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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Horseman on Hartwell Lawn!

This image was run across recently by the archivist while looking for images. It is part of a large collection of campus photographer images from the 1950s and early 1960s. It was included in a homecoming section, and would appear to be a campus school student waiting on horseback to ride in the homecoming parade. The date is labeled as 1957, but identity of the young horseman is unknown.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Most aren't aware of this nowadays, but for many years the college owned a camp. In the 1950s and early '60s that was Camp Totem, up in the Adirondacks. In 1962 it was decided to sell Totem and to purchase a property closer to home and so the college bought the Fancher campus. This was a largely undeveloped, 500 acre property just 15 minutes west in Orleans County. There were woods, fields, and a small body of water, McCargo Lake. One of the first things the college did was to build a lodge there that could be used for various purposes; meetings, retreats, conferences, and other purposes. In the photo here we see the handsome stone fireplace, and on the left is Gordon Allen, and on the right is Harold Rakov; the administration and student services buildings on campus today are named for them.

Fancher was used for the long running Brockport Summer Arts Festival, for water studies on the lake, for recreation, and many other purposes. Dr. Hellman of the Biology Department spent  years developing an arboretum at Fancher for example. This photo shows him on site, inspecting a seedling. The camp was very popular for some time, but as the 1970s went on there seemed to be somewhat less use, and the costs of maintaining the property became increasingly difficult to justify as state aid to colleges began to be reduced. In the mid 1980s the college sold it and today it is Hickory Ridge, a public golf course and RV park.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tony Mascioli '54 & Gay History

Tony Mascioli, shown here on the left in the second row of this Vistas photo from the 1954 year book (the title of the English Club publication then) was a Brockport alum and a pioneering gay businessman. The Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley has a feature on him in their Shoulders to Stand On gay history site.

A Brockport student did quite a bit of research for the Gay Alliance this spring using materials from the college archives to document Tony's time here at Brockport. Tony was not only supportive of gay rights, but he was a supporter of the College at Brockport and had many positive memories of his time here in the early 1950s.