In 2004 Shirley Fenner Reidenbaugh '54 organized a reunion of former members of the Boar's Head Dramatic Society. The driving force was the one hundredth anniversary of the 1904 founding of the Society. Boar's Head ended as an organization in 1972, but many alumni remember fondly the days when they "trod the boards" at Syracuse University.
Over the years the Archives has collected an estimated 10 cubic feet of playbills, fliers, photographs, correspondence, meeting minutes, membership certificates, scrapbooks, and other records related to The Boar's Head. Much of the information is in the collections of Drama Department directors Sawyer Falk and Gerald Reidenbaugh.
On June 5, 2004 the Archives put together a small exhibit of playbills and photographs for the returning Boar's Head members. A Memory Book was created and former members were invited to add their personal recollections of their experiences.
The idea of creating a web site, this web site, was raised, and Shirley Reidenbaugh set about to raise the necessary funds. She wrote to several fellow alumni and successfully raised enough money for the Archives to hire a graduate student to work on the effort.
Mark Custer, a graduate student in the School of Information Studies, joined the Archives in January 2006 as an intern. He was charged with identifying all productions and locating all extant playbills; providing all the needed metadata for each playbill; working on the actual Archives web site; and working with the Syracuse University Library which agreed to host the collection as part of their Digital Library. With his dedicated help and the support of the staff of Digital Library Development Services, the database of Boar's Head playbills has become a reality.
It is hoped that in a viewable format on the Internet that these images will be of great educational value not only to Syracuse University students studying directing or scenic and costume design, but to similar students around the world.
The Archives thanks Library staff members Suzanne Preate, Mike Puckett, Penelope Singer, Pamela Thomas and Nancy Turner, and our own Archives staff member Kathleen Pieri for all their time, energy and enthusiasm.
But the greatest applause must go to the Boar's Head alumni whose generosity made all this possible.