October 15, 2018

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight - Alfonso Miguel Alvarado

In 1965 Alfonso M. Alvarado became Assistant to the Provost for International Programs at Case Institute of Technology. He was head of a program of assistance to Mexican colleges and universities.

Alfonso M. Alvarado

Born in Cartago, Costa Rica in 1900, Alvarado came to the United States as a boy, living in New Orleans. He received his B.E. in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University in 1921. He attended graduate school at the University of Iowa, receiving the M.S. in Industrial Chemistry with minors in bacteriology and water analysis in 1922, and the Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry with a first minor in Organic Chemistry in 1924. Dr. Alvarado married Bertha V. Couture in 1924, and they had 3 children: Donald M., Shirley L., and Nancy E. He became a naturalized citizen in 1935.

After completing his education, Alvarado served as Professor and Head of the Department of Science at Waukon Junior College in Waukon, Iowa, 1924-1925. He was Associate Professor of Chemistry at Loyola University in New Orleans for 2 years, 1925-1927, before beginning a 37-year career as a Senior Research Chemist in the Central Research Department at E. I. duPont deNemours Co. After his retirement from DuPont, Dr. Alvarado joined CIT.

The Ford Foundation had approved a grant of $70,000 to CIT for a “1 1/2 year participation in the Foundation’s program for Technology Manpower Training in Mexico....The Case program involves working with educators in Mexico to help the development of higher education in engineering and science. Case already has a program in Monterrey, Mexico under which seven Case juniors study for a year at the Institute of Technology.”

After Dr. Alvarado’s retirement from CWRU in 1968, he was retained as a consultant in patent matters by the Office of Research Administration. During his career at DuPont he received 15 patents.

He was a member of Gamma Alpha Honorary Scientific Fraternity and the American Chemical Society. At CIT he was a member of the Provost Council and the Steering Committee Representative for the Indo-American Program at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, India.

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September 27, 2018

Namesakes - Charles B. Storrs and Storrs House

Charles Backus Storrs
The northside dormitory, Storrs House, was named for the first president of Western Reserve College, Charles Backus Storrs. Storrs was born 5/23/1794 in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. He was the son, grandson, and nephew of ministers. He attended the village school and then Monson Academy where he graduated in 1810. He entered the College of New Jersey (later known as Princeton University) in 1810 at the age of 16. He had to withdraw his junior year on account of ill health. He returned home and taught at the village school. He began the study of theology as a private student of a clergyman on Long Island. When he was 20 he was licensed to preach. In 1817 he entered Andover Theological Seminary and graduated in 1820. He served as a missionary in South Carolina and Georgia for a year and a half before suffering ill health again. While returning to Massachusetts he stopped in Ohio to visit a friend.

When he arrived in Ravenna, Ohio in 1822, a new church was being established. Storrs became the new pastor and served 6 years. On 7/6/1823 he married Vashti Maria Pearson of Avon, New York. They had 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. His first son (second child) died as an infant and his last child died a month before President Storrs himself.

The Western Reserve College President's House in Hudson, built 1829-1830

Storrs was offered the professorship of Theology at Western Reserve College in 1828. Before that time the faculty consisted of tutors. As the only professor he also performed administrative duties for the College. He was offered the presidency in 1829 but declined. In 1830 he accepted the presidency and was inaugurated as the university’s first president 2/9/1831.

He had been anti-slavery and was a Colonizationist. He became an ardent abolitionist some time in 1831. He was also an advocate for temperance. On 5/8/1833 Storrs gave a 3-hour long sermon on the subject of abolition; after which he became extremely ill. His health had been failing for some months. He was given a leave of absence by the trustees and went to his brother’s home in Braintree, Massachusetts. He never recovered and died from tuberculosis on 9/15/1833. John G. Whittier published 2 poems referring to slavery in 1833. According to university historian Frederick C. Waite, “In November, 1833, Whittier wrote a poem which ‘sounded through the abolition ranks like the notes of a trumpet.’ It was in memory of Charles Backus Storrs, who at that date was the only college president that had publicly advocated abolition. This was the first poem that Whittier published in Garrison’s journal, the Liberator. Its opening stanza, which indicates the place President Storrs held in the early abolition movement, is as follows:
Thou hast fallen in thine armor,
Thou martyr of the Lord!
With thy last breath crying, - ‘Onward!’
And thy hand upon the sword.”

Storrs House
Storrs House was built as part of the Adelbert I dormitory complex, which consisted of 4 dormitories and 1 commons building. The dorms were named for the first 4 presidents of Western Reserve College: Charles B. Storrs, George E. Pierce, Henry L. Hitchcock, and Carroll Cutler. The commons was named for the 8th president, Winfred G. Leutner.

Financing for the $3.3 million Adelbert I complex was through a loan from the Housing and Home Finance Administration ($2.6 million) and university funds. The Adelbert Alumni Association conducted a three-year $200,000 fundraising campaign to furnish the new men’s dormitories. There is a donor plaque in each of the 4 dorms to commemorate the donors. Some rooms may still have the original small plaque outside the individual doors.

Ground was broken in 1963 and Storrs House was completed by 10/15/1964. Instead of being ready for the Fall 1964 semester as planned, there was a delay in the completion of Storrs House and the rest of the Adelbert I complex and the Mather II complex because of a strike by the building trades workers. Students were housed in the old dorms and some were accommodated in local hotels. The dedication ceremonies included the Adelbert I, Mather I (Cutter House, Smith House, Taft House, Taplin House, and Stone Dining Hall) and Mather II (Norton House, Raymond House, Sherman House Tyler House, and Wade Commons) dormitory complexes on Sunday, 3/7/1965 at Leutner Commons. Storrs House has been in continuous use as a dormitory since its opening 54 years ago.

Gravestone for President Storrs

President Storrs is the only university president for which there is no portrait or likeness in any format. According to correspondence with his descendants, there never had been a portrait or other image of him. The Archives has a photograph of one of his brothers and of his gravestone. On Friday, 9/15/1933 a wreath was laid on Storr’s grave on behalf of Western Reserve University to mark the 100th anniversary of his death. University historian Frederick C. Waite had visited the site to make the arrangements.

For more information on abolition at the university see our 2009 Archives Month webpage, Taking a Stand: Abolition in Ohio (scroll down the page), and the Institute for the Study of the University in Society story, The College and Abolitionism.

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December 22, 2017

Namesakes - Frederick C. Robbins and Robbins Building

“In deep appreciation for the many contributions that Frederick C. Robbins, M.D. has made to this University and to society, the East Wing of the School of Medicine is hereby named: The Frederick C. Robbins Building”
- text from the building plaque

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Frederick C. Robbins and Robbins Building

Frederick Robbins (1916-2003)
It was 63 years ago this month that Frederick C. Robbins received the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology with John F. Enders and Thomas H. Weller “for their discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue.” This discovery led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines.

Robbins was Professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the time of his Nobel Prize honor. He was also Director of Pediatrics and Contagious Diseases at City Hospital (now known as MetroHealth Medical Center). He had begun his appointment at Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1952.

Born 8/25/1916 in Auburn, Alabama, he was raised in Missouri. He received his A.B. from the University of Missouri in 1936 and the B.S. from the University of Missouri Medical School in 1938. He attended Harvard Medical School where he received the M.D. in 1940. He was a resident in Bacteriology at The Children’s Hospital in Boston in 1940-1941 as well as an intern in 1941-1942.

He entered the U. S. Army in 1942, serving until 1946 in the U. S., Italy, and North Africa. He was assigned to the Fifteenth Medical General Laboratory as Chief of the Virus and Rickettsial Disease Section. This unit conducted research on infectious hepatitis, typhus fever and Q fever and supervised general virus diagnostic work. For a 6 month period he was Assistant Director of the Division of Virus and Rickettsial Diseases, Army Medical School under Dr. Joseph E. Smadel. Robbins received the Bronze Star. His rank upon discharge was Major.

Fred Robbins in Italy during World War II

After World War II, Robbins returned to Boston, serving as Assistant Resident and Chief Resident at The Children’s Hospital, 1946-1948, with a 3 month stint at Vanderbilt University Medical School as Exchange Assistant Resident in Pediatrics. In 1948 he began his work with Dr. John F. Enders and Thomas H. Weller in the Research Division of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital. As Senior Fellow in Virus Diseases he conducted investigations concerning the mumps virus and polio virus. He resigned his fellowship in 1950 to (in his own words) “continue with Dr. Enders on investigations concerning the cultivation of poliomyelitis virus and the application of these techniques.” At this time he was also a Research Fellow, Instructor, and Associate in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

In 1952 Robbins came to WRU. “I came here really because this school was so alive at that time. It was such a dynamic place. The faculty were an interesting group of people, some of whom I already knew quite well.” (Oral history interview with Frederick C. Robbins, 11/29/1993) These people included Charles Rammelkamp and John Dingle, who he knew through his work in the war at Fort Bragg. A friend and former roommate, Bill Wallace, became head of Pediatrics at Babies and Childrens Hospital of University Hospitals of Cleveland while Robbins became head of Pediatrics at City Hospital - both affiliated hospitals of the School of Medicine. 1952 was the year WRU School of Medicine radically changed its curriculum. Robbins served as chairman of the Committee on Medical Education 1958-1962.

In 1966 Robbins was named dean of the School of Medicine, serving in that position until 1980. It was during this time period that the Robbins Building and Sears Tower were built. In addition to his role as Professor of Pediatrics and Dean, in 1973 Robbins became Professor of Community Health. He was named Dean Emeritus and University Professor in 1980. After a 5 year term as President of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., Robbins returned to CWRU. He had an active research program and served as Director of the Center for Adolescent Health. According to his obituary, “In the late 1980s, Robbins was instrumental in establishing the Case medical school’s collaboration with the government of Uganda and Makerere University for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis research.” He was co-principal investigator of a multidisciplinary research program on AIDS funded by NIH.

Dr. Robbins received many awards and honors such as the First Mead Johnson Award with Dr. Weller, the Kimble Methodology Research Award with Drs. Enders and Weller, the Award for Distinguished Achievement (Modern Medicine), Ohio Governor’s Award, and the Abraham Flexner Award. He received honorary degrees from numerous institutions such as John Carroll University, University of Missouri, University of New Mexico, Tufts University, and The Medical College of Pennsylvania. He served on numerous committees and professional organizations.

On campus, in addition to the Robbins Building naming he received other recognitions: the Special Medical Alumni Association Board of Trustees Award, honorary doctor of science degree, the first Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize, the Frederick C. Robbins, M.D. Professorship in Child and Adolescent Health, and a travel fellowship in his name.

Dr. Robbins was married to Alice Northrop and they had 2 children, Christine and Louise.

The Frederick C. Robbins Building
Construction for the Robbins Building began in 1967 and was completed in 1971. As recounted in the Medical Alumni Bulletin: “Ten years of planning and four years of building finally came down to February 1, 1971, when the handsome new East Wing of the School of Medicine was taken over by students, faculty and staff. With no interruption in the regular program of classes and laboratory sessions, Phase I and Phase II students started the day in their comfortable new lecture rooms; in the afternoon, they moved their microscopes and equipment to their new laboratories, where instructions began the next day.”

The Robbins Building, originally called the East Wing, was part of the larger University Medical Center Campaign. At a cost of $38,900,000 new buildings were constructed for the School of Dentistry, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, and 2 buildings for the School of Medicine. In addition to the Robbins Building which provided teaching and laboratory space as well as space for the Health Sciences Library, the Lester M. and Ruth P. Sears Administration Tower was built and connected the old Medical School building, renamed the West Wing (and later the Wood Building), and the East Wing [Robbins Building]. Sears Tower housed conference rooms and administrative offices.

Fred Robbins during building construction in 1967

The new Health Sciences Library, housed in the Robbins Building, included over 100,00 titles, 1,200 periodicals, an extensive catalog of AV-TV materials, general reading rooms, individual carrels and conference rooms. Three floors of the building housed student mulitidisciplinary laboratories, lecture and conference rooms, and 2 floors housed the Department of Anatomy. The lower level contained the Animal Facility and Surgical Research Unit, and the ground floor held the Health Sciences Communication Center (HSCC). The HSCC was “the hub of a network which will link the three health sciences schools, University Hospitals, and eventually the other affiliated hospitals of the School of Medicine for the transmission of programs of undergraduate and graduate education.”

On 5/15/2003, 32 years after he had seen it through to construction, the East Wing of the School of Medicine was dedicated and renamed in honor of Fred Robbins. It was a fitting tribute. Dr. Robbins died 8/4/2003. At his memorial service held on the CWRU campus 9/19/2003, his brother Dan spoke. As part of his remarks he said, “Fred was my big brother, my teacher, my friend and my hero. He was also the best man at my wedding and provided medication for my nerves---a small glass of sherry...You remember him as a great scientist, a great educator and a great humanitarian. I remember him as great brother. I want to thank all of you for coming to honor him.”

The CWRU Archives has Dr. Robbins office files as dean and his personal papers.

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September 15, 2017

Namesakes - Harland G. Wood and Wood Building

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Variously called the West Wing, the School of Medicine, and the Mather Building, the Harland Goff Wood Building is the School of Medicine Building opened in 1924.

Harland G. Wood
Harland Goff Wood was born 9/2/1907 in Delavan, Minnesota, one of six children. He graduated from Macalester College in 1931 with a B.A. in Chemistry and received the Ph.D. in Bacteriological Chemistry from Iowa State College (later Iowa State University) in 1935. He married Mildred L. Davis in 1929 and they had 3 children.

Before beginning his tenure at Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1946, he was a Fellow for the National Research Council at the University of Wisconsin, Instructor and Assistant Professor of Bacteriology at Iowa State, and Associate Professor of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. In 1946 Dean Joseph Wearn recruited Wood to the School of Medicine.

Wood came to the University as the head of the Biochemistry Department. He served as Dean of Science 1967-1969. In 1970 he was named University Professor and he retired with the title University Professor Emeritus effective 7/1/1978. At the time of mandatory retirement ages for faculty, the Board of Trustees voted to allow Wood to continue his work. He worked until his death, having an article accepted for publication on the day before his death on 9/12/1991.

As a graduate student he discovered that carbon dioxide was used by bacteria and animals, including humans. “This discovery helped to change the current scientific thinking and led to the eventual understanding of the essential unity of metabolic processes in almost all living tissues.” Wood continued his research on how carbon dioxide was incorporated into the body, “tracing pathways of metabolism and discovering whole new enzymes in the process. His findings had far-reaching implications for understanding cell biology and for the treatment and cure of metabolic diseases.” He was one of the first to use radioisotopes to view the workings of a cell.

In addition to his research work, and leadership as chair of the Biochemistry Department, he was an important figure in the Medical School’s new curriculum introduced in 1952. He was chair of the Phase 1 Committee. As Greer Williams wrote in his book, Western Reserve’s Experiment in Medical Education and Its Outcome, “In retrospect, it is a open question whether curriculum revision would ever have gone beyond the talking stage if he had not called his fifteen committeemen...together in May 1951 and told them they were going to have a long, hard summer. The CME [Committee on Medical Education] could not have found a better man to lead the charge. Wood was not a CME member and did not speak for the Dean; he was pure faculty.”

Wood was involved in many professional activities, serving as president of the American Society of Biological Chemistry and secretary general of the International Union of Biochemistry. He served on many editorial boards of professional journals. He was a member of the President’s Scientific Advisory Committee, Atomic Energy Commission Advisory Committee for Biology and Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences. Wood was a Fulbright Scholar in Australia and New Zealand and a Commonwealth Fellow in Germany. He received many awards and several honorary degrees, receiving the honorary doctor of science from CWRU at the 1991 commencement ceremony.

Special symposia were held on the occasions of Harland Wood’s 70th and 80th birthdays. “A Symposium Honoring Harland Goff Wood” was held 9/9-9/10/1977 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Opened by CWRU President Louis A. Toepfer with a welcome by Medical School Dean Frederick C. Robbins and past dean Joseph T. Wearn, convenors and speakers included Nobel laureates Carl F. Cori, Fritz Lipmann, Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg, Feodor Lynen, and Konrad Bloch. Other convenors and speakers included Harry Rudney, Jerard Hurwitz, Donald R. Helinski, Paul Berg (who had yet to win the Nobel Prize), Harland Wood himself, and his brother Earl H. Wood. Held 10/22-10/23/1987, the Harland G. Wood 80th birthday party and Symposium again brought many distinguished scientists together. Seven Nobel Prize winners attended: Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg, Paul Berg, H. Gobind Khorana, Konrad Bloch, David Baltimore, and Frederick C. Robbins. The Ohio Governor, Richard F. Celeste, and Cleveland Mayor George V. Voinovich sent laudatory proclamations and October 22 was declared Harland G. Wood Day.

l-r: H. Gobind Khorana, Konrad Block, Richard Hanson, Harland Wood, Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg, Paul Berg

On 11/16/1992 the CWRU Board of Trustees Executive Committee voted unanimously to name the old Medical School building the Harland Goff Wood Building. This naming was not the result of a donation by Wood, his family, friends, or colleagues. It was to honor him as a great scientist and teacher.

Constructed 1922-1924, it was completed in 1924 and dedicated 10/9/1924. It was planned as part of the group of buildings known as the University Hospitals and Medical School of Western Reserve University. The Medical School building, the Power House (now the Medical Center Co.), and Animal Hospital were built first, followed by Lakeside Hospital, Babies & Chidren’s Hospital, Maternity Hospital, Hanna House, Institute of Pathology, Nurses Dormitory (Flora Mather House, Robb House, Harvey House, Lowman House), and Service Building. With the completion of the building, the Medical School moved to University Circle for the first time.

The building was used for instruction as well as research. It became known as the west wing of the Medical School after the completion of the Health Sciences Center in the late 1960s-early 1970s when Sears Tower and the East Wing (now the Robbins Building) were added to the Medical School complex. A Research Tower, added to the Wood Building, was dedicated 5/16/2003. Dr. Wood’s daughter, Louise Wood Conway, participated in the ceremony.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the use of the building after the completion of the new Health Education Campus now being built on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic.

Note: for a copy of the video of Harland Wood, Merton Utter, and Lester Krampitz (01:28:54 duration, 4.3 GB) discussing how they came to WRU and the beginning of the Biochemistry Department, contact the Archives.

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September 05, 2017

On This Day in CWRU History: September

Below is month three of our list of significant dates in CWRU’s history. We make no claims that the list is comprehensive and invite suggestions of other dates to include.

