July 10, 2014

Campus in July

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Campus in summer, 1972

Many consider July the quietest month on campus - classes are not in session, people go on vacation, not many major events are held. But there’s a, perhaps, surprising amount of activity during this quiet month.

University staff with finance responsibilities are busy closing the books on the just-ended fiscal year. As the Archives is located in the same buidling as the Controller’s Office, we see them in the halls. I would never describe my colleagues as haggard, but there are signs that some of these folks may be putting in long hours. Faculty are planning fall classes, writing and continuing their research. Most of us are doing annual reports. Many of us are catching up on projects postponed from the previous academic year or getting ready for the coming academic year.

Many changes take effect in July, especially July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. Case Western Reserve University was created July 1, 1967. The Colleges, combining the undergraduate colleges Western Reserve College and Case Institute of Technology, was created July 1, 1987. It was “uncreated” five years later, again on July 1, when it was separated into the College of Arts and Sciences and the Case School of Engineering.

July often has seen the start of campus building and renovation projects. In 1985 the first phase renovation of the Emerson Physical Education Center, later renamed the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center, started in July. Smaller projects have also been done: restoration of the windows of Amasa Stone Chapel in 1999, installation of the clock on the exterior of the Biomedical Research Building in 1992. Although, it may not be accurate to characterize a 16-foot tall, one-ton clock as a small project.

Major initiatives are frequently announced in July, even though they begin months later. Both the first and final phases of CWRU’s no smoking policies were announced in July - in 1987 and 1989. CWRU’s campus-wide Community Service Day, scheduled in September, was announced in July 2003.

Although fewer in number than during, say, April, events large and small have been held in July. In the 19th century, Commencement was often in July. More recently Party on the Quad has usually been held in July. In 1988 stamp collectors gathered on campus in July for the unveiling of a stamp honoring Dr. Harvey W. Cushing.

I’ve become more aware of these events recently as I’ve begun tweeting what I think of as Days in the Life of CWRU. It has been something of a challenge to find events for every day in July, and some days defeated me. My goal is to share some event during the university’s life for as many days as possible in the next year. The University’s history is not the sole property of the University Archives, of course, so I hope others will join in - #cwruhistory.

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June 13, 2014

Student Traditions - Mr. CWRU

“I never knew how much fun a male beauty pageant could be... ” - Michael Dennison was quoted by the 1999 Retrospect in its coverage of the Mr. CWRU pageant. Sigma Psi sorority has sponsored the annual event since 1979.

Contestants, sponsored by residence halls, fraternities and sororities and other campus organizations, competed in swimwear, formal wear, and talent categories. Finalists answered the kinds of probing questions typical of beauty pageants. A panel of judges determined the winner. Prizes were also given for Mr. Macho, Mr. Congeniality, Mr. Photogenic, First Runner-Up, and Second Runner-Up. Within a few years a category was added for costumes representative of the sponsoring organization (e.g., the Sherman Tank for Sherman House).

From photographs published in the student yearbooks, the swim wear modeled was typically abbreviated. A notable exception was the diver’s wet suit donned by Gary Butchko in 1990.

Contests had themes including “Whatta Man” (1994), “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (1995), “Looking for the Next 007” (1997), “Unmasking the Men” (2002), “One Singular Sensation of Men” (2003).

Talents on display have included singing, dancing, poetry recitation, comedy routines, a blues rendition of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, and juggling. One of the more esoteric talents was Tom Thole’s creation of a painting composed of applesauce, grape jelly, spaghetti, and baked beans commemorating the Michelson-Morley Centennial. Candidates have solved Rubix Cubes (in less than 2 minutes), written computer programming code, and set their hands on fire.

Proceeds have benefitted charities including Big Brother/Big Sister program, Ronald McDonald House, Environmental Health Watch, Project Step-Up, the Cleveland Free Clinic, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and many others.

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Mr. CWRU pageant, 1980. Vis a Vis, 1981

Below are some of our Mr. CWRUs and their sponsors

1979 - Scott Elliot, Cleveland Institute of Music
1980 - David Brockett, Cleveland Institute of Music
1981 - Mel Jones, Jr., Phi Delta Theta
1982 - Pirooz Pazirandeh, Delta Tau Delta
1983 - Eric Schneider, Sigma Chi
1984 - Doug Christenson
1985 - Joe Waked
1986 - Chris DeHaas, Theta Chi
1987 - John Pickens, Sigma Chi Little Sisters
1989 - Curtis Duncan, Sigma Alpha Mu
1990 - Andrew Hlabse, Zeta Beta Tau
1992 - Steve Pieniak, Sigma Tau
1994 - Mike Chandler, Sigma Alpha Mu
1995 - Mark Jordan, Sigma Alpha Mu
1996 - Emeka Ofobike
1997 - Keith Hovey, Delta Tau Delta
1998 - Nestor Colon, Zeta Beta Tau
2000 - Bill Darnieder
2001 - Adam Evans, Phi Kappa Tau
2002 - Herman Bagga, Phi Mu
2003 - Pete Ritchie, Delta Tau Delta
2004 - Tony Huspaska, Delta Gamma
2005 - Matt Whilden
2010 - David Holcomb, Beta Theta Pi

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May 23, 2014

Student Traditions - Class gifts

Besides Commencement, another end of academic year tradition is class gifts. Here we highlight a class gift which has made a permanent mark on the campus: the sculpture Desire to Heal.

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Desire to Heal

Desire to Heal is the sculpture located in front of the Dental Clinic off Cornell Road. The School of Dentistry Class of 1973 presented this gift to the School. The class had commissioned faculty member Dr. Michael Tradowsky, Assistant Professor in Restorative Dentistry, to design the work of art. Dr. Tradowsky received training in sculpture from Monterey Peninsula College.

The sculpture is made from a blend of reinforced concrete. It stands four feet high and rests on a three foot base. It was designed to complement the architecture and surroundings of the building. It has been referred to informally as “the tooth.” Dr. Tradowsky stated, “The sculpture should give the viewer the desire to fit its three equal segments together. The desire to heal is inherent in live material, and the art piece has the form of an organic object, capable of this healing process.”

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May 12, 2014

Commencement Speakers

In 1830, four years after its founding, Western Reserve College held commencement exercises for its first graduating class of four students. Over the next 184 years the University has gathered to honor the accomplishments of our graduates. A common element of commencement ceremonies is the keynote address offering students advice, encouragement, and congratulations. A few of our more prominent speakers have included:

2004 - 10 years ago Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and the 1986 receipent of the Nobel Peace Prize, gave the address at CWRU's main commencement ceremony. Case Western Reserve awarded Wiesel the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

1964 - 50 years ago poet, playwright, and novelist James Langston Hughes was the Adelbert College commencement speaker. Cleveland Plain Dealer coverage quoted Hughes as urging the graduates, “It is up to you in the world of tomorrow to see that everyone has his rent money, his mortgage money and a place to eat and sleep.”

Western Reserve University awarded Hughes the honorary Doctor of Letters. The citation reads,
“Poet, writer, and powerful advocate of the cause of freedom.
Because you have used your great creative gifts to enrich the literature of our country both in poetry and prose;
Because you have championed the cause of the creative artist in our society;
Because you have brought credit to this city of your youth;
Because you have given your efforts and your talents to the achievement of a greater freedom and a more perfect dignity for men of all races, we delight to honor you.”

1894 - 120 years ago Jane Addams was the College for Women commencement speaker. Addams, co-founder of Hull House, the first settlement house in the United States, was a woman’s suffrage activist and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Cleveland Plain Dealer coverage of her commencement address included her thoughts on education, “People used to take education much as they took measles. Not until recently did it become a permanent feature of life, a vital part of humanity...” and women’s role in society’s social problems, “She must seek to relieve the depressed and comfort the afflicted. She must realize the human claim. The world has been pushed forward, not by patriots, but by humanitarians.”

Additional infomation about Commencement, including images and programs can be found in the University Archives Commencement Collection in Digital Case.

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April 16, 2014

Western Reserve College’s First Student Organizations

In the earliest decades of Western Reserve College, student organizations were few. The very first student group was the Philozetian Society, one of several so-called literary societies. Today we would consider these debate clubs. Their purpose was to give students practice in debate, oration, and parliamentary procedure - all necessary skills for the ministry, law, and public affairs, for which students were being prepared.

The Philozetian Society was established on October 22, 1828, a little more than a year after the first classes were held. Meetings were held weekly, usually on Wednesday evenings. The meetings included extemporaneous debates during which the chairman proposed a topic and called upon members without prior notice. Topics for scheduled debates were assigned in advance by the program committee one week in advance. Topics included a broad range of contemporary issues, including, (1867) “Should the Right of Suffrage be extended to American Women?” (1871) “Should ministers preach politics?” (1874) “Is cremation better than burial?” (1879) “Have we anything to fear from Catholicism in this country?”

Together the literary societies published an annual newspaper, The Transcript, in the 1860s. Not surprising from debating clubs, editorials on issues of the day as well as the state of the College were a staple of the newspaper.

As was common among college literary societies, the Philozetian Society established its own library, separate from that of the College. Books were purchased, using society dues and fines. Members, former members, and friends of the College were also encouraged to donate books from their own libraries. Some of the Philozetian Societies’ books can still be found in Kelvin Smith Library’s Special Collections. The group continued to operate after Westen Reserve College moved to Cleveland in 1882, but was much less active and seems to have ceased around 1890.

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Philozetian Society seal from an 1868 membership certificate

Philozetian Society records in the University Archives include:
Meeting minutes, 1828-1884
Constitutions and by-laws, 1828-1886
Financial and membership ledgers, 1867-1886

Secondary sources about literary societies at WRC and at other schools include:
Waite, Frederick C. Western Reserve University - The Hudson Era: A History of Western Reserve College and Academy at Hudson, Ohio, from 1826 to 1882. (Cleveland: Western Reserve University Press, 1943)

Harding, Thomas S. “College Literary Societies: Their Contribution to the Development of Academic Libraries, 1815-1876” The Library Quarterly. v.29 no.1 (Jan. 1959): pp. 1-26 and v.29 no.2 (Apri 1959): pp. 94-112

Saslaw, Rita. Student Societies: Nineteenth Century Establishment. Thesis (Ph.D.) Case Western Reserve University, 1971

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March 28, 2014

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Gwinn Girls

In preparation for the March 1967 retirement of Evelyn Svoboda, Assistant to the Comptroller, the Gwinn Girls was formed. Comprised of women administrators, executive aides, secretaries and other non-academic staff of WRU, the group came together to have fun several times a year, holding their functions at Gwinn Estate in Bratenahl. Thirty-eight women attended the first party. Dinner was $5.00, dinner with cocktails was $6.50. The ladies donated $39.00 for a retirement gift. Hough Caterers did not charge for the bartender or for gratuities for personnel, “consequently , the ‘treasury’ had an unexpected balance” of $39.10.

The original “Volunteer Committee” consisted of Matilda Jameson, Administration Assistant in the President’s Office; Ethel A. Oster, Executive Secretary to the Vice President for Finance; Thya Johnson, Secretary to the Dean of the Graduate School; Rose Psenicka, Secretary to Secretary of the University; and Julia Scofield, Secretary to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The Gwinn Girls quickly held another retirement party in June 1967 and the group was off and running. The women who had worked at Case Institute of Technology were invited to join after Federation. This included women such as Helen Stankard. As women retired they suggested their replacements be invited to join, and sometimes they stayed members themselves. They tried to have every building represented in the membership. A different woman was the hostess for each party and made all the arrangements.

In 1970 they started calling their events “meetings” instead of parties since Gwinn was only to be used for meetings. In 1974 they had a record attendance of 73 and discovered that the limit for dinner at Gwinn was 60 and they had to start capping attendance. Speakers were sometimes invited to address the group. This included our own Ruth Helmuth, University Archivist. (Mrs. Helmuth was also a Gwinn Girl and regularly attended events.)

The significance of such a network should not be overlooked. These women knew who to contact for any situation and had relationships set up across campus. It could only aid in the smooth flow of the day job at the university.

The last documented event the University Archives has of the Gwinn Girls was May 31, 1979. In 1997 Rose Psenicka, one of the founders, visited the Archives and dropped off the Gwinn Girls records with a note: “This is how it all began. Evelyn Svoboda worked for a long time in the Controller’s Office. We had such a success we did it again & again. (That is partied.)”

See other Women's History Month entries from 2011, 2012, and 2013.

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March 07, 2014

Student Traditions - Martha Washington Party

The January 19, 1905 minutes of the College for Women Students’ Association contains the following, “Miss Thomas spoke of a College Party to advance college spirit. Moved, seconded, carried that this party take place on 21st of Feb. Moved, seconded, and carried that a committee of eight be appointed to prepare for the party, 2 from each class.”

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Thus began a nearly 35-year tradition at Flora Stone Mather College. Always held in February, on or near George Washington’s birthday, the costume ball was open only to the College’s students and faculty. Prizes were given for creative costuming. Sometimes skits were performed. The centerpiece, referenced in handbook and yearbook descriptions of the party, was the junior class performance of the minuet.

One aspect of this remarkably consistent student event that changed over time was the name. Starting as the College Party, within a few years it became the Washington Birthday Party or the George Washington Birthday Party. In 1914 the February masquerade became the Martha Washington Party, which name continued until 1939, the last reference we have found to the party. The name change preceded the appearance of the students’ Equal Suffrage League by a few years. There is no reason for the name change recorded in the Students’ Association records. But I can’t help but wonder if naming this College tradition for Martha Washington was an indicator of feminist aspirations.

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February 26, 2014

African-American History Month Spotlight: Albert L. Turner, John A. Cobbs, and Delta Sigma Rho

In celebration of African-American History Month we are spotlighting 2 alumni - Albert Louis Turner and John Alfred Cobbs - who were prize-winning debaters, and Delta Sigma Rho, forensic honor society.

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Albert L. Turner, 1923

Albert Turner was born 4/9/1900 in New Orleans. After graduation from New Orleans University High School he entered Adelbert College in 1919. As a student he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the Debate Team, and the track team. He also ran in the Hudson Relay for 3 years. When he first entered Adelbert he was planning a career in medicine but at some point he changed to law. A prize-winner in oratory in high school, he continued in college. He won first place in the Junior-Sophomore Oratorical Contest, second place in the Junior-Senior Extempore Contest, and the President’s Prize in Debating. He graduated cum laude from Adelbert College in 1923. He entered the Law School and graduated in 1927, being elected to the Order of the Coif. He practiced law in Cleveland with Alexander Martin, a graduate of Adelbert class of 1895 and Law School 1898. He received the M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1933 and 1943. He taught political science and history at Tuskegee Institute, 1928-1941, also serving as assistant dean and registrar. Dr. Turner served as Professor of Law and Dean of the School of Law at North Carolina College 1941-1965. (He worked for the federal government for 4 months in 1944.) He died in 1973. His wife, Dessa Clements, received the degree of Pharmaceutical Chemist from the WRU School of Pharmacy in 1922.

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John A. Cobbs

John A. Cobbs was born 1/8/1912 in Roanoke, Virginia. He moved to Cleveland when he was in junior high school and graduated from Central High School before entering Adelbert College. As a student Cobbs was a member of the Powerhouse editorial staff (the Powerhouse was a student feature magazine), the football team, and the Reserve Rostrum. He was one of the members of the first team of the Reserve Rostrum. In March 1934 he won the Public Discussion contest at the National Invitation Meet of Delta Sigma Rho at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the same tournament he was a member of the team which tied for second place in debate. He took first place ($100) in the Northern Oratorical League contest held at the University of Minnesota in May 1934. According to a newspaper account, “This is one of the greatest forensic honors that can be conferred upon a college orator. Three of the four judges gave Cobbs an undisputed first place. The winning speech was titled “Three Score Years and Ten” and outlined the progress of the Negro race.” He won the Civic League Oratorical contest in 1933, and the Annual Oratorical Contest for the President’s Prizes at Adelbert in 1933. He won the state championship in oratorical contests at Ohio Wesleyan in 1933. Cobbs graduated from Adelbert College in 1934.

Delta Sigma Rho was a forensic honor society (it is now known as Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha). It was founded in 1906. The Western Reserve University chapter was established in 1911. Howard S. Woodward was the faculty advisor for debating activities at WRU in the 1920s and 1930s when Turner and Cobbs were students. Educated at Hiram College, Yale University and Harvard, he began teaching at Illinois State Normal School in 1905. He began at Adelbert College in 1909 as instructor in English and became Professor of English in 1924 and Professor of Speech in 1927. He was still professor at the time of his death 12/8/1942.

Delta Sigma Rho had a provision against Negro members. Over time there were several attempts to abolish this provision. In 1931 a vote was taken by chapters to strike out the words “not a negro” from the Constitution and General Regulations. The WRU chapter voted in favor of the action but it failed to be approved by the necessary vote. In 1934 an attempt to strike down the color line again was held.

The members of the WRU chapter received a 7/28/1934 letter from Woodward which, in part, stated:

“In part because of my efforts and actuated in part by the achievements of John Cobbs during 1933-1934, the national president has resubmitted the amendment to the constitution which would remove the bar to Negro membership This proposal was approved by the Reserve chapter when last submitted and I hope it will be supported again by our chapter.

