Documenting the American South Logo
The Debating Societies
Erika Lindemann

Founded shortly after the University opened, the Philanthropic and Dialectic Societies constituted the oldest student organizations on campus and provided a significant extra-curriculum of composition, declamation, and debate that prepared students for professions such as law, teaching, and the ministry. The original Debating Society, established on June 3, 1795, under the leadership of mathematics tutor Charles Wilson Harrislink opens in a new window , a graduate of the College of New Jersey (Princeton), had as its aim "to cultivate a lasting Friendship with each other, and to Promote useful Knowledge" (Connor 1:478). Three weeks later, a number of students left the Debating Society to form a new organization, The Concord Society. A year later, in August 1796, both groups chose Greek names. The Debating Society became the Dialectic Society; its motto was Virtus et Scientia ([Love of] Virtue and Science), and its color was light blue, signifying truth. The Concord Society became the Philanthropic Society; its motto was Virtus, Libertas, et Scientia (Virtue, Liberty, and Science), and its color was white, the emblem of purity. Early society diplomas bear ribbons in the respective colors of each society, and every member received an elaborate badge bearing the society's colors, which he was supposed to wear to meetings and on public occasions. Commencement ball managers also sported their society's colors in elaborate sashes worn diagonally across the chest or in arm bands with streamers that, like modern fraternity pins, could be presented to girlfriends at the end of the commencement ball.
Competition among the societies for new members was keen at the beginning of each school year, especially in the early years. Society representatives virtually ambushed new students when they arrived on campus and sometimes rode several miles out of town to meet them. In time, however, and certainly by the 1840s, society membership was determined by where a student lived. Students from counties west of Chapel Hill joined the Dis; students from the eastern part of the state, the Phis. Out-of-state students (and some students from central North Carolina counties) selected the society that suited them. Though geography may seem a peculiar means of determining membership in an organization, the east-west distinction corresponded generally to those sectional differences in politics, religion, and way of life that characterized the backgrounds of North Carolina students. Even the geography of the campus played a role. Phis lived in Old East, the eastern half of South Building, and New East; Dis, in Old West, the western half of South Building, and New West.1
Competition characterized other aspects of society life as well. The first order of business in the original Debating Society had been to reserve money for the purchase of books (Connor 1:483), a priority that continued throughout the antebellum period. "When one library got a book,"William Hooperlink opens in a new window reported, "the other must have the same book, only more handsomely bound, if possible."2 The student-librarian for each society maintained circulation records, which still survive, inscribing every society member's name at the top of a page in a large ledger and recording underneath which books a student had checked out. Townspeople also had borrowing privileges, and students belonging to one society occasionally borrowed books from the other society's library. According to Richard Henry Lewislink opens in a new window , a member of the Dialectic Society from 1848 to 1852, "The [Dialectic Society] library was opened twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday. Members could keep books out two weeks."3 In the Philanthropic Society, the borrowing period appears to have shorter; the minutes for March 17, 1855, record a fine of fifteen cents for each volume checked out for more than a week (Vol. S-13, UA). Writing in a book or defacing its cover carried a $1 fine. Borrowed books had to be protected by cloth covers provided by the librarian. The librarian, who was assisted by sub-librarians, was responsible for opening the library on time, keeping the books in order, having books bound, and reporting at the end of his term "all books purchased, presented and labelled." Minutes for both societies record motions to purchase books as well as resolutions of thanks to alumni and honorary members who donated books to a society's library.
Over time the societies also built impressive portrait collections of their distinguished alumni. "The competition which created such large libraries also created the largest privately owned portrait collections in the State—visually commemorating the long succession of governors, senators, cabinet officials, scientists, and jurists who have issued from the halls of the Societies" (Brigman 2). Though these dignitaries commissioned and paid for their own portraits, an invitation to contribute a portrait for display on the walls of a society's meeting hall was considered an honor. The portrait collections contain works by such noted artists as Eastman Johnson, Charles Wilson Pealelink opens in a new window , and Thomas Sully.
At first the societies met on different evenings in the old chapel, Person Hall, but by 1814 they had their own chambers on opposite sides of the third-floor corridor in South Building. When Old East and Old West were expanded in 1848, the Di and Phi halls were located on the second floor of Old West and Old East respectively, with the libraries on the third floor. By 1861 new halls and libraries were furnished on the second and third floors of New West and New East.4
The elegant halls were a source of pride and made a significant impression on many initiates. Approximately five weeks into the semester, candidates for initiation would wait nervously in the anteroom while, behind closed doors, the current members voted on the prospective members' admission to the society. Opposition by two or more members was sufficient to deny membership. Once the votes were tallied, as Richard H. Lewislink opens in a new window explains, "the door of the hall was opened and we were marshalled in a semicircle in front of the president's chair of state. Shall we ever forget that moment!" (Lewis 13). "The [Dialectic Society] hall was a handsome one for its day—we thought it gorgeous,"Lewislink opens in a new window recalls. "As a centerpiece for the ceiling it had a gilt circle formed of letters making the name, date of organization, and motto of the Society. Upon this charmed circle the eyes of the young Freshman of fifteen summers gazed with reverential admiration. And afterwards, during the Friday night sessions of the body, much of his time was employed in wondering how the painter got up there to paint that circle, the debates having very little interest for the restless boy" (Lewis 12). For Dialectic Society members, the president's appearance must have been just as impressive, for he sat on a dais wearing a dignified beaver hat and carrying a gold-headed cane.
