Well Crafted NC will have an exhibit and copies of the book on hand at Four Saints Brewing Company in Asheboro on Thursday, July 29th. The celebration begins at 4pm, and a special beer history themed trivia will take place at 7pm.  Four Saints Brewing Company is located at 218 South Fayetteville Street, Asheboro.

High impact student learning is crucial to the academic and professional success of our students. In UNCG Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), we work closely with various academic departments on our campus to provide opportunities for students to gain real world experience as part of Capstone projects, practicums, and internships. During the Spring semester of 2021, SCUA staff oversaw and guided projects with two graduate students focused on exhibit making, Sarah-Esther Belinga and Matthew McCarthy. The skillset to create and mount exhibits is crucial to museum and archival work. Exhibits are a primary means of displaying and translating history and primary sources to the public in a manner that is informative and visually interesting. Even with small exhibit spaces, considerable effort is required to condense a topic or moment in history into one or two display cases. 

Sarah-Esther Belinga standing with her exhibit in the W.C. Jackson Library

Sarah-Esther Beligna is a graduate student in the Library and Information Science Department. Interested in learning more about textile and artifact preservation and archival description, she spent the semester working with the collection of Dr. James V. Carmichael, a retired professor of the same department whose research interests include gender and sexuality and the history of Southern librarianship. Dr. Carmichael’s collection contains not only his research material, but also a stunning collection of vintage women’s clothing and accessories. Sarah-Esther spent the semester processing the textiles and artifacts in the collection and building a finding aid for the collection. Her final project culminated with the creation of the exhibit, Part Times of the 1930s, which was on display to the public from April until June 2021 in the W.C Jackson Library.

Matthew McCarthy standing with his exhibit in the Greensboro History Museum

Matthew McCathy was a graduate student in the History Department who also graduated in May 2021. Matthew’s Capstone project focus involved working with the PRIDE! of the Community, the first large-scale initiative to document the LGBTQ+ history of the Triad (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point) area of North Carolina. He processed oral histories, writing transcriptions, indexing, and syncing the video and text to make the material more accessible. As the final product of his project, he collaborated with with the Greensboro History Museum to create an exhibit devoted to the Guilford Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Equality (GAGLE) in the Community Voices exhibit space. GAGLE was an early LGBTQ+ social justice organization in the Triad, founded in 1987. The material featured in this exhibit is derived from the Marnie Thomson Papers, the Triad Health Project Collection, and the David Gwynn Collection. This exhibit is on display from April until July 2021.


Indigenous Woman by Martine Gutierrez (2018)

Indigenous Woman marries the traditional to the contemporary, the native to the post-colonial, and the marginalized to the mainstream in the pursuit of genuine selfhood, revealing cultural inequities along the way. This is a quest for identity. Of my own specifically, yes, but by digging my pretty, painted nails deeply into the dirt of my own image I am also probing the depths for some understanding of identity as a social construction.   

Indigenous Women

The Lonely Girl in the Big City by Louise Shell (1971)

In The Lonely Girl in the Big City by Louise Shell. Boston, Massachusetts: New England Free Press, 1971 Louise Shell moved to Boston from Montgomery, Alabama. She is the mother of a ten year old daughter and a three year old son. She was a licensed practical nurse until an injury on the job made it impossible for her to work any longer. She now has found the time to write, and this is her story of her struggles to overcome her beginnings as a poor black female.

The Lonely Girl in the Big City

After 1921 : Notes from Tulsa’s Black Wall Street and Beyond. Edited by Crystal Z Campbell. First ed.

After 1921: Notes From Tulsa’s Black Wall Street and Beyond is a hybrid  artist book and anthology commemorating the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the largest acts of domestic terrorism on US soil, resulting in the destruction of over 35 blocks of mostly Black owned business and residences, leaving 9,000 Black people dispossessed of home, land, business and community. One-hundred years later, no one has been charged for the crimes, no reparations have been paid, and justice, still, a century later, has not been served. This collection of works reflects on and around the repercussions of this long-silenced event. ( )

After 1921: Notes From Tulsa’s Black Wall Street and Beyond


Lois Wilson Collection

SCUA recently acquired a collection from North Carolina College for Women (now UNC Greensboro) Class of 1920 alumna, Lois Wilson. This collection includes photos of the Women’s Suffrage Movement on our campus and a photo from the campus’ influenza quarantine.

Student Clown Advocates for women’s suffrage (left) and Students Quarantine During Spanish Flu (right), 1920s.
Photographs Donated by Alumna Lois Wilson

Olufemi Shittu Collection

SCUA recently acquired the activism collection of Olufemi Shittu. This collection contains material related to Shittu’s Civil Rights work, including her work with Ignite NC and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Items from the Shittu Collection

Photographic Art from the Greensboro Black Lives Matter Art

This recent acquisition, by artist Lakisha Hubacek, is from the Greensboro Black Lives Matter march that took place in the Summer of 2020.

Lakisha Hubacek’s Art

Letters from a WWII Veteran

SCUA recently acquired two letters written by Edward F. Burrows. During World War II, Burrows was a conscientious objector and served time in prison because of his beliefs. During the Vietnam War he counseled young people who held similar beliefs. Throughout his life, Burrows was a member of many organizations interested in the advancement of equal rights for all people, especially in Greensboro. In these letters, Burrows is writing to a young man sentenced to 30 months in the federal reformatory for refusing to register for the draft during WWII.

Letters from Edward Burrows

Vintage Hats

Dr. James V. Carmichael, UNCG Library and Information Science professor, donated a collection of vintage women’s hats that will be added to Dr. Carmichael’s manuscript collection, which includes many vintage dresses, costume jewelry, and purses


What’s new in our collection this week – more vintage 1930s hats in the collection of Dr. James V. Carmichael. One hat is a deep, hunter green velvet with a rhinestone accent, and the second a black felt with a faux pearl accent surrounded by...
Vintage Hat from the Carmichael Collection



From the Louise MacCloud Collection

Capt. Louise MacLeod served in the United States ANC (Army Nurse Corps) through the Korean War. In the early 1950s she was stationed at the combined 3rd and 14th Field Hospitals in Pusan, Korea and some time at the 343rd Army Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. In Korea, the 3rd and 14th were combined under one command, forming a large general hospital treating POWs direct from battle, as well as injured and sick U.N. casualties. The hospitals treated all kinds of medical conditions there, from amputations to TB, frostbite and gangrene, mental health, even leprosy (one of the photographs shows several leprosy patients). At the facility thousands of patients were housed in tents and huts in barbed wire compounds. The enamel painted wood cover depicts Mount Fuji and a map of Japan.

From the Patricia Ann Roney Collection

Patricia Ann Roney served in the United States Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) during World War II. The collection includes a photograph album and a diary she kept during her first nine months in the WAVES from January-September 1944.