Taft the Party Animal

By Kevin Grace

Statue of William Howard TaftIs there a Taft fashion cult lurking about campus?  This morning saw the William Howard Taft statue outside the College of Law decked out like he was going to a Jimmy Buffet concert.  Replete with hula skirt, tee shirt, shades, and beanie, Big Bill definitely looked like he was ready for an end-of-summer blowout.

The Taft statue was erected on the east side of the law school in 1992.  Sculpted by William T. Moore III, the statue shows Taft in his judicial robes and clasping a law book in his hand.  A graduate of Woodward High School, Yale, and the Cincinnati Law School, William Howard Taft served as dean of his law alma mater from 1896 to 1900.  The Cincinnati Law School was the last remnant of the original Cincinnati College founded in 1819.  As dean, Taft assisted with the 1897 merger of his school with the Law Department of the University of Cincinnati and served as dean of the combined programs, called the College of Law.  Continue reading Taft the Party Animal

A Life in Music and Education: The Eleanor M. Allen Papers

By Lauren Fink

The Archives and Rare Books Library recently processed a collection containing artifacts of and relating to Eleanor Moore Allen.

Eleanor Allen, originally from Linneas, Missouri, was a student at the Cincinnati College of Music in the 1930s.  She was also a staff singer at WLW Radio in Cincinnati and a record producer at the Victor Record Division of RCA in New York City. In the 1950s, Allen returned to the College-Conservatory of Music, working as an administrator, Dean of Women, and Director of the Preparatory Department. She was a member of the Alumni Board of Governors and the Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Sorority. After retirement from CCM in 1980, Allen worked as an assistant to David McLain, Cincinnati Ballet’s artistic director, for four years.  She died in 2003 at the age of 93. Continue reading A Life in Music and Education: The Eleanor M. Allen Papers

Another Alma Mater Moment

By Kevin Grace

Following up on the 1935 postcard of the last days of UC’s original building in last week’s ARB blogs, here are a couple more ephemeral treasures.  In this age of various tobacco prohibitions in our culture, we’re a bit surprised when we chance upon the reminders of commonplace tobacco use from a century ago.  For most of its history, the UC community treated smoking as just another part of campus life.  In our not-so-distant past there were “butt huts” scattered around campus where smokers could stand sheltered from the rain and snow, but certainly not from the cold and gloom. Continue reading Another Alma Mater Moment

University Architect Records

By Janice Schulz

The Archives & Rare Books Library has numerous collections from the Office of the University Architect with records of capital construction, renovation, and special projects dating from 1944 to 2003. The University Architect oversees all aspects of UC’s physical space, and manages the divisions of Planning+Design+Construction, Renovations, Special Projects, Real Estate, Sustainability, Environmental Graphics, and Space Management. The records in our collections document dealings with architects, construction companies, utilities, regulators, and internal planning committees. Included are copies of contracts, proposals, correspondence, meeting minutes, working designs, plans, specifications and drawings, photographs, test and inspection reports, and status reports. Continue reading University Architect Records

An Alma Mater Moment

By Kevin Grace

University BuildingOver the years, I’ve gathered a fair amount of UC ephemera from garage sales, flea markets, estate sales, and Ebay, and eventually I’ll end up giving it to the University Archives.  In the meantime, it’s always a nice little surprise when I dig around in my basement boxes and find these odds and ends.  The postcard shown here is of the original University Building, constructed on Charles McMicken’s property in 1875.  That property had been bequeathed to the City of Cincinnati in McMicken’s will when he died in 1858, and after litigation and the Civil War, the city was ready to create a university.  UC initially held classes in the old Woodward High School building in Over-the-Rhine.  With the erection of a permanent building, the university moved to the hillside below present day Clifton Avenue as it winds its way downtown. Continue reading An Alma Mater Moment

Music, Naturally

By Lauren Fink

(Note: This blog by our student worker, Lauren Fink, is one of what will be a series on the volumes from the Robert Clarke Collection.  In 1898, UC board member William A. Procter purchased the private library of Cincinnati publisher Robert Clarke and presented the 6,792 volumes to the university as the founding collection in its modern library system. Over a century, the collection underwent several tribulations and in the past few years we have strived to reconstitute it in the Archives & Rare Books Library.   Individually, the volumes are not as valuable as the aggregate because the Clarke holdings represent a significant period in the history of the University of Cincinnati.  We intend to write more about the Clarke books, both on specific titles and on the history of this gathering of volumes. –  Kevin Grace).

On the shelves of the Archives and Rare Books Library, between a signed copy of New Orleans Jazz Family Album by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon and Del Svono De’tremori Armonici E Dell’ vdito Trattati Del P. Daniello Bartoli, there sits a book entitled, The Music of Nature; or An Attempt to Prove that What is Passionate and Pleasing in the Art of Singing, Speaking, and Performing upon Musical Instruments, Is Derived from the Sounds of the Animated World; with Curious and Interesting Illustrations, by William Gardiner. Continue reading Music, Naturally

A Matter of Time

Robert Marx
Robert S. Marx

By Lauren Fink

The Archives and Rare Books Library was recently delivered a copper box that looked like it had been through a fire. The box, actually a time capsule from 1963, was found on the top shelf of a safe in the College of Law. Curious faculty members then inquired about opening it and were granted permission. The contents were revealed and, regardless of what the time capsule has gone through, all are in excellent condition.

Many of the contents of the 1963 College of Law time capsule commemorate the contributions and achievements of Robert S. Marx (1889-1960). Marx graduated from the University Of Cincinnati College Of Law, where he later became a member of the faculty. While attending the university, Marx was a football captain in 1908 and a member of the wrestling and debate teams. Later, as a professor and a well-respected judge, he created courses and established a lecture and seminar series that helped advance justice education and the College of Law as a whole. Continue reading A Matter of Time

Additions to ARB's Greek Life Exhibit

By Janice Schulz

Additions and updates have been made to ARB’s exhibit Going Greek: Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Cincinnati.

Omega Psi Phi pledges From Clifton Magazine, Autumn, 1981

Pledging traditions of African-American fraternities are highlighted in an article from the Autumn, 1981, edition of Clifton Magazine, now available on the 1980 and Beyond history page. During the anti-hazing controversies of the early 1980s, long-time pledging rituals practiced by Black fraternities, such as marching and branding, were brought into focus and their legality was questioned. Members defended these activities while outsiders tended to view them with a more critical eye. Continue reading Additions to ARB's Greek Life Exhibit

Raymond Walters Redux

By Kevin Grace

Former University of Cincinnati president Raymond Walters (1932-1955) has been on our minds recently because of UC naming changes.  In June, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of its branch campus, Raymond Walters College, to UC-Blue Ash in order to bring consistency to university branding and degree programs (UC-Clermont is the other branch campus).  However, as the university moves into a new era of semesters, admissions requirements, and academic challenges, its history isn’t forgotten as the Blue Ash campus will rename one of its major buildings to maintain its recognition of Walters.

Continue reading Raymond Walters Redux

Theater on the River: The Showboat Majestic Records

By Suzanne Maggard

In 1967, the City of Cincinnati purchased an old showboat named the Majestic and docked it at Cincinnati’s Public Landing.  The city was in the process of attempting to revive its riverfront and thought the boat, which spoke to an earlier era of river travel, might be a perfect addition.  To keep the tradition of the showboat alive, the city leased this boat to the University of Cincinnati, and in the summer of 1968, UC theater students began performing on the Majestic. Continue reading Theater on the River: The Showboat Majestic Records