July 04, 2017

On This Day in CWRU History: July

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1887 Medical School building (left); Ribbon cutting to launch Cleveland Free-Net (right)

From time to time the CWRU Archives is asked for a list of significant dates in the university's history. We've used various platforms, including a Twitter experiment, described here, to highlight some of the people and events that have made our institutional history so rich. To make this information a little more accessible, we're going to compile the dates we've identified in monthly blog postings. We make no claims that these lists are comprehensive. In fact, we invite members of our community to let us know of other dates that warrant inclusion. Below are July's dates.

July 1
1947: The Case School of Applied Science was renamed Case Institute of Technology.

1967: Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University federated, creating Case Western Reserve University.

1986: The Matthew A. Baxter School of Information and Library Science closed.

1987: The Colleges, which combined the CWRU undergraduate schools of Western Reserve College and Case Institute of Technology, was established.

1992: The College of Arts and Sciences was established. It was formed from the humanities and arts departments; social and behavioral sciences departments; and mathematics and natural science departments of The Colleges. The Case School of Engineering was established. It was formed from the engineering departments of The Colleges.

July 3
1886: Cady Staley was elected the first President of Case School of Applied Science at a salary of $3,500 per year.

July 5
1967: The General Faculty of Case Western Reserve University was established by the Trustees. It comprised all enfranchised members of the Case Institute of Technology faculty and the eight Western Reserve University faculties.
1967: CWRU's first colors, seal, and coat of arms were approved by the Trustees.
1967: At the first meeting of the CWRU Board of Trustees, the University Archives was established and Ruth Helmuth was named University Archivist.

July 8
1887: Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley began a series of precise measurements to demonstrate the existence of the ether, thought to be the medium which transmitted light throughout space.

1994: 1977 Case Engineering graduate Donald Thomas began his mission aboard the space shuttle Columbia. While in orbit, Thomas flew a CWRU banner.

July 9
1856: Levi Bodley Wilson, an 1848 graduate of Western Reserve College, became the first alumnus elected as a WRC trustee.

1857: Henry Ward Ingersoll received the first Bachelor of Science degree awarded by Western Reserve College.

July 10
1862: Western Reserve College's Commencement was postponed until October 15 due to the absence of most students fighting in the Civil War.

July 11
1885: Cornerstone was laid for WRU’s second (and last downtown) Medical School building.

July 12
1845: Former slave and noted abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, addressed the Western Reserve College literary societies during Commencement Week. His topic was "The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically."

1855: Henry L. Hitchcock was inaugurated as Western Reserve College's third president.

July 16
1986: CWRU launched Cleveland Free-Net, the nation's first free, open-access community computer system.
1992: Campus News reported installation of a 16-foot, 1-ton clock on the tower of the new Biomedical Research Building.

July 27
1938: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for an addition to Eldred Hall.

July 31
1925: Cleveland College, Western Reserve University’s adult education college, was incorporated.

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CWRU's 1967 coat of arms (left); Ruth W. Helmuth, CWRU's first University Archivist (right)

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May 01, 2017

Remembering 1997-1998: Wrap-Up

Most of us are familiar with the annual Beloit College Mindset List. If you’ve missed it, take a look here. The list explores the “cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students about to enter college.”

When I saw the list for the Class of 2020 last fall, I was amused and appalled by some of the highlights:
“There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
The United States has always been at war.
They have never seen billboard ads for cigarettes.”

In a seemingly unconnected occurrence, the CWRU Archives had recently begun digitizing our student newspapers. The Mindset List looks at the entire 18 years of our new students’ lives. I wondered what was happening on CWRU’s campus during the year our freshmen were born. Exploring campus life from the point of view of the students of 1998 for the Class of 2020 seemed like a small, but friendly, welcoming gesture to our new students. It was also an opportunity to use our blog to make those digital newspapers more accessible.

That was the start of the Remembering 1997-1998 project. The 26 issues of the 1997/98 Observer were posted each week, along with a very short summary of some of the headlines. I tried to avoid interpreting, letting the newspapers speak for themselves, but selecting headlines is not a neutral act.

The project ended last week with the April 24, 1998 issue, so I feel free to opine a bit. First and foremost, looking at this year of The Observer gave me a new respect for the work of our student journalists. This not very large group manages to cover an impressively broad range of events and issues on campus.

The most obvious changes between 1997/98 and 2016/17 are technology. Among the innovations announced in 1997/98 were a new “electronic suggestion box.” An ad for an Apple Power Macintosh 6500 for $3,015 appeared. And the editors called for implementation of computerized registration.