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Claud Foster Hall moved to its new location, 1968 (left); Mary Chisholm Painter Arch (right)

September 2
1970 CWRU held its last September commencement ceremony.
1971 The newly merged CWRU men’s cross-country team defeated Hiram College, 19-42.

September 4
1973 A wide area telephone service (WATS) line was installed for the first time at CWRU.
1985 New 10-megabit Ethernet network connected the computing systems of 4 CWRU facilities and helped link CWRU users to computing systems around the world. The network allowed remote log-in, file transfers, and electronic mail.

September 5
1969 The first issue of the CWRU student newspaper, The Observer, made its debut. Intended as an all-CWRU newspaper, its name was chosen by a contest in the spring of 1969. George O. Siekkinen won the contest and received a Polaroid camera from Wade Drug.

September 6
1888 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's Cleveland College for Women, renamed Flora Stone Mather College in 1931.
1973 CWRU Trustees approved Cleveland Landmarks status for Mary Chisholm Painter Memorial Gateway.
1988 A convocation was held to formally acknowledge the naming of the School of Applied Social Sciences in honor of the Mandel family.

September 7
1882 Western Reserve University welcomed undergraduates to the "First Academical Term" in its new University Circle home.
1957 Dedication ceremonies were held for the Nassau Astronomical Station in Montville, Ohio. The station was named for long-time Case Institute of Technology faculty member Jason J. Nassau.

September 8
1967 First commencement convocation of the newly federated CWRU was held.
1996 The Kelvin Smith Library was dedicated.

September 9
1969 CWRU opened its first co-ed dormitories at Andrews House, East House and Mather House.

September 12
1949 Case Institute of Technology held its first week long freshmen orientation.

September 13
1892 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Dentistry.
1913 Flora Stone Mather Memorial Building was dedicated. It became the main administration building for Western Reserve University's Flora Stone Mather College, the undergraduate college for women.
1953 Western Reserve University's student dormitory Claud Foster Hall was dedicated.

September 14
1885 Case School of Applied Science classes met for the first time in University Circle in the old Case Main Building.
1994 Peter R. Musselman Quadrangle, bounded by Amasa Stone Chapel, Adelbert Hall, Eldred Hall, and the eastern edge of the Kent Smith Quadrangle, was dedicated. Musselman was University Vice President and Treasurer, 1969-1986.

September 15
1881 Case School of Applied Science began its first "regular course of study."
1995 Adelbert Hall was named a National Historic Chemical site. Edward Morley, a Western Reserve University faculty member, conducted experiments in Adelbert Hall between 1883 and 1894, which determined the atomic weight of oxygen and hydrogen.

September 16
1968 Students moved into Claud Foster Hall, the 3300-ton dormitory, which had recently been moved 100 yards east on Euclid Avenue from its location west of Thwing Center to a location east of Thwing Center.
1994 Dedication ceremonies for the Kent Hale Smith Engineering and Science Building were held.

September 17
1951 Western Reserve University became the first American university to offer regular university courses for credit in a combination of television broadcast and home study.
1952 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Business.
1983 CWRU women's varsity cross country team ran its first meet, competing against Allegheny College.

September 18
1967 CWRU's first academic year began.

September 19
1916 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Applied Social Sciences.
1960 Four women were part of the Case Institute of Technology's freshmen class, breaking an 80 year tradition of accepting men only. A few women had attended Case before 1960, but were exceptions to the men only rule.

September 20
1880 Following four years of discussion, negotiations, and debate, the Trustees, by a vote of 14-2, approved the removal of Western Reserve College to Cleveland from Hudson.

September 21
1995 The George S. Dively Building was dedicated.

September 22
1892 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's Franklin Thomas Backus School of Law.
1903 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Library Science.

September 24
1963 Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for Western Reserve University's Adelbert I dormitory complex, consisting of Cutler, Hitchcock, Pierce and Storrs Houses, and Leutner Commons.

September 25
1923 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's School of Nursing.

September 26
1970 The new CWRU football team played its first game, losing to Allegheny College, 20-3. Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University fielded separate football teams for three seasons after the schools merged in 1967.
1984 Under coach Nancy Gray, CWRU women's varsity soccer team played its first match, losing to Oberlin College at home, 6-1.

September 29
1862 Company B of the 85th Ohio Volunteeer Infantry, raised from the students and faculty of Western Reserve College, was mustered out of the Union Army.
1917 Case School of Applied Science played Ohio State University in football for the final time, losing 49-0. Case played OSU 22 times between 1894 and 1917, compiling a record of 11 wins, 9 losses and 2 ties.
1925 First classes were held by Western Reserve University's Cleveland College.
1971 Under head coach Gerry Harbak, the newly merged CWRU men’s soccer team lost to John Carroll University, 1-0.

September 30
1903 The first issue of the Case Tech, the Case School of Applied Science student newspaper, was published.
1999 Cleveland Free-Net was discontinued. Free-Net, which originated at CWRU, was the nation's first free, open-access community computer system.

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“To Cleveland or Bust” student sentiment in the 1883 Reserve yearbook (left); Front page of the first issue of The Observer (right)

On This Day in CWRU HIstory: July
On This Day in CWRU HIstory: August

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August 14, 2017

Namesakes - Nassau Astronomical Station and Jason J. Nassau

Sixty years ago next month (9/7/1957), Case Institute of Technology (CIT) dedicated the Nassau Astronomical Station in Montville Township, Geauga County, Ohio. After 50 years of use, the university sold the Nassau Station to the Geauga Park District in 2008. The Park District renovated and refurbished the Nassau Station (retaining the original name) and it will be reopened 8/19/2017. It is a key part of Observatory Park.

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Nassau Astronomical Station in 1957 and 2017

Jason J. Nassau
Jason J. Nassau.was born 3/29/1892 in Smyrna, Asia Minor, now part of Turkey. His parents were Greek. He came to the United States to attend college. Nassau began his academic career at Columbia before transferring to Syracuse University. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Syracuse, earning the Ph.D. in 1920. He also studied at Edinburg and Cambridge. He married Laura Alice Johnson in 1920 and they had 2 sons, James and Sherwood.

Nassau served in the U. S. Army during World War I and in the U. S. Coast Guard during World War II. He began his career at Case School of Applied Science in 1921 as Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Mathematics. He was appointed Director of the Warner and Swasey Observatory in 1924, serving in that position until 1959. He became Professor of Astronomy and Head of the Department in 1930. He retired in 1962 becoming Professor Emeritus of Astronomy. According to one of his obituaries, “One of Nassau’s major contributions to the fund of knowledge in the field of astronomy was the devising of a method for determining the intrinsic brightness of stars and the discovery of some 900 stars in our stellar system which are at least 6,000 times brighter than our sun.”

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Jason J. Nassau

He was a member of many scientific societies such as the American Astronomical Society, American Association of Astronomers, Royal Astronomical Society, and American Mathematical Society. He was the founder and first president of the Cleveland Astronomical Society and held offices in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Research Council, American Association of University Professors and others. He authored over 150 articles and a widely-used textbook, Practical Astronomy. Case and Prof. Nassau served as hosts for the 67th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in 1941.

Professor Nassau was internationally known. He served on the U. S. National Committee of the International Astronomical Union. He was Secretary of the U. S. State Department Delegation to the 1952 Rome meeting of the International Astronomical Union; member of the State Department delegation to the 1955 Oslo Meeting of the International Council of Scientific Unions, also serving as member of the Executive Committee; Chairman of the State Department Delegation to the 1955 Dublin Meeting of the International Astronomical Union. Nassau was a member of the committee to organize the Conference on Stellar Evolution held at the Vatican Academy of Science in Rome, 1957. He was one of 2 Americans invited to attend the dedication of the Pulkovo Observatory in Leningrad in 1954.

He was a member of the Society of Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Keppa, and Tau Beta Pi. He received the Distinguished citizenship award from Denison University in 1956 and Nassau was the first winner of the annual Case Achievement Award (1959).

Nassau Astronomical Station
Planning for the Station began in 1953 when Maynard Murch and Jason Nassau visited several possible sites for a new observatory, identifying the property on Clay Street as a suitable site. Because of light pollution in the city, it was no longer practical to do astronomical research at the Warner & Swasey Observatory on Taylor Road.

Burrell Schmidt-type telescope at Warner & Swasey Observatory

From 1954-1958 a fundraising campaign was conducted to acquire land, construct and furnish the building, move the 24-36” Burrell Schmidt-type telescope from the Warner & Swasey Observatory, and replace that telescope with a new 36” Cassegrain telescope. Major donors included the Cleveland Astronomical Society, the Cleveland Foundation, the Warner & Swasey Company, Allan Austin, Helen B. Warner, Maynard H. Murch, the National Science Foundation, Hanna Fund, and Mrs. Wilbert J. Austin. Gifts ranging from $10 to $5,000 were received from numerous others. Total costs, exclusive of land, were approximately $300,000. CIT trustee Allan Austin donated the 10 acres on Clay Street on which the Nassau Astronomical Station was built.

Groundbreaking for the Nassau Astronomical Station

The ground-breaking ceremony was held 7/7/1956. The building was completed in 1957. The Austin Company designed and built it. The Burrell Schmidt-type telescope, used for research, was moved from Warner & Swasey Observatory to the Nassau Station. Its effectiveness was greatly enhanced by the relocation. The clarity of the sky was greater and the number of nights on which observations were possible increased. “The capacity of the telescope to penetrate into space proves to be some three times greater at the new station than in the Cleveland location.” Dedication ceremonies were held 9/9/1957.

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Dedication of the Nassau Astronomical Station and the Nassau family on the balcony

Background of the property
In February 1955 CIT obtained a 90-day option to buy roughly 170 acres on Clay Street. Allan Austin purchased the property and donated the 10 acres on which the Nassau Astronomical Station was built to CIT. In 1959 Austin gave the rest of this original acreage. In 1962 CIT purchased a little over 67 acres, which abutted the Nassau property, from Mr. and Mrs. George Phillips and just under 42 acres from the Farinacci Lumber Company.

In 1979 the Burrell Schmidt-type telescope was moved to Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona. Once again the problem of light pollution forced the move of the telescope. The following year the 36” Cassegrain parabolic reflector was moved from the Warner & Swasey Observatory to Nassau Station This telescope had been used primarily for educational purposes. It was more suitable for visual observing and public demonstrations. The optical design or ‘speed’ of the 36” reflector made it less sensitive to light pollution.

Moving the Cassegrain telescope from the Warner & Swasey Observatory

In 1998 the Cassegrain parabolic reflector became the country’s first Earth-bound robotic telescope available online to the public. When the Nassau Astronomical Station was sold to the Geauga Park District, the Cassegrain telescope was included with the sale.

Both telescopes were manufactured by the Warner & Swasey Company. The university owns 2 other Warner & Swasey telescopes: a 9 1/2” telescope in the dome atop the Albert W. Smith Building on the CWRU campus and a 10” telescope on permanent loan to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (this had been in the old WRU Physics Building). The 9 1/2” telescope was the original telescope at the Warner & Swasey Observatory on Taylor Road. It had been the personal telescope of Worcester Warner and Ambrose Swasey.

Other historical items of interest
•The site is 1,250 feet above sea level and was described at the groundbreaking as the highest spot in northern Ohio
•The building included a darkroom, workshop and living quarters for 2.
•The rotating dome is 17 feet high and 28 feet in diameter and used a 5 h.p. motor to rotate. The dome was constructed in Cleveland by the Paterson-Leitch Company.
•The research emphasis (1950s-1960s) was on galactice structure.

The CWRU Archives has the personal papers of Prof. Nassau which people are welcome to view. An appointment at least 24 hours in advance is required.

The staff of the Archives is happy to see the Nassau Astronomical Station reopen and happy to have assisted in a small way with this celebration. I personally look forward to attending the reopening and enjoying a tour of the building and seeing the refurbished Cassegrain telescope. If you cannot attend the reopening, a visit to Observatory Park anytime would be very worthwhile.

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On This Day in CWRU History: August

Below is month two of our list of significant dates in CWRU’s history. We make no claims that the list is comprehensive and invite suggestions of other dates to include.

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Flooded Sears Library, 1975 (left); Installing the second Hudson Relay rock, 1980 (right)

August 2
(1832) Elizur J. Wright, Jr., a faculty member at Western Reserve College, wrote the first in a series of letters to a Hudson, Ohio newspaper advocating the immediate emancipation of American slaves.

August 4
(1992) CWRU Trustee Executive Committee approved naming the new biomedical research building for former Ohio governor, Richard F. Celeste.
(1992) CWRU Trustee Executive Committee approved purchase of Aquatech, now known as the Cedar Avenue Service Building.

August 5
(1974) CWRU Trustee Executive Committee approved establishment of the Department of Famliy Medicine.

August 8
(1978) Alumna and future Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was elected to the CWRU Board of Overseers

August 9
(1983) It was reported to the Trustees Executive Committee that CWRU's endowment portfolio passed the $200 million mark.

August 10
(1967) A $500 gift from the Adelbert Student Council established the William Powell Jones endowment fund to purchase books for the University Library.
(1988) CWRU Trustee Executive Committee voted to restore the practice of regularly awarding honorary degrees.

August 11
(1970) CWRU Trustee Executive Committee approved an affiliation agreement between the Medical School and St. Luke's and Mt. Sinai hospitals.

August 13
(1973) When the books closed on FY1973 it became the first year since Federation in 1967 without a deficit. A surplus of $32,000 was reported.

August 14
(1922) Groundbreaking ceremories were held for the new School of Medicine building in University Circle, later named the Harland Goff Wood Building.

August 16
(1985) Bank-In-a-Box, containing two automated teller machines, opened for business outside Thwing Center.
(1987) Phase 2 of CWRU's smoking ban stopped smoking inside all campus buildings - except residence halls. Details

August 17
(1994) The electrochemical sciences program was named the Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences.

August 18
(1986) CWRU Trustee Executive Committee approved establishment of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science & Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics degree programs.

August 19
(1975) Among completed summer campus facilities projects reported to Trustees: 1,900 peepholes installed in dormitory doors.

August 20
(1996) It was reported to the Trustees that the total CWRU endowment passed the $1 billion mark.

August 21
(1980) The second Hudson Relay Rock, a gift of Dr. Leonard Skeggs, was installed. Winning teams were honored by recording their class years on the rocks.
(1985) Jennings Computing Center announced a new service: a KERMIT software lending library. KERMIT was a collection of programs for personal computers and mainframes that allowed high-speed, error-free file transfers.

August 22
(1836) Western Reserve College Trustees resolved that "freedom of discussion ... is allowed the students in all subjects" and that the College would admit "young men of decent talents...without distinction of nation, denomination or complexion.”

August 23
(1837) The Western Reserve College Alumni Association was established.
(1993) CWRU's academic year began with an enrollment of 9,276. Undergraduate tuition was $15,200. 66% of freshmen were men and 34% were women.
(1993) The School of Medicine provided each first year medical student with an Apple PowerBook.

August 24
(1836) Missionary Hiram Allen Babcock was granted an honorary Master of Arts degree, the first honorary degree awarded by Western Reserve University.
(1975) A flash flood dumped over 4 feet of water in the basement of Sears library and over 6 feet into Wickenden, causing nearly $1 million in damage.
(1979) New students arrived on campus in the midst of an RTA strike. The University transported them to campus in shuttle buses from the airport.

August 25
(1830) Four years after its founding, Western Reserve College held commencement exercises for its first graduating class of four students.
(1831) Charles Preston, an 1830 graduate of Western Reserve College, was the first alumnus hired to teach at Western Reserve College.
(1989) Freshman James Gerber "became the first person at the University to be connected to CWRUnet."

August 26
(1830) The Trustees elected Charles Backus Storrs the first President of Western Reserve College.
(1834) George E. Pierce was inaugurated as Western Reserve College's second president.
(1985) CWRU's academic year began with an enrollment of 8,261. Undergraduate tuition was $8300. 73% of freshmen were men and 27% were women.
(1986) The 9-1/2 inch telescope, formerly housed in the Warner & Swasey Observatory on Taylor Road, was placed on top of the Smith Building as part of a new student observatory.

August 27
(1828) Western Reserve College, which did not have a graduating class for two more years, held a public commencement celebrating its two years of existence.
(1834) Four students each received the Master of Arts degree, the first awarded at Western Reserve College.
(1979) First Doctor of Nursing (N.D.) students began classes at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

August 29
(1890) The Trustees elected Charles Franklin Thwing the sixth president of Western Reserve University. Thwing was the longest-serving president at either Case Institute of Technology or Western Reserve University.

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Allen Smith, Jr. portrait of George Pierce (left); Herman Gustav Herkomer painting of Charles F. Thwing (right)

On This Day in CWRU History: July

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March 17, 2017

CWRU’s First International Students

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

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

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

Here is what is known so far:

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

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

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

Alexander Maurice Orecchia, 1902

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

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February 24, 2017

Namesakes - Lemperly Bookplate Collection

One hundred years ago Western Reserve University received a gift of 540 bookplates, some engravings and books from Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lemperly in memory of their daughter, Lucia, who had attended the College for Women and had passed away in 1915. This gift was placed in the custody of the Adelbert College Library and became known as the Lemperly Bookplate Collection.

Lucia Lemperly was born 2/7/1886 in Cleveland. She graduated from West High School in 1903 and entered the College for Women with the freshman class of 1907. She pursued the Modern Language course. In January 1905 Lucia withdrew on account of health reasons. She died 5/20/1915 at the age of 29. Her father was a wholesale druggist and a collector of bookplates and books about bookplates.

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Lucia Lemperly

Soon after the gift was received, the bookplates, designed by Edwin Davis French, were exhibited in the English Library at the College for Women in Clark Hall. The exhibition was held from 2/10-2/17/1917. To commemorate this exhibition from 100 years ago, the University Archives and Special Collections have displayed some of the bookplates, copper plates, and books in an exhibit case in the University Archives. The exhibit is available during the months of February and March.

1917 Exhibit invitation

Prior to the gift, Lemperly’s collection was exhibited at the Case Library in 1899 and the Rowfant Club in 1911.

French was a renowned American engraver. He was born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1851. After studying at Brown University for 2 years, he became chief of the engraving department of the Whiting Company (silversmiths) in New York. In 1893 he designed and engraved his first bookplate for his sister-in-law, Helen E. Brainerd. He soon changed his career to copper engraving (leaving Whiting in 1894). He died in 1906.

The Lemperly Bookplate Collection contains bookplates designed by other artists as well as those used by celebrities of the day. Mr. Lemperly and Mr. French kept up a regular correspondence and the letters from French to Lemperly have been bound and are available in Special Collections along with the bookplates and related books.

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January 25, 2017

CWRU’s Monuments Men

Theodore Sizer and Lester K. Born, former faculty members, were both members of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) subcommission during World War II. The work of this commission to protect monuments and other cultural treasures from destruction was highlighted in the 2014 motion picture film, Monuments Men.

Theodore Sizer served as Lecturer in Art at Adelbert College of Western Reserve University (WRU) in the 1924/25 and 1925/26 academic years. He had received the S.B. cum laude in Fine Arts from Harvard University. Sizer also was Curator of Prints and Oriental Art at Cleveland Museum of Art while in Cleveland, beginning that role in 1921. After leaving Cleveland, he became an Associate Professor of Art History at Yale University. While on the Adelbert College faculty Sizer taught An Introduction to the Fine Arts. See his Monuments Men biography.

Lester K. Born

Lester K. Born served as Assistant Professor of Classics at Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University 1930-1934. He received the A.B. in 1925 and the M.A. in 1926 from the University of California. He was also a graduate student in Political Science in 1926/27. He served as Graduate Scholar in Classics at Princeton University 1927-1928, receiving the M.A. in 1928. He earned the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1929. Before serving on the faculty at WRU, he was Assistant Professor of Classical Languages at Ohio State University for the 1929/30 academic year. Born taught a variety of Latin classes at WRU over his 4 years. These classes included: Introductory Latin Composition; Horace, Odes and Epodes, Catullus and Martial; Intermediate Latin Composition; Cicero, De Senectute, Seneca, Apocolocytosis, Pliny, Selected Letters, Selections from Latin Poetry; Advanced Latin Composition; Roman Private Life; LIvy; Roman Elegiac Poetry; Translation at Sight; and The Teaching of Latin. Born’s faculty colleagues in the Classics Department included Rachel L. Sargent, Clarence Bill, Robert S. Rogers, and Kenneth Scott. See his Monuments Men biography. One of Born's published accounts of his service appeared in The American Archivist, July 1950 issue.

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January 12, 2017

Title: Remembering 1997-1998: The Journalists

Last semester many of our blog postings described what was happening at CWRU during the 1997/98 academic year, as covered by our student newspaper, The Observer. We chose 1997/98 because those are the years many of this year's freshmen (Class of 2020) were born, We’ll continue that project in the spring semester.

The focus of those highlights has been on the stories, rather than the story-tellers. So, I’m taking this opportunity to salute the 1997/98 fall semester Observer staff who were responsible for this important record of the university’s history.

Masthead from the December 5, 1997 issue of The Observer.

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November 29, 2016

Namesakes - I. F. Freiberger and Freiberger Library

01983D1 copy.jpg Plans for a new library building were announced as part of Western Reserve University’s 125th anniversary celebration in 1951. Trustees voted to name the new library in honor of Isadore Fred (better known as I. F.) Freiberger in 1953, ground was broken in 1954 and the new building was dedicated 2/5/1956 as the I. F. Freiberger Library Building. The cost of the building was approximately $1.6 million and was designed by Small, Smith and Reeb of Cleveland. Ralph Ellsworth (WRU School of Library Science class of 1931), director of libraries at the State University of Iowa (now University of Iowa), was chief consultant on building plans. Its 80,000 square feet was designed for a capacity of over 500,000 volumes and a seating capacity to accommodate 600 students. The three story building plus basement, at the corner of East Boulevard and Bellflower Road, overlooked the Cleveland Museum of Art and Wade Lagoon. The exterior was of limestone to blend with Severance Hall and the Art Museum. Freiberger Library opened for the Spring semester 1956.

Freiberger Library centralized holdings from the university library housed in Thwing Hall and holdings in other campus buildings (Clark Hall, Harkness Chapel basement, Hitchcock Hall, and the Annex). The plan for the library was a modular design. There were few interior walls to allow flexibility in moving partitions and shelves as needed. Study areas were scattered throughout the shelving areas. Director of university libraries, Lyon Richardson said, “The library may be considered as a great browsing room of four floors. We consider the library not as a place for storing books, but as a place for arranging books and facilities to serve educational principles”

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Interior views of Freiberger Library

I. F. Freiberger, known as Izzy to his parents and Fry to his friends, was born 12/12/1879 in New York City, one of 6 children. His parents moved the family to Cleveland when he was 3 years old. Freiberger graduated from Central High School in Cleveland in 1898. He received his Bachelor of Letters degree from Adelbert College 6/13/1901. (A friend and classmate in high school and college was Winfred G. Leutner, president of WRU 1933-1949). As an undergraduate student Freiberger played on the class baseball team, class football team, and class basketball team. He was also a varsity member of the Reserve basketball team. He served as business manager of The Reserve (yearbook) and was class treasurer his senior year.

02973D1 copy.jpgI. F. Freiberger, ca. 1935

He received the LL.B. in 1904 from Cleveland Law School of Baldwin Wallace College while working at Cleveland Trust Company (where he started work as a clerk upon graduation in 1901). He worked his entire career at Cleveland Trust: Third Assistant Trust Officer (1909), Assistant Secretary (1913), Trust Officer (1914), Vice President (1915), Director (1939), and Chairman of the Board (1941). He married Fannie Fertel in 1903 and they had 2 children, Lloyd and Ruth Mae.

Freiberger was a loyal alumnus and served as a trustee on the Board of Cleveland College (1925-1943), Adelbert College (1934-1941), and Western Reserve University (1941-1967). He was named an honorary trustee 10/5/1967. Reserve awarded Freiberger the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1947. He received the first Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Adelbert College Alumni Association in 1968.

Freiberger was also Chairman of Board of The Forest City Publishing Co., director of the Interlake Steamship Co., Richman Bros. Co., Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co., Island Creek Coal Co., and Wyoming Pocahontas Coal & Coke Co as well as other companies. He served on a number of philanthropic and educational boards including Goodrich Social Settlement House, Jewish Community Federation, The Playhouse Foundation and Mount Sinai Hospital. Freiberger received The Eisenman Award on the 50th Anniversary of the Jewish Community Federation, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Cleveland Medal for Public Service, and the Distinguished Service Award of the Cleveland Community Chest. The American Heart Association honored him in 1957 with the Award of Merit for Distinguished Service.

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I. F. Freiberger with Distinguished Alumnus Award, 1968

After he died 4/20/1969 the CWRU Board of Trustees honored him with a memorial resolution which read in part,“His friends remember Fry in part for his success and for his leadership, but they remember him especially for his remarkable personal qualities of humility, humanity, and gentleness. He loved his fellow men and was a true friend to literally thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life. A part of his humanity and warmth was revealed in his happy family life and his devotion to his wife, Fannie Fertel Freiberger, whose death in 1962 ended a most happy marriage of nearly sixty years.”

Students playing softball on Freiberger Field

Freiberger Library was razed in 1996 after the Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) was completed. The Freiberger Pavilion on the second floor of KSL and Freiberger Field on the site of the old library were dedicated 11/16/1997 and continue to honor I. F. Freiberger’s memory. The portrait which used to hang in Freiberger Library now hangs in Freiberger Pavilion in Kelvin Smith Library.

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I. F. Freiberger portrait, 1955

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August 08, 2016

Shakespeare Performance as part WRU’s Centennial Celebration

Let's continue our summer theme of Shakespeare on campus and in the classroom.

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During commencement week, on June 15 and 16, 1926, students from the Sock and Buskin Club of Adelbert College and the Curtain Players of Mather College performed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was part of Western Reserve University’s Centennial Celebration and in dedication of the Shakespeare Garden Theatre (also known as the Municipal Outdoor Theatre) in Rockefeller Park. The theatre was dedicated to Marie Bruot, former drama teacher at Central High School. City Manager William R. Hopkins requested the production. The theatre was on East Boulevard between Superior and St. Clair Avenues.

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Over 1500 watched the performance the first night. Seats were erected on the hillside where part of the audience was seated. Others watched from various vantage points. Spotlights were the only modern stage equipment used.

The play had participation from various groups on and off campus. The costumes were designed by Agnes Brooks Young of the Cleveland Play House and created by Mary Geary and students of the Household Administration Department at Mather College. The choreography of the fairy ensemble was supervised by Muriel East Adams of the Mather College Physical Education Department.

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The music was written by Quincy Porter of the Cleveland Institute of Music and performed by students of the Music School Settlement. Staging and lighting were under the direction of Max Eisenstat from the designs of Archie Lauterer, both of the Cleveland Play House. The director was K. Elmo Lowe, also of the Cleveland Play House. Lowe stated, “When we dedicate the Shakespeare Theatre we want comedy to be the occasion keynote. Just fun for everyone.”

Cast members included: Allen Goldthwaite as Theseus and Doris Young as Hippolyta; Ralph A. Colbert as Lysander, Fred W. Walter as Demetrius, Nadine Miles as Hermia, Fredrica Crane as Helena; Sidney Andorn as Oberon, Eleanor Koob as Titania, Emiah Jane Hopkins as Puck.

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The mechanicals were: John Maurer as Quince, Arlin Cook as Snug, Milton Widder as Bottom, Sterling S. Parker as Flute, Will Carlton as Snout, and Vincent H. Jenkins as Starveling.

The fairies were Katherine M. Squire, Evelyn Fruehauf, Helen Shockey, Lucile McMackin, Gladys M. Benesh, Miriam Cramer, Fay Hart, Alice Sorensen Caroline Hahn. Other parts were played by Sydney Markowitz (Egeus), Richard Barker (Philostrate), Harriette Winch, Helen Bunnell, Robert Glick and Maurice Rusoff (ladies and gentlemen of the Court).

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Titania and several fairies (left), Milton Widder as Bottom portraying Pyramus (right)

Learn about the beginnings of Shakespeare in the classroom.

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May 24, 2016

Namesakes - Morley Chemical Laboratory and Edward W. Morley

Edward Williams Morley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morley's laboratory in Adelbert Hall

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

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

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April 21, 2016

Patricia B. Kilpatrick

We recently mourned the loss of Patricia B. Kilpatrick, Vice President and University Marshal Emerita on 3/3/2016. To the staff of the University Archives Pat holds a special place. While she held a number of important positions, it was her duties as Secretary of the University that made her our boss. The University Archives was established in 1964 through the persistence of Secretary of the University Carolyn Neff and the hard work of University Archivist Ruth Helmuth. When Pat succeeded Carolyn as Secretary of the University in 1979, she inherited us.

Pat with student protesters outside Haydn Hall, 1969

Pat was born 5/19/1927 in Cleveland. She entered Ohio Wesleyan University in 1945 and transferred to Flora Stone Mather College in 1947. Pat received her B.A. in 1949, majoring in History. She earned the M.A. in Physical Education in 1951. After graduation she married and started a family. She returned to Western Reserve University in 1962 as Instructor in Physical Education. She became an Assistant Professor and served as Chair of the Women’s Physical Education Department, 1970-1972.

In 1965 she became an assistant dean of Mather College. She served on the faculty until 1972, when she moved into administrative work full-time. In 1972 when Adelbert, Mather, and Cleveland Colleges merged, Pat became Associate Dean for Non-Academic Affairs and then Associate Dean for Student Affairs for Western Reserve College. She also served as Director of Thwing Center. With the looming retirement of Carolyn Neff, President Toepfer appointed Pat Assistant Secretary of the University in 1977 so she could learn the various duties. In August 1979 Pat became the last Secretary of the University.

The duties of the Secretary were important and varied. Some of the major responsibilities included administrative support of the Faculty Senate, the Visiting Committees, oversight of the University Archives, commencement, and Squire Valleevue Farm. In 1987 she was promoted to Vice President and University Marshal. The 1991 University Ball was held in her honor and Pat retired 6/30/1992.

Pat Kilpatrick at the University Ball in her honor, 1991 (photograph by Daniel Milner)

Pat served on many committees, one of the most influential being the President’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women in the University - which she chaired (1971-1973). Pat was very involved in the Mather Alumnae Association (serving as President) and the Episcopal Church, in which she held a number of positions on the local and national level.

When the sheep barn at Squire Valleevue Farm was renovated in 1992 it was named Pat’s Place in her honor. Also in 1992, the Physical Education Department created the Patricia B. Kilpatrick Award to be presented to the four-year varsity letter-winner with the highest cumulative grade point average.

Pat was involved with many other committees, awards and accomplishments. Too many for this short post. You can hear Pat discuss her career in this 2008 Case Stories interview and this interview for the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women.

A number of years ago, Pat brought to the University Archives the two original flags of the newly federated CWRU. When Barbara Snyder became president, Pat told her about the flags and that they should hold a place of honor. We selected the flag in the best shape, it was restored, and is now hanging in the first floor lobby of Adelbert Hall.

On a personal note, my last conversation with Pat was in mid-December 2015 when she called to say she wanted to take the Archives staff out to lunch. We could not get it scheduled before the holidays and agreed to set it up after the new year. Unfortunately, we were unable to have that lunch.

Goodbye, Pat. We’ll miss you.

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March 17, 2016

“Discovering” Aida Louise Smith: the highs and lows of archival research

Earlier this week I shared some biographical information about Aida Louise Smith, who we believe is the first woman employed by Case School of Applied Science (CSAS). Below is a short description of my search for Aida, along with some insights this small project offers about archival research.

The Power (and Fun) of Serendipity
I didn’t set out to identify the first woman employed by CSAS. We’ve been slowly but surely digitizing our 330-volume collection of student yearbooks. One of the prep tasks is to make sure the volume to be scanned has all its pages. While prepping the Differential 1902, I saw a page devoted to Aida Louis Smith. I was charmed by the tribute and intrigued by the small pieces of her life story it contained. She seemed like a good subject of a blog posting during Women’s History Month, so I decided to see what other details I could find to add to the yearbook information.

Follow the Function
In an archives, there is almost never one source that brings together all information about a person, event, building, or program. Records are by-products of activities carried out by departments, offices, committees, or other units. The way to identify likely sources of information is to think about what activities would have created records about the subject. For example, hiring an employee typically involves applications that contain biographical information. But there’s a catch.

The Way We Do Things Now is Not the Way They’ve Always Been Done
In 2016 there is a structured process to hire employees, an entire Human Resources department that oversees that process, and numerous records are created. In the late 19th century hiring was a simpler matter and records and departments were fewer. Besides the academic departments, CSAS had the President’s Office and two governing bodies, the Trustees and the Faculty. There were no vice presidents, deans, or directors. The Trustees were much more involved in the day to day operation of the school than they are now, and the records reflect that fact. The President submitted periodic detailed operating reports to the Trustees and the Trustee meeting minutes record decisions on such matters as the purchase of library materials, laboratory equipment, and hiring a secretary for the President.

Records Change, Too
During Aida’s time, the annual Catalog of CSAS included a directory of all current students, faculty, trustees, and staff. It wasn’t until 1893 that any staff appeared, male shop assistants. It wasn’t until 1900 that a woman’s name, Aida Louise Smith, appeared as Assistant Librarian. Her name last appeared in the directories in 1905 and the following year Lida Miller Marshall was listed as Secretary to the President.

Be Patient, Persistent, and Skeptical
The annual directories are pretty reliable But if you’re going to claim that someone was the first woman hired at CSAS, confirmation in multiple sources would be beneficial. In the January 1907 President’s report announcing Miss Smith’s departure the previous November, he wrote that she had been his secretary for twelve years. That would mean she was hired in 1894 or 1895, which contradicted the directories. Unfortunately, there are gaps in the President’s reports in the 1890s. Since a new position required ongoing expenditures for salary and given that Trustees acted on relatively modest one-time expenditures, it seemed likely the Trustees would have approved Miss Smith’s hiring. Minutes from 1893 through 1895 were silent, however. While I wasn’t enthusiastic about reading more handwritten meeting minutes, persistence paid off. In the meeting of October 15, 1896 Miss Smith’s hiring was reported and approved. A useful reminder to be skeptical of assertions that happen several years after the fact.

Start with the Short Path, but be Prepared for Dead Ends
Because I hoped to find more pictures of Miss Smith and more information about her life and interactions with students, I skimmed student yearbooks between 1896 and 1907 I found what seems to be a picture of Miss Smith in 1904, but no more details of her life.

One Hundred Percent Certainty is Rare
Contemporaneous records about her hiring do not state that Miss Smith was the first woman hired by CSAS. However, she was the first secretary hired for the President and she was the first woman to appear in the annual directories. The evidence seems persuasive that Aida Louise Smith was CSAS’s first woman employee. But I’m cautious about claiming firsts, so will qualify the assertion by describing Miss Smith as the first documented woman employee at CSAS.

“Discovery,” Documentation, and Researcher Hubris
I found myself crowing to my colleagues that I had discovered the first CSAS woman. Of course, I did nothing of the kind. Miss Smith’s association with CSAS had been documented in the Archives for over one hundred years. At best, I became aware of Miss Smith. To claim I discovered a lost piece of the school’s history diminishes the work of generations of librarians and archivists who labored to protect the documentation of her place in our story. But the next time I hear a researcher describing CWRU’s history as “lost” in the Archives, I’ll try to remember how exciting re-discovery is. And I’ll happily share the best part of being an archivist: to remember and to remind.

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March 15, 2016

Aida Louise Smith: Case School of Applied Science’s First Woman?

Case School of Applied Science (CSAS) was incorporated in 1880, with an all-male Board of Trustees, faculty, and student body. The first graduate degree was awarded to a woman in 1928. The first woman joined the faculty in 1938. Women were admitted to the regular undergraduate program in 1960.

But women were engaged in the work of CSAS before these milestones. Aida Louise Smith has recently been identified as the first (documented) woman employed by CSAS.

In the minutes of the October 5, 1896 meeting of the Board of Trustees, President Staley reported, “that he had engaged Miss Louise Smith as Secretary to himself and Faculty at a salary of $8.00 per week as authorized at the last meeting and upon motion President Staley’s action was approved.” Miss Smith remained at CSAS until November 1906. In the annual directories, Miss Smith is variously listed as Assistant Librarian, Secretary to the President, and Secretary of the Faculty.

Aida Louise Smith in CSAS Differential 1902

The Differential 1902, the student yearbook for the 1900/1901 academic year, devoted an entire page to Miss Smith, including the following tribute:

“Case is not a coeducational institution, and naturally there are no ladies on the faculty; but there is one lady at Case without whom the wheels would cease to revolve, and we can think of no one whose withdrawal would occasion such serious interruptions to the established order of things.”

