We’d like to think the Defiance College Archives is a rich source of  documents on the history of Defiance College.  It is, but there are gaps in our collections which we hope to fill someday.  Below is a list of MOST WANTED documents we wish we had copies of.  We hope an alumnus or his/her descendants find some of these in the attic and might be able to donate them to the Archives:

PHOTOGRAPHS OF TIN TOWN:  The above image is a clipping of the beginning of an article in the Feb. 8, 1963 issue of The Defender  about Tin Town.  At the time, the buildings were married student housing, and the residents had many complaints, such as pipes freezing and noise from students drag-racing up and down College Place.  The Archives does not have any photos of Tin Town, beyond glimpses in the background of other photos, or dimly seen from above in aerial photos of campus.  If any alumni have photos of Tin Town, we would appreciate the donation.  Read more about the interesting history of Tin Town in the DC Cookbook published in 1988.

COMMENCEMENT PROGRAMS: We have digitized all we own on DC Memory, but we are still missing these:  1894-96, 1901, 1903-07, 1909-10, 1912-13, 1915-21, 1927, 1929-30, 1932-34, 1936, and 1938-46, if those Depression- and war-era programs were even published.  DC did not publish a student newspaper or yearbooks during those years, so it’s possible Commencement programs weren’t either.

CATALOGS:  All that we have in the Archives and Registrar’s office have been digitized, but there are gaps for these years:  any from before 1890, 1891-98, 1901, 1933-34, 1941, 1945, 1948, 1950.  Here’s a link to those we have.

ALUMNI BANQUET PROGRAMS: We are missing these programs from the annual alumni banquets:  1939, 1941-46, 1948, 1963-66, 1968, 1972-73, 1976-77, and any published between 1979 and 1990.  Here’s a link to the banquet program page on DC Memory.

STUDENT HANDBOOKS:  Do you have any student handbooks, with college rules and regulations for students?  The Archives does not own any from before 1909, 1912-18, or 1920-1952.  Here’s the DC Memory page of those we do own.

ATHLETIC PROGRAMS:   A sampling of DC football programs have been digitized, but not all that we own, because of copyright or other reasons.  We have few if any for other sports over the years.  If you have any programs or media guides from any DC sport, odds are good that we need copies.

If you do have any donations for the DC Archives, this page has a “Deed of Gift & Collection Policy” PDF form that you can fill out to accompany your donation.  The Library’s contact information is on the form.  Thank you.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives





The Archives recently received issues of The Truth Seeker from 1897 and 1899, which turns out to be the oldest (known) newspaper Defiance College published.  Prior to this find, we thought the Bugle (1901-02) was the College’s oldest newspaper or magazine.

The issues are printed on the acidic paper that was commonly used in that era, and now, 118 years later, the acidity has progressed to where the edges crumble off as you handle them.  We are hoping to get them digitized in the near future, so they can be viewed without damaging the originals further.

Because they are so fragile, I could only do a rather sketchy quick scan of the front page of the October 1897 first issue, pictured above.  Trying to scan the inside pages on the equipment we own would cause damage because of the dicey state of the paper.  You can see on the image above where the edges are crumbling away.

We have the October-December 1897 issues, and then there is a gap, and then we have January-December 1899.  DC’s President John Latchaw is listed as the editor, and contributed articles to nearly every issue.  The issues report news of the College, contain essays on academic topics, give Christian Church news, offer reports on 1899 Commencement activities, and Charles Slocum contributes articles on plant species that are native to the Defiance area.

It’s thought that former Professor Jo McCormick may have purchased the issues at an auction or a book and paper show years ago and donated them, but they only recently made their way to the Archives.  We don’t have a lot of documentation on the College from before 1900, so this is an exciting find.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives



With DC’s Homecoming being held this month, an archivist’s thoughts naturally turn to Homecomings of the past.

Defiance College held its very first Homecoming event in February 1920.  George Washington’s Birthday weekend was selected for the date, perhaps because there were several events on campus which could serve to entertain the visiting alumni: the senior class was presenting its play, “Stop Thief,” plus a varsity basketball game, but here arises some confusion.  Issues of The Collegian student newspaper published before Homecoming declared that the game would be against Manchester College.  But the account of Homecoming in the 1921 Oraculum said that the team played the University of Toledo (see below).

A banquet was held in the Weston Hall gymnasium, with the dinner being the first event to be held there after the laying of a new floor.  Diners feasted on roast pork, and the gym was decorated with flags and DC’s colors.  The junior class won a trophy for having the highest percentage of current students among the four classes attending the banquet.  Dean Enders served as Toastmaster, and President Caris and alumni from various classes made remarks.

No photos of the event exist in the archives, or none that we know of, but we do have a copy of the brochure, the cover of which is reproduced above.  Below is the account of Homecoming that appeared in the 1921 Oraculum.

1921 HC.jpg

You can also view descriptions of the 1920 Homecoming in the January and February 1920 issues of The Collegian.  Go to this link and use the “sort by” menu to select “publication date” and scroll down to the 1920 issues.

And, you can view the full 1920 Homecoming brochure here.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives



I was using DC Memory to look for another topic today; that search led me to the Defiance Collegian for May 21, 1917, and there I discovered a page that had photographs of different Defiance College professors’ houses in 1917. The Enders house on College Place is included in that issue. Here is a copy of that section of the Collegian:

The original is on the dark side, so if you have trouble reading the captions, Enders’ house is the first one in the second row. It looks very like the picture of the home that was on the real photo postcard we reproduced in the August 1 blog post.

So now we have double confirmation that the unlabeled real photo postcard in the Aug. 1 blog is indeed Enders’ house. It would be interesting to compare the other houses in the newspaper image with the houses that still exist on College Place to see if these are still standing, and how much they might have been altered since 1917.

Barb Sedlock
Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives



Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory died this past weekend.  Gregory visited the Defiance College campus to give a talk for DC’s Forum series on February 21, 1968. The Defender student newspaper reported that Gregory was recovering from one of his protest fasts and was very thin.  He ate dinner in the student union, viewed a BASA exhibit, and held a question and answer session after his talk.  The presentation was given in what is now the Weaner Center, which at the time held various physical education equipment like gymnastic ropes hanging from the ceiling.  Gregory wryly joked, “The next Negro speaker you have, you better move those ropes.”  The Defender said he spoke calmly and casually about his experiences in the segregated South, politics, African American history, and other related topics.

View the link to the story in the Feb. 28, 1968 Defender.  Scroll down to the lower half of the page to find the article:   goo.gl/1JcR8V

Barbara Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives

Professor Enders’ House, then and now

Enders house001

This real photo postcard was found among a group of papers that had belonged to DC Professor George Enders, who taught philosophy and psychology from 1910-1941. The papers were rescued from a dump in California and eventually made their way to the DC archives.

The card has no writing on it nor a date, but since there were no less than 4 copies of postcards of this house, it must have been important to the Enders family.  As there is nothing in the background but fields, or any buildings beside the house in the picture to give context, it was hard to be sure what it was.

Among the papers found in the dump was correspondence sent to Enders from Stollberg Hardware Company in Toledo about his order for “finishing hardware for your new residence”, dated 1911, and an invoice from the Western Gas Fixture Company, also in Toledo, for lighting fixtures installed in the house, dated July 1911.

If the house was built in 1911, then the postcard fits the era; in the early 1900s, real photo postcards were extremely popular.  The Enders were likely proud that they could build a new house and wanted to commemorate the event by having a photo postcard made.

Once we processed the rest of the correspondence, there were one or two letters addressed to Enders at 34 College Place.  Also, the papers included photos of Enders and his family standing in front of a house, with a visible address, 34.  Archives volunteer Carol Hull pointed this out to me, which I had failed to notice.

Here’s a picture of Prof. Enders with a relative, possibly his daughter Ruth, and you can see “34” above Ruth’s head:

Enders house002

So, postcard in hand, Carol and I walked over from the Library to the block of houses between Clinton and College Drive that face the campus.  The house with number 34 as its address looks almost exactly like the house in the postcard:

34 College Place

(My thanks to Carol for taking this photo with her phone.)

A garage has been added, and new siding that makes the house a uniform color was put on, but otherwise the house appears unaltered, at least from the outside.  The house is privately owned so we could not look inside.

Judging by the postcard, with nothing built beside the house in 1911, this must have been one of the early houses constructed on what would become known as “Professors’ Row.” Here’s a picture of Professors’ Row from the 1918 Oraculum (scroll down to the bottom of the two pictures):  goo.gl/Xnqypq  but that photo was taken from the Clinton St. end of the block, and number 34 is too far down the row to be really visible.

The DC Archives is the beneficiary of the Enders’ family having saved documents which others might not have kept.  (Do you save invoices from the hardware store?  For most people, once the bill is paid, into the shredder they go.)

We are also thankful to the unknown dump worker who recognized the value of the papers and made the effort to save them.  Our thanks to the Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society for forwarding the papers to the Andrew Tuttle Museum, and to the Tuttle for sending them to us.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives





This is a family passport photo of Stella (Scharff) Petersen, with husband and children. Scharff attended Defiance College’s Academy (a preparatory course for students not ready for college level work) between 1909 and 1912.  The Archives recently was given a file of papers associated with Scharff, including the above family passport, some of Scharff’s grade cards, a list of wedding presents, and other documents that give insight to 1910s social history, not to mention Defiance College history.

For example, among Scharff’s papers was this program below from the 1912 Academy commencement, a document which the Archives lacked:


Scharff’s name is listed inside as a graduate, along with “Wm A. Van Blarcon” (Blarcom), whose descendant gave the Archives some interesting photos a few years ago from the same era.

Another cool document among Scharff’s papers gives some insight on the behavior expected of DC students in the 1910s:


This is a grade card from the 1911-12 academic year.  DC apparently gave grades of “G” and “E”–“good” and “excellent,” perhaps?  But look at the remarks section: Scharff was given 4 demerits for “loud talking in dining room.”  Can you imagine that kind of restriction being put on students in the dining hall today?  On another card, she was given 2 demerits for running up the stairs.

There’s interesting social history in the list of wedding presents: 1 dozen silver tea spoons, sterling gravy ladle, fern dish, cut glass celery dish, etc.  It’s interesting to compare the gift list to what might be given as wedding gifts today.  Also among the papers is a record from a furniture store in Connecticut that listed the household goods the couple purchased a few months after their wedding.

An unknown family member provided biographical information in the collection of papers about Scharff.  She was born in Copenhagen, and the family emigrated to the U.S. in the 1890s.  Her mother died when she was 12, and her father apparently left the picture, forcing her to go to work at age 14.  By 1909 she had accumulated enough savings to think about acquiring some higher education.  She saw an ad in the Saturday Evening Post about DC and enrolled in 1909.  She was taken on as an office assistant to President P.W. McReynolds, and took classes in shorthand and other business-related courses.  After she graduated, she investigated becoming a missionary–we have correspondence between Scharff and the Board of Foreign Missions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  But fate intervened, and before she could go down that path, she met and married Carl Petersen in 1916.   The above passport is marked with stamps from a visit the family made in Denmark in 1921.

The Scharff papers have not been digitized, but the originals can be viewed during weekday office hours, 8-4:30, or an appointment can be made for evening or weekend access.  Visit the Archives page of the Library’s website for contact information  here

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives