Of Provosts and Our Past Year: A Couple of New Lists on the ARB Website

By:  Kevin Grace

ARB Annual SummaryAs part of its work in documenting the heritage and ongoing changes at the University of Cincinnati, the Archives & Rare Books Library maintains a number of useful lists on its University Archives page in addition to finding aids and exhibits, http://www.libraries.uc.edu/arb/collections/university-archives.html.  We keep up with the heritage of deans in our various colleges, http://www.libraries.uc.edu/arb/collections/university-archives/deanslist.html, as well as annual reports, the Board of Trustees, UC presidents, and campus history.

With the recent resignation of President Santa Ono, who became the new president of the University of British Columbia, there were a number of changes as Provost Beverly Davenport became UC’s interim president and CCM dean Peter Landgren became Interim Provost.  We’ve added to our lists with one of the University of Cincinnati’s provosts and chief academic officers throughout UC’s history, http://www.libraries.uc.edu/arb/collections/university-archives/provosts.html. Continue reading Of Provosts and Our Past Year: A Couple of New Lists on the ARB Website

Libby Holman: Fresh Painting the Town Red

By: Sydney Vollmer

Libby HolmanThe Fresh Painters Club was considered controversial due to the type of plays it put on—nothing was off-limits. Perhaps the nature of the club was influenced by the free spirits who participated. One such spirit was Libby Holman. Nineteen Twenty-three, the year the club was founded, she played the role of Violet Fields in “Fresh Paint.” Having dreams and talent too big for her hometown, she left for New York in 1924.

Born Elizabeth Holzman, her last name was changed sometime after her uncle, Ross, embezzled $1 million dollars from the stockbrokerage he owned with Libby’s father. Mr. Holzman changed the family’s name not only because of the anti-German attitudes in America at the time, but because he most likely wanted to save his kin from being attached to such an outrageous scandal, and because he needed to detach himself from the Holzman name so he could find work. This was only the first of many scandals with which Libby would be associated. Continue reading Libby Holman: Fresh Painting the Town Red

Fresh Painters Club

By:  Sydney Vollmer

Lilaine Program CoverI’m a little late on posting a few big Shakespeare things. I promise they’re coming. In the craziness that has been finals, Kevin decided maybe I would like a little break from the Bard. (He was right.) He suggested I try painting for a little—and by that he meant looking into the Fresh Painters Club that was once a major extra-curricular at the University of Cincinnati. Conveniently, there was a history of the club that was written several decades ago. Though I don’t know who wrote it or exactly when it was penned, he or she explained the organization far better than I can. The text is as follows:

ANALYSIS OF THE FRESH PAINTER ACTIVITY

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI.

HISTORY.

Looking backward, the Fresh Painters has developed from an old Varsity tradition. Every year during the period between 1900 and 1921, students gave a revue called “Varsity Vanities”. These revues were disconnected sets depicting the frivolities of campus life, and demonstrated singing, dancing and acting talents of undergraduates. Every spring the varsity Vanities Committee was organized and the revue was produced. Continue reading Fresh Painters Club

National Women’s Month – UC’s Miriam Urban

By:  Dawn Fuller

Miriam B. Urban
Miriam B. Urban

Miriam Urban was the only female professor in the history department during the 1920s and ‘30s. During this period of common discrimination against women in higher education, she fought to get tenure. Urban earned her bachelor’s degree from UC in 1915 and her master’s degree in 1917, earning a PhD from Columbia University before joining the UC faculty in 1920. Her field was European history and though she taught at the University of Cincinnati for 33 years Urban was not promoted to full professor until 1944.
Described as wearing shapeless tweed with white blouses, along with multiple glasses strung with black ribbons around her neck, students also commented that her hair was usually in “disarray.” Despite her “hot mess” eccentricities, Urban was a delight to her students, even though she was known to kick a dozing student in the shins or thump someone on the head with a pencil. She would signal the end of the class period by snapping her girdle.
Charlotte Shockley, a 1937 graduate in English from the Liberal Arts College, wrote, “Miss Urban’s dark eyes glittered as she likened Hitler to a ‘takeoff on Groucho Marx.’” Continue reading National Women’s Month – UC’s Miriam Urban

Presidential Love Notes

Diaries reveal former UC President Raymond Walters’ love and admiration for his longtime Valentine

Raymond and Elsie Walters
Image of Raymond Walters and his wife, Elsie, created by Kathy Bohlen.

By:  Dawn Fuller

Raymond and Elsie Walters with News Record
President and Mrs. Raymond Walters hold a special souvenir edition of The News Record, presented to the couple at the president’s student-sponsored retirement dinner in 1955.

