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March 30, 2017

Celebrating Women’s History Month - Equal Suffrage League on campus

"Love Me, Love My Vote"
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-so reads a valentine taken from the college scrapbook of Helen H. Stevens, class of 1919, who served as president of the Equal Suffrage League in 1917-1918.

The Equal Suffrage Chapter of the College for Women was re-established on the campus in the 1915-1916 academic year. According to sources, it had existed a few years earlier but the Archives could not confirm the date. The chapter was reorganized after Emma Maud Perkins called for a meeting of students interested in equal suffrage.

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Emma Perkins was Woods Professor of Latin. A graduate of Vassar College, she moved to Cleveland in 1879 and taught at Central High School. She came to WRU in 1892 as associate professor of Latin at the College for Women. Her widowed mother, Sarah M. Perkins, was a pioneer women’s suffrage worker and lived with her daughter.

The purpose of the Suffrage League was “to promote equal suffrage sentiment among the college women.” The first two years the chapter built up its membership and held meetings where they studied various phases of the suffrage movement. By the 1917-1918 academic year, membership numbered over 50. The League became an auxiliary to the Cleveland Suffrage Party. They held monthly open meetings. Here is a summary of the League activity for the 1917-1918 year taken from the yearbook:

“In October the successful membership campaign was concluded with a tea in Haydn at which Miss Smith and Oliver Emerson spoke. In November there was conducted a mock campaign at the end of which the college voted for or against the Reynold Bill, which provided for Presidential Suffrage for Ohio women. The pleasing result of the election was 308 for and 13 against the Bill.


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Election voting notice and results

"During the campaign we had the pleasure of hearing, at a series of noon meetings in Haydn, Miss Myers, Professor Arbuthnot, Mr. Moley and Mrs. Roger Perkins. In January the League oversubscribed its pledge to the Cleveland party at a meeting led by Felice Crowl. In February Miss Grace Treat talked on ‘The Question in Washington.’ In April the League conducted one of the monthly sing-outs. The annual meeting and election took place in May.”

After decades of advocacy by countless activists, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified 8/18/1920 giving women the right to vote. Our activist women took their new right seriously, forming the League of Women Voters shortly thereafter. The Cleveland League was formed in 1920 and the League of Women Voters chapter at the College for Women was organized in October 1921 by alumna Florence Allen.

We would love to celebrate all women involved in the Equal Suffrage League and have identified the following to date:

Suffrage meeting announcement, 5/22/1919
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1915/1916 officers:
Julia Harmon, president
Mildred Merkel, vice-president
Marie Grosse, secretary
Margaret Barker, treasurer
Elsie McGee, Eva Smill, and Myra Thwing, directors.

1916/1917 officers:
Eva Smill, president
Mildred Merkel, vice-president
Margaret Barker, secretary
Margaret Hamilton, Julia Harmon, Grace Evans, directors

1917/1918 officers:
Helen H. Stevens, president
Margaret Barker, vice-president
Jeannette Dall, secretary
Henrietta Gates, treasurer
Christena Myers, Lela Draper, Adelaide Zeile, Ruth Hillyer, directors

See past Women’s History Month posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

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March 27, 2017

Remembering 1997-1998: March 27, 1998

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The March 27, 1998 Observer continued the long-standing tradition of an April Fool's special section. The Absurder’s breaking news: “Zaremba declared president of CWRU; Pytte refuses to resign... Neo-Luddites balmed for high tech crime spree... Mutant cockroaches storm Crawford... Survey shows: nerds abound at CWRU...”

More conventional headlines included:
• Krzesinski elected as new USG president
• Steiner elected new editor
• Dodd forms committee on academic ethic policy
• Gurarie fences in NCAA Championships
• Tennis team shocked by division rivals
• Baseball team splits doubleheader against Thiel Tomcats

And here's the entire issue: The Observer, 3/27/1998

This is one in a series of weekly blog postings describing what was happening at CWRU, as covered by The Observer, during the years many of the Class of 2020 were born.

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March 20, 2017

Remembering 1997-1998: March 20, 1998

The March 20, 1998 Observer editorial urged, “Implement online registration soon.” Columnist John D. Giorgus opined, “Current physical education standards are a waste.”

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Music critic, Ryan Smith offered his own rating system.