A number of events from nineteen years ago could have come from today’s headlines: a benefit to protest police brutality, rape and a “Come Because You Care” candlelight vigil, allegations of racially derotagory and anti-gay chalk markings, efforts to reduce alcohol abuse, an invitation to sign a statement affirming “our commitment to a campus community that supports the worth and dignity of each individual,” and student debt and money management tips.

Some of 1997/98’s firsts included a new alma mater, formation of the Weatherhead Entrepreneurs Society to market student inventions, and SpringFest.

Traditions included WRUW’s diverse programming, changes to the physical campus, the 25th Ebony Ball, Humanities Week events, Winter Carnival, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Convocation, Mr. CWRU Contest, Engineers’ Week, and the April Fool’s Day special edition.

Celebrations of our array of international cultures included Indian Independence, Hispanic Heritage Month, Turkish Deserts Night, and Gobble, Gobble’s international cuisine for Thanksgiving dinner.

Coincidentally, as the project was wrapping up, we received a request to determine how the name of The Observer was chosen. Not suprisingly, there was a contest.

The first issue of The Observer was published September 5, 1969. Its predecessor, the Reserve Tribune, announced in its April 29, 1969 issue that there would be a contest to name the new newspaper. Judges were the new editorial board and the prize was a Polaroid Swinger Color-Pac camera.

The results of the contest were announced in the May 23, 1969 issue of the Reserve Tribune. George O. Siekkinen submitted the winning entry, The University Observer. The editors decided to shorten the name to The Observer. They wanted a name that was short and a "traditional newspaper name."

We’re continuing our project to digitize our student newspapers, starting with The Observer, Case Tech, and Reserve Tribune. They will, in the fullness of time, join our other Digital Case collections:
images
student yearbooks
commencement

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April 26, 2017

Remembering 1997-1998: April 24, 1998

The April 24, 1998 issue was the last Observer for academic year 1997/98. The front page headline was “First place for CWRU Alma Contest results in tie”

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Other headlines included:
• U.S. Treasurer speaks at Golden Key
• WSOM undergraduates win business competition in Seattle
• An early look at class 2002
• Eyes On American Society of Civil Engineers
• First annual SpringFest brings students together
• 1998 recipients of the Graduate Dean’s Instructional Excellence Awards
• Online registration discussed at USG meeting
• A look at TBTB 1998
• Women faculty few, more being hired
• Women’s coalition receives large donation
• Editorial: Our final grades for 1998
• Makin’ it happen: You’ve heard their names, you know they are influential, now read what they have to say
• Stuck in Cleveland this summer? Check out these ways to have tons of fun!
• Mather Dance is booming with creative energy
• Spartans prepare for UAA Championships

And here's the entire issue: The Observer, 4/24/1998

This is one in a series of weekly blog postings describing what was happening at CWRU, as covered by The Observer, during the years many of the Class of 2020 were born.

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April 24, 2017

Carl Wittke and Immigration History

“Every wave of immigrants has contributed to the cultural, social and intellectual growth of our country. Instead of trying to suppress the rich background of resources all groups possess, we should let them make their specific contributions. Americanization is a very slow process which should be left as a natural process.” Carl Wittke

The theme for the 2017 Cleveland Humanities Festival is immigration. In conjunction with that theme, the Archives is highlighting former faculty member, historian, and administrator, Carl F. Wittke - immigration historian.

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Carl F. Wittke

Carl Wittke was born 11/13/1892 in Columbus, Ohio. His father was a German immigrant and this influenced Wittke’s work. Carl’s first language at home was German before learning English which he spoke while attending school. He received his B.A. from Ohio State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1914 and 1921. In 1917 he had a son, Carl Francis, with his first wife. He married his second wife, Lillian Nippert, in 1921 and they remained married until his death in 1971.

Wittke served on the faculty of Ohio State 1916-1937, then moved to Oberlin College where he was Professor of History and Dean of the College 1937-1948. He came to Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1948 as Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of History. He also served as Elbert Jay Benton Professor of History and chair of the History Department, 1959-1963. In 1961 he was named Vice President of WRU. Wittke retired in June, 1963.

