The University of North Carolina and Commencement Society Events by Edward E. Britton, June 10, 1902, Courtesy of The Library of Congress

Published on June 10th, 1902, The Farmer and Mechanic article by Edward E. Britton describes commencement festivities and various society events in Chapel Hill from the Friday prior. This article focuses particularly on the dealings of the Spinx, Gorgon Head, and Gimghoul societies. Personally, when I think of Gimghoul and societiesfrom this era in a more general sense, I imagine secret organizations that hold high social status and reserve membership for social elites. Perhaps the article can speak to this more as Britton writes about the extravagant nature of the Gorgons Head Banquet, “The hall was handsomely decorated, and the society colors- royal purple and old gold presided everywhere…The souvenirs of the young lady guests were especially handsome. These were lockets of old gold, attached to royal purple ribbon. “ (Britton) From this, one can gather these types of events were quite extravagant for the time, and naturally, would include some luxurious food items. Britton even mentions this in the article, depicting the Order of the Spinx spread as follows, “The menu was prepared by Dughi, of Raleigh, and was an epicurean one, being thus: Poncio a la Romana, champagne wafers, consommé a la tasse, filet of Trout a la Jainville…” (Britton)

As this applies to the progression of societies in Chapel Hill today, perhaps they are not the same as they once were in the early 20thcentury. Britton outlines the decadent tones of these old societies and also describes members as “young men at the University,” whom brought “lady guests” to these types of outings. (Britton) As I understand today, societies at Chapel Hill are more predicated on group interests and academic merit and are comparatively unconcerned with the social status of their membership. They are also largely open to all walks of life and are more open and plain in their representation than the ones described from earlier times.



The farmer and mechanic. [volume] (Raleigh, N.C.), 10 June 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.  Accessed October 6, 2018.

Lib. of Congress.



– Matt Barnard