EXTERIOR NORTH TEXAS LANDSCAPE – DAY
An aerial shot of our beloved US Interstate 35. As we hover over, we notice that it’s rush hour and there are at least 5 vehicles on the interstate. The bustle bursts through the screen. PAT BOONE’S signature smooth voice addresses the audience.
This is Pat Boone and you’re about to get a glimpse of my alma mater, North Texas State University.
PAT BOONE introduces the film and later JOHN SWANEY will narrate through the duration of the film. JOHN SWANEY is a national debating champion and fellow NTSU alumnus. Together, their voices will accompany images of NTSU. The campus is bright and inviting. The students look studious, eager to learn, and they move from building to building with purpose.
INTERIOR NORTH TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY USNT SENATE MEETING – DAY
During the 1960s two movies were filmed in Denton, but only one was meant to highlight, “…student life in classes, social activities, athletic events and dormitories.” This film would eventually become, The Story of North Texas State University. The idea for this film came about during a United Students of North Texas Senate meeting when the suggestion for something other than a typical photo-based promotional project. The idea quickly gained backing from various organizations with an estimated production cost of $300. Once the USNT senators began asking around, they found their initial estimate needed to be reevaluated. After talking to both freelance and professional companies, the financial burden came into better focus with costs ranging from $3,500 to $10,000.
Things looked grim and hopes for a promotional film being made began to wane. That is until two alumni and current employees of the WBAP-TV television news station came into the fold. Cameraman Robert Welch and Editor Doyle Vinson offered to shoot a 28-minute promotional movie on 16mm film for $800. The USNT senate quickly met to vote on the acceptance of the offer and once accepted, the pieces began to swiftly fall in place. The advisory board for the film comprised of Dr. James L Rogers (Director of the News Service), Dr. A. Witt Blair (School of Education), and Dr. Stanley K. Hamilton (Speech & Drama) and shooting began during the 1962 University Day celebrations which included the burial of the now unearthed time capsule. Filming progressed throughout the beginning of the fall semester and moments like freshman registration, orientation and counseling and a Slab Dance were captured. Production kicked into full gear by October after securing Pat Boone and John Swaney to lend their vocal prowess to the film and Welch continued to roll film at events like the Angel Flight, the USNT Senate, and intramural football games.
In May 1963, the film finally began post-production with Vinson and Welch ready to cut the film with plans to include the film in a promotional panel to be presented at high school career days in the area. The final product can be seen here and the result is a little slice of NTSU/UNT life that depicts exactly what it set out to capture. In between established shots of buildings and events there are shots of students looking anxious during registration day. The crowd of students fanning themselves during orientation. One student is shown waking up from what appears to be an impromptu nap in a study space. It’s an interesting yet familiar look into what life was like on campus in 1962.
— by Steven Guerrero, Media Circulation Manager, UNT Media Library
The Eagle Park and recreation grounds area on the North Texas campus occupied land on what was formerly Scoular Hall (originally the Journalism Building), Stovall Hall, the Willis Library, and a number of other structures. The recreation area extended beyond what was replaced with the Laboratory School (now known as the Music Annex) to the west and stretched out to the east even before the current Administration Building was constructed.
Eagle Park was a recreation area where croquet, volleyball, tennis, horseshoe and other activities could be enjoyed. It included a football field, a practice field for soccer and hockey, tennis courts, a men’s and women’s gymnasium, basketball courts, volleyball courts, an outdoor stadium, horseshoe courts, a shaded playground with trees, and, to the east, an archery area. It also included buildings such as the Men’s Gymnasium and the Women’s Gymnasium. A bowling alley was located behind the swimming pool to the west.
Originally, benches were part of the area where students could gather around the bandstand and watch theatrical performances, listen to music or, with the addition of a projection booth, watch films. The bandstand was an open air theater designed by architect O’Neil Ford. The stage of the bandstand was active throughout the 1920s and up until the late 1940s, when the Journalism Building took its place.
A swimming pool was part of the area behind the benches of the open air theater. When classes were not in session, the pool was open to the public, as were many of the areas on the grounds. The outdoor swimming pool was one of the last remaining structures of the recreation area, lasting even up through the 1980s and the early years of the Willis Library.
For many years, up until 1969, the current location of the Willis Library was occupied by the Willis Library. In photographs dating back to this year, early construction of the A.M. Willis, Jr. Library is visible in aerial views. Prior to this, this patch of land was the largest of the remaining pieces of Eagle Park.
Gradually, through time, every piece of the Eagle Park area has disappeared. Aerial photographs illustrate a progression of the land’s development up to the present day. None of the land or structures that were once an integral part of the North Texas community do not exist anymore except in memory. If it were not for photographs and aerials, clippings, yearbooks, old maps and documents, no one would even realize the space now occupied by the Administration Building, the Willis Library, Music buildings, University Union, and the recently demolished Scoular Hall and Stovall Hall had such a rich history of activity and recreation throughout the 1920s and up through the 1960s.
— by S. Ivie, Associate Processing Archivist
UNTA_U0458-100-848-02 John Swaney, January 3, 1962.
UNTA_U0458-091-118-03 Pat Boone, circa 1962.
The Campus Chat, February 28, 1962.
The Campus Chat, March 14, 1962.
The Campus Chat, March 21, 1962.
The Campus Chat, September 21, 1962.
Fry Street, a home away from home for many North Texas alumni, has always been a place for students to pass time, share meals, or browse area shops for books, supplies, and gifts. Of all the businesses located in this lively collegiate hub, none is as quintessential as Voertman’s Book store. The Voertman family opened the store across the street from the North Texas Teacher’s Normal College in 1925. The original building, located on Hickory and Fry streets, was 2,300 square feet. Store patrons can still see the first store’s foundations; an old brick structure, remnants of a second story, juts out from the wall.
Roy Frederick Voertman began the store after his days as a traveling salesman for Blackwell-Wielandy, a general wholesale merchandise supplier from St. Louis, Missouri. After undergoing a major health setback, Voertman decided to set up shop in the thriving town of Denton. According to Roy’s son, Paul Voertman, the family’s store was a funny little sort of drugstore, soda fountain included, which became a college hangout for North Texas students. The store began to sell school supplies, from suppliers such as Blackwell-Wielandy, in addition to being a bustling gathering place for students.
Don and Dolores Vann began collecting Victorian books during the summer of 1962, when they acquired a first edition of Dickens Bleak House. While working on his Ph.D. from Texas Tech, Vann spent summers working with his father as a steamfitter. He was working with his father’s crew in Dayton, Ohio in 1962 and was sporting a goatee, which his mother detested. Vann found the two-volume set of Bleak House in a used book shop; however, at $40 it was beyond his means at the time. This lovely set was given to him as a bribe by his mother in exchange for shaving off his goatee.
Dr. and Mrs. Vann spent the summer of 1965 in London, conducting research in the British Library and buying first editions of Victorian works by such renowned authors as Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray. During their subsequent trips to London, the Vanns came to know many of the city’s booksellers and were offered first editions kept hidden from all but their most favorite customers. London was heaven for a bibliophile in the 1960s; the Vanns could buy first edition Dickens books for £1 or first edition Thackeray volumes for just 10 shillings.
Dr. J. Don Vann is a retired University of North Texas Regent’s Professor and Professor Emeritus in English. He received his B.A. and M.A. from TCU and his Ph.D. from Texas Tech before joining the faculty of UNT in 1964. He taught courses in Victorian literature, focusing particularly on Dickens, Tennyson, and Browning. His doctoral dissertation on the critical reception of David Copperfield in London newspapers led him to be a founding member of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals in which he held various offices. He is also a member of and regularly attends the annual meeting of the London Pickwick Club – an organization founded by Cedric Dickens, a great-grandson of the novelist – where he plays an obscure character, a medical student named Jack Hopkins. Dr. Vann is the author or editor of eight books and dozens of articles and is currently working on a ninth book, Tennyson’s Theory of Poetry.
In addition to its strengths in jazz and western art (i.e. classical) music, UNT’s College of Music also boasts one of the country’s largest early music programs. For the uninitiated, early music in this context refers to the study and practice of historical performance techniques, using primary (treatises, contemporary accounts, original manuscripts and editions) and secondary (scholarly studies and analyses) resources. The discipline grew out of post-World War II musicology and its positivistic emphasis on discovering “new” composers and works from the Baroque era (1600-1750) and earlier, with an initial interest in authenticity that was later deconstructed in the 1980s to become simply another way of performing classical music, normally using original or facsimile instruments: gut strings, early bows, harpsichords instead of pianos, etc. A common name for this type of ensemble is Collegium Musicum, a musical society that appeared in German areas during the Reformation.
One of the earliest instances of a Collegium at North Texas appears to be this concert from July 1953 presenting “a program of rarely-heard music” (Renaissance- and Baroque-era French and German works) and including an appearance from stalwart trumpet professor John Haynie, who joined the faculty in 1950 and would continue for forty years (Haynie died in 2014). The cover for the book of concert programs from 1952-1953 also appears to be an ensemble of students in period costume near a harpsichord, further confirming the rising interest in historical matters at the (then) School of Music.
