Skip to main content

James Sharbrough Ferguson Records

Identifier: UA 0002.0008

Scope and Contents

During Ferguson's term as Chancellor, the University responded to a redefinition of its role and function, converting the former Woman's College into a complex, multipurpose, coeducational university--offering doctoral degrees and having responsibilities and strong ties to the urban area of the central Piedmont. In addition, the University coped with the tide of social, economic and political change that shook the community and nation during the sixties and seventies.

The papers reflect the manner in which the Chancellor administered and adapted the University to its new role. Dealing with state agencies (including the Board of Higher Education, Board of Trustees, and Board of Governors), campus offices and organizations (including the Academic Cabinet, Administrative Council, Deans and Department Heads, and Faculty Council) and General Administration in Chapel Hill, Ferguson performed the tasks that were necessary to accomplish the University's new role and provided the strength and continuity necessary for its effective performance.

The papers, consisting primarily of correspondence and related materials, show some of the newly emerging trends in education including the "non-traditional" student (adult education, women's studies, Upward Bound and Head Start); the increased expectations of faculty (grants, sponsored programs, Research Council, leaves of absence); and the relationship of the UNC system with the state's private colleges and with the Technical Institutes and schools in the Community College system.

National concerns that were reflected on this campus included drug use and abuse, Vietnam War protests, the growing concern over the environment and ecology, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, the energy crisis and resulting conservation of resources, and streaking.

Some of the state and local issues facing the University during Ferguson's years were the problems created by the growth of the University (land acquisition and traffic problems), the Speaker Ban Bill, the problems of Tate Street and "Hippie Hill," the food workers strike and the suit filed by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare against the UNC system regarding the integration of the system's various campuses.

The increasing independence, activism and influence of students is shown in several campus issues: the Pill Bill, dormitory visitation policies, drinking and smoking policies, SCORE (Student Committee Organized for Research and Evaluation), SCRAM (Student Consumer Rights Action Movement), and the Buckley Amendment.


  • 1916-1984


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Permission is necessary for viewing folders labeled "RESTRICTED."

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.


34.80 Linear Feet (87 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Ferguson records include those papers created during the months that he was acting chancellor as well as those years as chancellor. There are also a few papers from the time that he was Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Chancellor.

Arrangement Note

Unlike the papers of some of the previous Presidents and Chancellors, the papers are usually arranged by subject, rather than by the name of the correspondent. The papers are arranged by calendar year, rather than by academic year, and are in an exact alphabetical arrangement.

While most of the filing is straightforward, at times, there are inconsistencies. For example, records involving the College of Arts and Sciences are filed under "Arts;" however, the records of the Schools of Business and Economics, Education, Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Home Economics, Music and Nursing are filed under "Schools." Another example of filing inconsistency is the varied subjects that identify the turbulent times on college campuses during the late 1960's and early 1970's. Student activism, student unrest, campus disturbances, demonstrations, picketing, and campus crisis are all used for basically the same subject. It almost appeared that Chancellor Ferguson did not know what to label the events taking place on the campus.

Records originally under the subjects "trips," "meetings," and "speeches" have been refiled under the particular organization that Ferguson was involved with. A few speeches or remarks made by Ferguson are included with the general correspondence; however, the texts of most of his available speeches are in box 85.

Method of Acquisition

Material transferred to the University Archives from the Chancellor's Office in two acquisitions. The bulk of the collection was received in April, 1983. Two further boxes containing appointment calendars arrived in June 1988.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by University Archives Staff. Finding aid updated in February, 2008 by Jennifer Motszko

James Sharbrough Ferguson Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US