Lightbulb moment: electricity in the YWCA scrapbook

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kyle M. Pope (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: 2015 University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Winner---Between 1915 and 1917 the Young Women’s Christian Association at the State Normal and Industrial College (presently the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) created a scrapbook that largely focused on summer retreats in Black Mountain, NC.1 Photographs of the members posed in groups along with more candid pictures showing the girls participating in a variety of outdoor activities dominate a majority of the pages. However, about three-quarters ofthe way through the scrapbook there is a conspicuous collage of clippings which relate to electrical lighting. Even more peculiar than its placement, is the fact that during the creation of the scrapbook, the lightbulb was nearing forty years old.2 However, electricity did not spread evenly or as quickly through different regions of the United States, and many people were not exposed to it in their domestic lives until the 1930s. Those who experienced electricity for thefirst time often responded with awe, and incorporated it into their ideas of progress and modernity. The electricity-centric clippings in the YWCA scrapbook demonstrate this, as they show a personalized view of the technology that illustrates the societal impact of lighting in the early 20th century.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Language: English
Date: 2015

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