The president led the new members in a brief address or pledge, in which they expressed their willingness to uphold the aims of the organization. The "Address to Regular Members" of the Dialectic Society was as follows:
We the undernamed students of the University of north Carolina willing to cultivate a lasting friendship with each other and to promote useful Knowledge, have cheerfully joined in a Society to be known by the name of the Dialectic Society:
We also solemnly promise and pledge ourselves to one another, that each of us will do our endeavours to support this Society in credit and to our mutual advantage, by a proper obedience to the Laws which shall be made for its regulation, and by a dew performance of all the regular exercises, which shall be required from us in a social capacity. That by this conduct being instrumental in acquiring knowledge, we may contract a friendship, which shall not be forgotten when we meet in the serious business of life. In witness whereof we have set our names and seals.5
Each initiate then signed the secretary's register and took his seat in the hall. In 1795 the initiation fee was $.25; by 1855 it was $10, the equivalent of one month's board.
As the minutes of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies reveal, the societies differed only slightly with respect to their officers and activities. Each society elected a president, who delivered an inaugural address on assuming the chair and who held office for four to six weeks. Dis also elected a vice president. A secretary or scribe kept the minutes; a treasurer maintained the society's financial records; and the librarian was responsible for the library. Query committees of three or four students devised the topics for debate, which were announced two weeks in advance. Each society also elected officers who monitored the behavior of students during meetings and reported infractions of the rules that resulted in fines. The Dis called this officer a censor morum; the Phis, a supervisor.
Two correctors were elected in each society to review students' compositions.6 Prior to the 1830s the Dialectic Society correctors often wrote on the compositions themselves that they had been read. Compositions filed in the Society's papers after that date generally are unmarked. In the 1850s the Dialectic Society correctors also issued reports at the expiration of their terms of office, commenting generally on the quality of members' declamations, compositions, and the neatness of the secretary's and treasurer's records. On October 17, 1851, for example, the correctors noted that members were not taking their duties seriously enough. "In the department of declamations," they reported, "when duty is to be performed in this hall, some old worn-out, hackneyed speech is selected, the sentiments grunted out and the feeling, pathetic parts are smothered up in a frigid, careless, lifeless manner, that would freeze to death an Icelander" (Dialectic Society Correctors' Reports, UA). Students were free to select their own subjects for compositions, but they were expected to prepare new work. The correctors persistently complained that members were submitting writings that already had been corrected by the professor of rhetoric. Some students evidently preferred to pay fines instead of composing and declaiming. In the Philanthropic Society the fine for failing to declaim or to hand in a composition was $1; for writing a composition less than thirty lines long, $.50; for failing to read the composition loud enough, $.50; for declaiming "with stick in hand," $.25 (March 17, 1855, Vol. S-13, UA).
An officer unique to the Philanthropic Society was the "Reader," whose duties were to maintain the Society's archives and to read aloud materials that members left in a locked "Reader's Box" in the meeting hall. Showing these materials to other members was punishable by a $1 fine. The Reader's Box guaranteed a student anonymity. He could complain about fellow members' deportment during Society meetings, for example, by placing an unsigned letter addressed "Dear Reader" into the box.
Minutes from the Dialectic Society meeting for September 25, 1857, reveal that students in that society also elected a museum keeper, archivist, and monitor. Monitors were responsible for reporting the misbehavior of students living on various "passages" or dormitory halls. The archivist kept track of the inaugural addresses, debates, and compositions that members voted "to be filed" in the Society's archives. The museum keeper, a relatively new officer in the history of the Dialectic Society, appears to have been charged with collecting artifacts, memorabilia, and curiosities donated by alumni and bearing on the University's history.
The central activities of both the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies were composition, declamation, and debate. These regular duties were assigned in rotation to all society members, who were distributed into four classes.7 One week the first class declaimed and the second class wrote compositions, while the third and fourth classes debated. The next week the third and fourth classes declaimed and wrote compositions, while the first and second classes led the debate. And so on. Seniors were excused from declamation and writing compositions, but they were required to take part in the debates. Seniors also tended to be elected officers, which made their presence at all meetings necessary. Other seniors attended only if their "class" was taking part in the debate. Debates "came on" during the Friday night meetings in both societies. On Saturday mornings the societies assembled again to hear declamations and compositions.
Two or three weeks prior to each scheduled debate, the society president appointed the principal debaters, one from each class scheduled to perform this duty, and one or two assistants for each side of the question. In the Dialectic Society each principal debater had one assistant; in the Philanthropic Society, two. The query or question framing the debate also was announced in advance, and one of the principal debaters would be given the choice of sides, affirmative or negative. Disputants were expected to deliver written speeches to open the debate. When they had finished, others in the two classes whose duty it was to debate continued the discussion. Then the question was opened to general discussion, and any member who wished could speak if he could get the floor. Finally, all members voted, the secretary recording in the minutes which side of the question had carried.
This procedure was fairly standard in college debating societies all over America in the antebellum period. The following minutes, which describe the debate that took place in the Dialectic Society the night of June 2, 1857, are typical:

