Thursday, May 30, 2013

The First Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games

by Bryan Whitledge

This year marks forty years since the first Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games. Since 1973, thousands of athletes, spectators, and volunteers have met on the CMU campus each year for the competition. During Disability Awareness Month, in October, the Clarke posted a blog about the four-decades-long relationship between Special Olympics and Central Michigan University. With the Summer State Games coming to town May 30 - June 1 of this year, we thought it would be apt to reflect on the first State Games held June 1-2, 1973.

After CMU was chosen as the headquarters for Special Olympics Michigan in October of 1972, work began on planning for the State Games to be held just eight months later. An advisory committee was established in November 1972 to "counsel on all matters pertaining to Special Olympics." The committee consisted of members of the CMU and Mount Pleasant communities as well as individuals from across the State.

Because there was no Special Olympics organization at the state-level in Michigan prior to this, one of the first orders of business was figuring out how the games would be administered. It was decided that the State would be broken down into 21 regions and athletes would need to qualify for the State Games via regional competitions.

Another step in the organization of the State Games was recruiting volunteers. In order to accommodate the thousands of athletes and spectators that were expected for the June events, calls for volunteers were frequent in the spring of 1973. The largest pool of volunteers were CMU students. Several volunteer drives were held on campus and the Central Michigan Life student newspaper featured advertisements and stories about the need for participation from the students. In the end, over 200 volunteers helped out.

Thanks to all of the organizers, volunteers, athletes, and supporters, the first State Summer Games in 1973 were a success. The Games featured events in track and field, archery, bowling, dancing, and gymnastics.  Over 1,600 athletes participated. The following years would see an increase in the number of participants, spectators, and volunteers. Forty years on, Special Olympics is a true CMU tradition. Fire Up! to all the athletes, volunteers, organizers, and supporters who will be coming to Mount Pleasant this weekend.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Opening Reception of Dow Chemical Portrayed Art Exhbition

Looking down the Tittabawasee River toward
the Dow Chemical Plant, 1920
The Clarke Historical Library is pleased to welcome you to the opening reception of Dow Chemical Portrayed, an exhibition of paintings by famed English artist Arthur Henry Knighton-Hammond. In 1920, Knighton-Hammond was commissioned to create renderings of the Dow Chemical Company plant in Midland, Michigan. The commission was fueled partially by company founder H.H. Dow's desire to enhance the company's public profile and thereby sales. The result is an invaluable artistic record of the company's early plant.

This exhibit will be available for public viewing through June 26, 2013. The Clarke appreciates the generosity of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in making this exhibit possible.

This reception is being held in conjunction with a reception of the American Chemical Society's Regional Meeting on the campus of Central Michigan University. The reception will take place in the Clarke and in the Baber Room of the Park Library from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm on Thursday, May 16. In light of this event, the Clarke Historical Library will close one hour early, at 4:00 pm, on May 16 and reopen at 5:30 to host the reception. Please see the following link for further information:

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Clare Sentinel and CM Life digital newspaper conversion projects now complete on CONDOR

by Amber Wright

The Preservation Microfilming Department here at the Clarke has recently completed two important local projects – preserving and digitizing over 100 years of The Clare Sentinel (1896-1999) and almost 80 years of CM Life, stretching all the way back to 1919, when the newspaper was titled Central Normal Life.

These projects provided the preservation team with many interesting finds. You can view the original newspaper issue where these items were found by clicking on the link that is embedded in the date and you can enlarge the images by clicking on them:

  • Some finds were important, such as the articles about small pox vaccination on the front pages of the February 8th (p. 1, col. 5) and 22nd (p. 6, col. 3), 1939 issues of Central State Life (another title by which CM Life was called (1927-41)).

  • Some were quirky, like this issue from December 30th, 1965 in The Clare Sentinel, which contained a depiction of a baby in astronaut gear on page 9, allegorically symbolizing the turning of the New Year and commemorating the first spacewalk completed by a U.S. Citizen on June 3, 1965. Central State Life had its own quirky stories of the professor who spoke about the “universal language” known as Esperanto in 1930, as the August 6th article describes on page 2, column 4.

  • Then there were the articles that gave us some historical perspective, such as the Central State Life front page discovery and re-concealment of the “cornerstone box” during construction in 1939, in the February 22nd (p.1, col. 2-4) issue. The box was a time capsule from decades before. Following tradition, it was replaced with contemporary objects, meant to be found again in the future. Even greater perspective was found in 1930. This January 15th (p. 2, col. 1-2) article exalts state support for student tuition with the claim that an education at Central was “[i]nexpensive, but not cheap.” The article explained that while the school charged a mere $279 per year for student tuition, the state was absorbing $270 worth. Because the state was “glad to bear such a high proportion of the cost” the bottom line for students was $9. Taking inflation into consideration, that’s $125 per year in 2013.

  • Finally, there are fun cultural artifacts that can often be found in advertisements in the newspapers. For instance, in the September 19th, 1963 issue of The Clare Sentinel, (p.9, col. 1), there was a Cheez WhizTM ad suggesting how to use it with a baked potato. Today, there are several brands and styles of processed cheese sauces, but the narrow, tapered Cheez WhizTM jar seen in this 50-year-old ad was the original.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Clarke Seniors Graduating

Commencement exercises at Central Michigan University will take place on Saturday, May 4. This marks the end of the Clarke careers for three of our students employees. Adam Gilbert (preservation microfilming), Ben Gulick (reference), and Taylor Packard (reference) will all be turning to a new chapter in their lives and we wish them the best of luck with their next adventures.

Congratulations to the Clarke graduates and the entire Central Class of 2013!