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Tufts Archives the Place to Visit during 2014 U.S. Open & U.S. Women's Open
On her first day of work at her new job in the Village of Pinehurst, Audrey Moriarty grabbed the keys and began opening drawers. She then sat on the floor and commenced going through everything, piece by piece.
Rare No. 2 Drawing from 1911
For the new executive director of the Tufts Archives, "everything" was the unique collection of historical material which had been gathered, donated, rescued and written in over 100 years since Pinehurst was founded in 1895 by the Tufts family. The Tufts Foundation donated $450,000 to build the museum-type wing of the Given Memorial Library, which is located in the heart of the Village across from the vintage New England-designed Holly Inn.
As in most great stories, there is a hero - or heroine, in this case.
There would likely be no archives at all were it not for the very determined, white-haired Mildred McIntosh, former secretary to Richard Tufts and loyal employee of the Tufts family. Shortly after acquiring the Carolina Hotel from the Tufts family in the early 1970s, Diamondhead Corporation gave notice to "get rid of all that stuff," the existing papers, files and notes. Unbeknownst to them, that "stuff" accounted for a historical record of roughly the first 70 years of the Village of Pinehurst.
Moriarty always thought the rest of the story was a "tale."
"She had been at the hotel since her early '20s and started as a telegraph operator, but she eventually became (Tufts grandson) Richard's secretary," noted Moriarty. "Someone at the hotel called Mildred, and she rounded up some people with trucks. They collected a great deal of the stuff we now have here.
"It was bound for the dump because Diamondhead thought all of that stuff was not really worth keeping. Mildred told me this herself. There was a true need to keep the history of the Village, and that was the idea behind the Archives."
McIntosh was part of an early committee that organized a plan to preserve, catalog and display the artifacts, which found a bright 30-by-50-foot home in 1975. High ceilings, sparkling brass candelabras and large Palladian windows now invite visitors to browse, ask questions and admire the museum-like surroundings.
Over 500 archive boxes methodically line the well-ordered shelves across the entire back wall, with each box containing at least a dozen numbered files, organized by content. There are oak display cabinets with timeless treasures from the early Village days. The beauty of this orderliness isn't lost on Moriarty.
"There were two folding tables, two desks, and AstroTurf green carpet in this space on my first day, and one computer with basically no internet," recalled the former English/French teacher. "I thought, 'I need to know what's here,' but the flaw in that plan was that I couldn't remember everything I saw."
Photo with Donald Ross, Flags of Ross Courses
Numerous people had spent many years cataloguing, generating five different databases of information to scrutinize during Moriarty's early days. After selecting a museum software program (with the benefit of a working Internet) and many volunteer hours, the rescued "stuff" is now filed expertly and efficiently into four different catalogs: golf, photos, archives and objects.
"We have spent 18 months doing inventory, but searches are easier because it's all in there, and we know what we have," said Moriarty. "I'm very pleased to have done this because it has made life so much easier."
In general, the archive boxes relate to Pinehurst and its early days, both historically and architecturally. There are folders and files on a lot of original cottages and buildings. And the Tufts Archives also has many architectural plans.
One of the more interesting drawings is a vintage blueprint from 1911, perhaps one of the first models of the renowned Donald Ross-designed No. 2 golf course, site of this June's 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open. Ross, from Scotland, was brought by the Tufts to Pinehurst to design golf courses. But this drawing is interesting to Moriarty for a reason.
"One of the biggest surprises that visitors might find here is one of the largest collections of Ross material anywhere. As time goes on, people find things, like rolled-up papers in an attic five years ago which turned out to be drawings of a golf course he did," she recalled. "There are hardly any drawings of No. 2 because Ross was here, and he didn't need to do them (drawings).
Payne Stewart's Score Sheet from 1999 U.S. Open
"He could just say 'I want this dirt pile moved,' 'make this six inches higher,' or 'dig this out deeper.' We don't have a layout of No. 2 except this early design from 1911."
In 2010, the design firm of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw began the process of restoring the natural characteristics that were at the heart of Ross's original No. 2 design. Armed with key aerial images, the two men spent a good amount of time at the Tufts Archives with Moriarty going through classic photographs of tournaments on No. 2 over the years.
"I would put the photos up on a screen and they could look at wire grasses and bunkering views from a certain time," she said. "They were also able to see a map of the sprinkler system from the 1962 (U.S.) Amateur, one system right down the center from the early days. Basically, what the sprinklers didn't reach became the natural areas."
Visitors to the Archives are always welcome and greeted and shown around by one of a cadre of history-loving volunteers who help maintain the volumes of records. They have also been integral in creating one of the most interesting displays in the historical collection: flags from Donald Ross golf courses that hang just below the ceiling's dentil molding.
"After a volunteer suggested it, we sent a letter to about 300 Ross courses, telling them that we wanted to do an exhibit for the U.S. Opens. I hoped we would get about 20 to 25," Moriarty said with a bright smile, "and hang a few on a wall. Well, the response was so tremendous that we now have over 100, and some clubs have even sent a letter saying they are proud to have a flag in the Tufts Archives. Several courses will be sending new flags after they celebrate their centennials next year."
Displays in the Tufts Archives
(Above Photos by Norma P. Stilwell)
Amid the donated trophies, historical photos, original Tufts family soda fountain and turn-of-the-century artifacts, there are treasured "new" things, including the late Payne Stewart's official 1999 U.S. Open score sheet that hung on the leaderboard after he won on No. 2.
Like history, the Archive is evolving constantly. There are no more family records that tell the story of history on paper. People don't write detailed letters anymore and businesses don't donate their records.
Moriarty was thoughtful about the place of the Archives in the next century. "The big question for everyone is 'What will we do with all this paper?' " she said. "Do we keep it? We have about 85,000 images scanned but that's only half of what we have. And we scan constantly. Scanning and inventorying is an assembly-line process. These volunteers have done an incredible amount of work."
Moriarty thinks that a lot of people are surprised at the depth of information they find at this little place when they visit. They don't usually know that one family operated this village for over 75 years. "Many people leave and say 'We need to come back tomorrow because 'we need more time here,' " she said with a proud smile. "They are very complimentary because they recognize the value of what we have here."
This is the eighth in a series of stories about the Village of Pinehurst in advance of the U.S. Opens. For previous articles, visit http://www.vopnc.org/Visitors/Stories-About-Us.