Course Website for American Studies 276

Zhitong Yu-1841 UNC yearbook

Foodways During Enslavement and War

1800 to 1869

There is the cover page of 1841 UNC yearbook.

Catalogue of the Trustees, Faculty and Students of the University of North Carolina[1841] Page 2, North Carolina Yearbooks Collection, DigitalNC

In this yearbook, I find the annual boarding expenses of UNC dining hall at that time.

Catalogue of the Trustees, Faculty and Students of the University of North Carolina[1841] Page 16, North Carolina Yearbooks Collection, DigitalNC

From the annual expense chart of UNC in 1841, Board for 40 weeks, at $8 to $11 per month, is between $74 and $102, which is the largest expenditure among all expenses. It accounts for nearly half of the total annual expense. The annual tuition at that time was only $50, while the food expense was almost double of the tuition. Compared to the boarding fee nowadays that only makes up for less than 20% of the total expense with the tuition as the most expensive part in the annual budget, we can see that the food at boarding houses at that time was much more expensive than education.

Another thing that catches my attention is the short paragraph under the expense chart. It says, “Board of a quality not inferior to what is furnished at the Tables of the most respectable Boarding Houses of the neighbouring villages, may be had at the Steward’s Hall and elsewhere at $8 per month”. This paragraph obviously tried to persuade students to eat on campus at a dining hall by highlighting the well-furnished environment that is not inferior to other boarding houses. This implies that dining fees might play an important role in the university’s income. Therefore, the University of North Carolina particularly added this paragraph in the yearbook to attract students to eat on campus. Also, there must be more than one boarding place near the campus, which were competing with dining halls on campus. This variety of dining choices for students at Chapel Hill in 1841 implied the prosperity of the local boarding industry during the enslavement period.