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UNT Insider | January 2007 Issue | Treasures of UNT

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UNT to celebrate city of Denton sesquicentennial with history exhibit

From a UNT News Service press release

Treasures of UNT

WHAT: A special exhibit created as part of UNT's observance of the City of Denton's sesquicentennial in 2007. It features photos and items from what was Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute in 1890, as well as items from the decades since.,

WHEN: Open during the Archives' regular hours of 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibit runs throughout the Spring 2007 semester.

WHERE: The Archives is on the fourth floor of the Willis Library, which is one block east of Highland Street and Avenue C on the UNT campus.

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- It opened its doors in September 1890 in temporary quarters -- the upstairs rooms of a building on the Denton town square that also housed a hardware store.

Today, the University of North Texas campus includes 137 buildings on more than 800 acres in Denton, thanks to a group of local businessmen who donated land in 1891 for a permanent site. UNT has grown from enrolling fewer than 200 students during its first years to enrolling more than 33,500 students in fall 2006 -- and becoming the largest employer in the city of Denton.

Photos and items from what was Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute in 1890, and items from the decades since, will be displayed in the UNT Archives’ Treasures of UNT exhibit.

The exhibit was created as part of UNT's observance of the City of Denton's sesquicentennial in 2007. The city, founded in 1857 when area settlers wanted a county seat between the cities of Lewisville and Pilot Point, will primarily celebrate its 150th anniversary in January, which the Denton City Council proclaimed as Sesquicentennial Month.

Treasures of UNT officially opened Jan. 24 and runs through the 2007 Spring semester.

Michelle Mears, UNT archivist, says many of the items on display were donated to the Archives by alumni or past faculty members.

The exhibit includes a large number of Green Jackets memorabilia from the estate of Beulah Harriss, a physical education faculty member who founded the women's spirit and service organization in 1925 and directed it until her retirement in 1960. The popular club was disbanded in the 1970s but was resurrected this year as a coed group of 10 students who assist the vice president for student development.

Items from other defunct student organizations and past traditions include banners for the junior and senior classes of 1912-1913. Each class chose its own colors, which were the colors of the banners, and its class flower, Mears said.

"We also have a banner from the Tarrant County Club. Students would have an organization for their hometowns and home counties," she says. The practice of dividing students into classes with their own banners ended in 1921, she says.

Another item from the past on display is a black wool swimsuit that female students were required to wear in the outdoor campus pool. The pool was located at the site of the current Eagle Student Services Center and used from 1926 to 1986.

Female students also wore wool bloomers and a letter sweater to play varsity basketball in the early years of the university. One of the uniforms is in the Treasures of UNT exhibit.

Other items include class rings, maces used by past presidents and Homecoming artifacts. Perri Hamilton, library specialist II and assistant to the archivist, says the Archives would like more alumni and past faculty and staff members to donate their campus memorabilia to add to its collection. "We will accept items from any era of the university," she says.

To donate items, call the Archives at (940) 565-2766.

Additional information about Denton's sesquicentennial celebration is posted on the City of Denton website, A link to the sesquicentennial website will also be added to the UNT homepage.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108
Contact: Nancy Kolsti (940) 565-3509

Read other stories in this issue:
January 2007

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