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





This is a photo taken on October 1, 1918, labeled “Raising Post Flag, College Army School, Defiance, Ohio Company ‘A’ in Line.”  The photographer was Edward Bronson, who left a wonderful collection of panoramic photos of life in the Defiance area between 1906 and 1949.  The Defiance Public Library owns the original photos, and recently allowed us to make copies of the Bronson photos which show the Defiance College campus and activities.

This photo is unusual in that the exact date it was taken was recorded.  The World War I Student Army Training Corps lived and trained on the DC campus in 1918.  Of course nobody knew on October 1, 1918 that the war would be over in a little more than a month.   Here is a link to an advertising card used to recruit men for the Corps:


This is a second Bronson photo of May Day activities on campus in 1914.   Building on the left is Trowbridge Hall, in center, Weston Hall, Sisson in the background, and old Defiance Hall behind the May pole dancers.   Here’s a link to a 2013 blog post on the importance of May Day on college campuses in this era, with additional photos of DC activities.

We would like to thank Defiance Public Library for giving permission to post the photos from their library collection.  They are an important addition to DC’s archives.  There are over 25 photos of DC in the Bronson collection.  The panoramic camera Bronson used to take them is on display at the Andrew Tuttle Museum in downtown Defiance.   All of the Bronson photos may be viewed on Defiance Public Library’s section of the Ohio Memory website.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives



While the summer solstice won’t arrive for another month, summer on the DC campus begins in early May after graduation.  Here’s some summery scenes from DC’s past.

The above photo was taken, we think, in 1968, showing the Anthony Wayne Library (now Hubbard Hall) on the right, and a portion of Enders Student Union on the left.


This photo is of incoming freshman students who were on campus for summer orientation in 1967.  The bleachers are set up for an outdoor play that was presented later in the day.



This picture is of students participating in an archaeological dig during summer school, possibly the Brooke site outside of Defiance along the Auglaize River in 1971.


This is a summer scene from campus in 1967, featuring Sisson Hall.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives



Missing from the DC Memory website, that is.  We thought that all the existing print Oraculum yearbooks had been scanned and loaded into the DC Memory website.  But a recent doublecheck revealed that several that did not get uploaded with the other yearbooks.

Missing from DC Memory as of April 2017 are:



and 1991/92, the cover of which is pictured above.

Some of the confusion may have been caused by the fact that in the 1910’s, in some years there were two Oraculums published.  For example, there is one currently on DC Memory labeled 1915, but the archives has an totally different print edition with “June 1915” on the title page that had not been digitized.

If you are looking for material from the above yearbooks, please contact library staff and we will try to get the relevant scans to you.   We will upload the missing Oraculums when time and budgets permit.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives






We learned today of the death of Dr. Bernard Mikula.  He was a noted researcher in corn genetics and teacher and mentor to many Defiance College alumni.

Mikula was profiled in a November 22, 1963 Defender article, which said that he was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  He served in the submarine service of the U.S. Navy during World War II.




He received a bachelor’s degree from William and Mary in 1951, and a PhD from Washington University, St. Louis, in 1956.  He came to Defiance College in 1960 and taught botany and genetics, among other courses. The above photo was taken in 1972, with students in the greenhouse near Tenzer Hall.



One of the things alumni will remember most about him are the student trips Mikula led to the Big Bend area of Texas and to other Southwest locations during Winter Term.  The above picture was taken on one of those trips in 1971.

Bernie retired from teaching in 1989 but kept in touch with the campus and his former students.  His loss will leave an unfillable space in the Defiance College family.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives


poster 2 aCROP.jpg

A local resident, John Berthold, donated 4 posters from the Print Shoppe, a former printing company in Defiance where he used to work.  This is one for a Men’s Glee Club concert, but doesn’t have a date.  Mr. Berthold said that the Print Shoppe would print its name on the bottom of posters that it produced for free, as a donation, but when the name of the company was not on the poster, then it was printed for a fee.

One of the other posters he donated was for a Purple Masque performance of the play, “Chicken Every Sunday.”  The Archives has a program for a performance of that play, which was in 1948.  The days of the week in the program and poster match, so it’s probable that that poster was from 1948.

But I wasn’t able to find anything about a Men’s Glee Club concert from the same period, nor does the Archives have a copy of the photo on the poster.  Though the type font styles make me think that the other three posters are from the same era.

Here’s another one, about an intriguing basketball game against the University of Mexico:

poster 1 acrop.jpg

I looked in the yearbooks from that era, and searched the student newspapers from the late 40s and early 50s, but so far have not found out anything about this game.  How did DC get the chance to play a game with a university from another country?  You would think it would be an important enough event to make the Oraculum or the Tom-Tom.

A poster not pictured is about a night football game between DC and Adrian, played at Bryan High School, also undated.  Clearly, some research is in order to find out more about these events!

Our enthusiastic thanks to Mr. Berthold for saving the posters and keeping them in such nice condition all these years.  He said the Print Shoppe closed in 1982.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives.






In recent decades, it’s become a DC tradition to have a Valentine’s Day group portrait taken in Defiance Hall lobby of faculty and staff who wear red for the occasion.  We think the above picture was taken in 2005.

Back row, left to right: President Gerald Wood, Beverly Harrington, Lou Joost, David Stuckey, Kathy Punches, Carolyn Gilgenbach, Randy Lydum, Cindy Shaffer, and Sheri McCoy.   Front row: Vickie Rhodes, Judy Lymanstall, and Sue Dumire.

The tradition has grown in popularity.  Here’s the group portrait from 2014:


It’s become an event, with the Chamber Singers performing and sometimes refreshments are offered.   A fun way to commemorate Valentine’s Day.

Barb Sedlock

Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives