Organizing the Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection

By:  Molly Gullet

Work on The South West Ohio Folklore Collection has been underway for a little over two months now, and the organization of the collection is developing well. Folklore LexiconWhat began as five somewhat disheveled boxes filled with folkloric writings, pictures, cartoons and cassette tapes has finally been organized by genre.

The first step in the process of organizing the collection was sifting through what we now know to be over six hundred folklore papers and almost ninety audio materials. The papers were sorted according to the following 15 categories: Miscellaneous Proverbs, Miscellaneous Stories, Urban Legends, Ethnic, Specific Topic, Literary Analysis, Humor, Children’s Lore, Graffiti, Local Festivals and Events, Songs and Ballads, Uncanny, Food Lore and Remedies, Female and Gaming lore. The collected pieces were written as assignments given by professor emeritus Edgar Slotkin who is also the donor of the collection and because of this, common themes are found throughout. Continue reading Organizing the Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection

Celebrating the 103 years of Elliot Carter's Life: Reflecting on the Great Composer's Ties to the Queen City

By Lauren Fink

Elliot CarterIn addition to the John Cage Festivities this week at CCM, another major event has happened in the musical world: one of the century’s greatest composers, Elliot Carter died on Monday, Nov. 5th, at 103 years of age.

Born on Dec. 11th, 1908, at age 15 Carter met composer Charles Ives who was an extremely influential mentor, introducing Carter to contemporary composers and musicians and encouraging his musical development. Throughout the 1920s, Carter spent most of his summers in Europe studying the scores of composers from the second Viennese school – Schoenberg, Berg, Webern – and eventually matriculated to Harvard University. At Harvard, where he studied with Gustav Holst, Carter received a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Music.  In 1932, Carter went to Paris to study at the Ecole Normale de Musique, in addition to taking private lessons with Nadia Boulanger (who was a notable teacher of many other famous composers, like Aaron Copland and Philip Glass). Carter returned to the US in 1936, mainly residing in New York.  Throughout his career he taught at Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Julliard, Peabody Conservatory, Queens College, and St. John’s College.  He was also composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome and Berlin. Continue reading Celebrating the 103 years of Elliot Carter's Life: Reflecting on the Great Composer's Ties to the Queen City

The Haunting of Wilson Auditorium

By:  Molly Gullett

Wilson AuditoriumPlay in Wilson AuditoriumAs work proceeds on the Southwest Ohio Folklore Archives, there are a few papers that are certainly appropriate at this time of year.  In November, 2002, student Mathew Z. Keller submitted his contribution to the archive with an account of UC’s Wilson Auditorium.  Superstition and mystery are as linked with theatre as performance itself and there are many superstitions associated with theatre.  Of course, there is “break a leg” instead of “good luck,” and the ominous effects of saying Macbeth backstage. Perhaps less known is the superstition to never whistle anywhere in a theatre because it signifies that a play will be ending soon. Another ritual is to leave a ghost light on in the belief that it would convince spirits of the theatre that they had not been forgotten. Like most, UC’s theatres are also riddled with superstitions and legends which comprise their lore. Continue reading The Haunting of Wilson Auditorium

Archives Month Celebrates the Peoples of Ohio

By:  Kevin Grace

Archives Month PosterEvery October, the Society of Ohio Archivists sponsors “Archives Month in Ohio” in order to bring awareness to the rich historical materials contained in the state’s libraries, museums, and historical organizations.  The intent is to make citizens aware of these holdings, and to see further use of them by students, scholars, and teachers.

The theme for Archives Month this year is “Peoples of Ohio,” celebrating the ethnic and racial diversity in the Buckeye State.  In Cincinnati, the focus is on Irish Americans with exhibits and presentations planned that explore the Irish culture both in the Queen City.  Once again, an image from the holdings of the Archives & Rare Books Library has been selected for the statewide poster – a photo of Lance Underwood of the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums Corps, performing at the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Cincinnati. Continue reading Archives Month Celebrates the Peoples of Ohio

New Department of Psychology Collection at ARB

By Suzanne Maggard

The Archives and Rare Books Library recently received a new collection from UC’s psychology department containing records from 1967 until 2011.  The collection includes information on faculty and graduate students, annual reports, and accreditation documentation and supplements the very small number of items that the archives already held related to the history of the psychology department.  This new collection is now available for research by faculty, student, staff, and the public.

