Since I was ten I have been amassing a large collection of photographs of Chapel Hill and The University North Carolina. In recent years I have scanned about 1/10 of those pictures so that I can access them for articles in Chapel Hill Memories.
Last month I purchased a massive collection of primarily negatives of Chapel Hill photos taken by photographers who worked for several Chapel Hill newspapers from 1948 to 1989. I am not sure how many pictures are in this collection, but I would estimate it to be at least 10,000. The photos are mostly candid capturing Chapel Hillians and UNC students and faculty at work,in class, shopping, dining, and at play. There are many photos of the insides of businesses, homes, and classrooms, girl scouts selling cookies, cub scouts at soap box derbies, the entire town celebrating fourth of July on Fetzer field, Little League games, dozens of houses and new business under construction, several church congregation Sunday services and choir practices, as well as young Chapel Hillian’s at social dancing and ballet classes.
I hope to begin work on digitizing these pictures within the next five years. I doubt I will be able to go through all of them, but I hope to be able to do at least 20% within the next 15 years.
What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. or the crisp October nights. No, our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People.