April 29, 2016
To All To Whom These Presents May Come...
Since we are approaching Commencement, it seems a good time to consider one of its established elements - the diploma. As a document type, diplomas represent an interesting mix of continuity and change. The diploma’s purpose, tanglble testimony that a student has met the requirements of a course of study and that a degree was conferred by a university, has endured for centuries. Its form, however, has undergone some intriguing changes.
At Western Reserve, for most of the 19th century, the diplomas were in Latin, not English. The School of Medicine voted to adopt English for its diplomas in 1883.
1842 Western Reserve College diploma - in Latin
1884 Western Reserve University School of Medicine diploma - now in English
The size of our diplomas has varied, from approximately 9x12 inches to 18x24 inches. Generally, the size of the diploma has decreased in size over time. These size changes have not been universally applauded. In 1930, the Law School students objected on the basis that the smaller diploma, “is inadequate for the needs of a professional man.” In 1966, the Law and Dental School students objected both to the size and to the simplicity of the typography and decoration of the diplomas. In supporting the students, the Dean of the Law School, Louis A. Toepfer, wrote, “...a great many lawyers take special pride in having a handsome diploma which they display in their offices.” When the issue was brought to the School of Medicine students, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, John L. Caughey, Jr. reported that, “the decision of the members [of Student Council] was that they didn’t really care enough to get involved.”
Parchment was used in the early days of WRU and Case, eventually replaced by paper. At various times, ribbons were affixed to the diplomas, as were colored and embossed seals.
Ribbon on Western Reserve diploma from the 1870s and Seal on Case School of Applied Science diploma, 1895
For many years, diplomas were rolled when presented to the graduates, such as these College for Women students in 1910.
One of my favorite diploma graphics is the picture of Leonard Case, Jr. that adorned the Case diplomas from the 1880s through the 1910s.
Leonard Case, Jr. on an 1887 Case School of Applied Science diploma
After Federation in 1967, the question of what university’s name would appear on diplomas lingered for several years. Requests for post-1967 diplomas with pre-1967 university names were considered by the Board of Trustees on a case-by-case basis through much of the 1970s. In 1981 the Trustees approved a single diploma style and size to be used by all the schools.
Diplomas have lasting significance, both for students and the university. Some students are unable to attend Commencement to receive their diplomas personally. In spite of the best efforts of university staff, it can sometimes take awhile to deliver these diplomas to graduates. The Archives has documentation of successful efforts to unite diplomas and graduates decades after the degree was awarded. The longest such effort we have identified was the 1963 delivery of his diploma to a 1909 graduate.
Congratulations to all our 2016 graduates. Cherish those diplomas - you've earned them!
April 21, 2016
Patricia B. Kilpatrick
We recently mourned the loss of Patricia B. Kilpatrick, Vice President and University Marshal Emerita on 3/3/2016. To the staff of the University Archives Pat holds a special place. While she held a number of important positions, it was her duties as Secretary of the University that made her our boss. The University Archives was established in 1964 through the persistence of Secretary of the University Carolyn Neff and the hard work of University Archivist Ruth Helmuth. When Pat succeeded Carolyn as Secretary of the University in 1979, she inherited us.
Pat with student protesters outside Haydn Hall, 1969
Pat was born 5/19/1927 in Cleveland. She entered Ohio Wesleyan University in 1945 and transferred to Flora Stone Mather College in 1947. Pat received her B.A. in 1949, majoring in History. She earned the M.A. in Physical Education in 1951. After graduation she married and started a family. She returned to Western Reserve University in 1962 as Instructor in Physical Education. She became an Assistant Professor and served as Chair of the Women’s Physical Education Department, 1970-1972.
In 1965 she became an assistant dean of Mather College. She served on the faculty until 1972, when she moved into administrative work full-time. In 1972 when Adelbert, Mather, and Cleveland Colleges merged, Pat became Associate Dean for Non-Academic Affairs and then Associate Dean for Student Affairs for Western Reserve College. She also served as Director of Thwing Center. With the looming retirement of Carolyn Neff, President Toepfer appointed Pat Assistant Secretary of the University in 1977 so she could learn the various duties. In August 1979 Pat became the last Secretary of the University.
