The Benjamin Gettler Papers Processing Project Now Complete

By:  Alex Temple, Benjamin Gettler Papers Project Archivist

The Benjamin Gettler papers processing project has come to a close, but I wanted to write one more entry about efforts to ensure the lasting usability of the collection.  As I’ve explored and processed the collection, I found a broad range of material making up the scope and content.  Each item in the collection is important, but some items can actually harm others, and storage methods that work for one item will not necessarily work for another.  Therefore, each item has been assessed for it’s individual preservation needs, including how to store it so it would not affect the safety of the rest of the collection.

Jellybeans from President Reagan's desk in the Gettler collectionRegarding the paper documents, some are emails printed from an inkjet or laser printer as recently as 2013, while other documents are stock certificates dating back to the 1890s.  Regardless of their age, generally all paper-based objects need to be housed in a stable and protective environment, such as acid-free folders, and stored in a room with a relative humidity of 30-50% and temperature between 35-65°F, all of which the University of Cincinnati Archives & Rare Books Library provides.

Of course, not everything was as straightforward as placing into a new, preservation-quality folder.  I have written previously about items Gettler had taken from his visit with President Reagan at the White House, largely about some jellybeans.  Miraculously, these jellybeans had survived for nearly 40 years.  To make their longevity less of a miracle and more of a science, we deferred to The Preservation Lab, a joint lab of the University of Cincinnati Libraries and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  They vacuum-sealed the jellybeans, and brilliantly constructed a box for them that allowed them to be displayed alongside a note from Ben’s wife Dee.  The candy is now protected from being squashed, chewed on, or getting wet.  And just as importantly, the rest of collection is less likely to be adversely affected by the composition of the jellybeans, such as sugars and dyes. Continue reading The Benjamin Gettler Papers Processing Project Now Complete

Please follow and like us:
error

Read Source to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.

sourceRead Source, the online newsletter, to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.

In this issue of Source, Dean Xuemao Wang writes about his new role as vice provost for digital scholarship, which ties in with the article Introducing the Research @ Data Services Team.

The Libraries special collections are featured prominently in this issue with news of an exciting, surprise gift to the Neil Armstrong Commemorative Archives, promotion of a lecture series celebrating the digitization of the Albert B. Sabin Research Notebooks, and an announcement of a new UC exhibit featuring the Special Collections of four UC Libraries.

This fall brings new faces and new publications from the University of Cincinnati Press, along with the conclusion of the university’s Bicentennial celebration, which university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library Kevin Grace uses as the occasion to recount a gift from William A. Procter that was instrumental to the libraries.

Lastly, we announce that the Cecil Striker Society Annual Lecture is now our first fully endowed annual lecture.

Read these articles, as well as past issues, on the web at http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/source/ and via e-mail. To receive Source via e-mail, contact melissa.norris@uc.edu to be added to the mailing list.

Please follow and like us:
error

Benjamin Gettler and the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees

By:  Alex Temple, Benjamin Gettler Papers Project Archivist

I’ve mentioned before that Benjamin Gettler served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Cincinnati, but I haven’t really talked about how he got there or what that means.  In short, the Board of Trustees is the governing body of the University of Cincinnati.  There are 11 members total, who are recommended by the Ohio State Senate and appointed by the Governor of Ohio.  Among other responsibilities, they select and appoint the university president, set the university budget, and grant all degrees from the university.  The trustees set the framework for students’ experience at the University of Cincinnati, as they also are responsible for setting the tuition and approving university rules, curricula, and programs.  Gettler himself was key to the creation of the Judaic Studies Department.

Gettler was first recommended as a trustee to Governor George Voinovich by legislator Stanley Aronoff in October of 1992.  Aronoff lauded Gettler’s commitment to the Republican Party (Voinovich was a Republican governor) and business prowess, but it wasn’t until November of 1993 after a second recommendation from Bob Taft, that Voinovich would finally appoint Gettler.  Taft’s recommendation better highlighted Gettler’s qualifications as both a University of Cincinnati alumnus and significant donor.  Taft also praised his experience in law, finance, community service, and business in addition to his supportive activities with the Republican Party in local, state, and national issues.  He also put his own reputation on the line by making the recommendation out of personal familiarity with Gettler. Continue reading Benjamin Gettler and the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees

Please follow and like us:
error

The Kennedy Letter

By: Alex Temple, Gettler Project Archivist

I’ve been lost in the archives, and finally found my way out!  I’ve actually been taking some time to look at the collection as a whole, and have been eager to get back into looking at some of the contents at a closer level.  One piece which caught my attention early on was a letter from none other than Robert F. Kennedy, from 1957.  I’ve been excited to dig into this and learn more about the people in the letter and circumstances surrounding it.

