Tuesday, December 13, 2011

George Rich '54

Your blogger is sorry to report the passing of George Rich '54. George was a native of Brockport, and grew up on the campus so to speak, going to both the Campus School and the college. He worked as an elementary school teacher in Rochester schools, and while still working and in his retirement was extraordinarily active in Brockport alumni affairs. He was president of the Alumni Board for six years, 1998-2004, and continued to be active in Alumni House affairs afterwards. In addition to serving in executive roles, George and his wife Rosie were active Brockport sports boosters, always taking part in the annual picnic to welcome back the football team. He was active just this past summer in the very successful Campus School reunion too.

 The family suggest that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the George Rich Student Philanthropy Award, SUNY College at Brockport, 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, N.Y. 14420.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Boozer & Rogers, Football 1947

Here is a great shot from our archives of football coaches Marty Rogers and Bob Boozer, along with student coach Jerry Guardino (in order, l-r.) Marty Rogers came to Brockport in 1945 as a physical education professor and also oversaw the camp Brockport had, Camp Otter, which offered experience as a camp counselor for the budding recreation and leisure focus in PE, which later of course became a department of its own. Bob Boozer taught PE and was a popular and effective coach at Brockport from 1947 to his retirement in 1979.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Vespers

From at least 194o through 1962 a Christmas Vespers program was put on at the college. There would be a processional hymn, readings such as Luke 1: 26-38, carols, more readings and song from the men's and women's glee clubs and much more. The programs were popular and well attended by both the college and local community. Miss Pauline Haynes, well known music teacher here, directed many of these programs. The photo here shows part of the procession into the Hartwell Hall auditorium.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The first dedicated dining hall at Brockport

In 1928 a space in the college building (it was just the one building then, standing where Hartwell is today,) was dedicated for use as a cafeteria.  The December 5, 1928 article in the Stylus on the cafeteria noted that this was the first cafeteria in the history of the school!

While in earlier years some students, as well as faculty, had roomed in the building where there were kitchen facilities there was never a cafeteria or dining hall as such. After a terrible dorm fire at Fredonia at the turn of the century students no longer lived on campus, and either boarded in town, or commuted from home. So to have a space right in the building where you could get a hot meal on a cold day, or some coffee or tea, and not have to go out to your boarding house, or eat a cold lunch from home, was a real advancement in campus life!

The Stylus article gave credit to Principal (President) Alfred Thompson for encouraging the project and finding some $2,000 to support it, and to the labor of the Phi Alpha Zeta fraternity members who did a lot of the actual work in renovating the space. Mrs. Mabel Good, a local caterer and cook, was put in charge of the cafeteria, and the decorating was overseen by Miss Yale, a popular art teacher at the school.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Herman Burlingame, a faculty biography

Herman Burlingame was a professor of mathematics at the Normal School, and he did double duty by also serving as the librarian. Born in 1835, he was from Norwich, where he had attended the Norwich Academy and worked as a surveyor with his father. He later taught mathematics at that academy, and then in 1868 came to Brockport as teacher of mathematics. A keen mathematician, he offered one of the early algebraic proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem, and developed a set of special blocks for teaching calculation of cubic roots; a set of the blocks are on display in the Alumni House.

In his role as librarian for the Normal School he helped expand a small book collection into more of a real library, building one of the larger libraries among New York Normal Schools. This and the reading room he established were forerunners of today's Drake Library.

A popular teacher and colleague, he appears to be have had the unfortunate distinction of being the first serving faculty member to die (1891) while still on the staff. His death was widely mourned in both the campus and village communities, and a special memorial booklet was published by his colleages, who observed of Professor Burlingame that he was:

"...always genial and courteous, ready to lend a helping hand whenever needed, constant and faithful in his work. He commanded our respect by his ability as an instructor and his manly Christian character, and we never failed to find in him a steadfast and symapthizing friend, while his cheerful patience and fortitude during these last months have made him still more dear to us."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Spanish American War Nurse

A local historian, Delia Robinson, in her book Historical Amnesia: Forgotten Women of Nineteenth Century Orleans County tells the story of Sarah Eva Shaw, of Holley NY. A Brockport graduate, class of 1893, she went on to study nursing at the Bellevue Nursing School in New York City. When the Spanish American War began she joined the Red Cross nursing service and went to Cuba with the army. She returned home at one point to recover from malaria and "nerve exhaustion" and then returned to serve as a nurse in the Philippines. (Pictured here is a group of nurses on a ship off Cuba.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brockport honors its veterans

The college is planning to recognize the veterans among its number this November. Although the focus will naturally be on those who served in recent conflicts, students, staff, and alumni of Brockport have served since at least the Civil War. Brockport alumni and students served in the 140th NY Infantry for example, Co. A of which was recruited from the vicinity of the village of Brockport. The regiment played a pivotal role in the battle of Gettysburg, as pictured here. Theodore Whipple '59 was killed in that action.

The archives does has some information on those who served in earlier wars, but increasingly little with the Korean War and up to the present. If you know the names of any who served please let the college archivist know (ccowling@brockport.edu); he is trying to put together as comprehensive a list as possible of Brockport students, staff and alumni who served.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tea Anyone?

Is it just your archivist, or doesn't anyone have teas like this anymore? :-) From a 1946 recruitment brochure...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In the archives, or, discovering Rosetta May Pledger '02

Working in the college archives is a little like working in the attic of an old house, where generations of family have stored their pictures, books, documents and so on. Sometimes you run across something while looking for another item and find yourself sidetracked, wondering what it is that you've turned up. That happend to your archivist just today. Looking through some boxes of historical photographs, I found a bundle of individual photographs of students, dating from about 1887 to 1905. Some are identified, some not. One little photo slipped out from between some others, and on the back was noted in pencil Rose Pled... Class of 1902.

The last name was hard to make out, and getting curious I looked her up in a 1917 book which is a history of the school to that point and a register of alumni. There for 1902 was a Rosetta May Pledger, undoubtedly the same student as in the class photo shown here.  Not much more about her is in the record at a brief glance, except that in that 1917 book she was listed as a Mrs. F.C. Hill and living in Adams Basin. Presumably she taught school after graduation, as most of our graduates did then, and then married at some point.

She was a grad of the old Normal School in the days before WWI, long before the Teachers College of the 1940s or today's College at Brockport. But there were good teachers then, as now, and students had social activities to enjoy as well, just like today. The year Rose graduated actually was the first year for Color Day, a spring event that quickly became a popular event with both the college community and that of the village.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Library Cracks Down on Delinquents"

This headline just in from sometime around 1959 or 1960, courtesy of "The FACT," an underground (and undated) student newsletter that the archives has two issues of. Some rather amusing pieces, and some perhaps of the "you had to be there" variety :-) If any writers or creators of this humorous newsletter would care to step forward and claim the credit due them the archivist will gladly note them in the record, as they only used their initials in the original!

Please note that in today's more enlightened era, library overdue fines have been eliminated ;-)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Returning Home, 1961:" Guys and Dolls Continued...

Below is a great photo Andy Nazzaro, a member of the troup, shared with the archives of some of the students who performed on the 1961 European tour of this Brockport College theater production. The students who went on the trip were as follows, according to a news article of the day. Please advise the archivist, Charlie Cowling (ccowling@brockport.edu)  of any corrections or additions. Help identifying the people in the photo below would be great too! So far I know that the student in the second row on the right is Bert Mann.