The duties of the Secretary were important and varied. Some of the major responsibilities included administrative support of the Faculty Senate, the Visiting Committees, oversight of the University Archives, commencement, and Squire Valleevue Farm. In 1987 she was promoted to Vice President and University Marshal. The 1991 University Ball was held in her honor and Pat retired 6/30/1992.
Pat Kilpatrick at the University Ball in her honor, 1991 (photograph by Daniel Milner)
Pat served on many committees, one of the most influential being the President’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women in the University - which she chaired (1971-1973). Pat was very involved in the Mather Alumnae Association (serving as President) and the Episcopal Church, in which she held a number of positions on the local and national level.
When the sheep barn at Squire Valleevue Farm was renovated in 1992 it was named Pat’s Place in her honor. Also in 1992, the Physical Education Department created the Patricia B. Kilpatrick Award to be presented to the four-year varsity letter-winner with the highest cumulative grade point average.
Pat was involved with many other committees, awards and accomplishments. Too many for this short post. You can hear Pat discuss her career in this 2008 Case Stories interview and this interview for the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women.
A number of years ago, Pat brought to the University Archives the two original flags of the newly federated CWRU. When Barbara Snyder became president, Pat told her about the flags and that they should hold a place of honor. We selected the flag in the best shape, it was restored, and is now hanging in the first floor lobby of Adelbert Hall.
On a personal note, my last conversation with Pat was in mid-December 2015 when she called to say she wanted to take the Archives staff out to lunch. We could not get it scheduled before the holidays and agreed to set it up after the new year. Unfortunately, we were unable to have that lunch.
Goodbye, Pat. We’ll miss you.
March 17, 2016
“Discovering” Aida Louise Smith: the highs and lows of archival research
Earlier this week I shared some biographical information about Aida Louise Smith, who we believe is the first woman employed by Case School of Applied Science (CSAS). Below is a short description of my search for Aida, along with some insights this small project offers about archival research.
The Power (and Fun) of Serendipity
I didn’t set out to identify the first woman employed by CSAS. We’ve been slowly but surely digitizing our 330-volume collection of student yearbooks. One of the prep tasks is to make sure the volume to be scanned has all its pages. While prepping the Differential 1902, I saw a page devoted to Aida Louis Smith. I was charmed by the tribute and intrigued by the small pieces of her life story it contained. She seemed like a good subject of a blog posting during Women’s History Month, so I decided to see what other details I could find to add to the yearbook information.
Follow the Function
In an archives, there is almost never one source that brings together all information about a person, event, building, or program. Records are by-products of activities carried out by departments, offices, committees, or other units. The way to identify likely sources of information is to think about what activities would have created records about the subject. For example, hiring an employee typically involves applications that contain biographical information. But there’s a catch.
The Way We Do Things Now is Not the Way They’ve Always Been Done
In 2016 there is a structured process to hire employees, an entire Human Resources department that oversees that process, and numerous records are created. In the late 19th century hiring was a simpler matter and records and departments were fewer. Besides the academic departments, CSAS had the President’s Office and two governing bodies, the Trustees and the Faculty. There were no vice presidents, deans, or directors. The Trustees were much more involved in the day to day operation of the school than they are now, and the records reflect that fact. The President submitted periodic detailed operating reports to the Trustees and the Trustee meeting minutes record decisions on such matters as the purchase of library materials, laboratory equipment, and hiring a secretary for the President.
Records Change, Too
During Aida’s time, the annual Catalog of CSAS included a directory of all current students, faculty, trustees, and staff. It wasn’t until 1893 that any staff appeared, male shop assistants. It wasn’t until 1900 that a woman’s name, Aida Louise Smith, appeared as Assistant Librarian. Her name last appeared in the directories in 1905 and the following year Lida Miller Marshall was listed as Secretary to the President.
