Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CMU's A Cappella Tradition

by Colton Hengesbach

One tradition loved by many in the Central community during the Winter holiday season is listening to musical performances from members of the CMU student body, faculty, and staff. For over 80 years, Central Michigan University has had its auditoriums, walkways, and gathering areas blessed with music. This music, however, wasn’t created by any musical instrument as you might think of one; it was created entirely by voices. A Cappella groups have been a prominent part of CMU’s musical history ever since the first group was formed by Professor J. Harold Powers -- sound familiar? After a stint as the Keeler Union, the building known as Powers Hall today, was the  Music Building, a building where J. H. Powers taught and for which he is now the namesake.

The first A Cappella group on campus was primarily formed by Choir students and Glee Club members. This talented group of 16 men and 20 women mostly performed at assemblies that the entire University community attended. Little did this group know that they would be the founders of an entirely new way of performing and producing music on Central Michigan University’s campus.

Image from December 1933 Centralight

Today, there are three A Cappella groups on campus. First off, there is the all-male group, Fish ‘N Chips. Secondly, there is an all-female group named On the Rox. Last, but certainly not least, the only co-ed group at CMU, Central Harmony. Each group has their own style of music, which is typical among A Cappella groups. Similar to today, the first A Cappella group on campus also had their own style and feel to the songs they performed. This group pulled from many classical composers and used a number of different dancing styles to accompany their arrangements. For a more detailed list of this groups members and a set list, check out the December 1933 Centralight (p.8).

Things sure have changed over the years in terms of the variety of music and the way A Cappella groups entertain crowds. New songs make for a new way to create this music and new ideas shape how this music can come alive. One thing among all A Cappella groups that will never change, though, is the love of music

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas in the Clarke's Archives

By Marian Matyn

Christmas is recorded in 25 manuscripts collections in the Clarke. Many of the collections include various examples of Christmas cards, some of which are in scrapbooks. We also have a Display Items collection composed of cards for special occasions, which includes Christmas cards. Here are a few examples from our manuscript collections:

Harley Whelpley, 1 folder, mentions receiving Christmas packages. He served as a private in Company C, 167th Engineers Construction Battalion during WWII.

Rotary Club slides, 1958-1962, include colored slides documenting family and group activities including Christmas celebrations.

Kendall Klumpp, Photograph collection includes black and white photos of Mt. Pleasant High School choral events, one is identified as Christmas Vespers Chorus, 1941.

Greeting card scrapbook, 1800s, includes mostly 19th c. Christmas and New Year's cards.

Tourism Club (Mt. Pleasant, MI) Organizational records include Christmas Books, 1931-1941 and 1961-1971. The Christmas Books document needy, local families that the Club helped at Christmas time. The 1931-1941 book also notes gifts given in 1929. The books include the names, ages, and addresses of family members, gifts given (food, clothes, toys, and/or household supplies), medical, marital, and employment or income information, if any, and what, if any, government or other assistance was received. Due to the private personal, medical, and financial information about the families in the books, and the fact that some of the people listed in the 1971 Christmas Book were infants at that time, the books are closed to researchers until 2040.

Camp North Woods (Pellston, MI) Camp Snooze, Vol. 5, 1928.

Also included are party and dinner favors, a few newspaper clippings documenting the girls attending summer camp from June 28-Aug. 20, 1928, and a Dec. 28 Christmas gathering, and related letters, invitations, and telegrams, Nov.-Dec. 28, 1928. Most of the materials are mimeographed.

Owen P. Safford, Glass-plate negatives, 1890, 1897. Box 1 contains the calendar pages of 1897 as well as a wonderful Christmas scene of a decorated table-top tree complete with candles on the branches and surrounded by children. Safford was a druggist and photographer in Flint.

The Ardith and Charles Westie collection, which is still growing, includes Christmas cards including some from the 1940s. Here's one to warm your heart.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Visit from St. Nicholas

by Frank Boles

The first “stand-alone” publication of “The Night Before Christmas” is found in the Clarke Historical Library. Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was written as a gift for his children in 1822. It eventually became one of the best known poems ever written in the United States. Moore considered it a frivolous piece, but in 1823 a friend submitted it (without Moore’s permission) to a local newspaper, which published it anonymously. Many years later, Moore claimed credit for the work, although some scholars dispute this claim. Regardless of who wrote it, the first independent publication of the widely read poem occurred in 1848, a copy of which is in the Clark Historical Library.

The poem’s frivolity was almost unique for its time. Children’s literature of the day was designed to instill Christian values or educate children about the world. Although a certain amount of amusement was grudgingly allowed in such publications in order to keep children focused on their lessons, fun was clearly not the goal. Childhood was about learning and learning was not required to be fun.

Click on image for a larger view

Moore’s poem about good cheer and gift giving was simply meant to amuse. The poem likely drew on several existing sources in portraying “the jolly old elf,” but Moore’s vision of Santa Claus came to define the figure in the nineteenth century. Today, it continues to be who children everywhere expect to arrive at Thanksgiving day parades across America. Moore not only told us what St. Nick looked like, he also correctly assigned to St. Nick his unique mode of transportation, the flying sleigh and shared with children the names of the eight reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder (not Donner), and Blitzen.

For the curious, Donder was renamed Donner in 1939, when Robert L. May published his revisionist account of the North Pole holiday transit system, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Reindeer scholars are welcome to visit the Clarke, where they can also read May’s classic and decide for themselves whether the reindeer’s name is Donder, as Moore stated, or Donner, as claimed by May.

Whichever reindeer name you decide upon, and however you choose to celebrate the end-of-year holidays, the Clarke Historical Library staff wishes you good cheer and a delightful time of sharing.

Friday, December 11, 2015

DigMichNews Grant Finalists Announced

The Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant Program has announced the five finalists vying to receive a grant that will allow them to have their historic newspapers digitized and placed online. The winning community's newspaper will be available through the Michigan Digital Newspaper Portal. The grant, a $2,500 award to digitize 12,500 pages of previously microfilmed newspapers or 4,500 pages of unfilmed newspapers, is made possible by the Robert and Susan Clarke Endowment.

This year's finalists are:
  • Alpena (Alpena News, 1899-1905; 1909-10 and Michigan Labor Journal, 1884-90)
  • Clinton County (Clinton County Republican News, 1920-30)
  • Houghton Lake (Houghton Lake Resorter, 1940- )
  • L'Anse and Baraga County (L'Anse Sentinel, 1896- )
  • The Polish Mission (Polish Daily News (English Edition) 1970-89)
To learn more about these newspapers and what they have to offer, read their proposals on the Clarke Historical Library's DigMichNews Grant website.

Be Sure to Vote

To select the community that will be awarded the grant, we are asking you to decide which newspaper should win. Cast your votes between January 19 and January 26, 2016 via Twitter using the appropriate hashtag (the DigMichNews Grant site has links to generate a Tweet for you) or via a stamped and posted Michigan picture postcard indicating which community you are supporting. All votes must be posted or tweeted during the week-long voting period and all postcards must be received by the Clarke Historical Library by January 26 to count (No early or late votes will count).

To keep up with the latest about the DigMichNews Grant and for other information about the Clarke's historical preservation microfilming program, follow the Michigan Digital Newspaper Program on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Reference Tops the Charts

by Frank Boles

It was one busy month in the Clarke Historical Library during November. 426 people visited – by far the busiest month in a decade and astounding when one recalls that in the entire year of 2005-06, 929 people visited the Library.

Much of this increased use has to do with changes in the way history courses are taught. In particular, the Common Core State Educational Standards Initiative has changed the way teachers are expected to teach, and thus changed the way schools like CMU teach future teachers. Common Core calls on teachers to impart not just information, but learning skills to their students, what supporters call “deeper learning skills.” This, in turn has led to an emphasis on learning more than just “facts.” More and more teachers will be asked to develop in their students the ability to understand and interpret facts – to learn how to think about information.

