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.

March 3, 2016
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Celebrating Women’s History: Chatham Women and Politics

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the University Archives presents selections from our collection that highlight Chatham’s unwavering commitment to encouraging civic engagement in all levels of the political system.

This exhibition, Celebrating Women’s History: Chatham Women in Politics, demonstrates student civic engagement tracing back to the earliest days of the Suffragette movement, when students paraded through downtown Pittsburgh in support of women’s right to vote.

Pennsylvania College for Women float in support of women's right to vote, 1914

Pennsylvania College for Women float in support of women’s right to vote, 1914

Materials on exhibit illustrate a wide variety of activities, including rallies supporting equal access to education and student involvement in all levels of the political process.  The exhibit illustrates the continuity of the civic engagement among the student body and the university’s unwavering commitment to foster civic engagement as a core value.

We welcome you to explore Celebrating Women’s History: Chatham Women in Politics at the JKM Library and in the lounge of the Women’s Institute.  See below for some of our favorite archival records on this topic, plus a few that we just couldn’t squeeze into the display cases! Still hungry for more Chatham history?  Click here for more information about the collections in the Chatham University Archives & Special Collections.  

Clippings documenting Chatham's "Women and the War" Conference

Clippings documenting Chatham’s “Women and the War” Conference

During World War II, Chatham hosted an conference titled, “Women and the War” to discuss the role of women in the war effort.

Student volunteers update a poster showing the contributions of Faculty, Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen to the Fund to fight war and communism.

Student volunteers update a poster showing the contributions of Faculty, Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen to the Fund to fight war and communism.

Chatham students worked tirelessly to support the war effort, both at home and on the front lines.

World War II veterans return to campus to continue their studies.

World War II veterans return to campus to continue their studies.

In the 1950s, Chatham students turned their attention to increasing voter turnout, both on campus and within the broader community.

Students from Harrisburg cast their absentee ballots.

Students from Harrisburg cast their absentee ballots.

Student-lead efforts to increase voter turnout continue to this day.  In 1997, Chatham students collaborated with students from the University of Pittsburgh in a program to increase voter registration in the local community.

Two-page spread from the 1997 Cornerstone about voter registration efforts.

Two-page spread from the 1997 Cornerstone about voter registration efforts.

In the 1960s, Chatham women joined in the rising chorus of American students speaking out on issues of civil rights and the war in Vietnam.  After the Greensburg Four protested racial segregation at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in North Carolina, students from all over the south joined the sit-in.  In Pittsburgh, Chatham students protested outside the downtown Pittsburgh Woolworth, carrying signs reading “Chatham students protest civil rights violation,” and “Chatham students protest Woolworth lunch counter segregation.”  Click here to view a picture of this protest captured by legendary Pittsburgh photographer Teenie Harris housed at the Carnegie Museum of Art. 

Read more about the 1960 protest in this clipping from the Chatham student newspaper.

Woolworths

Article appearing in “The Arrow” on April 8, 1960 about Chatham student protest of lunch counter segregation

All across the country, college students voiced concerns about equality, civil liberties, and civil rights.  The university hosted a conference focusing on campus unrest in 1968, allowing college and university presidents, faculty, students and administrators to discuss and understand the changing political climate.

Brochure for conference on campus unrest held at Chatham in 1968

Brochure for conference on campus unrest held at Chatham in 1968

As the 1970s drew near, Chatham students became very engaged in discussion of the Vietnam War and continued to the support civil rights issues.

Chatham students protest the Vietnam War on Fifth Avenue

Chatham students protest the Vietnam War on Fifth Avenue

Chatham rally about Attica Prison riots

Chatham rally about Attica Prison riots

Material from Strike Information Central demonstrating student unrest

Material from Strike Information Central demonstrating student unrest

Editorial appearing in Chatham's "The Arrow" in 1970

Editorial appearing in Chatham’s “The Arrow” in 1970

Student civic engagement continued through the 1980s, when Chatham women participated in demonstrations in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.  One student attended a meeting at the White House with student leaders and President Jimmy Carter.