Be Patient, Persistent, and Skeptical
The annual directories are pretty reliable But if you’re going to claim that someone was the first woman hired at CSAS, confirmation in multiple sources would be beneficial. In the January 1907 President’s report announcing Miss Smith’s departure the previous November, he wrote that she had been his secretary for twelve years. That would mean she was hired in 1894 or 1895, which contradicted the directories. Unfortunately, there are gaps in the President’s reports in the 1890s. Since a new position required ongoing expenditures for salary and given that Trustees acted on relatively modest one-time expenditures, it seemed likely the Trustees would have approved Miss Smith’s hiring. Minutes from 1893 through 1895 were silent, however. While I wasn’t enthusiastic about reading more handwritten meeting minutes, persistence paid off. In the meeting of October 15, 1896 Miss Smith’s hiring was reported and approved. A useful reminder to be skeptical of assertions that happen several years after the fact.
Start with the Short Path, but be Prepared for Dead Ends
Because I hoped to find more pictures of Miss Smith and more information about her life and interactions with students, I skimmed student yearbooks between 1896 and 1907 I found what seems to be a picture of Miss Smith in 1904, but no more details of her life.
One Hundred Percent Certainty is Rare
Contemporaneous records about her hiring do not state that Miss Smith was the first woman hired by CSAS. However, she was the first secretary hired for the President and she was the first woman to appear in the annual directories. The evidence seems persuasive that Aida Louise Smith was CSAS’s first woman employee. But I’m cautious about claiming firsts, so will qualify the assertion by describing Miss Smith as the first documented woman employee at CSAS.
“Discovery,” Documentation, and Researcher Hubris
I found myself crowing to my colleagues that I had discovered the first CSAS woman. Of course, I did nothing of the kind. Miss Smith’s association with CSAS had been documented in the Archives for over one hundred years. At best, I became aware of Miss Smith. To claim I discovered a lost piece of the school’s history diminishes the work of generations of librarians and archivists who labored to protect the documentation of her place in our story. But the next time I hear a researcher describing CWRU’s history as “lost” in the Archives, I’ll try to remember how exciting re-discovery is. And I’ll happily share the best part of being an archivist: to remember and to remind.
March 15, 2016
Aida Louise Smith: Case School of Applied Science’s First Woman?
Case School of Applied Science (CSAS) was incorporated in 1880, with an all-male Board of Trustees, faculty, and student body. The first graduate degree was awarded to a woman in 1928. The first woman joined the faculty in 1938. Women were admitted to the regular undergraduate program in 1960.
But women were engaged in the work of CSAS before these milestones. Aida Louise Smith has recently been identified as the first (documented) woman employed by CSAS.
In the minutes of the October 5, 1896 meeting of the Board of Trustees, President Staley reported, “that he had engaged Miss Louise Smith as Secretary to himself and Faculty at a salary of $8.00 per week as authorized at the last meeting and upon motion President Staley’s action was approved.” Miss Smith remained at CSAS until November 1906. In the annual directories, Miss Smith is variously listed as Assistant Librarian, Secretary to the President, and Secretary of the Faculty.
Aida Louise Smith in CSAS Differential 1902
The Differential 1902, the student yearbook for the 1900/1901 academic year, devoted an entire page to Miss Smith, including the following tribute:
“Case is not a coeducational institution, and naturally there are no ladies on the faculty; but there is one lady at Case without whom the wheels would cease to revolve, and we can think of no one whose withdrawal would occasion such serious interruptions to the established order of things.”
“Miss Aida L. Smith was graduated from Lake Erie College at Painesville, and afterwards traveled extensively in Europe and the East, spending quite a long period at Smyrna. Since her return to America Miss Smith has been engaged more or less in college work. In 1896 she accepted her present position at Case, and since that time there have been devolved upon her, one by one, the duties of librarian, cashier, mail-clerk, telephone-central, secretary, and general advisory committee. A notion of Miss Smith’s wide field of action may be gained by reading the bulletin board at any time:”
‘Found: a bunch of keys; owner may have them from Miss Smith.’ ‘For Case Library cards apply to Miss Smith.’ ‘Freshmen will hand their short stories to Miss Smith.’ ‘Tuition for second term is now due; Miss Smith will receive payment.’
“In the social entertainments at Case, Miss Smith has always been ready with advice and help, and in her every day relations with the school has shown a personal interest in the students which we heartily appreciate.”