Student working with primary source material in the Clarke

One way to do this is by using primary source material, the kind of things found in a library such as the Clarke. Learning how to assess documents, discussing how documents might be interpreted, and then developing a conclusion are critical skills both in history and in general in the twenty-first century. Future teachers learn how to do this in places like the Clarke Historical Library. This need to learn a new way to teach has created a new demand for the resources we have always held important.

It keeps the Library staff busy and the Library increasingly relevant to the mission of CMU as well as the broader social issues America faces.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving in the Clarke

By Marian Matyn

As a day to give thanks for all our blessings and those we love and our freedoms, I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving. President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving on Oct. 3, 1863. To read a copy of the proclamation click here:

Here is how Thanksgiving is represented three of the Clarke's collections.

First, we’ll look at the Geesje Visscher, Diary of our Grandmother, 1869-1901. This is a Dutch language diary (copy). Geesje married Mr. Visscher on May 2, 1841. In 1845, the Visschers sailed for the U.S. with Rev. Van Raalte, eventually settling in Holland (Mich.) by 1846. They had a large family, most of whom became or married ministers. Among other aspects of daily life, her diary discusses celebrating Thanksgiving in 1877. Here's how they did it:

Transcribed diary entry (p.64, transcribed by Mr. Clarence Jalving, from the Dutch) of Geesje Vander Haar Visscher.

The 29th of November we observed Thanksgiving Day as ordered in the President’s proclamation. It’s wintry and yesterday it snowed hard all day. Maria is home and so four of them went to church while my husband and I stayed home. The roads aren’t fit for buggy or sleight [sic] so they walked to church. We talked and read together and felt a profound sense of gratitude for all we had enjoyed throughout the past year. When the children came home they said that Rev. Pieters had preached from Psalm 29: ‘But in His temple He is honored by everyone.” We had a fine meal at noon and gave of our substance for the needs of the students and the poor. And so another Thanksgiving day was history.

This is a copy with a typed transcription of the diary. The diary is also available on microfilm. The original is at the Joint Archives of Holland, Michigan.

The second collection to look at is the Ursula Hemingway Jepson Collection, 1903-1951, which has a scrapbook that includes an original photo of the Hemingway family Thanksgiving dinner. Ursula (1902-1962) was one of famed writer Ernest's sisters.

Hemingway Family Thanksgiving, 1914

The third collection to mention is Jean Brinkman, Sadie Hawkins dance advertisments and letters (copies), 1949, 2014. Brinkman graduated from CMU in 1950. The first advertisement is for the weekend of November 5, 1949. It has seven characters and a letter written on the back to Jean's mom dated November 2, 1949. Jean discusses having asked Roger to the dance, thanks her mom for cookies and pearls, notes that she ate with Gamma Delta, is now treasurer of the Women's Glee Club, mentions her classes and going with Roger to the circus put on by the CMU community, and asks how she shall get home for Thanksgiving weekend. There is also an advertisement is for the weekend of November 18, 1950. It has eight characters and a letter written on the back to Jean's pop dated November 17, 1950, in which she discusses that she took Paul to the dance, had problems finding a boy whose date had not asked him ahead of schedule, which was against dance protocol, seating for a band trip, her classes, and that she has a ride home after her last class Wednesday for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Birthday, Royal Alice!

by Bryan Whitledge

We are almost too late for a very important date! November 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the release of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. A favorite of children and adults alike since its release, the first 2,000 copies released back in November 1865 quickly sold out. Today, a first edition is considered a must-have for children's book collectors and the Clarke is fortunate to have one those 2,000 copies.

While all first edition copies of Alice are special, some have added significance. One can find copies of Alice owned by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll was his pen name) in the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists at Princeton University. A copy that belonged to Alice Liddell, the namesake for the story, can be found as part of the Harcourt Armory Collection of the works of Lewis Carroll at Harvard University. At the Clarke, our copy also has added significance: it is the copy that was presented to the eight-year-old daughter of British Queen Victoria, Beatrice.

The copy, in presentation white vellum and containing the bookplate of Princess Beatrice, is part of the Lucile Clarke Memorial Children's Library. The Royal Alice, as it is affectionately called, is a favorite of library visitors of all ages. On the 150th anniversary of the release of one of the most beloved stories of all time, we think there is no better way to celebrate than to share this historically significant copy of Alice.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Traditional Thanksgiving Recipe

[To allow the staff of the Clarke to enjoy these recipes and other favorites, we will be closed Thursday, November 26, Friday, November 27, and Saturday, November 28. We will we return to our regular hours of operation Monday, November 30.]

A Traditional Thanksgiving Recipe

by Frank Boles

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, some may be searching for inspiration for their feast. Instead of pondering the latest trends in the magazines and on TV, we decided to take a look back at some traditional recipes found in the vast collection of cookbooks on the Clarke's shelves.

In the nineteenth century, Dr. Chase’s Recipes was America’s most published cookbook. An almanac that included all sorts of information including recipes, the book was published in Ann Arbor for more than a half-century. With over four million copies sold, the publisher claimed that the only book in wider circulation was the Bible.

Dr. Chase's Third, Last and Complete Receipt Book was published in 1909. His recipe for roast turkey is found below, along with his trademark writing style used to describe differing recipes for stuffing:

“Some people stew and chop the giblets before hand and mix them into the dressing. Each can suit herself, in this free country; and a good many also, as well as the author, like quite a sprinkling of cayenne pepper in the dressing, as it seems to remove a peculiar fresh smell coming from the inside of the turkey.”

Click image for a larger version

If, by chance, you’ve grown tired of the traditional roasted turkey, but think a turkey fryer may not be the way to go, the good doctor offered an English recipe to boil the bird and serve it with a sauce named “golden rain,” which is a cream sauce that included hard boil eggs, from which came the “golden” color.

We hope you enjoy the holiday, and if you do try one of Dr. Chase's receipts (as he called his recipes) send us an e-mail and tell us how it worked out – particularly “golden rain.”

Click image for a larger version

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Clarke is on Facebook and Twitter

The twenty-first century keeps on moving at a lightning strike's pace and the Clarke is keeping up. Now, our 600-year-old book of hours, our 250-year-old French books about New France, and our 150-year-old children's books have a thoroughly modern platform on which their greatness can be shared with the world - social media.

Check out the Clarke's Twitter feed (@Clarke_Library) and our Facebook page (ClarkeHistoricalLibrary) for the latest news about Clarke events and happenings. Also keep up with our regular postings including a historic CMU photo of the week, a featured item from our current exhibit, a Michigan picture postcard each Monday, and a featured first edition from our collection each Friday.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

by Marian Matyn

In the Clarke, we have a few manuscript collections that have interesting items documenting Halloweens of years past.

In the Trelfa Photographic Collection, 1886-1920, Series 6, which contains Sepull Glass-plate negatives, there are early Alpena images showing how Halloween was celebrated in Alpena in 1904. These images can be found in Box 2, Folders 45 and 46. Click the link to view the catalog record and finding aids for this collection (the fifth finding aid link includes the listing noting the Halloween images).

Above are glass-plate negatives found in the Trelfa collection, 1886-1920 of ghost scenes painted on Alpena store windows.

Another set of materials with images from Halloweens of yore is the Norm Lyon Papers, 1920-91. In Box 1 are film negatives of Lyon's children in Halloween costumes in the 1930s and 1940s. Box 2 contains film negatives of Mount Pleasant store fronts with Halloween scenes painted on the windows (these are undated). An example with a cat, a witch on a broomstick, and a Halloween field scene is below. Click the link to view the catalog record and finding aid for his papers.

Moving away from street scene, in the Nellie May Davis Finley Family Papers, 1881-1978, we find undated 20th century greeting cards in Box 21 Folder 3. This includes the party invitation below. Click the link to view the catalog record and finding aid for this collection.

