Chatham University's JKM Library

February 11, 2016
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Streaming Movies for Black History Month

Think you might spend the entire weekend indoors, huddled under a blanket, drinking hot beverages, and watching movies? If so, we have an exciting new database just for you: Swank! Swank features 300 streaming movies, from current popular titles to classics to documentaries.

With February’s celebration of Black History Month, we’d like to point out that Swank includes a number of great titles you can watch:

42Raisin Malcolm Xcolor purple


For a full list of the 300 movies available, please click here (Excel file). Access to Swank is on a trial basis only and will end on June 30, 2016.

Swank requires Google Widevine, which you may need to install in your browser. It should just prompt you through the installation process, but if you have any difficulty, please contact a librarian for assistance.

Please note: Swank movies do not include public performance rights and are only intended for individual or classroom use.

February 3, 2016
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Chatham: The History of Our Name (Part II)

Have you ever wonder how Chatham got its name or why it was changed from Pennsylvania College for Women?  If so, you might want to check out the article on the topic in latest Library Newsletter <click here>, which tells the tale of how the school came to cosider a name change, the various names considered, and the reception of the name at the time.

You’ll also want to take a gander at the images collected below.  These selections from the collections of the University Archives illustrate how the school spread the word on the new name and all the events that surrounded this pivotal moment in university history.


PCW officials chose to name the college after Lord Chatham in recognition of his passion for education and democratic ideals.


On November 5, 1955, the school newspaper led with a bold headline announcing the name change from Pennsylvania College for Women to Chatham College.


David Lawrence, then-mayor of Pittsburgh, stands with Jane Stocker Burfoot from Chatham College’s Class of 1957. Together they are celebrating PCW having changed its name to Chatham College.


Students commemorate the name change by holding a Chatham College banner over the institution’s former PCW-marked entryway.


The school produced this small brochure to promote awareness of the new name.  The image above is the front cover.


The brochure outlines the reasons for the name change and the reason for the selection of the name Chatham.


The brochure closes with an expression of Chatham’s continuing dedication to providing quality education.


A mailing card distributed to alumni around the time the college changed its name.


The front cover of the dedication dinner program, which took place two weeks after PCW changed its name to Chatham College.

…And just the day before, former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower commended President Anderson and the Chatham community on the college’s huge accomplishment!


We’ve got room for just one more picture…


This booklet was distributed to the Chatham community and alumni shortly after the institution changed its name. It contains personal remarks from then-President Paul Anderson, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees George Lockhart, and Chairman of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development Arthur Van Buskirk on the role of the school in the intellectual and cultural life of the region.

Hungry for more history?  Come see us during University Archives Office Hours on Mondays from 1:00 – 5:00 and Thursdays from 1:30 – 3:30 or by appointment.  We’d love to share with you more about the name change to Chatham or any other aspect of university history you’re curious about!

January 15, 2016
by library

Vintage Chatham Music to Air on WESA’s Rhythm Sweet & Hot Radio Show

You’re probably familiar with the Song Contest as one of the longest-running and most cherished of all the Chatham traditions, but have you heard any of the vintage recordings of these tunes in the University Archives?  You’ll have a chance this weekend as Chatham’s Archivist Molly Tighe joins the hosts of WESA’s Rhythm Sweet & Hot for a chat and a spin around the vinyl grooves cut by PCW singers all the way back in 1947.

During this week’s live broadcast, which airs from 6:00 until 8:00 pm on 90.5 FM, Molly will chat with hosts and hepcats Mike Plaskett and Dale Abraham about a recently discovered recording of the Class of 1947 singing classic Song Contest tunes We Sing Hi-Ho, Charm Girl of PCW and PCW Progress. Since these swingy tunes are sure to make you slap-happy and to blow your wig (21st century translation= become very excited), we decided to dig around in the University Archives and pull out some Song Contest treasures to get everyone prepped and ready for the big show.

First, a little bit of history.  Chatham’s Song Contest dates back to 1921, when a competition between the classes was enjoyed so much that it became one of the most hotly anticipated traditions of every school year.

Competitive Sing in the June 1921 issue of Sorosis

 Read the full June 1921 issue of The Sorosis here:

For many years the Song Contest was held in combination with Color Day and together the two traditions generated a whirl of class spirit.  The two events would occur during the fall semester after the first-year students had successfully completed their first round of exams and had sufficiently settled into college life (including learning all the favorite school songs!).


Selected pages from the 1927-1928 Student Handbook including mention of Color Day, Song Contest, and song lyrics.

In 1928, song lyrics and music were compiled by the Song Book Committee into a song book.

Copy of the Chatham Song Book from the University Archives and Photo of the 1959 Song Contest Leaders

The rules for the contest were a little different back then.  Each class was responsible for presenting three songs: one with original lyrics and music, one with original lyrics set to an existing tune, and one song selected by the judges just prior to the contest.

