April 4, 2018
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Archives Exhibit “Nature & Nurture: The Rachel Carson Legacy in Pittsburgh” on view at Heinz Hall

In conjunction with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming performance of Silent Spring, a symphonic tone poem created to honor the 50th anniversary of the publication of the seminal Rachel Carson book, the Chatham University Archives is presenting an exhibit titled Nature & Nurture: The Rachel Carson Legacy in Pittsburgh.  On view in Heinz Hall from April 6 through April 22, the exhibition presents highlights from the collections of the University Archives that explore the roots of Rachel Carson’s interest in science and writing and the legacy of celebrating her achievements though music.

Chatham Archives exhibit Nature & Nurture: The Rachel Carson Legacy in Pittsburgh at Heinz Hall

Widely recognized for The Sea Around Us, Silent Spring, and countless articles that brought attention to the detrimental effects of widespread pesticide use, Rachel Carson’s connection to music isn’t frequently discussed.  However, music played a major role in Rachel’s upbringing, as her mother taught piano lessons to local children in the family home and many days were spent setting Mother Goose rhymes to music.

Nature & Nurture exhibit essay in Pittsburgh Symphony Concert Program

Rachel remained a classical music fan throughout her lifetime, even writing liner notes for the National Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Claude Debussy’s Le Mer and speaking at an orchestra benefit luncheon.  As a student at Chatham (then Pennsylvania Female College), Rachel evoked the sound of piano music in her literary club award winning essay, Broken Lamps.  This essay is available online through the University Archives at this link.

Nature & Nurture exhibit from University Archives in Heinz Hall

The exhibition, Nature & Nurture: The Rachel Carson Legacy in Pittsburgh, spans Rachel Carson’s experience as a student and a few of the local, musical  events that have honored her work as an environmental pioneer.  The display includes photographs, programs, and documents from the 1995 Opus: Earth symphony concert to benefit the Rachel Carson Institute and the World Wildlife Fund.

Opus: Earth Program Cover

Of particular note is a score to Silent Spring inscribed “in honor of Rachel Carson to her Alma Mater Chatham University” by the composer, Steven Stucky.  The score was presented during an on-campus discussion of his piece and the legacy of Rachel Carson in 2011.

Score for “Silent Spring” inscribed to Chatham by composer Steven Stucky

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is generously offering discount codes for students, staff, faculty, and alums.  Contact Student Affairs for more information.  You won’t want to miss the special pre-concert lecture by Dr. Patricia DeMarco, former head of the Rachel Carson Institute and our region’s foremost Rachel Carson scholar.  Dr. DeMarco’s lecture will occur on Friday, April 20, 2018.

Can make the event?  Check out the finding aid for the Collection on Rachel Carson or contact the Chatham University Archives & Special Collections to learn more about Rachel Carson `29 and her local legacy.

January 12, 2018
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Chatham Leadership: The Presidency of Cora Helen Coolidge

The Chatham University Archives invites you to explore Chatham Leadership: The Presidency of Cora Helen Coolidge, an exploration of a president whose ceaseless dedication to women’s education steered Chatham through one of its most tumultuous chapters.

Presented as an extension of Chatham Leadership: A Presidential Timeline, this exhibit aims to convey both the impact Coolidge had on Chatham as well as the profound and indelible impression she had on the lives of students from her era.

The exhibit is on view in the lounge of the Women’s Institute in Braun Hall, and we encourage your to stop by and explore the legacy of President Coolidge.

Pennsylvania College for Women President Cora Helen Coolidge

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November 20, 2017
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Indigenous Heritage Month, Euripides, and the Chatham University Archives

Some may wonder what the Euripides and Indigenous Heritage Month have in common.  Others might ask what Chatham’s University Archives, which collects and preserves the history of the university, could have to help to connect the Athenian tragedian and campus-wide Indigenous Heritage events.  Well, look no further than the Drama Department records from 1992 when students and faculty member Patricia Montley performed an adaptation of Euripides Trojan Woman set in Central America as Cortes seizes control of the Aztec empire.

Publicity Photo, 1992 Chatham Theatre

According to Dr. Motley’s program notes, a Euripedes’ The Trojan Woman is one of the most frequently performed of all the classical tragedies, particularly for audiences affected by war and in eras when war is celebrated.  The decision to set the play in Central America in 1992, the 500-year anniversary of Columbus’ journey to the “New World,” allowed for reflection on “the foolishness of waging aggressive war and the transience of military might.”

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October 6, 2017
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Chatham Leadership: A Presidential Timeline

Chatham Leadership:
A Presidential Timeline

The Chatham University Archives invites you to explore Chatham Leadership: A Presidential Timeline, a chronology and account of the remarkable individuals who have shaped Chatham and made it the institution it is today.

President Spencer Inauguration, 1935

Founded in 1869 by Reverend William Trimble Beatty and supporters from the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Pennsylvania Female College actualized the growing sentiment of the times that women—and therefore society—benefited intellectually, socially, and morally from a liberal arts education that had commonly been limited to men.

Rather than offering courses in needlework, china painting, and English, as other women’s schools in Pittsburgh had throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the Pennsylvania Female College offered courses in astronomy, chemistry, Greek, and other rigorous subjects that prepared women for professional careers.

Over the next 148 years, the school changed names, first to Pennsylvania College for Women then to Chatham College (now Chatham University), and welcomed generations of students, faculty, and leaders dedicated to creating a productive and conscientious society through liberal arts education. The 21st century brought the Falk School of Sustainability, Eden Hall Campus, undergraduate coeducation, and Chatham’s 16th President, Dr. David Finegold.

Buckets and Blossoms, 2017

The Chatham University Archives and the JKM Library congratulate Dr. Finegold on his inauguration as he joins a historic lineage of Chatham leaders.  We welcome the Chatham community to take a look back to the history of our school and the men and women who have served as its leader.  Explore this lineage below and through materials on display in the lobby of the JKM Library.

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August 25, 2017
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A Room with a View to Chatham History from the University Archives

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.

History on view in the Elliott Room, 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.

Dr. Mable Elliot and the Elliot Room

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?

Biography of Dr. Elliot in the JKM Library book collection

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).

Laberta Dysart and the Laberta Dysart Study Room

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.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette article in honor of Labaerta Dysart’s retirement.

Chatham College Centennial Award given to Laberta Dysart

Eulogy for Laberta Dysart written by Eleanor Barbeger Dearborn ’31

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.

June 1, 2017
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Chatham Summers with the University Archives on View a the JKM

The JKM Library and the Archives & Special Collections are pleased to present Chatham Summers with the University Archives, a media exhibition highlighting the rich documentation in our photographic collections.  Items on view document life at Chatham during the summer and feature images of campus sports, events, and more.

Lantern Slide Depicting PCW Tennis, c. 1905

The exhibit includes visual material from Chatham’s earliest years and from more recent years.

1888 Sketch of Students Wearing Sun Protection

Though things may seem a bit quieter around campus than during the fall and spring semesters, these images reveal that Chatham students have always pursued a wide variety of activities, regardless of the heat, humidity, or era.

We’ve included a few of our favorites in this post, but stop by the JKM Library to view the exhibit in its entirety!

Taking a Spin Around Campus, c. 1952-1953

 

Diving Practice, c. 1950s

 

Chatham vs. Robert Morris, 1980

Not around campus?  Additional records from Chatham history, including yearbooks, newspapers, photographs, and other records are accessible online at the web site for the University Archives & Special Collections (click here).  Or, stop by the Archives Reading Room to learn more about Chatham history.

February 23, 2017
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A Quick Peek into the History of the Minor Bird

Did you know that Chatham’s literary magazine Minor Bird has flown through a few different iterations since it was first hatched in 1929?  Was your interest in the graphics used for the Minor Bird piqued by the new exhibit, Objects of Study: Selections from the Artifact Collections of the Chatham University Archives,  on view at the Women’s Institute?  Did you happen to see a few eye-catching illustrations of Minor Bird covers from the 1950s and 1960s in the JKM Library Newsletter and wonder if there are any more compelling visuals?  Yes?  Then you are in luck!

We, the staff of the Chatham University Archives, selected a handful of our very favorite Minor Bird covers and we’re thrilled to share them with you here.  And, if your appetite for Minor Bird is still not quenched, you can flip through fifteen years’ worth of literary explorations by Chatham students online through the Internet Archive!

The Minor Bird first appeared as a simple, line drawing in 1929.  This logo was used until 1939.

Minor Bird front cover, June 1936

The line drawing also appeared at the top of each page.

Minor Bird, Spring 1929

After a brief stint under the umbrella of the student newspaper, the Minor Bird emerged in 1949 with a very different look.

Minor Bird front cover, Spring 1949

Several variations on the 1949 theme were used, including this Minor Bird cover from 1950.

Minor Bird front cover, Spring 1950

Lots of change happened in the 1950s and the Minor Bird logo was no exception.

