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.

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.

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.

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.

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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April 22, 2015

Bringing back the Hudson Relay - 1972

Since the formation of Case Western Reserve University in 1967, there was only 1 year when the Hudson Relay was not run (1971). In 1972 Western Reserve College Assistant Dean Ian Haberman started a movement to resurrect the traditional race. According to the Observer (3/7/1972), Haberman “brought the issue up at last Tuesday’s joint meeting of the four Adelbert Classes and the Mather Government. He reported that a ‘round of applause and general commotion’ ensued at the mention of the rebirth of the relays.

“‘I think there is a need for something like this around here,’ Haberman commented. ‘If we had a little spirit, a little pride, then perhaps we could get other things going here,’ the assistant dean continued.”

Ian S. Haberman

Several special events were held for the race. Breakfast was served at Elizabeth Walker’s house in Hudson. (She was Dean for Freshmen.) President Toepfer hosted the winning team to a steak dinner at the Faculty Dining Club after the race, thus beginning a long-standing tradition. Different colored t-shirts were issued for each team: red for freshmen, green for sophomores, light blue for juniors, yellow for seniors, and navy blue for the Mather team.

The Hudson Relay was run Saturday, April 29, from the original Western Reserve campus in Hudson to the present campus in Cleveland, finishing at the rock in front of Adelbert Main. President Toepfer had a trophy, the Monroe Curtis Cup, made for the winning team. The cup was inscribed, “This is not the ordinary run of experience.” The trophy was named for Monroe Curtis, the Adelbert College student who first proposed the Hudson Relay in 1910 .

Hudson Relay rock

A change to the race was allowing women in the Relay. Mather College, the undergraduate women’s college, became the first school other than Adelbert College to assemble a team and officially race in the Hudson Relay. Forty-five Mather students participated, running half-mile legs.

WRUW, the student radio station, offered live coverage of the race using a radio car.

The sophomore class (Class of 1974) was victorious. Members of the winning team included: Richard Bloom, Ken Leeper, Elliot Roth, Cliff Waldman, Jim Psarras, Gary Schwartz, Bob Fields, Dave Sichel, Mark Auerbach, Abe Fineberg, Bill Garber, Mike Davids, George Hamilton , Dan Vanderheide, Paul Miller, David Gordon, Neil Haymes, Edward Katzman, Dave Shenk, Glenn Miller, Robert Sachs, Ken Silliman, John Conant, Tim Gray, Kent Azaren, Ken Nagleberg, Ron Granrath.

Winning sophomore team celebrating its victory

Thanks to Mike Shay, Adelbert 1970, for pointing out an error in the original posting. I had listed 1970 as a year when the Hudson Relay was not run. Can alumni who participated in the Relay in 1970 contact the University Archives ( or 216-368-3320) with what information they have documenting the 1970 Hudson Relay? Thank you for your interest and response.

Read past accounts of the Hudson Relay.

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April 03, 2015

Namesakes - Newton D. Baker and the Baker Buildings

Newton D. Baker is well-known as Cleveland’s mayor from 1912 to 1916 and Secretary of War from 1916 to 1921. Baker’s CWRU connections are extensive, as well. He was a Trustee of Western Reserve University (1916-1937), Adelbert College (1929-1937), and Cleveland College (1925-1937).

Newton D. Baker, ca. 1937

An advocate of adult education, Baker was instrumental in the founding of Cleveland College in 1925. Opening in rented quarters in downtown Cleveland, Cleveland College focused on the part-time, adult student, with evening classes and an emphasis on life-long learning. When the Depression pushed the heavily tuition-dependent school to the brink of closing in the early 1930s, Baker was an energetic fundraiser whose efforts kept the college alive.

In 1942 the college acquired its own building on Public Square. It was understandable that it be named for Baker, who had died in 1937. When Cleveland College was moved to the Western Reserve campus in University Circle in 1953, the original Newton Diehl Baker Memorial Building was sold to the Society for Savings.

Downtown Baker Building, 1942

The proceeds of the sale, and other funds, financed construction of the university’s second Baker Building, on the southwest corner of Adelbert Road and Euclid Avenue. This Newton D. Baker Memorial Building served as the home of Cleveland College until it was consolidated, with Adelbert and Mather colleges, into what is now the College of Arts and Sciences in 1971. Baker Building, at various times, also housed the School of Management, Instructional Computing, several Arts and Sciences academic departments, the School of Library Science, Western Reserve College offices, Graduate Studies, and Alumni Relations and Development offices. Baker Building was razed in 2004.

University Circle Baker Building

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March 13, 2015

Namesakes - Laura Kerr Axtell and the Kerr Professorship in Mathematics

In the spring of 1885, the 4-year-old Case School of Applied Science boasted an enrollment of 39 and a faculty of 7. Tuition was $50 for the year. The financial statement for 1885 reported gross income of a little more than $239,000.

In May 1885 Laura Kerr Axtell donated to the school real estate valued at approximately $125,000 to endow a professorship in Mathematics in honor of her brother, Levi Kerr. One can only imagine the reaction of the trustees upon receving a gift equivalent to 52% of the school’s total annual income. The Kerr Professorship was the first endowed professorship established at Case School of Applied Science.

Laura and Levi were cousins of Case’s founder, Leonard Case, Jr. Levi had served as administrator of Leonard’s estate and was one of the original incorporators and trustees of Case School of Applied Science. Brother and sister were both born in Mentor, Laura in 1818 and Levi in 1822. More is known of Levi’s life than Laura’s. In his teens he spent 3 years in the West Indies and Japan. Upon his return to America he worked in the dry-goods business in New York. He later relocated to western Pennsylvania where oil was found on a tract of land he had purchased and later sold to Standard Oil. Levi returned to northeast Ohio around 1870 and prospered as a banker and businessman until his death in 1885 in a drowning accident in Florida.

Laura inherited a sizable estate from her brother, which enabled her gift to Case. One obituary described her as “liberal in her benefactions.” During her life and at her death in 1890 she was a generous supporter of Case, the Lake Erie Seminary, and several Episcopal churches in the Painesville area.

Francisca Himmelsbach painting of Laura Kerr Axtell

Kerr Professors and the dates they held the professorship are:

John N. Stockwell, 1886-1887
Harry F. Reid, 1887-1889
Charles S. Howe, 1890-1908
Theodore M. Focke, 1908-1944
Sidney W. McCuskey, 1945-1971
James C. Alexander, 1998-2008
Stanislaw Szarek, 2009-

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