WHAT WAS COMMENCEMENT LIKE 100 YEARS AGO?

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

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IN MEMORIAM: MAXIE J. LAMBRIGHT

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

DUKE ELLINGTON AT DC, 1972

This is a photo from the performance jazz great Duke Ellington and His Orchestra gave at Defiance College’s College Community Center (now Weaner Center) on Weds., April 5, 1972.

The DC student newspaper, The Defender, reported that the concert attracted a “near capacity crowd of students and community people.” Duke wore a black coat for the first half of the concert, which The Defender called the more formal half, but changed into the striped sport jacket seen above for the post-intermission section of the show.

I was curious to see what history or biographical books about Ellington had to say, if anything, about the concert. I did find a book called Duke’s Diary, by Ken Vail (Scarecrow Press, 2002; ISBN 0810841193). Volume 2, page 415 lists Ellington’s concerts for 1972, and DC’s is included in the excerpt shown here:

A second book, Duke Ellington, Day By Day and Film By Film, by Klaus Stratemann (JazzMedia ApS, 1992; ISBN8788043347), also lists the DC concert on page 623:

But so far, I haven’t found anything more in books about Ellington where he might have commented on playing concerts at college campuses and in small towns towards the end of his career. Ellington died just over two years after his DC appearance.

Here’s another image from the DC concert in April 1972, showing Duke at the piano:

Barbara Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives

SOCIAL HISTORY FROM POSTCARDS

Weston Hall postcard, postmarked Feb. 1, 1909

Recently, former professor Jo McCormick donated this postcard to the DC Archives. I thought we had this image already, but it turns out it’s one we didn’t already own, so the gift was appreciated.

Sometimes you can learn interesting bits of social history by reading the backs of postcards. Here’s a scan of this card’s message side:

Reverse side of postcard, addressed to Mary Bone(?) of Mt. Vernon, Ohio

I’ll transcribe the writing as best I can, but some bits are hard to make out:

“Sun. P.M. Received package letter cards all O.K. Many thanks for the crackers. Something new for us. Ha! Have to give a biog. of Abe. Lincoln in Philo. Society Feb. 12. 100 yrs. since Abe was born. Have got a job out here. Jessie & I sweep the corridors and clean the bath tubs & etc. on Wed. & Sat. 75 [cents] a week. Will write more about it later. Suppose you got your fill of oysters. I am so hungry for some I can hardly stand it. It is very cold up here today. Ground covered with snow. A few sleighs on the road. Bye, [Ted & Jenny?]”

The reference to Philo. Society is the Philomathean Society, one of several literary societies run by DC students. According to this page in the 1928 Oraculum: http://memory.defiance.edu/jsp/RcWebImageViewer.jsp?doc_id=10e86788-4122-419b-a2d1-494034b9aea3/odefc000/20150521/00000001&pg_seq=53&search_doc=&query1_modifier=AND&query1=philomathean&query1_field=CONTENT

the Philo. Society was the oldest on campus, founded in 1896. It was a social club and educational outlet for students. The societies would put on programs of literary readings and musical performances, and sometimes put on competitive debates between societies. The postcard writer must have been assigned the talk about Lincoln’s life as their turn to perform as a member.

Isn’t it interesting that students worked to clean the dormitories? While current DC students have work-study jobs, they more often work for as a professor’s assistant or in the library or for maintenance, rather than performing cleaning duties.

The mention of seeing sleighs on the roads was particularly interesting. We don’t have any images in the Archives of horse and sleigh teams on campus, but apparently they existed.

The reference to craving oysters was intriguing, which led me to search the internet about why they were so popular. I found this post from Feb. 2017 from the Michigan State Univ. archaeology program about why they were a popular food in this period:

http://campusarch.msu.edu/?p=4962

The blog says oysters in 1909 cost half the price of beef, and they were a “trendy, cheap and readily available” food.

That’s a lot of social history from one little postcard.

Barbara Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives

BEACH BOYS–WERE THEY HERE AT DC IN 1967???

The above photo of the Beach Boys appeared in the April 21, 1967 Defender of a concert they gave on campus on April 19.  Rather strangely, there was no article about the concert, just this photograph.  And when I looked in the Archives’ newspaper clippings file, where articles about the College were clipped from the Crescent-News and other newspapers and pasted onto notebook pages, I could find very little there.  On the date of the concert, April 19, the Crescent printed a photo of Dan Flory and Richard Whetstone presenting tickets to children from the Defiance County Children’s Home for the concert that night.  But there was no follow-up story that I could find, that reviewed or reported on the concert in the Crescent.  Or, at least, if there was one, the story did not end up in our clippings file.

So that got me wondering what histories of the Beach Boys might have said about the Defiance College concert.  I found a book called The Beach Boys in Concert, by Ian Rusten and Jon Stebbins (Backbeat Books, 2013, ISBN 9781617134562).  It contains a timeline of Beach Boys concerts, including this page below, which confirms the April 19, 1967 concert at DC:

Yet if you consult The Beach Boys, by Keith Badman (Backbeat Books, 2004, ISBN0879308184), that book’s timeline listing for April 1967 conflicts with the first book, showing that the Beach Boys played a concert in Iowa on April 19:

I’ve talked to people who attended the concert at DC, so it did happen.  But it’s rather puzzling that neither the Defender nor the Crescent-News reported on it afterwards–why the media silence?   And it makes you wonder what the two books’ authors used as source material to compile their timelines.  An interesting historical puzzle to be solved.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives

HOT OFF THE PRESS

Just received today: The Crescent News’s new book, Defiance Through the Years: A Pictorial History of Defiance County.

The DC Archives submitted a selection of photos from our collection and quite a few were included in the book, especially in the “Famous Visitors” chapter, with pictures of President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, baseball players Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, astronaut John Glenn, and jazz legend Duke Ellington, all appearing in College-related events.

The book will be available for circulation in DC’s collection soon. We thank Dennis Van Scod and the Crescent News for donating this copy to the Pilgrim Library.
Barb Sedlock
Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives

When did DC get the internet?

Internet2

When sorting through newspaper clippings on Defiance College history from the 90’s recently, I came across this one, dated 9-18-95, announcing that DC had received a grant from the National Science Foundation to begin the process of connecting to the Internet.  The grant provided hardware and paid for the first year of connection to the network.

The timing of the grant allowed DC to become connected in time to catch the boom:  Wikipedia’s article on the Internet says: “During the late 1990s, it was estimated that traffic on the public Internet grew by 100 percent per year.”

So DC’s link to the Internet happened 23 years ago.  Most of us old enough to remember pre-Net days had no idea back in 1995 of the changes to work and personal life that connectivity would bring.  But current DC students have never known what it was like to be without the Internet.

P.S.–DC issued a press release on February 24, 1997 announcing that the College had just created its first web page, with the same address we use today, http://www.defiance.edu.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives