February 12, 2020
by library
0 comments

“Issues for the 90s” on View in the JKM Library

Archival footage on display in the JKM Library

As part of an ongoing, rotating showcase of recently digitized media in the lobby of the JKM Library, the Chatham University Archives & Special Collections is pleased to present “Issues for the 90s: A Conversation with the President.”  This film features Dr. Rebecca Stafford, President of Chatham from 1983 until 1990, discussing a proposal for coeducation brought forth to the college community in 1990.  The footage was reformatted through support from the Council of Independent Colleges.  Members of the Chatham community and the public are welcome to enjoy the presentation.

The film digs into the questions and concerns alumnae had in the 1990s about the coeducation proposal, enrollment issues, and the future of Chatham College (now University).  According to the footage, coeducation was being considered because of concern about enrollment projections and a desire to sustain the institution.  Dr. Stafford mentions that growth in adult education at women’s colleges, like the Gateway Program at Chatham, served to increase enrollment numbers overall but did not provide a sustainable model over the long term.  Rather, she concluded, Chatham needed to develop a plan to attract more residential students.

Moreover, it is illuminating to learn that coeducation had been considered several times over the course of Chatham’s history.  The footage of Dr. Stafford was recorded in February of 1990, a full twenty-five years before Chatham’s undergraduate programs became coed.  The Coeducation Debate Collection (click here for the finding aid) includes records of the first formal consideration of coeducation at Chatham in the late 1960s and petitions from faculty, students, and alumnae when the issue was raised in 1990.  In the footage on view, Dr. Stafford mentions that Board of Trustees discussed coeducation when changing the school’s name from The Pennsylvania College for Women to Chatham in the 1950s.  She notes the trustees were concerned that Chatham must “have a name that doesn’t have `women’ in it.”

Board of Trustee Minutes from 1954 discussing coeducation.

The “Issues for the 90s: A Conversation with the President” is on view in the JKM Library lobby for the enjoyment of members of the public and the Chatham community.  Those interested in exploring the history of coeducation at Chatham are encouraged to explore the film and related material in the Chatham University Archives and Special Collections.

By Janelle Moore, Archives Assistant, and Molly Tighe, Archivist & Public Services Librarian

June 17, 2019
by library
2 Comments

University Archives Displays Footage of 1966 Commencement Featuring Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara

The Chatham University Archives & Special Collections is pleased to share a selection from the Historical Film Collection featuring footage of the 1966 Commencement ceremony, the address given by then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and the protest that occurred outside the event venue.  Captured by WTEA News, a portion of this footage is currently on view through September 22 at the Heinz History Center as part of their engaging and thought-provoking exhibit, Vietnam War: 1945 – 1975.  The complete footage, including shots of an airport welcome by Chatham President Edward Eddy and extended views of the protests, is on view in the lobby of the Jennie King Mellon Library.  Stop by, use the headphones (or read the captions!), and take a few moments to consider this moment in history.

1966 Commencement Footage in the JKM Library Lobby

So, why was the Secretary of Defense speaking at the Chatham commencement?  Keep reading…

But first, a little background on McNamara.  Born in 1916, McNamara received degrees from the University of California and from Harvard Business School.  Disqualified from combat during WWII due to poor vision, he served in the Army Air Force developing logistical and statistical systems for a variety of war activities.  Following the war, McNamara rose through the ranks of the Ford Motor Company, serving as company president for one month before accepting an appointment in the Kennedy administration as Secretary of Defense in 1961.

Sec. McNamara at podium at 1966 Commencement, PCC003, Chronological Photograph Files, Chatham University Archives

McNamara is known for the controversial role he played in escalating US involvement in the Vietnam War.  Under McNamara’s leadership, the number of American troops—originally sent to Vietnam to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam—increased rapidly.  A fabricated “attack” on the American military in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 allowed the US military to justify increased engagement in the region and McNamara led President Johnson, Congress, and the American public to believe that this further escalation was necessary to prevent the expansion of communism. McNamara is believed to have privately questioned US military involvement as early as 1965 and he launched a secret investigation of the US commitment to the war.  Records of this investigation were leaked to the public in 1971 and are known today as the Pentagon Papers.  Having recommended, in a memo to President Johnson, that US involvement should be scaled back, McNamara resigned and became President of the World Bank.

US involvement in Vietnam continued and the sentiment of the American public soured.  In 1965, 64% of the American public approved of US involvement in Vietnam. Four years later, approval numbers had sunk to 39%, with 52% considering the war to be a mistake. Months and months of regular US troop deployments turned into years, while news broadcasts delivered a gruesome reality of war casualties and wounded soldiers into living rooms across the country.  Television broadcasts also presented the war’s impact on the Vietnamese population, many of whom became refugees after their homes were destroyed.

