July 27, 2015

Library Endowment Fund Namesakes - Allen Dudley Severance Fund

Allen Dudley Severance was on the faculty of Western Reserve University 1897-1920, teaching history, church history, bibliography, special bibliography, and historical bibliography for Adelbert College, the College for Women, and the School of Library Science. Severance received the A.B. and A.M. from Amherst College, the B.D. from Hartford Theological Seminary, the B.D. from Oberlin Theological Seminary, and studied at the Universities of Halle, Berlin, and Paris.

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Allen Dudley Severance

He left a library of books on the Middle Ages and the Reformation and an endowment fund to the library of Adelbert College (Hatch Library). The fund was to be used for the purchase of books on medieval history, the Protestant Reformation, and related subjects. In his 1916 memorandum concerning this bequest, Severance stated, "It speaks of my interest in the work of the institution to which I have given almost two decades of my life."

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July 08, 2015

Student Traditions - Freshman-Sophomore Contests

At Case it was called the Flag Rush, Pushball Contest, and Bag Rush. Adelbert College called it the Flag Rush. At Mather College it was the Flag Hunt. At each of the three schools, during the first half of the twentieth century, early in the academic year class rivalry manifested in a contest that pitted the freshmen against the sophomores for class supremacy and bragging rights.

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Mather Flag Hunt, 1946 (left) and Freshman Initiation, 1946 (right)

At Mather, the Flag Hunt was an all-day event. Early in the morning, in one of the college buildings, the sophomores hid a flag which the freshmen had to find by the end of the day. In the early days, the losing class treated the winning class to dinner. The penalties became more creative over time. If the freshmen failed to find the flag, the next day they were required to wear costumes devised by the sophomores and subject themselves to various demands, all part of their initiation. If the freshmen found the flag, as the student handbooks phrased it, the sophomores “must forego the privilege of initiating their traditional rivals.” The sophomores were ingenious in their hiding places: a basketball, a garden hose, inside the lining of a knitting bag.

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Adelbert Flag Rush, 1910? (left) and 1950s (right)

At Adelbert, the flag was raised on a greased pole. The sophomores guarded the pole against freshmen attempts to retrieve the flag and deliver it to the dorm steps by a stated time. One of the student handbooks described the contest as offering the freshmen “an opportunity to forget their homesickness.” As the freshman class was usually larger than the sophomore, it was not unknown for the sophomores to equalize the contest by “kidnapping” freshmen for the day. It was usually a spirited contest. In 1928 the student newspaper, the Reserve Weekly, lamented that year’s rather tame contest, “Very few trousers were ripped completely off, and men that were denuded were forced to leave the fight immediately.”

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Case Bag Rush, 1924 (left) and Pushball Contest

At Case the details of the freshman-sophomore contest changed over time. The original event, the Flag Rush, similar to Adelbert’s, was replaced by the Pushball Contest in 1911. The ball was wooden, covered with a thin padding under a canvas cover, and stood shoulder-high. The freshmen pushed from one side and the sophomores pushed from the other. Most accounts describe modest yardage gained by either class. In 1922 the Bag Rush replaced the Pushball Contest. The Differential 1929 (the student yearbook), opined that the bag rush was an improvement because, “More individuality was brought into play and fewer men were injured. From the viewpoint of the onlooker, it was far more interesting than push-ball, as the fighting was more scattered.” Several sand-filled bags were place in the center of the field, each with a team of sophomores and freshmen attempting to move the bag across the opponent’s goal line. The winner was the team with the most yardage. As at Adelbert, ripping the clothes off the opponents was integral to the tradition, and endured when other aspects of the contest changed.

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June 18, 2015

#cwruhistory: 400 days in 140 characters

CWRU, including its predecessors WRU and CIT, has operated for more than 69,000 days.

A year ago I began an experiment to tweet about an event, achievement, decision, or action that happened on 365 of those days - one tweet each day from January 1 through December 31.

Firsts were obvious candidates, e.g., first woman graduate in each school; first issue of the Case Tech; first WRUW broadcast. Beginnings were naturals, e.g., establishment of schools. In 189 years, we've accumulated plenty of milestones, such as the value of our endowment reaching $1billion.

Some days were unhappy ones: when fire gutted our oldest building, Adelbert Hall and Case's first building, Case Main; when Commencement was postponed because students were away from campus fighting in the Civil War; the memorial convocations after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy's and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some events were solemn: dedicating the memorial tablet honoring the WRU men who died in World War I. Others were playful: Tyler House's Jello Jam using 1000 pounds of cherry jello.

One of the most satisfying parts of my job as an archivist is helping members of the CWRU community to see their own experiences in the university's history. Using twitter, and other social media platforms, to make CWRU's history (even in such an abbreviated form) more accessible is just one technique University Archives is using to make CWRU's history more accessible.

#cwruhistory lists all 400 tweets. Take a 5-minute history break and explore!

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June 09, 2015

Library Endowment Fund Namesakes - Benjamin P. Bourland Fund

Benjamin P. Bourland was Professor of Romance Languages at Western Reserve University 1901-1940. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna. Bourland enjoyed a reputation as an outstanding scholar, a patron of the performing arts, a wine connoisseur, and as a bibliophile noted for his active leadership of the Rowfant Club of Cleveland. He donated a portion of his library to WRU and Special Collections hold the Benjamin Parsons Bourland Rowfantia Collection.

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Benjamin P. Bourland, ca. 1911

The Bourland Fund was established in 1969 for the purchase of French books through the efforts of Dorothy Prentiss Schmitt, an alumna of the WRU School of Library Science (class of 1925) and university trustee. She received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from CWRU in 1970. She supported many efforts on campus with her leadership and financial support. During the Resources Campaign in the 1970s she gave over $250,000 to the University Libraries.

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Dorothy Prentiss Schmitt, 1953

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May 29, 2015

Library Endowment Fund Namesakes - Thwing Endowment Funds

The university's libraries have been the beneficiary of almost 200 years of support from individuals and groups via bequests and endowment funds. The first bequest to Western Reserve College in 1828 was a collection of books for the library! These gifts permanently support activities of the library and provide a benefit well beyond a single small gift. Throughout the summer we will highlight some of these funds.

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President Charles Franklin Thwing in 1895

Charles F. Thwing was the longest-serving president of Western Reserve University (1890-1921). Educated at Harvard and Andover Theological Seminary, he was an ordained minister. The university expanded from 2 undergraduate colleges and the Medical School to a full-fledged university with 9 colleges and schools under Thwing's leadership. He was a great supporter of the libraries - fundraising for facilities, donating his personal funds, and leaving part of his personal library to the University Library. His personal papers and office files as president are in the University Archives, a part of Kelvin Smith Library.

President Thwing had said if a building was named for him he hoped it was a library. In 1934 Western Reserve University named its first university-wide library Thwing Hall. See our past blog entry regarding this honor.

He established 3 library endowment funds, and the President Thwing Library Fund was given in his honor by various groups of Mather College at the time of his retirement. In 1929 the Mary Butler Thwing Shallenberger Memorial Library Fund was given by Thwing in memory of his daughter, who was a 1901 graduate of the College for Women (renamed Flora Stone Mather College in 1931). Its original purpose was the purchase of books in German and Philosophy and was later amended by Thwing to be for the purchase of books in modern languages and Philosophy. He pledged $1,000 for the fund and made payments over several years. In his letter of 11/2/1933 which included a payment, he poignantly wrote, “I want to say to you that it has been a deep pleasure to give this money. It brings to my heart the happiness that belongs to parents in building memorials to their children who have gone to heaven. It also bears an intimation of my sense of joy in working with these graduates in establishing this marvellous (sic) fund. Believe me, Ever yours, C.F.T.”

While seemingly a small gift, President Thwing's original $1,000 gift in memory of his daughter has supported scholarly pursuits through the purchase of materials for over 80 years. The other Thwing funds have continued to support the scholarship of CWRU’s students and faculty.

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April 30, 2015

May 4, 1970

By May 1970 CWRU was no stranger to anti-Vietnam war protests. Teach-ins, leafletting, demonstrations all had happened before. But the deaths of four students and wounding of nine by National Guardsmen at Kent State University, less than 40 miles away, produced a new intensity.