Dialectic Hall. June. 2nd 1857

Society Convened:

The President called the house to order, and delivered his Inaugeral. Admittance of members being in order, Messrs Lovejoy, Faison, George Sloan, and Payton were admitted as transient members. There being no regular motions, the Junior Debate was next in order., whereupon the following Query was discussed: "Are men of Action more beneficial to the world than men of Thought?"
Affirmative Negative.
Thos H. Brownlink opens in a new window H. C. Joneslink opens in a new window .
Lee. M. McAfeelink opens in a new window Wm M. Colemanlink opens in a new window .
It was decided in favor of the Negative. There being no further business the Society adjourned.

Joseph Graham, President.

Franc. D. Stockton, Scriba. Jas. T. Morehead, V. Pres. (Vol. S-12, UA)

What the minutes do not reveal, however, is how long the debate lasted and what procedures the principals and their assistants followed in presenting their arguments. For that information, we must look at the speeches themselves. No antebellum debate speeches survive among the papers of the Philanthropic Society, but fortunately, the Dialectic Society papers preserve a few complete sets of four speeches. One set included in this project was delivered on June 22, 1836, and addresses the question "Should the office of Chief Magistrate be awarded to one distinguished for his military services rather than to one distinguished for his civil services?" Another set takes up the query recorded in the Dialectic Society minutes for June 2, 1857, "Are men of action more beneficial to the world than men of thought?" Though the speeches are long, they are included in their entirety to give a realistic sense of what students would have heard in the debating hall.8
The speeches reveal that the disputants alternated sides of the question. The principal speaker affirming the question opened the debate. He was followed by the principal speaker on the negative side. Then the assistant on the affirmative side responded, followed by the assistant on the negative side. On June 2, 1857, then, the order of speaking was Brownlink opens in a new window , Joneslink opens in a new window , McAfeelink opens in a new window , and Colemanlink opens in a new window . Because each speech (except Brown'slink opens in a new window ) includes verbatim quotations from the previous speaker's text, Brownlink opens in a new window , Joneslink opens in a new window , and McAfeelink opens in a new window must have provided, in advance, drafts of their speeches to the student who followed them in debate. The four speeches also vary in length, the assistants' speeches being approximately half as long as those of the principals. Delivering all four speeches would have taken about an hour and a half. How much additional time would have been given over to subsequent discussion depended on the topic and on how much controversy the four preliminary speakers generated. All told, Friday night's society meetings typically lasted two to three hours. Meetings began at 7:30 p.m. and usually ended by 10:00 p.m. However, if the discussion became especially energetic, debates might go on until after midnight.
Whether men of thought or action were more beneficial to society represents the sort of philosophical question that query committees often submitted for debate. Students discussed other issues as well, especially historical and contemporary political questions. Query committees occasionally resurrected topics that had been discussed a year or two before—"Is duelling justifiable?" or "Was England justified in banishing Napoleon to the island of St. Helena?" Sometimes society members reversed their opinions, voting affirmatively one year and negatively the next time the question was debated. Some students doubtless voted for the side argued by popular classmates, regardless of the quality of the arguments. For these reasons, we cannot draw valid inferences about the antebellum "student mind" from the society debates. At best the subjects selected to frame these discussions reveal students' broad interests. The following list offers a small sample of questions debated in the Dialectic Society halls during the 1850s:
    1850 Should slavery as it now exists in our country be justly considered a reproach? (negative)
    1850 Should the United States stop diplomatic correspondence with Austria? (negative)
    1851 Were the wars of Napoleon Bonaparte beneficial to Europe? (negative)
    1851 Has a state the right to secede? (negative)
    1851 Was the Mexican war justifiable? (negative)
    1852 Would it be expedient for the legislature of North Carolina to pass the Maine liquor law? (affirmative)
    1852 Should the general government afford any assistance to the Colonization Society? (affirmative)
