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?

Memories of Shakespeare and the Lyric Theatre

By: Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

Ad for Shakespeare seriesLook what we found! CCM students of days gone by customarily made a scrapbook of their experiences while they were in school. The scrapbook of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (one half of what has become UC’s College-Conservatory of Music) student Virginia Inez Day recently came into our hands just in time for us to start our Shakespeare celebration! For those of you who have been in the cheap seats, 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and we are commemorating it with a year of promoting our Shakespeare holdings in the Archives & Rare Books Library and documenting the history of Shakespeare productions in Cincinnati. Continue reading Memories of Shakespeare and the Lyric Theatre

In Memoriam: Edgar Slotkin, Ardent Friend of the Archives & Rare Books Library

Edgar SlotkinOn June 21st, the Archives & Rare Books Library lost a friend. Edgar Slotkin, professor emeritus of English, died at the age of 72. Edgar was a remarkable folklorist and Celtic scholar, but most of all he was a man generous of his time and knowledge. At his retirement in 2011, he donated his local folklore collection to us and it became the Southwest Ohio Folklore Archive. Additionally, several years ago Edgar worked with Jerry Newman, our Associate Dean for Collections at the time, to acquire and catalog two wonderful rare book collections of Irish and Welsh literature. Of the former, much of it is from the early 20th c. Celtic Revival period in Ireland and represents a physically fragile gathering of books that might otherwise have been lost. Edgar Slotkin was a kind and learned man, and someone who is greatly missed.

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.

Continue reading 48 Years in the Making