If you took a composition course in America, chances are you were faced with the seminal book in writing well, William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style. And if you were fortunate, you had a high school teacher or college professor whose teaching could match the plain elegance and helpful guideposts of this little book. The Elements of Style is arguably the most referenced guide to writing in American education.
But how many of us know the story behind this famous text? Chances are we’re all familiar with E.B. White, the decades-long columnist for the New Yorker and the author of modern classics like Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, One Man’s Meat, The Second Tree From the Corner and a host of other books. Curmudgeonly almost to a fault and a writer with uncommon regard for the simple declarative sentence, White was one of the great literary stylists of the 20th century. And William Strunk? He happened to be an English professor at Cornell University during White’s undergraduate days, White graduating from Cornell in 1921. Strunk developed a little handbook for writing that he used in his classes and decades later White wrote an essay for The New Yorker about Strunk’s lessons for usage and style. At the urging of a publisher, White revised Strunk’s work, added an introduction and The Elements of Style was born.
Now to the University of Cincinnati connection: William Strunk, Jr., the author of this famous guide, grew up in Cincinnati and was an 1890 graduate of UC. For the Archives & Rare Books Library’s “50 Minutes” lunchtime series of talks, Greg Hand returns to campus on Thursday, February 22, to relate in his well-informed fashion the story of Mr. William Strunk, and an interesting one it is. As always, Mr. Hand tells his tales with great aplomb and guaranteed satisfaction for all, earning the favor of everyone in attendance. He will speak of facts and fictions, of parodies and paradoxes, and if he were to offer an elegant phrase or two of his own, we would not mind in the least. The talk begins at 12:00 noon in Room 814 of Blegen Library and will last until everyone is ushered out around 1 pm. Bring your lunch, a friend, and acceptable manners (note the Oxford comma). There will also be a random drawing of select and relevant books.
On December 3, 1907, an angry father wrote to the Board of Directors at the University of Cincinnati:
Enclosed you find a doctor bill for treatment of a fractured nose, rendered to my son Armin C. Arend, who was hurt in a flag rush on the 30th of October; the rush being aided and supported by the officials of the University of Cincinnati. I hope your Honorable Body doesn’t expect that I have to pay this bill since I, as well as my son, am opposed to flag rushes. Please take this matter into your hands, & judge for yourself who should pay this bill. Remember, that I paid tuition for this day, which is not given as a holiday in the School Calendar of the University of Cincinnati.
It is hard enough for me as a workingman to pay tuition let alone such foolish unnecessary expenses.
3318 Bonaparte Avenue, City
The bill in question, for $5.00, was referred to the Board’s Law Committee, which quickly denied the father’s claim. As no further word was heard from Mr. Arend, presumably he chalked up the medical bill to an educational expense, like young Armin’s textbooks, but literally, a lesson in the “school of hard knocks.”
Because that is what “flag rush” was during the Progressive Era, a bloodsport of occasional broken noses, broken arms, concussions, and countless contusions and abrasions. A variation on games we know as “capture the flag” and “red rover,” flag rush was a heightened example of these, and was popular on college and university campuses around the country.
One of the most notable parts of Benjamin Gettler’s life and work is his time spent on the Board of Trustees at the University of Cincinnati. He was appointed by Governor George Voinovich in 1993 and elected to chairman of the board in 2000, from which he retired in 2002. While sorting through the records related to his tenure, I was really struck by the massive amount of thought and work that not only goes into shaping the experience for UC students, but also into the surrounding community.
Among the various campus-life projects represented in the collection, one that is very interesting is the long-term plan to improve the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Jefferson Avenue, and Vine Street. At that time, Uptown (Avondale, Clifton, Clifton Heights, Corryville, Fairview, Mt. Auburn, and University Heights) accounted for 10% of the city’s population and 14% of the city’s employment, which together provided for over 46,000 workers commuting into or out of Uptown daily. In addition to the university itself, the hospitals, and the Environmental Protection Agency complex, the immediate area saw the construction of a new office complex, the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, and a UC conference center, including a Marriott hotel. I found the moving pieces, stakeholder interests, and politics concerning an area approximately 100,000 sq. ft. very intriguing. Continue reading University-Area Planning in the Gettler Papers
How do you determine the starting date of the University of Cincinnati Libraries when from the university’s founding in 1819, books played an important part in the education of students?
