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? :-)