  • Timothy Ames, Alfred Blau, Annette D'Amato,  James Denio, Michael Humphreys, Ronald Kryzan, Bert Mann, Peter Ogren, Marolyn Piersma, Madeline Pitella,  Carmen Rivoli, Patricia Sincock,  Diane Spinelli,  Patricia Synder, Judith Wade,    and Dr. Louis Hetler, faculty advisor.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Guys and Dolls," the 1961 European Tour

Yes, that's right, in the fall of 1961 a group of Brockport students took their production of Damon Runyon's "Guys and Dolls" on the road - in Europe! The original Brockport production had been in 1960, and in 1961 the college was invited to select a group of student performers who would take the show on the road in Europe to American military bases under the auspices of the USO.

The college accepted the invitation and Professor Louis Hetler, Director of Theater at Brockport, took charge of the trip. Due to Defense Department rules on group travel, the original cast number had to be reduced to sixteen actors, the faculty director and a student pianist. The sets had to be made such that they would be transportable in footlockers, and many other hurdles had to be overcome.

The group set out October 9, 1961, for a seven week tour. They played for American service men and women at a number of military bases, and were able themselves to take in some of the culture of Germany and France. They also experienced some Cold War tensions, their bus being held up for over an hour at the infamous "Check Point Charlie" in Berlin, which was split at the time between the Russians and other former Allies.

Your archivist would love to hear from anyone who went on this trip, who might have stories to tell and photographs to share! Contact Charlie Cowling at ccowling@brockport.edu. or call him at 585-395-5667.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Freshman Year, 1942-1943

This blog mentioned earlier that we have a scrapbook that was made by Betty Evershed (Weidel) '46. Below is Betty along with the rest of "Section D" of the freshmen class that year. (She is in the second row, second from left.) It was a bigger class than the previous few years with more than one hundred students entering that fall. (Which seems very small by today's standards, with our freshman classes running 900 or so, but not nearly as many people went to college then, and schools like Brockport were much smaller than today.)  Some of the events they had to look forward to were Orientation Day, a Bonfire and Rally in the "Village Park,"  Juniors in Charge, an All-College Sing, and an All-College Mixer in the gym, Seniors in Charge.

 Sounds like fun doesn't it? :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Freshman Hazing

College students of today associate hazing with Greek letter societies, but in years past hazing of freshman by the upper classmen was a common thing in college life. Usually the hazing was a set period, a week or two at the beginning of school, and was intended as a sort of fun welcome and ice breaker for new students. The practice was carried on at Brockport from at least the 1920s up into the mid 1960s. Here are the "Freshman Ten Commandments" from the 1929 Saga Yearbook:

  1. Thous shalt only use the basement door.

  2. Thous shalt learn all verses of the Alma Mater.

  3. Thou shalt greet all upper classmen.

  4. Thou shalt use no cosmetics.

  5. Thou shalt carry a washcloth - wet.

  6. Thou shalt wear a large sheet of white drawing paper with a large green question mark six inches high and thy full name written across the bottom. These shall be worn about thy gawky necks.

  7. Thou shalt, oh ye dogs of the male species, adorn thy stretchy necks with winged collars.

  8. Thou shalt show thyself in knickers above thy knees to disclose thy ugly calves.

  9. Thou shalt adorn thyselves with such decorations as a large green tie beneath thy baby chin.

  10. Thou shalt obey all said commandments until 7:30 P.M. October 2.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lost wedding ring mystery

A wedding ring, plain gold, probably a man's ring by the size, with an inscription of "N.S. to W.M., 8/2/1958" was found a few years ago in the college fitness center. The director of the center has tried other avenues of tracking down the owner of the ring with no success, and has contacted your blogger, who is the college archivist, to try to find the owner of the ring. If these initials or date remind of you of someone or you have information about the ownership of this ring please contact Charlie Cowling at ccowling@brockport.edu.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Betty Evershed Weidel '46

The archives has a wonderful scrapbook a student kept of her experiences here in the 1940s. Betty Evershed (Weidel) '46 included snapshots of her friends, places they lived, things they did, flyers, notices, stories from campus events and activities and much more. It really is a remarkable record of one student's experience here at that time. The only thing is that we don't have much information on Betty and her life subsequent to graduating from Brockport. She was from Rochester, trained as a teacher here, and lived at one time in Webster, but that's all we know really. The archivist is planning on scanning her scrapbook and making it available through this blog as well as in other ways, but if you know anything about Betty your information would be most welcome. Email the archivist, Charlie Cowling, at ccowling@brockport.edu. Thanks so much!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mary Jo Gigliotti, college archivist retiring