“In the case of the Reserve chapter John Cobbs constitutes the most convincing argument for the amendment. Since Delta Sigma Rho is an honor, not a social, organization, it is an absurdity if not a tragedy that he is barred. Most of you know something of his record. He became one of the most effective debaters in Reserve’s list of skilled and forceful debaters. At Madision last spring he won first place in the Public Discussion competition of the national invitation speech tournament of Delta Sigma Rho in a field of 36 competitors, scattered all the way from California to Louisiana. He was also one of our debaters who tied for second place in the debate competition of the same tournament....Later he did what no other Reserve man had ever done in the six years of our membership in the Northern Oratorical League - won first place. He is not only a clear thinker and an excellent speaker but he is a gentleman. His fellow students with whom he worked feel that Delta Sigma Rho makes a most unfortunate discrimination.”

On 10/16/1934 the WRU chapter again voted in favor of the amendment. In 1935 the amendment passed with 53 chapter votes yes and 5 chapter votes no. The 53rd vote was received 4/15/1935 by the national office and Woodward was informed via a letter of 4/18/1935 by Professor H. L. Ewbank of the University of Wisconsin, president of Delta Sigma Rho. On 4/26/1935 Woodward sent a letter to Ewbank notifying him that the WRU chapter had unanimously voted membership for John Cobbs and Albert Turner. Woodward wrote, “We are delighted finally to have the privilege of doing this.”

While Cobbs was working in the Cleveland area in 1935, Turner was teaching at Tuskegee Institute. On 5/1/1935 Turner wrote to Woodward, “I was indeed happy to receive the telegram bearing the news of my election to Delta Sigma Rho. I consider it a great honor to me, and a remarkable proof of the fair attitude of Western Reserve towards all of its students and alumni.

“However, it is to you Professor Woodward, that I am especially indebted and especially grateful. As proud as I am of my election to Delta Sigma Rho, I am more deeply moved by the fact that you have remembered me and my work after thirteen years....”

You can read past blog entries about African-American history at Case Western Reserve University from 2013 and 2011.

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January 28, 2014

Winter Olympians at CWRU

In honor of the 2014 Winter Olympics we thought of highlighting past winter Olympians associated with our university: David W. Jenkins, School of Medicine class of 1963, and Walter (Ty) Danco, Law School student in 1970s.

As a medical student David Jenkins won the gold medal in men’s figure skating for the United States at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. He also won the bronze medal in 1956 at Cortina, Italy. (His brother, Hayes, had won the gold medal in men’s figure skating at the 1956 Winter Olympics.) In Squaw Valley he finished ahead of Karel Divin (silver) of Czechoslovakia and Donald Jackson (bronze) of Canada. He received one perfect score of 6.0 in his free skate as well as several 5.8’s and 5.9’s. After capturing the gold medal he performed with the Ice Follies before returning to his studies. Jenkins received the M.D. from Western Reserve University School of Medicine June 12, 1963.

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David Jenkins

In addition to his Olympic medals Jenkins also won the World Championship in 1957, 1958, and 1959.

Ty Danco competed in the men’s doubles luge at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid in 1980. He and his partner, Dick Healey, finished 11th with a time of 1:21:341. At that time, this was the best time and best finish of American double-lugers since the sport’s Olympic debut in 1964. He also won the North American Luge Championship in 1978. Ty graduated from Middlebury College in 1977 and entered the CWRU Law School while training for the luge. He traveled to Europe several times for training since the facilities were limited in the United States.

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Walter (Ty) Danco

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January 24, 2014

Tempus: Student Tradition to Student Protest

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One of the more contentious student traditions, Tempus began in the late 1850s when Western Reserve College was located in Hudson. Tempus was held the week before Thanksgiving and featured music and satirical skits. College life and the faculty, singly and as a group, were often lampooned. Originally a private event only for students, within a few years the public was invited and attended in substantial numbers.

Occasionally, the faculty took steps to modify what they saw as vulgar student excesses. Faculty disapproval of Tempus came to a head during the College’s first year in Cleveland. On October 9, 1882 the faculty voted to abolish Tempus. As arrangements for the event were nearly completed, the students objected and requested the prohibition be reversed.

Minutes of the College faculty record that on November 25, “A special meeting was held at Mr. Cutler’s house, to consider a request from a committee of students, that we recall the prohibition of an entertainment at about Thanksgiving time of the character of the so called Tempus. All the professors were present. All were agreed that nothing had been shown justifying any change in our action of October the ninth. Mr. Cutler is to write a statement which is to be read after prayers on the 27th.”

President Cutler’s statement repeated the prohibition, but the students held Tempus on November 28 at Doan’s Armory, as planned.

The controversy in Cleveland’s new institution of higher education did not escape media attention. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on November 28, “A ‘tempus in a teapot’ is raging in Adelbert College... The faculty declare these historic frolics have generally been ‘vulgar’ and ‘scurrilous’... The students, on the other hand, put in an intelligent plea for the necessity of a periodical throwing off of the restraint of study and discipline for the good of their physical natures.”

At its December 4 meeting the faculty resolved that, “The conduct of the students in holding a so called Tempus last Tuesday evening was considered, and it was agreed to require each student to answer so many of the following questions...” Each student was asked if he was present, for how long, if he was a spectator or participant, and, if a participant, what role he played.

On December 8 the Plain Dealer reported that, “At noon yesterday the members of the junior class of Adelbert College were notified that President Cutler desired to speak to them. His speech was short but pointed. He said: ‘I am instructed by the faculty to inform you that in consequence of your originating and taking part in a Thanksgiving entertainment of the nature of Tempus, in spite of the thrice repeated prohibition of the faculty, you are no longer members of the college. You will not attend any more college exercises and your parents have been notified of this action.’” The article went on to report that the students met and resolved that no students would attend college exercises until the juniors were reinstated.

The faculty held to their position, recording on December 9 that, “A communication was brought to the president on Thursday evening by six students, saying that they with others proposed to attend no more college exercises until the men lately removed from college by the vote of the faculty should be reinstated... It was agreed to notify the parents of each student and to secure their cooperation in securing his return to his duties in college.”

The Plain Dealer reported on December 12 that the juniors had urged the other classes to return to the college and that each of the expelled juniors would write a letter of apology, not for the “harmless entertainment” but for disobeying the faculty prohibition.

Beginning on December 11 and for several weeks, faculty minutes record receipt and responses to letters from the juniors asking to be reinstated.

On December 19 the faculty “...voted that all whose requests are satisfactory be reinstated on probation at the beginning of the next term, and that the probation shall last till the end of the college year.”

The Plain Dealer reported on December 14 that student resentment of the faculty was high, with many students vowing not to return to the college the next year. Although outside the scope of this short description, it would be interesting to know how many students did not return to Adelbert College in 1883. Tempus was held in later years, as evidenced by programs from 1886 and 1899. Whether these later performances attracted the same type of faculty reaction might also be explored using records in the Archives. These sources include programs from 1859 to 1899; recollections of William Elroy Curtis, class of 1869; Adelbert College faculty minutes; student yearbooks; and papers of faculty member Edward Morley.

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December 04, 2013

President’s Christmas Walk

A university as old as CWRU establishes and discards many traditions, particularly around major holidays such as Christmas. The President’s Christmas Walk was an annual event for most of Louis Toepfer’s ten-year CWRU presidency.

When Toepfer became president in 1970 his previous campus-wide experience had been somewhat limited in his role as dean of the Law School. There were buildings and departments he had never visited. He wanted to rectify this situation and so, started his annual Christmas walk around campus to greet the staff.

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Richard Baznik and Louis Toepfer on Christmas Walk

It began as a one day event, but soon became an event held over two or three days. President Toepfer accompanied by Special Assistant to the President Richard Baznik, attempted to visit every campus building. By the mid-1970s departments began to check the schedule ahead of time and attempted to arrange their department holiday parties to coincide with the president’s visit. Since this was the time of year for college bowl games and NFL playoff games, there was also betting on games and various pools. The president joined in the spirit and participated in the betting. From the notes in the Archives they were $1 bets.

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Schedule for 1978 Christmas Walk

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November 26, 2013

60th Anniversary of Last Case vs. WRU Thanksgiving Day Football Game

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the last Thanksgiving Day football game between Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University.

Thanksgiving Day 1953 was a cold windy day. The crowd was estimated at 7,500-10,000. The venue was Clarke Field of WRU (currently the lot 53 garage and all the space from Adelbert Gym to the railroad tracks, but not the space behind Bingham Building which was Van Horn Field).

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Cartoon on front page of Reserve Tribune, 11/24/1953

Case scored first on a pass from quarterback Walt Pavlick to Charles Dykes. Reserve scored 15 seconds later on a kickoff return by Dick Delaney and Gordon McCarter’s conversion. Case scored again after Denny Pardee’s 56 yard run set up Ed Rate’s touchdown and extra point. End of the first quarter: Case 13 Reserve 7

Red Cat Ron Davidoff blocked a punt and it was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Bob Blatchford. McCarter kicked the extra point for Reserve to take the lead. Reserve then had its only sustained drive on the day chewing up 63 yards in 12 plays with Delaney scoring again followed by McCarter’s extra point. End of second quarter: Reserve 21 Case 13

Gene Strathman recovered a Pavlick fumble. Reserve scored again on a pass from Delaney to Roger Bryant. McCarter was good for the extra point. Pardee had to punt for Case and Dick Mann fielded the punt going 75 yards for the score. McCarter kicked the extra point for Reserve’s final point of the season. (McCarter finished the season with 16 points-after-touchdown in 16 tries). End of third quarter: Reserve 35 Case 13

The only score in the fourth quarter was a Pavlick touchdown from the seven. Final: Reserve 35 Case 19.

Reserve finished the season with a 5-3-1 record, the best in a decade. Case finished the season with a 1-7 record.

Less than 2 months later, on 1/8/1954 President Glennan announced that Case would drop football from Case’s intercollegiate sports program. This ended the traditional Thanksgiving Day football game. Though Case resumed intercollegiate football in the fall of 1955 and rekindled the rivalry with Reserve, they no longer played on Thanksgiving Day.

After Glennan’s announcement, the Case students staged a mock funeral for football. According to the 1/15/1954 Case Tech, “A flower car, hearse and students assembled at Van Horn Field, proceeded over Adelbert and Euclid to the front entrance and from there to the final resting place across from Tomlinson Hall. With football players as pall bearers, to the strains of a dirge, ‘Mr. Touchdown’ was laid in state and finally to rest. A drum roll sounded and a flight of cadets saluted as the ball was lowered to the grave. All was again silent. A harsh command of the flight officer dismissed the honor guard.”

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Funeral for Case football

You can read accounts of the season and this game in the Reserve 1954 yearbook, Eos, and the Case 1954 yearbook, Differential. Both yearbooks are available as fully-searchable PDF files via Digital Case. We advise downloading the PDF file and then opening it.

Enjoy more stories of the traditional Thanksgiving Day Case-Reserve game from 2010, 2011 and 2012 blog entries.

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November 22, 2013

University convocation in memory of John F. Kennedy

Today we join with the nation in remembering and honoring President John F. Kennedy upon the 50th anniversary of his assassination. After the initial shock and formal ceremonies in Washington, Western Reserve University held its own memorial for the president.

On Tuesday morning, November 26, at 11:00 a.m. a University Convocation in memory of John F. Kennedy was held in Amasa Stone Chapel. President John S. Millis presided. Rabbi Benjamin Leon Marcus, Director of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation, opened the service with an invocation followed by the congregation singing America, the Beautiful. Reverend Robert W. Clarke, Director of the Student Christian Union, offered a prayer. The address (Download file) was given by Clarence H. Cramer, Professor of History and Dean of Adelbert College. Reverend John Joseph Kilcoyne, Diocesan Director, Newman Clubs, gave the benediction. Music was performed by the University Singers under the direction of Donald Joseph Shetler, Associate Professor of Music. Walter Blodgett, Curator of Musical Arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art, provided the organ music.

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It was highly unusual for the university to hold a convocation in honor of a non-university individual. The next such event was in 1968 after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Reserve Tribune (student newspaper) in the 12/5/1963 edition published this editorial,

“JFK, a doer

“It is hoped the tragic death of John F. Kennedy will not end the recognition given the the New Frontier to American cultural arts.

“The Kennedys during their three years in the White House focused national attention on poetry, art, music, dance, literature and theatre.

“John Kennedy expanded the concept of presidential leadership to include the creativity of the American man in the areas of the Liberal Arts.

“In doing so, he has set a precedent which must be continued if the office of the President of the United States is to be truly representative of the nation.”

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October 30, 2013

The Flood of 1975

October is Archives Month. The theme this year is Disasters in Ohio. On campus there have been several severe floods which have affected buildings bordering the Doan Brook culvert. While floods occurred in 1959 and 1969 this article will discuss the flood of 1975.

On Sunday, August 24, 1975 severe localized thunderstorms between 3:45 and 4:15 p.m. resulted in flooding of campus buildings along East Boulevard (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive). The buildings most severely damaged by the flood were Sears, Wickenden and the subbasement and tunnel area of Tomlinson. Less severe damage occurred to Crawford, Olin, White, Glennan, and Adelbert Hall. The landscaping on the west side of the campus was completely destroyed and power to Wickenden, Yost, Sears, and Tomlinson was disrupted.

The Mail Room on the first floor of Wickenden was one of the hardest hit locations. It flooded to a depth of 6.2 feet, water flowing 2.5 feet over the first floor windowsills. The mail trucks parked outside were completely submerged and had to be replaced. All the mail was in mailbags which helped minimize the damage.

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CWRU mail vans and Mail Room after the flood

Also affected in Wickenden was the high energy physics group of the Physics Department. Magenetic data tapes, equipment, instrumentation, and tools were damaged. The departmental library of books, journals, proceedings, reports, and office files were damaged. Most faculty personal papers, books, and files were damaged or lost. Physics Department losses were $150,000 and damage to Wickenden was $90,000.

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Physics laboratory and stairwell in Wickenden

Water ran over the loading dock of Tomlinson and flooded the basement and utility tunnel. The transformers in the subbasement were completely flooded, resulting in their loss. The cafeterias and kitchen areas, one flight up, were less affected as the water crested at that floor level. Food service was suspended.

The greatest monetary damage happened in Sears Library where the ground floor stack area and work areas were flooded. The area damaged was 100 long, 35 feet wide and 16 feet high with stacks of books running floor to ceiling. Damaged were 50,000 volumes and 50,000 maps. The university hired 2 experts, Willman Spawn, Conservator of the American Philosophical Society, and Peter Waters, Restoration Officer at the Library of Congress, to direct the salvage operation. Ten thousand volumes were permanently lost with the remainder restored. The damage to the building was $10,000 while the collection was $800,000.

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Stack area and work area in Sears Library

The Crawford ground floor was covered with 6-7 inches of water. In Glennan water came through the mechanical steam room door, flooding the corridor with 2-3 inches. Damage in White and Olin was kept to a minimum because the sump pump in Olin continued to pump after being submerged. The first floor of both buildings received 2-3 inches while the structures laboratory and electron microscope (which were at a lower elevation) received 1-2 feet, resulting in $10,000 in damage. The basement of Adelbert Hall suffered flooding from a backed-up sewer.

A complete study was done to determine how the water entered each building and how to minimize loss from flooding. The losses from the 1975 flood totaled over $1.1 million.

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October 21, 2013

Travelling Behind the Iron Curtain

In the 1950s the Cold War imposed restrictions on travel from America to the Soviet Union. In 1954 Case Professor of Astronomy, Jason J. Nassau, was one of the very few Americans to visit Soviet Russia. Nassau was one of two American astronomers invited by the USSR Academy of Sciences to attend the dedication of the reconstructed Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, destroyed in World War II. For sixteen days Nassua participated in the expected scholarly conferences, but also attended the opera, ballet, and theater. “I saw Hamlet and heard Carmen in Russian,” he reported.

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Dedication of the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, May 1954. Nassau is the man holding his hat, in the front row, 5th from the left.

Upon his return to Cleveland, Nassau was much in demand as a speaker. He described his travels to groups ranging from the Cleveland City Club to church groups, school groups, and Case alumni gatherings. Accounts of his trip appeared in such diverse publications as the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sky and Telescope, and the Case Alumnus.

Nassau’s travel journal and mementoes of the trip are part of the exhibit, Around the World in 80 Books, in Hatch Reading Room, Kelvin Smith Library, through December 20. The exhibit includes first-hand travel accounts in diaries, postcards, letters, and published travelogues. Also on display are travel as the subject of literary classics, works of satire, science fiction and fantasy from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Journeys of scientific and personal discovery are represented by accounts of explorers from the 17th century and the Case study-abroad program from the 21st century. Also exhibited are travel guides including maps, recommended attractions, hotel and restaurant reviews from Boston, Paris, Egypt, Palestine, and Cleveland, Ohio.

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September 18, 2013

Medicine and Natural History

From July through September Observing the Natural World: The Art and Science of Natural History exhibits artwork, manuscripts and archives, and rare books from Kelvin Smith Library’s Special Collections and University Archives. In preparing the exhibit we realized how much campus and regional initiatives mirrored broader developments in the field of biology. One particularly striking example is how biology was taught in universities. For much of the 19th century, most biology instruction, then called natural history, was done by medical schools.

When the Medical Department of Western Reserve College was established in 1843, Samuel St. John, John Lang Cassels, and Jared Potter Kirtland were three of the earliest faculty.

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left to right: Samuel St. John, John Lang Cassels, and Jared Potter Kirtland

St. John was Professor of Chemistry, Natural History, and Medical Jurisprudence. From 1843 to 1856 he taught courses in botany and zoology, natural history, philosophy of natural history, anatomy, physiology, and conchology.

Cassels was a member of the Medical faculty from 1843-1873 and twice served as Dean, 1843-44 and 1961-73. He taught courses in geology, mineralogy, and botany.

Kirtland served on the Medical faculty from 1843-1863 and also served as Dean, in 1846. While his teaching was not in natural history, but theory and practice of medicine, Kirtland was a famous naturalist. He founded the Cleveland Academy of Natural Science, predecessor of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He participated in the 1837 geological survey of Ohio, producing a report cataloging the state’s mammals, birds reptiles, fishes, and mollusks. His horticultural experiments developed improved varieties of serveral fruits. Dr. Kirtland also served three terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. The papers of this remarkable man are held by the Kelvin Smith Library’s Special Collections and a finding aid is available.

The exhibit, in Kelvin Smith Library’s Special Collections Hatch Reading Room, is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. till 4:30 p.m., through September 27.

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August 30, 2013

Teaching of Natural History at Western Reserve College

For much of the 19th century, most of the teaching of Natural History occurred in medical schools. Colleges like Western Reserve College (WRC) generally concentrated on the classics, moral philosophy, and history. Indeed, when WRC was founded, its primary purpose was “to train young men for the ministry.” The WRC Medical Department included Natural History in its curriculum and had eminent naturalists on its faculty.

At WRC a professorship of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy appeared in 1829. The first documented biological course at WRC, anatomy and physiology, was taught by Jarvis Gregg in the 1835-1836 academic year. Other classes before 1888 included Botany, Mineralogy, Conchology, Evolution, Zoology as well as others.

Biological instruction was by lectures, recitations, field work, museum study, and informal laboratory work. Professor Edward Morley gave practical instruction in the use of a microscope. A museum of natural history occupied the entire third floor of the Athenaeum recitation building (on the original campus in Hudson).

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First General Biology class, 1888

In 1888 the Department of Biology was established with the hiring of Francis Hobart Herrick. He taught his first class, General Biology, to 3 women and 1 man. Laboratory teaching began December 1, 1888. Originally the department was housed in the Ford House but by December it had occupied 2 rooms in Adelbert Main.

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Private laboratory and preparation room in Adelbert Main, 1889

Within 10 years enrollment had soared and the Biology Department had sorely outgrown its space and planning for a new building began. The new Biological Laboratory (now known as DeGrace Hall) was dedicated June 13, 1899.

Sources: Frederick C. Waite, "Natural History and Biology in the Undergraduate Colleges of Western Reserve University," Western Reserve Univeristy Bulletin, New Series, Vol. XXXII, No. 13, July 1, 1929, pp. 21-48 and Western Reserve University Catalogs.

The teaching of Natural History at WRC is part of an exhibit, Observing the Natural World: The Art and Science of Natural History. The exhibit of rare books, artwork, manuscripts, and archives illustrates developments in the field of natural history from the 16th through the 19th centuries. The exhibit explores both local initiatives and broader developments including: increasing specialization and professionalization; innovations in recording field observations; changing patterns of scholarly communication. The exhibit, in Kelvin Smith Library’s Special Collections Hatch Reading Room, is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. through September 27, 2013.

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July 31, 2013

Case Western Reserve University Fundraising Campaigns

Since the university is in the midst of a $1 billion fundraising campaign, Forward Thinking: The Campaign for Case Western Reserve University, we thought it would be interesting to look at past university-wide campaigns.

The first campaign was the Resources Campaign. It was a 5-year campaign (1976-1981) raising funds for endowment, facilities, and current programs. Planning for Resources started shortly after Federation in 1967. On December 12, 1973 the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution authorizing the Trustees Resources Committee to plan a major fundraising campaign. During the early planning and fundraising stages, Resources was known as Operation Rainbow. The $215 million goal included $200 million for CWRU, $10 mlllion for University Hospitals, and $5 million for University Circle, Inc. Curtis Lee Smith, Adelbert College class of 1923 and trustee, was the national chairman. The campaign formally began February 15, 1976, the sesquicentennial of the university. It officially ended June 30, 1981 with a total attainment of $215,137,371.

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Curtis Lee Smith, President Louis A. Toepfer, and Elaine Hadden hold up the banner announcing the campaign total at the closing celebration

The second university campaign was the Campaign for Case Western Reserve University. It was a 5-year campaign raising $350 million for endowment, buildings and equipment, and current support of programs. The advance gifts phase began in 1987. The Board of Trustees authorized its Development and Alumni Affairs Committee to plan a campaign at its March 1988 meeting. Marts & Lundy, Inc. (fundraising consultants) was retained to conduct a feasibility study, the report of which was made to the Board in April 1989. Formal approval was made in June and the public announcement was October 1989. President Agnar Pytte with national campaign co-chairs Richard Derbes (Case Institute of Technology class of 1968 and trustee) and Karen Horn (trustee) led the campaign to a successful conclusion in June 1994 with final attainment of $416,518,332. Alumni support more than tripled during the campaign, from $6.4 million in 1988 to $27.8 million in 1994. Over $213 million was raised for current programs, over $133 million for endowment (31 new professorships and 167 new funds for student support), and nearly $70 million for buildings and equipment.

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Campaign for CWRU brochure

The first 2 campaigns for CWRU were successful. With $80 million in new commitments announced at the October 2011 public launch of Forward Thinking, along with the $660 million raised during the quiet phase, the current campaign looks to repeat the successes of past campaigns.

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April 26, 2013

Thirty Years Ago...Hudson Relay 1983

As we continue our celebration of the Hudson Relay we look at 1983, a year of controversy as reported by the yearbook Vis-a-Vis:

“This year’s Hudson Relay festivities were interrupted by controversy. The class of 1986 was without a CIT class president and ran only one class president. The race rules state that for each class racing the WRC and CIT class presidents must run the last two legs of the race. The freshman class had understood that they would not be disqualified for this point, but none of the other classes were notified. The judges’ final decision was that regardless of who would have run the final leg, the class of 1986 would have won. The freshman class was declared 1983 Hudson Relay winner. The Other teams finished as follows: 1983 second, alumni third, 1984 fourth, and 1985 last.

“After the class of 1982 received champagne last year for winning the relay four years in a row, this year’s competing classes were quick to elaborate on that theme. The class of 1983 promised generic beer and the class of 1985 offered a cake as inspiration.”

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Class of 1982 Champagne at the Rock tee shirts
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Class of 1983 Generic Beer on the Quad tee shirts

The class of 1986 went on to win 3 of its 4 years competing in the Hudson Relay.

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Class of 1985 cake

Note regarding the colleges: WRC was Western Reserve College, the undergraduate college consisting of the humanities and arts, and the social and behavior sciences. CIT was Case Institute of Technology, the undergraduate college consisting of engineering, mathematics and natural sciences. For a chart and brief summary of CWRU's schools and colleges see The Schools of CWRU.

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April 24, 2013

Hudson Relay of 1963

Times change. The Hudson Relay of 50 years ago was not covered with the depth of 100 years ago. There was no account in the student yearbook, just a brief article in the student newspaper, Reserve Tribune. Instead of being a part of Undergraduate Day during Commencement Week in 1913, the 1963 Relay was a part of May Day, which also featured the annual student-faculty softball game, tug-of-war, and canoe tilt. There was also a queen of May Day. The Sophomore class won the 1963 race (as they did in 1913). Here is the account from the Reserve Tribune:

“Sophs win May Day Hudson Relays

The fastest runners of Adelbert College assembled in the wee hours of the morning in front of Adelbert Main to begin the May Day Hudson Relays last Friday, May 3. Lining up at the starting line in Hudson, a representative of each of Adelbert’s four classes began the 26-mile run in great spirits.

“The sophomores took an early lead which they never relinquished as they won their second straight race. The race itself was the closest of the past few years: at the end of the first 13 laps 200 yards separated the front-running sophomore and the tail-end seniors. But at this point the sophomores and the frosh ran away, making it a two-team race.

“Sophomore Prexy Larry Singerman suffered the last lap, clipping 10 minutes off the record set by his team that won last year. The frosh came in second, while the juniors and the seniors finished in that order.”

The Class of 1965 did not win another Hudson Relay, the freshmen winning in 1964 and in 1965. Learn more about the history of the Hudson Relay by visiting the University Archives web exhibit and viewing the video, Through the Years, created for the centennial celebration in 2010.

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The Hudson Relay of 1913

The annual Hudson Relay is this Saturday, April 27. Let’s look back at the Hudson Relay from 1913 - 100 years ago. This account is taken from The Reserve, the Western Reserve University yearbook.

“That popular feature of undergraduate day which originated in the brain of Monroe Curtis -- the Hudson Relay -- has become one of the most looked for events of the week. Never was there greater enthusiasm and rivalry among the students nor greater interest evinced in ‘college doings’ by the friends of the university than on June 9, 1913. Most thorough preparations were made by the undergraduate day committee and the entirely successful race was due to its well planned work. At two o’clock the runners, twenty-four from each class, were taken from the campus in automobiles and one from each class stationed at every mile post along the route from the former campus of Western Reserve at Hudson, Ohio. At 3:00 o’clock the message from Mayor Sullivan to President Thwing was handed to the Senior captain, Arthur Portmann. ‘Doc’ Von den Steinen’s revolver cracked and the long grind had begun. A chart ten feet in length had been placed upon the steps of the main building at Adelbert so that by little flags placed in accordance with telephone messages from different houses along the road, it was possible for the anxious throng awaiting the runners to watch their progress.

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Runners transferring the baton

“A surprise was in store for everyone. In the estimation of all, the real race was between Freshmen and Sophomores. But it wasn’t long before the chart showed the Seniors far in the lead. Some began to doubt their eyes, for the number of Seniors who are in training near the close of their college career is limited rather exclusively to those who were on the track team. But before long the source of the Seniors’ surprising strength was apparent. It was gasoline! That is, they had ridden in friendly automobiles to save breath.

“The race the year before had been close, in fact the class of 1915 won it by only ten yards. Predictions were that this race would be close also. The sophomores forged ahead in the second mile and had acquired almost a quarter of a mile lead in the first half of that distance. But this was not to endure, for several runners of ‘16’s best quality pulled up, up up, until at the 19th relay both Sophomore and Freshman were even. Then Greek met Greek, and a true tug of war ensued. Up and down the hills and over the never-ending level stretches they fought, followed by frenzied, wildly cheering adherents in dust-covered machines. Finally Ehlert, Herbert and Shimansky, three picked men from 1915, were pitted against Volk, Schuele and Atwood of 1916. Each ran the race of his life to give his class the lead on the home stretch. Finally the last runners were reached. Parrish, the sophomore vice-president, substitute runner for President Rosenberger, was given a lead by Shimansky. Taylor, Freshman president, came flying along behind, bending every effort to make up the intervening space. But the strain was too much and he suddenly collapsed, having run only about half a mile. Baird, captain of the Freshmen team, was riding along side in an automobile. Upon seeing Taylor fall he jumped out and took up the race, and being comparatively fresh he soon gained on Parrish, then passed him and crossed the tape ten seconds before the latter. Great was the joy among the Freshmen, but on the protest of the Sophomores a consultation of judges was held. When the facts had been rehearsed, victory was awarded the 1915 team, since Taylor did not finish his mile, but allowed another to run the last half, which was obviously unfair. It was the ’15’s turn to rejoice. The mishap was unfortunate, but wherever victory went, both teams deserved credit for their remarkable physical endurance and fighting spirit which kept the result always in doubt. The official distance was given as 22.8 miles; the time of the winning team 2 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds.

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Runner dashes through the crowd of spectators

Both Junior and Senior presidents followed later in turn, the latter carrying Mayor Sullivan’s message, which read as follows:

“The relay race of today affords the people of Hudson an opportunity to send you this message of appreciation of the interest which your University continues to manifest in this village, the birth-place of your University. We are glad to assure you upon this occasion that the old Western Reserve College grounds at Hudson are being modernized and will continue to be an educational institution which we hope will be a source of pride and usefulness to Western Reserve University as it is sure to be to the people of this village. I extend to you the best wishes of the people for the success of Western Reserve University and the continued usefulness of this annual race.”

Learn more about the history of the Hudson Relay. View images from past Hudson Relays in Digital Case.

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March 29, 2013

Student Satire

April Fool's Day seems a good occasion to honor the grand tradition of student satire.

As early as 1981, Case Western Reserve’s student newspaper, The Observer, honored April Fool’s Day with a special edition. With a special motto, “The birdcage liner of Waste Restroom Preserved University...” the editors proceeded to lampoon tenure, Cleveland weather, university fundraising (”Extortion: Mega bucks for CWRU” featuring quotes from Lemme Attem, Commander of the Major Gifts Task Force) career planning, sororities (”SAE bids for frosh; told ‘not for sale’”), and sports (”Action frisbee: game of steel”). Even the masthead was fair game, describing the Observer as “published sometimes by a few disco people from some University in Ohio from September to May, except when we have exams.” Classified ads included “Wanted: Edible, flavorful food. Contact dorm students.” In later years the special edition acquired its own title, The Obscurer.

But student satire was not confined to April Fool’s Day. Both the Case and WRU student yearbooks incorporated a particular brand of student humor aimed equally at students and faculty. These inside jokes, puns, and cartoons were often incorporated into the advertising section. Draw your own conclusions about the significance of that placement. The humor sections were most common during the early years of the 20th century. They seem to have gone out of fashion by the mid-1940s. Some choice examples can be seen in the University Archives Student Yearbook collection in Digital Case.

At Reserve, student satire needed a broader platform for its full expression. From 1924 till 1942 the students published the Red Cat. Puns, both visual and textual, limericks, cartoons, one-line jokes, and satirical essays filled the pages. Campus personalities and events and the news of the day were the targets of the Red Cat writers and artists. In the first issue the editors explained themselves, “Next to football there is perhaps no college product which attracts as much attention and appeals to the reader as much as the humorous magazine... The debut of the Red Cat heralds great things for the literary and artistic side of the University.”

The University Archives holds complete runs of The Observer, student yearbooks, and the Red Cat and welcomes users who wish to explore, or simply appreciate, our students' humorous perspective on university life.

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Examples of Red Cat covers from the 1920s

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January 14, 2013

Famous Campus Visitors - Nikki Giovanni

Case Western Reserve has welcomed as guest speakers people who have excelled in the arts, business, science, law, medicine, politics, sports, and higher education. Nikki Giovanni, award-winning poet and University Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech, was the keynote speaker at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation in 1995.

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CWRU’s newspaper, Campus News, reported that, “Giovanni entertained and invigorated the crowd with her spirited and wide-ranging address, earning her a standing ovation at the end of her anecdote-filled speech.”

Giovanni offered advice to the attendees, “Human beings are responsible for each other. We should continue to reach to see what we can do to make human life better - because that’s always what it’s about, the next generation. It’s not about you and me ... I would recommend that you use your life in the service of somebody, because all you’ll ever be is a memory.”

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December 19, 2012

Christmas Carol Service at Mather College

For decades the Glee Club at Flora Stone Mather College held a Christmas Carol Service at Florence Harkness Chapel. The earliest program from this service held by the University Archives is from 1909, and the latest is from 1950. Carols sung in 1909 included See Amid the Winter’s Snow, Infant so Gentle, so Pure and so Sweet, When I View the Mother Holding, Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, We Three Kings of Orient Are, Silent Night, and Nazareth.

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Processional, ca. 1929-1931

Additions to the service were added over time including scripture readings, processionals and recessionals, a benediction, and dance. At the service held 80 years ago, President Emeritus Charles Franklin Thwing gave the scripture reading. In 1933 a medieval mystery play, The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors, was performed. Joining the Glee Club in 1936, the Dance Club performed to 3 carols: 15th Century English Christmas Carol, Bells, Carol of the Russian Children.


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Glee Club and Dance Club at Christmas Carol Service, 1939

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November 21, 2012

Case vs. Reserve 1912 Thanksgiving Day game

As Thanksgiving is once more upon us, let us revisit the annual Case-Reserve Thanksgiving Day football game played 100 years ago. The game was played November 28 at Van Horn Field. The account from the WRU yearbook, The Reserve, reads:

“That Turkey Day Game”

“From the dope on the playing of Reserve and Case, the apparent inability of Reserve to break up their opponents’ forward passing and Case’s good showing against Oberlin, Reserve was the "underdog" in all predictions on the Thanksgiving day game. However, Reserve, by the most optimistic, had not been dreamed to possess, our boys went at the team from across the fence. In the first six minutes of play they scored a touchdown. Not content with this, they scored eight more points during the first half. In the second half Case showed a flash of form and almost tied the score but Reserve came back strong with another touchdown and a safety. Thus Reserve had by a score of 24 to 13 defeated Case! Reserve, the underdog, had by spirit and fight defeated Case for the first time since 1908!”

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Cartoon from The Reserve 1914

The account in the Case yearbook, Differential, had a different tone:
“Then came the regrettable Reserve game. There is no doubt but that Case was handicapped by the inch or two of snow on the field, for every one knows that we would have played a better game on a dry field. Whether or not we would have won is hard to tell, but as it was the team was merely defeated, not disgraced, by the combination of snow and hard luck.”

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Scoreboard from the November 28, 1912 game

Case finished the season with a 4-6 record. Reserve finished with a 5-4 record.

Enjoy more stories of the traditional Thanksgiving Day Case-Reserve game from 2010 and 2011 blog entries.

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October 26, 2012

Hudson to Cleveland: Constructing the New Buildings - Year 1

We continue our description of Western Reserve College’s move from Hudson to Cleveland 130 years ago. Faculty member, Edward W. Morley, chronicled the event in letters to his parents. Extracts from those letters describe the July 1881 to July 1882 construction efforts.

July 1, 1881
“The new buildings are not yet begun, but I do not see why they may not be begun soon. Mr. Stone is a man who does not at all appreciate statements of reasons: nothing short of a collision would show him that two trains cannot pass each other on a single track. Owing to this deficiency, it takes a great while for him to take some very short steps. Hence endless delays. The division of the land has not made any delay: that is settled: we have the eastern half of the lot.”

September 1, 1881
“Things are going on well at Cleveland. They are now a little ahead of what is called for in the contract. If they suffer no delay in getting stone, things will move rapidly. The other day they were doubtful about getting stone, but found that nine car loads were on the way, so that there was no delay.”

November 10, 1881
“The buildings at Cleveland are getting on slowly, on account of delay in getting the iron for the fire proof floors. They will only get up to the second floor this season, instead of getting the roof on, as was called for by the contract. Mr. Smith was out there a few days since, and reports the building as very fine in its appearance and workmanship.”

December 18, 1881
“The buildings of the college at Cleveland are now getting along pretty well. There was a delay of ten weeks waiting for a few pieces of iron beams which did not come with the first lot. They have now come, have been laid, and the walls are now going up again.”

January 16, 1882
“The buildings are getting along pretty well. The weather has permitted the men to keep at work almost every day so far. The main building is now up to a point beyond the tops of the second windows. I think it will be done in time.”

March 19, 1882
“During the summer, Mr. Cutler and I shall have to buy the furniture for the new building. The amount of salary to be paid after we go to Cleveland was not fixed at the meeting, but a committee was appointed to consider the matter, with power to act, and this committee will probably meet during the present week, and may be able to settle the matter at one sitting. The point to be settled first is, the probably amount of income. This can be decided only when we know what securities Mr. Stone in going to make over to us. The committee contained among its members the son-in-law of Mr. Stone, Colonel John Hay, who was to get light on this point.”

April 6, 1882
“Mr. Cutler is busy trying to write a circular announcing the future of the college, and the point now to be settled concerns the course of study. It gives us a good deal of trouble to settle it. he is coming in here in a few minutes, to work at it with me. Mr. Smith has such a disposition that he does not add much to our resources in settling such a matter, and Mr. Potwin is a weakling, and is moreover unwilling to go outside of his routine of work.”

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Charles J. Smith and Lemuel S. Potwin

July 8, 1882
“I have been out to the college buildings for two or three days, to correct errors of the workmen, or, more likely, of the architect. They have things all right now, I believe. The work is going on fast now; whether fast enough to get through it yet remains to be seen.”

July 21, 1882
“I have been detained somewhat by the necessity of looking after some things in the college buildings. The treasurer is away, and Mr. Cutler is gone up the lakes to take some rest which is very necessary if he is to do any work in the autumn... Dr. Bushnell the new treasurer of the college, promised to see to some of these things, but he seems to be so occupied with removal, and some such matters that he is in danger of putting them off too long.”

July 26, 1882
“... now almost every thing is done which I meant to do before going east. We have got the range selected for the college building; which Dr. Bushnell and I had to select.”

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Ebenezer Bushnell

Mr. Amasa Stone provided $500,000 to move the college from Hudson to Cleveland. Mr. Smith was Perkins Professor of Material Philosophy 1870-1882 and Professor of Mathematics 1882-1913. He was also an alumnus of Western Reserve College. Mr. Cutler was president of Western Reserve College. Colonel John Hay was diplomat, statesman, U. S. Secretary of State and son-in-law of Amasa Stone. Mr. Potwin was Lemuel S. Potwin, Professor of Latin 1871-1892 and Professor of English Language and Literature 1892-1906. Mr. Bushnell was Secretary-Treasurer of Western Reserve University 1882-1901. He was also an alumnus and a member of the Board of Trustees, 1861-1901.

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August 10, 2012

Summer Olympians at CWRU

In honor of the 2012 Summer Olympics we thought of highlighting past summer Olympians associated with our university: M. Rowland Wolfe, Adelbert College class of 1938, William Kerslake, Case Institute of Technology class of 1951 and 1955, and former School of Medicine faculty member Benjamin M. Spock.

Rowland Wolfe won the gold medal in tumbling for the United States at the 1932 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Tumbling was a short-lived gymnastics event. According to Topend Sports, the event involved tumbling along a 2' wide x 60’ long horsehair strip doing flips and twists. His key move was the backflip with a double twist. Though not his gold-medal winning routine, here is a video of Wolfe doing various tumbling elements.

Wolfe received the B.A. in Biology from Adelbert College of Western Reserve University June 15, 1938. As a student he was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, the swimming team, and the Gym team - serving as captain and coach. He was also part of the Warion Society (honor society) and Junior Prom Committee. Wolfe was elected to the Spartan Club Hall of Fame (formerly the Case Reserve Athletic Club Hall of Fame) in 1987.

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M. Rowland Wolfe

William R. Kerslake, Case Institute of Technology class of 1951 & 1955 was a 3-time Olympic heavy weight wrestler: 1952 in Helsinki finishing 5th, 1956 in Melbourne finishing 7th, and 1960 in Rome finishing 8th. He won 15 national championships in that time period in freestyle and Greco-Roman wresting. He was also a NASA engineer while pursuing his Olympic career.

Kerslake received the B. S. with commencement honors in Industrial Chemistry June 9, 1951 and the M. S. in Chemical Engineering June, 9, 1955. While an undergraduate student he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Alpha Chi Epsilon (Chemical society), Tau Beta Pi (national honorary engineering society), American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and Key Club. He was a star athlete in football, track and field, and wrestling. Kerslake was elected to the Spartan Club Hall of Fame with the inaugural class in 1975.

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Bill Kerslake

In 1924 as a student at Yale, Benjamin Spock won a gold medal in Men’s Eights rowing at the Summer Games in Paris. He received the B. A. in 1925 from Yale and the M. D. in 1929 from Columbia. He did his internship at Presbyterian Hospital in New York and had a pediatric residency at New York Nursery and Childs Hospital and a psychiatric residency at New York Hospital. He practiced medicine as a pediatrician 1933-1947 before becoming associated with the Mayo Clinic and then the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. He became Professor of Child Development in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1955 and retired in 1967. Dr. Spock was widely known for his book, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, published in 1946.

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Benjamin M. Spock

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July 16, 2012

Cleveland Free-Net

Twenty-six year ago today, Cleveland Free-Net was officially started. Originating at CWRU, Free-Net was the nation's first free, open-access community computer system. Designed by former faculty member Thomas Grundner, Free-Net grew out of the Department of Family Medicine’s St. Silicon’s Hospital and Information Dispensary which had emanated from the department’s computerized message network.

The system allowed anyone with a computer or terminal with a modem to call in and have access to a wide variety of electronic services and features. These services and features included: a post office where free electronic mail was available for anyone in northeast Ohio who registered in the system; a school system where Cleveland area schools could communicate via computer and where common databases could be accessed by teachers, parents, students, and administrators; a hospital, St. Silicon’s Hospital and Information Dispensary, where a wide variety of medical information and services were available including the opportunity to ask medically-related questions; a public square where people could make speeches from an electronic podium, be part of an online computer user group, join interest groups, and other services.

Originally Free-Net ran on an AT&T 3B2/400 computer with 4 megabytes of RAM and 72 MB of hard disk storage. The CPU was a WE 32100 chip with a 10 megahertz clock operating under AT&T’s Unix System V operating system. Software was written in “C.” AT&T donated $50,000 worth of computer equipment and software.

Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste and Cleveland Mayor George V. Voinovich gave the system its official start at the opening of a summer festival in downtown Cleveland.

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The advent of the World Wide Web and other technologies eventually rendered Free-Net obsolete. Chat and News services for community users ended 9/1/1999 and Cleveland Free-Net was discontinued 9/30/1999.

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May 30, 2012

Student Traditions - Tree Day

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Sophomores of the class of 1902 at Tree Day in 1900

A tradition at the College for Women (later Flora Stone Mather College) was Tree Day. The sophomores presented an original play after which they planted a tree on campus and sang their class song.

One hundred years ago, on May 28, 1912, The Reserve Weekly (the student newspaper) reported on the event:

“In spite of the hot, hot sun; in spite of the late arrival and consequent confusion in placing of chairs, the May Day festivities of the sophomore class of the College for Women proved delightful in the full sense of the word. The delay in the seating caused a delay in producing the annual play last Friday afternoon [May 24, 1912]. When this matter was finally straightened out and moving picture men had been placed to everyone’s satisfaction and President Thwing had personally supervised the retreat of a small army of urchins from the ‘pit,’ the tree day play was produced for the benefit of the other classes and the visitors. The senior girls attended in cap and gown; the juniors were arrayed in dainty frocks of white, the freshman lassies appeared in gingham ‘school day’ dresses and industriously consumed stick candy throughout the whole performance. The orchard stage was utilized for the affair and proved a most pleasant setting for the play. It will be noted that the play was entitled “?” and dedicated to President Thwing.

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May 18, 2012

Student Traditions - Spring Olympics

The end of the academic year brings nice weather and end of year stresses and triumphs. All of which seems to foster student traditions. Some, such as Hudson Relay, have lasted over a century. Others are of shorter duration. During the late 1980s and early 1990s the Spring Olympics was a week-long competition among the south side residences, Michelson, Kusch, Glaser, Staley, Howe, Tippit, and Alumni.

Each house decorated its lobby, created banners and cheers, and competed in vigorous competitions. Talent contests, volleyball games, 5-legged races, and egg tosses were part of Spring Olympics. The most ingenious Spring Olympics event was probably the shopping cart race, pictured below.

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Inclusion of Spring Olympics in student yearbooks was somewhat sporadic. The 1991 through 1993 yearbooks have lovely 2-4-page articles. Spring Olympics was mentioned in the 1988 yearbook. But it appears not at all in the 1989 volume. The yearbooks did report the winning dorms for three years: Michelson (1991), Glaser (1992), Michelson (1993).

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April 13, 2012

Case Western Reserve University Press

Although Western Reserve University did not formally establish a university press till much later, as early as 1895 WRU published scholarly articles, in the form of a serial titled The Western Reserve University Bulletin. The April 1895 announcement explained the publication was:

“designed to serve as a medium of communication between the University and its alumni, friends and the general body of scholars engaged in teaching or research. It will contain a report of the most important acts of the Board of Trustees and of the Faculty, a record of the publications and public lectures of the Faculty and of the more important accession to the library; accounts of special research work in prosecution; original contributions from the Faculty or advanced students dealing with subjects of scientific or educational interest; ... and such other matter as shall be deemed suitable for the ends in view, which are the diffusion of information in regard to the work of the University, the preservation of a permanent record of its activities and the promotion of science in the broadest sense, by the publication of original contributions to knowledge.” [1AB1 1:1 The Western Reserve University Bulletin volume 1 number 1 (April 1895): 1]

The range of topics treated in the Bulletin was quite broad in scope. The first year’s issues included Edward Gaylord Bourne’s “Phases of the Development of Western Reserve University,” Edward W. Morley’s, “The Atomic Weight of Oxygen,” Samuel Ball Platner’s “Bibliography of the Younger Pliny,” Arthur Hull Mabley’s “Bibliography of Juvenal.” The Bulletin continued publication until 1931.

It was not until 1928 that Western Reserve University investigated the feasibility of establishing a university press. The conclusion then was to print only the University’s own catalogs and subsidized books. Ten years later President Leutner appointed the Western Reserve University Press committee to work out the details of a university press. This committee recommended instead of a separate body, that a University Committee on Publications be established to approve all WRU publications. During the next few decades recommendations for a more vigorous scholarly publication program were occasionally made but financial constraints seem to have limited such expansion. The Committee on Publications continued to advise the University Editor, who directed the broader publications program.

In 1959, Willis T. Thornton became the first full-time Press director. The following year the Trustees established an endowment fund for the University Press, with an initial gift of $5,000 from Thornton. In 1962 a $200,000 gift from the Leonard Hanna Fund was added to the endowment fund. But the Press remained a small operation, publishing only three or four titles each year. By 1970 approximately 25 titles were published annually, but expenses had reached approximately $300,000 annually and much of the endowment principal had been expended. A three-year fundraising campaign was launched in 1971 with a goal of raising $250,000. By early 1973 less than $85,000 had been received. Annual deficits were over $100,000. As part of university-wide efforts to reduce deficits, the Trustees voted in February 1973 to close the Case Western Reserve University Press.

Records in the University Archives document the many efforts to create, operate, and expand the university’s Press. Correspondence with authors, printers, and reviewers document the sometimes complex and lengthy process of nurturing an idea into a published book.

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February 17, 2012

National History Day’s CWRU Origins

Earlier this week President Obama awarded the National Humanities Medal to National History Day, an organization that fosters historical research by students in grades 6 through 12. As archivists, we’re happy to see any history program receive such a prestigious award. But as Case Western Reserve University archivists, we’re even prouder since History Day began at Case Western Reserve University. History Day’s origins and development are well-documented in the University Archives.

Brochures, correspondence, reports, photographs, and news releases and clippings document planning at the local, state, and national levels. Annual contest themes and results are documented as well as milestones in the program’s development.

Planning for History Day began in 1973 as part of preparations for celebrating America’s bicentennial in 1976. The first program was on May 11, 1974 with the theme Ohio and the Promise of the American Revolution. David Van Tassel, Chairman of CWRU’s History Department, led the History Day effort. Besides CWRU, the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Greater Cleveland Bicentennial Commission, the Cleveland Area Arts Council, the Greater Cleveland Council of Social Studies, and the Diocesan Social Studies Teacher Association planned and sponsored the event.

Student exhibits were displayed in the ballroom of Thwing Hall on CWRU’s campus. The awards banquet was held at the Western Reserve Historical Society. More than 125 students produced essays, individual, and group projects, including a slide and tape show about the development of Euclid Avenue. Other topics researched were shipbuilding in Ohio, WPA art, the North Union Shakers, steel mills, Ohio’s wine industry, and Erie Canal locks.

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The three $100 first prize winners were Duncan Fuller of Cleveland Heights High School for his essay, “I-271 as a Social Divider,” Lisa Doull and Ann Horsbursh of Laurel’s Upper School for a slide and tape presentation on the North Union Shakers, and Chris Carnahan of Bedford High School for his portrayal of a Revolutionary War soldier.

By 2012 History Day had become an international program serving half a million students annually.

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December 22, 2011

Federation: A Process Not An Event

Forty-five years ago, on December 23,1966, the Joint Case-WRU Trustee Committee recommended establishment of a federated university to be called Case Western Reserve University "to bring into being a nationally-recognized community of academic excellence." Federation became effective July 1, 1967. The official legal action establishing the new corporation was not the culmination of bringing together two very different academic institutions, but one of many steps lasting at least seven years.

Formal exploration began in summer 1965 when the Case and WRU Trustees authorized establishment of the Office of Inter-Institutional Cooperation to coordinate joint planning and action.

The year before Federation, the departments of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics of the separate schools were combined.

CWRU’s first alma mater was adopted in March 1968.

The combined University Undergraduate Student Government was established by a vote of the students in May 1969.

The new University-wide Faculty Senate held its first meeting in March 1970.

By 1972 all the varsity sports teams had merged and the first all-CWRU student yearbook was published.

Other milestones in planning and implementing Federation, as well as some of the key documents, are available at Federation: A Process Not an Event

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December 02, 2011

Varsity Sports History

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In Recollections and on our web site, the Archives has attempted to make Case Western Reserve University’s varsity sports history a little more accessible. We’ve posted descriptions of the origins of the Case-Reserve Thanksgiving Day football game and the memorable 1948 game when Case broke Reserve's 21-year winning streak.

Our web site has career records and pictures of varsity head coaches from 1880-2000. We’ve also compiled the season records of every varsity sport from 1880-2000. There’s a summary of our athletic conference memberships from 1902-2002 and the team names, mascots, and colors from 1918-2004.

That’s a lot of data. But it only touches the surface of the information about our athletic history documented in the Archives. For those who’d like to do their own research, here’s a summary of some of the sources in our collection.

Game programs and media guides that describe the players, coaches, and games

Rosters, schedules, and game statistics

Administrative records of the Athletic Directors and Sports Information Directors

Records of the Case Athletic Association

Student newspapers and yearbooks that cover the games and seasons

Photographs of teams, individual players and coaches, and games

Our web site has tips for doing research in the Archives and contact information.

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November 21, 2011

Case vs. Reserve 1948 Thanksgiving Day game

The 11/25/1948 Cleveland Plain Dealer Sports headline read, “Case Hopes to End Reserve’s 21-Year Streak.” Long-time reporter Chuck Heaton wrote, “Case and Western Reserve, those traditional rivals, will be cast in familiar roles at 10:30 this Thanksgiving Day morning at League Park.

“The Rough Riders are on the short end of the odds again despite the fact that they will take the field with a slightly better record than the Red and White clad warriors from across the fence.

“Reserve must be selected as favorite on the basis of its far more rugged schedule, better running attack and the fact that the Red Cats displayed sharper claws as the season progressed. Perhaps even more important than these fundamental facts is Reserve’s winning complex which has played such an important part in making most Thanksgivings a day of football celebration for Reserve.”

Ray Ride, Case football coach since 1930 and athletic director, had never beaten Reserve in football. The closest he came to victory was a 0-0 tie in 1933. 1948 was a different year. The Rough Riders were victorious over the Red Cats of Reserve.

The account from the Case student yearbook, Differential, read:
“Twenty-one years is a long, long time, but when it happened, it was convincing. Case beat Western Reserve, 15-7!

“League Park was agog. Telephones spoke. Radios hummed. In a matter of minutes all Cleveland was exclaiming, ‘Heard the latest? Case beat Reserve!’ The year of upsets was climaxed. The Indians, Truman, and now Case!

“Early in the opening quarter Neubecker rocketed through, nailing Castilla behind his goal. Two points rang upon the scoreboard.

“Second period. Ganyard, on a jump pass, hit Steigerwald. Dave saw the goal line, and Case rooters went wild.

“Fourth quarter Rigot smashed into the Red Cat line. It gave. At the twenty Oatis called the clincher. Rigot faded, looking for a receiver, saw him, and hit him. Yarsa scored the final points. The goal posts fell!

“Pick out the stars? Impossible! The team, man for man, played the game of their lives. Said the jubilant Ray Ride, ‘The line played perfect football.’ The backfield – Rigot, Zahn, Oatis, and Yarsa – became jinx-cracking Case immortals.”

Enjoy more stories of the traditional Thanksgiving Day Case-Reserve game.

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November 04, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - “Sojering” - part 2

We continue with part 2 of the account of the Civil War service of Western Reserve College students. This account appeared in the December 1862 issue of the student newspaper, Western Reserve Souvenir.

“In the latter part of August an arrangement was made for the exchange of all the prisoners of war then confined at Camp Chase. Our company was selected to conduct them to their place of destination, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

We started from Camp, Tuesday, Aug. 26th, having under our charge about one thousand sesesh, whom we were to take to Cairo, and then transfer them to the fleet that was to take them down the river. While on our way we had excellent opportunities for viewing the beautiful scenery in Southern Ohio, and the boundless prairies and interminable swamps of Indiana and Illinois. We arrived at Cairo after a tiresome journey of two days and nights, and then embarked with our sesesh friends on the steamer Champion, one of the largest and swiftest boats on the river.

We started the same day and slowly made our way through the continuous bends and shallows of the father of waters. We passed many points of interest; Columbus, Island No. 10, which so long succeeded in baffling all the attempts of our gun boats to take it; Memphis, one of the most beautiful cities of the south; Fort Pillow, and Helena, where the entire army of Major General Curtis lay encamped. After twelve days we came in sight of the steeples of Vicksburg, but were not allowed to approach the city. Here, much to our relief, we bade farewell to the rebels and started back to Cairo, arriving without any mishaps, save a slight skirmish with the enemy, who were soon put to flight by a few shells from the gun boats which accompanied us. On the 26th of September we were mustered out of the service of Uncle Sam, and hastened to our homes and friends to spend a short vacation before entering again upon our studies.

The recollections of this little episode in our life will be both pleasant and sad. We have to mourn the loss of two of our fellow-students, N.D. Gilbert, Class of ‘64, and J.C. Packard, Class of ‘65, the latter taken away suddenly from our midst, the former died after lingering for a long time. We shall cherish them in our memories as those who sacrificed their prospects and all that was dear to them in the service of their country.”

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October 28, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - “Sojering” - part 1

In concert with the theme of Archives Month in Ohio, “Buckeyes in the Civil War,” we have continued our research concerning Western Reserve College’s involvement in the war. Over the next 2 weeks we will share the student’s account of their service, taken from the student newspaper, Western Reserve Souvenir, December 1862. The captain’s point of view was shared in earlier postings in July and August.

“On the 27th of May last, when it was represented that the National Capital was in danger, and that there was immediate need of troops, the students in a body, acting on their own responsibility, resolved to offer their services for three months. A telegram was sent to the Governor to see if we were needed. He replied that we were, and that our services would be gladly accepted. That we might not be considered rash in making the move, our President himself went to Columbus and had an interview with the Governor, to see whether the exigency of the case was such as to justify our leaving our studies. He sent back word for us to get ready. Books were immediately laid aside; a company was organized; we took leave of our friends; and in a few days, not without regret, we exchanged our ‘Sanctums’ for the Camp. Two of the Faculty, Professors Young and Cutler, accompanied us, to share in common with us, the labors and privations of camp life. As soon as we were mustered in, we were assigned the position of Co. B., 85th Regiment, O. V. I., Capt. C.A. Young, 1st Lieut. C. Cutler, 2d Lieut. E.L. Webber.

"The first three months of our service we performed that, generally called disgraceful, but by no means easy, labor of guarding the rebel prisoners at Camp Chase, considering that by so doing we were serving our country quite as well as we would have done by lying idly in some camp out of the State. By the care and experience of our officers, and the perseverance of the men, we soon attained the enviable position of the best drilled company in Camp, which reputation we succeeded in maintaining as long as we were there. It is no boast when we say that no company presented as fine an appearance on dress parade, no company could be so implicitly relied upon as Co. B. in doing guard duty faithfully. Notwithstanding all this success, we could not help looking back with longings after our Alma Mater, and wishing the time to speed along more quickly which would restore us once more to her embrace. We were wont to meet together in front of our quarters, after the day’s work was over, and sing the songs which called up the pleasant reminiscences of College life. Never, ‘til then, when we were deprived of the advantages and enjoyments of College, did we fully realize their value. Still we were not disposed to complain of our lot, for we were all together as before, and were constantly receiving good things from our friends at home. The fields and orchards around the camp furnished us with an abundant supply of the luxuries of life. High hedges, big dogs, mad men, or screaming women, did not deter us from obtaining what we had set our eyes upon and deemed necessary for our comfort. Sad was the fate of all the fowls which were so careless as to let us know their whereabouts. In this manner, much sooner than we expected, passed the first three months of our service.”

Part 2 continues next week with a prisoner exchange.

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October 21, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Camp Chase

In the summer of 1862, many Western Reserve College students and a few faculty served in Company B of the 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. They served as prisoner of war guards at Camp Chase in Columbus. By all reports, conditions at Camp Chase were harsh. Overcrowding, poor food, and worse sanitation led to the deaths of over 2,000 Confederate prisoners. Their guards were not immune to the harsh conditions, either.

In an undated letter to the Adelbert College librarian, George Thomas LeBoutillier, Class of 1864, reported that he accompanied his classmate, Nicholas David Gilbert, to Camp Chase as a volunteer.

“There, the Commandent begged us to remain outside, within call, or so, until he could get the camp into a sa[n]itary condition, which it was not at all, at the time. Gilbert insisted on going in at once. He was taken out dead from Typhus, in a few weeks time. The rest of us, lodged and boarded outside, as best we could, some of us went to Cleveland, leaving addresses with Commandant. There we drilled quite extensively.”

Accompanying the letter was a “Document regarding N. D. Gilbert of the Class of 1864, who died September 27, 1862. Submitted by Rev. Geo. Thos. LeBoutillier, Class of 1864.” Extracts from the four-page document are transcribed below.

“About the 15th of May 1862, when the Call was made by Gov. Tod for volunteers, the students of W. R. College offered their services, which were immediately accepted. No one of the students seemed more ready to lay aside books and seize arms than N. D. Gilbert, and evidently acting from a sense of duty and the promptings of patriotism and not by impulse or wild enthusiasm. A few days previous to leaving for Camp Gilbert remarked to me ‘We are going down to Camp Chase, perhaps some of us to die’, unconsciously pronouncing his own sad fate.

About the first of June, the Company arrived at Camp Chase. While there previous to his sickness, although surrounded by so many evil and unpleasant influences, G. maintained his Christian standing with strict integrity, sometimes going out upon the parade ground after dark to walk alone engaged in meditation and prayer, as he afterwards told me. About the 15th of July he became indisposed and for several days was unfit for duty and was at the hospital a part of the time. During this time an incident occured worthy of mention, showing G.’s readiness and willingness to alleviate the wants of the needy whenever circumstances would permit, and even when circumstances were quite unfavorable. A poor widow lady whose son had died at the hospital, was desirous of taking the corpse home, but had not the means to defray the necessary expense. G.’s sympathies were immediately excited, but as his own purse was reduced to one dime his own means for rendering assistance were of course entirely inadequate. his last dime, however, was immediately bestowed and then by circulating a subscription paper, he soon raised a sufficient amount to meet the lady’s wants. This was his last act of charity of this nature.

N.D. Gilbert was confined to his bed about eleven weeks.”

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October 14, 2011

Alumni Reunions

Alumni reunions are a time for former classmates to meet again and reminisce. In today’s world with Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, and cell phones it is easy to stay in touch with fellow students and alumni. In the past, once alumni dispersed after commencement, it was not so easy. Alumni would make extra efforts to be at a major reunion such as their 25th or 50th and send “greetings” if they could not attend. As alumni reunion is upon us this weekend, let us take a look back at a few past reunions.

On April 14, 1869 the Western Reserve College alumni reunion was held at the Weddell House in Cleveland. This was significant as Western Reserve College was still located in Hudson and would not move to Cleveland until 1882. There was a fine dinner followed by a program. After the Alma Mater was sung, President Hitchcock spoke. This was followed by a series of toasts for the different groups of alumni: the benefactors, the clergy, the alumni in the Army, the attorneys, physicians, college faculty, sister institutions, old alumni, and young alumni.

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1869 Reunion program


In 1912 alumni reunion for Adelbert College (the successor of Western Reserve College) was held June 12-13. Class reunions and dinners of Western Reserve College (WRC) and Adelbert College (ADL) alumni were held the first day. The second day of reunion featured Commencement; the annual meeting and luncheon of the Alumni Association of WRC and ADL; Alumni-Senior baseball game; Canoe Tilting Contest; Alumni Parade; and University Reception. For a few details...

The Canoe Tilting Contest was open to any alumnus or undergraduate. In general undergraduates competed by classes. Preliminaries began at 3 p.m. “The finals will start at 7:00 p.m. sharp. The canoe tilting contest will conclude with a mock war in which all contestants in the contest will compete.”

Alumni gathered for the Alumni Parade in Adelbert Main 7-7:30 p.m., where they donned costumes. All classes were expected to appear in various costumes. The parade formed at Wade Park Lagoon at 7:30 p.m. Each alumnus carried a Japanese lantern and Class Standards were provided by the reunion committee. “The line of march will be around the Pond, through the Campus of the College for Women and thence to the Main Building of Adelbert College. The oldest class represented will form at the head of the Parade, followed by other classes in order of graduation. A band, already arranged for will lead the march.

“At the close of the Parade, President Thwing and prominent alumni will speak briefly from the College Steps. Immediately thereafter the Annual University Reception will be held in the Main Building. An orchestra will furnish music for dancing in the Assembly Hall on the second floor. All Western Reserve people and their friends are invited.”[1]

In 1954 the 50th reunion was held for the Case School of Applied Science Class of 1904. On May 21 they gathered at Tomlinson Hall for fellowship and tours of the buildings. They then traveled to the Oakwood Country Club where they had their class reunion dinner. President Glennan dined with the class and spoke about the new Case. As part of this evening’s festivities 4 members of the class (Stant Charlesworth, Ralph Brown, Paul Schmidt, George Protheroe) regaled the group with a selection of old Case songs. (Listen to the introduction by George Protheroe and the first song by downloading the MP3 file below.) May 22 followed with more activities on campus and the Great Alumni Dinner (for all Case reunion classes).

Download MP3 file (4.3 MB)

Welcome back alumni! Enjoy the weekend!

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September 30, 2011

10 Years Ago: First Online Elections for Undergraduate Student Government

Ten years ago USG concluded its first online election: the fall election for class officers. Efforts had been made over a year earlier but security concerns delayed the implementation. Online elections were seen as a way to increase voter turnout. Prior to Fall 2001, in-person voting was held at Thwing Center, normally 9-4, and in Fribley and Leutner Commons 4:30-7. Volunteers worked the polls.

The USG election commissioner worked with staff from Student Information Systems to implement a system for online voting. The system also had the “capacity for any student organization to sponsor a survey.”

“The voting and survey system takes information from CWRU’s databases and uses that information as criteria for providing the correct ballots.” A student logged in using their university user-ID and password. According to the Observer, online voting was a success and the general consensus among students was that the “online elections made voting more convenient.”[1]

[1] Matthew Himrod, “First ever online class elections conclude successfully,” The Observer (9/21/2001)

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September 23, 2011

Homecoming - A 90-Year Tradition

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Football, Parades, Queens, and Kings

The first issue of The Case Alumnus in 1921 included this announcement, “Alumni gather round. We old fellows are going to take the Case-Oberlin game on Nov. 12 to our bosoms as being a fitting and appropriate occasion on which to show the Case student body what real pep is, also to show ourselves an all around good time...” [1]

This is the earliest we’ve tracked CWRU’s homecoming traditions (so far - we haven’t exhausted all the sources yet). Over the 90 years of homecoming celebrations there’s been a remarkable continuity of events: fraternity, sorority, and academic department open houses; pep rallies and bonfires; float and car parades, with prizes for the best float; house decoration contests; dances, brunches, luncheons, and receptions; Homecoming Queen contests; and a football game.

But, as is true of most of our longest traditions, there have been some changes.

A football game wasn’t absolutely necessary to celebrate Homecoming. In 2007 soccer was the homecoming game. At Mather College, in the early 1930s, each senior invited an alumna to be her guest at the homecoming party. Cleveland College’s first homecoming was held in February 1929, at the Hotel Cleveland. It featured Sir John Adams, “world-known educator,” as the featured speaker. Some football games were not between varsity teams. CSAS’s 1921 homecoming followed the traditional varsity game with, as described in The Case Alumnus, “a football game of uncertain length, to be played by a short-winded and pot-bellied gang that used to think they could play football for Case... They will have as their opponents this year’s freshman team.” [1]

50 years ago, WRU’s 1961 homecoming budget was $1,288, including $1.00 for the parade permit, $90 for four kegs of beer, and $120 for fireworks and bonfire.

In fall 1967 the newly federated Case Western Reserve University was only a few months old. It took a few years for the Case and WRU programs and traditions to commingle. So the 1967 homecoming press release started, “For the second time in less than two weeks, Case Western Reserve University campus will be the scene of Homecoming festivities...” [2] Case’s homecoming was October 27-28 and WRU’s was November 7-11. Case’s homecoming football game was against Bethany College. Case lost 8-48. WRU’s homecoming football game was against Case. Case lost again, 0-9.

30 years ago our 1981 homecoming included the usual football game, pep rally and bonfire, tailgate party, dance, happy hour, Octoberfest party, post-game reception. Less common was a half-day Financial and Estate Planning Symposium. The symposium must have been popular because it was repeated in 1984.

In the 1990s homecoming added more scholarly components. In 1997 some of Friday’s undergraduate classes were open for alumni to visit. Faculty lectured on topics including, “CWRU’s Humanities Center, Women’s Studies and the Mother of Frankenstein” and “The Information Super Highway and Electronic Learning at CWRU.”

In 2006 a new homecoming tradition began: GospelFest, a concert of gospel music by local musicians, churches, and youth organizations. After her death GospelFest was named for alumna, Congresswoman, and honorary GospelFest chairwoman, Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

The homecoming tradition continues this year on October 13-16.

[1] 20JA 1:1 The Case Alumnus v.1 no.1 (October 1921): 1-2
[2] 4WH 1:1 Homecoming press release, n.d.

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September 15, 2011

After the 9/11 attack: 10 years ago at CWRU

Within hours of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 Interim President James Wagner sent an e-mail message to the campus community regarding the attacks. Classes and social events were suspended for the day but the university remained open. “Universities are places committed to discourse and dialogue over ideological differences, and we abhor violence or terrorism as a means of expression. For the same reasons, we cannot allow violent acts to force the University to abandon this role.”[1]

The university opened Amasa Stone Chapel for quiet reflection; and rooms in Thwing Center, Leutner Commons and Fribley Commons were made available as discussion areas. Counseling services were offered by Cleveland Hillel Foundation, Hallinan Center Newman Catholic Campus Ministries, Muslim Campus Outreach Group, United Protestant Campus Ministries, and University Counseling Services. The university marked the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, held 9/14/2001, in Amasa Chapel.

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2002 Remembrance ceremony

One year later, a remembrance of the 9/11 attacks was held in front of Kelvin Smith Library. CWRU joined the nation in broadcasting Mozart’s Requiem beginning at 8:46 a.m. This was followed by a moment of silence and offer of peace at 9:50 a.m. At noon University Counseling Services sponsored September 11 Then & Now, an open discussion to reflect on personal responses to 9/11. A temporary memorial wall was installed outside Kelvin Smith Library September 1 for members of the university community to record their words, photos, drawings of remembrance. It remained until September 30.

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Section of the 2002 memorial wall


[1] James W. Wagner Statement, 9/11/2001 noon

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September 07, 2011

Student Traditions - Freshman Beanies

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Mather freshman receiving her beanie, 1962; 1940s Adelbert freshmen, in beanies, pulling a wagon-full of upper classmen

A nearly universal event on college campuses, orientation introduces new students to the university. Tours of campus help identify the location of classes, food, and other essentials of student life. Presentations describe university rules and services. Orientation also exposes new students to some of the university’s traditions.

A university that is 185 years old has had plenty of time to develop traditions. Some last; some don’t. One tradition that has gone out of fashion is the freshman cap or beanie. At Case and Western Reserve University during orientation freshmen were presented with their caps. At the WRU men’s college, Adelbert College, freshmen were required to wear their caps at all times while on campus. The sophomore class was charged with enforcing this rule. In the spring the freshmen were formally relieved of their caps and other freshmen burdens at Campus Day.

One of the best archival sources of information about, and pictures of, student traditions are student yearbooks. A sample of the University Archives yearbook collection has been digitized and can be seen in the University Archives Student Yearbook collection in Digital Case.

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September 02, 2011

Registering for Classes

Twenty-first century students would not recognize registration as experienced by their parents and grandparents. Until 1999 registration meant standing in line.

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Students registering for classes in the 1930s and 1970s.

Students met with their adviser or dean to select courses which were recorded on a paper registration form. Students took the completed registration form to the designated registration location (Adelbert Gym and Crawford Hall were often used). Students were assigned registration dates. For example, for Fall 1981 Western Reserve College students with last names ending A-E registered 4/20 and 4/27; F-J registered 4/21 and 4/28; K-O registered 4/22 and 4/29; P-S registered 4/23 and 4/30; T-Z registered 4/24 and 5/1.

Efforts to streamline registration have been continuous. For instance, in 1948 at CIT, mail registration was available for all currently enrolled graduate students. Students completed a registration form sent by the school (along with the roster of classes) and mailed it back to the Registrar. “The student schedule will be mailed back to you and if there is any complication due to conflict, failed courses, etc., you will be notified. Otherwise, all you need to do is to report to the classes as scheduled, beginning the week of September 20.”[1]

By the 1960s both CIT and WRU were using mainframe computers. In 1964 WRU explained, “Heretofore, each one of our students who has enrolled has had to fill out as many as seven different cards for each semester or summer session he attends. This year we tried a new mailing procedure for freshmen in which they had to fill out only one sheet of paper containing twenty-one questions. From these data on that sheet...the data processing unit can then make all the necessary cards and gather all the required information automatically.” [2]

The first on-line registration system (SOLAR - Student On-Line Academic Registration System) was implemented at CWRU for Fall 1999. Students first met with their adviser or dean to select their courses, complete a registration form, and obtain a PIN number. Students had the option to register in-person or online.

Today’s process still requires meeting with the adviser or dean for course selection. However, long lines are a thing of the past.

[1] W. E. Nudd, Registrar to all Graduate students presently attending the Day or Evening Divisions of Case Institute of Technology, 8/1/1948
[2] 4DB1 1:14 William Heston to John Millis, 11/3/1965

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August 26, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 6

The final installment of Young’s account describes the return home after accomplishing the prisoner exchange.

“Our progress northward was very slow; the gunboats could hardly make headway against the current. On the night of the 14-15 we met the second convoy of Confederate prisoners coming down, and Capt. Lazelle left us, turning over the command of the flotilla to me. We were very glad to get rid of him, for he had been anything but agreeable. On the 17th, about six miles above Napoleon, we were fired upon by a secesh picket on the Eastern bank. Their balls did not reach us, but the gunboats shelled them in very lively fashion for about ten minutes, without hurting anybody so far as I could learn. The rascals were in the woods and cleared out very quickly. The next day I received a communication from the Confederate commandant apologizing for this firing on a flag of truce, and promising to punish the offender. On the 18th we met a brigade of Federal troops on their way south. On the 19th we arrived at Helena about noon, turned over the men who were to delivered there, and took on coal enough to take us to Memphis, -all they could spare. Reached Memphis late on the 20th, got rid of the gunboats, landed some men, coaled, and started for Cairo very early on Monday morning where we arrived on Tuesday Sept. 23d in time to discharge the rest of our Federal prisoners, and one or two passengers who had been allowed to come North with us, among them one or two ladies. In the evening we took train at Cairo for Columbus and arrived there on Wed. the 24th. I was so tired and used up after getting through the duties at Cairo that I just curled up on the floor in a corner of the car and slept for nearly twelve hours until we reached Richmond Ind. on the border of Ohio. On the 26th and 27th we were paid off, mustered out, and discharged, and on Monday morning the 29th we started for home. Some of the fellows did not go to Cleveland but went home some nearer way; most of the men however kept with us as far as Cleveland, and scattered from there, not returning to Hudson for a week or ten days. * See Post Script I forget whether we found the College in session, -the catalogue for 1862-3 says ‘First term begins Sept. 18th,’ and perhaps it did so far as the Freshman class was concerned; but Commencement was held in Oct. 15th.

“One amusing thing, - when we first went into camp the boys lost a great many blankets, bayonets, and sometimes guns, stolen by men from the other companies. They vowed they would get even, and they did. When we came to turn over our equipments there was quite a superfluity; the fellows had at least half a dozen extra guns that I knew about, and I imagine some that I had no knowledge of, any number of bayonets, and I don’t know how many duplicate blankets. They had certainly got even with the ‘Egyptians.’

“One thing more: -We were armed at first with old smooth bores, using cartridges loaded with a ball and three buck-shot; a weapon well adapted for Guard-duty. Later, however, we were given Enfield rifles, and for some time we were the only company in the regiment to have them, much to the envy of the rest.

“Well: -you asked for my recollections, and I suspect I have given you more than you know what to do with. Use as much or as little of the material as you like; condense or omit at pleasure.

“Our military service was not very glorious, but I think it was really useful: The boys released for service in the field more than their own number of seasoned soldiers who otherwise would have had to be retained at the camp.

“And I think they saved the College, for very few of them afterwards left the institution, as they would have been likely to do but for their brief experience of soldiering which saved them from the draft in 1863.

“With all best wishes
Sincerely yours
C.A. Young

“P.S. I found this morning a letter of my wife’s which shows that College opened on Sept. 25th and not on the 18th which, as stated in the Catalogue, was the regular date for opening.

“I find also that I was one day wrong as to the date of our arrival at Columbus- it was on the 24th, not 25th. A letter from my wife dated on ‘Wed.’ the 24th & mailed in the forenoon of the 25th, acknowledges a telegram I had sent from Columbus announcing our arrival. - Not a matter of any importance, but may as well be made correct.

“Wed am
May 11th
C.A.Y.

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August 18, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 5

Last week we left Company B at Centralia on their way to Vicksburg for a prisoner exchange.

“We arrived at Cairo on the 28th (Thursday), and there took on 200 more prisoners from Camp Morton. We had three transports, the Champion, the largest and finest boat on the river, the Chancellor, and I think, the Pringle; but as to the last I am not certain: below Memphis we had another, the Emerald, and I am not certain which, the Emerald or Pringle, started from Cairo. We had lost two prisoners at Cincinnati in the change of cars there in the evening: they violated their parole and, I suppose made their way over into Kentucky; I was told that they lived in or near Covington. From Cairo we were escorted by the gunboats Eastport and Queen of the West.. We all carried flags of truce. We reached Memphis on the 30th, having been much delayed by the Eastport which kept getting aground. My own quarters were on the Champion with Capt. Lazelle of the Regular Army, who had been captured and paroled in Texas with Gen. Wool. Gen. Sherman was at the time in command at Memphis, and I reported to him. We staid there over night. The people were very surly and once as we (Lieut. Cutler and I) were walking through the street a couple of women spit at us.

“Here the Eastport and Queen of the West dropped us and their places were taken by the Louisville and Benton (iron-clads) fresh from Forts Henry and Donelson. The rest of our trip to Milliken’s Bend at the mouth of the Yazoo was without incident, and the whole trip was not uncomfortable except for the heat and mosquitoes. We reached the Bend, about six miles above Vicksburg, on the evening of Sept. 9th, and lay there four days, discharging our prisoners into boats sent up from Vicksburg, and receiving in exchange 350 Federal prisoners to be taken to Helena, Memphis, and Cairo. Here the Benton, I think, left us, thogh I am not sure that she did not go North with us some little distance. At any rate the gun-boat Tylor joined us here, and with the Louisville accompanied us as far as Memphis, beyond which point convoy was not considered necessary.

“The stay at the mouth of the Yazoo proved disastrous to a great many of us. The water was bad, and affected the bowels of more than half the company, causing a diarrhoea that was was very obstinate, and in many cases became chronic for years, and was ultimately fatal to several. As for myself I did not fully recover from it for nearly twenty years.”

Next week: the return trip

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August 12, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 4

Last week’s account described Company B’s Camp Chase duties. Young’s account continues with preparations for their prisoner exchange assignment.

“In August, as the time for our discharge approached, a movement was set on foot to reorganize the regiment for State Service for three years for Guard-duty. Several of our officers, myself among the number were offered the command in case the plan succeeded, but declined it. Finally Lieut. Weber, who had graduated from college in 1861, accepted. It was not found possible to enlist a full regiment, but three or four companies were ultimately filled and organized into a battalion of which he was made Major (after our return from Vicksburg (I think)). Only half a dozen or so of the students went into it, as most of the undergraduates, as well as Professor Cutler and myself, felt in honor bound to return to the college when our enlistment expired.

“In August exchanges of prisoners were negotiated between the U. S. and the Confederates, and after a good deal of discussion Co. B was offered the chance to go as escort to the confederate prisoners at Camp Chase who were to be exchanged at Vicksburg. Although this would delay our discharge a few weeks we were glad to accept the offer, partly because it would give us a good trip after the monotonous grind of camp duty, and partly because it would save us from exposure to the draft which was then threatening.

“On August 26th we left camp 100 strong, the wanting numbers in our company being made up by details of about twenty men from other commands, (our numbers had been reduced by illness and consequent discharge, and by transfer of men to go into active service). We took 1024 prisoners (under parole), and started out with a train of 24 cars from Columbus for Cairo via Cincinnati and Centralia. At the latter place the R.R. agent undertook to be ugly, and to delay us by refusing to furnish us certain cars which were standing on the tracks. I had to send Lieut. Cutler to him with a squad of men, and tell him that if he did not do it immediately I would take possession of them by force, and would take him along with them under arrest and hand him over to the authorities at Cairo to be dealt with there, He wilted.”

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Carroll Cutler in 1861

Next week we will continue Captain Young’s account of Company B and the trip to Vicksburg to exchange Confederate and Union prisoners.

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August 04, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 3

Last week’s account of Company B saw them arrive at Camp Chase and their mustering in. Young continues his account by describing their duties in camp.

“Our duty was entirely with guarding the two confederate prisons. As long as the camp was fully manned it was not severe, but when a considerable part of the force was called away it was pretty hard;, some of the time the men were on duty every day right along for nearly twenty days in eight hour watches; (I am not quite sure as to the eight hour arrangement, but it averaged half the time for every man) I was officer of the day every other day. This was in July - Morgan’s raid in Ky. Only 5 companies were left in Camp. Men returned in about a fortnight or three weeks. There was some fear of an attempt of the prisoners to rise; and to give them the impression that there was still a sufficient number of guards the commandant used sometimes to have a great fuss made at guard-mounting in the way of drumming and band music, and now and then the music played as for a new regiment coming into camp. Of course the prisoners could hear but not see. There were several attempts by outsiders to communicate with the prisoners, especially with the officers prison where we had John Morgan’s brother at the time. The method was usually by throwing packages over the high, fence at night, and one or two offenders were caught.

“There were occasional attempts to dig out. One night when I was officer of the day I had to take a squad and go into the prison at midnight to investigate one of the houses in respect to which the commandant had obtained some information, -how I don’t know. We turned the occupants out, and found a tunnel some forty feet long. It had not quite reached the outer stockade, and would have required considerable more work to finish. Then on general principles we overhauled all the houses nearest the stockade in that prison, and found three more mines, one of them almost through to the outside. So far as I know no prisoners escaped Camp Chase that summer by tunnelling.”

Captain Young describes a new duty for Company B next week.

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July 28, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 2

Below is a continuation of Charles Augustus Young's account of the Civil War experiences of Western Reserve College's Company B. 85th O.V.I. The Company was mostly stationed at Camp Chase in Columbus, where they guarded prisoners of war. Last week's account describes the Company's beginnings.

“We arrived in the city about noon (instead of the evening, as I had remembered) reported to the governor, marched out to camp (four miles) and were quartered for the night in a kind of big shed, and got our first experience of sleeping on the soft side of a plank. We were in the shed for a couple of days, I think, before we were assigned to company quarters as Co. B. (a letter seems to be missing from the file so that I cannot give the date of mustering in)

“One of the mornings our little drummer, Arba Farwell, started quite a commotion by innocently giving a long roll in beating the Reveille: Col. Moody, then the commandant of the camp, came down upon him good and hard, but forgave him when he understood the case. Of course it ought to have indicated that the prisoners in the camp (about 2000 if I remember rightly) were making an attempt to escape.

“I don’t remember exactly how many men we took into camp from Hudson, but it was not quite up to the requirements for a full company, and it was necessary therefore to enlist a few more men from those who were looking for chances at camp Chase. This was soon accomplished. We got in one squad from Austinburg sixteen men, but their names do not appear on the descriptive list because they were soon transferred to another company that went into the field, while our regiment was assigned to State service. We had therefore to recruit again until we reached the full number required, (101).

“I do not remember, or find any mention in my letters, as to the exact date of our mustering in, but I think it must have been between the 25th and 30th of June: I know that it was long delayed for various reasons. (Perhaps I had better explain that the gaps in the file of my letters preserved by my wife are caused by the fact that a number of them were sent to my Mother in New Hampshire, and never returned; otherwise I should have a pretty full diary of the four months service)..

“I may as well insert here that a second time, in August, on account of a raid by Morgan in Kentucky threatening Cincinnati, our regiment was depleted by a call for service in the field. Half the companies were detached and sent down into Kentucky. The Governor had promised President Hitchcock that our company should be kept in the state, and he made good his word, although a large majority of the boys were very anxious to go into the field."

Next week's entry describes the Company's guard duties

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July 21, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 1

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Charles A. Young

From June to September, 1862 many students and some faculty served in Company B of the 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The captain of the company was Charles Augustus Young, professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy and later the first Perkins Professor of Natural History and Astronomy. The lieutenant was Carroll Cutler, professor of Intellectual Philosophy and Rhetoric and later president of Western Reserve University. Company B was mainly stationed at Camp Chase in Columbus. Camp Chase was a recruitment and training center for the Union Army and a prison camp. Company B was involved in guarding the prisoners of war.

In 1904 Young wrote a letter to Hartwell Osborn, an 1863 graduate of Western Reserve College. The letter recounts his recollections of the service of Company B. Below, and in the coming weeks, we provide a transcript of this letter.

“My Dear Mr. Osborn,

“I do recollect you quite distinctly, -far better than many of my pupils of my last few years. Not that I should probably recognize you if we were to meet, or you me for that matter, for the more than forty years since I last saw you has changed us both.

“I am afraid that I cannot give you any great assistance in what you wish, for since I left Hudson in 1866 I have had no means of keeping in touch with my old pupils there. I still have however the descriptive list of Co. B. 85th O.V.I., and will send it to you if you wish, -to be afterwards turned over to the Library of Western Reserve University.[1]

“As to my own recollections of the matters connected with it I do not suppose that I can tell you anything of importance that you do not already know. You of course remember that, as was the case with most of the Colleges, a student company was formed for drill in the early summer of 1861, and that I was asked to serve as Captain. The 1st Lieut. was W. M. Beebe, and E. L. Webber was the 2d Lieut.[2] We drilled a good deal that summer and in the following autumn under the instruction of a Capt. Hayward a man from Cleveland. We had no arms but wooden guns; but so far as company tactics go we got into pretty good shape, -so good that when we went to Camp Chase the next summer we were dubbed ‘the regulars.’ The organization was resumed the following spring with Beebe as Captain, as I did not care to continue in the office.