Her name was Elsie, but her husband, UC’s longest-running president, called her “BobOLink,” which is also the name of a songbird. Throughout their 46-year marriage, Raymond Walters remained charmed and fascinated by his wife, as passages reveal in his diaries, which were donated to UC’s Archives and Rare Books Library.

Walters served as president of UC for 23 years, from 1932-1955. The diaries hold daily activities and thoughts of President Walters over the decades, from 1925-1960, and as a result reveal decades of history, including the history of UC. But the diaries also lovingly reveal Valentine gifts, wedding anniversaries and tributes to his wife. Continue reading Presidential Love Notes

African American History Month and the Archives & Rare Books Library

By:  Kevin Grace

It is February again, a month notable for honoring presidents and for looking forward to spring. February is also a time when we reflect on the heritage of African Americans in the United States and take time to acknowledge that part of our nation’s history.

Basketball Team 1934 including first African American player, Chester Smith
UC’s 1934 Basketball team including first African American player, Chester Smith

Depending on the media, we also term February as Black History Month, and it had its beginnings in 1926 when “Negro History Week” was created by historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson’s intent was to celebrate it in February because both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had their birthdays in this month., and as he stated, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Continue reading African American History Month and the Archives & Rare Books Library

A Program By Any Name: Calling All Theater Goers and Performers!

Shakespeare Celebration BookmarkWe need your help! The Archives and Rare Books Library is expanding its Shakespeare holdings as part of the 2016 quadricentennial . In our effort to document and preserve the heritage of Shakespeare productions in the greater Cincinnati area over the past two centuries, we’re building an archival collection of local Shakespeare play programs. It doesn’t matter if they are from 1902 or two days ago. They can be programs from performances by CCM, high schools, professional theater groups, or the couple next door who are forever emoting on Romeo and Juliet. It doesn’t matter! The only requirement we have is that the performance took place somewhere in the tri-state.

Please mail your submissions to the Archives and Rare Books Library, P.O. Box 210113, Cincinnati, OH 45211-0113 or drop them by our library on the 8th floor of Blegen Library. If you have any questions, just contact us via email (archives@mail.uc.edu) or give us a call Monday through Friday, 8-5, at (513) 556-1959.

Thank you all so much for following our celebration, and a special thanks to anyone who can contribute. We can’t wait to see the wonderful programs you have in store for us! To learn more about our Shakespeare commemoration, have a look at our web page, http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/exhibits/shakespeare400/.

Program for Macbeth at CCMScript of Hamlet, presented in Music Hall, Cincinnati

UC Celebrates Its Library’s Founding Collection as It Celebrates Shakespeare 400

Shakespeare Celebration BookmarkEvents around the world will mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in April. University of Cincinnati Libraries are showcasing UC’s rare Shakespeare collections and highlights of the UC Shakespeare Tercentenary a century ago.

Cultural, creative and educational organizations around the world will kick off celebrations honoring the legacy of William Shakespeare as the world observes the 400th anniversary of his death, which was on April 23, 1616. Here at the University of Cincinnati, the Archives & Rare Books Library’s Shakespeare collection is one of the university’s original library collections, purchased for the university back in the 1890s.

The Enoch T. Carson collection holds more than 250 volumes. The collection has illustrations from editions of Shakespeare’s works along with pamphlets, clippings, excerpts, criticism, almanacs and various souvenirs that were collected by Carson. Over the past century, dozens of additional volumes have augmented that original collection, including rare editions illustrated by Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, and W. Heath Robinson. Continue reading UC Celebrates Its Library’s Founding Collection as It Celebrates Shakespeare 400

What’s For Lunch?

Could you imagine being on campus today and not having a place to go for lunch or even more shocking – not being a short walk from a Starbucks?   From burgers to burritos to caramel Frappuccinos, there are plenty of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a quick coffee break on or near UC’s West (Main) campus. With all of us so used to so many food options, we were stumped when the University’s Architect’s office asked us “Where was the university’s first dining hall and when did it open?”

We do not always have the answers in our heads, but we can always come up places to start looking. The Cincinnatian (UC’s yearbook) is a great place to start especially for questions that have anything to do with UC’s students. What makes this resource even better is that UC’s yearbooks have been digitized and are freely available online through the Libraries’ website: http://digitalprojects.libraries.uc.edu/cincinnatian/ Lucky for us, the 1914 Cincinnatian provided the clue that we needed. An announcement in this yearbook stated, “Varsity’s New Lunch-Room, opened February 9th 1914.” The article also included a menu with interesting options like pineapple and lettuce salad with egg dressing and cold ham and a pickle. The most expensive item on the menu was only 12 cents. Continue reading What’s For Lunch?