“Miss Aida L. Smith was graduated from Lake Erie College at Painesville, and afterwards traveled extensively in Europe and the East, spending quite a long period at Smyrna. Since her return to America Miss Smith has been engaged more or less in college work. In 1896 she accepted her present position at Case, and since that time there have been devolved upon her, one by one, the duties of librarian, cashier, mail-clerk, telephone-central, secretary, and general advisory committee. A notion of Miss Smith’s wide field of action may be gained by reading the bulletin board at any time:”

‘Found: a bunch of keys; owner may have them from Miss Smith.’ ‘For Case Library cards apply to Miss Smith.’ ‘Freshmen will hand their short stories to Miss Smith.’ ‘Tuition for second term is now due; Miss Smith will receive payment.’

“In the social entertainments at Case, Miss Smith has always been ready with advice and help, and in her every day relations with the school has shown a personal interest in the students which we heartily appreciate.”

I am indebted to Chris Bennett of the Lake Erie College Library for additional information about Aida Louise Smith. She graduated from Lake Erie in 1889. From 1890 to 1892 Miss Smith was a teacher at the American Institute for Girls, in Smyrna, Turkey. After leaving Case Miss Smith served as superintendent of The Sybil Carter Indian Mission. Lake Erie College alumnae directories list her residence in 1928 as Brooklyn New York.

Next: “Discovering” Aida Louise Smith: the highs and lows of archival research

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January 19, 2016

Namesakes - Thomas J. Hill Distinguished Professorship of Physical Biology

Thomas J. Hill

Scientist, teacher, author, and practitioner, Thomas J. Hill’s association with the university spanned fifty years. Thomas J. Hill enrolled in the Western Reserve University School of Dentistry (now School of Dental Medicine) in 1905, graduating in 1908. He was a Demonstrator in the Dental School beginning in 1909, joining the faculty in 1918 as Instructor. He was promoted through the ranks, to Professor of Oral Pathology and Therapeutics in 1928. He retired in 1955 as Professor Emeritus. He also served on the School of Medicine Pathology faculty from 1928-1955.

Dr. Hill authored nearly 100 scholarly articles and a textbook, Oral Pathology and was a leading advocate of flouridated water. He worked tirelessly to improve dentistry research and teaching, serving as Chairman of the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics and President of the International Association of Dental Research. His service continued after retirement. Dr. Hill visited every U.S. dental school to review its research facilities on behalf of the U.S. Public Health Service. In 1962 he was sent to Russia by the U.S. State Department to visit medical and scientific institutions.

His many honors included the Callahan Award, presented in 1950 by the Ohio State Dental Association and the honorary D.Sc., presented by Western Reserve University in 1960. In 1954 Hill was named an honorary member of the American Dental Association, only the eleventh person to have been so honored at that time. Hill was named a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Oral Pathology. At home, the Dental School Class of 1944 dedicated their yearbook, Odontoblast, to him. Summarizing the sentiments of many, the WRU Dental School Alumni Association in 1956 said of Dr. Hill, “In his capacity as an inspirational teacher for 39 years in the School of Dentistry he has earned the high esteem and respect of all who were under his guidance. As a scientist, educator and author he has contributed greatly to the welfare of humanity.”

In January 1965 WRU President Millis reported to the Board of Trustees that the Alumni Association of the School of Dentistry had agreed to support a Distinguished Professorship to be known as the Thomas J. Hill Distinguished Professorship of Physical Biology.

Hill Professors and the dates they held the professorship are:
David B. Scott, 1965-1975
Donald H. Enlow, 1977-1989

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December 09, 2015

President Pytte visits the University Archives

The staff of the University Archives joins the rest of campus in mourning the death of President Emeritus Agnar Pytte on Friday, November 6, 2015. We’d like to recall his visit to the Archives in 1989.

The staff of the University Archives at the time (University Archivist Dennis Harrison, Jill Tatem, Eleanor Blackman, Helen Conger, and Denis New) planned a small celebration in December 1989 for the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the University Archives in December 1964. (A nice article about the 25th anniversary of the University Archives appeared in the November 1990 issue of CWRU Magazine.)

All past staff members were invited as well as President Pytte, Vice President and University Marshal Patricia B. Kilpatrick, and University Archivist Emerita Ruth W. Helmuth. We originally invited the president as a courtesy and did not actually expect him to attend such a small informal event. But attend he did, accompanied by Pat Kilpatrick, our vice president.

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President Pytte and Pat Kilpatrick at 25th anniversary luncheon

The event consisted of a luncheon, exhibit, and tour of the Archives in the Quail Building (where the indoor track at the Veale Convocation, Athletic, and Recreation Center now stands). Jill Tatem prepared the exhibit. Ruth Helmuth, accompanied by Virginia Krumholz (former Archives staff member), conducted the tour of the Archives. It was a memorable event and we were all impressed with our “new” president.

The University Archives was located on the third floor of the Quail Building

Another interesting note about the day was that it was snowing all morning. After President Pytte and Pat Kilpatrick walked back to their offices in Adelbert Hall, Pat called to let us know that since the snowstorm was so bad we were allowed to leave work early. While we’d like to think it was in honor of the Archives’ anniversary, the snow really was severe and it took staff members hours to get home. You can see the snow outside the window in the background of the luncheon photo.

While this event will not make a top ten list of presidential events or accomplishments for President Pytte, attendance at our small event showed us what a gracious, friendly person he was.

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September 11, 2015

Namesakes - John C. Hutchins Professor of Law

In 1961 Carleton C. Hutchins bequeathed over $500,000 to establish a trust fund to support Western Reserve University’s School of Law in honor of his father, John C. Hutchins. WRU’s Trustees, in turn, established the John C. Hutchins Professor of Law, the Law School’s first endowed professorship. Elmore L. Andrews and Frederick K. Cox, the Hutchins Trust trustees, recommended that the professorship not be filled until an evaluation and plan for the school be developed. They offered to pay the cost of an extensive evaluation from the Hutchins Trust. The evaluation committee was headed by Derek C. Bok. The resulting “Bok Report,” issued in 1965, guided much of the Law School’s planning for many years.

John C. Hutchins was a distinguished Cleveland lawyer and jurist. From the 1870s through the 1890s, Hutchins served as Cuyahoga County prosecuting attorney, and Judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court and Common Pleas Court. In 1895 Hutchins was appointed Postmaster of Cleveland. Hutchins was also a member of the Cleveland School Board, the Cleveland Public Library Board, and the Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Commission.

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Sidney B. Jacoby (left) and Lewis R. Katz (right)

The first John C. Hutchins Professor of Law, Sidney B. Jacoby, was named to the professorship in 1975. Jacoby earned the J.D. in 1933 from the University of Berlin and the LL.B. from Columbia University in 1939. From 1940 to 1957 he was an attorney for the United States in a variety of positions, including the Interior and Justice Departments. He also served on the prosecutor’s staff for the Nuremberg war crimes trials. From 1957 till 1968 Jacoby was Professor of Law at Georgetown University. In 1968 Jacoby joined the CWRU Law School faculty. He was appointed John C. Hutchins Professor of Law in 1975 and John C. Hutchins Professor Emeritus of Law in 1976. Jacoby taught and wrote extensively on civil procedure, government litigation, and comparative law.

The second John C. Hutchins Professor of Law, Lewis R. Katz, has held the professorship for nearly forty years. Katz earned the A.B. from Queens College in 1959 and the J.D. from Indiana University in 1963. He taught at the University of Michigan and Indiana University before coming to CWRU in 1966. Katz was appointed the John C. Hutchins Professor of Law in 1976. He also served as Director of the Law School’s Center for Criminal Justice from 1972 till 1991. Katz is an expert on Fourth Amendment rights, criminal procedure, and search and seizure processes. He was the recipient of the first Distinguished Teacher Award from the CWRU Law School Alumni Association in 1984.

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August 07, 2015

One Family’s Century at CWRU

This summer the University Archives received a request from Ellen Wagner, whose son is entering CWRU this fall. Family memory holds that several of our new student’s ancestors had attended Case Western Reserve University and Ms. Wagner wondered if we could provide any information about their student days. This is not an unusual request for the Archives and legacy families are not unusual at CWRU. But the Loeb descendants were the first (to our knowledge) to incorporate student information from the Archives into a presentation at a multi-generation family reunion. Their enthusiasm was infectious and, with the family’s permission, we’re sharing a little of their story.

When Robert Wagner starts classes at CWRU later this month, it will be 100 years after his great-grandfather, Everett E. Loeb, started classes at Adelbert College, the undergraduate men’s college of Western Reserve University. In addition to his B.A. from Adelbert, Mr. Loeb also received the L.L.B. from WRU’s Law School. Everett served as president of the Menorah Society, established by Adelbert students interested in Jewish history, ideals, and problems.

Sylvia Loeb Harris, Robert’s great-great-aunt (Everett’s sister) was a 1918 graduate of WRU’s College for Women (later Flora Stone Mather College).

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Everett E. Loeb (Adelbert 1919, Law 1921) and Sylvia Loeb (College for Women 1918)

The second generation included two of Everett’s daughters, Virginia Loeb Kiine (Mather College 1948) and Nancy Loeb Jacobs (Applied Social Sciences 1953) and Virginia’s husband, Larry H. Kline (Case School of Applied Science 1945). Members of the second generation were active participants in student activities. Virginia was both treasurer and vice president of the El-Ed Club, president of Rho Delta Chi, at that time Mather’s newest sorority, and secretary of the Inter-Sorority Council. Larry was a member of Pi Sigma Delta fraternity, worked on the student yearbook, The Differential, and was a member of Case’s Debate Club.

The third generation expands to Robert’s father’s family via his uncle, Gregory P. Wagner (Weatherhead School of Management 2002).

The fourth generation, Robert Wagner, starts the family’s second hundred years at CWRU.

One hundred years. Four generations. Seven schools.

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July 27, 2015

Library Endowment Fund Namesakes - Allen Dudley Severance Fund

Allen Dudley Severance was on the faculty of Western Reserve University 1897-1920, teaching history, church history, bibliography, special bibliography, and historical bibliography for Adelbert College, the College for Women, and the School of Library Science. Severance received the A.B. and A.M. from Amherst College, the B.D. from Hartford Theological Seminary, the B.D. from Oberlin Theological Seminary, and studied at the Universities of Halle, Berlin, and Paris.

Allen Dudley Severance

He left a library of books on the Middle Ages and the Reformation and an endowment fund to the library of Adelbert College (Hatch Library). The fund was to be used for the purchase of books on medieval history, the Protestant Reformation, and related subjects. In his 1916 memorandum concerning this bequest, Severance stated, "It speaks of my interest in the work of the institution to which I have given almost two decades of my life."

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June 09, 2015

Library Endowment Fund Namesakes - Benjamin P. Bourland Fund

Benjamin P. Bourland was Professor of Romance Languages at Western Reserve University 1901-1940. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna. Bourland enjoyed a reputation as an outstanding scholar, a patron of the performing arts, a wine connoisseur, and as a bibliophile noted for his active leadership of the Rowfant Club of Cleveland. He donated a portion of his library to WRU and Special Collections hold the Benjamin Parsons Bourland Rowfantia Collection.

Benjamin P. Bourland, ca. 1911

The Bourland Fund was established in 1969 for the purchase of French books through the efforts of Dorothy Prentiss Schmitt, an alumna of the WRU School of Library Science (class of 1925) and university trustee. She received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from CWRU in 1970. She supported many efforts on campus with her leadership and financial support. During the Resources Campaign in the 1970s she gave over $250,000 to the University Libraries.

Dorothy Prentiss Schmitt, 1953

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May 29, 2015

Library Endowment Fund Namesakes - Thwing Endowment Funds

The university's libraries have been the beneficiary of almost 200 years of support from individuals and groups via bequests and endowment funds. The first bequest to Western Reserve College in 1828 was a collection of books for the library! These gifts permanently support activities of the library and provide a benefit well beyond a single small gift. Throughout the summer we will highlight some of these funds.

President Charles Franklin Thwing in 1895

Charles F. Thwing was the longest-serving president of Western Reserve University (1890-1921). Educated at Harvard and Andover Theological Seminary, he was an ordained minister. The university expanded from 2 undergraduate colleges and the Medical School to a full-fledged university with 9 colleges and schools under Thwing's leadership. He was a great supporter of the libraries - fundraising for facilities, donating his personal funds, and leaving part of his personal library to the University Library. His personal papers and office files as president are in the University Archives, a part of Kelvin Smith Library.

President Thwing had said if a building was named for him he hoped it was a library. In 1934 Western Reserve University named its first university-wide library Thwing Hall. See our past blog entry regarding this honor.

He established 3 library endowment funds, and the President Thwing Library Fund was given in his honor by various groups of Mather College at the time of his retirement. In 1929 the Mary Butler Thwing Shallenberger Memorial Library Fund was given by Thwing in memory of his daughter, who was a 1901 graduate of the College for Women (renamed Flora Stone Mather College in 1931). Its original purpose was the purchase of books in German and Philosophy and was later amended by Thwing to be for the purchase of books in modern languages and Philosophy. He pledged $1,000 for the fund and made payments over several years. In his letter of 11/2/1933 which included a payment, he poignantly wrote, “I want to say to you that it has been a deep pleasure to give this money. It brings to my heart the happiness that belongs to parents in building memorials to their children who have gone to heaven. It also bears an intimation of my sense of joy in working with these graduates in establishing this marvellous (sic) fund. Believe me, Ever yours, C.F.T.”

While seemingly a small gift, President Thwing's original $1,000 gift in memory of his daughter has supported scholarly pursuits through the purchase of materials for over 80 years. The other Thwing funds have continued to support the scholarship of CWRU’s students and faculty.

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March 13, 2015

Namesakes - Laura Kerr Axtell and the Kerr Professorship in Mathematics

In the spring of 1885, the 4-year-old Case School of Applied Science boasted an enrollment of 39 and a faculty of 7. Tuition was $50 for the year. The financial statement for 1885 reported gross income of a little more than $239,000.

In May 1885 Laura Kerr Axtell donated to the school real estate valued at approximately $125,000 to endow a professorship in Mathematics in honor of her brother, Levi Kerr. One can only imagine the reaction of the trustees upon receving a gift equivalent to 52% of the school’s total annual income. The Kerr Professorship was the first endowed professorship established at Case School of Applied Science.

Laura and Levi were cousins of Case’s founder, Leonard Case, Jr. Levi had served as administrator of Leonard’s estate and was one of the original incorporators and trustees of Case School of Applied Science. Brother and sister were both born in Mentor, Laura in 1818 and Levi in 1822. More is known of Levi’s life than Laura’s. In his teens he spent 3 years in the West Indies and Japan. Upon his return to America he worked in the dry-goods business in New York. He later relocated to western Pennsylvania where oil was found on a tract of land he had purchased and later sold to Standard Oil. Levi returned to northeast Ohio around 1870 and prospered as a banker and businessman until his death in 1885 in a drowning accident in Florida.

Laura inherited a sizable estate from her brother, which enabled her gift to Case. One obituary described her as “liberal in her benefactions.” During her life and at her death in 1890 she was a generous supporter of Case, the Lake Erie Seminary, and several Episcopal churches in the Painesville area.

Francisca Himmelsbach painting of Laura Kerr Axtell

Kerr Professors and the dates they held the professorship are:

John N. Stockwell, 1886-1887
Harry F. Reid, 1887-1889
Charles S. Howe, 1890-1908
Theodore M. Focke, 1908-1944
Sidney W. McCuskey, 1945-1971
James C. Alexander, 1998-2008
Stanislaw Szarek, 2009-

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February 27, 2015

African-American History Month Spotlight: John B. Turner

John B. Turner was the first African-American dean at Case Western Reserve University, serving as dean of the School of Applied Social Sciences (now the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences) 1968-1973. He was also the first African-American dean at any school of social work in the country.

John B. Turner

Dr. Turner was born 2/28/1922 in Ft. Valley, Georgia. He attended Morehouse College, earning the A.B. degree in 1946. He received the M.S.S.A. degree from Western Reserve University’s School of Applied Social Science (MSASS) in 1948 and the Doctor of Social Work from the Graduate School of WRU in 1959.

His academic career began as instructor at the School of Social Work, Atlanta University in 1950. He became lecturer in Social Work at MSASS in 1955. His major field of interest was community organization in social work. Beginning in 1957 Turner was instructor (1957-1959), assistant professor (1959-1961), associate professor (1961-1963) and professor (1963-1974) of social work at MSASS. He served as associate dean 1967-1968 and was appointed dean of the School effective 7/1/1968, serving 5 years. After stepping down from the deanship in 1973, Dr. Turner took a sabbatical leave at the University of Georgia School of Social Work. He resigned his position as professor at MSASS in 1974 in order to become the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). He eventually became dean at UNC, retiring in 1992.

While he was an academic by training he had many accomplishments outside the university setting. During World War II he was a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps and member of the Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first African-American commissioner in the city of East Cleveland. Turner’s community service activities included the Cleveland Institute of Art, Karamu House, Welfare Federation of Cleveland, City of Cleveland Advisory Committee on Urban Renewal, East Cleveland Citizens Advisory Committee, Businessman’s Interracial Committee, Jewish Community Federation, and others.

Dr. Turner’s professional involvement included the National Association of Social Workers, National Conference on Social Welfare, and Council on Social Work Education. He served on the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Health, and the U. S. Committee of the International Council on Social Work.

Turner held a Fulbright Scholarship, studying in Egypt. He returned to the Mideast several times throughout his career. He served the State Department in Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.

In 1947 Turner married Marian Wilson. They had 2 children: Marian and Charles. John B. Turner died 1/30/2009 in North Carolina.

You can read past blog entries about African-American history at Case Western Reserve University from 2014, 2013 and 2011.

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February 06, 2015

Namesakes - Grace Longwell Coyle Professorship of Social Work

The first endowed chair established at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences was the Grace Longwell Coyle Chair of Social Work. A fundraising campaign was carried out beginning in 1960 by the Citizens Committee for Strengthening the School of Applied Social Sciences and by the school’s alumni association. By the campaign’s successful conclusion in 1965, nearly 800 alumni had pledged over $50,000. Gifts also came from friends of the school. A gift of $100,000 from the Hanna Final Fund brought the total raised to $276,000. The chair was established in July 1965.

Grace Longwell Coyle was born in 1892 in North Adams, Massachusetts. She received a B.A. from Wellesley in 1914, majoring in English. The following year Coyle received a certificate from the New York School of Social Work. She worked as a settlement worker in New York and in the coal-mining regions of western Pennsylvania. In 1928 she earned an M.A. in economics from Columbia and, in 1931, a Ph.D., also from Columbia.

