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:


     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

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

The Benjamin Gettler Papers Project

By: Alex Temple, Gettler Project Archivist

Alex TempleHi, my name is Alex Temple, and I’m the Project Archivist who will be letting the life and work of Benjamin Gettler out of the box, so to speak.  While I am unpacking and learning, I will be using this blog to share with you some of the interesting footprints* left behind by Mr. Gettler throughout his accomplished life of service and business achievement.  To round it out, I will also be sharing with you my process and experiences with the project.

These “footprints” are currently stored in six boxes.  It is my job to sort through these boxes and arrange their contents in a way that best represents the life of Ben Gettler, and to describe the contents and arrangement to make his life easy for you to access and discover for yourself.  There will be detailed finding aid created, along with a web exhibit and select digitization of important documents.

Gettler papers boxesTo put another way, Mr. Gettler wore many shoes in his life while leaving these footprints, and I’ll be determining their style and occasion.  I will also be rehousing the collection to ensure that these records of his life will be preserved for long-term care, so with some luck we just might meet a cobbler on the way!

In his life, Benjamin Gettler worked as a lawyer, served on the University of Cincinnati’s Board of Trustees, and was deeply involved in Cincinnati public transportation, the Jewish community, and local, state, national, and international politics and philanthropies.  What are the contributions of Ben Gettler that you are interested in? Throughout this project, your thoughts are always welcome and encouraged!

To learn more about the holdings of the Archives & Rare Books Library and its ongoing projects, visit us on the 8th floor of Blegen Library, call us at 513.556.1959, email us at, visit our web page at, or follow us on Facebook at


*Visible Footprints is the autobiography of Benjamin Gettler, co-written with Michael G. Rapp and published in 2012.

The Archives & Rare Books Library’s Current Desiderata

By:  Kevin Grace

Gulliver's Travels, illustration by RackhamAs we are continually building the collections of the Archives & Rare Books Library in our areas of strength and making them more accessible for teaching and research, we know there are vital monographs or documents we would always like to acquire.  In some cases, our rare book budget will accommodate some special items, but when it comes to archival materials – and many rare books – we depend on the kindness of friends and strangers.  Our most current desiderata outlines some of the books and papers we are seeking, everything from documenting everyday lives in our German Americana Collection through cookbooks and organizational archives to rare books that strengthen our Shakespeare collection and our illustrated myth and legend holdings.  And of course, we always welcome Mick and Mackthe records of University of Cincinnati student organizations.

William ShakespeareThe items we list as desired acquisitions are primary resources in areas that are heavily used not only by UC students and faculty but by global scholars and the general public as well.  To view the list, go to and to learn more about the collections of the Archives & Rare Books Library and how to effectively use them in the classroom, in research, or in publications, call us at 513.556.1959, email ARB at, have a look at our website at, follow us on Facebook at, or visit us on the 8th floor of Blegen Library.



Digital Archivist Eira Tansey to Give Keynote Address at Digital Preservation Forum Wednesday

Eira Tansey
Eira Tansey

Eira Tansey, digital archivist/records manager in the Archives and Rare Books Library, will deliver a keynote address at the Digital Library Federation’s (DLF) Digital Preservation Forum from 4-5 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 25. DLF keynotes feature speakers doing work around contemporary issues in librarianship and cultural heritage (see 2016’s speakers). Eira’s talk, titled “The Necessary Knowledge,” will focus on the connections between record keeping and environmental protection, using Pittsburgh’s environmental history – where DLF is taking place – as a backdrop.

Logistical details:

Wednesday, October 25, 4-5 pm. This is the opening keynote for National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Digital Preservation 2017: “Preservation is Political,” which is hosted by the Digital Library Federation and taking place in Pittsburgh.

Live stream link:

Speaker page:

Eira Tansey is the digital archivist and records manager at the University of Cincinnati’s Archives and Rare Books Library. She has previously written about Cincinnati’s public libraries, the visibility and compensation of archivist’s labor and the effects of climate change on archival practice. She is currently collaborating on a Society of American Archivists foundation grant to develop a comprehensive data set of American archives locations in order to aid future spatial analysis of the field, and researching environmental regulatory record keeping.

The National Digital Stewardship Alliance, hosted by the Digital Library Federation, is a consortium of more than 220 partnering organizations, including universities, professional associations, businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, all committed to the long-term preservation of digital information. Members work together to preserve access to our national digital heritage.


AP Trust Recap

By:  Eira Tansey

University of Maryland mascot
University of Maryland’s mascot in front of the McKeldin Library

Preservation has always been central to the mission of research libraries, which are charged with preserving knowledge, in all its forms, for use. Digital material faces different preservation challenges than analog materials. Rapid changes in file formats, software and hardware mean that digital content created according to today’s best standards risks being unusable or degraded in the future.

At the University of Cincinnati Libraries, we have significant born-digital and digitized content. Much of this can be found in Scholar@UC, UCL Digital Collections, and Luna. Digital preservation refers to the various preservation measures undertaken to ensure long-term use and access of digital materials for enduring sustainable preservation. Archivists and librarians must make many key digital preservation decisions, such as whether to migrate old file formats to new ones, determining how and where to store files, and scheduling file integrity checks. Digital preservation is more than just backups, but storing extra copies of content is a critical component of a digital preservation strategy. To mitigate against complete loss, it is important to store extra copies in different locations. According to the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, increasingly enhanced levels of digital preservation emphasize greater geographic distribution of copies. Continue reading AP Trust Recap

Reporting back from the Archives Leadership Institute

By:  Eira Tansey

Archives Leadership Institute

Twenty-five archivists, five and a half days, and untold quantities of coffee: these are the basics that make up the annual Archives Leadership Institute (ALI). ALI is a week-long leadership training institute for a cohort of 25 archivists, selected each year following an extensive application and review process. The institute is funded by a 3-year grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC), and is currently located at Berea College (Kentucky). Continue reading Reporting back from the Archives Leadership Institute

40th anniversary of University of Cincinnati state affiliation

By: Eira Tansey

Bennis Campaign 1976Many of us are looking forward to 2019, when the University celebrates its bicentennial. But another important anniversary is already upon us. On July 1, 1977, the University will mark its 40th anniversary as a state-affiliated institution. Prior to 1977, the University of Cincinnati was overseen by the City of Cincinnati. Continue reading 40th anniversary of University of Cincinnati state affiliation

Behind the Scenes with UC’s Digital Archivist: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

By Eira Tansey, Digital Archivist/Records Manager

A constant challenge for digital archivists is identifying potentially sensitive material within born-digital archives. This content may be information that fits a known pattern (for example, a 3-2-4 number that likely indicates the presence of a social security number), or sensitive keywords that indicate the presence of a larger body of sensitive information (for example, the keywords “evaluation” and “candidate” in close proximity to each other may indicate the presence of an evaluation form for a possible job applicant).

Digital archivists use a number of tools to screen for potentially sensitive information. When this information is found, depending on the type of information, institutional policy, legal restrictions, and ethical issues, archivists may redact the information, destroy it, or limit access to it (either by user, or according to a certain period of time). Continue reading Behind the Scenes with UC’s Digital Archivist: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

Behind the Scenes with UC’s Digital Archivist: Making Sense of It All

By Eira Tansey, Digital Archivist/Records Manager

When archivists first make contact with a large group of records, they often perform some form of appraisal. You might think of appraisal as being the calling card of the much-loved PBS television show Antiques Roadshow, in which average people realize that Great Aunt Milly’s painting is a valued masterpiece – or a total dud.

Unlike appraisers, when archivists appraise something they generally aren’t assigning a monetary value, but seeking to articulate the value of the records and the information they contain. The Society of American Archivists defines (  appraisal as:

  1. ~ 1. The process of identifying materials offered to an archives that have sufficient value to be accessioned. – 2. The process of determining the length of time records should be retained, based on legal requirements and on their current and potential usefulness. – 3. The process of determining the market value of an item; monetary appraisal.

Continue reading Behind the Scenes with UC’s Digital Archivist: Making Sense of It All