In August 2014, the University of North Texas at Dallas welcomed the inaugural class of its new law school. Out of 600 applicants, 152 students—88 full-time students and 64 part-time students began a new law curriculum focused on practical application of the law over theoretical exercises.
At a time when law school applications were declining nationwide, and with nine other law schools already established in the state of Texas, UNT envisioned a program focused on making the law profession accessible to previously underrepresented groups and emphasizing comprehensive testing and student-teacher interactions over a traditional end-of-term exam.  Admissions for the inaugural class focused less on grades and LSAT scores and more on life experiences and recommendations. 
That inaugural class of the UNT Dallas College of Law was the culmination of more than ten years of planning and an investment of $5 million from the Texas legislature in 2011. The school’s first and current dean is Judge Royal Furgeson, a former federal judge for the Western District, and later the Northern District, of Texas. Judge Furgeson left the bench in 2013 to oversee the founding of a law school with a different vision: a vision of “lawyers as public servants.”
— by Robert Lay, Special Collections Librarian
 Samantha McDonald, “Turning a Blind Eye to Law School Recession,” NT Daily, 4 September 2014, p. 4.
 “New Law School Only Accepts Students Who Want to Be Lawyers for ‘Right’ Reasons.” Huffington Post, last modified 18 April 2014, accessed 31 August 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/18/new-law-school-right-reasons_n_5170124.html
The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded in 1966. The school’s beginnings were based on a project that UNT President Calvin Cleve “C.C.” Nolen had originally started when he was involved with Texas Christian University as vice chancellor. Twenty students started classes in Fort Worth Osteopathic Hospital. Its beginnings were small, with administrators occupying a neighboring house with four rooms and a gross anatomy lab set up in a garage apartment. The facilities were growing, though, along with the number of students, and a local bowling alley was eventually converted for use by the school.
In 1971, during a Coordinating Board meeting and visit to the TCOM campus by allopathic and osteopathic professionals, members of the Texas State Legislature, as well as the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, Dr. G.V. Brindley proposed the idea of TCOM partnering with another academic institution. TCOM’s Board of Directors chairman, Dr. George Luibel agreed, and so it was that Dr. J.K.G. (Joseph Kean Gwynn) Silvey established contact with TCOM at the Annual Convention of the American Osteopathic Association in November of 1971. In December of that same year, Luibel, Nolen, Dr. Henry Hardt (dean of TCOM), and Dr. Silvey met in Fort Worth to discuss the possibility of North Texas State University offering instructional services to TCOM.
Merrill Ellis’ story at North Texas echoes many recurring themes in the 125-year history of the university: humble beginnings, ingenuity, and innovation. The Electronic Music Center (EMC) he founded in a house at 1721 Mulberry Street in 1963 (near Avenue D) laid the foundation for what is now the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI) in the UNT College of Music’s Division of Composition Studies. The Merrill Ellis Music Collection (1960-1981) is held by UNT Music Special Collections and is available for use by special arrangement.
Born 99 years ago in Cleburne, TX, Ellis studied clarinet as a child, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1939, and a Master of Music in 1941. He also studied composition privately with Roy Harris, Spencer Norton, Charles Garland, and Darius Milhaud. He joined the faculty of what was then North Texas State University in 1962, after teaching band, orchestra, and choir in high schools in Texas and Missouri, and a variety of subjects including music education and music theory at several colleges in Missouri. At North Texas, Ellis taught music theory and composition in addition to directing the Electronic Music Center. During the 1960s, Ellis persuaded Robert Moog to build a synthesizer — the second “Moog” ever made — for North Texas.
The Electronic Music Center grew in stature under Ellis; a new Intermedia Theater was established in 1979, and now bears his name. Ellis, who died in 1981, was succeeded as director by Larry Austin and Phil Winsor, who continued to raise the profile of the EMC, particularly in the 1981 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), which hosted 400 scientists and composers of computer music at North Texas, including guest composers John Cage and Lejaren Hiller.
The EMC was renamed the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia in 1983, reflecting the expanded scope of activities which was a legacy of Ellis’ leadership. Martin Mailman, a fellow composer and longtime member of the College of Music faculty said in 1986: “Merrill was a valued colleague and friend who was a true pioneer in electronic and multimedia music. His works express, far more eloquently than any words of mine could, his unique contribution to the music of our time. Indeed, his creative vision was a cornerstone in the establishment of CEMI. It has been a privilege to have an opportunity to celebrate his memory in this environment that he inspired with his work and spirit.”