“On May 25th or 26th, I forget the exact date, Gov. Tod, in consequence of an expected raid from Morgan, called for three months men for state service, and as soon as the call appeared in the evening paper and without saying anything to the Faculty, the company telegraphed their offer to the Gov. and he telegraphed back his acceptance. The boys wanted that I should go with them, and after talking it over with President Hitchcock I agreed to do so, and Professor Cutler was asked to take the 1st Lieut.

“Beebe did not go with us, as he was negotiating for a place on Gen. Hazen’s staff, which he soon obtained. We left Hudson on June 5th, and arrived in Columbus on June 6th (pardon my many bulls [typos], I am referring to my letters to my wife, and am continually finding slight errors in my recollections, which may as well be corrected even if unimportant) after spending the night in Cleveland.”

Next week’s entry picks up with Company B’s arrival at Camp Chase.

[1] This descriptive list to which Professor Young refers is in the University Archives. It is available for use during regular Reading Room hours.
[2] Edwin L. Webber graduated from Western Reserve College in 1861. During the war he became Lieutenant Colonel in the 88th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. William M. Beebe attended Western Reserve College for 2 years as a member of the class of 1863. He served in the war from 1862 to 1865.

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July 15, 2011

Western Reserve College in the American Civil War

On April 14, 1861, in response to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln issued a call for volunteers to serve for 90 days. Western Reserve College was at the beginning of a two-week vacation between terms. While some of the undergraduates volunteered, most remained until the end of the academic year on July 11.

Though far from the battles, Western Reserve College was not unaffected by the War. As was true during most wars, the school struggled to continue its teaching in the face of fewer students and faculty, as many volunteered for military service. Undergraduate enrollment in 1860-61 was 62. In 1861-62 it was 52; in 1862-63, 48; in 1863-64, 50; in 1864-65, 41. The College did not keep records of all students who withdrew to serve in the military. But an 1873 directory of military service lists 140 students and three faculty. Frederick C. Waite, WRU historian, estimated that 400 Medical alumni served. Nevertheless, the only recorded disruption to the college year was the postponement of Commencement exercises in 1862 from July to October, due to the absence of most students serving in Company B of the 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Curricular changes were made to support the war effort. The College instituted three times per week military instruction in the spring of 1861. Many students and some faculty participated in the program led by Colonel Hayward. The Medical Department, located in Cleveland, began a course in military surgery in 1862. In 1863, the Soldiers’ Aid Society was organized to care for sick and wounded returning soldiers. Medical faculty served at the hospital and students received clinical instruction.

Future postings will describe some of these initiatives in more detail. In the meantime, here are some sources in the CWRU Archives which document Western Reserve College in the Civil War:

Histories
Waite, Frederick Clayton. Western Reserve University - The Hudson Era: A History of Western Reserve College and Academy at Hudson, Ohio, from 1826 to 1882. (Cleveland: Western Reserve University Press, 1943): 344-346.

Waite, Frederick Clayton. Western Reserve University: Centennial History of the School of Medicine. (Cleveland: Western Reserve University Press, 1946): 136-140, 240.

Military Service Directories
Osborn, Hartwell. Western Reserve College List of Students Who Served in the Union Army from 1861 to 1865.
Entries are organized by class year and include birth and death places and dates; military service dates, units, ranks, and locations.

Descriptive List Co. B. 85th O.V.I. Camp Chase, Columbus O. June-Sept., 1862, Drawn from Western Reserve College, Hudson, Ohio.
Entries include physical descriptions, birth date and place, age at enlistment, military rank and unit.

Contemporaneous Records
Western Reserve Souvenir (WRC student newspaper), December 1862, November 1863, January 1864 issues.
Lists of students and alumni serving in the military were published along with articles describing the progress of the war, the military service of Halbert Paine (class of 1854), and experiences of Company B. 85th O.V.I.

Records of Western Reserve College Faculty.
Minutes of meetings discuss teaching assignments, student progress, and the academic calendar during the war.

Records of Western Reserve College Trustees.
Minutes of meetings discuss finances, property, and faculty appointments during the war.

Personal Accounts
Gilbert, Nicholas (class of 1864).
Several documents, ca. 1919, by George Thomas LeBoutillier describe his own and his classmate Nicholas Gilbert’s experiences at Camp Chase.

Cutler, Carroll. A History of Western Reserve College During Its First Half Century, 1826-1876. (Cleveland: Crocker’s Publishing House, 1876):60-61. Digital copies are available in Digital Case.
Cutler, a member of the WRC faculty during the war and later president of the College, described the impact of the war on the College.

Young, Charles Augustus.
Young, a member of the WRC faculty during the war, in a 1904 letter to Hartwell Osborn recounted his experiences as Captain of Company B. 85th O.V.I.

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June 23, 2011

Adelbert Hall burns - 20 years ago

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Adelbert Hall before and during the fire

On Sunday, June 23, 1991 fire broke out in the oldest campus building, Adelbert Hall, gutting the historic building. Built 1881-1882 it was formally dedicated October 26, 1882; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

President Pytte arrived at the building in the early afternoon to do a little work. He was met by a security guard who was checking the building because a fire alarm had tripped. The security guard could not locate the problem until the fire alarm tripped again. The Cleveland Fire Department was called at 1:57 p.m. and arrived at 2:02 p.m. Firefighters first tried to fight the blaze from inside the building, but evacuated when the roof collapsed. The fire was declared under control at 3:43 p.m. Sixty men and 10 trucks from 3 battalions fought the fire. The loss was estimated at $10-$15 million.

Salvage started the next day, after the Fire Department allowed entry to the building. Staff working on the direct salvage of materials from the building included staff from Plant Services, University Archives, University Libraries Preservation Department, Administrative Information Services and Development Information Services, University Movers. Personnel from the displaced offices were on hand to help identify records, computers, equipment, and belongings. Wet paper records were first frozen and then underwent a vacuum freeze-drying process to remove the water. Paper records that were not wet, were deodorized to remove the smell of smoke. Many paintings were restored by several art conservators or repainted from photographs of the paintings. More than 130 personal computers were retrieved from Adelbert. Most information was recovered by backing up the hard drives to tape. Nine seriously damaged units were sent off-site to On-Track Data Recovery in Minnesota. Data was recovered from all but one hard drive. The university’s mainframe was located in Crawford Hall and was unaffected by the disaster.

The university hired R. M. Kliment and Frances Halsband Architects to coordinate the renovation. The firm was experienced with building rehabilitation, additions, historical restorations, and educational facilities. The rebuilding of Adelbert Hall took 2 years with a cost of $12.4 million. The Krill Company was the construction manager.

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Adelbert Hall exterior and interior after the fire

Twenty offices were displaced by the fire, including the president. Personnel from the affected offices were housed in Crawford 13 and 14 until arrangements were made for temporary office space. Some offices, like the Controller, never returned to Adelbert. Other offices, such as Student Affairs, were added as new tenants.

Some changes made to Adelbert in its reconstruction included a different tower, redesigned central hall with the stairs in the tradition of the original double staircase, an expanded skylight, central air conditioning, wiring for CWRUnet, a modern elevator (if you remember the old elevator this was a big deal), and 9 new conference rooms.

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May 18, 2011

Students Salute Keith Glennan Day

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Case Band leading the procession on Students Salute Keith Glennan Day


On May 14, 1965 retiring Case Institute of Technology President T. Keith Glennan was honored by a surprise tribute organized by students. The student planning committee explained, “By now you know that Dr. T. Keith Glennan is retiring this June after eighteen years of service as president of Case Tech. Under Dr. Glennan’s leadership Case has emerged as one of the outstanding technological institutions in the nation. As a token of our gratitude and to offer our farewell tribute to Dr. Glennan, a student planning committee has organized “Students Salute Keith Glennan Day.” [1]

The certificate presented by the students read, “Be it known that the students of Case Institute of Technology have conferred upon Thomas Keith Glennan able administrator, leader in the development of higher education in the fields of engineering and science, and distinguished public servant, the Honorary Title of Respected Educator...” [2]

The event began with a parade to Clarke Field. During the ceremony tributes from students and visiting dignitaries were offered. President Glennan received a set of white-walled tires and a “specially designed tea table whose stainless steel top displays an engraved map and aerial photograph of Case.” [3] A song, composed in Glennan’s honor by Raymond Wilding-White, Assistant Professor of Music, was performed by the Glee Club. Mrs. Glennan was presented with a bouquet of yellow roses. So that the entire student body of nearly 2400 could attend, classes during the 11:15 period were canceled.

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President Glennan thanking the students (white-wall tire gift in the foreground)

Additional information about President Glennan is available in the Archives web exhibit about CWRU’s presidents.

[1] 7PI “Honoring Our Departing President...” flyer, 5/14/1965
[2] 7PI press release, 5/14/1965
[3] 20PN1 “Students Laud Dr. Glennan,” Case Tech, 5/21/1965

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May 13, 2011

Commencement Collection in Digital Case

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The University Archives is pleased to announce the new Commencement Collection in Digital Case. Initially the collection contains images, invitations, convocation programs, and concert programs. Additional items will be continuously added to the collection. These additional items include baccalaureate service programs, schedules of events, speeches, audio recordings, more images and more convocation programs.

In this collection you can find faculty and student award and prize winners, honorary degree recipients, Phi Beta Kappa members, commissioned military officers, the titles of theses and dissertations, and other information.

The collection summary page shows the number of items in the collection.

1. to see a list describing each item, click “View This Collection.”

Images have an icon of a camera over the title. Click on the title. You will then see the full descriptive record. Click on the title by the camera again and you will see the image. On the right side of the page there are links to download 1 of 4 sizes of the image.

Scanned documents have an icon of a page over the title. These documents are PDF files. Click on the title. You will see the summary descriptive information. Click on the title by the page icon. You will now see the detailed descriptive information. On the right side of the page you will see a link that reads “Download this file” with the size of the file in parentheses. Click on this link to see and download the document. The PDF files are text searchable and there are bookmarks to help you navigate the document easily. Some larger files are not readily viewable in browsers and should be downloaded.

2. To browse the images, click “View 3D Image Wall.” You can quickly see which image or document is of interest to you. Hovering over the image will give you the title. You can click on the thumbnail to see a larger view.

3. There are Search and Advanced Search functions. Learn more.

We hope you enjoy this new collection. Be sure to check back periodically as more material is added.

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May 04, 2011

Commencement Timeline

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CWRU Commencement, 2000

How many commencements has Case Western Reserve University had? It seemed like a pretty straightforward counting effort when the question was received at the Archives. We’re accustomed to CWRU’s complexity, but the variations in commencement ceremonies surprised even us. Do you count commencement exercises at which no degrees were conferred? When commencement exercises are divided over three consecutive days, do you count one commencement or three? What about the year that degrees were conferred as part of a building dedication, but no commencement ceremony was held? When commencement exercises were held after each semester, do you count all three?

Here’s the short answer to “How many?” Adding the formal commencement exercises at which degrees were conferred by Western Reserve College, Western Reserve University, Case School of Applied Science/Case Institute of Technology , and CWRU, from 1830 through 2010, but excluding separate diploma ceremonies also held by individual schools, there have been between 366 and 450 commencements.

Here are some of the variations:

In 1828 and 1829, even though no degrees were conferred, Western Reserve College held a public commencement ceremony celebrating the year’s successes.

On August 25, 1830, four years after its founding, Western Reserve College held commencement exercises for its first graduating class of four students.

From 1844 through 1894 the School of Medicine held separate commencement ceremonies in March. The rest of Western Reserve University’s schools celebrated commencement in the summer.

In 1862 Western Reserve College postponed its scheduled July 10 commencement ceremony till October 15, due to the absence of most students fighting in the Civil War.

In 1882 Western Reserve College held no formal commencement exercises, instead conferring degrees after the October 26 dedication of the new Adelbert College buildings in Cleveland.

On June 15, 1885, Case School of Applied Science held its first commencement for 5 graduates at the Case Hall Auditorium in downtown Cleveland. Until 1942, Case held its Commencement exercises once each year.

From 1891 through 1931 Western Reserve University’s spring commencement exercises were spread over two to five days.

The ten years from 1932 through 1941 were the only times after 1844 that all of Western Reserve University’s schools shared a single June commencement day.

From 1942 through 1967 Western Reserve University held commencement exercises three times each year - after each semester. CWRU held its last summer semester and fall semester commencement ceremonies in 1970.

On September 8, 1967 the first commencement convocation of the newly federated Case Western Reserve University was held.

On May 22, 1985 CWRU held its first outdoor, University-wide commencement ceremony. Beginning in 1985, with a few exceptions, CWRU held a single University-wide commencement convocation followed by separate diploma ceremonies for each school.

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February 28, 2011

African-American Society

One of CWRU’s oldest recognized student cultural organizations, the African American Society was formed in 1968 as the Afro-American Society.

One of its earliest and most far-reaching actions was a series of demands presented to President Morse in December 1968. The group advocated for increased numbers of Black students, faculty, administrators; courses in African-American culture; greater university initiatives in the local Black community (e.g., Black History Week programs); an evening college prep program for Black students; recognizing the birthdays of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X as official university holidays; and acquiring additional library materials by and about Blacks.

The organization published a newsletter (copies from 1969-1974 are in the Archives) and sponsored lectures, films, and social events, including dances and cultural dinners. Beginning in 1969, the Afro-American Society co-sponsored Black Pre-Freshman Week activities such as tours, classes, performances, and dinners.

One of the group’s early leaders was Stephanie Tubbs, president in 1970/71. In spring 1971 the Afro-American Society proposed the university establish an Afro-American Studies House, so that “...academic and cultural pursuit of the ‘Black Experience’ may continue in discussions, seminars, workshops, etc. after the normal academic day is over...” It was to be “open for occupancy to all without regard to race, color, creed, religion or previous condition of ignorance or misunderstanding as long as all occupants of the dorm demonstrate interest in these specialized fields of interest and study.” [1] In 1972 the Afro-American Cultural Living Center was established at Sherman House.

For more than 40 years the African-American Society has helped CWRU become a more inclusive community.

[1. 4SI6 1:4 Michael W. Francis, Proposal for an Afro-American Studies House, 4/23/1971]

Other African American History Month recollections include John Sykes Fayette and CWRU's Afro-American Studies Program

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February 08, 2011

Charter Day: Happy Birthday CWRU!

On February 7, 1826 the State of Ohio granted the charter to establish Western Reserve College.

Frederick Waite, in his 1943 history of the origins of Western Reserve College, describes the communication environment of 1826. “This was before the era of the telegraph or of railroads, and the only means of communication was by messenger or by mail forwarded on stages that usually did not cover over fifty miles a day and ran on alternate days only. Three days must have elapsed before the information reached Hudson [the original home of Western Reserve]; it was the middle of winter when roads were blocked with snow, which delayed notification of the trustees and their travel to a meeting.” [1]

Carroll Cutler, fourth president of Western Reserve, has a wonderful description of the lobbying effort undertaken to secure a charter acceptable to the college’s supporters. He refers to some members of the Ohio Legislature as possessing “infidel sentiments.” Cutler’s history of the early days of Western Reserve College is available in Digital Case.

You might expect that the birthday of such a venerable institution as ours might have occasioned more attention than has seemed to be the case. Early University milestone anniversaries, the 75th and 100th, celebrated in the spring and fall. It wasn’t until the 125th anniversary in 1951 that Charter Day was included in the year-long series of celebrations. A convocation was held at Severance Hall on February 7 and an alumni banquet was held the previous evening. The 1976 Sesquicentennial similarly included Charter Day among a year-long series of events. Held on February 15, the Charter Day Convocation introduced the new history of CWRU, written by C. H. Cramer, presented the University Medal, and recognized new University Fellows.

Cleveland’s early February weather may be less conducive to festivity than May or October. On the other hand, in the cold, gloom, and snow, we could all use a celebration. So, minus the birthday cake - at least this year - Happy 185th Birthday, CWRU!

[1. Federick Clayton Waite. Western Reserve University: The Hudson Era. Cleveland, Western Reserve University Press, 1943; p. 52]

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President Leutner blows out candles on the 125th birthday cake, February 6, 1951

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February 04, 2011

CWRU’s Afro-American Studies Program

1968 - a tumultuous a year! The assassination of a presidential candidate who was the brother of an assassinated president; the assassination of a preeminent civil rights leader. The civil rights movement. The women’s rights movement. The Vietnam War. Riots in cities across the nation: Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Chicago. Demands across the nation for reform and changes in higher education. Enter a year-old university, itself suffering the pangs of a new marriage between a technological institute and a university.

In December 1968 the newly-formed Afro-American Society at CWRU presented demands to university president Robert W. Morse in letters dated December 2 and December 5, 1968. Among them was the “Institution of courses in the curriculum leading to a degree in Afro-American studies.”[1] Morse, in his letter of 12/13/1968, agreed that the university should be more effective in “incorporating Afro-American culture in its courses and academic programs.” He requested the Joint Curriculum Committee (of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Case Faculty) set up a task force to promote the development of new courses and explore the feasibility of a major in Afro-American studies. “The Task Force on Afro-American Curriculum was appointed by the Joint Curriculum Committee on February 24, 1969. “[2]

Courses with Afro-American content were already offered at the university, however, the administration and the Afro-American Society were in agreement that “considerable strengthening of the Afro-American components in various parts of the University curriculum is needed.”[3]

John McCluskey was appointed as the first head of the program. The program became a part of the Division of Special Interdisciplinary Studies. In the Fall semester 1969 McCluskey taught 2 courses: Myth and Ritual in Afro-American Culture I and Afro-American Cultural Expressions.

The program was listed as a minor beginning in 1972 and published a research journal, Ju Ju.

Enrollment grew from 77 in 4 courses in 1969/70 to 280 in 18 courses in 1970/71. Courses included: Black Renaissance, Black Communications, Poverty & Health in the Inner City, Dynamics of Social Stratification in a Black Society, Law as it relates to Black Community, and others. The highest enrollment was 301 in 20 courses in the 1974/75 academic year.

This success was short-lived however, as college enrollments across the country dropped. Financial problems continued at the university throughout the 1970s and support for the program waned. In 1976, the program’s chairman, James N. Kerri, resigned. Afro-American Studies was one of several programs at the university that were discontinued in the 1970s, including Urban Studies and Applied Social Sciences, Architecture, and Education.

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Afro-American Studies Program brochure


[1] Letter, Case Western Reserve University Afro-American Society to President Morse, 12/2/1968; Letter, Case Western Reserve University Afro-American Society to President Morse, 12/5/1968
[2] Report of the Task Force on Afro-American Curriculum, 12/1/1969
[3] Letter, Robert W. Morse to Members of The Afro-American Society of Case Western Reserve University, 12/13/1968

Other African American History Month recollections include John Sykes Fayette and African-American Society

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January 28, 2011

Intersession: Moving a Graveyard?

“It has often been said that it is as difficult to change a university’s curriculum as it is to move a graveyard.” [1] Yet, for seven years in the early 1970s, CWRU adopted not only a different academic calendar, but devoted the month of January to new kinds of undergraduate teaching and learning experiments in a program called Intersession.

Before Intersession winter semester classes recessed just before Christmas and resumed early in January, with reading days and final exams taking place in mid-January. Spring semester started early in February and ended in June. With Intersession, the University adopted the so-called “4-1-4” calendar of two 15-week semesters, with the month of January turned over to Intersession.

In contrast to juggling multiple courses during the regular semesters, Intersession offered students one month to focus on a single topic. In its proposal to the two undergraduate faculties, the Joint Curriculum Committee expressed the hope that, “January, now the most sterile period of the academic year, may become the most fruitful period.” [2] Participation was voluntary, both for students and faculty and full-time students paid no additional tuition. Alumni could participate, as well. Intersession included formal intensive courses, organized trips, independent study, and informal programs.

The first Intersession took place from January 5 through 30, 1970. It included approximately 250 offerings from over 340 faculty. Just under half of the undergraduates participated. The organized courses included Fortran Computer Programming, Black Political Modernization, Automotive Design, Basic Swahili, Introduction to Investment Markets, Art and Science of Museum Display, Adaptation to the Environment, Sports Officiating Techniques, Studies in the Homeric Odyssey, Television Program Production, Two Major Critiques of American Education, Political Poetry, Phosphate Water Pollution Problem, Frontiers of Macromolecular Science, Geology of the Moon, Computers and People, Health of American Cities. Organized trips included visits to Boston, London, and Paris.

By 1974 the Intersession Committee noted the challenges to Intersession posed by a changing campus environment, “The student body has shrunk, academic departments have come under severe budgetary stress, faculty are overcommitted.” [1] The Committee recommended that either Intersession be abolished or that student and department participation become mandatory.

Intersession’s last year was 1976. In proposing Intersession’s abolishment, B. S. Chandrasekhar, then Dean of Western Reserve College, explained, “ During all these years that it has been with us, [Intersession] has faiied to achieve a sufficiently coherent philosophy in terms of what it is supposed to be, so that perceptions and expectations are intolerably divergent as between the Colleges and among the students, teachers, and administrators, and it therefore commands inadequate support from all of them. At the same time, with no redeeming aspects, we have shortened the regular semesters to a dangerous point.” [3] On January 13, 1976 the Faculty Senate voted 34-7 to abolish Intersession and to adopt an academic calendar of two semesters, each with a minimum of fifteen weeks.

[1. The Second Report of the Intersession Committee to the Representative Assemblies for Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve College, July 1, 1974]
[2. Report of the Joint Curriculum Committee... Appendix B]
[3. Memorandum, B. S. Chandrasekhar to Faculty Senate, January 1976]

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Jane Sestak in Circus Techniques course, Intersession 1973

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January 20, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr. convocations at CWRU

The first university convocation held to honor the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was Thursday, April 11, 1968. The first annual convocation to honor Dr. King was held Monday, January 18, 1988.

At the 1968 convocation, just a week after King’s assassination, Chancellor John S. Millis presided and Professor John Turner, a fellow alumnus of Morehouse College and personal friend of Dr. King’s, was the principal speaker. Rabbi Bernard Martin gave the invocation and benediction. The Case Glee Club, under the direction of William Appling, sang a hymn and Lois Winckler, president of Mather Student Government, made remarks. As the announcement stated, “This was the first such event on the campus commemorating a non-University leader since the memorial convocation for President John F. Kennedy.”

The annual convocations generally feature an address by a main speaker, opening remarks by the university president, and music and song. Featured speakers have included clergy (such as The Right Reverend Arthur B. Williams, Jr., Reverend Marvin McMickle, Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.), and scholars (such as Aldon Morris, Samuel Proctor, Nikki Giovanni, and Joan Southgate).

In fall of 1996 an essay contest was introduced for the 1997 convocation. Prizes were awarded in 3 categories (faculty, staff, student). First place winners read their essays at the annual convocation. Over time, only one essay was read at the convocation.

Over the years, the commemoration of Dr. King and his legacy has grown from a single university convocation to a series of events over a week. From lectures and films to exhibits, poetry readings and concerts, sponsoring organizations and departments span the campus (e.g., University Program Board, African American Society, Case Democrats and Case Republicans, Office of the President, Student Affairs, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Kelvin Smith Library, and academic departments and centers.

The events usually take place during the week of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in January. President Ronald Reagan signed the 1983 law creating the national holiday, which was first observed in 1986.

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January 14, 2011

Science Fiction Film Marathon

“Friday, January 30 is the day the earth stands still, worlds collide and time stands still for Cleveland’s first 24 Hour Science Fiction Film Marathon...” This modest 1976 press release from the CWRU Office of Public Information announced the beginning of a 36-year (and counting) CWRU tradition.

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Held at Strosacker Auditorium, the first 24-hour Science Fiction Film Marathon began at 8 p.m. on Friday with a showing of The Day the Earth Stood Still and ended with Dark Star at 9:45 p.m. on Saturday. Other films included Westworld, When Worlds Collide, Fahrenheit 451, The Time Machine, Silent Running, Island of Lost Souls, The Lost World, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Andromeda Strain, Metropolis, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Barbarella, Forbidden Planet, and This island Earth. Admission was $1.00.

As with many traditions, some elements are constant. The location remains Strosacker Auditorium. The sponsor remains the CWRU Film Society. The time remains mid-January. And some elements change. Prices increase: $1 in 1976, $10 by 1987, $15 in 1993, $25 by 2002. Cartoons and short subjects were added in 1990.

An impressive variety of films spanning nine decades have been shown, including The Lost World (1925), The Walking Dead (1936), The Invisible Woman (1941), Forbidden Planet (1956), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Slaughterhouse Five (1972), Aliens (1986), Tremors (1990). A perennial favorite has been Metropolis, which was shown in 1976, 1991, 2002, and maybe more. The Archives collection of Science Fiction Film Marathon posters and flyers is incomplete. Additions to the collection from film-buffs would be most welcome.

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December 20, 2010

Holiday Fun for All!

It may be hard to imagine the likes of Jungle Larry and his animals, Bozo the Clown, and Sam the Chimp on the campus of a serious-minded engineering school like Case Institute of Technology. But they were among the entertainers featured at the annual Case Institute of Technology Christmas parties.

On Monday, December 23, 1963, Case held its first Christmas party for all faculty, staff and their families. It was held from 3-5 p.m. in Horsburgh Gymnasium at the Sam W. Emerson Physical Education Center. Entertainment was provided, gifts and prizes were handed out, and Santa Claus made an appearance.

Volunteers decorated the gym as well as a large Christmas tree on the preceding Saturday. Those employees who were not bringing children were asked to help out with 20-30 minute shifts.

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Case Christmas party, 1965

This party became an annual event, and by the time of Federation in 1967, featured entertainers had included: Jungle Larry and his animals, George Arnold, an organ grinder and his monkey, Rosare’s Complete Dog Show, Bozo the Clown and Sam the Chimp. The tradition continued through at least 1970.

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December 13, 2010

Stunt Night at Mather College

At Mather College, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas break were not wholly devoted to term papers and final exams. Preparation for Stunt Night - writing skits, learning dances, making costumes and scenery - competed for student time and energy.

One night, just before Christmas vacation, each class performed an original skit and song, competing for class honor and the silver Stunt Night cup. Judging was done by a panel of faculty, alumnae, and students. Parody and satire were the prevailing modes of expression. Current events, University mores, and, not surprisingly, the men of Adelbert College provided rich topics.

Below, the Flora Stone Mather junior class performs at 1948 Stunt Night. 00366D1.jpg

From its 1914 origins in the College’s gymnasium, by the 1920s Stunt Night’s popularity required a larger venue. For decades the annual performance was held in the Masonic Auditorium. Over the years, additional traditions accumulated. By the late 1930s a dance following the performance was held at local hotels such as the Statler Hilton, the Hotel Cleveland, and the Tudor Arms. The Champagne Circle featured the winning class passing the Stunt Night cup around the circle, each girl taking a celebratory sip of champagne. By the early 1940s a post-dance breakfast in Haydn Hall ended the festivities in the early morning.

In 1945, Stunt Night attracted the attention of Life Magazine, which published a 4-page article, Life Goes to a College Stunt Night in the January 21, 1946 issue.

Stunt Night’s status as the most important student event in the Mather calendar is clear from its extensive treatment in the yearbooks, some of which can be seen in the University Archives Student Yearbook collection in Digital Case.

It also seems to be fondly remembered by Mather alumnae. Some of their recollections have been recorded as audio interviews done by students in the Flora Stone Mather Oral History Project also available in Digital Case.

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December 08, 2010

Student Music Groups

Music was part of the extracurricular life of Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology long before formal instruction was offered.

At Western Reserve College musical organizations were established quickly. In 1828, only two years after the college was chartered, the Handel Society was organized by Rufus Nutting, a member of the faculty, and ten WRC students. The Handel Society met weekly to practice singing and read essays about music and musicians. The college choir started in the 1830s and the glee club developed from this. The image below is of the Western Reserve College Glee Club approximately 1851.
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Case School of Applied Science established its glee club in 1897. In 1922 the student yearbook opined, “The Musical Clubs always have been a star feature at Case, strange as that may seem. In fact we might well be called the Musical engineers. The queerest part of the matter is we admit we’re good - and then prove it.” Decades later, the glee club was still going strong, releasing its first album, Case Men Sing, in 1960. Featuring Case songs such as "Carmen Case," "Alma Mater," and the "Fight Song," the first edition sold out within a week.
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Rock and jazz groups are more familiar to current generations. But in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, students at Adelbert College, Flora Stone Mather College, and Case School of Applied Science were active in mandolin clubs. The image below is the College for Women Guitar and Mandolin Club in 1899-1900.
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The colleges' orchestras, marching bands, and other ensembles have performed at concerts, university ceremonies, and athletic events both on and off campus. Those musical experiences obviously made lasting impressions. This mp3 is one song from a program performed by the Case Class of 1904 Vocal Quartet at their 50th reunion banquet. Case-specific lyrics to popular tunes were a big part of their repertoire. Download file

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December 01, 2010

Let the Music Move You

Archives Month is celebrated annually in October as a way of raising awareness of the collections and services of America’s archives. Ohio’s celebration centers around a theme which, in 2010, was Let the Music Move You. As part of our participation, CWRU’s Archives explored some of the aspects of the university’s musical life - curriculum, concerts, clubs & organizations, and our radio station.

Our curriculum inquiry focused on beginnings. Musical instruction was first offered at Western Reserve University through an affiliation with the Cleveland Conservatory of Music in 1888. Courses in piano, violin, and voice were offered. But, according to the Catalog, those courses "must be considered as extra work, which will not be received as equivalent for the regular or elective work of the college curriculum."

It was not until 1899 that the regular curriculum of the College for Women included music. The two courses offered were History of Music and Harmony and Counterpoint. All the music classes were taught by Charles E. Clemens, professor of music for 30 years. Adelbert College began offering music courses in 1924 and Cleveland College followed in 1927.

At Case School of Applied Science, the Department of Language and Literature began offering Appreciation of Music in 1946. The Catalog described the course as, “...an introductory course...covering elements of composition and performance and giving their historical background. Illustrations will be by phonograph records and actual performance.”

The Catalog, aka General Bulletin, is one of our best sources for researching the curriculum. It includes policy (requirements for degrees and majors), programs (degrees, majors, minors, and courses offered by each school and department), and people (the faculty of each department and school and their teaching areas). Because it is such a rich resource, this series is on our priority list of records to be digitized.

But I digress - back to Archives Month and music. We were pleased that one of our images, the College for Women Guitar and Mandolin Club of 1899, was chosen for the Ohio Archives Month poster.

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November 22, 2010

Case vs. Reserve Thanksgiving Day football game - continued

There were objections by various clergy to holding a football game on Thanksgiving. In 1909 a letter was sent by Frank Du Moulin of Trinity Cathedral objecting to the game, “... this Clericus believes it to be entirely contrary to the purpose and spirit of Thanksgiving Day to occupy the morning hours of that day with any form of organized recreation which however healthful and legitimate in character, makes it difficult for the young people of the city to fulfill the main purpose of the day by ‘attendance at their respective places of worship.’”

In 1910 the Ministerial Associations sent a letter to President Howe of Case requesting that the game be moved to another day. The game subordinated patriotism and religion to a pastime, declared the ministers, “...in this city of ours the football game dominates the whole situation, overshadowing entirely the religious and patriotic aspects of the occasion; and we have the unseemly spectacle of the churches, which the President and Governor ask to carry out the intent of their proclamations, very largely subordinated to the frenzy of a pastime, holding their services, many of them, at all sorts of unnatural and inconvenient hours, with the minds of the people dominated by an alien and relatively trivial interest...”

In fact, the athletic program at both schools stayed afloat because of the gate receipts from the Thanksgiving Day game. It was not financially possible for either school to change the date of the big game.

President Howe responded in 1909, “If we could be sure of six or eight thousand people at every game throughout the season, I presume the receipts would be sufficient to meet all of the necessary expenses for the season; but the attendance is frequently not over a thousand and when our team goes to other colleges which are located in small towns, the receipts are so small that sometimes they do not more than pay the traveling expenses of the men who are obliged to go. For this reason our Athletic Association has always depended upon the receipts of the Thanksgiving Day game...”

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November 15, 2010

Case vs. WRU Thanksgiving Day football game

Thanksgiving Day and football: a tradition. No, not the Detroit Lions. Not the Dallas Cowboys. Forget the NFL! For many years in Cleveland the big game was the annual Case vs. Reserve game.

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The Case/Reserve Thanksgiving Day game was a long-standing tradition between Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, with few gaps, stretching from 1894-1953. The game was held in the morning so that people could attend and still get home to enjoy their dinner. The big game was well-attended and was often held at League Park (early home of the Cleveland Indians) and sometimes at Cleveland Municipal Stadium (later home of the Indians and Browns). Other venues included Shaw Stadium as well as the home turf of Van Horn (Case) and Clarke Fields (WRU). Being neighboring schools, Case and Reserve were big rivals. And since they were primarily local schools before World War II, many Clevelanders had attended or had family members who attended Case or Reserve, generating additional interest in the game.

Reserve had the upper hand in the rivalry, winning 49, while Case won 20, and there were 5 ties. Though Case won early, winning 9 of the first 13 games, they went on a winless streak after their victory in 1927 -- not winning again until 1948!

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Player gains 5 yards for Case, 11/25/1948.

The last Thanksgiving Day game was held 11/26/1953 with Reserve winning 35-19 at Clarke Field. The Ohio governor attended the game with 7500 other fans, including the Case and Reserve presidents.


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Case President T. Keith Glennan and WRU President John S. Millis at the last Thanksgiving Day game in 1953.

The next year Case abolished football and did not have a team again until 1955. Case and Reserve resumed play but the game was no longer held on Thanksgiving Day. The 2 institutions merged in 1967 but continued separate football teams through the 1969 season.

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