In 1934 Grace Coyle became an assistant professor in Western Reserve University’s School of Applied Social Sciences. She was promoted to associate professor in 1936 and professor in 1939. She pioneered in the development of social group work practice and theory and advocated for the inclusion of social science research in social work education. Professor Coyle served on the board of the Ohio Consumers League. She was president of three social work professional assocations: the National Confeence of Social Work, 1940; the American Association of Social Workers, 1942-44; and the National Council on Social Work Education, 1958-60. During World War II she worked with the War Relocation Authority to assist Japanese-Americans interned during the war. Grace Coyle was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

At her death in 1962 the School of Applied Social Sciences faculty resolution paid tribute to her professional achievements and her personal qualities:

“Grace Coyle was one of those rare people who not only talked about her belief in democracy but practiced it in her daily life. She had a profound respect for the worth and dignity of all human kind. Her ideas about democratic participation at the grass roots, her concern for opportunities for deprived groups were reflected not only in her writing and her teaching but in her activities as a member of organizations which were concerned with social action for the betterment of mankind.”

Grace Longwell Coyle

Grace Longwell Coyle Professors and the dates they held the professorship are:
Ruby B. Pernell, 1968-1982
Arthur J. Naparstek, 1983-1987
Arthur Blum, 1987-1991
Arthur J. Naparstek, 1991-2004
Pranab Chatterjee, 2006-2008
Elizabeth M. Tracy, 2009-

Researchers interested in exploring Grace Coyle’s remarkable career of teaching, service and scholarship are welcome to use the Grace Coyle Papers in the CWRU Archives.

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January 07, 2015

Namesakes - Heman Oviatt and the Oviatt Professorship

Over the years Case Western Reserve University’s benefactors have donated funds to establish endowments for many purposes - scholarships, research, buildings maintenance, and professorships. Typically, the donated funds are invested and only the income is used to support the endowment’s purpose. These gifts, thus, have a lasting impact on the university. The income from endowed professorships, also called endowed chairs, supports part or all of the salary of the incumbent and, sometimes, expenses related to his or her research.

CWRU’s oldest surviving endowed chair, the Oviatt Professorship was established in 1837, only 11 years after Western Reserve College’s founding. Heman Oviatt, a Western Reserve College trustee, donated land valued at $10,000 to endow the professorship in the theology department. Heman Oviatt was born in Goshen, Connecticut in 1775 and was one of the original settlers of Hudson, Ohio, Western Reserve College’s original home. Oviatt was a successful merchant and, in 1837 was elected the first mayor of Hudson. Oviatt died in 1854.

Allen Smith, Jr. painting of Heman Oviatt

Originally named the Oviatt Professorship of Sacred Rhetoric, in 1853 the name was changed to the Oviatt Professorship of Rhetoric. In 1906 the name was changed to the Oviatt Professorship of English.

Oviatt Professors and the dates they held the chair are:

Henry Noble Day, 1840-1857
Carroll Cutler, 1865-1876
Daniel F. DeWolf, 1876-1880
Edwards P. Cleaveland, 1882-1895
Oliver Farrar Emerson, 1896-1927
Finley Melville Foster, 1928-1953
William Powell Jones, 1954-1967
Robert Ornstein, 1974-1988
Roger B. Salomon, 1990-1999
Gary Lee Stonum, 1999-2013
William Siebenschuh, 2014-

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September 08, 2014

Cleveland Browns and Fleming Field

In the mid-1960s Western Reserve University began acquiring land for an updated athletic facility near the newly constructed student residences on the north side of campus.

In 1965 the Cleveland Browns and Western Reserve University signed a 10-year agreement to lease part of this land for a practice facility to be used exclusively by the Browns from August 15 till January 15 each year. At all other times, the University could use the facility. Reserve built a field house and practice field for the Browns, which, at the end of the lease, would become the exclusive property of the University. The Cleveland Browns practiced on the WRU campus from 1965 till 1972.

In 1968 CWRU named this athletic facility Edward L. Finnigan Playing Fields, in honor of long-time coach Eddie Finnigan. Before this, however, a portion of the facility was known as Fleming Field.

Don Fleming was a defensive back, who played for the Browns for 3 seasons, from 1960 through 1962. Fleming played both baseball and football at the University of Florida. Fleming worked construction jobs during the off-seasaon. In the summer of 1963 Fleming and a co-worker died in a construction accident in Florida. Charles Heaton, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, described Fleming as, “a good team man, a fellow with a friendly smile always close to the surface... On the field he was a solid defensive back, a rugged tackler and the club’s regular safety man for three years... played with a spirit and enthusiasm that was contagious...” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/5/1963 p. 33) After his death the Browns retired Fleming’s No. 46 and, in 1965, named their practice facility Don Fleming Field.

Don Fleming and Browns trainer Leo Murphy, 1960. Image courtesy Cleveland Press Collection, Michael Schwartz Library, Cleveland State University

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July 28, 2014

Alumnus Professional Baseball Player Ray Mack

With the exciting news that junior pitcher Rob Winemiller was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays we remember alumnus Ray Mack (formerly known as Mlckovsky), a former Major League player.

Ray Mlckovsky received the B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Case School of Applied Science in 1938. He received the Honor Key and won an Athletic Medal. Mack was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Blue Key, Case Senate, Interfraternity Council, and American Society of Mechanical Engineers. As a student-athlete he earned 3 letters each in football and basketball, also winning the first Les Bale ‘09 award. Case did not have varsity baseball at the time Mack was a student, so he played amateur baseball in Cleveland.

Ray Mlckovsky (Ray Mack) in his senior year

He played in his first major league game 9/9/1938 (Cleveland vs. Detroit). He appeared in 1 other game that year and 36 in 1939 before his first complete season in 1940. In 1939 Mack played for Buffalo in the International League, teaming with Lou Boudreau for the double-play combination. He and Boudreau continued to play with each other for the Cleveland Indians. Mack was chosen for the 1940 All-Star game.

According to the Case Alumnus, “During the off-seasons, Mack held engineering jobs at the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. and Lamson and Sessions. In 1941, he took a part-time position in war work at Thompson Products and entered the army in 1945. In 1946, Mack rejoined the Indians and played with them throughout the season. In the winter he was traded to the New York Yankees, later played with the Newark, N.J. club and near the end of 1947, went to the Chicago Cubs. He retired from baseball in the spring of 1948 to become a sales engineer at the Browning Crane and Shovel Co.”

Mack was born 8/31/1916 in Cleveland, Ohio and died 5/7/1969 in Bucyrus Ohio. His son, Tom, played football for the Los Angeles Rams in the National Football League and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

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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 25, 2014

Namesakes-John Hessin Clarke, Clarke Field and Clarke Tower

A distinguished alumnus of the university is behind the name of Clarke Tower as well as the now razed Clarke Field, former home of the Western Reserve University Red Cats.

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John Hessin Clarke

John Hessin Clarke, born 9/18/1857 in Lisbon, Ohio, received his A.B. degree from Western Reserve College in 1877. He received the A.M. from WRC in 1880. He studied law in his father’s office and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1878. He moved to Youngstown in 1880 to practice law and while in Youngstown became part owner of the Vindicator newspaper. Clarke moved to Cleveland in 1897 and joined Samuel E. Williamson and William E. Cushing in the law firm of Williamson, Cushing & Clarke. He was general solicitor and general counsel for the Nickel Plate Railroad for 13 years.

In 1903 he was a candidate for the U. S. Senate but lost to Marcus A. Hanna. He was a close associate of 2 Cleveland mayors, Tom L. Johnson and Newton D. Baker. In 1914 Clarke was appointed Federal Judge for the Northern District of Ohio, then the third busiest district in the U. S. Two years later, President Wilson nominated him to the Supreme Court. His nomination was approved and he filled the vacancy caused by Charles Evans Hughes’ resignation. Justice John Hessin Clarke served for 6 years as Associate Justice (1916-1922). He resigned to head the Non-Partisan Association for the League of Nations and campaign for the United States to join the League.

In addition to his status as a double alumnus of the university, he also received the honorary degree Doctor of Laws from WRU in 1916. He served as a trustee 1923-1932. Mr. Clarke retired and moved to California in 1931, where he died in 1945. He bequeathed a large portion of his estate (estimated $1.2 million) to Western Reserve University to be used at the discretion of the trustees for Adelbert College.

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View of the stands and pressbox
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Dedication program

In 1950 renovation of the athletic fields at WRU began. A new grandstand formerly used for the National Air Races was purchased, a new press box was added, the playing field was re-sodded, and a 35 foot high scoreboard was added. A new cinder track was added after the end of the 1951 football season. The formal name of the new stadium was Justice John H. Clarke Field, though it was known as Clarke Field. Dedication ceremonies were held 10/6/1951 during the football game vs. Kent State University. The new stadium provided seating for 10,000 and the new press box accommodated 100. Along with the excitement of the new stadium was the return of Eddie Finnigan to campus as new football coach.

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Clarke Field billboard

In the 1960s WRU embarked on a greatly expanded student housing program, building 2 groups of dorms each for Adelbert and Mather Colleges. In February 1967 the WRU trustees voted to name the new 11-story residence hall: John Hessin Clarke Tower. Its original design contained a lobby and lounge floor with 10 floors containing 100 double and 120 single units for men students. It was designed by Fred Toguchi (of Outcault, Guenther, Rode, and Bonebrake) and was the first high-rise residence on either the WRU or Case campuses. It was often referred to as Adelbert II (Adelbert I being the Storrs, Pierce, Hitchcock, Cutler, and Leutner group). The total construction cost was $1,780,000. Clarke Tower is one of the campus buildings which has been recognized for its architecture, winning a 1968 HUD Award for Design Excellence.

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Clarke Tower

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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 24, 2014

Celebrate Women’s History Month: Eva Gertrude May


In 1908 the College for Women held the opening reception for its new gymnasium. Before construction of Mather Gym, the Physical Training Department held its indoor exercises in Clark Hall. In addition to a new building, in 1906 the College welcomed a new Director of Physical Training, Eva Gertrude May. Miss May would remain in that position for thirty years.

A persistent advocate for the value of sports and exercise for young women, Miss May greatly increased the number of students participating in exercise. By the simple expedient of writing to all the physicians who submitted notes asking students to be excused from exercises, asking their reasons and explaining the program, fewer excuse notes were received. Miss May also substituted walking for students unable to participate in gymnasium exercises.

“We have students in college today who had never skipped a rope or handled a ball, or entered into any of the sports and games of childhood.” (Annual Report, 1909/10) Miss May introduced field hockey, croquet, indoor baseball, archery, fencing, and Hy-lo, which was originated at the College.

Securing adequate space and equipment - large and small - for the program was a continuous preoccupation. In her 1910/11 annual report she wrote, “The need of a clock, a telephone, and a good athletic field, spoken of in last year’s report, has not diminished.” Outdoor faciliities were a perennial problem. In 1917 Miss May suggested that, “basket ball and base ball be played on the campus, the health of the grass being sacrificed for the health of the students.” The campus lawns were saved by the offer of a portion of Wade Park behind the Cleveland Museum of Art for field hockey and baseball. An athletic field was constructed in 1927.

Eva Gertrude May was born August 11, 1871. She graduated from the Sargent Normal School of Physical Training in 1894. She was an Instructor in Gymnasium at Vassar College from 1895 to 1906. After serving as Director of Physical Education at Flora Stone Mather College beginning in 1906, Miss May retired in 1936. She died April 3, 1947 in Portland, Oregon.

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Women's physical education, 1911 (left) and 1931 (right)

Other Women’s History Month recollections include Florence Allen, Grazella Puliver Shepherd, Margaret Johnson, Carolyn Neff, Bess Barr LeBedoff, Mary Frances Pinches, and Helen Stankard

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Walter (Ty) Danco

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December 18, 2013

Namesakes - Carroll Cutler and Cutler Hall

Carroll Cutler, 1861

it is ironic that a reluctant president should have presided over two of the most controversial changes in Western Reserve College's first hundred years - the move from Hudson to Cleveland and the college’s establishment of undergraduate coeducation. Not to mention the Civil War.

Educated at Yale, Carroll Cutler came to Western Reserve College in 1860 as Professor of Intellectual Philosophy and Rhetoric. During his nearly thirty years at WRC, Cutler taught metaphysics, logic, ethics, political science, history, rhetoric, and German. His exacting standards met with some disfavor among students. Thomas Day Seymour's 1884 memorial address explained, "The students were not accustomed to such pungent criticisms of their English compositions." Nevertheless, Cutler continued teaching while serving as president from 1871 to 1886.

Cutler reluctantly accepted a three-year term as president in 1871. When he attempted to step aside from the presidency in 1874, the Trustees refused to accept his resignation. What was intended as a three-year presidency lasted fifteen years. Cutler’s History of Western Reserve College During Its First Half Century, 1826-1876, offers his own perspectives on the issues of the first years of his presidency.

When Cutler resigned from Western Reserve College he accepted a professorship at Biddle University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also taught at Talladega College in Alabama. Both are historically black colleges.

Cutler Hall and Pierce Hall, 1883

Cutler Hall was one of Western Reserve’s original University Circle buildings. Adelbert Main was the classroom and office building. Adelbert Hall, later Pierce Hall, was the student dormitory. The third building was the President’s residence, named Cutler Hall in 1934 to honor Carroll Cutler’s service as president. The student and president’s residences were very close neighbors, as the 1883 image shows. Over time Cutler Hall housed the Home Economics department, the School of Library Science, the Business School, and the School of Architecture. It was razed in 1960 to construct the Millis Science Center, now a component of the Agnar Pytte Center for Science Education and Resarch.

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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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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.

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 30, 2013

Namesakes - Winfred Leutner and Leutner Commons

Winfred George Leutner was alumnus (Adelbert College class of 1901), faculty member (Classics), dean, and president of Western Reserve University. Born in Cleveland in 1879, he was the grandson of immigrants who fled Germany in 1848 (his father was an infant at the time). He graduated from Central High School and entered Adelbert College in 1897 beginning his lifetime association with Western Reserve University. Leutner received the A.B. in 1901 graduating with honors and Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1905. He also studied at American Schools of Classical Study in Athens and Rome.

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Winfred G. Leutner

He was an instructor for several years off and on at WRU while he pursued graduate work. He became Assistant Professor of Greek and Latin at WRU in 1909 and never left the university after that point. He became Dean of Adelbert College in 1912 in additional to his teaching. In 1925 he left teaching when he became Dean of University Administration. With President Robert Vinson, and trustee Newton D. Baker, he helped establish Cleveland College (for part-time and night students), serving as acting director of the College until A. Caswell Ellis was hired as its first director.

In December 1933 he became acting president. He was elected president in June of 1934. He was the first alumnus, first and only native Clevelander, and the first non-minister to serve as president of Western Reserve University. During his tenure as president he steered the university through most of the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war enrollment surge.

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President Leutner blows out candles on the WRU 125th birthday cake, 2/6/1951

President Leutner married Emily Payne Smith in 1910 and had 3 children, Mary, Frederick, and Ruth. He died Christmas Day 1961.

Leutner Commons was part of the Adelbert I dormitory complex, which also included Storrs House, Pierce House, Hitchcock House, and Cutler House. In 1963 Western Reserve University began construction of the dormitories and dining facility. The construction was financed with loans from the Home Finance Agency. The Adelbert Alumni Association conducted a $200,000 fundraising campaign over 3 years to furnish this new complex which was for the use of Adelbert College men. Groundbreaking was held 9/24/1963 with the campaign kickoff dinner on 12/10/1963. The architectural firm Outcault, Guenther, Rode and Bonebrake designed Adelbert I complex.

The dedication for the Adelbert I complex, as well as Mather I (Cutter House, Smith House, Taft House, Taplin House, and Stone Dining Hall) and Mather II (Norton House, Sherman House, Tyler House, Raymond House and Wade Commons) was held at Leutner Commons on Sunday, 3/7/1965.

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Leutner Commons, 1965

Leutner Commons has been in continuous use since then. In 2010 a $7 million renovation to the building was completed. The building was increased by 10,500 square feet allowing occupancy by 1,206 people (an increase of 25%). Architects were Burt-Hill, interior designers were EDG, and the Krill Company oversaw construction. The rededication was held 8/18/2010.

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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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August 09, 2013

Francis Hobart Herrick: Founder of CWRU’s Biology Department


In 1888, with newly conferred Johns Hopkins University Ph.D. in hand, Francis Hobart Herrick came to Western Reserve University to establish a Biology department. He remained on the faculty for 41 years, retiring in 1929 as Professor Emeritus.

Herrick’s scholarly publishing career spanned over 50 years, 1883-1937. His early research focused on the American lobster in New England. His work revealed that over-harvesting egg-producing adult lobsters was threatening the species and risking destruction of the American lobster industry. During the early 1920s his close observations of the behavior of American eagles made Herrick a world authority on that subject, as well. He also produced the first scholarly biography of naturalist John James Audubon.

Herrick was an innovator in the classroom, introducing laboratory classes, undergraduate field work and lectures illustrated with lantern slides - the early 20th century’s equivalent of PowerPoint. In his field research, Herrick was a pioneer in the use of photography to record bird behavior. The tent blind he developed for his eagle observations allowed close study of behavior and was widely copied. As early as 1890 Herrick advocated for establishment of a local museum of natural history. He was one of the founders of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in 1920.

The indefatigable Herrick also designed WRU’s Biology Building, now DeGrace Hall, and many of its laboratory furnishings.

Examples of Herrick’s work are included in 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.

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July 03, 2013

Namesakes - Van Horn Field and Frank “Count” Van Horn

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On the left, Frank Rodman and Frank R. Van Horn, 1931; on the right, Van Horn Field, around 1924.

The “father of athletics at Case,” Francis R. Van Horn became President of the Case Athletic Association in 1900. At that time the football program was expected to cover its expenses through ticket sales. As the season records of the previous several years were 3/5/0, 3/3/2, and 0/5/2, fans were not flocking to the games and many who attended did not buy tickets. Van Horn solved the freeloader problem by enlisting students to put up a fence around the field. With sufficient funds, Van Horn’s next step, in 1902, was to hire Joseph Wentworth as football coach. The first three Wentworth seasons Case’s record was 6/3/0, 8/1/0, 7/2/0.

Van Horn's management of the football program was so successful that the treasury had amassed $27,000 by 1913. This sum, plus additional funds contributed by students and alumni, supported purchase and remodeling of a church at E. 107th and Deering. The Case Club, as it was named, was the first Case student center.

Van Horn was also a notable scholar. His B.S and M.S. were awarded by Rutgers in 1892 and 1893 and his doctorate was awarded by Heidelberg University in 1897. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded the honorary Doctor of Science by Rutgers in 1919. He was hired in 1897 by Case School of Applied Science as Instructor in Natural History and Mining. Two years later he was promoted to Assistant Professor Geology and Mineralogy. In 1902 he was promoted to Professor of Geology and Mineralogy, a position he held until his death in 1933.

He traveled widely, on his own and accompanying students on practice term trips, and collected a 10,000-sample rock and mineral collection, fully cataloged at his death. Professor Van Horn was secretary and fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, a fellow of the Geological Society of America, life fellow of the Ohio Academy of Science, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and and Trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He published journal articles in geology and mineralogy.

Van Horn’s nickname, “The Count,” was bestowed upon him by the Case students because of his goatee and somewhat brisk and stiff mannerisms acquired during his studies in Germany. The goatee he shaved in 1925 in honor of Case’s defeat of arch-rival Western Reserve University in the annual Thanksgiving Day football game - after 13 consecutive losses. The nickname he kept for the rest of his life.

The esteem in which he was held by Case is evidenced by the many tributes. The 1925 student yearbook was dedicated, “To Dr. Frank Robertson Van Horn in recognition of his frank and friendly attitude towards the students and his untiring efforts to make Case athletics a success, we dedicate the 1925 Differential.” the Van Horn Alumni Scholarship was established in 1934, the library and conference room in the Metallurgy Building was dedicated to him in 1953, the newly renovated athletic field was renamed Van Horn Field in 1958.

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May 22, 2013

Namesakes - John S. Millis and Millis Science Center

John Schoff Millis was the ninth president of Western Reserve University (1949-1967) and first chancellor of Case Western Reserve University (1967-1969). Born 11/22/1903 in Palo Alto, California, President Millis spent most of his life in academe. His father, Harry Alvin Millis, was an economist who taught at Stanford University, University of Kansas and University of Chicago.

President Millis earned his B. S. in mathematics and astronomy (1924), M. S. in physics (1927), and Ph.D. in physics (1931) from University of Chicago. He taught at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin and was Dean of Administration at Lawrence before becoming president of University of Vermont and State Agricultural College in 1941. In 1949 he came to Western Reserve University and was the first WRU president with an educational background in science.

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President Millis with sketch of the new science center

During his tenure, WRU grew in size by several measures: physical plant, research grants, faculty size, fundraising. He worked with T. Keith Glennan, president of the neighboring Case Institute of Technology, in consolidating activities and programs eventually leading to Federation. He was also involved in the establishment of University Circle Development Foundation (now University Circle, Inc.).

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President Millis and Vice President Webster Simon at cornerstone laying ceremony

The new science center was the result of one of the fundraising campaigns. It was built at a cost of $6,270,000 with donations from almost 3000 donors. The new science center was named for President Millis in July 1960 and was dedicated 10/13/1962. A symposium, The Living State, was held over 3 days (10/10-10/12/1962) in conjunction with the dedication of the new Millis Science Center and the new Joseph Treloar Wearn Laboratory for Medical Research. The building housed the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics. It was originally to have 3 wings added, but plans changed after Federation with CIT.

The new building featured the Andrew E. Schmitt Lecture Hall with a 385 seat capacity. This was a technology-enhanced room for the time: AM/FM stereophonic system, a public address system, 6 motor-operated blackboards with 1200 square feet of writing space, facilities for television camera operators and a projection booth. The chemistry benches in Millis were equipped with 17 services. The physics research labs used elevated flooring under which all gas, vacuum, water and electrical services were distributed. Electronic, machine, wood, and paint shops were in the building. A library, located on the second floor housed 50,000 volumes, and 250 journals were received monthly.

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John Schoff Millis Science Center, 1962

Almost 40 years after its dedication, the Millis Science Center underwent a major renovation and reorganization and became part of the Agnar Pytte Center for Science Education and Research, which was dedicated 10/5/2001.

President Millis died 1/1/1988.

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May 15, 2013

Namesakes-Eddie Finnigan and Finnigan Fields

Edward L. “Eddie” Finnigan’s college athletic career spanned nearly forty years, from his matriculation at Western Reserve University’s Adelbert College in 1929 until his death in 1968. He was the first WRU student to win nine varsity letters, three each in football, basketball, and track. (At that time freshmen could not play varsity sports.) Finnigan was elected to the Warion Society and earned an Honor Key, both of which recognized student extracurricular achievement, early evidence of the leadership skills that would lead to his coaching effectiveness.

He coached at Baldwin Wallace for a number of years before returning to WRU as football coach (1951-1965), golf coach (1954-1958), track coach (1963-1966), and athletic director (1951-1968). He was also professor of Health and Physical Education. Over his 15 seasons as head football coach, Finnigan won 57 games, lost 49, and tied 7.

He was a well respected figure in Cleveland sports and 11/4/1967 was declared Eddie Finnigan Day in Cleveland and Berea.

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Eddie Finnigan, 1954 and Finnigan Fields, 1976

In October 1968 the new athletic complex at E. 115th Street was named Edward L. Finnigan Playing Fields by the CWRU Trustees. Finnigan Fields were used by CWRU athletic teams from 1968-2003. A part of the complex, named Fleming Field by the team, was used by the Cleveland Browns as a practice facility till 1972.

Finnigan was one of the inaugural inductees into the Spartan Club Hall of Fame in 1975. His nomination began, "Both coaches and athletes are eligible for admission to Case Reserve's Athletic Hall of Fame. Eddie L. Finnigan is perhaps the only person in the University's history to merit admission on both counts... Finnigan returned to his alma mater in 1952 to provide his magic touch to a grid team that lacked the luster of pre-WWII days. In two years Eddie fielded a winning team... A great competitor as an undergraduate, Eddie knew how to inspire his players when he coached... Eddie once said, 'The function of a coach is to eliminate mistakes.' By the two generations of Red Cats who mourned his passing, he is remembered as one of the best at that function."

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March 22, 2013

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Margaret H. Johnson

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Margaret Hilda Johnson was the first woman dean of the School of Applied Social Sciences (SASS) of Western Reserve University (WRU), now known as the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of CWRU. She was appointed dean in 1950 and served until her retirement in 1958.

Miss Johnson was born 11/3/1893 in Lowell Massachusetts. Her father, George H. Johnson, was a Congregational minister and he moved the family to Cleveland when he became minister at Euclid Avenue Congregational Church. He also served as professor of History and Economics at Case School of Applied Science 1909-1927. She had 5 sisters.

Miss Johnson graduated from Central High School before entering the College for Women of WRU. She received the A.B. degree in 1917. As an undergraduate she was a member of Sigma Omega sorority. In 1919 she received the first Master of Science in Social Administration degree from SASS.

She entered the work force as personnel secretary for the H. Black Co. in Cleveland. One of her duties was to make sure that the immigrant workers attended their English classes. She became executive secretary of the Cleveland chapter of the League of Women Voters and in 1924 moved to Washington, D.C. as assistant executive secretary of the National League of Women Voters working with Belle Sherwin, president of the League.

In 1927 Miss Johnson returned to Cleveland and SASS as executive secretary of the School. The next year she became an instructor, and in successive years became assistant and associate professor. She was promoted to professor in 1939. In addition to her duties as a faculty member she served as assistant dean and was acting dean several times.

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Dean Johnson in front of the School of Applied Social Sciences at 2117 Adelbert Road

Miss Johnson was a vital part of the School’s growth and development from 1917 to 1958, as a student, faculty member, and dean. Upon her retirement in 1958 she stated that, “The School of Applied [Social] Sciences has developed greatly in the last few years. This development, especially the revised program and the new building, gives me a feeling of great satisfaction.”

Dean Johnson served the community as chairman of the American Association of Social Workers, executive committee member of the National Conference of Social Work, member of the Advisory Committee of the Department of Public Welfare of Ohio, Advisory Committee of City Relief Administration of Cleveland, Board of Directors of Women’s City Club, Board of Trustees of Welfare Federation, chairman of Directors of the Association of Social Workers of Cleveland.

She received numerous awards for her work including a citation at the convocation honoring the 75th anniversary of the founding of Flora Stone Mather College (1963) and an honorary degree from WRU in 1966.

In 1976 Margaret Johnson passed away at the age of 82 in Cleveland.

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March 06, 2013

Namesakes - Emma Maud Perkins and Perkins House

Some of the people for whom Case Western Reserve University has named buildings have actually had more than one building named for them. We know of several university buildings named for Emma Maud Perkins. The first was a frame house located at 11125 Euclid. Leased in 1943, the building served as a residence for Flora Stone Mather College students. It was the first Western Reserve University building formally named for a woman faculty member. Buildings on Bellflower and Magnolia were also later named Perkins House.

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Emma Maud Perkins and Perkins House

Emma Maud Perkins, Woods Professor of Latin, joined the faculty of Western Reserve University’s College for Women (later Flora Stone Mather College) in 1892, only four years after its establishment. There she taught Latin for thirty-seven years. Upon graduating from Vassar College in 1879 as valedictorian, Miss Perkins moved to Cleveland where she taught at Central High School. At Mather College for decades Miss Perkins was responsible for explaining the College’s traditions to new students at the beginning of each academic year. She was a prolific speaker, a gardener, and a supporter of women’s suffrage. Miss Perkins also served a term on the Cleveland Board of Education and was president of the College Club. She also served as president of the American Association of University Women. She died in 1937, leaving $10,000 to fund a scholarship at Flora Stone Mather College in memory of her mother, Sarah M. Perkins.

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February 27, 2013

African-American History Month Spotlight: Alumni George W. Streator, Olive Davis Streator, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

To celebrate African-American History Month, we are highlighting 3 alumni from the Davis/Streator family: Olive Elnora Davis Streator, George Walter Streator, and Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Olive and Benjamin were brother and sister while Olive and George were married.

Olive Elnora Davis Streator graduated from Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University in 1926, attended the Graduate School in 1928, and graduated from the School of Applied Social Sciences in 1931. She was born in 1905 in Washington, D.C., the oldest child of Elnora Dickerson and Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr. (the first African-American general in the U. S. Army). She attended Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., Tuskegee Institute, and Atlanta University before entering Mather College in 1924. She majored in English and received the B.A. in 1926. As a student she was a member of the Musical Arts Club. She taught at Bluefield State Institute in West Virginia (a historically black teacher’s college) for 3 years (1926-1929) before returning to Cleveland to enter the School of Applied Social Sciences in 1929. She received the M.S.S.A. in 1931. Her major field of interest was child welfare. She taught at Bennett College for Women after her graduation from SASS. She attended the University of Chicago before moving to New York City where she worked for various social service agencies. Olive was a member of the American Association of Social Workers (later the National Association of Social Workers.) She and George had a son, George Davis Streator.

George Walter Streator was born in 1902 in Nashville, Tennessee. He received the A.B. degree from Fisk University in 1926 and also attended Columbia University and the University of Chicago. He was a teacher when he entered Western Reserve University Graduate School in 1929 and received the M.A. in Mathematics in June 1930. His thesis was The Newton-Leibniz Controversy and the Later History of the Calculus in England, with a Short Account of the Ideas that Resembled the Calculus Before Newton and Leibniz. His thesis is available for use in the University Archives. Throughout his career Streator was a teacher, writer, and labor organizer. He was business manager then managing editor of The Crisis in 1933-1934. He worked for the War Production Board during World War II. In 1945 Streator became the first African-American reporter for the New York Times.

Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. in 1911. The family moved to Tuskegee in Alabama before moving to Cleveland in 1924. He graduated from Central High School in 1929. He attended Fisk University in the summer before entering Adelbert College of Western Reserve University in the fall. While his father moved to Wilberforce University to teach Military Science and Tactics, young Benjamin stayed with his sister Olive who was his guardian while he attended WRU. After leaving WRU, Benjamin attended the University of Chicago before entering West Point in 1932. Davis had a distinguished career in the military like his father, becoming the first African-American general in the U.S. Air Force. He was the leader of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Other African-American History Month alumni highlights include John Sykes Fayette, class of 1836.

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February 11, 2013

Famous Campus Visitors - Frederick Douglass

In 1854 former slave and noted abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, addressed the Western Reserve College Philozetian Society during Commencement Week. His topic was "The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically." It was reported that nearly three thousand people attended.

The Western Reserve College campus at Hudson

From the perspective of 2013, the prospect of listening to a nearly two-hour speech in Ohio’s July heat and humidity seems an unlikely attraction. But, in the 1850s public, written communication consisted of newspapers and magazines - and not too many of them were available on the Ohio frontier. Consequently, long public speeches were the norm. In fact, the student literary societies, like the Philozetian, existed to give students practice in debate and declamation.

Douglass urged his listeners to take an active role in the slavery debate. “The relation subsisting between the white and black people of this country is the vital question of the age. In the solution of this question, the scholars of America will have to take an important and controlling part. This is the moral battle field to which their country and their God now call them. In the eyes of both, the neutral scholar is an ignoble man.”

Quotations are all from John W. Blassingame, ed. The Frederick Douglass Papers. Series One: Speeches, Debates, and Interviews. Vol. 2 1847-1854 (Yale University, 1982): 496-525

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January 25, 2013

Namesakes - Strosacker Auditorium and Charles J. Strosacker

A building known and used by generations of students is Strosacker Auditorium. This building was dedicated 11/3/1958. It was the result of a $540,000 gift of Charles J. Strosacker, alumnus of Case School of Applied Science class of 1906. The architects of the building were Small, Smith, Reeb and Draz and the general contractor was Albert M. Higley Company. The construction cost was $920,000. The building is concrete on steel with exterior walls of salmon brick with stone copings and sills. The main lobby floor is of terrazzo and facing the entrance is a mural.

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Strosacker Auditorium, ca. 1960s

The 38-foot long, stainless steel mural by artist Buell Martin depicts the unlimited horizons of youth in the eternal quest for knowledge. Case President T. Keith Glennan commissioned the mural. (There is another Buell Martin mural on campus - in the Canavin Room on the fourth floor of the Glennan Building.)

The main speaker at the dedication was Chancellor Edward Litchfield of the University of Pittsburgh who discussed the importance of institutions such as Case in science education and the growing role of science in modern society.

Charles Strosacker (1882-1963) attended Baldwin Wallace College for 1 year before transferring to Case. He received the B.S. in Chemistry 5/31/1906. Case awarded Strosacker the honorary doctor of engineering degree at commencement convocation in 1941. Stro (as he was known by his friends and colleagues) joined Dow Chemical Company in 1908, first working in the analytical laboratory. He continued to work at Dow for 54 years and at the time of the gift announcement in 1956 he was vice president, production manager, and director of Dow Chemical Company. Stro was member of the American Chemical Society, Sigma Xi, Midland Country Club, Rotary Club, and Saginaw Valley Torch Club.

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Charles J. Strosacker

Renovations were made to Strosacker Auditorium in 1977-1978 with rededication on 4/17/1978. Funds were provided by the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation: $300,000 for the renovation and the balance to be invested in a permanent endowment fund with income to be used for the continuing maintenance of the building. The renovation consisted of installation of new seating, painting, lighting, mechanical equipment and acoustical treatment, as well as restoration of the mural. The funds also covered the purchase of color television equipment to allow the university’s Instructional Television Network to tape classes and special programs held in the auditorium.

The Film Society equipped the auditorium with 35mm motion picture projectors and a stereo sound system for the regular film series and the annual science fiction film marathon.

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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.


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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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.

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.

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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June 22, 2012

Namesakes - Haydn Hall and Hiram C. Haydn

Haydn Hall was the first WRU building formally named for a president, Hiram C. Haydn. It was dedicated 11/11/1902 for the use of Mather College. President Haydn was instrumental in the establishment of Mather College (originally known as the College for Women) in 1888.

The building was a student union, headquarters for commuter students and also served as a dormitory for the overflow of resident students from Guilford House (the first dormitory). While the building was a gift of Flora Stone Mather, the furnishings were a gift of the Mather Advisory Council and this group was in charge of the building. The building has been in continuous use for 110 years, its most recent major renovation in the 1980s as part of the Mather Quad Restoration Project. It is currently home to the Music Library, classrooms and offices.

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Mather College students having tea in Haydn Hall drawing room, 1929/30

When elected president of Western Reserve University in 1887, Haydn was a trustee. Born in 1831 in Pompey, New York, he studied at Pompey Academy and then Amherst College. After graduation from Amherst he attended Union Theological Seminary. Haydn came to Ohio in 1866 as pastor of the First Congregational Church of Painesville. He became associated with Western Reserve College (then in Hudson) in 1869 as a trustee. In 1872 Haydn became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland (commonly known as the Old Stone Church). As pastor of Old Stone Church he knew many of Cleveland’s influential families, such as the Stones and Mathers.

As president Haydn became a faculty member, teaching religion courses. He continued as a faculty member and trustee after his tenure as president ended. President Haydn had accepted the presidency with the understanding that he would serve until another suitable candidate was found. in 1890 he was succeeded as president by Charles F. Thwing, who became the longest-serving president in the university’s history.

President Haydn’s 2 sons attended and graduated from Adelbert College of WRU. His son, Howell, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a faculty member at WRU from 1899 until his death in 1938.

President Haydn died 7/31/1913.

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Hiram C. Haydn in his study, ca. 1900

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April 27, 2012

Namesakes - Kent H. Smith and Case Quad

The Case Quad, the Main Quad -- these are titles given to the area bounded by Crawford Hall, Rockefeller Building, Albert W. Smith Building, Bingham Buiding, White Building, Olin Laboratory, Nord Hall, Sears Library Building, Wickenden Building, Yost Hall, and Tomlinson Hall. The formal name of this space is the Kent H. Smith Quadrangle. You may notice a plaque identifying the area mounted on the plaza area of Crawford Hall.

Kent Smith was born 4/9/1894 in Cleveland to Mary and Albert Smith. He graduated from East High School before attending and graduating from Dartmouth College in 1915. He continued his education at Case School of Applied Science, graduating in chemistry in 1917. His father, Albert W. Smith, was a faculty member at Case as well as an alumnus, class of 1887. The Albert W. Smith Chemical Engineering Building was named for him. Kent’s brother, Albert Kelvin, was also a Case graduate, class of 1922. The Kelvin Smith Library was named in his honor.