Mary Jo Gigliotti, a librarian here in Drake Memorial Library, has been taking care of the college archives for a number of years, but this summer she is retiring. She has been busy in the archives, for example working on some quite substantial digitization projects for photos and documents, indexing the Stylus (over 100 years worth done!) , and taking part in many special projects like last week's Campus School Reunion. Mary Jo will still have her campus email, mgigliot@brockport.edu and would welcome your messages of congratulations on her retirement.

Although Mary Jo will be moving into a new chapter of her life, the archives will still be taken care of and made accessible by Charlie Cowling. He was the college archivist many years ago and welcomes the opportunity to once again work with the rich heritage of the college. Charlie's email is ccowling@brockport.edu, or you can phone him at 585-395-5667.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What a turnout for the Campus School Reunion!!

It was wonderful to see the great turnout for the Campus School reunion this past Friday. There were close to 400 people attending, former campus school students, teachers, administrators and others. Surely the Campus School must have been a wonderful part of this college to have drawn so many back for the reunion! Thank you all for being there and sharing your memories of the school. Do contact the college archives if you have any questions about the campus school, or perhaps have campus school related materials (photos, papers..) to donate. You may leave a comment here or email Charlie Cowling at ccowling@brockport.edu.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rod & Gun Club?

Yes, there was a Rod & Gun Club here at Brockport once upon a time. Pictured here are the club members as shown in the 1949 yearbook, the Saga. Under their photo it says, "The call of the wide out of doors - an adventurous spirit - a gun, and a fishing rod... all symbols of pure enjoyment, and dear to the heart of a sportsman." Apparently the club was new that year, and it did continue here at Brockport for some years after.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Here... '50"

Featured here is the cover from a 1950 brochure on Brockport State. The students pictured were given quite a write up inside the brochure. According to the write up we have:

"From left to right, seated, is Joan De Witt, a product of Rochester's No. 33 grammar school and East High. A member of the Newman Club and the Student faculty Association, she plans to teach in the intermediate grades... Her master purpose in life is to marry and have her own home.

Seated on the steps, William Oakes. Hometown, Lockport, where he was active in Boy Scout work, basketball and football. 'Bill' was in WWII from 1943-1947. As a sailor he participated in the atomic bomb test at Bikini Island. He is married, and his ambition is to become the first Brockport graduate to become a Boy Scout executive.

Standing, Sam Platania, came to Brockport from Niagara Falls. A member of the Dramatics Club, and Track program... During WWII he was in the Amphibious Infantry, over seas in the Aleutians, Guadacanal, New Britain... Has six battle stars and one arrowhead for four assault landings on enemy shores. Student think he looks like Robert Mitchum.

In striped dress, Adrienne Codella, from Mamaroneck NY where she starred in band and glee club. She will graduate in 1950 from Brockport where she has been active in Music and Dramatics. She wishes to teach in Rochester NY.

Seated at far right, Barbara Flammer, from Wellsville NY.  Barbara has been active in intramural sports and the Dramatics Club. She sees teaching as a pathway to social work and hopes to enter that field."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You are here; or were, in 1934...

