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Department of English Records

Identifier: UA 004.14

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the official records that reflect the functions and activities of the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1899-2018. These records contain materials related to courses, committees, the Creative Writing Program, curriculum, degree programs, faculty, the history of the department, scholarships, staff meetings, and students. The files primarily include annual reports, correspondence, memorandums, meeting minutes, newsletters, pamphlets, posters, publications, and an archive of the department's website.


  • 1899 - 2021
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1942 - 2010


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

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.

Biographical or Historical Information

The Department of English emerged in 1893 after splitting with the Department of History which, up to that point, had existed as a single entity together under the leadership of Edwin Alderman. When Alderman departed and the departments split, English fell under the leadership of James Y. Joyner. Joyner served as head of the department until his departure in 1902. At this point, leadership of the department passed to William Cunningham Smith, who would lead the department until his retirement in 1940. As the department developed over the years, it become notable for its writing program, attracting writers such as John Crowe Ransom, Randall Jarrell, Allen Tate, and Caroline Gordon. It also produced talented authors such as Margaret Coit, Sheila Corley, and Eleanor Ross Taylor.

In 1963, the Department of English established a Master's Program and in 1968, it became the first arts and sciences department to launch a Ph.D. program. Between 1969-1972, the department grew dramatically as the faculty increased to 42, making it the largest arts and sciences department on campus. However, during the 1970s, the Department of English faced a crisis as other competitive writing programs began to bloom across the country. The result was that in 1979, the faculty actually voted to dissolve the program unless more money was dedicated to it. Recognizing the severity of the issue, the new Chancellor William Moran, diverted more funds to it ultimately saving the program for future students.

In 1985, the department set up a writing center to provide individual help to students at any level in the College of Arts and Sciences. By the 1990s, the writing program had once again risen to national distinction. Today, most students at UNCG have been connected to the Department of English through the mandatory freshman compositions courses primarily taught by Ph.D. students.


3.59 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Department of English was created in 1893 after splitting from the Department of History. Today the department is responsible for the University's undergraduate and graduate curricula in English.

The records of the Department of English contains annual reports, correspondence, memorandums, meeting minutes, newsletters, pamphlets, posters, publications, and an archive of the department's website which document the activities of the department from 1899-2018.

Arrangement Note

The arrangement scheme for this collection was imposed during processing in the absence of a useable original order. This collection is arranged into four series with series 1 arranged in alphabetical order while series 2, 3, and 4 are arranged in chronological order. Series 1: General Files, 1899-2015 Series 2: Annual Reports, 1970-2004 Series 3: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Posters, 1987-2010 Series 4: Publications

Method of Acquisition

Periodically transferred from the Department of English.

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 Sean A. Mulligan, December, 2010 Encoded by Sean A. Mulligan, December, 2010


Department of English Records
Sean A. Mulligan
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