I am indebted to Chris Bennett of the Lake Erie College Library for additional information about Aida Louise Smith. She graduated from Lake Erie in 1889. From 1890 to 1892 Miss Smith was a teacher at the American Institute for Girls, in Smyrna, Turkey. After leaving Case Miss Smith served as superintendent of The Sybil Carter Indian Mission. Lake Erie College alumnae directories list her residence in 1928 as Brooklyn New York.
February 29, 2016
African-American History Month Spotlight: MEIOP
The Minority Engineers Industrial Opportunity Program (MEIOP) at Case Western Reserve University began in the summer of 1973 with 12 students. The idea was proposed in the Spring by Ray Bolz, Dean of Engineering. The students worked for their industrial sponsors and their tuition was partially supported by corporate funding. The program was part of a national effort to increase minority participation in the engineering fields tenfold within a decade.
An official description of the program explained, “The Program includes intensive recruiting of talented minority students for a modified cooperative education approach with major industrial companies as sponsors; a continuing grant-in-aid to the students; special academic work at Case for high school juniors and seniors before they enroll at Case; academic supportive services while the students are at Case; and counseling.”
The purpose of the approach was to ensure the highest possible student success and guarantee them financial support during their undergraduate careers. Minorities in the engineering fields were defined as Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. The program was also open to qualified minority transfer students.
B. Samuel Tanenbaum, Professor of Engineering, was the first MEIOP director, and Reginald A. Owens served as Recruiter/Counselor. Recruitment was mainly in Greater Cleveland high schools.
During the first few years, exposure to engineering started the summer between junior and senior years for high school students. They would attend a 7 week program at CWRU. In their senior year of high school they would attend Saturday classes in math and physics in order to meet the entrance requirements for CWRU and be prepared to succeed in engineering. In 1975 the Saturday sessions expanded to include preparation for the SAT and ACT exams. Students had to meet the same admission requirements as any applicant. After 2 years, the program had increased minority enrollment in engineering at CWRU fourfold. While at the university, MEIOP staff and faculty assisted students with career development and summer job placement. In 1981-1982 a new phase was added to the pre-college program. A one-week pre-college program was held for 9th and 10th graders to give early exposure to engineering , hands-on experience in laboratories and counseling.
Students working in engineering labs, July 1988
By Fall of 1974, 23 companies supported the program with job commitments or financial support including: Alcoa, Bailey Meter, Borg Warner, Chi Corporation, Dalton-Dalton-Little and Newport, Diamond Shamrock, Eastman-Kodak, Ford, General Electric, B.F. Goodrich, Gulf Oil, Industrial First, Lubrizol, Lincoln Electric, Ohio Bell, Republic Steel, Sherwin Williams, TRW, Turner Construction, U.S. Steel, Union Carbide, and Warner and Swasey. Some of these companies also granted unrestricted funds for the program. The John Huntington Fund for Education granted $15,000 for the first Summer School.
During the 1974-1975 academic year 27 undergraduate students participated in MEIOP. In the 1978-1979 year 40 undergraduate students participated. In 1982-1983, the tenth year, MEIOP enrollment was 74, or 5% of the engineering student body. Ninety-two percent were Black and 8% were Hispanic. The retention rate from 1981/1982 to 1982/1983 was 89%. (In 1972-1973 minority student enrollment in engineering was 16.)
The program continued to evolve over the last 40 years. Today MEIOP is part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Records of the MEIOP program are available for use in the University Archives.
February 17, 2016
This week and next Case is celebrating Engineer’s Week. For 65 years this national event has raised awareness of the important role played by engineers in society. And engineers know how to have fun, even in the midst of a serious endeavor. Engineer’s Week events have included dropping eggs from the tops of buildings, creating robots out of Legos, building miniature vehicles powered by mouse traps, lobbing water ballons with slingshots, scavenger hunts, powering hot air balloons with birthday candles, building model homes entirely of polymers, not to mention the luncheons and banquets. Information about the 2016 celebration is available here.
Below are a few pictures from the Archives of past Engineer’s Week events.
Mouse trap race, 1985; Lego robot competition, 2002
Egg drop contest, 1987; Engineer's Week flyer, 2003