This is the campus map published in the Saga Yearbook in 1934. To orient yourself, Utica Street runs along the bottom of the map, and Monroe Avenue is on the right. So as you look at the map you are looking west, at the old Normal School building which stood where Hartwell Hall was erected in the late 1930s. At the lower left is "Dr. T's" house, or what we call Alumni House today. This area was the entire campus, as it had been since 1835; there had been several main buildings, one after another, but it was always just the one building. It was only after WWII when the advent of the GI Bill greatly increased demand for college educations that the campus began to add more buildings and expand to the west.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Campus School & student teaching ca1930

The 1930 Saga has a nice spread on the campus school, or the "training school" as it was called then. Pictured here is Charles Cooper, who was Director of the Training School from 1911-1936; Cooper Hall is named after him. Here is a little of what they experienced as student teachers back then:

"Who does not recall those first days of anxious waiting... after the Director of Training's announcement that teaching assignments would soon be posted? ... Many a weary hour we spent with Preparations, General Aims and Thought Questions, only to have a kindly but merciless critic (note - the "teacher critics" were professional teachers who both taught the children in the campus school and supervised the student teachers) calmly destroy our work of art...

Do you remember how easily the critic elicited responses from the pupils during those first days, and how nicely and quietly those pupils behaved? And then the storm burst! We attempted to teach from that first Lesson Plan... We all had our First days, our trials, our pupil problems...

Then came the Day of days, when we were admitted to that Sanctum Sanctorum, Mr. Cooper's office, for general criticism. How we secretly trembled as he slowly swung around in his chair and emitted a gruff, 'Well, what do you want?' But then, we found out that behind that gruffness he concealed as kindly, sympathetic and inspiring a personality as could be desired by anyone..."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why is this thus?

Hmmm, who is this a quote from anyway?! None other than Artemus Ward, an American humorist of the early 20th century. Pondering the thisness of thusness on the lawn of the old Normal School are, left to right, Perry, Lathrop, Thompson and Cooper. Heh, we suppose you had to be there to really get it, lol. But it is nice to see that these fellows, who usually are pictured in rather stern poses, could relax and have a little fun, as they did in this 1929 Saga yearbook photo.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Campus School Reunion!!!

There is going to be a reunion of campus school alumni and staff on Friday July 22; click here for information. It should be a great day for the many people who attended the campus school or worked there.

The campus school, or practice or training school, as it was variously called over the years, has a long history. For those not familiar with it, a campus school was just that, a real school on campus; in it's latter years in the 1940s and '50s it was like a small elementary school. In earlier years it actually ran up through the high school level!

It started in 1867, when the old Collegiate Institute became a state Normal School. The focus of a Normal School was on teacher training, and as part of that it seemed logical to run a small school on campus, where student teachers could practice teaching under the watchful eye of experienced "teacher critics."

Look here for more on the campus school in the days to come, and we hope to see you at the reunion!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Whiskers, the college dog

In the March 1924 Stylus there is the following entry about a dog who was part of campus life then. Unfortunately there is no accompanying photo of Whiskers, but included here is a photo of another "English Sheep Hound..."

   "Who is 'Whiskers?' That question may be answered by almost any student in B.N.S.  For this English Sheep-hound is perhaps one of the most popular dogs in town. With his long, gray and white hair (usually a little soiled) he makes a very striking picture... To see this dog with his intelligent nods and gestures when one comes into the Normal cloak room after a weary and monotonous class, relieves the strain and tension of the nerves. He is always willing to shake hands although once in awhile they are not manicured.  But he doesn't mind such trifles.

His parking place is generally in the Normal cloakracks, but occasionally he strolls about the classrooms and corridors to look things over and see that everything is in order.

Some members of the faculty have had the hardness of heart (and I might say possibly the nerve) to put this innocent little canine out of our school life, but up to this time they have not succeeded.

"Whiskers" shall wear no man's collar. He has a perfectly good one of his own. He is 100% for the students. Long live the king of dogs!"

Jessica Michaels

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Researching Brockport: the Stylus & Normalia Index

An excellent resource for researching Brockport's past is the online index for two student publications, the Normalia and the Stylus.  The Stylus is the student newspaper many have known over the years; the Normalia the predecessor to the Stylus.  The index covers these two publications from 1900-2008, offering access to over 100 years of the college's history! (Please note that this is indeed an "index:" that is you enter your search, then you get results showing what dates and pages have articles on the topic at hand. To get the actual Stylus article go to our microfilm collection on the ground floor; the Normalia was never microfilmed  and is available in the college archives.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pre 1928 Stylus online, plus much more!

