Have you ever noticed that a few of the group study rooms in the JKM Library are named? Have you ever wondered why or whom they are named for? The Chatham University Archives & Special Collections is thrilled to help solve these questions with our new exhibit, A Room with a View to Chatham History, which explores the lives of the individuals who’ve been honored with a room named in their honor at the JKM Library.
With this exhibit, on view in each of the named study rooms, we invite you to explore the legacies of Dr. Mary A. McGuire, Dr. Mable A. Elliot, Dr. Edgar M. Foltin, Laberta Dysart, and Arthur L. Davis. Each of these Chatham professors made significant contributions to their field of expertise and contributed to the development of Chatham as we know it today.
One of the most notable professors honored as the namesake for a study room is Dr. Mable A. Elliot, Professor of Sociology from 1949 until 1965 (Room 201). Dr. Elliot earned three degrees from Northwestern University (bachelor of arts, master of arts, and doctor of philosophy). Appointed as an adviser to the U.N. Commission on Social and Economic Affairs, Dr. Elliot was also the first women elected president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (click here for more info). Dr. Elliot was described as both a feminist and a pacifist, and her criticism of U.S. criminal policies and anti-war activism led to the creation of an FBI file which was maintained for over 30 years. Interested in learning more about Dr. Elliot?
Take a look at the book Mabel Agnes Elliott: Pioneering Feminist, Pacifist Sociologist in the JKM Library collection (click here to find it in the library catalog).
Some members of the Chatham Community may be familiar with Laberta Dysart, namesake for Room 202, as author of the first history of Chatham, Chatham College: The First Ninety Years (available online through the University Archives here), but her contribution to Chatham does not stop there. A professor of history at Chatham from 1926 until 1958, she was active in Chatham’s Colloquium Club and in the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors. The University Archive’s Laberta Dysart Collection, click here for the collection finding aid, contains a variety of records documenting her impact on the university, including an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about her retirement, an award honoring her service to Chatham, and the eulogy delivered by a former student and longtime friend, Eleanor Bartberger Dearborn `31, at a campus memorial held in her honor.
The Chatham University Archives welcomes further research on these individuals, on the history of campus, and how the Chatham community continues to shape the environment. Stop by the library to view A Room with a View to Chatham History or contact the University Archives at x1212 or M.Tighe@chatham.edu for more information.