— by Maristella Feustle, Music Special Collections Librarian
View a 2014 video celebrating the 50th anniversary of CEMI and Ellis’ legacy:
Listen to a 1969 recording of Ellis’ “Kaleidoscope”:
Watch a 2013 CEMI performance of Ellis’ 1972 piece “Mutations”:
41st International Computer Music Conference 2015, “Home” (https://icmc2015.unt.edu/), accessed December 7, 2015.
Elsa Gonzalez, “Ellis, Merrill” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fel37), accessed December 7, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 26, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
UNT College of Music, Division of Composition Studies, “The History of CEMI” (https://cemi.music.unt.edu/lore/historical-narrative), accessed December 7, 2015.
UNT Music Library, “Merrill Ellis” (http://www.library.unt.edu/collections/music/merrill-ellis), accessed December 7, 2015.
UNTA_U0458-100-864-02 Photograph of students playing on the tennis courts, 1942. In the image there are four tennis matches being played along a low sloping hill. A building takes up the far side of the courts.
UNTA_U0458-098-708-03 Photograph of students acting in the play “Little Nell” at North Texas State Teachers’ College, 1942. Students in different costumes can be seen on the bandstand stage, perhaps in a rehearsal.
UNTA_U0458-096-524-02 Five women play croquet. One woman prepares to hit the ball, while the others watch, 1942.
UNTA_U0458-098-683-04 A group of women playing volleyball outside, 1942.
UNTA_U0458-098-683-03 A group of men play volleyball in physical education class at North Texas State Teachers’ College, 1942.
UNTA_U0458-096-525-01 Women play intramural volleyball on the Eagle Park court, 1942.
UNTA_U0458-096-521-04 Men and women play croquet outside in an Eagle Park field, circa 1940-1949.
UNTA_U0458-098-685-04 Photograph of four women holding bows and arrows in a physical education class at North Texas State Teachers’ College archery field, 1942.
UNTA_U0458-094-335-02 a A football game on the Eagle Park field, circa 1950s.
UNTA_U0458-100-851-02 The outdoor swimming with the open air theater in the background, circa 1940s. In the image the pool is filled with people doing different activities and some people are standing in the shade watching. Multiple rows or seats lead up to a stage and large screen for outside entertainment. Beyond the large area covered with trees you can see the courthouse at the top of the frame. The pool was in operation from the 1920s to 1986.
UNTA_U0458-092-237-03 Women play croquet on the North Texas campus, circa 1940s.
UNTA_U0458-092-167-02 Aerial photograph of the football field, lab school, and quads, taken from the administration building, looking southwest.
UNTA_U0458-092-162-01 Campus from an aerial perspective, July 29, 1949.
UNTA_U0458-104-313-01 An aerial view of North Texas State Teachers College and Eagle Park, taken from above between 1920-1929.
A group of fields are visible at the bottom left of the image, and the Administration building and Library, currently the Auditorium and Curry Hall, are in the center of the image.
UNTA_U0458-091-150-03 The North Texas grounds from an aerial perspective, 1942.
UNTA_U0458-091-150-02 The North Texas campus grounds from an aerial perspective, 1942.
UNTA_U0458-091-150-01 The North Texas campus grounds from an aerial perspective, 1942.
Aerial photograph of the North Texas State College campus in 1953. Numbered buildings are: (1) Administration Building (later, Auditorium), (2) Science Building, (3) Presidents House, (4) Historical Building (later, Curry Hall), (5) Industrial Arts, (6) Metal Shop, (7) Power Plant, (8) Drawing Building, (9) Manual Arts Building, (10) Marquis Hall, (11) Terrill Hall, (12) Bruce Hall, (13) Masters Hall, (14) Library, (15) Business Administration Building, (16) Kendall Hall (first to be named for President Kendall), (17) Hospital, (18) Education Annex, (19) Union Building, (20) Harriss Gym, (21) Men’s Gym, (22) Music Hall, (23) Orchestra Hall, (24) Chilton Hall, (25) Quadrangle, (26) Men’s Gym (new), (27) Fouts Field Stadium, (28) Golf Course and Club House, (29) Education Building (later Lab School), (30) Old Athletic Field, (31) Women’s Gym, (32) Journalism Building (later, Scoular Hall), (33) Union Slab, (34) Swimming Pool, (35) Home Management House, (36) Service Center (later, Physical Plant, (37) Leggitt Hall, (38) Men’s Building, (39) Mary Arden Lodge.
An aerial photograph of the North Texas State University campus, circa 1969. In the center the A.M. Willis Library is under construction. The new Speech and Drama building is in the foreground. Texas I-35 runs behind Fouts Field Stadium.
An aerial photograph of the North Texas State Teachers College. The original football field is along Chestnut Street. The swimming pool is just east of the field.
An aerial photograph of the North Texas campus, circa 1969. The Hurley Administration Building is visible in the center of the photograph. Directly behind the administration building, the construction site for Willis Library is visible. Bruce Hall, Crumley Hall, Kendall Hall, and other buildings are also visible.
A Campus Chat article about Eagle Park, July 23, 1932.
Close-up of Eagle Park map from a July 23, 1932 Campus Chat article.
In 1972 the regents and President of North Texas State University dedicated the new library on campus. When construction for the new library began in July 1969 began on the site of the university’s original football field, the building was meant to be the latest in modern, modular design—a colorful, bright and open building of the future designed to be both a meeting place and a haven for quiet study. After numerous delays, including a legal battle over carpet, the building was occupied in 1971.
For its first years the building was simply known as “The Library.” In 1978 it was renamed the A. M, Willis, Jr. Library in honor of the long time university regent. The original plans by architects Caudill, Rowlett, and Scott called for a building to be built in three phases, all within the decade. The design consisted of a four story central building, with a wing on each side, but the two wings were never built because of budget concerns. The building cost, including furnishings and landscaping, was $21.09 per square foot for a total cost of just over $3.6 million. This was paid for with a federal grant and the sale of bonds.
The interior design team of Del and Carol Hermanowski chose a different bold, bright color for each floor so people would know which floor they were on by simply looking at the colored shelving, upholstered furniture, and bright graphics painted on the walls. The colors couldn’t have been much brighter than the ultra-shamrock, ultra-fuchsia, marigold, primary red, and primary blue. The library very quickly began outgrowing the central building. It was designed to seat 1,850 people and shelve 762,450 books. Much of the public seating very quickly was sacrificed to provide more bookshelves and staff offices for new departments, such as the University Archives, opened in 1977.
Visitors to the library were greeted by an enormous kinetic sculpture suspended above the stairwell. Unfortunately, this had to be removed several years later as university engineers said it was too heavy and in danger of falling. The library had an extensive card catalog that took up a large section of the first floor which was the only way to locate materials. Books were arranged into subject areas, rather than strictly by call number. This practice was later abandoned in favor of a call number arrangement. In December of 1973 the first computers were installed for staff use, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the card catalog was installed on computers for public use.
— by Lisa Brown, Discovery Park Library Circulation Manager
Merrill Ellis and the second ever “moog” (synthesizer made by Robert Moog), built for use at North Texas
A page from Ellis’ 1969 composition “Kaleidoscope.”
A page from Ellis’ 1972 “Mutations,” a multi-media composition for 2 trumpets, horn, bass trombone and tuba, prepared electronic tape, 16mm film projection and 35mm slide projections.
UNTA_U0458-001-001-01 Willis Library as it appeared under construction on the university’s first football field.
This architect’s drawing of Willis, including the two later phases consisting of wings on each side of the library. The two later phases were never completed due to budget costs. Picture from the 1969 Yucca (NTSU yearbook).
UNTA_U0458-002-002_01 The rotating sculpture designed by local artists Mike Cunningham hung above the open stairwell until university engineers made the library remove it because they were afraid the weight would make it collapse.
UNTA_U0458-002-003_01 This rotating sculpture designed by local artists Mike Cunningham hung above the open stairwell until university engineers made the library remove it because they were afraid the weight would make it collapse. There was plenty of comfortable seating on the first floor for students to use.
Willis Library was known for its bright colors on the walls and furnishings when it first opened. This is the only color picture that could be located of the primary red on the first floor. From the 1972 Yucca (NTSU yearbook).
UNTA_UO458-002-009-01 The card catalog was the only way to find books in the library. The catalog wasn’t put online until the 1980s and it took a large staff to keep up with it.
UNTA_U0458-002-006_01 The cataloging Department was the first place in the library to get computers in December of 1973.
The area behind Willis UNTA_U0458-001-005_01 Library had seating and was more open than it is now.
UNTA_U0458-146-4595-09 The microfilm readers were located on the fourth floor and were heavily used by researchers.
UNTA_U0458-002-007-01 Each floor had a different color of bright graphics on the walls that matched the shelving and upholstered furniture. Any guess which floor this may be?
This area near the window on the second floor of Willis has always been a popular place to sit and study on the great mod furniture.
UNTA_U0458-146-4595-19 A student uses the card catalog in the new Willis Library. Looking up titles in the card catalog was much more “hands on” in the 1970s than the typical researcher experiences today.
UNTA_U0458-146-4595-20 Students could ask for help with all their reference questions.
UNTA_U0458-146-4595-27 As students are seen doing today, students in the 1970s liked to take naps wherever they could find a place.