48 Years in the Making

This post was originally published on the UC Magazine website.

UC Graduate Samuel Ochiel Obura is greeting on campus by Richard Harknett, head of UC's political science department, 48 years after Mr. Obura finished his degree requirements.  photos/Joseph Fuqua II.

UC Graduate Samuel Ochiel Obura is greeted on campus by Richard Harknett, head of UC’s political science department, 48 years after Mr. Obura finished his degree requirements. photo/Joseph Fuqua II.

UC graduate waited nearly a half century to walk in his commencement and finally receive his lost thesis.

By:  John Bach

Samuel Obura

Samuel Obura Stands during the ceremony when recognized by UC President Santa Ono. photo/Joseph Fuqua II

Samuel Ochiel Obura’s journey to today’s commencement ceremony at the University of Cincinnati took him nearly 8,000 miles and 48 years.

A native of Kenya, Obura finished his master’s degree requirements in political science at UC in 1967. But due to an upheaval at the African Students Association, which helped sponsor his education, he had to cut short his pursuit of a doctorate degree to leave campus and return to Africa or risk losing his return ticket to his wife and children in east Africa.

Obura, then 34, had already spent several years away from his young family back home to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Canada followed by his master’s at UC.

Though he would go on to a long and successful career as a government official in Kenya, Obura left Cincinnati in such a rush that he never even took his trunk full of books, or —even more disheartening — the  dissertation he had written on the “Constitutional Development in Kenya.” His thesis had been sent away for binding when he departed, so he was forced to leave it behind and would spend the next half century longing for the important document.

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‘Preserving the Past for the Future’ Exhibit Showcases work of Preservation Lab

In January of 2012, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH) and the University of Cincinnati Libraries (UCL) began a long-term collaboration to provide conservation and preservation treatments in an equally-managed, staffed and equipped preservation lab located in UC’s Walter C. Langsam Library.

Employees from both PLCH and UCL work on the general circulating and rare/special collections of each institution. The division of labor for all work performed by the Preservation Lab is divided evenly between UCL and PLCH and is tracked using a weighted point system.

A new exhibit, “Preserving the Past for the Future,” showcases the work done by the Preservation Lab on some rare/special items from both PLCH and UCL. Items in the exhibit range from photo albums to bridge reports to scrapbooks. The exhibit demonstrates both before and after images of the treatment done to the objects and explains the process. The exhibit was curated by Jessica Ebert, conservation technician, and designed by Amanda Jackson, communications co-op design student. The online exhibit was created by Lisa Haitz, web developer.

Below is the exhibit in its entirety. The physical exhibit is currently on display on Langsam Library’s 5th floor lobby.

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UC Libraries Donation Becomes a Sizeable Challenge in Preservation

By Dawn Fuller

UC Libraries will host a special reception to celebrate the installation of one of the most extraordinary urban maps in the Western world in the Archives & Rare Books Library. The reception will take place from 3-5 p.m., Monday, April 22, in the Reading Room of the Archives & Rare Books Library, located on the 8th floor of Blegen Library.

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Source, UC Libraries Newsletter Available

Want to Know the Latest in Library News? Read Source, the UC Libraries newsletter for faculty, students, staff, and friends.

This volume announces the availability of the papers of Theodore M. Berry in the Archives and Rare Books Library. Berry (1905-2000) was the first African American mayor in Cincinnati, served the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential administration in civil rights programs, and was an active attorney for the NAACP. The Berry papers, acquired by the UC Libraries many years ago, were able to be fully processed through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives. The materials are now available for research and teaching. Continue reading

Public Library Awarded a LSTA Grant to Create a Joint Conservation Lab with UC Libraries


Missy Lodge (center), Associate State Librarian for Library Development, State Library of Ohio, awarding the grant to Jason Buydos, Assistant Director - Support Services, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County; and Holly Prochaska, Head, Preservation Services and of the Geology-Mathematics-Physics Library, University of Cincinnati Libraries

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County was awarded a $81,012 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the State Library of Ohio to establish a joint Conservation Lab with the University of Cincinnati Libraries for the preservation and protection of rare and heavily used materials.

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Rare Editions of Mark Twain's Works in ARB

Volume one of Mark Twain’s authorized and uncensored autobiography is now widely available.  For those interested in this literary great, the Archives and Rare Books Library holds some rare volumes of Twain’s work including a first edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Learn more about the Archives and Rare Books Library holdings and Twain’s autobiography in this article by Dawn Fuller:  http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=12564

ARB and the Irish

Smith's Cork History title pageThe Archives & Rare Books Library has received additional volumes restored through UC Libraries’ Preservation Services and national book conservators.  The most recent volumes that have returned represent the Irish history holdings.  ARB has an excellent collection of Irish history, literature, and drama that garners frequent use from students and researchers in a variety of fields, particularly English, history, European studies, and ethnology. Continue reading

Foxe's Martyrs Saved From the Stake


The three volume 1641 edition

In the continuing project to restore key volumes in the Archives & Rare Books Library, UC Libraries’ Preservation Services has completed work on John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments of Matters Most Special and Memorable, Happening in the Church – more popularly known as “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.” This fundamental work of Christian hagiography, first published in Latin in 1559 at Basel, had its first English printing in 1563.  There were many subsequent editions over the next three hundred years.  The Archives & Rare Books Library holds both a 1596 edition, and this restored one, the three-volume 1641 printing.  Both these editions are widely used by students and faculty in history, art history, English, and religious studies. Continue reading