The Greensboro History Museum now has an interactive exhibition on vintage typewriters, type-WRITE, with meaningful UNC Greensboro connections featured. It opened in May during the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, with the Steve Soboroff Typewriter Collection. Those nationally famous typewriters have moved on to other locations, but the museum introduced nine new typewriters ‒ some on loan, some from the museum’s collections ‒ that relate to North Carolina stories.
The exhibition includes a typewriter that belonged to JoAnne Smart Drane (above), who was one of the two African American women who desegregated Woman’s College (now UNC Greensboro) in the 1956-1957 school year. Drane’s typewriter, which was a present from her father when she began college, is on loan from UNCG Archives and Special Collections.
“It’s an exciting artifact to have in our collection, and one that we use often in teaching. The students really connect with her story,” says Assistant Professor and Instruction and Outreach Archivist Kathelene McCarty Smith, who received the typewriter from Drane and helped facilitate its temporary installation in the History Museum.
Alongside Drane’s typewriter are those of Jim Clark, former director of the MFA program in creative writing; Marianne Gingher, MFA program graduate and celebrated local author; and Smith Barrier, U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame honoree who provided guidance for UNCG in gaining Division I status.
The exhibition also features a typewriter from the O. Henry Chapter of the National Secretaries Association, whose members and presidents were often Woman’s College graduates, and one from the Ever-Achieving Retired Teachers Club of Guilford County, founded in 1962. One present-day club member is Odessa Patrick, the first African American faculty member at Woman’s College.
Museum studies alumnus Glenn Perkins ’04 MA contributed research and writing for the exhibition and helped coordinate typewriter loans.
By Susan Kirby-Smith