Friday, September 5, 2014

The Vertical Librarian

Once upon a time, before the WWW transformed the Internet, libraries typically maintianed a "vertical file." This was a usually a set of file cabinets, with folders organized by subject, containing all sorts of materials; maps, flyers, government brochures etc. In a way it was the same sort of free ranging information source as the Internet, only physical, not virtual.

This blogger once took care of our vertical file as part of his duties. Part of the job involved going through a monthly publication called the Vertical File Index and writing off for various free materials. On one occasion we received in reply an envelope addressed to the "Vertical Librarian." Would be in contrast to a reclining librarian? ;-)

Pictured here is librarian Carol Timby at the vertical file in the old Drake Library, now Rakov. The older library had been in Hartwell Hall on the second floor, and then a new building just for the library was built in 1961. With the expansion of the college in the '60s we quickly outgrew that and the current Drake building was finished in 1974.

Monday, August 18, 2014

She was Brockport Music

Pauline Haynes was Brockport music for many years, in part because she was the only music faculty member in 1925 when she started here, and for a number of years after. By the time she retired in 1966 Brockport had gone from being a small Normal school with a single music teacher to a much larger comprehensive liberal arts college, complete with a music faculty of eight members who she had recruited and mentored.

She was from Plattsburg, and attended the campus school at Plattsburg Normal as a child. After college at Skidmore she studied at the Thomas Whitney Surette school in Concord Massachusetts, then taught in the Princeton, New Jersey public schools for two years, and from there came to Brockport.

A popular faculty member, her encouraging and sensitive manner made her sought after by students and faculty alike. She directed the music for special events and campus productions for many years, including the Christmas Vespers programs which were extremely popular among both the campus and village communities. An excellent pianist, she was also long remembered for her fashionable and elegant sense of style. A room in Alumni House is dedicated to her memory.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


"On the walls of the old Normal School
The Wisteria hangs in clusters of
fragrant blooms,
White and wan in the silver moonlight,
Deepings to shades of lavender
When the morning sun strikes through the trees,
Climbing on and on until it flings its
joyous arms
About the highest stone of all that
lofty hall,
And runs down in rippling cascades
of delight,
Calling to the passer-by to behold and

Anonymous, Stylus, 1930.

(The poem refers to the old Normal school building, an set of stone buildings that stood about where Hartwell Hall is today. The image here is one that appears in several years of the early 1930s yearbooks.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Our Orchestra

Nowadays we have our fine Brockport Symphony Orchestra, but many years ago there was another orchestra here, that of the Brockport Normal School. In the June commencement issue of the Stylus in 1925 there was the accompanying photo and text as follows:

"Has B.N.S. an orchestra? You just bet it has and it's a real one, too. Not a musical club, but a real, live, wide-awake orchestra of twenty members as follows: violins, Louise Kuppinger, Field Akeley, Philip D'Agostino, Marion Boyle, Francis Vanda, Marguerite Beadle, Marcus Carls; mandolins, Iona Axtell, Gertrude Simmonds, Winifred Smith, Eugene Stull, Almeda Rudman; cornets, Harold Davis, Elsie Northway; saxophones, Stanley Smith, George Smith, Faylista Holland; cello, Helene Gillette; drum, Elmer O'Dell, and piano, Ethel Jones.

   The orchestra began its work by playing in assembly every Friday morning. This had its advantages. That is it treated the assembly to some very good (or should I say rare) music and it  managed to cut short the third period by about five or ten minutes. Music was also given by request at the time of the visit of a committee from the New York State Educational Association.

   The orchestra has added much to the enjoyment of many occasions during this school year. At the Christmas Entertainment and Training School Play marches were played while the children came in and took their places. The orchestra played between acts of the Senior Play, thus preventing any dull moments. The greatest success however was on Color day. 'Did you miss that?' 'What a shame!' 'Did they do well?' Nothing else but!'

   The orchestra has had a most successful year and the members are sorry it is nearly at a close. However, they will play once more..., namely for graduation. At this time they are planning to win even a better reputation for themselves.

-- Iona Axtell"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Class of '64 in the archives

The Class of 1964 had a successful 50th reunion recently, with the class being inducted into the Hartwell Society, many memories shared and just generally a good time. They aren't done though, members of the class were in the archives today searching out images to use in the memory book they are preparing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Back to 1842

Just a random post here, to share an image of the school from a very long time ago. This illustration is of the school as it looked in 1842, from a catalog of that year. This Medina stone building stood approximately where the Normal school would be, and then later Hartwell Hall. In 1842 the school was just a few years old. It had started in 1835 as a private academy, but that early start faltered and then failed in the financial crises of the late 1830s. In 1841 a group of concerned citizens in Brockport organized and restarted the school, calling it the Brockport Collegiate Institute.