Wayland R. Benedict
Wayland R. Benedict

The psychology department has a long history at UC.  Wayland Richardson Benedict taught the first psychology courses at UC starting in 1876 as part of the philosophy department.  Courses like Empirical Psychology covering topics in sensation, content, strength and tone of sensation continued to be offered until a separate Department of Experimental Psychology and Pedagogy was created in the Spring of 1901.  The Psychology Department endured quite a bit of instability in its early years and the first three department heads stayed for only a short time. Continue reading New Department of Psychology Collection at ARB

Dolly Cohen: Philanthropist and Fashionista

Dolly Cohen

By Suzanne Maggard

If you were a member of Cincinnati’s blue blood society in the 1950s and 1960s, you would have surely known Dolly Cohen.  You might have also been acquainted with her, if you were a polio or cancer researcher, a local orphan, a victim of muscular dystrophy, a University of Cincinnati faculty member, a student seeking a scholarship, or even an Ohio State University football player.  The woman was everywhere, donating her time and money to a myriad of causes in Cincinnati and throughout the country.  The University of Cincinnati’s Archives and Rare Books Library holds Mrs. Cohen’s scrapbooks and other mementos which provide a visual timeline of her life and charitable work. Continue reading Dolly Cohen: Philanthropist and Fashionista

Generous Gift Funds More News Record Digitization

UC News RecordBy:  Kevin Grace

An additional four years of the University of Cincinnati News Record has now been digitized, thanks to the generosity of a Bearcat alumnus.  Jordan L. Bleznick, a 1976 A&S graduate, funded the project to digitize the student newspaper from 1973 through 1976, adding to the previous digitized issues from 1960 through 1970.  Researchers can access these years by visiting the University of Cincinnati Digital Collections site at:  The newspapers are available as full-text and are keyword searchable. Continue reading Generous Gift Funds More News Record Digitization

ARB Makes the Poster Lineup for Archives Month

By:  Kevin Grace

Bag piperEvery October, the Society of Ohio Archivists sponsors “Archives Month in Ohio” to encourage teachers, students, scholars and the general public to seek out and learn from the rich historical resources in the state.   From the smallest community historical society to the largest public libraries and universities, the wealth of primary research material in Ohio contributes not only to appreciation of our heritage, but provides understanding of our current lives as well.

And each year, the SOA Archives Month Committee selects a specific topic to highlight repository holdings.  In the past, some of the themes have been music, African American heritage, business, and sports.  As part of the annual focus, exhibits, lectures, and other programs are offered and a promotional poster is printed.  For 2012, the theme is “Peoples of Ohio” and southwestern Ohio will focus on Irish heritage.  For the poster, the Archives & Rare Books Library contributed the image shown here of a piper from the Cincinnati Emerald Society of Police and Fired Pipes and Drums Corps performing in the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.  This photo will accompany other wonderful images representing the state’s Native American, Greek, Slovak, Jewish, German, French, and African American citizens, for example. Posters will be available by late summer. Continue reading ARB Makes the Poster Lineup for Archives Month

Dr. Carl A. Huether-Genetic Counseling Collection Available for Research

Carl Huether

By Kate Krueger, ARB Student Assistant

Now available in the Archives and Rare Books Library are the papers of Dr. Carl A Huether, professor of biology and the visionary behind the establishment of a graduate program in genetic counseling at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Huether was director of the genetic counseling program from 1982 to 1992. After this he remained a vital part of the program as a professor, advisor and advocate for medical genetics. In 2007 after 41 years as a member of the biology faculty, Dr. Huether retired and the first ever endowment fund for a graduate program in genetic counseling was established.

Established as an emphasis for graduate biology majors in 1982, the program is documented in the papers of Dr. Huether and chronicle his tireless efforts to have a formalized program in genetic counseling. Through the correspondence with colleagues and university administration, this collection provides an interesting Genetic Counseling Brochurehistory of how new programs are established at the UC. In addition, the various drafts and revisions of the formal proposal to have the genetic counseling program established give insight into the importance of such a program. Copies of the various versions of the proposal in addition to the final version that was submitted to and approved by the Ohio Board of Regents are available in the collection.  A guide to the collection is available on the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository.  For more information on this collection and other items related to the history of the University of Cincinnati contact the Archives and Rare Books Library by phone at 513-556-1959 or by email at

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