Letter from Robert F. Kennedy to Benjamin Gettler regarding the Hoffa case

Continue reading The Kennedy Letter

Please follow and like us:
error

Benjamin Gettler papers – Update on Progress

By:  Alex Temple, Gettler Project Archivist

I recently finished taking a complete inventory on Benjamin Gettler’s papers.  It’s been really interesting unpacking folders from such an ambitious and involved person.  The collection largely stems from his involvement in various organizations from 1960-2003, notably the Cincinnati Transit Company, S.O.R.T.A./Metro, American Controlled Industries (ACI), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and the University of Cincinnati.  There is also a large collection of political correspondence with letters dating as far back as 1959 (with Robert F. Kennedy), through 2012.

The bulk of the time spent so far has been going through each item in Mr. Gettler’s correspondence, which contains approximately 1000 items.  Every piece has been examined for a sender, recipient, date, subject, and format.  That was a lot of reading!  It’s been interesting to read Mr. Gettler’s interests come through in his political correspondence, as well as seeing the often-contentious battles regarding S.O.R.T.A.’s operations.  I must admit, it’s been hard to stop examining the documents and start writing about them. Continue reading Benjamin Gettler papers – Update on Progress

Please follow and like us:
error

Jelly Beans and Politics

By:  Alex Temple, Benjamin Gettler Papers Project Archivist

I’m currently working through Benjamin Gettler’s political work, and have just finished the first of six folders on his political correspondence.  So far I’ve identified 150 items, representing approximately 30 years of his work, views, correspondence, and recognition.  Largely, Gettler placed his energy into the Republican party, notably towards the Reagan/Bush campaigns.  His campaign aid for politicians earned him various accolades, such as an honorary address to the House of Representatives from Representative Brad Wenstrup; invitations to Inaugural Balls for Ohio Governor Bob Taft and President Ronald Reagan, and an invitation to visit the White House in 1982.

White House InvitationWhite House Invitation Continue reading Jelly Beans and Politics

Please follow and like us:
error

The Benjamin Gettler Papers: An Introduction to Cincinnati’s New Public Transit

By:  Alex Temple, Gettler Project Archivist

Book on the Cincinnati Transit CompanyFor the past several months, work has continued on processing the Benjamin Gettler Papers donated to the Archives & Rare Books Library.  Gettler was a notable lawyer, businessman, and civic activist in Cincinnati, an international philanthropist, and a former member of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees.  I’ve been fascinated by the amount of public transit-related history in this collection.  An often over-looked part of urban history is transportation infrastructure.  Public transportation records can tell us not only where people lived, worked, and played, but also the routes taken and who the routes served.  They can also provide insight into how, where, or why neighborhoods changed over time.

Cincinnati’s public transportation, as we recognize it today, really began in 1873 when several horse-drawn tram systems merged to form the Cincinnati Consolidated Railway Company.  Nearly a decade later, it was renamed the Cincinnati Street Railway Company (Gettler, 2012).  It remained the Cincinnati Street Railway Company until 1952, after the company had fully transitioned from rail to rubber-tire service, becoming the Cincinnati Transit Company.

Gettler himself was a prominent figure in Cincinnati’s transit history, as his involvement started slightly before the switch from streetcars to buses and through the sale of the Cincinnati Transit Company to the City of Cincinnati, forming the South Ohio Regional Transit Association (S.O.R.T.A.), and finally serving on the S.O.R.T.A. board beginning in 2003.  A good deal of the collection in the Benjamin Gettler Papers comes from his involvement in public transportation, including items such as meeting minutes from the board of directors.  One in particular which I found exciting to study was the meeting minutes from the board of directors from 1952 to 1954. Continue reading The Benjamin Gettler Papers: An Introduction to Cincinnati’s New Public Transit

Please follow and like us:
error

The Cycle of Knowledge and Do Unto Others: The Ouroboros of Blegen Library

By:  Kevin Grace

For several months from July of 2017 to April of this year, each day on the Archives & Rare Books Library’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ArchivesRareBooksLibraryUniversityOfCincinnati/, featured an architectural element of Blegen Library, from printer’s marks to the original floor tiles and terrazzo walls.  In the way the cultural Belgen Library exteriorheritage of the building was presented with its sculptures and carvings representing the history of the book and the legacy of education, every detail was explored with a capsule account of its meaning and importance.  The figures in the bas reliefs of “Ex Occidente Lux” and “Ex Orientale Lux” were freshly discovered.  The bronze symbols of knowledge over the front door were explained.  The human stories behind the plaster and bronze printers marks were revealed. Continue reading The Cycle of Knowledge and Do Unto Others: The Ouroboros of Blegen Library

Please follow and like us:
error

Bloodsport for the Undergrads

By: Kevin Grace

On December 3, 1907, an angry father wrote to the Board of Directors at the University of Cincinnati:

Gentlemen:

     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.

                                                         Yours Respectfully,

Julius Arend
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.

Flag Rush at UC

Continue reading Bloodsport for the Undergrads

Please follow and like us:
error

University-Area Planning in the Gettler Papers

By: Alex Temple, Gettler Project Archivist, Archives & Rare Books Library

Martin Luther King Jr. and Vine Street IntersectionOne 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 Martin Luther King and Vine Street IntersectionHeights, 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

Please follow and like us:
error