It is well-known that UNC has a long history, having been around for almost as long as the country. But, what perhaps is not as well-known is how exactly that history is recorded and preserved.
Enter Nicholas Graham, University archivist, who works to collect and preserve records that tell the story of UNC.
“It’s a really fun job in the way that it connects with the whole UNC community,” Graham said. “So, that’s terrific, and then, you know, like a lot of people, I find UNC history fascinating and interesting — so it’s great to work with historic materials every day.”
On one table in his office, there is a box that contains old floppy disks from the Ackland Art Museum, the proposal for a women’s studies PhD program at UNC and reports from the vice president of finance in the 1940s and 1950s that discuss the use of German World War II POWs serving in the school’s dining halls.
Graham said what interests him most about his work is how rare the documents that he encounters are.
“A lot of what is in Wilson Library — especially in the University Archives — nobody else in the world has that,” Graham said. “These are all original materials, these are all one-of-a-kind things.”
Graham said many of the University’s past archives only tell one side of the story — something he hopes to change.
“Institutional archives often represent the administration because that’s who provides funding, that’s who creates the records that are usually deemed of being of permanent value,” Graham said.