Newspaper Clipping showing protesters outside Chatham College 1966 Commencement ceremony.

In this video, captured by WTAE Channel four, you’ll see the anti-war protesters picketing in front of Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland, where Robert McNamara was gave the commencement address for Chatham College’s Class of 1966.  Kathleen McNamara, his daughter, was a member of the graduating class.  The video begins with McNamara’s arrival to Pittsburgh, where he was greeted by a crowd of cheerful people, including Chatham President Edward Eddy.  There is a stark contrast between the airport greeting and the footage of the protesters, who marched outside the commencement venue carrying signs decrying the military activity in Vietnam.  Protest signs were written in both English and Vietnamese.

The speech given by Sec. McNamara, titled “The Age of Protest,” acknowledges the controversies surrounding the Vietnam War.  McNamara’s speech discusses freedom of dissent as a “privilege” available to the American public, but only an aspiration for the citizens of Vietnam. In his speech, McNamara presents the victimization of both the East and the West through the “bureaucratic tyranny of technology and autocracy that’s gradually depersonalizing and aliening modern man himself.”

1966 Chatham Commencement materials on display in the Heinz History Center’s Vietnam: 1945-1975 exhibit.

The Chatham University Archives is honored to loan material to the Senator John Heinz History Center for their exhibition on the Vietnam War.  Combining material from the New York Historical Society and  the Detre Library & Archives’ rich collection, the exhibit presents this tumultuous period in world history with both a global and a local perspective.  In connection with the exhibit, the Heinz History is presenting a series of lectures by journalists, academics, and writers offering a variety of perspectives on the war and its aftermath.  The complete footage of the 1966 commencement address by Sec. Robert McNamara is on view in the library of the JKM Library, Chatham University, and the text of the speech is available through the Chatham University Archives.

February 19, 2019
by library
0 comments

Chatham Archives Presents “Commencement 1936” in JKM Lobby

Walking around the JKM Library, you may have noticed a curious video running on a loop in the JKM Library near the Popular Books table. Or perhaps, you’ve only heard about the interesting video and are worried about missing out? Fear not! We’re happy to share the clips of the video so that off-campus community members, alums, and the general public can enjoy it as much as  students, staff, and patrons who frequent the JKM Library. Ready?

Archival Film on View in the JKM Library

The video is one of several that the University Archives & Special Collections digitized recently as part of its preservation program.  The Archives works with local specialists equipped with film ovens (used to warm decaying film before running it through players) and all sorts of reformatting equipment to create  preservation-quality, digital versions of footage on obsolete formats. The Archives is continually working to make more material available and we have plans to preserve more archival films in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Part 1 of the film features footage of the 1936 Commencement ceremony, the oldest known footage in the Archives. Running just over two minutes and with no sound, the footage shows graduates filing into the ceremony area  between Laughlin and Buhl Halls. At the time, Laughlin was a library and Buhl had yet to be expanded to the size we know today. The film shows the college glee club performing under the direction of Earl B. Collins, audience members watching from the windows in Buhl Hall, and a view of the audience seated above the ceremony area.

 

The program from the 1936 commencement that lists the names of the graduates, the commencement speaker, and other details from the day can be viewed as part of Chatham’s Commencement Programs online collection. Click here for the 1936 Commencement program.

The second half of the film, which runs just under one minute, is a bit of a mystery. The footage appears to show Arthur Braun, then President of the Board of Trustees, as well as Dean Mary Marks. However, the rest of the individuals are—as yet—unidentified. Any ideas?

Additional audio and video material from the Chatham University Archives is accessible online from the Historical Film Collection (click here) and the Historical Audio Collection (click here). Researchers and those interested in seeing additional material are encouraged to reach out to the Chatham University Archives here.   Even more material is available for viewing pleasure on the Archives Facebook (@chathamarchives) and Instagram (@chathamarchives), where we’re posting as part of the 150th anniversary of Chatham’s founding with #150Throwbacks.

April 4, 2018
by library
0 comments

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
by library
2 Comments

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

Continue Reading →

November 20, 2017
by library
0 comments

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.”

Continue Reading →

October 6, 2017
by library
1 Comment

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.

Continue Reading →

August 25, 2017
by library
0 comments

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
by library
0 comments

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
by library
0 comments

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.

 

 

Skip to toolbar