UNC History Department

Library of Congress

Is North Carolina moving toward prosperity and justice for all, or is the state repeating political mistakes of the past? That is a question a state lawmaker and history professor were both keen to explore. 

Image of UNC-Chapel Hill's Battle Hall building.
UNC-Chapel Hill Library

In 1915, former UNC President Kemp Plummer Battle sent a sealed box to the North Carolina Historical Society that contained two items: a letter and a Montgomery Ward catalog.

He wanted these objects to serve as an impetus for reflection on the past at two distinct points in the future—1965 and 2015. In 1965, Chancellor Robert B. House honored the request with an essay detailing major changes he had witnessed in the past 50 years. But this year, the UNC-Chapel Hill History Department is taking a more playful approach. They have asked four faculty members from distinct backgrounds to reflect on changes in American society from their perspective—from a look at leisure in America to an examination of modern-day advertising.