While University of Virginia students are reviving the yearbook tradition on Grounds, the old copies of Corks & Curls will also be gaining a new life in cyberspace.
Local historian Coy Barefoot, author of “Thomas Jefferson on Leadership” and “The Corner: A History of Student Life at the University of Virginia,” is building the Corks & Curls Museum, a virtual repository exploring the history of the University and the annual student yearbook. The website is scheduled to go live in the spring.
“Launched in the spring of 1888 by an enterprising and creative group of students at the University of Virginia, the Corks & Curls yearbook documented the Virginia experience for well over a century,” Barefoot, who graduated from the University in 1992 with a master’s degree in anthropology, wrote in an email. “Corks & Curls showcased the talents of generations of student leaders – uniting teams of gifted writers, reporters, poets, photographers, artists and designers with skilled students of commerce.”
The centerpiece of the virtual museum will be the library, where visitors can search and browse the entire online archive of Corks & Curls, available online for the first time. The museum also will display the Roseberry Collection, photographs from the 1949 graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce who spent nearly his entire life living and working in the Charlottesville area. Roseberry, who served as the University’s photographer throughout the 1960s and ’70s, contributed to Corks & Curls for more than 40 years.
“You can pull any edition from the virtual shelf and flip through the pages in a three-dimensional reader,” Barefoot said. “Visitors can share their experience with friends and fellow alumni by linking to any one edition or any one, unique page.”
“Corks & Curls is really the only documented history of the University year after year that gives a window into what University life was like,” said Tom Faulders, president of the UVA Alumni Association. “And there are only a few complete sets. We have two at Alumni Hall and there is one in the University library.”
The museum will also contain numerous exhibit halls and galleries to guide visitors through other parts of the University’s history, from its planning and construction in the 1810s through today, in time for UVA’s bicentennial.
“In the Alumni Gallery, you will find an unprecedented archive of our videotaped oral history interviews with dozens of University alumni who worked on the Corks & Curls staff when they were students – from the 1940s to today,” Barefoot said. “And we will continue to add to this important collection, by preserving the stories of generations of alumni.”
The Museum Theater will offer more than 100 short documentary videos about the history of UVA, student life, the Corner and Charlottesville.
The museum will also contain an exclusive collection of hundreds of Roseberry photographs to explore.
“Known to generations of University of Virginia alumni as ‘Flash,’ Ed Roseberry is one of Virginia’s most celebrated photographers,” Barefoot wrote. “His iconic and award-winning work spans nearly seven decades, and has focused on the people, events and scenes of UVA and Charlottesville. The museum’s Roseberry Collection will offer publicly for the first time countless images of the University and Charlottesville that have never been published before.”
“I think it will mean a lot to alumni from the 1950s to the early 1990s because Ed has a huge collection of photographs that documented University life,” Faulders said. “I think it is wonderful that Ed gave Coy access to all of this material.”
Barefoot is the executive director of the museum, and Tamar Goodale, who graduated in 1996 with a degree in history, is the assistant director and project manager. The project is supported by a grant from the Jefferson Trust and donations from individual alumni, with collaborative input and assistance from the University Library, the UVA Digital Media Lab and the Alumni Association.
“My dream has always been to see construction of a museum that will tell the story of this magnificent University and its place in the American project,” Barefoot said. “Until we have the resources to create something in brick and mortar and glass that is deserving of the University, we can do this virtually online: offering a unique experience to alumni and friends of UVA around the world.”