An exhibit in the new Women’s Commission Art Gallery in 1972

From October 11 through November 15, 2019, the Women’s Commission Art Gallery in Dana Hall on the Defiance College campus will host a historical exhibit about the Women’s Commission, which has a storied history on campus. It was one of the College’s earliest, still-active organizations. Here’s the earliest meeting minutes we have in the Archives, from 1905:

This meeting was held in President McReynolds’ office, with him in attendance; Flossie Whitney was elected secretary–she was new to the DC faculty at that point. The meeting discussed the hiring of a matron for the Girls’ Dormitory. Trowbridge Hall was built in 1905, but it’s not clear whether this meeting is talking about furnishings for it or its predecessor.

The group’s constitution, in the same book as the above minutes, states that the object of the organization “shall be to advise and assist in matters pertaining to the welfare of the young women of Defiance College.”

A 1964 booklet with a history of the Women’s Commission can be viewed on DC Memory. A later updated history of the WC written by Marilyn (Loar) Mallott ’51 in 2004 for the group’s 100th anniversary is available in the Library’s collection, but has not yet been digitized.

Please plan to visit the exhibit, which was curated by Gallery Director and Assistant Professor of Design Beverly Fanning, with materials gathered from the DC Archives by Barb Sedlock.

The Gallery’s hours are 9AM-7PM Mon-Fri, and 9-2 on Saturdays. An opening reception will be held during Homecoming, on Saturday, October 12 from 4-5:30, after the football game.



DC was getting ready to demolish the several Pilgrim Hall residences in the summer of 2000, to make way for what is now the Jacket Suites. The buildings had been constructed in the early 1960s, and by some accounts were intended to be temporary. You can view a brief history of the halls in the 1988 Defiance College Cookbook, which has building histories as chapter introductions.

DC administrators made arrangements with the city fire department to use the halls for firefighter practice before demolition, and that’s what’s happening in these photos that I only recently discovered.

A Crescent-News clipping, unfortunately not dated but I think is from July 2000, said that the firefighting exercise would allow the department to test thermal-imaging cameras, be useful for general training, and would allow the fire investigation teams from various Defiance County departments to practice arson investigation. The dorms were set up like hotel/motel rooms, the windows boarded up, and then charged with smoke for the practice sessions.

Firefighters during the practice session in summer of 2000.

The clipping said that the city firefighters had a similar practice session earlier in the summer on two houses near Kingsbury Park by the river, which were to be torn down.

I could not scan the clipping here because of copyright restrictions.

President Harris (left) inspects the aftermath with a fireman.

This post was spurred by an alumnus who contacted me last month wanting more information on the demolition of the halls. And then about a week later, I discovered the photos in a file cabinet, waiting to be processed.

R.I.P., Pilgrim Halls!

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives


Recently, a DC administrator gave the Archives some files during an office clean-out. Among the items was this real photo 1907 postcard. It’s labeled:


with names: Gilbert, Rath(?), Dudley, Wright, Webber, Bailey, Brock, Williams, Wolsiffer(?), Barnes, Moran, Reed, Larkins, and Lamb. Unfortunately, the photo on the card is starting to fade, especially on the left side.

The other side of the card was addressed to Alice Tucker, and postmarked May 20, 1907. The card was wrapped in a handwritten note that said:

“Alice Tucker was our neighbor. She was injured when jumping out a dorm window her freshman year at Defiance. The dorm was on fire. Her leg or hip broken & caused her to limp rest of her life. Because of the incident, her mother would not allow her to return to Defiance.” There is no indication who the donor was.

An article in the December 1906 Collegian said the Trowbridge fire happened on October 28, but does not address how the fire occurred. The article talks about plans for rebuilding, doubling its capacity, but does not mention anyone getting injured.

The card apparently was sent to Alice by her former classmate Ola Brock, to keep in touch after Alice failed to return to campus. Ola’s message reads in part, “Supposed you would be glad to have a look in the faces of Freshmen Class. How are you getting along? We are exceedingly busy with our studies…”

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives


The photo above shows an example of the problems archivists can encounter when processing new materials. We were given this badly cracked piece of glass with two panoramic photos of DC students/faculty/staff in 1956 and 1958 glued onto the glass; the glue is on the front(!) of the photos. As an object, it’s extremely difficult to handle. Can’t pull the photos off, parts are stuck tight to the glass. If the glass cracks further, that could damage the photos. So it’s a real dilemma trying to decide what to do with them.