Lastly, there are Halloween greeting cards and postcards in our miscellaneous Display Items collection. This is an uncataloged, inventoried collection. Here’s something you don’t see on the store shelves today -- a Halloween pumpkin balloon postcard.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Children's Lighthouse Art, Poetry, and Thank You Cards

by Marian Matyn

I'm currently processing the miscellaneous papers of Richard L. "Dick" Moehl. Moehl founded and led the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA) and worked with related groups to help preserve and repair Michigan lighthouses and document their history. He actively engaged troops of Boy Scouts and some Girl Scouts from several counties to help cleanup and repair lighthouses and their grounds. He also worked in conjunction with other related groups to improve Michigan tourism and preservation of historic and natural sites including helping develop the Sweetwater Trail of Michigan and the Mackinaw area to promote tourism, notably concerning the preservation of the Icebreaker Mackinaw.

Through Moehl, the Clarke already has the Organizational Records of GLLKA, 1984-2007, documenting the restoration of the St. Helena and Round Island lighthouses, complete runs of GLLKA's two publications, the Beacon and the Great Lakes Cruiser, as well as their other historic and educational publications and lighthouse calendars, and the photographic files used to generate the images in Great Lakes Cruiser. These collections can be found in Centra and their Google-searchable finding aids are available at

In Moehl's collection, there are lots of images of scouts working on lighthouses. Besides his work with scouts, lighthouses, and various organizations concerned with preserving lighthouses, nature, and promoting Michigan tourism, Dick traveled and talked with many groups of school children to promote interest in and education about lighthouses. He was apparently an inspiring speaker. The kids loved him. Below are some images of the thank yous and poems his presentations inspired the children to create.

Thank you cards by 5th graders, Sterling Heights, undated
(above and below)

Oversized lighthouse art of Kevin Van Allen
Lighthouse poetry anthologies, 4th grade students,
Hugger Elementary (Rocherster, Mich.), undated
A scary poem from the anthologies by Matt Glaser
Poem by "Kevin," from an anthology entitled Thank You, Captain!,
unidentified school, undated

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Coach Bono's '87 JV Oilers

CM Life, 10/21/1987, pp. 3, 15

Everyone had to get their start somewhere - Picasso had to pick up a paint brush for the first time and Aretha Franklin had to get up on stage for the first time. For CMU Coach John Bonamego, his first time hanging up the cleats and coaching was in 1987 with the Mount Pleasant High School junior varsity team. Since his time with the JV Oilers, coach Bono has coached several teams at the NCAA Division I and NFL levels. Nearly 30 years later, CMU's 2015 Homecoming is special as we welcome back an alum to Mount Pleasant, just one mile from where he first picked up a whistle and called plays.

Click on the images to view a larger version

Fire Up, Coach Bono and fire Up, Chips!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

John Bonamego Looking Out For His Teammates

1984 CMU Team Photo with
John Bonamego (left) and Aubrey Wade (right)

A CM Life profile of former CMU football player Aubrey Wade from September 24, 1986 (p. 3) explored Wade's work as a bouncer at the Wayside. He discussed the job and some of the odd things he saw as a bouncer. He also mentioned how he took the job. At first, when it was suggested to him by his roommate - none other than CMU's Coach Bono - Wade wasn't keen to the idea. But after some convincing, Wade took the job and, from the article, seemed to be a good fit.

On the field and off the field, Coach Bono has always been looking out for others around him.

Click on the article for a larger image

Fire Up, Coach Bono and Fire Up, Chips!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coach Bono's Beachwear Fashion Show

2nd Floor Thorpe Hall, 1983-84.
John Bonamego kneeling, second from the right.
In February 1985, enterprising CMU Student and member of the football team, John Bonamego co-produced a beachwear fashion show in the Beddow-Thorpe commons. The event promoted a Michigan business that Bonamego was a fan of and, as Bonamego said, "... it would be a good idea to show people the latest beachwear before they go on spring break" (CM Life 2/27/1985, p. 11).

Click on the article for a larger view

Not every university can claim an alum as their head coach and certainly not an alum who knows a little something about surf gear and bathing suits.

