October 21, 2016

Archives Month in Ohio: Mock Political Conventions

October is Archives Month in Ohio. The theme this year is Ohio and Presidential Elections. As part of celebrating Archives Month we wanted to highlight student participation in mock political conventions.

To participate in the presidential election process, students have staged their own versions of political party conventions, selecting whether it would be a Democratic or Republication convention. Students made the arrangements for the convention, drafted the platforms and nominated candidates for president and vice president. The first mock political convention in the university’s history was held by Western Reserve University in 1908. Held May 2 at Gray’s Armory in downtown Cleveland, Wisconsin Senator Robert LaFollette was nominated as candidate for president. LaFollette was popular with students for many years. Though there was no mock convention that year, in 1924 LaFollette was the winner of the student straw poll.

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1908 program and 1924 cartoon

In 1932 a Mock Democratic Convention was held April 27 at Adelbert Gym. Newton D. Baker, former Cleveland mayor and Secretary of War, was nominated as candidate for president. The movement to hold a convention came from the Reserve Politics Club, composed of students from Adelbert College and the Law School. They invited the Mather College chapter of the League of Women Voters to participate. These groups set up a Committee on Arrangements and invited other student organizations university-wide to participate. Future Ohio congressman Charles A. Vanik served as secretary on the Committee on Arrangements for the convention. Vanik graduated from Adelbert College in 1933 and the Law School in 1936. He served Ohio’s 21st district 1955-1969 and the 22nd district 1969-1981.

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1932 convention floor and 1932 program

While WRU cancelled its 1948 convention, Case Institute held its first mock political convention - nominating Michigan senator Arthur Vandenburg. Subsequent CIT convention nominees included (among others) Dwight Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, and Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania. Other activities, held as part of the mock conventions, included parades, election of a queen, picnics, and dances.

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1948 Case Alumnus magazine featuring the convention and 1972 poster

The conventions were intended to “provide political enlightenment and social entertainment.” Debates, speeches, and lectures would supplement the convention itself. In 1972 CWRU held its first mock political convention, nominating South Dakota senator George McGovern as candidate for president. In addition to the convention held April 21 and 22, California Senator John V. Tunney gave a lecture April 13 and Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes gave a lecture April 20.

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October 17, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 8


In its October 17 issue, The Observer’s editors handed out fall grades, including: A to UPB and USG, B to CWRU’s new webpage design, C for the 4-day fall break, A to student athletes, F to anti-GLBA chalker and those who speculated about the recent rape, “W for World Series-bound to the Cleveland Indians!”

Some headlines in this issue:

• Theater department celebrates 100 years of Eldred
• GLBA’s Coming Out marred by anti-gay chalkings
• Annual week celebrates humanities on campus
• Nursing Professor spends a semester in Hungary
• President Pytte tells about university at annual speech
• CP & P hosts career fair
• Turkish Student Association presents Turkish Deserts Night
• Theatre of Voices to perform at Harkness
• Sand mandala to be built on-site at CMA
• Men in Black to be shown at Strosacker
• Volleyball squad ties school record for season wins
• CWRU graduate student to compete in American Weightlifting Championships

And here's the entire issue: Observer, 10/17/1997

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

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October 10, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 7

The 9/26/1997 issue of The Observer published an invitation from the Share the Vision initative for members of the CWRU community to sign its statement of principles to “affirm our commitment to a campus community that supports the worth and dignity of each individual. We believe that any act that demeans an individual member of our community demeans us all.” The 10/10/1997 issue includes a full page of those signatures.

In other news....

• CWRU working to improve recycling on campus
• USG reveals 1997-98 plans
• UPB lands Rusted Root
• CWRU commuters unite
• Chalking for national Coming Out Day, Friday October 10
• Association for Women Students Candlelight Vigil, October 15 - Come Because You Care
• Spartan Spotlight festured sophomore tennis player, Rashmi Phanindra
• Editorial: University once again fails to communicate
• Letter to the editor: Blame rapist, not alcohol
• Humanities Week events
• CIA students express regret over chalking incident
• Rape is unacceptable under any circumstances (guest opinion)
• Share the Vision signature page
• Love, mistaken identity, folly at Eldred: Shakespeare's Twelfth Night opens this weekend

And here's the entire issue: Observer, 10/10/1997

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

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October 03, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 6

The 10/3/1997 issue of The Observer included a special section, Focus On Alcohol Abuse. It featured articles about the upcoming Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll Conference, some fraternities committing to be “substance-free,” upcoming alcohol awareness events, a poll of student attitudes towards drinking, campus resources for students with substance abuse issues, and recipes for mocktails.


Other headlines included:

• Two CIA students confess to "monkey" chalkings
• Browns return to campus for flag football game
• 25th annual Ebony Ball to be held Saturday, November 1
• Bookstore ad: "You demand power, speed, and mobility" Apple Power Macintosh 6500 for $3,015
• USG defends fall elections
• Editorial: Rape provokes a reaction, albeit a wrong one
• Alcohol is a deadly game that results in tragedy
• Discussion prevents misinterpretation
• Spartan Spotlight featured junior tennis player, Jay Mitchell

And here's the entire issue: Observer, 10/3/1997

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

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September 27, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 5

Amid disturbing reports of a rape and racially derogatory chalkings targeting one of the candidates for freshman class president, the 9/26/1997 Observer also covered the events planned to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. La Alianza, CWRU’s Latin American Society invited people of all ethnic backgrounds, “La Alianza is open to all students with an open mind and a willing heart.”


Other headlines included:

• Family Weekend reunites parents with students

• Acquaintance rape shocks CWRU community

• New internship program offered for A&S students

• New program markets students' inventions: Weatherhead Entrepreneurs Society formed

• Editorial: Use substance, not style, in fighing racism

• Letters to the editor: Ignore racism no longer; Celebrate, don't tolerate

• CWRU alumni dance in Two-Twos

• Skalars, Scofflaws stomp and Grog Saturday

• History symposium to be held at Valleevue Farm

• Men's soccer gains first win of the season

• Spartan Spotlight featured senior cross country and track athlete, Tanetta Anderson

And here's the entire issue: Observer, 9/26/1997

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

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September 22, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 4

One of the recurring themes in the September 19, 1997 issue of The Observer was connections.


The Res Hall Rumble was intended to bring north side and south side student residents together. The article announcing the opening of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities describes the Center’s emphasis on connecting faculty and students across disciplines and connecting the university to the community. An invitation to submit letters to the editor aspired to provide “an open forum for all voices in the CWRU community.”

Other Observer headlines 19 years ago included:

• Lynyrd Skynyrd to perform at Severance on Sunday
• CWRU ranks 37th in U.S. News and World Report (up 1-1/2 places)
• USG election results announced
• CWRU to receive special citation from the Cleveland Arts Prize for its "role in promoting the arts"
• Music fest to celebrate independence of India
• Spartan Spotlight featured senior football team member Mike Chanpong

And here's the entire issue: Observer, 9/19/1997

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

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September 14, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 3

This announcement of the benefit to protest police brutality could easily be found in current news. It appeared in the September 12, 1997 issue of The Observer

Other Observer headlines 19 years ago included:
• Academic scholarship changes ease student stress: G.P.A. requirements lowered for both the President and Provost scholarships
• World mourns the loss of two remarkable women [Princess Diana of Wales and Mother Teresa]
• WRUW drums up Saturday music fest: folk and international music featured in day-long event
• Music legend to be honored next weekend: Jimmie Rodgers celebrated in [American Music Masters] conference, concert
• Scream to be screened outside: UPB sponsors "Drive-In" movie
• In sports, the volleyball team won 4 straight; women's soccer team won their first 2 games

On a lighter note, the Fun Page Photo of the Week was a weekly feature of the last page of the 1997/98 Observer.

And here's the entire issue Observer, 9/12/1997

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September 08, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 2

Eyes On... was a recurring feature of the 1997/98 Observer, each week highlighting a different student group

Continuing our look at The Observer’s coverage of campus life 19 years ago, here are some of the headlines from the Augsut 29, 1997 issue.:

• Twenty-mill bond helps to give campus a makeover

• Students have new ways to get computer help

• Students have a new voice with "electronic suggestion box"

• Commuter appreciation week featured movie day and ice cream social, pool & ping-pong tournament

• Editorial supported dry rush: helps freshmen make wise decisions

• Michael A. Choma urged freshmen to "become an activist" "People who make a difference are those who use the power vested in their leadership role to realize their ideals."

• The sports section recruited writers, "Write about cool people playing even cooler games"

And here’s the entire issue

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September 02, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 1

Many members of the CWRU Class of 2020 were born in 1997 and 1998. Some of our blog postings this year will highlight the campus events, issues, and personalities in those years. To see the student perspective, we’re digitizing The Observer. Each week I’ll post some of the headlines. More importantly, a searchable PDF of The Observer that week in 1997/98 will be available here.

I’m getting a late start, so here are some of the headlines from last week’s Observer from 1997 - August 22.

- Mystery writer James Patterson was the Fall Convocation speaker.
- Early enrollment figures reported the Class of 2001 as 752 students, 63% male.
- Observer editors warned the freshman class about their worst enemy: Apathetic Upperclassmen.
- As the headline below shows, Observer writers offered lots of tips for exploring Cleveland.