There is a regional cooperative venture that hosts digitized collections from a number of area archives and museums online called the FLAG Heritage Site. Among the institutions taking part are the archives here at SUNY Brockport. There's lots of great material added already by archivist Mary Jo Gigliotti, including scans of some student publications from the early 20th century, the Normalia and its successor, the Stylus, covering 1900-1928. There are also photos of the campus in various periods and much more. Have a look sometime!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Freshman Hazing

Nowadays hazing is something people associate with fraternities and sororities, but for many years hazing of freshman by the upperclassmen was an accepted part of academic life at most colleges, including Brockport. It was felt to be a fun way to introduce students to the life of the school, help break the ice and so forth. Accounts of it at Brockport go back as early as the 1920s, and it continued into the 1960s.

The photo here is from the freshman hazing of 1962, outside Lathrop, which was the student union then.  According to the Stylus article this photo accompanied, "Freshman Hazing" was also known as "Student Disorientation Week!" The week included various events and rituals, for example a Kangaroo Court, and special hats for the freshman, the "beanies."

As the Stylus related it, "Answering to the gleeful calls of 'Button Frosh,' and 'Ellsworth Frosh,' this year's crop of smiling freshman got down on their knees, bowed towards the town's telephone tower, pushed pencils along the sidewalk, sang frosh-praising songs..."

There were dances too, including a "Get Acquainted Dance" at which a freshman girl won the Limbo dance contest!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Glass plate negatives revived!

Mary Jo Gigliotti, librarian and college archivist, has done a sterling job of working with a significant collection of photographic materials that depict the college and village in the early years of the 20th century. The collection is made up of glass plate negatives, the majority of them taken by Brockport resident George Guelph,  photographer for the local paper, amateur naturalist and member of the Brockport Yacht Club.

You can view and download scans of the collection that Mary Jo has posted on a regional historical site, just click here. If you have any information on persons or places depicted in the photos please share with us at archives@brockport.edu. Pictured here is one of the photo scans, the girl's basketball team at Brockport in 1906.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Daisy Chain & Class Day

For many years the end of the spring semester featured "Senior Week," which finished with commencement. A popular event during the week was the "Daisy Chain" processional. A typical such event started with the seniors having a class lunch, held for many years in the First Baptist Church on Main Street, and in latter years in the Roxbury Inn, also on Main Street. Following the lunch the seniors, in their caps and gowns, would parade from Main Street to the campus, led by a group of 12 sophmore women elected to the honor, wearing gowns and carrying the daisy chains. This procession sprang from the concept of a "moving up" day, as the freshman became sophmores and so forth.

The daisy chain processional seems to have started at Brockport in the late 1920s, and ran up into the early 1960s, at which time a growing class size and changing attitudes saw the tradition end. The photo here is from the late 1950s, from slides in the Peg Hare Browne collection. Peg was a Brockport grad ('44) and then a campus school teacher for many years.

While the daisy chain died out here, it is still done at some colleges - perhaps something to revive at Brockport? :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The "teachers college" library

Time moves on, and the library did as well as the college. In 1942 after a long campaign Brockport became a Teachers College, meaning that it began awarding the Bachelor's degree. (As a "Normal School," our graduates received certificates to teach in the public schools; many of their credits could transfer to further schooling if they wished.)

The library had occupied a set of rooms in the old Normal School building, and had a similar position in the new building erected in the late 1930s, occupying a set of rooms on the second floor, in the middle of what we now call Hartwell Hall. (Pictured here is a scene of students studying there in 1946.)

Like today's library, there was a reference collection of encyclopedias and dictionaries, books on diverse topics that could be checked out, a children's literature collection and so forth. Starting in 1924 we had our first librarian with professional training, Elizabeth Sherley, who had gone to the New York State Library School in Albany. Librarian Mary Lee McCrory succeeded Sherley in 1938 and a second librarian, Rosemond Cook, was added in 1941.