As early as 1875, a collection of books could be found in the various classrooms of University Building (now McMicken). These materials were selected for daily reference use and were acquired through various departmental funds. In 1883, a small working library was established in the Academic Department (College of Liberal Arts). However, it is in 1892 that the Libraries were officially recognized as a distinct administrative unit of the university by the Board of Directors (as the Trustees were called at the time) with the naming of a dean and the establishment of a separate general library apart from small departmental libraries maintained by faculty members. William Everett Waters, professor of Greek and comparative philology, was appointed the first Dean and University Librarian and would serve until 1894. Thus, 2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
To mark the occasion of our 125th anniversary, we have compiled an exhibit of photographs of the libraries past and present – from the first library in Van Wormer to the stately Blegen Library to Langsam Library, UC Libraries have changed considerably in 125 years.
The photographs are also on display in the 5th floor lobby of the Walter C. Langsam Library. They are from the collections of the Archives and Rare Books Library and UC Libraries Communications Department.
As we are continually building the collections of the Archives & Rare Books Library in our areas of strength and making them more accessible for teaching and research, we know there are vital monographs or documents we would always like to acquire. In some cases, our rare book budget will accommodate some special items, but when it comes to archival materials – and many rare books – we depend on the kindness of friends and strangers. Our most current desiderata outlines some of the books and papers we are seeking, everything from documenting everyday lives in our German Americana Collection through cookbooks and organizational archives to rare books that strengthen our Shakespeare collection and our illustrated myth and legend holdings. And of course, we always welcome the records of University of Cincinnati student organizations.
Read Source, the online newsletter, to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.
This latest issue of Source includes an article with Xuemao Wang, dean and university librarian, about how UC Libraries is utilizing Organizational Development to help bring about transformational change. Kevin Grace, university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library writes about the Enoch Carson Shakespeare Collection and how it will be a part of autumn 2017 Shakespeare celebrations in Cincinnati. Another great reading collection, the Cohen Enrichment Collection, is also featured in this issue.
Many of us are looking forward to 2019, when the University celebrates its bicentennial. But another important anniversary is already upon us. On July 1, 1977, the University will mark its 40th anniversary as a state-affiliated institution. Prior to 1977, the University of Cincinnati was overseen by the City of Cincinnati. Continue reading 40th anniversary of University of Cincinnati state affiliation
Read the 2015/16 Progress Report: Transforming Our Spaces. In addition to providing an update on the news, events and stats from the previous academic year, the report focuses on the transformation of library spaces – both current and future. Renovations and changes to library spaces that will enable us to be recognized as the intellectual hub for students, faculty, researchers and scholars by providing engaging digital and physical environments, as well as powerful new tools and services that spark inquiry, support analysis and ignite discovery and scholarship as well as prepare emerging generations for lives of ongoing discovery.
The Archives and Rare Books Library recently received a new collection of papers from Marian and Donald Spencer. For over fifty years, the Spencers fought for educational equity and equal rights with organizations such as the NAACP, the U.S. Commission on Human Rights Ohio Board, and the Cincinnati Board of Education. While processing the papers of Marian and Donald Spencer, I learned a vast amount about their groundbreaking electoral campaigns, keynote speeches, court cases, and community boards. However, I also came to know them as people. Donald and Marian Spencer met while they were both students at the University of Cincinnati, married in 1940, and raised two boys. They spent a great deal of their nearly 70 years of marriage in Cincinnati fighting for social justice and equality in the community. Continue reading Donald and Marian Spencer: Lives of Love and Social Justice
Do you want to attend a Halloween event that promises to give you hauntingly horrific, history nightmares…nightmares that include visions of amputee kits, maggot and leach therapies, pharmaceutical potions from the 1800s and much much more?
Then come visit the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions on Monday, October 31, 2016 on the R- Level of the Health Sciences Library from 10am to 2pm. On display will be historic documents, photos and artifacts from a variety of the health professions.
We guarantee you will leave the exhibit appreciating the advances made in modern medical treatments, therapies and technology available today. All are welcome. Come if you dare!!!!!!! Bwwaahhhahhhaaaaaa!!!