“Seniors Hold Class Banquet.” The Tar Heel (Chapel Hill, NC), December 10, 1910. Courtesy of Newspapers.com. https://universityofnorthcarolinaatchapelhill.newspapers.com/image/67866078/?terms=menu

This article, published in The Tar Heel (now The Daily Tar Heel) is a primary document written about a senior class banquet that occurred in Chapel Hill in December 1910.[i] Class banquets appeared to be an annual event for each class to come together for a meal and listen to speeches by professors. In December 1910, the senior class banquet was held at the University Inn, located near present-day Graham Memorial and the Morehead Planetarium.[ii]

This source also includes a menu from the event, which was presumably catered by the venue, the University Inn. The extensive menu includes items like fried oysters, sour pickles, roast turkey and cranberry sauce, quail on toast, dessert items like cake and ice cream, and finally, cigars.[iii] This menu appears to be similar to that of a sophomore class banquet in 1905. This sophomore banquet included food items like stewed oysters and crackers, quail on toast, peach pickles, and Saratoga chips.[iv] It is clear that the class banquet, and the meal attendees received, was not typical fare. Multiple opinion articles and letters to the editor published in The Tar Heel advocate that all should attend their class banquet, despite the cost of the ticket. An article published in the newspaper in 1909 reads, “too many men stay away from a class banquet on account of the price of the ticket… but remember, if you go to a class banquet, that there, are seventy seniors gathered to dine in mutual jollity, not gathered to be fed, by any means.”[v] This shows that the banquet was a special occasion, based on the need for this persuasive article. Also, the event allows students to “dine in mutual jollity” rather than simply “gather to be fed,” which presumably means that it was not a typical meal.[vi]

This source shows that the age of decadence and empire extended to Chapel Hill, because lavish class banquets were held annually. Students were encouraged to attend for the experience and nice meal, despite the price of the ticket and availability of cheaper meals elsewhere in Chapel Hill.

[i] “Seniors Hold Class Banquet.” The Tar Heel (Chapel Hill, NC), December 10, 1910. https://universityofnorthcarolinaatchapelhill.newspapers.com/image/67866078/?terms=menu

[ii] Chapel Hill, Orange County, North Carolina [map]. March 1911. Scale not given. “Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Chapel Hill, NC.” North Carolina Maps. https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/ncmaps/id/7022/rec/3

[iii] “Seniors Hold Class Banquet.”

[iv] “One More Banquet.” The Tar Heel (Chapel Hill), November 23, 1905. https://universityofnorthcarolinaatchapelhill.newspapers.com/image/67844321/

[v] (No title). The Tar Heel (Chapel Hill), November 20, 1909. https://universityofnorthcarolinaatchapelhill.newspapers.com/image/67865181/?terms=class%2Bbanquet

[vi] Ibid.

 – Anna Knotek