The Archives already owns a copy of one of the two photos, and if we can get this one off, it would be a second copy. The other one is not in our collection, so we want to be especially careful with it. The most inexpensive solution would be to soak the glass and photos in distilled water and then they might peel off after a couple days with minimal damage, and then dry the photos out. But the glass is so huge, I haven’t been able to find a tray big enough that it will fit in.

So this is an example of why it can take time to process material donated to an archives. People do things to objects for displays or scrapbooks and don’t realize it can jeopardize the artifacts’ usefulness as an historical document.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives


1949 Commencement Procession

Until this month, the DC Archives did not have any photographs of Commencement from the 1930’s or 40’s. But a discovery of papers in a storeroom from Presidents Hopkins, McCann, and Johnston eras is bringing some lost documents to light. This is a picture of DC faculty in our 1949 Commencement procession, 70 years ago. The only professor we’ve been able to positively identify is Professor Herman Dally, holding the Commencement program in his hands in front of him, in the center. Commencement was held in Weston Hall in those days. Some of the other photos from the same stash were taken during the ceremony and show President Hopkins handing diplomas to graduates.

You can view the 1949 Commencement documents in DC Memory here.

DC’s Choir in February 1952

Above is another newly-discovered photo; the Archives didn’t have any pictures of DC’s choir from before 1953 until this was found. I suspect this photo was taken on the occasion of DC’s choir tour in February 1952 to perform at various churches in New England. Choir members got some free time to explore New York and Boston on rest days from singing. The same batch of papers where the photo was found yielded a tour schedule and correspondence from arrangements for the tour.

You can view a program from the choir’s performance at home in Defiance later that semester in DC Memory, here.

I’m looking forward to what other good stuff might be in this batch of papers that will fill in gaps in the Archives.

Barb Sedlock

Metadata and Archives Librarian


The Defiance College Class of 1919. Trowbridge Hall, the women’s dormitory, is in the background.

Class of 2019 members may wonder what it was like to graduate from DC 100 years ago. We don’t have a Commencement program from that year in the DC Archives, but the 1921 Oraculum has a page that lists the various activities in the week leading up to the 1919 Commencement on Tuesday, June 10.

Included were music recitals, a baseball game versus the alumni (DC’s varsity squad won), oratorical contests, Alumni Association meetings and a banquet, and an art exhibit. During the Alumni Association banquet, the 1919 grads were mock initiated into the Association, and everyone dined on veal loaf and mashed potatoes.

Some of the orations were on topics like, “The College Woman,” “Opportunity,” and the Commencement address by Dr. Allen Stockdale of Toledo was called “Making Life.” Commencement speakers 100 years ago gave life advice to graduating seniors just as they do today.

One of the big events during that week was the dedication of the new Tenzer Hall. Here’s an image of the cover of the dedication program:

Here’s a couple photos inside the program that show the new physics and chemistry laboratories, state of the art for the time:

Physics lab on left, chemistry on right.

But it would take some research to find out which rooms in Tenzer today housed these labs.

“Closing exercises” were held on the lawn in front of old Defiance Hall after Commencement, in which the 1919 graduates took off their caps and gowns and handed them over to the junior class, for their use the following year. I wonder if that’s what the 1919 grads are preparing to do in the photo at the top of this article.

If you would like to read more about the 1919 Commencement, the June 20, 1919 issue of the Defiance Collegian in DC Memory contains several articles with more information about the activities.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives


Maxie Lambright in 1989

We learned of the death of Professor Emeritus Maxie J. Lambright earlier this week. He came to Defiance College in 1967 after teaching in Continental and Paulding schools, as DC’s Audiovisual Coordinator and supervised student teaching. Read the Defender article about his hiring here.

He also taught educational technology classes. Below is a rather dark color slide of Maxie teaching a class in 1972 on how to use audiovisual equipment.

In 1974, he was named Director of the Anthony Wayne Library, while continuing to serve as the go-to person on campus for audiovisual needs. The Archives has a photo of him at the top of the football stands, filming a game in the early days of video recording.

He retired in 1989, at the same time as Profs. Dick Small and Bernie Mikula. Read the story in the Feb. 20, 1989 Defender here. This is a photo of the three of them taken at the time:

Maxie and wife Joan moved to Columbus for a number of years, but later returned to Defiance. After Joan’s death in 2011, Maxie became a superfan, attending countless DC sports events. He received the Fan Appreciation Award at the 2018 Purple & Gold athletics banquet.

Maxie influenced the lives of many DC co-workers and students, and will be greatly missed.

Barb Sedlock, Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives