The Student News Site of Averett University

The Chanticleer

The Student News Site of Averett University

The Chanticleer

The Student News Site of Averett University

The Chanticleer

Come Explore Averett University’s Archives at Mary B. Blount Library

Display of Integration within Averett located in Mary B. Blount Library.

Interested in learning more about Averett’s history? the university archives located throughout Mary B. Blount Library may be the place to start.

Archived letter written by one of Averett’s former piano teachers, Helen Carroll Gannon.

According to Averett University’s Archivist and Reference Librarian Dr. Jeremy Groskopf, the archives have been a part of Averett’s culture for quite some time.

“The archives were started unofficially in the 1940s or 1950s by the former Dean here, Mary Fugate. She was really interested in the history of the school and preserving things, so she kept a lot of it,” Groskopf said. “When this building (Mary B. Blount Library) was built in the early seventies, it became the first official repository for all of it. The first archivist was just the director for the first 20 or 30 years. There have been a couple of other people involved and mostly what we do is just take the old paperwork from all the major offices on campus.”

With the upcoming African American Alumni event on campus on April 6th, Groskopf hopes to use the archives surrounding integration to present the influence of positive societal change within the Averett community.

“I’ve been working on the display for April for months now. It’s supposed to be that sort of last big piece of the year,” Groskopf said. “It’s on May Day which was a tradition we used to do up to 1969. It was one of those things that was so important to the students of those years.”

Given that Averett’s history dates to 1859 as an all-girls college, there are many artifacts to showcase how the community has grown and changed throughout the years. Some of these artifacts range from published works by former students to letters dating back to the Civil War.

“We have a couple of former students and alumni who eventually published books. I’ve been working on processing it, but Mary Fugate saved a lot of her family material as well,” Groskopf said. “I’ve got a whole run of family letters from the late 1800s just in boxes. There was a letter from a soldier during the Civil War and a letter about the presidential election that Abe Lincoln won. There is just some really interesting stuff hiding in little pockets in here.”

While most of the archives surround major events throughout Averett’s history, many of them capture the lighthearted fun of students and staff throughout the years.

“A letter was written by one piano teacher (Helen Carroll Gannon) to the other (Ruth Barnhill) in the late 1920’s. One of them was sick and the other one wrote a note. She wrote it backward so you have to read it in a mirror and she free-handed the whole thing,” Groskopf said. “At the end of this month I’m going to do a presentation on something from the 1970s called the Averett Quiz, which was a radio and TV game show that the admissions office ran.”

Groskopf suggests that he is always open to feedback surrounding what the Averett community is interested in and that he is a resource to anyone interested in the archives.

“I’m more than happy to help, I love doing this stuff,” Groskopf said.

To learn more about Averett University’s archives email: [email protected] or visit Contact – Archives and Special Collections – Library at Averett University (








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About the Contributor
Cliresa Hall
Cliresa is a rising senior who is majoring in communication studies. She hopes to work in the journalism field one day. Some of her hobbies include watching movies and spending time with friends.