The Observer, 8/22/1997

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August 31, 2016

Shakespeare on the Stage

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The earliest performance of a Shakespeare play on campus that the University Archives could document was Love’s Labour’s Lost, given by the Dramatic Club of the College for Women on January 19 and 20, 1898. The Dramatic Club also performed Twelfth Night in 1910 and The Taming of the Shrew in 1915.


The Dramatic Club was organized in 1894 originally as The Dramatic Association. The club presented at least 1 play each year, and, until 1902, performed in Guilford House. In 1922 the Dramatic Club changed its name to The Curtain Players. They continued to periodically perform Shakespeare, such as The Winter’s Tale and Romeo and Juliet. They presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Sock and Buskin Club of Adelbert College as part of the University’s Centennial in 1926.

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The Sock and Buskin Club dates to 1908 when the Literary Society of Adelbert College presented a play, Rivals, by Sheridan. The cast then organized Sock and Buskin to present at least 1 play a year, similar to the Dramatic Club. Beginning in 1923, Sock and Buskin began offering more than 1 play. The Archives could not document an earlier presentation of a Shakespeare play (by Sock and Buskin) than the 1926 performance previously mentioned.

There was no theater-related department at WRU during this late 19th and early 20th century time period. The first Dramatic Arts Department was established at the Graduate School in 1931. Barclay Leathem was the first chair of the department. He had originally taught in the English Department (while a Law School student) and moved to the Speech Department in 1927 to teach the first theater classes. He retired in 1971 when he was named Professor Emeritus of Dramatic Arts.

The home of the Theater Department eventually became Eldred Hall. As part of the 50th anniversary of theater in Eldred in 1973-1974, As You Like It was performed.

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1955 program for A Midsummer Night's Dream and 1974 program for As You Like It

See our previous blog posts related to Shakespeare on campus: Shakespeare beginnings on campus, and Shakespeare Performance as part of WRU’s Centennial Celebration.

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August 15, 2016

The only classroom that is available for life - the library – Ralph M. Besse


At the 1961 dedication of Case Institute of Technology’s (CIT) Library Humanities Building, Ralph M. Besse described the challenge facing higher education in a world of exploding knowledge.

“Yet the dilemma of higher education is that a normal college time span permits only the development of either an undisciplined generalist or a narrowly-trained specialist, and neither is adequately equipped to achieve the objective of leadership in cultural improvement. No such gap in the training of leaders is endurable in a progressive society. If the great constructive goals of democracy are to be achieved, a solution must be found. We cannot long sustain leadership in a world in which competition among ideologies increases as fast as competition for material power if our best human talent is trained in only half of the arts of leadership.”

He went on to point out the role of the library in meeting this challenge.

“The dedication of this great new library suggests one of the answers. Within these walls all of the past and most of the developments of the present are recorded. The educational dilemma could be solved at Case if every one of its graduates were to leave college equipped with the skill of extracting knowledge from a library and motivated by a desire to do so.”

That CIT’s first library building was a Library-Humanities Building symbolized the role envisioned for both in a technical institute.

“This building recognizes two fundamental educational needs. It is a center where students, faculty, and representatives of business, industry and other elements of the community can pursue intellectual and cultural activities in attractive surroundings designed to be conducive to learning... The gallery available for displays, the lecture and seminar rooms, the Kulas Hall of Music and the Kulas Record Library bring together the broad cultural interests of the campus.” (Library-Humanities Building brochure, 1961)

Library-Humanities Building at the center of the new Case Institute of Technology entrance

The building itself was envisioned as a key component of the New Face of Case. “Located at the mid-point of the campus, the Library-Humanities Building is the most prominent and accessible of all Case buildings.” enthused a 1961 brochure describing the building.

The library originally occupied 34,000 square feet on the first three floors of the 83,345 square foot, six-story, building. It had seating for just under 450. This sounds more impressive when compared to the library reading room in Case Main, which seated thirty-two. The original collection capacity was 160,000 volumes, with growth to 250,000 volumes planned.

Frederick L. Taft, librarian, described some of the technical innovations of the new library in a December 1960 Library Journal article. “... conveyors include a horizontal chain drive conveyor which moves books and other materials to and from the receiving and shipping room; a vertical conveyor which carries books from all the upper floors to the circulation workroom... and a dumbwaiter which lifts books from the lower level bookstack to the circulation workroom... The Stromberg-Carlson Pagemaster system has been installed at the circulation desk. This small radious communications system enables a desk attendant to signal by transistor radio certain staff personnel anywhere in the building. The circulation desk is also equipped with pneumatic tubes which carry call slips to and from page stations on all stack floors. There is provision for photo-duplication services including a darkroom...”