Wittke was author of 14 books and 80 articles. In 1939 his general history of immigrants, We Who Built America: the Saga of the Immigrant, was published by Prentice-Hall. This book stayed in print for over 20 years until a revised edition was published in 1964 by the WRU Press. He dedicated the book to his father’s memory, the immigrant who left his homeland and made a new life in America. “His deep-seated devotion to the basic ideals of our American life was born of a long and satisfying experience in the land of his choice. Out of such experiences, I venture to believe, the real Epic of America must eventually be written. I have attempted here to do no more than to suggest some of the broader outlines of that epic story. No one realizes better than I how much work remains to be done...” This book was selected for inclusion in the White House Library of Americana.

He also wrote histories which included The Irish in America (1956) and Refugees of Revolution: The German Forty-Eighters in America (1952) as well as articles such as Immigration Policy Prior to World War I, Melting Pot Literature, and German Immigrants and Their Children. Wittke’s scholarly output included History of Canada (1928) and editor of the 6-volume work, The History of the State of Ohio (1944). For 15 years he was editor of the Prentice-Hall history series.

Wittke received numerous awards in the field of history as well as his work for civil liberties. His biography, Against the Current: The Life of Karl Heinzen, won the medal for the best book by an Ohio author in 1945. The Ohio Academy of History honored Wittke with a testimonial dinner praising him for his outstanding work as an author and his contributions to community relations and brotherhood. In 1963 he received the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature. In 1951 he was presented with the Cleveland B’nai B’rith Sol Fetterman Memorial Award for “outstanding achievements in promoting brotherhood and mutual understanding in this community.” In 1956 he received the Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. In 1961 the Cleveland Civil Liberties Union bestowed its first annual award to Wittke. In 1963 he was presented the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit by the West German consul for his contributions to understanding between the United States and Germany. He also received honorary doctorates from Ohio State University, Denison University, Lawrence College, Marietta College, Fenn College, Lake Erie College.

Among his professional associations, he was a member of the Council of the American Historical Association, Council of the American Association of University Professors chairing the Committee “A” on academic freedom and tenure for 3 years. Wittke served on the Senate of Phi Beta Kappa, was a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the board of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, and was chair of the Ohio War Records Commission 1941-1947.

In 1964 Carl Wittke was presented with a festschrift published by Augustana College Library entitled In the Trek of the Immigrants, in connection with the annual meetings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association held April 30-May 2.

Wittke died 5/24/1971. His widow, Lillian, gave the funds for the reconstituted Carl F. Wittke Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching (originally awarded in 1964).

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April 17, 2017

Remembering 1997-1998: April 17, 1998

Among other articles in the April 17, 1998 Observer is this: College Scholars Program’s Tote the Mug campaign celebrated Earth Day by promoting personal beverage containers instead of styrofoam.

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Other headlines included:
• Committee raises Dean’s List G.P.A.
• Robotic cockroach finalist in Discovery Magazine awards
• Eyes On Interfaith Student Forum
• Hudson Relay time approaches
• Boehm brings Australian culture to Wade Park
• Editorial: Students need representation
• CD Warehouse in Coventry hits a big note for music stores
• Spikers advance to EIVA quarterfinals
• CWRU hosts Spartan Track Invitational

And here's the entire issue: The Observer, 4/17/1998

This is one in a series of weekly blog postings describing what was happening at CWRU, as covered by The Observer, during the years many of the Class of 2020 were born.

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April 11, 2017

Remembering 1997-1998: April 10, 1998

The week Zeus got loose was the headline of the Observer’s April 10, 1998 coverage of Greek Week.

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The Focus section explored the hidden CWRU: Steam tunnels; How CWRUnet works; Where the tuition goes; The story of ARAMARK; What is that thing on topic of Crawford?

Other headlines included:
• Work begins on new science complex
• Rubin receives the Churchill
• Eyes On The CWRU Musical Group
• RHA elects officers for 1998-1999 school year
• Refuge seeks new name with contest
• International extravaganza caters to a sell out crowd
• Two students receive Goldwater scholarship
• The Women’s Studies Intramural Speaker Series presents first student presentation
• Volunteers needed for EARTHFest ‘98
• Editorial: Make transcripts more available to students
• WRUW sponsors local benefit concert
• Pulp’s new album worth a listen
• String Cheese Incident to play at Odeon tonight
• 8th annual Mather scholarship competition announced
• Spikers win third consecutive NCAC title
• Spartans improve season record to 10-4-1

And here's the entire issue: The Observer, 4/10/1998

This is one in a series of weekly blog postings describing what was happening at CWRU, as covered by The Observer, during the years many of the Class of 2020 were born.

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