Ad for the Student’s Supply Store at UNC Chapel Hill found in The Daily Tar Heel by S. M. Barbee, April 20 1899, Courtesy of

This primary source from 1899, comes from the University of North Carolina’s student-led newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. [1] It displays an ad for the Student’s Supply Store, notifying students of their wide-selection of products and their welcoming atmosphere. They state their inventory ranges from “fruits, confections, cigars, cigarettes, best smoking and chewing tobacco, cakes, crackers, potted ham, tongue, beef, olives, pickles, nuts, cheese, sardines, etc.” They also make sure to add that “freshmen enjoy the same welcome as Seniors or Faculty.”

The food story it tells weighs heavily on the products themselves. The school no longer sells tobacco of any kind, let alone advertises for it. This speaks much of the south and its high tobacco usage at the time, even for students. Such a great demand that they felt the need to place it near the beginning of their ad and before basic every day foods. The advertising of tongue, though a delicacy in many cultures, no longer serves as a go-to dish in the south. Though still sold in many places, tongue tends to be a pricier meat, not something for a typical college-student budget. This tells us that the high availability and use of tongue at the time.

This ad points to the small size of the school at the time, with main student store having the capacity to serve such foods. Our Student Stores now focus on tech, books, and other classroom necessities, while having small concession-type stores outside of it.

Though a recent change, the university started using “first year” instead of “freshmen” to create a more inclusive environment.  This ad also uses the term “freshmen,” showing the vernacular and gender roles and values of the time.

I believe this ad belongs to the Chapel Hill food story in the Eating in the Age of Decadence and Empire time period because this topics aims to examine the finer dining of the time. Though the ad targets college students, many of the items it advertises are conflicting with what we associate to belong to a college student budget today. This shows that those who attended college during this time tended to come from wealthier families and had the expendable income for such food luxuries. This ad also gives insight to cultural and gender norms, the school’s popularity and size, and student priorities of the time, which continuously changed to become what we have today.


[1] Barbee, S. M. “Student’s Supply Store.” The Daily Tar Heel (Chapel Hill), April 20, 1899. Accessed October 3, 2018.


-Raxel Leiton