Kresge Gallery
Other floors had classrooms, seminar rooms, conference rooms and the offices of the departments of Humanities and Social Studies and Mathematics. The lobby of the fourth floor was the home of the Kresge Gallery intended for exhibits relating to the Western Civilization courses, CIT’s art collection, and travelling exhibits.

Located on the second floor, ”The Kulas Hall of Music, a handsomely furnished 60-by-30 foot lounge, paneled in English oak and teakwood, is a harmoniously designed room where students and visitors may listen to music. The high-fidelity sound equipment permits reproduction of recorded material from magnetic tapes, records and AM and FM radio, either monaurally or stereophonically.” The George Sanford Collection, the core of the music collection, contained over 4,000 albums of classical music.

Building construction began in fall 1959 and ended early in 1961. The total cost of the building was $2.8 million. It was one of several buildings funded through CIT’s $6,500,000 Building Fund Campaign, which raised over $8.3 million. Major donors included the Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund, the Kresge Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. David S. Ingalls, Harris-Intertype Corporation, Kulas Foundation. The architect was Small, Smith, Reeb, and Draz and the general contractor was the Sam W. Emerson Company.

In 1966, Lester M. and Ruth P. Sears donated $1 million dollars for the building. It was the single largest non-bequest gift from an individual received by CIT in its nearly 90-year history. In recognition of their generosity, on June 15, 1966 the building was named the Lester M. and Ruth P. Sears Library. The dedication plaque read, “The Lester M. and Ruth P. Sears Library honors the founder of Towmotor and his wife. Lester Sears, innovating engineer, manager and humanitarian and Ruth Sears, his staunch supporter, have set an example for all of us to emulate.”

Sears remained the library for Case Institute of Technology until 1996, when its collections and services were merged with Freiberger Library in the new Kelvin Smith Library.

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August 08, 2016

Shakespeare Performance as part WRU’s Centennial Celebration

Let's continue our summer theme of Shakespeare on campus and in the classroom.

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During commencement week, on June 15 and 16, 1926, students from the Sock and Buskin Club of Adelbert College and the Curtain Players of Mather College performed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was part of Western Reserve University’s Centennial Celebration and in dedication of the Shakespeare Garden Theatre (also known as the Municipal Outdoor Theatre) in Rockefeller Park. The theatre was dedicated to Marie Bruot, former drama teacher at Central High School. City Manager William R. Hopkins requested the production. The theatre was on East Boulevard between Superior and St. Clair Avenues.

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Over 1500 watched the performance the first night. Seats were erected on the hillside where part of the audience was seated. Others watched from various vantage points. Spotlights were the only modern stage equipment used.

The play had participation from various groups on and off campus. The costumes were designed by Agnes Brooks Young of the Cleveland Play House and created by Mary Geary and students of the Household Administration Department at Mather College. The choreography of the fairy ensemble was supervised by Muriel East Adams of the Mather College Physical Education Department.

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The music was written by Quincy Porter of the Cleveland Institute of Music and performed by students of the Music School Settlement. Staging and lighting were under the direction of Max Eisenstat from the designs of Archie Lauterer, both of the Cleveland Play House. The director was K. Elmo Lowe, also of the Cleveland Play House. Lowe stated, “When we dedicate the Shakespeare Theatre we want comedy to be the occasion keynote. Just fun for everyone.”

Cast members included: Allen Goldthwaite as Theseus and Doris Young as Hippolyta; Ralph A. Colbert as Lysander, Fred W. Walter as Demetrius, Nadine Miles as Hermia, Fredrica Crane as Helena; Sidney Andorn as Oberon, Eleanor Koob as Titania, Emiah Jane Hopkins as Puck.

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The mechanicals were: John Maurer as Quince, Arlin Cook as Snug, Milton Widder as Bottom, Sterling S. Parker as Flute, Will Carlton as Snout, and Vincent H. Jenkins as Starveling.

The fairies were Katherine M. Squire, Evelyn Fruehauf, Helen Shockey, Lucile McMackin, Gladys M. Benesh, Miriam Cramer, Fay Hart, Alice Sorensen Caroline Hahn. Other parts were played by Sydney Markowitz (Egeus), Richard Barker (Philostrate), Harriette Winch, Helen Bunnell, Robert Glick and Maurice Rusoff (ladies and gentlemen of the Court).

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Titania and several fairies (left), Milton Widder as Bottom portraying Pyramus (right)

Learn about the beginnings of Shakespeare in the classroom.

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