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

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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

20,000 and counting

IB20000002

The DC Archives’ Image Bank (collection of images from our past) has now reached the 20,000th photo.  The above is number IB20000, taken at summer orientation in 2002.  These two came from a batch donated by the Admissions Office recently.  Here’s IB20001:

IB20001001

These are 2002 student orientation leaders letting off a little steam.

Our Image Bank collection documents Defiance College history.  It largely grows through donations of photos from alumni and/or their families, and from various offices on campus which donate pictures they no longer need for their own purposes.

Unfortunately many come to the Archives with no names or explanation of what event they are from.  Sometimes I have to guess the date from clues in the photos from hairstyles and fashions, makes of cars in the background, or what I know the campus looked like in a certain era.  For the last couple of Homecomings, I have taken a bunch of unidentified photos for alumni to look through at the tailgate party tent, to see if they remember what the picture is of or who is in it.  And sometimes I ask faculty or staff who have been at DC for a long time for help identifying people.  There are probably some emeriti who run when they see me coming, because I have also asked them for help many times.

If you have photographs from your time at DC you would like to donate to the Archives, please contact me.  There is a “Deed of Gift & Collection Policy form on this page of our website that needs to be filled out.  The form transfers ownership to the Archives and gives permission for us to digitize or otherwise use the photo in future publications.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives

 

HOMECOMING 1956: RICHARD NIXON VISITS CAMPUS

IBS2199

He’s rather hard to see in this slide, but then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon visited Defiance College’s campus in October 1956 as part of Homecoming week activities.

Nixon is standing to speak at the podium a little to the right of the U.S. flag.  A special platform was built for the event in front of Trowbridge Hall, visible in the background. The Convocation was held on Monday, October 15, 3 years to the day after President Dwight Eisenhower visited campus to lay the cornerstone to what is now Hubbard Hall.

The College asked the Convocation speakers to avoid politics–it was being held during Eisenhower and Nixon’s campaign for re-election as President and Vice-President.  Nixon chose to title his speech, “The World,” and praised small colleges like Defiance and the one he attended himself.  Four thousand people attended the speech, and many more lined the roads from the airport to campus to greet Nixon and his wife.

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The above photo shows Nixon arriving on campus.  A corner of what is now Hubbard Hall, then the Anthony Wayne Library, is visible in the background, back when the entrance to the building was on the southwest corner, before the McCann addition was constructed.

Homecoming week also featured a tea party, a parade, football game against Ohio Northern, an all-campus BBQ offered by Kenneth Wells, President of Freedom’s Foundation, Inc., and additional speakers.

To read more about Nixon’s visit, consult:

Defender, October 26, 1956

Defiance College Bulletin, Fall 1956

The Convocation program

And view two more photos:

Mr. and Mrs. Nixon in what is now Hubbard Hall

Nixon standing at a microphone

 

Barb Sedlock, Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives

IN MEMORIAM: LIESBETH WIEBE

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Liesbeth “Elisabeth” Wiebe passed away on June 28 in Columbia, Missouri.  Funeral services were held today, July 6, at St. John UCC on the DC campus.

She taught German at DC, and was a DC alumnus.  She was married to Professor Hermann Wiebe, who died in 2006.

IB172100001

Betty helped Hermann with research for his historical paintings.  I remember getting interlibrary loan books on the history of Ohio court houses for them back in the 1980s, when Hermann was creating his Ohio courthouse paintings, which now hang in the Pilgrim Library and are featured in a video on the Ohio Supreme Court website.  Betty also is seen in the photo below, working with Hermann on a translation of Bible commentaries into Russian, which were published by Herald Press in the 80s.

IB38400001

She and Hermann are sorely missed by the DC family.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives