HOWARD WARD: Tufts Archives Offers History And Pride
Audrey Moriarty has plenty to keep her busy inside the walls of the Tufts Archives. But she'd like to have a few more people coming through the doors.
OK, a lot more people.
Moriarty is a dedicated woman. She puts in long hours as director of Tufts Archives and Given Memorial Library, and can put her hand on any item being sought in a matter of seconds.
OK, maybe minutes.
It's a sad truth that enough folks just don't come inside the building located just across the street from the Holly Inn and take a look at the shelves, boxes and refrigerators loaded with the history of Pinehurst.
Yeah, that's refrigerators. There are two of the huge coolers filled with old negatives. And Our Lady Audrey can tell you exactly where what is in a New York minute.
OK, maybe not in a New York minute. But certainly in a Pinehurst minute.
The Tufts Archives provides a visit back to the beginning of Pinehurst in 1895 and carries one right up to the present.
As with so many other things in Pinehurst, we can thank the late Richard S. Tufts for the archives.
Tufts was obviously a man of insight and foresight. To preserve the early history of the resort, Tufts provided historic family records, correspondence dating back to the founding of the village and the humble beginnings of golf at a site that would become one of the most famous in the world.
Tufts Archives is a nonprofit, culture-providing organization, and it's a treat for both youngsters and older persons who have an interest in what has happened in the area and why.
Getting young people to come in is one of Moriarty's priorities.
"Some of our patrons are aging out," she said on a recent evening as a group of guests milled through the archives. "We're trying to recruit more kids, and we're hoping to fill a gap for them between schools."
Actually, there is a lot more than just the history of Pinehurst and Donald Ross lore inside these walls.
The library offers a full complement of best sellers, fiction and nonfiction. And if you do want to know anything about the legendary golf course architect Ross, it's all right there.
Kelly Miller, the president and CEO of Pine Needles and Mid Pines Resorts, found the archives invaluable when he hired John Fought to restore the Pine Needles Course a few years ago. He and Fought pored over the old plans and photos and used them extensively in trying to replicate the features of the original design.
"We've preserved all the Donald Ross drawings," Moriarty said, "and we've painted and carpeted the building. Our main thing is to preserve and protect."
All of this -- maintaining the building, preserving the records and maintaining the small staff -- costs money, of course. The $450,000 that Tufts provided for the founding of the archives seemed like a fortune at the time, but now doesn't seem much more than the monthly gas credit card bill.
"It all costs a lot of money," Moriarty said, "and we make some by reproducing and selling some of the images."
It's tough, trying to raise money for a project that is so valuable, but so underappreciated. Especially when only about 400 guests visited the archives last year. But Moriarty points out that most museums face the same problem.
"There are only 10 museums in the country that make money on their own," she said, "and the Smithsonian is one of them."
OK, so Tufts Archives is no Smithsonian. But it's a valued piece of the Pinehurst experience, and it shouldn't be forgotten. For anyone new to the area, it can be an illuminating experience. For those who live here, it can renew the "how lucky we are" feeling.
"We can walk guests through from the beginning of Pinehurst to where we are today," Moriarty said. "There's a good story to be told here and a lot to see.
"Everything here is worth preserving."
If you haven't visited the archives, you owe it to yourself. If you want to impress a friend with the history of Pinehurst, take him or her to see Audrey Moriarty.
Contact Howard Ward at 867-6493 or 690-2211 or by e-mail at
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