Research UNC History

The North Carolina Collection includes books, photographs, maps and postcards documenting the history of the University of North Carolina. Other materials about the UNC campus at Chapel Hill and the state’s university system are held by the University Archives and the Southern Historical Collection. In some cases staff have scanned these materials and they are available online. The list below includes links to some of the UNC-related materials available on the web.

Alumni Review

The General Alumni Association has scanned and provided free access to issues of the Alumni Review dating back to 1912. Issues from the most recent five years are available only to General Alumni Association members.ensure

The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History

The Virtual Museum retells the history of UNC much as a physical museum might do, with texts and images arranged in a series of roughly chronological exhibits.

The First Century of the First State University

This collection within Documenting the American South presents hundreds of primary documents about the creation and development of the University of North Carolina, from 1776 to 1875.

This Day in the History of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A day-by-day look at University history (Please note: This is an archived version of the site. We are no longer adding dates to the site).

Carolina Quotables

A collection of quotes–good, bad, and indifferent–about UNC.


Collections of historic photographs of UNC are found in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, the Southern Historical Collection and the University Archives.  Search the online catalog with the terms University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill–Photographs and University of North Carolina (1793-1962)–Photographs to find these photographs.

The Daily Tar Heel via Digital NC

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has scanned all microfilmed issues of the UNC student newspaper held by the North Carolina Collection,  from The Tar Heel‘s initial publication on February 23, 1893 through 2008. Later dates are covered by copyright and were not scanned.

History on the Hill

This online resource allows users to search across Library collections for University history-related items. It also includes links to scanned special collections material about UNC and a blog about UNC history.

North Carolina People, Places, and Things

This search provides citations to books, pamphlets and newspaper clippings about people, places, businesses and issues that relate to North Carolina. UNC is among the topics covered by the search.

Kemp P. Battle’s History of the University of North Carolina

Kemp Plummer Battle was an historian and served as president of the University of North Carolina from 1876-1891. Battle’s History of the University of North Carolina consists of two volumes. The first volume, published in 1907, covers the university’s beginnings through 1868, when President David Swain died and post-Civil War economic hardships closed the university’s doors. The second volume was published in 1912 and chronicles the university’s re-opening in 1875 through 1912.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: A Historical Bibliography

This bibliography, compiled by David B. Parker and revised by Edward L. Harrelson, includes more than 800 entries pertaining to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The North Carolina Collection holds copies of many of the publications listed in the bibliography. You can search the online catalog to find them.

Presidents and Chancellors

The Office of the Chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill provides a list of previous presidents and chancellors of the Chapel Hill campus.

Register of the Officers and Faculty of the University of North Carolina 1795-1945

This 1954 publication includes a list of all faculty and officers of UNC from 1795 through 1945. The register includes the individual’s title, the years he/she held the title, and the degrees held by him/her.  It was compiled by staff of the North Carolina Collection and is a rich resource for those researching the first 150 years of  UNC.

Student Publications

The North Carolina Collection and other collections in the University include holdings of newspapers, magazines and journals published by students. Some of these publications are scanned and available online. To find all student publications, search the online catalog with the terms Student newspapers and periodicals — North Carolina — Chapel Hill. Those that are available online will include a link in the catalog record.

The Gladys Hall Coates University History Lecture Series

Speakers for this annual lecture focus on a topic related to the history of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Women on the Hill: A History of Women at the University of North Carolina

This pamphlet, by Pamela Dean, examines the history of women at UNC. It focuses on the 1890s to the 1980s. It was written for the dedication of the Katherine Kennedy Carmichael Residence Hall in 1987.

Honorary Degrees Awarded by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The North Carolina Collection has compiled a list of honorary degrees awarded between 1799 and 1977. The website of the Office of Faculty Governance for UNC-Chapel Hill includes a list of recipients from 1978 to present.

Other UNC Awards

The Office of Faculty Governance has compiled lists of recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus and Alumna Award, the Edward Kidder Graham Award, the O. Max Gardner Award and the Thomas Jefferson Award. In many cases, the listings include a copy of the award citation.

UNC Catalogs

As part of an ongoing project, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is scanning and making available online UNC course catalogs from the North Carolina Collection’s holdings. The online collection includes catalogs dating zback to 1812.

UNC Yearbooks

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has scanned The Hellenian (1890-1900) and the Yackety Yack (1901-1991). More recent issues of the Yackety Yack are covered by copyright and are not available online.

 Other University publications

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s website ( includes scans of other University publications, including The University Magazine, commencement programs, and sports information guides.