Fire Up, Coach Bono and Fire Up, Chips!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Coach Bonamego, the CMU Iron Man

Every football team has a corps of players who contribute a tremendous amount to the team, but don't get their names mentioned on the sports wrap up. These players make up the scout team, giving the CMU starting eleven a good look in preparation for that week's opponent. At CMU, the best of those players is honored with the Iron Man Award.

And who was the Iron Man in 1985 and 1986? It was current CMU coach John Bonamego. Check out this CM Life profile of Coach Bono from November 12, 1986 (p. 10) (click on the images of the newspaper articles to see a zoom-in). Among the fun facts in this article - Coach Bono watched the Smurfs, loved surfing, and he was the co-Captain for the 1986 Homecoming game against Toledo.

Fire Up, Coach Bono and Fire Up, Chips!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Linda Hundt Speaking Tuesday, September 22

DeWitt resident Linda Hundt, author of Sweetie-licious Pies: Eat Pie, Love Life, is an award winning baker and author. S​he is also an extraordinarily successful entrepreneur who owns and operates the Sweetie-licious Bakery CafĂ© with locations in DeWitt and Grand Rapids. Ms. Hundt will speak about the ups and downs of her career in the pie business.

Ms. Hundt's presentation, on Tuesday, September 22, begins at 7:00 pm in the Park Library Auditorium. Following the presentation, a reception will be held in the Clarke featuring samples of some of Ms. Hundt's delicious, award-winning, creations.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What? You Mean Registering for Classes Hasn't Always Been a Breeze?

by Bryan Whitledge

In the final days before classes start at Central, students are busy doing all of the welcome weekend things that seem to them to be long-standing traditions: moving into residence halls and apartments, going to MAINStage and other welcome events, and catching up with friends at local watering holes. But students today miss out on an old Central tradition that caused the days immediately before the beginning of classes to be met with mixed emotions. Sure it was great to see old friends and start off the new year, but there was also an angst-filled, dreaded, headache-inducing, annual rite of passage to be endured by each and every student: registration and the subsequent drop / add period.

Registration in 1948

Today, months before classes start, students register through an online database complete with a fillable calendar, course numbers and names of instructors, meeting times, number of seats available in the course, and even the meeting place of the course. Students add classes to the schedule with a few clicks of the mouse and they are all registered. Then, if they change their mind about something, students can log into the system to make as many changes as needed until classes are in session. This is a dramatic departure from the just 20 years ago, when phone registration was the hot new technology, and it is light years away from how registration was handled for almost 100 years, up through the 1980s.

Registration in the Fieldhouse, 1953
Registration in the early twentieth century took place the day before classes began. The 1915 calendar noted that Registration took place at 1:00 pm on Monday, September 27 and classes began just 24 hours later. The 1948 Bulletin of the Central Michigan College of Education shows a similar 24-hour span of time between registration for undergraduates, but students enrolled in graduate programs in 1948 were instructed to arrive for registration on Saturday, September 25 with the first meeting of classes being the same day!

Drop/Add forms, ca. 1978
In the 1950s, as more students came to Central, the registration period was extended to the two days prior to the start of classes. This lasted through the 1960s. In addition to the two days of registration prior to the start of classes, students has seven days after the start of classes to change their schedule during the drop/add period. It was during this time that the Finch Fieldhouse became synonymous with registration and drop/add.

As the University moved into the 1970s, a preregistration system was put in place allowing student to register during the spring semester. Even so, students simply registered for the courses they needed, not for a particular section or a particular instructor or particular meeting times. Students would only find out their schedule when they came campus in the fall. Of course, dissatisfaction with schedules meant that many students braved long lines in a steamy Finch Fieldhouse during the drop/add session. The registration and drop/add process left many students and staff from the Registrar's Office frustrated. Regularly, calls for a change to the drop/add system were published in the CM Life, such as this letter to the editor in 1984 (4/13/1984, p. 4).

Registration in Finch Fieldhouse, 1973

One particularly difficult drop/add period occurred in January of 1991. A computer overheated leaving 9 drop/add terminals unusable and causing longer-than-usual waits and the cancellation of one of the drop/add days. An editorial in CM Life (1/11/1991, p. 4), expressed the frustration of the students. However, a ray of hope can be found in the later pages of the same issue of CM Life when it is noted that the University would be moving to an automated touch-tone telephone registration system (p. 6).

Technology in the 1990s moved at a blistering pace and by 1997, there was talk of an on-line registration system coming to campus for the beginning of the twenty-first century. This system came to fruition and the 2002 Yearbook features a two-page spread about telephone (STAR) vs. online (OASIS) registration (pp. 48-49).

Today, a very efficient system is in place, keeping students from having the chance to build character like those who suffered through registration and drop/add in a sweltering Finch Fieldhouse.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Participating in the Remembering Lincoln Digital Project

by Marian Matyn

At the end of July, I received notification from the Remembering Lincoln digital project of the Ford Theatre that they had discovered a number of manuscripts in our collection related to reactions to President Lincoln’s assassination. They found the manuscripts because they were cataloged in OCLC, the national online catalog. Would we be interested in participating in their website, they asked? Absolutely, I replied.

What is the website all about? Remembering Lincoln is a digital project of the Ford Theatre. It provides access to letters, diaries, newspapers, sermons, mourning ribbons, and other primary sources that show how people across the world felt when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated -- mourning him, not mourning him, or other sentiments altogether. Some items discuss hearing the initial news, mourning rituals, his funeral, or later forms of memorials. There are also teaching modules for various grade levels. Check out the site here. 

The five items I added to the Remembering Lincoln website are listed in SmartSearch (the CMU Libraries on-line catalog) and are listed below:

Farley Letter from the
Doris L. King Family Papers

A handwritten letter (4 p.) to Jane (Young) Metcalf Betts from her aunt Harriet Farley in Burr Oak, Saint Joseph County, Michigan, April 23, 1865, describing her feelings about and the town’s reaction (gathering, mourning, and sermons), to the death of Lincoln. The letter is in the Doris L. King Family Papers, 1822, 1877.

An unsigned, handwritten letter (1 p.) to "Friend Lib" [probably the widow Elizabeth, Mrs. Levi Smith] from a Union soldier in or serving at Harper Hospital Detroit, Michigan, April 20, 1865, describing how two Union soldiers rejoiced in hearing of Lincoln’s death and were punished. The letter is in the Levi Smith Family Papers, 1851, 1903.

McClure Correspondence
A third document is a handwritten diary entry of August 12, 1865 of Quincy A. Moore of Ohio, describing his visit to the Dan Rice Circus in Bellefontaine, Ohio, where he saw a tableau of President Lincoln’s assassination, 1 page, in 1 volume. The item is a one item collection: Quincy A. Moore (d. 1877) Diary, 1865, 1869

A handwritten letter to his parents from J.D. McClure in Memphis, Tennessee, April 1865, emotionally describing how the Secessionists (demons) who killed Lincoln will be punished. This letter is a one item collection: J.D. McClure Correspondence, 1865.

A letter from Reuben Yarick at Washington, D.C., to his brother John Yarick, describing his fears and feelings about the assassination of President Lincoln and visiting the body in the White House. This is one letter in the John Yarick Papers, 1854-1864.

John Yarick Papers
For each item linked to the Ford Theatre site, there is a template that donor of digitized documents fill with information, including a long and short title, description of contents and size, item type, material type, transcription (which in some cases was quite time consuming), various sizes and types of scans of the item, location and identification of creator, a list of searchable terms selected from a standardized vocabulary list, information about use, proper citation, institution, and relevant institutional links. I added the Clarke’s Civil War bibliography, which I compiled years ago, but is still relevant and gives an idea of the breadth of our Civil War sources. And I offer a big thank you to Bryan and Casey for scanning all those documents various ways so I could upload them.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Anniversary of the International Special Olympics Games in Mt. Pleasant

by Bryan Whitledge

40 years ago, big things were happening around Mount Pleasant and the Central Michigan University campus. Enrollment was climbing and new programs, including CMU's first doctoral program, were starting. Central moved up to Division I status in college athletics. And new buildings, including Perry Shorts Stadium and the Rose / Ryan Center, were popping up all over campus.

It was at this time, August 7-11, 1975, that a major international athletics competition was held in Mount Pleasant on the campus of CMU. ABC's Wide World of Sports was on-site filming the events. The American, Canadian, and French first ladies came to Isabella County as did members of the Kennedy family. Over 3,000 athletes from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several other countries were staying in the athletes' village (also known as CMU Residence Halls). It was the 1975 International Special Olympics - and event that is still remembered fondly by those involved 40 years ago.

The history of the games coming to Mount Pleasant is a short, but jam-packed, history. Just three years before hosting the International Games, nobody would have imagined that the International Special Olympics would have taken place in Mount Pleasant - CMU did not become the headquaters of Special Olympics Michigan until the fall of 1972. At that time,  the University set to hosting the first Michigan State Summer Games. Nine months later, in 1973, CMU hosted the inaugural State Games. With over 1,600 athletes participating in brand new facilities, the Rose / Ryan Center and Perry Shorts Stadium -- so brand new that the paint was drying in the Rose Center when the Games were held and the landscaping had yet to be completed -- the event was considered a resounding success.

CMU President William Boyd (left) and Special Olympics President Eunice Kennedy Shriver (right) at the 1974 Special Olympics Michigan Summer State Games
In fact, it was so successful, with only one crack at the State Games, CMU submitted a bid in February of 1974 to host the 1975 International Special Olympics. CMU's proposal was greeted enthusiastically by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the staff of Special Olympics. Officials from the international offices of Special Olympics, including Ms. Shriver, visited the 1974 State Games to evaluate Mount Pleasant and CMU as the site of the Fourth International Special Olympics Games.

Letter from Eunice Kennedy Shriver to
CMU President William Boyd awarding the
1975 International Special Olympics Games to CMU.
One month after that visit, and with only two State Games events under their belts, CMU was chosen as the host for the 1975 games. Among the great deal of correspondence between CMU President William Boyd and Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation is a letter from Eunice Kennedy Shriver to President Boyd dated July 19, 1974 awarding the games to CMU. Ms. Shriver states in the letter, "We here at the Kennedy Foundation have the utmost confidence in you, Dr. Reynolds [Chair, CMU Dept. of Special Education] and everyone at Central Michigan University to make this the biggest and finest Special Olympic Games yet staged."

The selection of Mount Pleasant as the site of the Fourth International Games was certainly a shift from the previous three sites - Chicago (1968), Chicago (1970), and Los Angeles (1972). But despite the smaller size of Mount Pleasant compared to the second and third largest cities in the United States, CMU, Mount Pleasant, and the state of Michigan came out in full force for the event. The CM Life newspaper ran advertisements and editorials urging students to volunteer (Jan. 27, 1975, p. 4, col. 1). As a result of the publicity, 750 people - students, faculty, staff, and community members - volunteered for the event.

Kiwanis Volunteers at the
1975 International Special Olympics Games.
For months, the campus and the city planned for the event. When the athletes, their families, celebrities, and media outlets arrived in August of 1975, CMU was well prepared. Both the local newspaper and the CM Life printed special sections giving local fans a guide to the events (July 30, 1975, B1-B8). A 64-page glossy program was published, welcome packets were created for all of the visitors, and, not unlike International World Summer Games in Los Angeles a week ago which were broadcast on ESPN, portions of the games were broadcast on national television.

Ms. Shriver's confidence was not misplaced and the Games were another one of CMU's great successes with Special Olympics. In the forty years since those games, the relationship between Mount Pleasant and Special Olympics Michigan has grown. Each year, thousands of athletes and their families come for the Summer State Games the weekend after Memorial Day. CMU is still the site of the headquarters of Special Olympics Michigan. And the Clarke is home to the documents that tell the story of the beginnings of Special Olympics Michigan, the 1975 International Games, and efforts of athletes, their families, volunteers, and the community to make the Special Olympics a long-standing Central Michigan University tradition.