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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June 24, 2016

Shakespeare beginnings on campus

To help commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the Folger Shakespeare Library is sending a First Folio on a tour of the country. From June 20 through July 30, 2016, the Cleveland Public Library will be the host site in Ohio. To join in this celebration we wanted to touch on Shakespeare in the classroom and on stage at CWRU.

For much of the 19th century the classical curriculum was taught and required of all students. In the late 19th century electives began to be offered.

On 2/29/1892, as reported in the College for Women faculty minutes, a committee was appointed to consider forming a lectureship on Shakespeare. On 5/3 the “Committee on Lectureship on Shakespeare reported that arrangement had been made with Professor Lounsbury to deliver 8 lectures.” A week later, the WRU Board of Trustees Executive Committee approved the appointment of “Professor Thomas R. Lounsbury of Yale Scientific as lecturer on Shakespeare at a salary of $500.” These lectures were given in the Spring 1893 semester.

The first course in Shakespeare at the College for Women was taught in the 1893-1894 academic year. Here is the description from the Catalogue:

“Shakspere. Four plays selected for their illustration of different stages in the development of Shaksperian art, and as a basis for textual criticism. The prescribed work will include the Rolfe edition of the plays, the Shakspere Primer (Dowden), Shakspere’s Versification (Browne), and collateral reading from Shakspere: His Mind and Art (Dowden), and Shakspere as a Dramatic Artist (Moulton).” The class was taught by Mr. C. W. Ayer.

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Lemuel S. Potwin

The first Shakespeare class at Adelbert College was taught in 1895-1896 by Lemuel Potwin. However, according to the 1892-1893 annual report by Potwin, a class was held (1892-1893) studying English poets from Chaucer to Tennyson. During the second half of the year a class of six seniors and juniors “read the whole of Shakespeare, one play being discussed on each day of recitation. Points of discussion were: The characteristics of the different periods of the poet’s work. A comparison with some earlier dramas, and the merits of select passages.” There was also held a class in the Elizabethan Dramatists. A graduate of Yale, Potwin was professor of Latin at Western Reserve College and Adelbert College (1871-1892), professor of English Language and Literature, Adelbert College (1892-1906) and professor emeritus (1906-1907).

In the library’s catalog of 1849 there was a Shakespeare book listed but no title given. It was book 604 on shelf 62. In the 1851 catalog the listing was for Shakspeare William, Dramatic Works.

Coming: Shakespeare performances on campus

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May 24, 2016

Namesakes - Morley Chemical Laboratory and Edward W. Morley

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Edward Williams Morley

A small building on campus, surrounded by Rockefeller Physics and Strosacker Auditorium, Eldred Hall, and Millis Science Center is the Morley Chemical Laboratory.

The building honored former faculty member Edward Williams Morley, renowned scientist, internationally known for his accurate determination of the atomic weights of hydrogen and oxygen. He also worked with Albert A. Michelson on the 1887 ether drift experiment now known as the Michelson Morley Experiment.

Edward Williams Morley was born 1/29/1838 in Newark, New Jersey. The family moved when he was a small child to Hartford, Connecticut. At age 19 Morley entered Williams College and received the A.B. in 1860 and the M.A. in 1863. He attended Andover Theological Seminary, 1861-1864 becoming an ordained minister. He served in the Sanitary Commission 1864-1865. Morley continued his studies for a year and then taught at the South Berkshire Institute 1866-1868. He was offered a ministry in Twinsburg, Ohio and was appointed to the Western Reserve College faculty in 1868. He and his wife Isabella Birdsall Morley arrived in Hudson 1/1/1869, and were met at the station by Professor Carroll Cutler, who later became president of the College. Morley served as Hurlbut Professor of Natural History and Chemistry at WRC (later Western Reserve University),1869-1906, as well as Professor of Chemistry and Toxicology (1873-1881) and Professor of Chemistry (1881-1889) in the Medical Department (now the School of Medicine). He was Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, 1906-1923.

In his early years at WRC, Morley taught a range of scientific subjects including botany, geology, mineralogy, zoology, mathematics, astronomy as well as chemistry. He offered practical instruction in the use of a microscope and field work. This was in an era when all students were taught the classical curriculum.

Professor Morley was one of the professors who made the move with the College from Hudson to Cleveland in 1882. He recounted the details of the move in letters to his parents. Transcripts of these letters were made available on the Archives blog, Recollections, in 2012.

Edward Morley retired from WRU in 1906 and moved to Hartford, Connecticut where he died 2/24/1923. The Morley Chemical Laboratory was constructed after his retirement. It was used by the Chemistry and Geology Departments upon its opening. It was in continuous use by academic departments through the 1999-2000 academic year. Several plans have been made over the last 20 years, including renovating it as well as razing it and constructing a courtyard in its place. The final fate of the building has not yet been communicated to the university community.

Professor Morley had a long and distinguished career in science. Some of the many honors he received were the Sir Humphrey Davy medal of the Royal Society, the Elliot Cresson medal of the Franklin Institute, and the Willard Gibbs medal of the Chicago section of the American Chemical Society. He received honorary degrees from Williams College, Western Reserve University, Lafayette College, University of Pittsburgh, Wooster College, and Yale. He served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society. He was a member of professional societies such as the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America among others. Morley served as honorary president of the Eighth International Congress of Applied Chemistry.

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Morley's laboratory in Adelbert Hall

In 1995 the American Chemical Society designated Morley’s work on the atomic weight of oxygen a National Historic Chemical Landmark. A special program was held on campus and a new plaque was unveiled commemorating Morley’s work. This plaque hangs in the basement of Adelbert Hall, near the site of Morley’s laboratory.

Edward Morley's papers are held at the Library of Congress. Copies of the correspondence along with research notes and reprints are held in the University Archives.

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May 20, 2016

Color Our Collections

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During reading days and final exams at the end of each semester, Kelvin Smith Library offers a range of support activities to help our students. Librarians are available for help finishing up research projects. Therapy dogs comfort and soothe. Collaboration rooms and study areas are available - and heavily used. This year the Scholarly Resources and Special Collections (SRSC) team contributed a de-stressing activity - coloring.

Archives, libraries, and museums have embraced adult coloring. Pages from unique collections are digitized and transformed into coloring pages. In early February this year Color Our Collections Week was organized by the New York Academy of Medicine. Over 200 institutions participated. SRSC's University Archives and Special Collections was unable to participate at that time, but began preparing for an end of semester activity.

Drawings from student yearbooks, maps, bookplates, a poster, and even a football program were selected to offer a range of coloring challenges. The pages and crayons, colored pencils, and markers were available in the Hatch Reading Room on the second floor of Kelvin Smith Library during reading days and finals. The pages are now available for download as a PDF for anyone who'd like to try their hand. We'd love to receive copies of finished artwork via email to archives@case.edu. Checking almost any social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest) for #ColorOurCollections will reveal a wealth of coloring opportunities. Locally, our colleagues at the Dittrick Medical History Center also have a coloring book.

We had fun making our coloring book and hope you enjoy using it.

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