Friday, May 19, 2017

The First Degree

Campus Crier, June 1952 [Highlighting added]
A researcher recently noticed something unusual in a Asheville-Biltmore College student newspaper from 1952. How could a two-year college, which A-B was then, grant a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology? Could we confirm this as a typo, he asked, surely it was an Associate of Science Degree, as Bachelor's degrees were not awarded by A-B College until 1966?

No prizes for guessing that this is not a blog about a typo.

But, it is about something much more fascinating.

1952 Commencement Program [Highlighting added] [UA11.3 Box 1]
To confirm the Campus Crier report for the researcher, we looked at the 1952 Commencement program, and this showed that Dorothy June Meadows Carter was indeed awarded a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology.

Definitely not a typo, but how did a "two-year college" award a baccalaureate?


The university archives have boxes and scrapbooks of press clippings dating back to 1927, and a scrapbook from 1952 has clippings reporting that Dorothy Meadows Carter not only received a Bachelor of Science degree, but that it was the first baccalaureate awarded by the college. Indeed it was the first conferred in the state by "an institution operating on the junior college level".
Scrapbook 1951-56 [UA11.2]
Certificate of Incorporation, 1936, Page 2 [UA11.1 Box 1]
The newspaper report adds, "Awarding the degree will emphasize the fact the college is not chartered as a junior college". Sure enough, the original charter for the college, which was filed on August 15, 1936, makes no mention of a junior college, but gives the college the right to "confer degrees".
So, a bachelor's degree was awarded in 1952.
The next obvious question is, were there any others?
The news clipping reports the "course [that Dorothy took, was] set up at the college in 1949", and this is confirmed by the college catalogs.
1950-51 Catalog. 1949-50, and 1951-52 are similar. 
[Highlighting added] [UA LF10] 
The catalogs for 1949-50, 1950-51, and 1951-52, include a listing for "Preparatory Curriculum for Medical Technologists", a four year course, with the first three years on campus, and the final, senior year, spent in the laboratory of Mission Hospital.
1953-55 Catalog.
[Highlighting added] [UA LF10]
However, the 1953-55 catalog shows a two-year curriculum, for a preparatory course "necessary to transfer to an approved technical laboratory". There are no other four-year courses listed in the catalog.
Which begs the question, was Dorothy not only the first, but also the last, person to be awarded a baccalaureate degree by Asheville-Biltmore College before it became a state supported senior college, and 66 students graduated in 1966?
As noted above, the course Dorothy took was not available after 1952, and in 1957, Asheville-Biltmore was designated a community college and would not award baccalaureates. Furthermore, the 1952 commencement program is the only one that specifically identifies a baccalaureate graduate.
All of which means that Dorothy Meadows Carter appears to hold a unique position in the history of Asheville-Biltmore College and UNC Asheville.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dinner and a Show: the Grove Park Inn Entertainment (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second of two posts by Anna Peitzman, a Special Collections intern enrolled in the Library and Information Studies Master's program at UNC Greensboro.  Anna has been processing the Bloomberg, Patton, and Grimes Biltmore Industries Collection, which contains records from the early years of the Grove Park Inn. 

In the Grove Park Inn series of the Bloomberg, Patton, and Grimes Biltmore Industries Colllection at UNC Asheville, there are numerous items of correspondence between the inn and various performers, mostly organists, from the late 1910s to the early 1920s. Grove Park Inn held two recitals per day, one at 2:30 pm for an hour and again at 8:30 pm for an hour and a half. Thirty minutes of the evening concert was dedicated to the showing of “motion picture shows”, as they were referred to in 1918, although on Sunday evenings, the recital portion of the evening show was extended to a full hour and a half. 

In 1918, Grove Park Inn paid their organists $50 per week or $900 per year for a resident organist, and by 1927 they were paying $75 per week. The inn had an in-house organist but also was in the business of lining up guest organists for a couple weeks or months at a time to allow their organist to take vacations and to attract their desired clientele with famous musicians. The inn framed the visiting organists’ time as a vacation and allowed them to bring family members to also stay at the inn. On March 21, 1917, Seely wrote a letter to his friend, Mr. Edwin White, in which he talks about their spring concerts and asked Edwin to join for five or six weeks: they used a saxophone, five banjos, several guitars, and of course a piano for the inn’s dances.

Above is a photo of the South Organ in the Big Room at Grove Park Inn, which includes the orchestral and solo organs, harp, heckelphone and string stops. Behind the organ is a masonry chamber that is 18 feet high and divided in the center. 

Below is the North Organ in the Big Room at Grove Park Inn. The organ is a Mason Hamlin Grand Piano and contains the pedal organ and relays. Behind it is a concrete and stone cavity, 14 feet deep, 21 feet wide, and two stories high, containing the great and small organs. 

Not only was Grove Park particular about their food in attracting guests, but they worked to attract a certain class of people (predominantly rich, famous, and powerful white men) and retain entertainers and entertainment deemed worthy of those guests. They were particularly interested in attracting organists for their twice a day recitals. These organists would sometimes stay at the hotel for a month or two at a time, an opportunity that allowed the musicians and entertainers an opportunity to rub elbows with a variety of the wealthy, influential guests. Below is Cecil Arden, a famous opera singer that the inn was very interested in having perform. 

In 1916, 100 people from Redpath Chautauqua, an adult education movement that conducted lecture circuits, toured between Chicago, Illinois and Jacksonville Florida. They stopped at the Grove Park Inn for a week to give a combination of lectures and musical entertainment. On the seventh and final evening, they were accompanied by the Grand Chicago Opera Company for the evening recital. 

Entertainment, however, does come at a cost. In the early twentieth century, Grove Park Inn bought music from various companies to play at their recitals. 

On August 18, 1921, Fred Seely wrote a letter to Mr. C. Edwin White, director of White’s Orchestra in Rhode Island, in which he referred to the financial strain that war time had put on the inn. On March 1, 1923 a letter was written to Miss Beatrice Wainwright of Washington, D.C., in which Seely mentioned that no recitals would be given in which they could use her services, partially due to them having a permanent entertainer and most likely lack of funds to extend their performances beyond the in-house entertainer. It was later in 1927 that Fred Seely lost charge over Grove Park Inn after the death of Edwin Grove. In a letter from June 1937, he writes that is has been ten years since he was in charge.  

While Grove Park Inn has undoubtedly seen ups and downs throughout its history, and certainly changes in ownership, it is running and well today, and still much renowned. To delve more deeply into its history, we welcome you to visit Special Collections at UNC Asheville during appointed reading room times or schedule an appointment. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Dinner and a Show: the Grove Park Inn Dining and Guests (Part 1 of 2)

Today's blog post is by Anna Peitzman, a Special Collections intern enrolled in the Library and Information Studies Master's program at UNC Greensboro. Anna has been processing the Bloomberg, Patton, and Grimes Biltmore Industries Collection, which contains records from the early years of the Grove Park Inn.  She writes about entertainment and dining at Grove Park Inn in this first of two installments. 

The Grove Park Inn opened on July 12, 1913, just under twelve months after construction on the inn began. A massive undertaking, it was reported that up to 400 men participated in the building of the inn. Recently, UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives acquired a three part collection from Biltmore Industries. One of the series contains records and materials from the Grove Park Inn, including food, billing, and entertainment records from the twentieth century. Some of the pictures in this two part blog are from this series, and some are taken from Grove Park’s virtual collection, available at UNC Asheville.  

Men lay tile in the dining room during the inn construction, just shy of two months before the inn’s grand opening: 

A picture of the completed, pristine and inviting dining room can be found in the lower left hand corner of this promotional brochure:

When Grove Park Inn opened, many famous men (and later both men and women) stayed at the hotel, including American presidents and industry titans. For example, the description with this photograph reads, A few famous guests who stayed at Grove Park posed for this photograph in 1918. From left to right are Harvey Firestone, Sr., Thomas A. Edison, Harvey Firestone, Jr., E.W. Grove, Henry Ford, and Fred Seely.

Most of the same men appear again in the photo on the right, along with Mr. Burroughs and Professor DeLoach. 

In order to maintain the inn’s reputation and uphold the high quality of food, Fred Seely and the management were stringent with their vendors, and if a delivery did not meet expectations, had no qualms with handling the situation as they saw appropriate. For the butter order referenced below, they decided to adjust the price to that of cooking butter as they refused to serve it in the condition it arrived in for guests to spread. 

Quite a bit of Grove Park Inn’s food in the late 1910s and early 1920s came from well-perceived, high-brow vendors in places like New York City and Washington, D.C. However, the inn did also receive and use local goods throughout the years.  

The records regarding food in the Grove Park Inn collection at UNC Asheville are largely comprised of vendor correspondence between the inn and their food suppliers. The correspondence is an interesting look into where Grove Park got their food from predominantly in the late 1910s and early 1920s. An encompassing statement may not be made regarding the “where” Grove Park Inn got their food. However, a partial response can be made to the recent cultural push toward using more or all local businesses or farmers. One implicit supposition sometimes made is that generally in earlier times food was largely or all locally sourced. In reviewing the Grove Park Inn records from approximately one hundred years ago, one conclusion can be surmised: As early as the early 20th century, this particular establishment on the eastern coast of the United States was buying food from all across the country. These records may help to inform knowledge of local and non-local food trends from the early twentieth century.