Dr. Isay Balikin: Innovative UC Teacher and Researcher

Isay Balinkin with an inventionOne night in October of 1938, in Cincinnati’s General Hospital (now University Hospital), there was an unusual hustle and bustle as nurses, doctors, and interns searched throughout the building for a tiny piece of uranium which had disappeared. The radium, no larger than a sugar cube, was worth $1400 and hospital staff was intent on locating it.  During the search, it was discovered that Dr. Isay Balinkin of UC’s College of Engineering had an electroscope that could be used to find uranium.  The problem was that it was late at night, and Dr. Balinkin did not have a telephone.  Instead, the hospital sent Postal and Western Union messengers to get Dr. Balinkin and his electroscope at his home on Auburn Avenue.  (Yes it does seem like an odd way to fetch someone only a few miles away.)  They did find Dr. Balinkin and Dr. Balinkin found the uranium in the trash.    Dr. Isay Balinkin spent 40 years at the University of Cincinnati and did even more important things than locating uranium in the middle of the night.  An enthusiastic teacher, he taught an estimated 8000 students demonstrating science with devices like bowling balls, rubber gloves, and mousetraps.  He was also a great researcher and held 7 patents for devices he had invented.  Some of his papers are held in UC’s Archives and Rare Books Library. Continue reading Dr. Isay Balikin: Innovative UC Teacher and Researcher

UC Commencement - A Time-Honored Tradition

By: Dawn Fuller 

(Re-posted from UC News:  http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=15686)

Look through historic photos of UC Commencement Ceremonies and discover some of the university’s traditions that continue to thread through Commencement today.

Who remembers Commencement at Nippert Stadium?

As depicted in the video that features Commencement photos stored in UC Archives, Nippert Stadium – for decades – was the venue for June Commencement.


UC last held Commencement in Nippert Stadium in 1984. UC President Henry Winkler delivered the Commencement address at the 1984 cerermony in Nippert Stadium. In 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988, June Commencement was held downtown, when the spring ceremony took place in Riverfront Coliseum, now called U.S. Bank Arena. Continue reading UC Commencement - A Time-Honored Tradition

"Mr. UC": The Life and Service of Daniel Laurence

Daniel Laurence as UC Vice President of Business Administration

By Janice Schulz

When Daniel Laurence was at the height of his career at the University of Cincinnati, he was honorably dubbed “Mr. UC.” This is not a title that was given out lightly, but a testament to Laurence’s career and his devotion to the University. He spent 62 years of his life at the University of Cincinnati from 1890 to 1961. Of those decades, four years were spent as an undergraduate student, football star, and student leader, 40 as clerk of the Board of Directors, Secretary and Business Manager, and Vice President, and 18 as Emeritus Vice President. Laurence was there as the University grew from a small city school to a strong institution. He saw 12 presidents come and go. He watched as 43 buildings and Nippert Stadium rose from the ground and oversaw many of those building projects as Vice President. During his time, enrollment grew from 133 to 17,538 students and the one Academic Department of 1890 became six separate colleges.  And largely under his supervision, the annual budget grew from $76,860.57 to over $18 million. If anyone deserves the title of “Mr. UC,” it is surely he. Continue reading "Mr. UC": The Life and Service of Daniel Laurence

Department of Philosophy Records in ARB

By Janice Schulz

Philosophy Program
Announcement for the 35th Annual Philosophy Colloquium in 1998

The Archives and Rare Books Library has completed processing a three-box collection of records from the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Philosophy. The collection covers the years 1960-2010 and includes department handbooks, policies, and rules, degree program requirements and assessments, and records and reports on the annual colloquium, honors classes, and enrollment statistics.

Handbooks from 1970-1998 document the development of the department, including program requirements, classes offered, faculty, and activities. The annual colloquium, first held in 1964, is a gathering of speakers who present papers on topics within the field of philosophy. Each year the colloquium revolves around a theme, such as “Anti-Individualism in the Philosophy of Mind and Language” (1992), “Semantics” (1994), and “Perspectives on Rationality” (1998). The collection contains records for several events between 1992-2005 including programs, speakers, and papers presented. Continue reading Department of Philosophy Records in ARB

New Collection Documents Fundraising During Trying Times

Mont Reid Brochure
In 1943 the University created this brochure to solicit donations for the Mont R. Reid Memorial Fund to benefit the College of Medicine.

By Janice Schulz

A new collection in the Archives and Rare Books Library shows how the University was able to fund programs, research, and building projects as the country was in the midst of the Great Depression and later in World War II. Transferred to ARB from the Controller’s Office, the one-box collection contains records from the former Department of Business Administration of funds, grants, fellowships, scholarships, and gifts to the University from the 1930s and 1940s. The research of prominent persons, such as Mont Reid, Lucy Braun, George Sperti, and Otto Szász was funded during this time. Some of the biggest donors to UC were Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola, Baldwin Piano, Julius Fleischmann, and the Streitman Biscuit Company.