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Edith Stevenson Wright painting of Kent Hale Smith

Kent Smith was elected to the Case Board of Trustees in 1949, serving until he was named honorary trustee in 1966. He served Case as Acting President 1958-1961 when President T. Keith Glennan was on leave as first administrator of NASA. He served on numerous committees, such as the Case Alumni Council, Diamond Jubilee Campaign, and Case Building Fund. Mr. Smith received the Case Alumni Meritorious Service Award in 1952, the honorary degree of engineering degree from Case in 1954 and an honorary doctor of law degree from Western Reserve University in 1960. A special dinner was held in his honor in 1961 at which his formal portrait was unveiled.

Mr. Smith was a founder of the Lubrizol Corporation and president 1932-1951. He was a member of the American Chemical Society and served on the boards of Euclid Glenville Hospital, Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Cleveland Trust Company, and the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.

The quad underwent complete redesign in the early 1970s. William A. Behnke Associates was retained as landscape architect. There was no parking allowed on the quad. Old Case Main was razed. The Michelson-Morley fountain was installed. The Tony Smith sculpture, Spitball, was installed. The entire area was re-landscaped. In 1974 the Quadrangle won the Landscape Design Award of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Cleveland Growth Association for an educational institution.

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Kent H. Smith Quadrangle looking towards Bingham Building

The Kent Hale Smith Engineering and Science Building was dedicated 9/16/1994 in his honor. This building is commonly referred to as the Macro building or Macromolecular Science building.

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March 30, 2012

Celebrate Women’s History Month: Florence E. Allen

Florence Ellinwood Allen was the first woman appointed Assistant County Prosecutor of Cuyahoga County (1919) and the first woman elected to the Court of Common Pleas in the County (1920), winning by the largest margin of victory at that time. She was the first woman elected to the Supreme Court of Ohio (1922) as well as any state Supreme Court. She was also the first woman appointed to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, serving the Sixth Circuit 1934 until her retirement in 1959. She was named the chief judge in 1958.

Miss Allen graduated with a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from the College for Women of Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1904. She entered the WRU Graduate School in September 1907 and received the Master of Arts degree in June 1908.

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Florence E. Allen as a college senior

As an undergraduate, Miss Allen was a member of Sigma Psi sorority and YWCA. She was president of the Dramatics Club and editor-in-chief of the student monthly newspaper, College Folio. Following her graduation she was a student at the University of Berlin. Returning to Cleveland, she began teaching at Laurel School in 1906 and was music editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

She sought admission to the Law School but was denied because she was a woman. She attended law school for a year at the University of Chicago and earned the L.L.B. degree from New York University in 1913. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1914 and entered private practice. While in New York, Florence Allen became involved with the suffrage movement, becoming secretary for the College Equal Suffrage Association. Upon passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, she ran for office. In her autobiography, To Do Justly (published by the Western Reserve University Press), she wrote, “I was the beneficiary of the entire women’s movement.”

Working through the College for Women Alumnae Association she headed the committee that worked with the WRU president and trustees to open legal and medical education for women. In 1964 she was still providing assistance to the Alumnae Association as honorary chairman of the Mather College Dormitory Fund Campaign.

She received an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from WRU in 1926. Florence Allen died September 12, 1966.

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December 16, 2011

Namesakes - Eldred Hall and Henry B. Eldred

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Eldred Hall

Eldred Hall was originally built as a YMCA building. It was used as a recreation building for the men of Adelbert College of Western Reserve University. It had an assembly room, meeting rooms, and a reading room with popular literature. Over time a snack bar was added and space was leased to a barber.

The bulk of the funds for the building came from Henry B. Eldred, a local minister and friend of the university. Fundraising for Eldred Hall was conducted at the same time funds were being sought for the Biology Building (now DeGrace Hall ). Donors to Eldred included President Charles F. Thwing, WRU president and Monroe M. Curtis, faculty member.

Various dramatic clubs and later the Drama Department were installed in Eldred. In 1938 a major addition, featuring a new theater, was made to the building. Instead of a traditional dedication, the opening of the new building addition was held 1/17/1939 with the production of The Spook Sonata by August Strindberg.

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The Spook Sonata at Eldred Hall

The building had minor renovations over time including the lobby renovation in 1984 and the more recent renovation and addition of an elevator.

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November 17, 2011

Namesakes - George E. Pierce, Pierce Hall, and Pierce House

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Portrait of George Edmond Pierce and Pierce Hall

George Edmond Pierce served as Western Reserve College’s second president, from 1834 to 1855. A graduate of Andover Theological Seminary and Yale University, Pierce was Pastor of a Congregational Church in Harwinton, Connecticut before coming west to Hudson, Ohio to accept the presidency of the eight-year old Western Reserve College. In an interesting instance of multi-tasking, Pierce served as Mayor of Hudson in 1851-52. During his 21-year tenure as Western Reserve College's president, enrollment doubled (from 58 to 120), the size of the faculty more than tripled (from 4 to 14), and tuition was raised from $20 to $30.

Nearly 30 years after Pierce resigned from WRC, the College moved from Hudson to Cleveland and changed its name to Adelbert College of Western Reserve University. In 1882 there were 4 buildings: the classroom and office building, the dormitory, the president’s house, and the privy. This 1885 map shows the Case School of Applied Science and Adelbert College campuses.

One hundred years after the beginning of his presidency, the Western Reserve University Trustees formally named the dormitory Pierce Hall. It had ceased being used as a dormitory some years earlier. In fact, Pierce Hall had a variety of names (Adelbert Hall, Adelbert Dorm, Pierce-Cutler Hall) and a variety of occupants (Schools of Law, Library Science, and Architecture, numerous fraternities and academic departments) and was pressed into service during both WWI and WWII as a residence for military trainees. Pierce Hall was razed in 1960 to make room for the Millis Science Center, now part of the Agnar Pytte Center for Science Education and Research.

But in 1964 President Pierce was again honored when one of the new men’s north side residences was named Pierce House. The citation reads, “For his self-sacrifice and devotion, his unyielding honesty, fidelity and untiring perseverance for the College.”

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November 11, 2011

Namesakes - T. Keith Glennan and Glennan Space Engineering Building

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Glennan Space Engineering Building

T. Keith Glennan was fourth president of Case Institute of Technology. He served from 1947 to 1966 with 2 leaves of absence for government service: commissioner with the Atomic Energy Commission (1950-1952) and first administrator of NASA (1958-1961).

Glennan came to Case Institute via a different path from most college and university presidents. He was a businessman not an academic. However, he had a successful presidency by a number of measurements: increased enrollment; increased faculty size; 2 successful fundraising campaigns; expanded physical plant; curricular revisions; increase in grant-funded research. He was also instrumental in closer cooperation with Western Reserve University and work leading to Federation. He was popular with the campus and local community and the students held a Students Salute Keith Glennan Day on May 14, 1965.

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T. Keith Glennan cuts the ribbon at the Glennan Building dedication, 1/9/1969

On January 9, 1969 CWRU dedicated the Glennan Space Engineering Building. NASA contributed over $2 million to the $4 million cost of the eight-story building. The Austin Company was the designer and engineer, Albert M. Higley Company was the general contractor, and Kilroy Structural Steel Company was the fabricator and erector of the steel frame. The Glennan Building originally housed aerospace research activities, electrical science research, chemical engineering, plasma physics, solid-state micro-electronics and laser research. These types of research were expected to provide a closer link between the university and personnel of NASA Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field). The building is currently home to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, which has current research programs with the NASA Glenn Research Center.

A stainless steel mural by artist Buell Mullen was installed in the 3rd floor lobby of the Glennan Building at the dedication. The 6’ x 9’ foot mural, Challenge of Space, was commissioned in honor of President Glennan. It is currently installed in the Canavin Room, a 4th floor conference room. Another Mullen mural, The Unlimited Horizons of Youth in the Eternal Quest for Knowledge, is in the lobby of Strosacker Auditorium.

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October 07, 2011

Ruth W. Helmuth, University Archivist, 1964-1985


As October begins another Archives Month in Ohio, it seems fitting to celebrate the CWRU Archives’ Founding Mother, Ruth W. Helmuth. Practitioner, educator, advocate. It is difficult to identify an aspect of the archival profession’s development in the 1970s and 1980s to which Ruth Helmuth did not contribute.

As a practitioner she merged classical archival theory with innovative use of technology and practices from related fields. The functional classification system she developed to describe the hierarchical arrangement of archival series was adapted by dozens of college and university archives. Even though she wasn’t certain how they would be used, she knew, in 1983, that the new desktop computers would be an important tool for archivists and provided funds and encouragement for her staff to experiment.

In the 1970s there were few opportunities for formal archival education in the United States. In 1970, Ruth Helmuth began a ten-year summer workshop that trained hundreds of archivists. In 1975, under her leadership, Case Western Reserve University established a double-degree program in archives administration which offered an MSLS from the School of Library Science and an MA in History. This was one of the earliest such programs in the United States. She worked within the Society of American Archivists (SAA) to develop educational opportunities and raise standards as a member of the Education and Training Committee, the Basic Workshop Committee, and the Professional Standards Committee.

Ruth’s service to the broader profession included chairing the Society of American Archivists’ College and University Archives Section and the Nominating Committee. She served on SAA Council and as Vice President and President. She was one of the founding members of the Society of Ohio Archivists (SOA), one of the earliest statewide archival associations. She also served a seven-year term on the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board. She served on panels to review qualifications for the Archivist of the United States and director of the Gerald Ford Library.

In recognition of her accomplishments, SAA made her a Fellow, SOA issued a Special Citation, and CWRU named its archival endowment fund for her. A tribute by former MIT Archivist, Helen Samuels, at Ruth’s death summarizes the esteem in which Ruth Helmuth is held by the hundreds of archivists she influenced:

“Ruth taught us the basics and grounded us in our profession. Even more, she instilled in us the excitement and commitment to be first rate academic archivists. She trained a generation of college and university archivists, and I believe, contributed greatly to the strength and leadership that college and university archivists have played in our profession.” (Helen Samuels, posting to the Archives and Archivists list, July 22, 1997)

In 2011, in celebration of its 75th anniversary, the Society of American Archivists published a set of 75 trading cards featuring, among other notable achievements, people who made significant contributions to SAA or the archival profession. Ruth’s selection gave us one more opportunity to bask in her reflected glory and be grateful for her legacy.

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July 07, 2011

Namesakes - Kate Hanna Harvey and Harvey House

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Gertrude L. Paul painting of Kate Hanna Harvey

Kate Hanna Harvey (1871-1936) was an ardent supporter of nursing. She was chairman of the Lakeside Training School Committee, and after the school merged with Western Reserve University, chairman of the Nursing Committee. She was also a founder of the Visiting Nursing Association and helped establish the Cleveland chapter of the American Red Cross.

For many years she advocated for nurses and nursing education, which included new living accommodations for the nurses. In 1924 Mrs. Harvey paid for the refurnishing and redecorating of the old nurses’ dormitories. When the new Medical Center Group for University Hospitals and the School of Medicine was being planned, she won approval for the Nursing Committee to be represented on the University Hospitals budget committee. In 1931 one of the 4 new nursing dormitories, Kate Hanna Harvey House, was named in her honor.

The new dormitory was part of a quadrangle of dormitories for nurses. (Though Robb House was soon turned over to medical residents.) The dorm was a 5-story building of buff brick. The rooms were furnished in early American and in addition to a large living room, each floor had a lounge and kitchenette. Each nurse had her own room.

Mrs. Harvey was also the namesake of a professorship, the Kate Hanna Harvey Professorship in Community Health Nursing. Her granddaughter, Louise Ireland Humphrey, and great-grandson, George M. Humphrey, II, served on the university’s Board of Trustees.

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July 01, 2011

Namesakes - Flora Stone Mather House

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Flora Stone Mather House and Flora Stone Mather

Flora Stone Mather might be CWRU’s most frequent building namesake. We haven’t accounted for every formally named building in the university’s history, but we know four buildings were named for Mrs. Mather:

Flora Mather House (Mather College dormitory)
Flora Stone Mather Memorial Building (Mather College administration and classroom building)
Stone Dining Hall (part of the Mather housing complex built in the 1960s) and
Flora Stone Mather House (nursing residence)

Mrs. Mather was a generous donor to Western Reserve University and other Cleveland institutions. She was also one of a small group of women, the Advisory Council, who contributed their time, energy, and influence to ensure a successful start for WRU’s College for Women. In 1931, the College was named in her honor.

Flora Stone Mather House was one of four buildings constructed as residences for nurses as part of the then-new University Circle campus of the WRU School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland. Architect of the nearly $1.8 million complex was Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott. Opened in 1930, Robb House, Harvey House, Lowman House, and Mather House formed a quadrangle, building 2 on this aerial image, on the south side of Euclid Avenue between Adelbert Road and Abington Road (now University Hospitals Drive).

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Flora Stone Mather House living room (left) and commons room (right), early 1903s

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June 17, 2011

Namesakes - Isabel Hampton Robb and Robb House

Isabel Adams Hampton Robb (1859-1910), was one of the pioneers of modern nursing education. Among other ideas, she championed the adoption of the three-year training program with reduced duty shifts (eight hours each day instead of twelve) to leave time and energy for more thorough classroom study. Isabel Hampton was a graduate of the Bellevue Hospital Training School for Nurses. She headed the Illinois Training School for Nurses and the Johns Hopkins Hospital Nursing School. She wrote three books, Nursing: Its Principles and Practice, Nursing Ethics, and Educational Standards for Nurses. She was involved in founding the organizations that would later become the National League for Nursing and the American Nurses’ Association. She was also one of the founders of the American Journal of Nursing.

She came to Cleveland after her marriage to Dr. Hunter Robb in 1894. In 1895 Mrs. Robb gave the first course of lectures to nurses at Lakeside Hospital. She served on the Lakeside Training School Committee which supervised the curriculum of the hospital-based nurse training program.

In her remarks at the 1898 dedication of Lakeside Hospital, Mrs. Robb spoke of the new Training School, “...the women who enter as pupils will be those who come seeking knowledge and who have high ideals... To the building up of a fabric of personal education and personal character, to the preparation for boundless opportunities for good work in the world, to happy, useful lives, and to the welfare of future generations are the women dedicated who become part of this new Hospital and Training School...” [quoted in Margene O. Faddis. A School of Nursing Comes of Age, 1973, p.27]

It was entirely fitting, then, that one of the four new nursing dormitories opened in 1930 was named Isabel Hampton Robb House. From Lakeside’s move to University Circle in 1924, the nurses had lived in several houses on or near Adelbert Road. The other new dormitories were Lowman House, Harvey House, and Flora Stone Mather House. With their commons areas, dining rooms, kitchens, and individual bedrooms, the new nursing dorms were a considerable improvement from previous residential life.

Robb House, however, was not long used by the nurses. Shortly after it opened, the building was turned over to the hospital’s male interns.

Isabel Hampton Robb’s papers are held by the J. Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives at The Johns Hopkins University

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June 08, 2011

Namesakes - Isabel Wetmore Lowman and Lowman House

Isabel Wetmore Lowman House was built as part of the Medical Center Group. It was one of 4 dormitories built for nurses at the new campus for the School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland. The other dormitories were Robb House, Harvey House, and Flora Stone Mather House. Construction for the dormitory began in 1929. The dedication was held 6/17/1931.

Mrs. Lowman was involved in the Lakeside Hospital School of Nursing, which was a precursor to the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. She was a member of the Advisory Committee studying affiliation of the College for Women (later Flora Stone Mather College) with various nursing training schools in Cleveland. She was married to Dr. John Lowman who was a physician at University Hospitals. He was one of the first lecturers in the new training school for nurses.

In addition to her extensive committee service for the School of Nursing, Mrs. Lowman was a founding member of the Visiting Nurses Association. She was involved in the development of the Infants’ Clinic, which developed into Babies’ Dispensary and Hospital (later, Rainbow Babies’ and Childrens Hospital). She was a board member of the Cleveland Nursing Center and the Anti-Tuberculosis League among others. She was also a worker with St. Barnabus Guild for Nurses, heading the scholarship committee which brought nurses to Cleveland for training. Mrs. Lowman died in 1954 at the age of 85.

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June 02, 2011

Namesakes - Florence Harkness Chapel and Florence Harkness Severance

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Florence Harkness Severance and Harkness Chapel

“Her works praise her in the gates.” So reads the inscription (Proverbs 31:31) on the north side of Harkness Chapel. Based on contemporaneous accounts of her life, the quote is a fitting tribute to Florence Harkness Severance. Her philanthropy benefited the Lend-a-Hand Mission and other charities.

Florence Harkness was the daughter of Anna Richardson Harkness and Stephen V. Harkness. Her father was a prominent Clevelander and an early investor in Standard Oil Co. Her mother was a notable philathropist. In 1894 she married Louis H. Severance, treasurer of Standard Oil and a Western Reserve University trustee. Florence Harkness Severance died less than a year after her marriage, at age 31.

The chapel named in her honor was a gift from her mother, husband, and brother, Charles W. Harkness. It was constructed 1899-1901, with transepts added in 1917. The chapel was only the third building constructed for Western Reserve University’s recently established College for Women. Besides serving as a chapel, the building contained classrooms and study rooms. It was used for assemblies, lectures, concerts, classes, and weddings. Designed by Charles H. Schweinfurth, Harkness Chapel was named a Cleveland Landmark in 1973.

Additional images of Harkness Chapel are available in Digital Case.

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May 26, 2011

Namesakes - Guilford House and Linda T. Guilford

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Guilford House, 1892 and Linda T. Guilford

Guilford House was originally known as Guilford Cottage. It was dedicated October 24, 1892, the same day as Clark Hall. These were the first 2 buildings constructed for the fledgling College for Women.

Flora Stone Mather donated $25,000 for this dormitory. She requested it be named in honor of her former teacher, Linda T. Guilford, a well-respected educator.

Miss Guilford (1823-1911) was educated at Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary, graduating in 1847. She came to Cleveland the following year. She was principal and vice principal of several private schools, including the Cleveland Academy, 1866-1890. After her retirement from active teaching, she was involved in temperance groups, a settlement house, and Mt. Holyoke alumnae activities. She was the author of a book, Margaret's Plighted Troth (a temperance story), and many short stories. She was also a member of the Advisory Council for the College for Women.

Guilford House closed as a dormitory in the 1970s. For a number of years it was unused. In 1979 a plan was developed to establish a fund for the restoration of the Mather Quad buildings. The Mather Quad Restoration Campaign was conducted from 1980 to 1985, with a goal of raising $1.6 million to renovate the 7 Mather Quad buildings (Guilford House, Clark Hall, Harkness Chapel, Haydn Hall, Mather Gym, Mather House, Mather Memorial). The alumnae of Flora Stone Mather College were the major supporters of the campaign along with other gifts from foundations.

An architectural study was conducted in 1981 to determine a detailed plan for the use of Guilford. In January 1984 the Board of Trustees Executive Committee approved the restoration of Guilford House. Alumnae Day, May 4, 1985, saw the re-dedication of the beautifully restored building. The English, Modern Language, Philosophy, Religion, and Political Science departments were the new occupants.

Additional images of Guilford House are available in Digital Case.

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May 18, 2011

Students Salute Keith Glennan Day

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.

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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April 20, 2011

Namesakes-William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building

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William E. Wickenden and the Wickenden Building

As President of Case School of Applied Science from 1929 till 1947, William E. Wickenden led Case through the Great Depression, World War II, and the first years of the G.I. Bill enrollment surge. Case’s enrollment at the beginning of Wickenden’s presidency was 689; it had tripled by the end.

While many honors were bestowed on him during his lifetime, Wickenden did not live to see the construction of the building named for him. His unexpected death came mere hours after his retirement was official.

The William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building was constructed in 1953/54, at a cost of $1.65 million. It was part of the post-World War II building boom that saw Case Institute of Technology construct several classroom-office-laboratary buildings, its first dormitories, its first on-campus athletic center, a library-humanities building, and a student center. The difference between Case’s campus in 1950 and 1960 are striking.

The Wickenden Building boasted a closed-circuit television system, with camera and receiver outlets in all labs, classrooms, and conference rooms. Special-purpose labs were designed for illumination, transmission, high voltage, small motors, measurements, servomechanisms, and machinery, as well as industrial electronics, computers, communications, microwaves, acoustics, networks, and vacuum tubes.

In his dedication remarks, Case President T. Keith Glennan said of William Wickenden, “...he exemplified the high ideal that the profession of engineering was not merely a means of livelihood but was a means for employing knowledge and skill to contribute to human welfare... In recognition of a great leader and with renewed confidence in the ability of future generations to apply technology for the good of mankind” the new electrical engineering building was named the William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building on April 18, 1955. [1]

[1 1K 10:20 T. Keith Glennan, “Dedication of Electrical Engineering Building,” 4/18/1955]

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April 14, 2011

Namesakes - Thwing: the man and the building

“The rocks crumble; bricks dissolve; some day another building will stand here in place of this one. But it is pleasant to have one’s little day, to know that this building will bear the name of my family.”[1]

So spoke Charles Franklin Thwing at the dedication of Thwing Hall on 11/9/1934. Dr. Thwing was the 6th president of Western Reserve University, serving from 1890-1921, the longest term of any CIT, WRU, or CWRU president.

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Charles Thwing, ca. 1930s and Thwing Hall, 1934-1957

Though he retired as president in 1921 he continued to live “on campus” at 11109 Bellflower Road until his death in 1937. He also continued to be involved in campus activities such as athletic events, teas, lectures, and reunions.

Thwing had stated that if a building was ever named for him, he wanted it to be a library. In 1929 WRU purchased the Excelsior Club for $650,000. In 1934 it was converted to a library and dedicated on President Thwing’s 81st birthday. It was the first WRU university-wide library building.

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Thwing Hall library periodical room and reference room, ca. 1935

In his speech at the Thwing Hall dedication, WRU President Winfred Leutner said, “When the question of the naming of this building came up for discussion there was only one possible solution. With a unanimity which speaks the affection in which we hold him, the trustees of both the university and the Case Library, and later the faculty of the university, approved the decision to name it for our loved Dr. Thwing.” [1]

Thwing Hall served as the university’s library until Freiberger Library was built in 1956. At that time the building was converted into a student union and an Open House was held to show off the new space on 2/10/1957.

In 1972 Thwing Hall was named the Charles F. Thwing Student Center, incorporating Thwing Hall and Hitchcock Hall. After remodeling, the addition of an atrium connecting it to Hitchcock Hall, and the addition of a bookstore, the Center was re-dedicated in 1980.

According to CWRU historian C. H. Cramer, Thwing was known as the “last of the great personal presidents....because of an impressive physique, an intense interest in students and their problems, a phenomenal memory, an optimism that was euphoric, and a dramatic quality that sometimes bordered on the euphuistic and the ‘hammy.’” [2] Thwing was committed to making the university a warmer place for students. He knew the names of the students and their families; he was a friend and advisor; and was affectionately known as Prexy long after his retirement. It is fitting that after a library, a student center was housed in Thwing Hall.

[1] “Dr. Thwing sees hall dedicated” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/12/1934
[2] C. H. Cramer, Case Western Reserve. A History of the University, 1826-1976 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1976)

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April 05, 2011

Namesakes - Hatch Library and Henry R. Hatch

J. Colin Forbes painting of Henry Reynolds Hatch

At his death in 1915, the Western Reserve University Trustees honored Henry R. Hatch with a memorial resolution which read, in part, “Through a long and successful and highly honorable business career he showed an ever developing interest in whatever tended to the betterment of life, both intellectual and spiritual, and so it was that he brought to the service of this Board not only great business acumen but high ideals and a most generous self-giving.” [1]

Henry Hatch served on the Adelbert College Board of Trustees, 1895-1915, and on the Western Reserve University Board of Trustees, 1897-1915. Above and beyond 20 years of service as a Trustee, Hatch was the donor of the first WRU building constructed as a library.

Hatch Library, 1895-1898

Hatch Library was constructed in 1895 on the southwest corner of Adelbert Road and Euclid Avenue. Until its construction, the Adelbert College library was housed in a single room in Adelbert Hall. A description of the room’s amenities in the 1901 WRU Annual Report made particular mention of the two tables for the use of students, another table to display current periodicals, and a fourth table for the use of the librarian. Clearly, the two-story Hatch Library was an improvement. In 1898, Mr. Hatch donated additional funds to add two one-story wings, further expanding collection and study space. In 1901 the students dedicated the yearbook to Henry Hatch, “a true and tried friend.” By 1901, the collection had reached 43,000 volumes. [2]

In 1943 the collection was integrated with that of the University Library in Thwing Hall. Hatch became the home of the Geology and Astronomy departments and, for several years, the Reserve Tribune, the WRU student newspaper. Hatch Library was razed in 1956 to make room for construction of the Newton D. Baker Memorial Building. The auditorium in Baker and, later, the Special Collections reading room in Kelvin Smith Library were named for Henry Hatch.

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Hatch Library reference room (left) and second floor (right)

Henry Reynolds Hatch was born in 1831 in Grand Isle, Vermont. He came to Cleveland in 1853. He found work at the dry goods firm, E.I. Baldwin & Co., which eventually became H. R. Hatch and Co. Hatch’s other interests included serving as director of Cleveland National Bank and First National Bank. He was a trustee of Lake View Cemetery Association, Elder of the Euclid Avenue Presbyterian Church, and a trustee of the Young Women’s Christian Association.

[1 2KD 1:2 Western Reserve University Trustee minute, 6/13/1916]
[2 1DA 2:2 Western Reserve University. Reports of the President and Faculties, 1900-1901]

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March 31, 2011

Grazella Puliver Shepherd


“Those who knew Grazella Shepherd will not forget her. That is the safest of prophecies. Her creativity, dynamism, and faith in life’s possibilities brought opportunities for intellectual growth to thousands, many of whom never met her or shared the joy of dialogue with her.” [1]

Grazella Shepherd was the director of the Division of General Education at Cleveland College of Western Reserve University. Cleveland College was the unit of the university dedicated to educating part-time, working adults. It offered degree programs, non-degree programs, and a vast array of courses to stimulate the minds of adults. It was located in downtown Cleveland (where most people worked at that time).

Mrs. Shepherd was born 12/25/1892 in Lawrence, Kansas and grew up in Abilene. She received her B.S. from Kansas State Normal School. She moved to Cleveland as an educational representative of the Victor Talking Machine Company, selling their music appreciation records to school systems. She married Arthur Shepherd in 1922. He was assistant conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra and later, Professor of Music at Western Reserve University.

Cleveland College hired Mrs. Shepherd as Radio Education Secretary in 1930 and she was appointed Director of the Division of General Education in 1943. (This was the non-credit arm of Cleveland College.) By her retirement in 1960 almost 40,000 people had registered for non-credit courses. Through her work in the Division of General Education Mrs. Shepherd worked closely with the Women’s Association of Cleveland College on various projects such as the Lecture Series (later, the Fall Lecture and now the Grazella Shepherd Lecture Day) and the annual Book Sale. In 1954 Mrs. Shepherd worked with the Women’s Association to start Living Room Learning.

Grazella Shepherd had envisioned “a new kind of educational program. Her basic idea was to move adult education from the confines of classroom and campus, extend its curriculum far beyond traditional, sequential offerings, and take this education out to the many adults whose formal education had been completed, but who harbored a desire for further learning in the company of others.” [2] She tested her idea in 1947 with 8-week sessions in various homes. Together, Mrs. Shepherd and the Women’s Association secured a $20,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation for a 3-year study of the possibility of launching such a program. The program began in February 1954 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1979 shortly after Mrs. Shepherd’s death.

At her retirement in 1960 university trustees elected Grazella Shepherd Director Emeritus of the Division of General Education.

Grazella Shepherd at her retirement reception May 20, 1960.

Grazella Shepherd was involved for many years with the Musical Arts Association (parent organization of the Cleveland Orchestra) as trustee and executive committee member and president of the Women’s Committee. She established the record lending library and developed the Music Memory Contests. Her memorial service was held in the Severance Hall Chamber Music Hall on 4/7/1979.

[1] Margaret W. Gokay, Twenty-Five Years of Living Room Learning (Women’s Association for Continuing Education, CWRU), 1979, p. 3.
[2] Ibid., p. 5.

Other stories about CWRU women
Other Women’s History Month recollections include Carolyn Neff, Bess Barr LeBedoff, Mary Frances Pinches, and Helen Stankard

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March 23, 2011

Helen Stankard

"First Woman Named to a Case Deanship"

In announcing Helen Stankard’s appointment as Assistant Dean, Case Institute of Technology (CIT) Dean Donald E. Schuele commented, “the title has properly been Miss Stankard’s for a long time as she has been performing all of the duties of a dean.” [1]

Helen Stankard was hired by Case Institute of Technology in 1959 as special assistant to the president, serving both Kent Smith and T. Keith Glennan. It was also the first year that Case admitted women to the regular (i.e., peacetime degree-granting) undergraduate program. In 1967, when CIT joined Western Reserve University to create Case Western Reserve University, Miss Stankard became assistant to the CIT Dean. In 1973 Helen Stankard became the first woman assistant dean of CIT. In 1977, she became CWRU Registrar, a position she held until her retirement in 1986.

Helen Stankard, 1985

Born in Cleveland in 1921, Helen Stankard earned a B.S. in business education from the University of Akron in 1946. In 1947 she earned a certificate from Radcliffe College’s Management Training Program. Years later she commented that her management training was for businesses employing high concentrations of women, such as hospitals and department stores, but not in the “man’s domain of industry.” [2]

Before her arrival at CIT, Miss Stankard held personnel jobs at several department stores and served as Assistant Personnel Director at the University of Pittsburgh. She served as a Newman Foundation trustee and CWRU Hallinan Center executive committee member. Helen Stankard died in 1991.

[1] 7PI “First Woman Named to a Case Deanship,” press release, 9/21/1973
[2] 7PI “Registrar to Retire in March...” Campus News, (12/4/1985)

Other stories about CWRU women
Other Women's History Month recollections include Carolyn Neff, Bess Barr LeBedoff and Mary Frances Pinches

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March 17, 2011

Mary Frances Pinches

In 1964 Mary Frances Pinches was the first woman to win the Case Achievement Award which recognized exceptional service by a member of the Case Institute of Technology (CIT) faculty or staff. This award, which included a $1,000 honorarium and illuminated scroll, was given to a person who “shall have made a distinct contribution to the well-being of Case -- beyond the scope of normal duties; service shall have been prompted by genuinely unselfish motives -- and the recipient shall have demonstrated a warmth of personality felt by the entire Case community.”

Mary Frances Pinches, ca. 1929

Miss Pinches was born 2/28/1904 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. She received the A.B. degree from Flora Stone Mather College in 1927; the B.S. in Library Science in 1930 and the M.S. in Library Science in 1958 from the Western Reserve University School of Library Science.

She worked at Cleveland Public Library (1927-1943) and Ferro Enamel Corporation (1943-1947) before her career at CIT began. On 7/1/1947 she was appointed Supervising Librarian and Assistant Professor. Miss Pinches was responsible for much of the planning for Sears Library, the first all-campus library for CIT. She became Librarian and Associate Professor in 1960 and retired in 1970, when she was named Associate Professor Emeritus and Librarian.

She was involved in professional groups such as the American Library Association, Special Libraries Association, Ohio Library Association, serving on and chairing various committees.

Miss Pinches died in 1987.

Other stories about CWRU women
Other Women's History Month recollections include Carolyn Neff and Bess Barr LeBedoff and Helen Stankard

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March 11, 2011

Bess Barr LeBedoff

“I was a woman in an industry perhaps more traditionally masculine than any industry in the country.” [1]

Thus did Bess Barr LeBedoff describe the numerous personnel positions she held in manufacturing and shipbuilding during World War II. As for many women, when the war ended, so did her employment. After her husband died in 1949, she returned to the workforce, serving as Director of Western Reserve University’s Personnel and Placement Service from 1951-1958.

During her tenure as director the Personnel and Placement Service helped match students and alumni with job opportunities. The department also operated as the university’s employment office, recruiting, screening, and training employees for secretarial, technical, clerical, and minor administrative positions.

On behalf of students and alumni, Mrs. LeBedoff was tireless in her outreach to potential employers. She also adopted a no-nonsense approach to career counseling, including “a frank discussion of what the well-dressed candidate does not wear…” [2]

Among her many civic activities were Cleveland League of Women Voters trustee, Cleveland Metropolitan YWCA director, Lakewood Hospital Board, Women’s City Club, College Club, and others.

Mrs. LeBedoff retired from Western Reserve University in 1963 and died in 1977.

[1] 7PI “Bess Barr LeBedoff” obituary, Cleveland Plain Dealer, (3/25/1977): 48
[2] 4ND 1:1 Memorandum, Bess Barr LeBedoff to Webster G. Simon, 1950

Other stories about CWRU women
Other Women's History Month recollections include Mary Frances Pinches, Carolyn Neff and Helen Stankard

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March 04, 2011

Carolyn Neff, Secretary of the University

Carolyn Neff, 1958

Trusted right hand of University presidents, trustees, and faculty; coordinator of self-studies and accreditation visits; organizer of anniversary celebrations, countless building dedications, conferences, and commencements (when there were three ceremonies each year!), Carolyn Neff was the first woman to serve as an officer of the corporation as Secretary of the University.

Miss Neff “had a great organizing ability....She was, in my mind, the epitome of the staff person, which is a high and honorable calling. She knew how to get things done...her instinct for strategy was formidable.” [1]

She was born Mary Carolyn Neff 7/23/1914 in Memphis, Tennessee. A graduate of Bay Village High School, she entered Cleveland College in 1936 while working as an office manager at Bonne Bell, Inc. After her 1945 graduation from Cleveland College, Miss Neff held several administrative positions at Cleveland College and in the University Development office. In 1955 she became administrative assistant to the president and Secretary of the University in 1959.

In 1967 the newly created Case Western Reserve University faced the challenge of reconciling different policies, systems, and cultures of Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University. Miss Neff shepherded and supported the Constitutional Assembly, which devised the new faculty governance structure.

In recognition of decades of service, the 1978 University Ball was given in her honor. She was named Secretary Emeritus of the University in 1979. Her memorial service was held at Amasa Stone Chapel June 20, 1985.

President Louis Toepfer escorts Carolyn Neff to the University Ball, 11/18/1978

Other stories about CWRU women
Other Women's History Month recollections include Bess Barr LeBedoff, Mary Frances Pinches and Helen Stankard

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February 17, 2011

John Sykes Fayette

CWRU’s earliest documented African-American student was John Sykes Fayette. Having prepped at Western Reserve Academy, Fayette entered Western Reserve College in 1832 when the college was a mere 6 years old. He graduated in 1836 with the A.B. degree and was a theological student for the 1836/37 academic year.

Born in 1810, Fayette arrived in Hudson with a letter of introduction from his pastor, James H. Cox, of the Leight Street Presbyterian Church in New York.
“To the Rev. President Storrs, of Hudson College, Ohio; & others, to whom this document may come:

“The bearer, Mr. John Fayette, being about to remove for a time to your neighborhood & collegiate care, I recommend him to your esteem & Christian confidence, as a regular & worthy member of the church of my pastoral care; a young man (of colour) whose principles appear fixed & sound; a candidate for the Christian ministry, of good & hopeful promise; & a scholar of respectable attainments and behaviour.

“He has the best wishes of Christians who know him, for his prosperity in all things. May the guidance & grace of God be with him in the way of his pilgrimage to the end, & make him useful in his own blessed cause!”[1]

All students entering Western Reserve College in 1832 pursued the same curriculum: Greek, Latin, Mathematics, History, Philosophy, Chemistry, Astronomy, Natural Philosophy. Fayette would have attended devotional exercises twice a day in the college chapel and public worship on the Sabbath with the Faculty (unless permission was granted by parents or guardians to attend elsewhere). Systematic exercise was “deemed indispensable to health and improvement of the students.” To further this goal, mechanical labor (manual labor) was provided for. Fayette paid a tuition of $20 per year, room rent of $4.00-$6.00 per year, and $.50-$1.00 a week for board.[2]

In the Abolitionism/Colonization controversy on campus in 1833, Fayette joined 24 fellow students in signing a petition defending their professor (Beriah Green) who supported the abolitionist cause. In 1835 he voted for an anti-slavery resolution in the Western Reserve College Church.

Fayette became a minister and served for many years in various churches in Canada. He died in London, Ontario, Canada in 1876.

John Sykes Fayette in later years.

[1] Letter of James H. Cox to Charles Storrs, 4/23/1832
[2] Catalogue of the Officers and Students, of Western Reserve College, 12/1832

Other African American History Month recollections include CWRU's Afro-American Studies Program and African-American Society

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