After WWII, as the school experienced tremendous growth in student numbers, expansion of the curriculum and so on the need for a separate building for the library became increasingly obvious. One staff member, senior cataloger Joyce Ogden who retired in the early 1990s, recalled that when she started in 1958 the library was still in Hartwell Hall, and the staff desk seating was so limited that staff had to share desks in rotation; there just wasn't room for them all to be present and working at any one time!

Finally in 1961 the first building on campus designed expressly as a library building was erected, but that is for the next posting :-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

The library in the 1890s

Last time we looked at the early library of the Collegiate Institute era, 1835-1866. In 1867 Brockport became one of the new state "Normal" or teacher training schools, and this led to increased demands on the library. As a teacher training school the state supplied the textbooks, and these were housed in a special part of the library. The library also held a smaller collection of "miscellaneous and reference" books, as well as continuing to house the "philosophical apparatus," the lab equipment of the day.

As time went on in the Normal era expectations for research by students and faculty increased, leading to greater demand for library resources. For some time funds were limited, and the need was met by two of the Greek letter societies of the day, Gamma Sigma for men and Arethusa for women. They maintained a small library of several hundred books each, housed in the rooms given to the use of the societies in the building at that time.

For much of the 19th century the library was maintained by one of the faculty as part of their duties, William Lennon and then Herman Burlingame doing this until the early 1890s. During the time Burlingame was overseeing the library it acquired a set of rooms of it' own, rather than simply being a set of shelves in one of the rooms.

Then in1894 Jeanette Reynolds '73, who had been a secretary at the school, became the first person to be full time as a librarian. Early in her tenure as librarian she arranged and cataloged the books according to the then new Dewey Decimal system, secured the recognition of Brockport as a Federal government depository, a status still held today, and in general established a modern library.

(The photos are from the first yearbook, a one time effort in 1899. Some years later the early Stylus ran an annual yearbook issue ca1916-1928. After that the student yearbook was the Saga, which ceased being published in the 1990s.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The library, ca1840

Some years ago the archivist did a series for the library newsletter on the history of the library itself, and it seemed appropriate in this 175th year of the college's history to revisit that series.

In the early days, Brockport was a "Collegiate Institute," or a sort of cross between a modern high school and four year college.  The curriculum had several areas of interest, including teacher training, classical education and more modern studies of science and contemporary languages.

In those days the school and the library were smaller. There was just the one building, which stood where Hartwell Hall is now, and the library was a set of rooms in the building. (This was true for many years: the first building dedicated for library was Drake I, what is today Rakov, built in 1961.)

The library in the early days had a small collection, and in addition to books and a few periodical subscriptions it housed the "philosophical apparatus," or the modest lab equipment of the day.

In those years the library was overseen by the principal, or one of the faculty. The earliest record we have for the collection is an accession book from 1853 which lists some 600 books, about 40 or so periodical subscriptions and the "apparatus." We still have a few of those books today in a rare book collection, for example the one whose book plate is shown here, Lincoln's Lectures on Botany from 1835. If you look closely at the book plate you will see the limited hours the library was open then, nothing like the library of today!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vietnam Era

The late 1960s and early 1970s were the era of the Vietnam War, and the accompanying protests against the war, many of which occurred on college campuses. Pictured is a protest on the Brockport college mall in 1969. More information about this politically charged time here can be found in the Stylus from those years, as well as other resources in the college archives, housed in Drake Library. Contact Mary Jo Gigliotti, mgigliot@brockport.edu, or Charlie Cowling, ccowling@brockport.edu for more information.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rockefeller & SUNY

Many people have played an important part in the development of public higher education in NY, including some figures from Brockport, like Malcolm MacVicar, who was active in the campaign to establish the state "Normal" or teacher training schools in the 1860s.