    1853 Ought Judge Hall to have fined Gen. Jacksonlink opens in a new window when New Orleans was under martial law? (negative)
    1854 Are we progressing? (negative)
    1854 Should any more foreigners be naturalized? (negative)
    1854 Is extension of territory detrimental to the United States? (affirmative)
    1854 Should Cuba be annexed to the United States? (affirmative)
    1855 Is southern slavery justifiable? (affirmative)
    1855 Does civilization increase happiness? (affirmative)
    1856 Ought our government to favor the building of the Pacific Railroad? (negative)
    1857 Should representatives be ruled by their constituents? (affirmative)
    1857 Should the United States establish a national bank at the present financial crisis? (affirmative)
    1858 Should the United States punish the Mormons as traitors? (affirmative)
    1858 Should a college be located in a city or in the country? (decision not recorded)
    1859 Ought the United States to extend her territory? (affirmative)
    1859 Is the existence of two great political parties in the United States desirable? (affirmative)
    1859 Ought the United States to aid in building a Pacific Railroad? (affirmative)
    1859 Would disunion be profitable to the South? (negative)
As the University grew, so did the societies. By 1855, when the meeting halls and dormitories began to be seriously overcrowded, the Philanthropic Society was forced to consider how it could squeeze 151 members into its hall without reducing the number of compositions, debates, and declamations each member prepared in a semester. The solution was to divide the Society into "three grand classes," excuse in rotation one class each week from the regular Friday night and Saturday morning meetings, and increase the number of weeks the Society met during the year. In this way Phis might still perform "a duty" every three weeks, preparing at least three compositions and three declamations in an eighteen-week session. But the solution was far from ideal, and Society members still worried about fellow students who could not live in campus residence halls but were scattered in the increasingly numerous boarding houses located in Chapel Hill and the surrounding countryside.9
Fines were vital sources of income for each society and promoted order during society meetings. Minutes customarily conclude with officers "making their reports," announcing by name those students who owed fines for infractions of society regulations. When a three-member committee of the Philanthropic Society revised its regulations in March 1855, it listed 102 misdemeanors drawing fines (Vol. S-13, UA). Some of the fines addressed conduct in the meeting hall: putting feet on furniture ($1), spitting on the floor or hearth ($.25), reading during a meeting ($1), writing in the hall ($.25), playing with or touching tassels on the draperies ($.25), being absent from Society ($3), being late ($.50 for each half hour), striking a member in anger in the hall ($5), staying out over five minutes (from $.05 to $.30), failing to prepare a debate as principal ($1), as assistant ($.50), creeping out of the hall ($2), talking without permission ($.05), laughing loud ($.10), whittling or sleeping or eating in the hall ($.50), interrupting a debate or speaking more than twice without permission ($.25), making signs or improper remarks ($.25), leaning against the post or wall ($.50), refusing to vote for officers ($.05 for each officer omitted), having one's hat in hand before the society adjourned ($.50). Other regulations encouraged officers and committee members to do their work conscientiously and stipulated penalties for misusing the library.
Some of the fines levied against society members indicate that these student organizations cooperated with faculty members in maintaining campus discipline. Though students breaking any of the following college rules might be sanctioned by the faculty, they also were liable to being fined by their society: injuring trees or playing ball in college buildings ($.25), disturbing students during study hours ($.25), breaking glass ($.15 to $.25), burning gunpowder in college buildings ($.10 to $1), engaging in a blacking club, a hazing ritual whereby first-year students were smeared with lamp black ($5),10 and dumping "water," a euphemism for urine, from dormitory windows ($1).11 For most students, these fines amounted to significant sums of money. A dollar in 1855 represented the cost of a textbook, a month's laundry, or having a pair of shoes repaired. The largest fine of $20 was reserved for a student's keeping a room to himself at the beginning of the school year and refusing to draw lots for a new roommate. In these and other matters the debating societies sometimes performed the function of student honor courts. In extreme cases the societies impeached students, especially if theft, violence toward other students, or gross misconduct could be proven. The faculty and trustees, upholding the societies' verdicts, expelled students who had been impeached. Gov. Swainlink opens in a new window typically enlisted the cooperation of the societies in managing student unrest, and he respected reasonable society decisions affecting commencement activities and other elements of student life.
Society members sometimes showed considerable generosity toward fellow students. Each society included among its members "beneficiaries," students whose tuition was paid by the society. Approximately four such students annually received this benefit.12 When a student died, members of both societies customarily passed memorial resolutions pledging to wear crepe arm bands for thirty days out of respect for their dead classmate.13 Often members of the deceased student's society escorted the body home. If distance or other circumstances made burial back home impractical, the student was interred in his society's plot in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, now a part of the University campus. Enclosed by iron fences and gates, the societies' plots contain some of the most elaborate tombstones in the cemetery, purchased by society members who wished to honor their dead friends.
A society diploma cost $1 and was a valued symbol of the lifelong associations formed through society membership. On the motion of a fellow member, the diploma was awarded prior to the University's commencement to students in good standing—provided that they had paid their outstanding debts. Because most students formed close friendships only with members of their own society, they rarely undertook activities as a single student body. It was as if the antebellum University comprised two student bodies, the Dis and the Phis. In a few areas of student life, however, the two societies worked together to achieve common goals. Sponsoring The North Carolina University Magazine 14 was one such enterprise. The commencement ball was another.
The commencement marshall and the chief ball manager both were elected in the spring semester from among members of the junior class. These elections were heated, partisan contests involving considerable electioneering. Candidates often bought their classmates alcohol, first to secure their votes and then to celebrate the victory. By 1856 the abuses had become intolerable, and the faculty ordered that only seniors, not the rest of the students, could vote in the election of the commencement marshall.
Once elected, the marshall selected from each society two or three sub-marshalls, and the ball manager likewise chose from each society two or three assistant ball managers. These students were responsible for planning the commencement ball and raising subscriptions to pay for it. The marshalls were known for their good manners and savoir faire, taking pains to make the social event of the year memorable (Battle 1:570). They formed and led the commencement procession on graduation day. They also were responsible for hiring the band, which played between commencement speeches as well as for the ball. In a splendid procession involving students, faculty members, and villagers, the marshalls would ride out of town to meet the musicians and escort them into Chapel Hill. The ball managers, on the other hand, arranged for elegant printed invitations and dance cards, secured a ballroom, decorated it, and contracted for an elaborate midnight supper. Ball managers also had the "duty" of serving as dancing partners for those ladies who had no special beaux.
As Anne Ruggles Gere has pointed out in Writing Groups , college debating societies offered students an important extra-curriculum. They established a forum for discussing political issues and current events. They gave students a chance to read novels, poetry, biographies, histories, and other works that would not have been included in college courses of the period. They provided a social outlet for students in communities that lacked cultural resources, constructive diversions, and opportunities to meet young women. They also offered weekly opportunities to practice those skills of reading, writing, argumentation, elocution, and parliamentary procedure that would serve well a university graduate seeking a career as a lawyer, minister, politician, or teacher. Perhaps most important to the students themselves, the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies promoted lasting friendships that sustained careers and enriched students' lives long after graduation.


1. The division of South Building was modified some time after 1846, Dis taking rooms on the southern side of the building and Phis occupying northern rooms. This orientation put students on the side of the building on which their meeting hall and library were located (Battle 1:513).

2. "Fifty Years Since," The North Carolina University Magazine 9 (June 1860): 583, NCC. A catalogue of books belonging to the societies prior to 1830 is Jane C. Bahnsen, Books in the University of North Carolina Library since before 1830 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1958, typescript, 106 pages). When Thomas S. Harding compared catalogues of the Philanthropic and Dialectic Societies' library holdings published in 1829 and 1835 respectively, he found approximately forty percent duplication, primarily of histories, biographies, and novels (Harding 114). By 1874 each society's library contained 7,000 to 7,500 books, and when the collections were merged with the University's library in 1886, each society contributed approximately 10,000 volumes (Battle 2:54, 357).

3. "A Brief Sketch of the Dialectic Society, 1848-'52," Catalogue of the Members of the Dialectic Society (Chapel Hill, NC: The Dialectic Society, 1890), 14.

4. In the 1920s, when New East and New West were renovated, the society halls were moved to the top floors of the buildings. Today's joint Di-Phi Society uses the Phi chamber in New East for receptions and the Di chamber in New West for its meetings. Both rooms boast portraits and busts of alumni as well as dais furniture that has been used by society officers since 1848.

5. Dialectic Society Minutes, Vol. 5, UA. A slightly different address was read to transient members, who promised "to cooperate with the regular members" and who seem to have been associate rather than full members of the Society.

6. Article Seven of the Philanthropic Society's 1858 constitution defines the correctors' duties as follows:
The two Correctors shall divide the Compositions of each meeting equally among themselves, after they have been read and deposited on the Secretary's desk, and shall report at the next meeting of Society all corrections they have made in Grammar, Spelling or Composition. They shall also examine the minutes of the Secretary and report upon the same. (Vol. 4, UA)

7. The Philanthropic Society broke with the tradition of having four classes of members in October 1855 to avoid overcrowding its meeting hall. For most of the antebellum period, however, each society distributed its members into four classes. Each class was approximately the same size and had equivalent numbers of seniors, juniors, sophomores, and first-year students. Members remained in their respective classes throughout their college careers; that is, a student assigned to the Dialectic Society's"third class" upon entering the organization remained with that class until leaving the University.

8. Joseph Graham's June 2, 1857, fourteen-page inaugural address also survives Dialectic Society Addresses, UA). Complete sets of Dialectic Society debate speeches from the 1850s also discuss "Were the wars of Napoleon Bonaparte beneficial to Europe?" and "Should Judge Hall have fined Gen. Jacksonlink opens in a new window ?" Both questions were decided in the negative.

9. Much as the University needed dormitory space, the students assigned first priority to suitable space for the commencement ball, the most important social occasion of the year. The trustees saw other reasons for a new building. It could also be used for trustees' meetings, commencement exercises, and a library. Smith Hall, named for Gen. Benjamin Smith (1756-1826)link opens in a new window , governor of North Carolina in 1810, was completed in 1851 at a cost of $10,303.63. Initially the "library" housed only approximately 3,600 books, in cases that could be moved aside to clear the floor for the annual ball. The two debating societies retained their own libraries until all of the collections were merged in 1886. Two new dormitories, New West and New East, finally were begun in 1858. By the time they were completed in 1861, they were no longer urgently necessary. Enrollments had plummeted to 129 students as students and faculty prepared for war.

10. The debating societies appear not to have engaged in much hazing, given the evidence of students' letters and society regulations. The "fresh" sometimes had their faces blacked with lamp black, and they were compelled to provide a "Fresh treat," wagonloads of watermelons for all the other students. But the 1850s also saw the establishment of several fraternities, and by 1860 hazing in these organizations had become enough of a problem to prompt the executive committee of the board of trustees to condemn "the ridicule and petty annoyances practiced by certain students upon new members of the College" as "a cruel and contemptible practice" (Battle 1:713). Delta Kappa Epsilon organized a chapter at the University in 1851; Phi Kappa Sigma and Beta Theta Pi, in 1852; Delta Psi, in 1854; Sigma Alpha Epsilon, in 1857; and Zeta Psi, in 1858 (Battle 1:vi, 621).

11. Battlelink opens in a new window reports, "There was no sewerage system, and, until shortly after 1850, slops were thrown from the windows freely" (1:592). Allcott notes that early architectural drawings as well as financial accounts related to the construction of University buildings make no mention of "Temples of Cloacina,""necessaries," or outhouses (14).

12. A University education in the 1850s cost approximately $250 a year, almost $5,000 annually in 1996 dollars (McCusker). Tuition was $50 a year; a room in the dormitory went for $10 per year, and board came to between $90 and $120 annually. Students could expect to pay approximately $13 annually for books, $24 for bed and washing, $11 for firewood and candles, $5 for servant hire, and a $4 damage deposit (1855-56 Catalogue 41).

13. Considering the close quarters in which students lived, the lack of toilet and bathing facilities, and the possibilities for spreading diseases through the use of common metal drinking cups and dippers, the wonder is that more students did not become seriously ill and die. In 1858 Selina Wheat, wife of Professor John Thomas Wheatlink opens in a new window and a devoted nurse to ailing students, successfully petitioned the trustees to build a small infirmary on a corner of the Wheat property (site of present-day Spencer dormitory). "The Retreat," a two-room, one-story cottage built for $2,259.11, served as the University's infirmary for the next thirty-six years (Henderson 177-78).

14. The North Carolina University Magazine , begun as a project of the senior class in 1843, had folded after a year. It was resurrected in February 1852. Managed by a six-member "editorial corps" of seniors, the Magazine continued to publish essays, poems, and an "Editorial Table" until May 1861.