Headlines included:
• Merger may increase train traffic in UC four-fold
• Residence hall restructuring announced for 1998-1999
• Brooten appointed Dean of Nursing
• Eyes On: Urban Asylum
• Dickerson and Wiechers name Truman finalists
• Senior Week fun planned
• Boogie Benefit to fund renovations
• GE, OSCS, CSU form tutoring program
• Take Back the Night protests violence against women
• Makin’ Music: CWRU students to sing and strum at Spot
• CBS scores hit with new “George & Leo” sitcom
• Shakespeare feast to be served tomorrow night at Harkness Chapel
• Creed’s debut album swings and misses with too much hard rock
• Hessler Street Fair poetry contest announced
• Spartans win UAA Championships
• Baseball team starts season on down note
• CWRU holds First Annual Winter Indoor Ultimate Tourney
• CWRU to leave NCAC and become a full time UAA member

And here's the entire issue: The Observer, 3/20/1998


This is one in a series of weekly blog postings describing what was happening at CWRU, as covered by The Observer, during the years many of the Class of 2020 were born.

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March 17, 2017

CWRU’s First International Students

In 2012 7% of Case Western Reserve University’s first-time, first-year students came from outside the U.S. In 2013, Beijing was the hometown of the most members of the entering undergraduate class. By 2016, international students represented 16% of first-time, first-year students. [1]

As an archivist, my default reaction to these kinds of changes and trends is to wonder about historic antecedents. So I set out to identify the first international student from each of our schools. One of the obstacles is that the university recorded far less data about students in the 19th and early 20th centuries than we do now. That means fewer sources to consult, but less certainty about results. So, the necessary disclaimer is that I am identifying the first documented international student in each of our schools.

Because our first reference priority is responding to user requests, my international student quest has been confined to the occasional slow reference periods. So this search will be an ongoing process with additions to this blog entry as additional students are identified.

Here is what is known so far:

CWRU’s first documented international student was George Hall, from England, who entered Western Reserve College in 1839. He attended either one or two years (sources differ). He did not graduate from WRC, but received his A.B. from Princeton in 1845, according to alumni directories.

Case School of Applied Science’s first documented international student was Shin-ichi Takano, from Tokyo. Mr. Takano appears in the 1897/98 and 1899/1900 student rosters as a graduate student. He is also listed in the Case Differential 1901, the student yearbook for academic year 1899/1900, as one of ten graduate students. He is listed in the 1900 commencement program, receiving the M.S. in chemistry. The title of his thesis is The Chemical Composition of the Japanese Petroleums. Fortunately, the Archives has a copy of this thesis. Unfortunately, Mr. Takano does not appear in Case alumni directories, so we know nothing of his life after he graduated.

Case School of Applied Science’s first documented undergraduate international student was Alexander Maurice Orecchia, from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Orecchia appears in the 1900/01 and 1901/02 student rosters. He appears in the 1902 Commencement program, receiving the B.S. in electrical engineering. Case students at that time wrote an undergraduate thesis. The title of Mr. Orecchia’s thesis is Influence of Salts in Solution on the Ampere Efficiency of an Electrolytic Cell. The Archives also has a copy of this thesis. Case 1927, 1958, and 1964 alumni directories list Mr. Orecchia as living in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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Alexander Maurice Orecchia, 1902

[1] The class statistics are from Institutional Research's First-Year Class Profile. Information about student hometowns was reported in the August 20, 2013 Case Daily.

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March 10, 2017

World War I - summary of CIT campus activity in 1917

The United States officially entered World War I on 4/6/1917. This galvanized actions at Case School of Applied Science (CSAS) and Western Reserve University.

President Charles S. Howe
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In the CSAS President’s Annual Report for 1916/1917, President Charles Howe wrote:

“For some time previous to the declaration of the war there had been a great deal of interest among our students in military matters but it had not crystallized into any being. the National Defence Act [sic] of June 1916 made it possible for students in college to form voluntary organizations and for the government to send military officers to institutions where such organizations existed. Engineering students are always very busy with their college work. The demands upon them during the four years of undergraduate life are very much more severe than upon the students in academic colleges. It is, therefore, not surprising that only a few students were willing to take upon themselves work that was not required. After this situation had been explained to the Board [of trustees] a committee was appointed, consisting of two members of the Board and the president of the faculty [Howe]. The committee was asked to thoroughly investigate the question of military drill and the establishment of such military drill as a requirement in Case. The committee had several meeting one with the Secretary of War in Cleveland and another with him in Washington, the latter at his invitation.

“An effort was made to have a military unit established but it was not successful because the number of officers in the army was limited and all of them were needed in the new army about to be raised. We were, therefore, informed that our application was on file - that it would receive consideration just as soon as it seemed possible to supply an officer but that until that time nothing could be done. The committee also endeavored to find out whether it would be possible for us, with our engineering and scientific equipment, to train men as officers for particular scientific departments of the army, or rather, departments where engineering skill is especially needed, as, for instance, in the engineer corps, the ordnance department, the signal corps, etc. Our suggestions were very coldly received by the heads of bureaus but seemed to please the Secretary of War very much. He could, not, however, force the heads of bureaus to attempt work of this kind without their hearty consent and so we have never offered the use of our laboratories to the government.

“As a result of the work of this committee the Trustees, on March 3rd voted that military drill be made compulsory in Case School of Applied Science in accordance with the terms of the National Defense Act of June 1916, and that such drill begin at the opening of the college year 1917-18. It was also voted to increase the length of the college year by one week in order to partially make up for the time which would be taken from studies by the military exercises. Previous to this time, however, military marching had been taken up in the gymnasium as a substitute for gymnasium work. This was carried on under the direction of Professor Adamson who was a captain in the Reserve Corps and by the gymnasium instructors who very willingly took the necessary time to acquaint themselves with the drill manual. At first this work was merely called military marching but as soon as the trustees had taken formal action its title was changed to military drill. The Cleveland Grays kindly loaned us a hundred rifles which they were not using and we secured the services of Captain Lynn, the Adjutant of the Fifth Regiment, Ohio Infantry, as the military instructor. There was little if any objection on the part of the students, even after drill was given for two, three and four hours a day.

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Student Army Training Corps drilling, 1917-1918

“As soon as war was declared and the government had determined to establish officers’ training camps in various sections of the county [sic], the college work was badly disorganized. The greatest excitement prevailed. Almost every student in college wanted to go to the camps and my office was besieged from morning until night by the men who wished to secure recommendations. Of course many of the students were too young to be allowed to enter the training camps but in the upper classes the majority of them were over twenty-one and hence were eligible. A comparatively small number of seniors applied for admission to the camps because they hoped to be admitted to the engineering department of the army. About sixty of the students were appointed to the training camps, the number being about equally divided among the senior, junior, and sophomore classes, although three or four freshmen were admitted. One of the freshmen received the highest rank given to a Case man at the conclusion of the first training camp and is now adjutant of his regiment.

“The training camps were not the only opportunities for college men, and various other military activities were open to them, and the call from some of which seemed to be irresistible. Some entered the aviation corps, some went into the mosquito fleet, some became wireless operators, several went to France with the ambulance corps, and one or two took up Y.M.C.A. work with the army.

“Then came the call to the farm. Although we are situated in a large city some of our students come from the country and there was a very great demand on the part of their fathers to have them go home as soon as possible to assist in the farm work. In other cases young men thought that the farm offered them their best field for service. The faculty, therefore, agreed to excuse on the first of May, all of those who could get positions on farms and to give them credit for the balance of the year’s work if they continued the farm work until September first. About thirty students took advantage of this ruling of the faculty and left college on approximately May first.

“Several of the faculty left before the end of the college year, taking advantage of the action of the Trustees whereby they were given leave of absence during the period of the war and continued under fully salary until such time as the government would provide pay for men in the department which they wished to enter.”

Read WRU President Thwing's summary.

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March 06, 2017

Remembering 1997-1998: March 6, 1998

The March 6, 1998 issue of The Observer announced its contest to predict the Oscar winners. Nominees for Best Picture were Titanic, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential, As Good as it Gets

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Other Headlines:
• Pytte to retire in 1999
• Neff discusses CWRUnet at open forum
• Eyes On: Peer Helpers
• Students prepare for competition in Malta
• Eustis to lead library
• CEC wraps up week of engineering fun
• Schmiedl tells of her “Personal Memory of King”
• Moonwalkin’ Man: MR CWRU talks about the pageant, his Michael Jackson impression...
• Fencers are undaunted by competition
• Hoopsters drop out in quarterfinals
• Wrestlers compete at regionals
• Spartans to compete in nine-day UAA tournament in Florida
• Tennis team prepares to take on NCAC opponents

And here's the entire issue: The Observer, 3/6/1998

This is one in a series of weekly blog postings describing what was happening at CWRU, as covered by The Observer, during the years many of the Class of 2020 were born.

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