In 1934, the Alumni Association started the Committee on University Bequests. Made up of alumni working as practicing attorneys, bankers, trust officers and insurance officials, the committee was designed to provide assistance to those wishing to include UC in their will as well as to encourage alumni to do so. The collection contains the records of the committee’s founding, including correspondence, meeting minutes, and reports. Continue reading New Collection Documents Fundraising During Trying Times

Carl H. Lindner College of Business Papers Now Available

By Kate Krueger

A new collection consisting of papers from the College of Business is now available. Established in 1906, The Carl H. Lindner College of Business has been a vital part of the University with approximately 2900 undergraduate and 600 graduate students. This collection contains documents from the mid 1970’s to early 2000’s ranging from revisions of various programs in the department such as the MBA and PhD program and materials from student groups. Also included in the collection are papers from the Alpha Rho Epsilon fraternity.

Ph.D Candidate Book
Ph.D Candidate Book, 1982-1983
MBA Case Competition
MBA Case Competition Finalists and Judges, 1994


Continue reading Carl H. Lindner College of Business Papers Now Available

A Look into the World of Landscape Architecture: The Myrl E. Bottomley Collection

By Janice Schulz

Myrl Bottomley
Professor Myrl E. Bottomley

In 1922, the College of Engineering and Commerce started a new degree program in Architecture that included a few classes in Landscape Design. The classes were well received, and when the Architecture Department moved to the newly created School of Applied Arts in 1925, a complete degree in Landscape Architecture was offered. With the growth of the Landscape program and the School of Applied Arts, a dedicated professor was needed to lead the Landscape Architecture program. Enter Professor Myrl Elijah Bottomley in 1926. A native of Michigan, Bottomley earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State College in 1916. He served in World War I as a lieutenant on the front lines in France, where, as a result of gas attacks, he developed health issues that would stay with him for the rest of his life. After returning from the war, he earned a Master of Landscape Design from Cornell University in 1922. Before coming to UC he served as Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State College from 1922-1925. Continue reading A Look into the World of Landscape Architecture: The Myrl E. Bottomley Collection

Paul Hoxworth and Greater Cincinnati's Blood Bank

Blood Donation
Blood Donation, circa 1940. Image from Paul Hoxworth’s dissertation.

If you have ever donated blood, you probably did not sit and think about the history of blood donation in the process.  You likely were more concerned about the needle stick, watching that little bag fill up with your blood or avoiding doing so, or maybe you were already thinking about that cookie you could eat after it was all over.  What you may not have realized was the important role the University of Cincinnati played in developing the modern blood donation process.  Certainly, if you have ever donated blood in the Greater Cincinnati area, you have heard of the Hoxworth Blood Center, which is actually part of the University of Cincinnati.  You may not have heard of its namesake, though.  Dr. Paul Hoxworth was the founder of Greater Cincinnati’s blood bank.  He helped to revolutionize blood donation, thereby saving countless lives. Continue reading Paul Hoxworth and Greater Cincinnati's Blood Bank

Greg Hand's History of UC Series Now Available from the ARB Website

Greg Hand

By Janice Schulz

In January, 2012, UC Assistant Vice President and University Spokesperson Greg Hand began a series of lunchtime talks focusing on the history of the University of Cincinnati. At the inaugural presentation, Hand noted that the dozen or so talks he plans to give will be a good way to get people thinking about the University’s bicentennial celebration in 2019. The UC Foundation has agreed to record and post each lecture and make them available on the web. The first two, “Cincinnati’s Efforts to Create a University: 1800 to 1870” and “An Overview of UC History from 1870 to 2010” have been posted and are linked from ARB’s University Archives page.

The talks are held the third Thursday of each month at 12:30 p.m. in TUC’s Main Street Cinema. The remainder of Hand’s talks this academic year includes:

  • March 15  —  Evolution of UC’s Campus and Many Campuses of UC’s Colleges
  • April 19     —  Student Pioneers: First Alumni
  • May 17     —  Origin of UC Regalia & Symbols

The University Archives page offers many links to information about UC’s history and is a great starting point for researchers interested in UC’s story.

City Reports Offer Wealth of Information for Cincinnati Researchers

Loan Sharks
In 1912 the Department of Charities and Correction launched a crusade against loan sharks who were targeting the poor of Cincinnati

By Janice Schulz

The Archives & Rare Books Library holds City of Cincinnati Annual Reports from 1853-1870, 1875-1876, 1905-1914, and 1926-1958. These reports contain valuable information for anyone researching the history of Cincinnati, its departments, its people, and its issues.

While reports included in each volume vary, the Mayor’s report is always available.  Also available may be various city financial reports and reports from City Council, schools, the Health Department and health care facilities, the House of Refuge, the Fire Department, the Police Department, Public Works, the City Engineer, jails, Civil Service Commission, City Solicitor, Parks Department, the University of Cincinnati, and other city commissions. Until 1914, each individual annual report is published in full, but after that time the reports take on more of a summarized format under the title Municipal Activities. Continue reading City Reports Offer Wealth of Information for Cincinnati Researchers