Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Was it Camp New Moon?

Just yesterday the archivist did a presentation on Camp Totem, the camp the college bought in 1952 up in the Adirondacks, and it was great to show slides of the camp and hear stories about it. Of particular interest to the archivist was that after mentioning that before Totem the records do mention that the college rented a camp a few summers in Canada, Dorset Ontario to be specific, that was all that was stated, and that the archivist wished he knew more about it.

Then a woman in the audience volunteered that when her sister in law, Peg Hare Brown, went to the camp in Canada ca1950, she went up to visit her there, and believed that the camp was called "Camp New Moon." Googling that name turned up a website for a camp of that name, in Dorset Ontario, that says it has been there for many years. The archivist has contacted them, hoping to find out more certainly if this is the camp that the college used to rent, but if any readers of this blog know anything more about it please comment here, or email Charlie Cowling at

Pictured here are campers at Totem in the 1950s. Totem was located eight miles east of Harrisville NY.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Moving Houses

When the college was expanding out from the original six acre campus, the lot where Hartwell Hall is, they acquired many local properties in the process. Many of the properties had houses on them, and while some were demolished, some were moved; several at least were moved west out on Holley Street. Shown here is one of the houses being moved in the 1950s it looks like.A search of the archival records might give the house location. but it was not identified in the original photograph shown here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fannie Barrier's Childhood Home

Fannie Barrier Williams was probably the first African-American graduate of our school, graduating as she did in 1870. She went to an active and distinguished career as an activist, speaker and writer for civil and gender rights. She grew up here in Brockport, where her father Anthony had a barbershop and a coal business. Her mother Harriet was a homemaker, and Fannie had a sister, Ella, and a brother, George. The home they lived in still stands today at 57 Erie Street, as shown in a recent photo here. Much later in life Fannie and Ella returned to Brockport in their old age and lived in a different house at the end of Erie Street. Fannie, Ella, and their parents are buried in the High Street cemetery. (The graves are over in the south west corner section of the cemetery.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Archives Collections

The college archives is housed on the ground floor of Drake Library, and is accessible to interested researchers. The hours are generally M-F, 9-5, but as the archivist is also a librarian and has other duties, it is best to email or phone (585-395-5667) first to make an appointment.

We have many sorts of materials in the archives, a section of which is shown in the photo. The holdings run from handwritten 19th century correspondance books to catalogs, newsletters, photographs, yearbooks and much more. The archives finding aid is available online and gives a more detailed idea of what we have. It is a guide only, so do ask us if you are interested in something but do not see it specifically listed in the guide.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Missionary gifts

In the Normal school era, especially around the turn of the last century, there were some Brockport graduates who went overseas as missionaries. Some went to Japan, some to Burma, or India, many parts of the world. The model of a temple shown here is a gift from one of them. Although the identity of the donor is unknown at present, we do know that is was such a gift, and that it was in the small museum that formerly was maintained in the old Normal school building.

In the late 1930s that building was torn down and a new building was erected, what was latter named Hartwell Hall. Not everything made the move from the old building to the new, there seems to have been a sense that it was a new era, and the museum was apparently not seen as something they wanted to continue. The details of the disposition of the museum items aren't clear, but there are a number of items in the Emily Knapp Museum in the village that came from the Normal museum, and it seems that some items were taken by faculty to their offices or homes. This temple was one such item, it was in the office of a long time faculty member who, when retiring in the early 1960s, passed it on to John Killigrew, History, who in his turn placed it in the college archives in the early 1990s.

   What a long history and set of travels this model has come on, from being made in Burma or India, bought by a Brockport grad there on missionary work, shipped back to the old Normal school, housed in the museum, moved from there to an office to another office, to come to the archives, another sort of museum!

Friday, February 28, 2014

In the archives: scanning

A lot of work goes on in the archives, and a big part of that activity involves scanning old photographs, slides, books and other materials. The images are used to answer questions individuals have asked, to document the history of a club or a professor, for all sorts of purposes. In addition to two high end flat bed scanners of the sort most people are familiar with, the archives also has a large "book scanner," seen in the foreground of this photo. This scanner has an articulated platform on which one can safely lay out a large book, in this case a bound volume of the Stylus from the early 1960s. The scanning is done by a camera in the overhead mount.We're not sure why SpongeBob SquarePants is sitting on our scanner however ;-)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The "AV" gang in the 1950s

There is a long tradition of innovation at Brockport in the realm of instructional technologies. Dr. Sherwin Swartout was a leader in this field, joining the faculty at Brockport in 1950. The audio-visual department he headed supported both still photography, slide show and other standard AV offerings, and was also a pioneer in the use of closed circuit TV in the classroom. Much of this work was done in conjunction with the teachers in the Campus School, like Peg Browne. Shown here are a group of students in the '50s, members of the audio-visual club perhaps.