But when it comes to SUNY, which was established in 1948 when Thomas Dewey was governor, Nelson Rockefeller was truly a pivotal figure. Governor from 1959-1973, he invested enormous sums of money and political capitol into the building of a substantial system of public higher education for New York. For example, in 1959 Brockport, although expanded from earlier years, was still a fairly small school of perhaps a 1,000 or so students, mainly centered on Hartwell Hall, although a few new buildings, like Morgan, had been erected in the '50s.  When Rockefeller's time as governor ended in 1973 Brockport had a student body of 10,000 or more, the curriculum had expanded from that of a teacher's college to that of a comprehensive liberal arts school and the campus that we know today was largely finished.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ira Schwartz

Ira Schwartz is pictured here (R) with members of the Brockport Golden Eagle Band, practicing in Tower  Fine Arts in the 1970s. Schwartz was a popular teacher at Brockport and had a long and interesting career. As a young man he was leader of a Navy band in Europe during WWII.  He later received his doctorate and became a professor here at Brockport. He was a woodwind player, especially of clarinet and saxophone, but his great musical passion was for composing. He even co-wrote an opera about Martin Luther King, "Brother Martin and the Beloved Community."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Registration, or, Crushed in the Gymnasium

If you went to school here in years past you'll remember those mob scenes in the gymnasium as people went to register for classes. For the student of today, who knows only the convenience of online registration, it went something like this.

Twice a year, fall and spring, you went to the gymn to register. There would be many tables set up for representatives of the different departments and for the registration staff. Along with what was typically quite a crowd of other students, you milled about, searching for the departments you wanted, waiting in lines to get the right cards, so you could then search for the proper line to the registration table where, hopefully, all your paperwork would match up and you could register. Then, a deep sigh of relief you walked out, knowing however that next semester you'd need to do it all over again. Gee, kids have it easy nowadays ;-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Power of SUNY - the history

SUNY was formally established in 1949. In the picture here we see the presidents of the various state colleges posing for the launch of the new system. Brockport was represented by President Tower (whom Tower Fine Arts is named after, 2nd from the left, 2nd row.) It was a historic moment. Unlike many other states, which already had extensive, well established public higher education systems at that time (think Ohio State for example,) New York did not. Our state's public higher education was dominated by a network of prominent and politically powerful private colleges. The public higher education system was a weak network of small teacher training colleges and technical schools.

The 1949 launch of SUNY marked a shift towards a much more robust higher education system, and one that offered opportunity to many potential students who could not have afforded a private school education, and who perhaps would not have been accepted in the private schools of that day, which were not always welcoming of diversity.

Friday, January 14, 2011

That JFK library has nothing on us ;-)

Recently the library blog commented on the JFK Presidential Library and its massive digitization campaign. Well, maybe they do have a little something on our archives, we certainly don't have the resources they do.  Even so, college archivist Mary Jo Gigliotti and her student assistants have been working hard these last years to digitize our more significant archival holdings. Shown here is an example, the cover of the first issue of the Normalia from 1900. The Normalia was a predecessor to the Stylus, which started in 1914, and like the early Stylus it was a mix of news, literary pieces and so forth. Both the cover and the content of this title are being scanned by the college archives staff so that they will be available more widely.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"X" marks the spot

Well, OK, there isn't actually an "X" marking the spot :-) What you're looking for on this map is where it says "State Normal School," which was our official designation when this 1872 street map was drawn. See, we really have been in this location for many years, 175 actually!

We will continue to post here about the history of our school, and there will be more campus events taking place as well as the college continues its celebration of this anniversary in 2011. Please do let us know of any aspects of the college history you would like to hear more about! Place a comment here, or email ccowling@brockport.edu.

(Shown here is a portion of a "plat" map, a map which shows the properties and names of owners in a given area. You will see properties and houses on the edge of what is now all part of Hartwell Hall's lawn. We have an 1872 and a 1902 plat map book for Monroe County in our local history collections.)