Thursday, January 5, 2017

Forty Years On

1977. The year Star Wars arrived, and Elvis left the building for the final time. While, across the Pond, the Sex Pistols released God Save the Queen to commemorate (if that's the right word), Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee.

Also in 1977, the Southern Highlands Research Center (SHRC) opened at UNC Asheville. Although less of a global event, we in Special Collections think it is at least as important as those in the last paragraph, because the SHRC became UNC Asheville's Special Collections.

So happy 40th to us!!

During the upcoming year, we will be dipping into the archives of UNC Asheville student newspapers since 1977, and highlighting the things we think are historic, interesting, or just plain quirky.

We start, not in January 1977 (too obvious!), but September that year, and a report from the Ridgerunner, about the opening of the SHRC.

Although much has changed since 1977, it is notable that the focus of our collections has not. Back then, Bruce Greenawalt described how the SHRC would collect materials reflecting, Asheville's role in the development of the region, the religious history of the region, the history of the African-American community, the records of local organizations, and photographs of the region. Fast forward to 2017, and that is what we are still doing. As our mission statement says, Special Collections "collects, preserves, organizes, describes, and provides print and digital access to manuscripts, books, photographs, and other materials that document Asheville and the surrounding region", to support UNC Asheville students, along with community members, and other scholars.

Which means this cartoon from the same edition of the Ridgerunner applies as much to Special Collections as it does to a history class. (And we like to think cartoons have got funnier since 1977.)

Next time, a look at January events since 1977. There may be mention of snow.

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