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

Emma Lucy Braun: Pioneer Plant Ecologist

By:  Iman Said, ARB Intern, 2014-2015

The University of Cincinnati has had many incredible individuals pass through its doors. There have been outstanding athletes, such as Oscar Robertson and Ron Bonham, and incredible researchers such as Albert Sabin. One such researcher was E. Lucy Braun, who created a research program in vascular plant floristics focusing on deciduous forests.

Lucy BraunE. Lucy Braun was born in Cincinnati in 1889. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1914 with a Ph.D in botany and went on to found the Wildflower Preservation Society of North America in 1917. The Society is still well and thriving today and hosts several different events including an annual Hardy Souls’ Hike at Mt. Airy Forest and lectures on various fungal infections and wild orchids. That same year, she began teaching botany at her alma mater, growing through the University to become a professor of plant ecology in 1946. In addition, she became the first female president of the Ohio Academy of Science. Continue reading Emma Lucy Braun: Pioneer Plant Ecologist

An Early View of the Stands

By:  Janice Schulz, Former ARB Library staff member

The University of Cincinnati is in the midst of a major renovation of Nippert Stadium that will turn it into a state-of-the-art athletic complex, but at one time our gridiron heroes played on what were simply a field and a chain of stands. According to the 1904 Cincinnatian the “much-needed and long-looked for” athletic field was completed in that academic year. The field was later named after UC alum, medical school faculty member, and UC director Archibald I. Carson. As a medical school student (Class of ’89) Carson organized the first UC football team. The stands were first erected in 1912 at a cost of $50,000 and then added to in 1920 and again in 1924, when the stadium was dedicated in memory of Jimmy Nippert. In 1935 the Works Progress Administration sponsored a $135,000 project to add the press box. Shank Pavilion was added in 1954 and a major renovation came in 1991 at a cost of $13,500,000.

The stands at Carson Field

Continue reading An Early View of the Stands

Growth of Student Government

By:  Iman Said, ARB Intern, 2014-2015

Just about every college campus, and now almost every high school, has some form of a student government. It’s a coalition of students who put on events, work on projects, and speak to administrators and members of the community on issues related to the students.

Student Government Posters

Today, the UC Undergraduate Student Government is made up of a Senate, a Cabinet, Boards, and College Tribunals. This makes for an organization that is involved in just about every aspect of student life. Elections are held every year, usually in February, and candidates select a President and Vice President, as well as eight At-Large Senators. After those positions have been chosen, Cabinet positions are filled using an application process. Any student can apply to a cabinet position, no matter their age or year in school. Each of the Tribunals then holds their own internal elections to select their executive board and their representative to Senate. Continue reading Growth of Student Government

Why UC’s Colors are Red & Black

By: Greg Hand

An 1881 editorial in the Academica, UC’s early student newspaper, called for colors: “The great majority of American colleges and universities have selected certain colors or combinations of colors, which, for want of an adequate term, we may designate as their ‘colors.’ These colors are of great use in intercollegiate contests in distinguishing the members of different colleges. They also have the effect of creating in the student a feeling of loyalty to his Alma Mater. Each year finds it more difficult to select colors that are not pre-occupied. We, therefore, commend this matter to our students in the hope that they will at once take measures looking to the selection of colors for the University of Cincinnati.”

Early UC tobacco card, courtesy of Kevin Grace
Early UC tobacco card, courtesy of Kevin Grace

Although students wrote in suggesting either green alone or “black, sprinkled with a little white,” there was no immediate action on this request.   A few years later, on April 10, 1885, the the University of Cincinnati baseball team took the field against Hughes High School sporting white suits with blue stockings, belts and caps.  Later that year, new baseball uniforms appeared in blue and brown. Although the university dithered about selecting official colors, each class took great pains to select a unique color. The annual for 1885, for example, records the senior class adopting green and yellow, while the juniors claimed “maiden’s blush.” The sophomores that year adopted violet. Continue reading Why UC’s Colors are Red & Black

Looking at Campus From the Air

By: Iman Said, ARB Intern, 2014-2015

Last year, Morgens Hall reopened its doors as one of the nicest residence halls on campus. It had spent about a year in renovations that replaced the brick building with floor to ceiling glass and removed the balconies to allow for more interior space. With renovations for Scioto Hall scheduled to begin next year, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about how fluid campus is.

Aerial Photo of Campus, 1937
Aerial Photo of Campus, 1937

Continue reading Looking at Campus From the Air

Albert Sabin: An Incredible Cincinnatian

By:  Iman Said, Archives & Rare Books Intern for 2014-2015

Albert SabinHello again! The past few weeks, I have written about student life at UC and various aspects of campus that provide students with a well-rounded college experience. But UC is just one part of a huge community of Cincinnatians. Much of the work that is done on campus by our students, faculty, and staff have a significant impact on the entire city, and even the entire country. Being a student at UC makes it easy to forget that our CCM graduates go on to be Broadway stars, our MBA graduates are CEOs, and our medical students create new medicines and practices. These students succeed because of the outstanding faculty and staff who work for the university, many of whom actually have their own impact on the community. Continue reading Albert Sabin: An Incredible Cincinnatian