Minor Bird front cover, Spring 1951

 

Minor Bird front cover, Spring 1952

 

Minor Bird front cover, January 1955

The Minor Bird covers from the 1960’s are particularly evocative of this expressive era.

Minor Bird front cover, Winter 1967

 

Minor Bird front cover, Spring 1969

 

Minor Bird front cover, Fall 1969

 

Minor Bird rear cover, Fall 1969

The Chatham University Archives include numerous publications by the Chatham community, including additional issues of the Minor Bird, the Sorosis, and Faces & Places.  Stop by the University Archives or contact Molly Tighe, Archivist and Public Services Librarian, for more information.

 

 

December 5, 2016
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Objects of Study: Selections from the Artifact Collections at the Chatham University Archives on view at the Women’s Institute

Have you ever wondered what kind of stuff we keep in the University Archives?  Been curious if there is anything other than letters, photos, and newspapers being saved as part of the record of the university?  Now is your chance to find out!  A new exhibit, Objects of Study: Selections from the Artifact Collections at the Chatham University Archives, is on view in the lounge of the Women’s Institute. Stop by the exhibit to explore the role played by artifacts and objects in documenting the history of the university and to discover some truly remarkable stories about campus, Chatham alums, and more.

One of our favorite items on view is a copper coffer that was retrieved from the cornerstone of the old Dilworth Hall when it was demolished in 1953.  “Dilworth Hall demolished? But, what’s that building just up the hill from the Carriage House?” you might ask.  That’s actually Dilworth Hall II!  The first Dilworth Hall, Dilworth Hall I, was attached to Berry Hall I.  Here’s a picture of both halls as they appeared in a 1906 issue of Sorosis, the student magazine of the day:

View of Dilworth Hall I and Berry Hall I at PCW in 1906

View of Dilworth Hall I and Berry Hall I at PCW in 1906

Both Dilworth Hall I and Berry Hall I were demolished in 1953 to make way for the upgraded academic buildings we still use today: Braun, Falk, and Coolidge.  Here’s a couple photos of the demolition:

View of Demolition of Berry Hall I and Dilworth Hall I at PCW in 1953

View of Demolition of Berry Hall I and Dilworth Hall I at PCW in 1953

View of Berry Hall I and Dilworth Hall I during demolition with Chapel steeple visible in background

View of Berry Hall I and Dilworth Hall I during demolition with Chapel steeple visible in background

I bet you are wondering what was found inside the copper coffer, right?  Check out this article from The Pittsburgh Press (another relic from a bygone era) and read about the discovery.

Newspaper clipping about PCW time capsule discovery

Newspaper clipping about PCW time capsule discovery

The exhibit, Objects of Study: Selections from the Artifact Collections at the Chatham University Archives , features little known bits of history about Berry Hall I, The Minor Bird, and campus dining.

Intrigued?  Here’s some pics to help wet your whistle:

Alumnae Napkin Rings at from University Archives

Alumnae Napkin Rings at from University Archives

History of The Minor Bird Logo

History of The Minor Bird Logo

Check out the copper coffer and other relics from the history of our university in the Women’s Institute or stop by the University Archives in the JKM Library to further explore our history.

October 3, 2016
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Mountain Day

mountainday2

Olive U. Keck (’24, far left) and four friends pose in front of an automobile on Mountain Day 1923. The festivities took place at the Allen Farm in the Brookside Farms development of Upper St. Clair, southwest of Pittsburgh.

First held in October of 1921, Mountain Day was an annual holiday sponsored by the Athletic Association that gave students and faculty an opportunity to enjoy sports, games, and a picnic outside of the city.

The event was described as follows in the October 23, 1923 edition of The Arrow, the college newspaper: “It was a clear, cold day, and everyone there was in fine spirits. As soon as the picnickers reached the orchard, games of prisoners base, baseball and leap frog were started, and lasted amid much merriment, until lunch time. Lunch was served cafeteria style, and large quantities of wieners, sandwiches, pickles, gingerbread, and all the things that go with a picnic, were consumed by the hungry mob. After lunch a field meet was held, the events were carried off in a most business like manner, under the direction of Marian Frank [‘25]. A standing broad grin, discus throw (a paper plate serving as the discus), a three legged race, blind race and a shoe race, and a tug of war made up the list of events. The tug of war was brought to an untimely end when the rope broke. The Juniors won the meet and received a silver cup, (from Woolworths) with a blue ribbon triumphantly floating from the handle. The Sophomores received a dumbbell from the Gym, as a token of the fifth place in the event. Then came the event of the day—the Hare and Hounds chase. The Seniors and the Sophomores were the Hares, and proved most elusive; as the Hounds, Juniors and Freshman, had great difficulty in tracking them. After the weary racers had collected their belongings, they started for the car, feeling that Mountain Day was one of the college’s pleasantest traditions, and a most successful holiday for everyone.”

The last Mountain Day was held at PCW in the 1950s, but similar events continued to take place at college campuses throughout the country, including women’s colleges Smith and Mount Holyoke.

On Mountain Day 1923, students enjoy lunch on the Allen Farm in the Brookside Farms development of Upper St. Clair.

On Mountain Day 1923, students enjoy lunch on the Allen Farm in the Brookside Farms development of Upper St. Clair.

April 28, 2016
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From May Day to University Day: Exploring Connections Between Chatham Traditions

As part of this year’s University Day celebration, JKM Library and the Chatham University Archives are pleased to present an exhibit titled From May Day to University Day: Exploring Connections between Chatham Traditions.

This exhibition focuses on the history of Chatham’s May Day pageants and other end-of-the-semester festivities, such as Toe Dabbling Day, Buckets and Blossoms, and University Day. Photographs, programs, and ephemera documenting Chatham’s many springtime celebrations, some dating all the way back to the early twentieth century, will be exhibited at the JKM Library and in the lobby of the Women’s Institute. We even have a special presentation of some recently preserved film footage of the 1935 May Day pageant on the main floor of JKM Library!

These materials document both the May Day pageants held on the Chatham campus many times throughout the years as well as other fun campus traditions. Even though May Day is no longer celebrated at Chatham to the extent it was in the past, the tradition continues to this day when the maypole dance occurs on University Day. It’s fun to be part of this long line of maypole dancers, isn’t it?

Students, faculty, and other Chatham community members are welcome to explore “From May Day to University Day,” located at the JKM Library lobby and the Women’s Institute lounge. If you would like to learn more about Chatham’s history, click here for additional information about the Chatham Archives and Special Collections.

Check out some of our favorite May Day photographs from the collections of the Chatham University Archives and the video of the 1935 May Day celebration below!

May Day 1904

One of the earliest photos of the May Day pageant, taken in May, 1904. Here, costumed students perform the Maypole dance on Chatham’s lawn. These dances were viewed as a feminine form of exercise and a way to unify women through the shared experiences of womanhood and higher education.

May Day 1905

A hand-colored glass lantern slide depicts the 1905 Maypole dance. Audience members appear on the balcony of the original Berry Hall.

May Day 1907

Cornelia Bullock, the 1907 May Queen, poses with attendants.

May Day 1909

Student performers dance around the maypole during the 1909 May Day celebration. Onlookers watch from the balcony extending from Berry Hall.

May Day 1912

Those attending the 1912 May Day pageant watch as the students perform P.C.W.’s rendition of Vârful Cu Dor by Carmen Sylva.

May Day 1915

Spectators look down on students as they perform Paskkennodan: The City of Smoke Vapor written by P.C.W.’s speech instructor, Vanda E. Kurst. The celebration occurred on May 15, 1915 at the conclusion of President John Carey Acheson’s inauguration.

May Day 1916

The 1916 May Day pageant occurred near Lindsay House and the Andrew Mellon greenhouse. Students performed Vanda E. Kurst’s rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Over 5,000 people attended the celebration!

Victory Through Conflict, 1920

Rather than putting on a May Day pageant in 1920, the P.C.W. community staged an elaborate production titled Victory through Conflict. Above, students Marion Gifford, Mary Jane Paul, and Frances Frederick pose together as Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

May Day 1923

Estelle Maxwell, who attended P.C.W. between 1922 and 1923, appears as an Egyptian princess alongside her attendants during the 1923 May Day pageant.

May Day 1929

Students dress as ghosts and perform a haunting dance during the 1929 May Day celebration titled Persephone: A Greek Festival.

May Day 1935

A distant photo of the 1935 May Day celebration captures Queen Elizabeth and the May Queen sitting side-by-side on their dais. Be sure to view archival film footage from the celebration below and in the lobby of the JKM Library!

May Day 1947

Several maypole dances conclude the May Day pageant of 1947.

 

What a production! We like to think about the history of the maypole dance every year when we see it performed as part of University Day.  It’s a pretty fun connection to our past, don’t you think?

Be sure to stop by the JKM Library, the lounge of the Women’s Institute, and this blog for more information about the May Day celebrations and how they’ve played into Chatham’s springtime celebrations, like Buckets and Blossoms.

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