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.”

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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.

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

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September 08, 2016

Remembering 1997-1998: Week 2

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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.

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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.

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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

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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)

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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...”

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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.

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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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July 14, 2016

Kelvin Smith Library - Origins, Innovations, and a Few Numbers

The history of libraries at Case Western Reserve University has been a lengthy process of consolidation. In 1929 Western Reserve University had thirteen school and sixteen department libraries. In his 1928/29 annual report President Vinson wrote, “There is a large and increasing number of libraries in and around the University the coordination of which would, it is thought, work to the great advantage of all.” In December 1929, that coordination began with the appointment of Herbert Hirshberg as Director of University Libraries. It might be said that Kelvin Smith Library’s organizational geneaology begins with the establishment of University Libraries under Hirshberg. In the almost 90 years since, libraries have experienced an intriguing mix of continuity and change. Below are a few examples:

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Library card catalog (left); Freiberger Library computer laboratory, 1991 (right)

1930: Western Reserve University’s libraries held a total of 360,000 volumes and spent $58,513.59 on books.

1936: The Cleveland Regional Union Catalog brought together, in a single card catalog, the holdings of over 40 libraries in the Cleveland area, including both WRU and Case libraries. The catalog was housed at WRU.

1945: WRU’s University Library’s total budget was $66,678.60.

1949: WRU’s University Library established an Audio-Visual Aids service to identify, order, and show films. In the first year over 7,300 students viewed 300 films.

1950: WRU’s University Library held 421,712 volumes, managed by a staff of thirty-two. Its total budget was $150,614. Nine other libraries existed for Flora Stone Mather College, Cleveland College, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Applied Social Sciences, Dentistry, Library Science, and Architecture.

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Freiberger Library staff, 1959

1960: The total budget of WRU’s University Library was $295,060.

1965: Besides the University Library, WRU had separate libraries for the schools of Law, Medicine, Nursing, Applied Social Sciences, Dentistry, and Library Science. University Library’s budget was $468,620.

1968: James V. Jones was hired as Case Western Reserve University's Director of University Libraries. Although they would remain physically distinct for nearly 30 more years, Western Reserve University's Freiberger Library and Case Institute of Technology's Sears Library administratively became a single unit.

1971: University Library held 840,000 volumes and had a total budget of $1,544,191.

1975: Sears Library was one of several campus buildings flooded by severe thunderstorms. Over 50,000 volumes were damaged. While most of the volumes were restored, 10,000 were lost. Collection losses totalled $800,000.

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Sears Library flood, 1975 (left); Instruction in using dedicated database terminal, 1978 (right)

1979: Access to over 200 Lockheed Information Systems, SDC, and BRS indexing and abstracting databases was available through dedicated terminals in Freiberger and Sears libraries.

1986: A new microcomputer laboratory, featuring Apple computers, opened in Freiberger Library. Almost 2,400 people used the lab during its first 20 weeks.

1987: EUCLID, the combined catalog for all campus libraries, went on-line. Terminals were available in all the libraries and it was hoped that dial-in access would be available soon.

1989: A new computer lab opened in Sears Library. It featured Macintosh SEs and ImageWriter LQs. Software such as PageMaker 3.02, Hypercard, and Microsoft Word 4.0 was available. Laser printing was 25 cents per page.

1990: Databases on CD-ROM allowed library users to conduct their own database searches on specially equipped workstations in Freiberger and Sears libraries. The Mailroom team defeated the Library team, 44-24, for the championship of the staff basketball league. (Libraries do not run on technology alone.)

1996: Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) opened, combining the collections and services of Freiberger and Sears libraries.

2001: KSL launched a Digital Chat Reference service to alow users outside the library to easily connect to reference librarians.

2004: The Center for Statistical and Geospatial Data opened in KSL to assist users to combine data from multiple sources and plot the results on a variety of maps.

2005: The Samuel B. and Marian K. Freedman Digital Library, Language Learning, and Multimedia Services opened to offer state-of-the-art multimedia tools to the campus community. KSL’s collection held 1,938,766 print volumes. The total budget was $8,400,979.

2006: Digital Case was launched as CWRU’s “digital library, institutional repository and digital archive.”

More recent initiatives at KSL can be seen in the library’s strategic plans and reports and KSL News

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June 29, 2016

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library. - Albert Einstein

In 1828 the first bequest given to Western Reserve College was half of Reverend Nathan B. Derrow's library. For the next nearly-190 years generous donors have supported CWRU’s libraries and generations of students, faculty, and staff have used library collections and services. In 2016 our most recent library, Kelvin Smith Library, celebrates its 20th anniversary. Below is a summary of KSL’s predecessor library buildings.

Henry R. Hatch Library (1896-1943)
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Hatch Library was Western Reserve University's first building constructed and used entirely as a library. Before Hatch libraries occupied parts of multiple campus buildings, including Adelbert Hall, Clark Hall, and Case Main. Hatch was the library of Adelbert College, the undergraduate men’s college, until 1943, when its collection was integrated into the University Library in Thwing Hall. The building, on the southwest corner of Euclid and Adelbert, was razed in 1956. Henry R. Hatch, a trustee, donated the funds for the original building and for two additions in 1898. His generosity is memorialized in the Hatch Reading Room on the second floor of Kelvin Smith Library.


Thwing Hall (1934-1956)
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Western Reserve University president, Charles F. Thwing had stated that if a building was ever named for him, he wanted it to be a library. In 1929 WRU purchased the Excelsior Club for $650,000. In 1934 it was converted to a library and dedicated on President Thwing’s 81st birthday.


Freiberger Library (1956-1996)
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Along with several other buildings, Freiberger’s construction was financed by Western Reserve University’s 125th Anniversary Campaign. Construction was completed in 1956 and the University Library moved from Thwing Hall. Named for I.F. Freiberger, alumnus, trustee, and benefactor, whose generosity is memorialized in the I.F. Freiberger Pavilion on the second floor of Kelvin Smith Library.


Sears Library (1961-1996)
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Constructed in 1960 as the Library-Humanities Building, Sears was Case Institute of Technology’s first library building. Previously, a reading room was housed in the Case Main Building and most academic departments maintained their own libraries. The building was re-dedicated in 1966 as the Lester M. and Ruth P. Sears Library-Humanities Building.

Kelvin Smith Library (1996-)
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Constructed between 1994 and 1996, at a cost of $29.5 million dollars, the 150,000 square-foot Kelvin Smith Library merged the Sears and Freiberger collections and services. The lead gift was made by the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. A. Kelvin Smith, for whom the library is named, was an alumnus, trustee, and friend.

In pursuit of brevity, this summary does not include the Cleveland Health SciencesLibrary and its predecesssors or the Judge Ben C. Green Law Library or the Harris Library of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

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