Syracuse University Archives Newsletter

Volume 14 Number 2
Fall 2015

From the Director

I've heard it said that retirement is the world's longest coffee break. Well, I'm never one to take coffee breaks anyway or sometimes even to stop for lunch, so we'll see how retirement works for me.

By the time some of you read this I will have shaken the hands of many, hugged a few, and closed the door to my office one last time. It has been just over twenty years since I journeyed back east from California to take the reins of Archives and Records Management. SU has been good to me and for me, and I hope the University feels it has benefited as well. There have been many changes while I've been here - staff, space, organization, managers - but the basic tenets of the job remain the same. I have tried to provide what I see as a vital service to the University community, both from historical and business viewpoints. I think it has worked well.

There is not enough room here to thank everyone for the kindness and support I have been shown. I'll do that in other ways. I do want to single out our ARM staff - Mary, Kathy, Larry, Meg, and Vanessa - as well as those who have moved on. If I have accomplished anything during these years it is because of their hard work and dedication. I have been blessed with supportive management - Eleanor, Trudy, Matthew, and now David - who have recognized the importance of their charge. Finally I want to say how honored I have been to steward the Pan Am 103 Archives all these years and to be considered part of the 103 family.

Thank you all for a wonderful way to cap what turned out to be a wonderful career.

Ed Galvin, Director

Lead Article: Twenty Years of Progress!

As I prepare to retire I hope you will grant me the time to reflect back on how things were when I arrived in 1995 and how they are today.

In 1995 there were two staff in ARM - a director and a reference archivist. We did it all with student support until the early 2000s when we added a person to handle our database and web site and another to manage the boxes in the Records Center and Archives. By 2009 we had an assistant archivist on board and by 2011 another funded by the families and friends of the Pan Am 103 Archives.

In 1995 I had the same office I occupy today in Bird Library, but the reference archivist had only a desk in the 6th floor stacks. A few years later we were able to have walls built and create an actual room. The Hawkins storage area was only a cage that saw occasional birds fly in as well as dust from an unpaved parking lot. In 2000 walls were added there as well along with lighting and a climate-controlled system. Today we have an adjoining room for staff that provides the office space they deserve.

In 1995 we had two computers at Bird but none at Hawkins. Today we are well supplied to meet the needs of a modern Archives and run a functioning Records Center. We have used Versatile as our tracking database since before I came, but have moved from the DOS to Windows to Enterprise version, and added Archivists Toolkit for our expanding archival collections. The web site has moved from a simple 'gopher web protocol' site to an extensive site of over 1,250 pages.

In 2012 we began adding our archival collections into the Libraries catalog and now have over 130 collection finding aids available both in the catalog and on our website.

In 1995 we handled 888 reference requests and retrievals. In 2014 that number was 5,757. In twenty years we have added 15,459 boxes into the Archives and Records Center and disposed of 11,302 boxes that passed their legal retention periods.

But as I look back, the work I am most personally proud of is our Pan Am 103 Archives and that in 2006 we expanded the Archives to include all 270 victims of the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

ARM staff will keep meeting the changing needs and expectations of our patrons and doing the superb job they have done for so many years. I will be watching from a distance now and am confident I will continue to hear great things from those who now have the ARM reins in their hands.

100 Years Ago in the Syracuse Daily Orange

November 9, 1915
The Opportunity Offered by Boar's Head

Boar's Head Dramatic Society announced yesterday the institution of a new feature in its work which is calculated to foster and greatly increase interest in dramatics here. A competition open to the entire undergraduate body for original one-act plays is to be started. These plays will be staged monthly, which give several opportunities each year for the aspiring playwright to gain valuable experience.

In years past it has been the custom to give but one play each season, during Senior Week. This will be done as usual, "The Lion and the Mouse" having been selected this year, but the monthly plays are an innovation. Once in every two years a play written by a student or alumnus was formerly used. The new system gives ten opportunities where there was but one.

Boar's Head is one of the leading dramatic societies among American universities. The class of plays selected and the excellence of the acting has given it an enviable reputation. Such plays as "The Fortune Hunter" by Joseph Vance and "The Witching Hour" by Augustus Thomas are good tests of the ability of the student actors to handle comedy and "heavy" parts as well.

The adoption of the new plan is certainly a step forward in the direction of more opportunities for more students along dramatic lines. By taking this step, Boar's Head gets a still firmer grip on first place through its progressive spirit and honest striving for the perfection of the college drama.

Recent Additions

Since the previous newsletter Archives has received a number of new additions including:
  • Center for Policy Research working papers #152-178
  • Religion Department Faculty Minutes
  • Papers of philosophy professors Jose Benardete and Catherine Lord Benardete
  • Additions to the Papers of Chancellors Shaw, Cantor and Syverud from the Office of the Chancellor
  • Delta Upsilon fraternity materials from Ray Borg G'96
  • Additions to the Victims of Pan Am 103, Inc. Collection
  • Navy blue women's pants with orange "SU" monogramming from Carol Decker '68
  • Vice President for Research files from the Office of Research
  • Framed photograph of the Syracuse University Crew team, circa 1900, from Sharon Flack-Hall
  • Prof. of Education Donald Ely Papers from the Ely Family
  • Black and white photograph, American Grandmother - Syracuse, NY by Ron Sherman, circa 1970, from Ron Sherman G'71
  • Dishes, Syracuse China, from Edward Buck '68

New Donations to the Archives

The Syracuse University Archives averages about 200 new accessions annually. Many are of scholarly interest or document the inner workings of the University's departments, schools, and colleges. We provide a list of some in each newsletter, but some are more interesting and warrant a few words. As always we thank the donors who keep the Archives fresh and the past alive.

This past spring, the Town of Webb Historical Association in Old Forge, New York, donated some materials belonging to Brenda Carmer to the University Archives. Brenda Carmer received her Liberal Arts degree from Syracuse University in 1946. As a student, she sang in a trio at alumnae meetings and women's club programs. In 1946 Carmer won a contest to perform a song she wrote, "A Dream Come True," at the University's Junior Prom, which was held in Archbold Gymnasium on March 22. She sang her song with her trio, which included Pat Perry and Mary Blanchard, and was accompanied by Stan Kenton and his orchestra. "A Dream Come True" became the prom theme song for 1946. The Town of Webb Historical Association's donation has become the Brenda Carmer Papers. Dating between 1942 and 1946, the papers include materials relating to her music and performance at the 1946 Junior Prom. They contain lyrics and sheet music written by Brenda, including "A Dream Come True" and other songs. Prom materials comprise her seat card, photographs and clippings about the event and her performance, and Western Union telegrams of congratulations.

In August, the University Archives received an envelope full of small black and white photographs from Nancy Stocker '80. She wrote that the photos were taken when her mother, Elly Diepeveen '56, attended Syracuse University. They are wonderful snapshots of the University campus during the 1950s and include images of individual buildings such as the Hall of Languages, Hendricks Chapel, Crouse College, and Carnegie Library. There are views of the field inside Archbold Stadium, the Quad, and a sidewalk on Marshall Street. A photograph of Ivan Mestrovic's sculpture, Supplicant Persephone, is also included. Images like these are important because they offer a unique perspective. They document what a student wanted to remember during their time at Syracuse University.

Building Our History

Huntington Hall
Acquired by SU in 1915 as the Hospital of the Good Shepherd, Huntington Hall was re-named in 1964 to honor Rev. Frederick Huntington, founder of the hospital. Although the Medical College was transferred to the State of New York in 1950, SU retained the hospital building and operated it on a contractual basis until 1966 when it ceased operation as a hospital. After patients and staff moved into the new State University Upstate Medical Center Hospital, the building was renovated for academic purposes.

The Archives maintains a listing of SU buildings, past and present, on our website.

Mystery Photo

Not exactly on campus, but nearby if you like to go for walks.

The mystery photo is a cemetery monument, with Syracuse Univerity engraved on a central cross-shaped shaft, located in the Syracuse University lot in Oakwood Cemetery next to campus.

This was originally the cemetery lot for the House of Good Shepherd which became the Hospital of the Good Shepherd on Marshall St. (now Syracuse University's Huntington Hall). SU took over the hospital in 1915 and with that came responsibility for the cemetery lot as well. The lot was part of Morningside Cemetery which eventually merged with Oakwood Cemetery.

The lot is located in Section 51, lots 56 to 62, not too far behind the main cemetery office on Comstock Ave. The overall lot is 252 sq. ft. in size and consists of a central cross-shaped shaft with more than a dozen small monuments behind and to its left and right. Some stones are very easily identified. Others are worn away by time or have little identifying marks on them.

Twenty-two individuals have been buried in this lot. The earliest was in 1886 and the most recent in 1941. Some were connected with Syracuse University.

Belle Louise Brewster was a singer, choral director, and a member of the voice department in the College of Fine Arts. She died unexpectedly in Canada and was buried in the lot on June 23, 1933.

On May 28, 1941, Peter Nien was buried. Notes in the Archives refer to him as a "Chinese boy," but he was in reality a 33-year-old, married, visiting intern connected to SU's College of Medicine. Newspaper accounts state he was found dead in his bed, and indicate his body was to be sent back to Chungking, China for burial, but that obviously did not happen.

The most recognizable name to us in the Archives is that of Irene Sargent who was buried September 16, 1932. She was a professor in the College of Fine Arts and an important spokeswoman for the Arts and Crafts movement. Archives holds the Irene Sargent Collection.

Staff News

Farewell Larry!
On December 31 we will say goodbye to a special long-time member of the Archives and Records Management family, Larry Mead. Readers of Access may not hear much about Larry's work because the newsletter focuses mainly on the Archives, but Larry is the mainstay of our Records Management program. He joined SU as a temporary employee in 2001 but proved to be so valuable that we were able to offer him a permanent position a year later.

Larry handles the deposit, retrieval, loan and destruction of all the boxes in the University's Records Center, as well as managing the Archives' off-site storage facility. The work will go on, but his shoes will indeed be hard to fill. We here in ARM and at SU wish him all the best as he enters this next phase of his life and want him to know how much he will be missed.

Gifts and Donations

The Archives benefits from the generosity of the Syracuse University community. Donations of documents, scrapbooks, photographs, and memorabilia that help to tell the story of the University, its students, faculty, and staff are always welcome. If you have materials to donate, please contact the University Archives at 315.443.3335 or by archives@syr.edu. In addition, funding opportunities exist that help the Archives with its efforts to process and preserve the history of SU. To discuss planned giving opportunities please contact Ronald Thiele, Assistant Dean for Advancement at 315.443.2537 or by rlthiele@syr.edu.