This timeline is an overview of some of the events on campus during the seven days beginning May 1, 1970. It was constructed from contemporaneous accounts of student protestors, university administrators and faculty, and campus news media. All sources are available for research in the University Archives. As is often the case during rapidly changing, emotionally charged events, first person accounts vary.

Friday, May 1
In response to President Richard Nixon's April 30 announcement that American troops had been ordered into Cambodia posters appeared on campus calling for a mass meeting on Saturday.

Saturday, May 2
An open meeting was held in response to expansion of the war to Cambodia.

Sunday May 3
Around 1:00 am approximately 50 people, including students, forcibly entered Yost, demanding an end to the ROTC program. The Air Force ROTC offices were housed in the basement of Yost.

Early Sunday morning CWRU President Robert Morse met with the students.
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At 9 am the Faculty Senate Executive Committee issued a response to the students' demands: the Faculty Senate would not be convened to discuss the ROTC program while Yost was illegally occupied; continued occupation of Yost would subject students to penalties; those leaving the building immediately would not be subject to criminal charges.

At mid-day President Morse issued a statement about Cambodia.
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During an 8 pm mass meeting in front of Yost Hall participants decided to call a student strike to abolish the Case Air Force ROTC program.

Monday May 4
By mid-morning all but a handful of those occupying Yost had left. Departments in Yost, including Mathematics, Career Planning and Placement, and others were reported operating as normal.

At noon a rally on the Case Quad near Strosacker started. Reports estimated the crowd at 1,000 or more. At some point news that students at Kent State University had been shot by Ohio National Guardsmen was received. By 2:00 the group began moving to Thwing. Originally a small group, which grew to 500, blocked the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Adelbert Road from about 2:30 to 4:30. After several warnings, the protesters were dispersed by Cleveland Police on foot and horseback. Both the Case Tech and The Observer reported one person was arrested.
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Monday night, in memory of the Kent State students, a candlelight silent procession was held. Participation was reported at between 2,000 and 4,000. Following the procession four symbolic graves were installed near Thwing.
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Tuesday May 5
During a noon meeting on the Case quad a number of demands were issued: that the university strike; that President Morse issue a statement condemning the war and calling for withdrawal of all American troops; that the university provide free facilities for anti-war activity; that the campus ROTC program be abolished; that the university end military research and investments in corporations profiting from the war; that there be no reprisals against strike participants.

The Faculty Senate held a 4-1/2-hour meeting broadcast live by WRUW, the campus radio station. Expressions of sympathy were extended to Kent State University and Ohio Governor Rhodes was urged to establish an impartial review board to investigate. It was recommended that ROTC be “abolished as a formal part of the curriculum... That ROTC activities on the campus should be limited to the status of extra-curricular clubs..." Undergraduate and graduate students were offered options for completing the semester's work. They could finsh their courses and take final exams or terminate classes on May 5 and take a pass-fail or letter grades based on work completed through May 1.

By Tuesday night Thwing had become the de facto strike headquarters.

Wednesday May 6
At noon another rally was held in front of Strosacker. Meetings continued at Thwing.
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During the day parking lots and the receiving dock were picketed to block deliveries to prevent university “business as usual."

At 3 pm a memorial service for Kent State students was held in Emerson Gym.

That night the ROTC supply room in the basement of Yost Hall was firebombed. Damage was estimated at $5,000.

Thursday May 7
Parking lot pickets continued.
President Morse issued a statement affirming that the campus would remain open.

Organizing continued throughout May and June. A substantial portion of students opted for the early completion of the semester and left campus shortly after May 5. Commencement ceremonies for Case Institute, Adelbert, Mather and Cleveland colleges were held, undisrupted, on May 28. Thwing continued to serve as the 24-hour protest headquarters until June 4, when the university began enforcing the normal closing hours. Seven, including three students, refused to leave and were arrested for trespass on June 5. At their July 21 trial all pleaded no contest and were found guilty. At the university's recommendation, sentences and court costs were suspended. No fines were levied.

Letters, praising and condemning the university, were sent to President Morse. His replies pointed out that "despite difficult events we have remained open, independent, and non-violent."

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