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?
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.