Chatham Song Contest, 1957

According to an article in The Arrow on November 22, 1944, each class would practice their songs daily, sometimes sending a secret operative to spy on the other classes to try to discover the competing classes’ performance plans.  On the day of the contest…

…there was a mad checker game struggle for the right seats for the right voices. After everything was under control except Bertha Butterfly in our stomachs, we sat through a hymn, through the announcement of the Freshman Commission, through Hail to PCW, the presentation of the colors and the reception of the new Freshman.  All the time we wondered- whether our class Rachmaninoff had remembered to fetch along her music.                                                            (Read the whole article here:

Awaiting results of the Song Contest, 1959

In the early years, the winning class was awarded a five pound box of candy.

Song Contest Winners, 1959

Later, the candy box was replaced with a silver cup.

Song Contest, 1980s

There’s no mention of recording any Chatham songs until 1946, when a contributor to the student newspaper implored her classmates to join forces to document their musical history.  She writes, “Without old college songs to sing while in the shower, PCW graduates can probably hold their job competently or cheer hubby after his hard day at the office, but it might be nice to have something specific to help them reminisce once in a while.”

Editorial in a 1946 issue of The Arrow

Chatham University Archives maintains a healthy collection of LP recordings of Song Contest, no song recordings predate the late-1950s.  We couldn’t be sure if this 1946 editorial had spurred any action- until now!

LP covers of Song Contest recordings

A recently unearthed 1947 recording was produced at George Heid Productions & Transcription Services in downtown Pittsburgh and features the same three songs performed at the Senior Dinner for the Class of 1947.  Could it be that the 1946 editorial inspired the creation of this recording?  Could it be that the students took a trip downtown on a streetcar to cut record of the winning songs from the Song Contest?  Could it be that this is one of those very recordings?  We think so!

The recording, which you can hear when you tune your radio dial to WESA 90.5 from 6:00 until 8:00 pm this Saturday night, may very well be our earliest recording of a campus tradition that spans decades and even continues through to today (Click here for a video of the 2014 song contest).  We hope you’ll tune in!

Can’t wait for the show?  Want to prepare for a sing-along?  Here’s the music and lyrics to a couple classic Chatham tunes.

We Sing Hi-O, words and music by members of the Class of 1929

Chatham Charm Girl

Still hungry for more?  Come by the University Archives in the JKM Library on Monday from 1-5 or Thursday from 1:30-3:30 to chat with Chatham Archivist Molly Tighe about the Song Contest or any of your favorite Chatham traditions!

October 19, 2015
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A Very Chatham Halloween

The Ghosts of Chatham

As Halloween approaches, again comes the time of year for trick-or-treating, gorging on candy, and costume parties. It’s also the time of year that we are especially conscious of spooky things. Among various ghoulies like black cats, vampires, and witches, the most popular creatures of the night that dominate our imagination around Halloween are ghosts. It’s a great time for telling ghost stories, everyone knows at least one, and even Chatham has several that have been passed around over the years. Here is some history on “our” Chatham ghosts.

PCW students gathered on the lawn of Berry Hall I in 1914. Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

PCW students gathered on the lawn of Berry Hall I in 1914.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

The Ghost of Berry Hall

There are two versions of the Berry Hall Ghost (also known as the PCW Ghost) story, but they both are equally disturbing. The first version was published in the Chatham newspaper, The Arrow in 1926.

Back before the existence of Woodland, Laughlin, and even Dilworth Hall, the Berry family lived in the Berry mansion. George Berry was a member of the first Board of Trustees, and at the time his home was said to be the largest private residence in Allegheny County.

One night the nanny was sitting in the house’s tower with the family baby. There was a storm, and lightning struck the tower. The nanny screamed with fright, and jumped, dropping the baby. As the story goes, the baby rolled down the stairs and died. The departed baby was said to return occasionally, floating around and crying. Supposedly it used to visit the girls in what was then Room O, directly beneath the tower.

A view of the Berry Hall I tower.  Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

A view of the Berry Hall I tower.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

The second version of this story was actually part of the first year handbook in 1948. In this sanitized version, the nursery was in the tower, and the nanny heard a scream, only to find the infant missing from his crib. The infant was never found, and the tower was locked and boarded up. In this version, the ghost is a prankster, putting splinters in chairs to rip nylons, draining the soda machine, and clanging the radiators. There is even a joke about him playing a dirge on the organ. While creepy, this later tale is almost funny, and it’s interesting to see how the tale evolved from chilling to entertaining over the 20 year period.

Other Chatham Ghosts

Some of the other Chatham ghosts seem to have their grounding in location rather than fright. It is still a popular tale today that Andrew Mellon roams the Mellon building. The previous Laughlin House also was known for its resident ghost. As another story goes, one night a man had a flat tire in front of the Spencer House, and as he stopped heard the voice of an old woman screaming his name.

