Dear Uncle Tony: Season 1, Episode 01

Hey there! Welcome to the very first episode of Dear Uncle Tony, the literary, arts, and storytelling podcast of the Xi chapter of St. Anthony Hall. Our goal with this podcast is to bring Xi brethren closer together by collecting and spreading our work to St. A’s all over the world. We’re going to have a little bit of everything: original music, poetry, and essays; Hall stories both new and old; and interviews with Xi alumni. Also, this is a podcast for adults, so be prepared for some saucy, salacious, or irreverent language.

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#throwbackthursday

Getting ready for Swing Out 2015, I discovered a picture from 1996 when we had the main meeting at the Carolina Union. A stroll back through campus provided us with a lovely backdrop for a group picture.

Swing Out 1996
(Rear, L-R) Hop Swift, KJ Garner, Charlie Covell, Matt Weisman
(Front L-R) Cynthia Bellman, Michael Williams, Aaron Bush, Sarah Burns

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1860s Signature Book from Xi Chapter Enters University Archives

1863 signature bookThe UNC University Library is pleased to announce the donation of a precious artifact from the Xi Chapter of St. Anthony Hall (Delta Psi) and the St. Anthony Association of North Carolina, their associated alumni organization. This artifact is an autograph book that includes the signatures of members of Delta Psi from the 1860s, many of whom were killed in the Civil War.

The Xi Chapter of St. Anthony Hall was founded on November 20, 1854, making it the second oldest fraternity still in existence at UNC. The chapter was dormant for some years during the University’s post-Civil War ban on all fraternities and secret organizations. In 1926 Grahame Wood (U. Penn 1895) organized efforts to revive the Xi chapter at UNC.

Xi has thrived since that time.

William C. Prout, brother in St. Anthony Hall, sole graduate of UNC’s class of 1865 and the original owner of the autograph album, presented the signature book to the re-founded Xi chapter in 1927. It has since been kept in the Xi Chapter’s extensive archives and was professionally restored in recent years under a grant from the St. Anthony Educational Foundation. St. Anthony Hall and the St. Anthony Association of North Carolina moved to gift this item to the University Libraries due to its uniquely personal and historically valuable nature as well as its appeal to the University community as a whole.

The autograph album includes the signatures of students who attended UNC from 1862-1865, as well as other biographical data: the names of their girlfriends, their major area of study, the titles of courses taken, and their hometowns. Brothers Prout and Wood later added death dates and annotated some of the entries to identify those killed in
the Civil War.

In addition to signatures of St. Anthony Hall members, the book was passed around to other fraternities at UNC for their signatures. Among the names from these other fraternities are M. A. Curtis, Jr., son of the Episcopal priest and noted mycologist whose family’s notes, diaries, correspondence and other papers are housed at the University Library.

St. Anthony Hall is a literary, artistic and social fraternity comprising a diverse group of writers, artists and performers. Brothers and sisters of St. Anthony Hall are highly active in student life, working at times as editors and staff of the Daily Tar Heel, Phoenix magazine, Cellar Door, LAMBDA magazine, Shakespeare’s Sister, The Sixty-Niner and Yackety Yack; as elected and appointed members of all branches of Student Government; as competitors in intramural and Carolina Athletics sports programs; as performers in a variety of choral and musical groups; and in productions by PlayMakers and The LAB! Theatre.

Sisters and brothers of St. Anthony Hall have also been a part of many literary and artistic organizations in the larger community, including Paperhand Puppet Intervention, The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, The Performance Collective, Internationalist Books, The Somnambulist Project, The People’s Channel and many others. St. Anthony Hall hosts
a Xi Chapter alumni reunion weekend called Swingout every Spring.

Rush and pledge periods are held every semester on a schedule independent from most other fraternity rush periods. Fall ‘12 rush is going on at this time. For information on rush activities, contact rushsta@gmail.com.

Notable members of the Xi chapter include Charles Kuralt ‘55, Anson Dorrance ‘74, Jonathan Yardley ‘61, Peter Gammons ‘67, Jeff MacNelly ’69, and Charlie Scott ’68, the first African-American scholarship athlete at UNC and the first African-American to join a fraternity at UNC.

Known for its support of progressive causes, St. Anthony Hall was one of only two fraternities to sign a pledge not to patronize businesses and restaurants in Chapel Hill unless they desegregated. It was active in the fight to end the Speaker Ban and in the spring of 1971 became the first UNC fraternity to go co-ed.

St. Anthony Hall has eleven chapters around the country, the first of which was founded at Columbia in 1847. In addition to UNC and Columbia, the other schools with chapters are University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, Brown University, University of
Mississippi, Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Trinity College, Princeton University and the University of Virginia.

This autograph album is a significant acquisition for the University Archives and does much to help its efforts to document student life at UNC.

“We don’t have many records of fraternities at UNC and only a few from this early in UNC’s history, so this album is a great addition.” said Jay Gaidmore, University Archivist. “Not only are the signatures and information about UNC students during the 1860s fascinating, but the representation of other fraternities reveal important aspects about fraternity life at UNC in the its early years. We really appreciate that the St. Anthony Association of North Carolina has donated such a valuable item to the University Archives and are honored to preserve the album for future generations of Tar Heels to enjoy.”

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What’s in a Name

As I read, I thought, that name sounds really familiar. I couldn’t mentally source it until I recalled the fantastic autograph book we have at Xi – currently on loan to Wilson Library – and then, I remembered.

Iowa Michigan Royster, Xi brother from the late 1850s, is mentioned here. Sometimes, remembering the little details helps connect the dots.

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The Daily Tar Heel :: UNC greek system searches for new leadership

UNC sealThe future of the University’s side of Greek system leadership rests on the shoulders of Winston Crisp.

The vice chancellor for student affairs will provide the vision as to when, or if, Jenny Levering, the assistant dean for fraternity and sorority life, will be replaced.

But the process is still uncertain — and few variables have been decided.

Check out the article here.

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The Daily Tar Heel :: Ramshead Rathskeller returns

Home of the iconic “Bowl of Cheese” among other questionable gastronomic items, the Ramshead Rathskeller returns to Franklin Street.

Though I personally had never been much of a patron of the Rat, I enjoyed knowing it was there – that someone of my parent’s generation or my grandparent’s generation could have gone there for a meal, or a beer, or just to carve their name in the wall. That I could eat in the same place which once might have hosted Brooke Gardiner or George Strong or Skip Awalt. One of those great college-town establishments that has become harder and harder to find over the years.

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Archives: 1978 Letter to Alumni

In a letter dated October 24, 1978, Bro. Bill Bamberger describes a number of new initiatives – as well as old ones rekindled – the undergraduate chapter was undertaking at the time.  This is something I grabbed completely at random from amongst the unsorted material in the chapter archives and it turned out to describe the infancy or rebirth of probably a dozen different traditions still in place at the Hall:  pledge tests, the Tattler, guest speakers, maintaining the general registry, inviting alumni to meet at the Hall around Homecoming, Parents Dinner, and on and on.  I found the frankness of this letter – and its fond praise of Bro. Skip Awalt, so recently deceased – surprising and refreshing, a candid account of a time when the Hall’s long-term health and sense of self sounds especially tenuous.  I was also struck by how many of the names he mentions are readily familiar to anyone involved in the last three decades of Hall life.

In the course of the first page of the letter, Bro. Bamberger used a term we do not allow to be recorded and I obscured it through application of a removable “sticky” tab and some magic marker applied in turn to that tab.  The texts and materials of course remain whole in the document itself and I take special pleasure in the anonymous circle someone later penciled around that word to mark the taboo.  The letter’s second page includes the full text excerpted above regarding thirty one bids.  I was active the semester we handed out twenty one and had always assumed that was the record, but no, not even close.  The third scan from this letter includes a carbon-copy list that reads like a Who’s Who of Xi:  Hop Swift, Skip Awalt, Herb Bodman and many others.

There are a lot of documents like this waiting to be preserved.  The work of the siblings has been magnificent when it comes to preserving this ourselves and I say that with absolute sincerity.  There are decades of history inviting us to peruse them, sitting in the vault – much of it already sorted and organized! – and it’s my hope to be able to make all of that available to you as best I can.  Many, many snaps to Bro. Peter Pendergrass, Sis. Courtney Rosenthal, Sis. Fiona Matthews, Sis. Kelly Garner and countless others who have sorted and organized and scanned and otherwise made the vault a significantly less scary place than it could be.  We are truly lucky, as an organization, to have these materials available and it is incumbent upon us to figure out the best way to preserve them so that future generations of Xi can look back and realize abruptly that this or that innocuous document may be the only portrait of whatever features loom large in the chapter’s future life.

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