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About this Collection

"The First Century of the First State University" presents a wealth of sources documenting the creation and growth of the University of North Carolina during the period from 1776 to 1875. The manuscripts, printed materials, and images included in this collection were selected to provide users with a range of materials that illustrate the following topics: university buildings, campus, Civil War and Reconstruction, creation and governance, curriculum, faculty, student life, town and gown relations, UNC in the life of the state of North Carolina. The materials in the collection are from the University Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, primarily from the North Carolina Collection, the Southern Historical Collection, and the University Archives. Also included in the Creation and Governance section are digital images of an original document located in the North Carolina State Archives. Researchers can browse the collection by author, genre, organization, personal name, place, or topic.

Planning for "The First Century of the First State University" began early in 2004 with the especial urging of former Deputy University Librarian Larry Alford and the support of former University Librarian Joe Hewitt. The project has enjoyed the continued support of University Librarian Sarah Michalak and was funded entirely by the University Library, using monies from the Samuel and Gertrude Willis Memorial Fund. This generous funding permitted the selection, transcription, digitization, and encoding of 1,250 pages of text and images. Each document is accompanied by a digitized image of the original source.

Essays from Professor James L. Leloudis and Botany Librarian William R. Burk enrich the collection; these essays provide valuable historical and contextual information for the documents. Most manuscript documents were transcribed by project staff, though some transcriptions were taken from R. D. W. Connor's A Documentary History of the University of North Carolina, 1776-1799. Project staff and former members of the University Library staff created annotations for people and places mentioned in the documents in order to aid readers with identifications. Project staff provided section introductions as well.

"The First Century of the First State University" complements "True and Candid Compositions: the Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students at the University of North Carolina." Since many documents included in the "True and Candid Compositions" collection serve to illustrate various topics in "The First Century of the First State University," links are provided when relevant. Taken together, these two collections provide a rich source of university history for students, scholars, and other patrons who visit Documenting the American South.