Bonnie McElvery, Student Government President, with President Jimmy Carter at the White House

Bonnie McElvery, Student Government President, with President Jimmy Carter at the White House

 

Chatham students at a Pro-Choice rally in Washinton, D.C. in 1989

Chatham students at a Pro-Choice rally in Washinton, D.C. in 1989

In 1995, Chatham students organized a rally in support of Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to preserve federal funding for student loans.  The rally was attended by over 2500 students from local colleges and universities and at least one University President.  Can you spot the University President in the pictures from the event below?

Images from 1995 rally to preserve federal funding for student loans

Images from 1995 rally to preserve federal funding for student loans

Over the years, Chatham has invited activists, heads of state, members of Congress, and other office holders to engage with students on local, national, and international political issues.

Fliers for some of Chatham's visiting speakers

Fliers for some of Chatham’s visiting speakers

Curious about Patricia Schroeder?  Here’s more information about her career and her visit to Chatham.

Brochure from Patricia Schroeder visit to Chatham in 2004

Brochure from Patricia Schroeder visit to Chatham in 2004

Wondering if Catherine Baker Knoll, who spoke at Chatham as the Treasurer for Pennsylvania, held any other public office in the years that followed?  Her records are open for research at the Detre Library and Archives at the Heinz History Center in downtown Pittsburgh.  Click here for the finding aid to her papers.  Remember, the Chatham University Archives can help you locate primary source records at other archival repositories.

Of course, we’re all looking forward to the 2016 commencement speaker, Chatham’s own Muriel Bowser.  Muriel Bowser graduated from Chatham in 1994 and was the eighth Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Chatham Alumna Muriel Bowser

Chatham Alumna Muriel Bowser

As much as we’ve shown through Celebrating Women’s History: Chatham Women in Politics, we have so much more material in the University Archives that documents Chatham’s unwavering commitment to encouraging civic engagement among students.  We’d be thrilled to show you more from our collections on this or any other area of Chatham history.  For more information about our collections and how to contact us, click here.

April 18, 2015
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Explore Pittsburgh this summer!

Get out and explore the city this summer with inspiration from one of the books displayed on the First Floor.

Whether you’re interested in art, architecture, or the culture of Pittsburgh, you’ll find a helpful guide to your summer adventures. Dates to the biggest festivals and events around the city will be posted in the Lobby for your convenience.

Find something that peaked your interest? Make sure to ask a librarian about how you can find more books about the Steel City!

April 18, 2015
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Gardening Resources

Whether you’re planning a vegetable or rain garden, JKM Library has the resources you need!

Stop in to the First Floor and check out books on a variety of garden styles and the plants you’ll need.

Don’t have a green thumb but find inspiration in being outside? Check out either of Jamaica Kincaid’s books on how she finds peace and happiness in the natural world. 

March 17, 2015
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FOIA and Libraries: The Persepolis Story

On March 16, 2015, Jennie King Mellon Library celebrated Freedom of Information Day, an annual observance of our rights to speak out, to share information freely, and to obtain information that the public has a right to know. See our display of related books and materials in the first floor lobby!

Libraries are information repositories, and are based upon the idea that information should be freely shared and experienced. Libraries and librarians are often on the front lines of First Amendment and information freedom concerns. A recent example is the controversy that occurred when, in 2013, the Chicago Public School System pulled Marjane Satrapi’s award-winning graphic novel Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood from their curriculum.

persepolisThe banning of the work could not have happened without discussion amongst various administrators in the school system, much of which occurred in writing, and so the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) all put in Freedom of Information Act requests for the correspondence in early 2013. FOIA allows for anyone to access, or to request and receive, any information held by the federal government (including public schools) that is not specifically required to be kept confidential. The professional organizations received only a few pages of documents, including a heavily-edited version of the email chain which began with a complaint about the book and ended with the determination that it would be banned.

Over a year later, in December 2014, Jarrett Dapier, a student of library science at the University of Illinois who was writing a paper on censorship in K-12 classrooms, submitted his own Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on the subject and received the complete email correspondence chain.

The full correspondence received by Dapier reveals that the decision to pull the book from the curriculum was based on two pages in Persepolis identified as being “not appropriate” by one school principal. In a domino-effect panic, the book was thus ordered to be removed from curricula across the entire Chicago Public School System. The correspondence also reveals that some teachers and librarians at the affected schools initiated “pushback,” by noting that the book is acclaimed, and that librarians retain the authority to purchase and make available to students even those texts that have been deemed controversial.

Responding to the controversy, the Chicago Public School System ultimately allowed the work to remain in its libraries, and approved it for study in 11th and 12th grade classrooms. The story indicates how progressive causes can use information transparency to effect change, but also how imperfect the system can be. Information access is a right that needs to be exercised continually to be retained. March 16 is a better time than any to take advantage of this right! See http://www.foia.gov/ for more information.

Sources:

http://www.foia.gov/

http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/persepolis-rising/

http://ncac.org/blog/how-chicago-public-schools-dumped-persepolis/

http://www.ftrf.org/blogpost/852091/161174/FTRF-files-FOIA-request-to-Chicago-Public-Schools-over-removal-of-Persepolis

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/federallegislation/govinfo/opengov/freedomofinfo

March 4, 2015
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Spring Break Popular Reading

Spring break is just a few short days away, so you better stop by JKM Library to check out the books on your Spring Break Reading List! Don’t have a list prepared? Have no fear…the Popular Reading Display has just been stocked!

Here’s what’s new on the table:

Pittsburgh Noir, edited by Kathleen George
The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, edited by Sue Ellen Thompson
Inside by Alix Ohlin
Dancing on the Edges of Knives, poems by Ed Ochester
Allegheny, poems by Ed Ochester
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
Wicked and Son of a Witch, by Gregory Maguire
Prodigal Son, by Dean Koontz
The Pittsburgh Book of Contemporary American Poetry, edited by Ed Ochester and Peter Oresick

pop reading March

February 1, 2015
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Blind Date with a Book Display

IMG_2080Have you ever read a book and thought, “This is true love!”? Well, we’re hoping to set you up with your next favorite book (or film) this Valentine’s Day. Stop into the library and pick up a wrapped book from the display, check it out, and unwrap your date! Was it a dud? Is it getting put in the friend zone? We hope you find new love.

January 26, 2015
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Popular Reading Display

As we neared the end of the fall semester, we at the library asked our patrons to let us know what they wanted to see on the Popular Reading Display. You suggested, and we listened! The display was filled with new titles in the middle of January, so make sure to stop by and see what made it to the table.

Here are some of our new features:Pop Reading Jan

Have your own suggestions for the Popular Reading Display? Send an email to circdesk@chatham.edu or stop by in person and let us know!

January 10, 2015
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January Displays – Mentoring and Women in Politics

Mentor DisplayProfessional mentoring is commemorated during the month of January. JKM Library is highlighting the importance of mentoring and leadership in the workplace in conjunction with the 2015 Ready to Run Conference with a book display on the First Floor. Books are available on mentoring, leadership, and women in American politics. If you’re interested in finding more information, ask a Reference librarian for help finding articles and e-books.

Ready to Run is presented at Chatham by the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics. The two-day conference will be held on January 30th and 31st. Registration is required. Day one’s pre-conference focuses on Women of Color in Pennsylvania Politics, and the topic of day two is Campaign Training for Women. Keynote speaker is Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz.

December 2, 2014
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Dying for a great mystery?

Dying for a great mystery? Our mystery-theme book display is exactly what you need!

There are cozy mysteries, detective stories, thrillers, and classics for everyone to enjoy. Authors include: Kathy Reichs, P.D. James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Alexander McCall Smith, and many more.

Not sure which genre you like? Sample a few, or check out one of the non-fiction books on the history of mystery.

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