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 (; 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.