Portrait of Michael Late Benedum overlooking Benedum Hall.  Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

Portrait of Michael Late Benedum overlooking Benedum Hall.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

One of the more popular stories took place at Benedum Hall. The Benedum’s oldest son, Claude, was killed in World War I. Claude was thought to haunt the home, and then when it became a dormitory, pestered the girls living in the dorm. Some of his hijinks include turning the water off and on in what used to be his bathroom, curtains moving with no wind, and doors slamming open and closed. Typical ghost fare. One story even goes that a group of students were working on tutorials on the history of Benedum Hall when the marble table they sat at collapsed beneath them.

Students conversing in one of the Benedum Hall dorm rooms.  Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

Students conversing in one of the Benedum Hall dorm rooms.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

It’s unclear which of these stories have basis in truth, and which were made up to scare incoming first years. Nonetheless, the stories of ghosts on campus continue, so if you experience something a little spooky over the next few weeks, don’t worry. It’s just our longstanding residents, coming out for a visit.

Benedum Hall Gardens and Fountain.  Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

Benedum Hall Gardens and Fountain.
Source: Chatham University Archives & Special Collections

August 5, 2015
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Library (and 24/7 space) CLOSED Monday August 10

The JKM Library, including the 24/7 study space, will be closed all day this Monday, August 10 due to a planned power outage.

Reference Librarians will be available to assist you with all your library and research needs during the hours of 8am to 10pm. To contact a librarian:

  • IM us at JennieRef, or use the chat box on our website.
  • Text us at (724) 919-4645
  • Email us at

To contact a specific librarian, use the following email addresses:

Please note that this power outage includes most campus classroom buildings and all computer labs. We have checked with IT, and it is extremely unlikely that any lab space or printers will be available for student use on Monday. If you need computer or printer access, please make sure to do so off-campus or get everything done the day before.

July 7, 2015
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Meet the JKM Library Staff: Kiera Mudry

Kiera Mudry:Kiera!

  • digs Pittsburgh’s music scene
  • can tell you all about Buffy
  • probably has a restaurant recommendation for you

What do you do here at The Jennie King Mellon Library?

As a Reference Associate, my job is to help you track down any and all information that you would need help finding when you’re in the library or Asking-a-Librarian from home. I’m like the Sherlock Holmes of the library.

What made you choose your current profession?

It might be cliché to say that I have always wanted to be a librarian because I love reading, but my love of reading was what helped me find my passion for research. I chose this profession because nothing makes me happier than to help someone find that hidden piece of information that they have been searching for.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An actress – I always loved an audience :)

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of working with reference is the fact that I get the chance to help others find what they are looking for, as well as learning more about the subject areas myself! It’s cool to be able to help someone out and to expand my own knowledge base.

If you could do one thing to change/improve the JKM Library—with no worries about time or expense—what would you do?

I think a mobile food cart in the foyer or something along the lines of a small café on the first floor would definitely be a great addition to the JKM library. Especially because some people view their coffee as going hand in hand with a long night of studying in the library.

What do you like to do on your days off?

I am a huge television series person. I love to tackle full series of shows when I have time off from school and work. One of my favorites that I have finished this year is Buffy the Vampire Slayer :)

What’s the last thing you checked out?

I’ve been doing a lot of research in my History of Children’s Literature class so the last book I’ve checked out was the Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature. It’s a good read for those interested in authors and aspects of early to modern day children’s literature.

What book do you think everyone should read? Why?

I’m going to suggest The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. The story is chilling, raw and honest. I definitely would recommend any title by Lamb, but this one has just always stuck with me.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Pittsburgh?

My favorite thing about living here is the variety of food that you can try out in and around the city. I love having so many different options and because Pittsburgh has so many different neighborhoods, you can always find something new to eat. Also, the music scene! :)

What’s one thing you think everyone should do while they live in the city?

Visit all of the museums that Pittsburgh has to offer – especially the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Anything touristy is actually really cool to go visit or try out. Pittsburgh is always surprising me and I’ve lived close to the city my entire life! You should also go to the Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room in downtown and try their bacon candy with a margherita pizza.

Tell us some surprising things about yourself:

  • I was active with voice and piano lessons when I was young and even starred in a play as Sara Crewe in A Little Princess at 11 years old.
  • I completed my undergraduate Capstone project on the “Paul is Dead” hoax regarding The Beatles and the infamous rumor that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-a-like. (I was a Communication major with a focus in Media Studies.)
  • I’ve seen a lot of really excellent concerts, featuring artists such as Steely Dan and Hall & Oates. I love to catch as many shows as I can for fun. :)

June 9, 2015
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Summer Reading Preview

The summer reading list for first-year Chatham students has been posted! The contents of the list were chosen by your friendly neighborhood librarians, and include entries from different subject areas. There’s something on this list for everyone (and several things that I’ll be adding to my own summer reading list). Here’s a preview of some of the titles; make sure to access the complete list to see some other choices.


The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth GapCover: The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
Matt Taibbi

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the Occupy movement, The Divide focuses on the myriad ways that wealth—or lack thereof—affects the rights afforded to US citizens (as well as the way this system impacts the immigration debate). Mass incarceration, stop-and-frisk, and the contemporary landscape of the US justice system provide evidence for Taibbi’s portrayal of a system that privileges wealth above all else.


Cover: Eating Together: Food, Friendship, and InequalityEating Together: Food, Friendship, and Inequality
Alice P. Julier

What is the social impact of shared meals? Julier (director of the Master’s program in Food Studies here at Chatham) writes about the intersection of social eating experiences and social inequality, examining the literal and figurative aspects of who has a seat at the table.



The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 YearsCover: The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
Sonia Shah

The Fever addresses malaria as a subject with various historical, scientific, and socio-political resonances. Alongside anecdotal evidence of the way the disease is approached and conceived of in malaria-afflicted areas, Shah takes on the ineffectual attempts of various global organizations to curb its effects. The Fever offers a deeper understanding of the way malaria has shaped and continues to affect human history.


Citizen: An American LyricCover: Citizen: An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine

From microaggressions to overt racial violence, Citizen addresses life in “post-race” America. Rankine meditates on the ways that this constant narrative of otherness impacts daily life and, in some cases, even personal safety. Composed of prose poems, verse, essays, and images, Rankine’s work is a form-agnostic witness account of contemporary race and racism in America.


The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’tCover: The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t
Nate Silver

Silver takes on the art and science of forecasting, analyzing the various reasons—from a mastery of statistics to a healthy understanding of uncertainty—why some predictions are successful while others are not. The Signal and the Noise investigates forecasting from multiple vantage points, using examples of correct and incorrect predictions from sports, politics, economics, and more.


Source: Music of the Avant-garde, 1966-1973
Edited by Larry Austin and Douglas Kahn

Cover: Source: Music of the Avant-garde, 1966-1973This volume reproduces issues of the avant-garde periodical Source, which published a variety of experimental music bits and pieces. Introductory material provides some historical context, followed by the downright weirdness of the content itself, with pieces from John Cage, Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, Nam June Paik, Harry Partch, and others.



The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-First CenturyCover: The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-First Century
Brian O’Neill

An affectionate tribute to Pittsburgh that also deals some tough love in response to some of the city’s ongoing problems. O’Neill includes the stories of Pittsburgh natives in his analysis, attempting to capture the character of a city situated somewhere between the East Coast and the Midwest both in terms of physical location and regional character.

May 26, 2015
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App Review: Clio – Your Guide to History

Clio logo

© Clio

Equal parts guidebook, GPS locator, and crowdsourced data platform, Clio is an app designed to help you discover local history. Named after the ancient Greek muse of history, Clio uses your location to provide information about nearby historical and cultural sites. Whether you’re a hardcore history buff or are just looking to get to know your city a little better, the network of professional and amateur contributors at work on improving Clio can point you to the important, unique, or just plain weird historical features of a city. You can also add your favorite historical sites to the map for everyone to see!

For new residents, Clio could help you catch up on your Pittsburgh history in no time. While on the Chatham campus, I found 43 sites within 10 miles of the JKM Library. Although there were a handful outside of the city proper, most were concentrated within an area easily navigable on foot or using public transit. Beyond addresses and navigational content, entries tended to provide a robust about of information about individual sites; the records that I previewed included detailed historical descriptions (occasionally including citations), images, hours of operation, contact information, and links to outside resources.

Pittsburgh map view | ClioIn addition to currently operational historical sites such as monuments, historic buildings, and museums, Clio includes “Time Capsule” entries that point to sites where things happened or—particularly relevant to Pittsburgh—where things used to be. A pin at 6th and Wood downtown, for example, identifies it as the site of a “Protest Against Gimbels Department Store, 1935,” while another pin on South Bouquet Street marks the location of the former Forbes Field. Whether you happen to be roaming the city or would like to plan your own historic Pittsburgh outing, Clio could be a useful tool for finding the hidden history all around the city.

Users can create accounts to help build the site database by adding and revising entries. All additions are subject to verification and approval, but the review process seems fairly transparent as revisions (even those by Clio administrators) are displayed in a change log at the bottom of the entry. According to the FAQ, entries are published under a Creative Commons license that acknowledges the creator.

Because you can either search for a location or allow the app to use your GPS coordinates, Clio would work well both for travelers and for local exploration. In its best formulation, this crowdsourced data model could lead to some degree of local flair in terms of the sites included and their descriptions—after all, there’s no better way to learn about a city than from the people that live there!

Available for iOS and Android, and on the web.