'... There are here
UNC Opens Its Files to the Web
at this time 86 Students
to hisJather,April 12,1796
They complained about roommates, entreated their parents to send money, fought back at discipline,
horse-whipped the presiding professor,
burned down the belfry and left their
studies to go to war.
Early generations of Carolina students
wrote home with abandon, entirely in the
moment, and now anyone may read them.
More than 3,000 pages of student letters
and related documents - transcriptions
and images of the actual items - in May
were posted on the Internet."The First
Century of the First State University: The
University of North Carolina, 1776-1875"
affords a remarkable view of Carolina, and
the history of the times, from primary
Part of the University Library's Docu-
menting the American South: Primary
Resources for the Study of Southem History,
Literature and Culture, "The First Cen-
tury" represents the largest number of
manuscripts in DocSouth's digitized col-
lections, which also include oral histories
of the American South, the lives and writ-
ings of antebellum students at the Univer-
sity, and slave narratives.
The endeavor spanned two years and
thousands of hours of research by librari-
ans (on top of regular duties), and retired
librarians also helped.
The students in those early days were
elite, white youths from large, landowning
families, "the young men who are going to
run things," explained James Leloudis ' 77,
associate professor of history who was the
project's adviser. Mostly tutored privately,
they arrived knowing Latin and Greek, for
their classical education would be founded
on the wisdom of the ancients.
"What they're reading primarily are the
great orators of the classical world: Demos-
thenes, Cicero and so on;' Leloudis said.
"This is still a very aural world, a world in
which power is exercised largely through
the spoken word, whether they end up in
the pulpit or before the legislature or before
a court of law or as ajustice of the peace."
"... This place is not in the most thriv-
ing condition but I hope it will turn out
better than I thinke [sic] ..."
- John London
to Ebenezer Pettigrew, Sept. 29, 1799
'... I study tolerable hard
and am among the best in the class
though there are some who sit up
very late at night and have
their books in their hands
from morning untill [sic) night ... J
Charles L. Pettigrew
to hisJather,Aug. 19, 1833
"The Ladies of the Hill ... attended our
lecture on Wednesday morning, and it is
useless to add the interest ofthe proceed-
ings were greatly enhanced. True, the Class
were very disorderly, and forced the Lec-
turer to take his seat and threaten the dis-
continuance of the Lectures, but there he
soon resumed ... my eyes were on the fair
faces oftener than on the Experiments ..."
- William Sidney Mullins'
student journal, July 29,1841
"... There was a very tragical occur-
rence at Hillsboro last week. Two or three
students went up from this place, all of
them of the rowdy kind, and one fell in
with some loafers then, and got drunk.
They then went to a tavern and on the
tavern-keeper's coming down to stop the
noise, one of the loafers advanced towards
him; the tavern-keeper picked up a chair
and the student, that was with them, drew
a pistol and shot in the arm. He is out of
all danger now; the student fled inID1edi-
ately from the state.... He was a very
quarrelsome fellow, and it is said, that his
father used to tell him to shoot any person,
S ept e/11 ber / 0 ct 0 ber 2 0 0 6