Digital History at Ursinus

Browse Exhibits (8 total)

Breaking Ground: A History of the Construction, Destruction, and Renovation of Ursinus College

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Bears Breaking Ground: A History of Construction, Destruction, and Renovation at Ursinus College aims to educate the public about the history of Ursinus buildings. The group decided to pick three buildings that are personally connected to our lives on campus. The three buildings are currently known as Myrin Library, Bomberger Memorial Hall and the Berman Museum of Art. The project is just the initial step in creating a full history of the buildings on campus. Although each building was built at a different time in the college’s history, two major dates of renovation have emerged through our research, the 1970s and the mid 2000s. 

Myrin Library was built in 1970. It stands where Freeland Seminary, later Freeland, Stein and Derr Halls, stood. Freeland Seminary was built in 1848 and was incorporated into Ursinus’s space after its founding in 1871. Stein and Derr Halls were added later to include dormitory and cafeteria space on campus. In 1965 the building was declared to be a fire hazard, no longer big enough to house the student population of Ursinus and infected with different types of vermin. It was destroyed that same year. Since Freeland Hall and Myrin Library are geographically related, they have been placed first since Freeland Hall was the oldest building (of our three) to be associated with Ursinus. Under the Freeland Hall and Myrin Library tab, there is information about Freeland Seminary, Freeland Hall, Myrin Library’s construction, the Book Walk, and Myrin Library’s dedication.

Bomberger Memorial Hall is still the same building under the same name, though it is generally shortened to Bomberger Hall. Built in 1891 from a generous donation by Robert Patterson, it is named in memory of one of the college's founders and the first president of the college, John Henry Augustus Bomberger. It is the oldest building still in use on campus, with the exteriors integrity being kept in its signature Romanesque architectural style. It has undergone renovations on its interior in the 1920s and 1970s to keep the building useable and up to the building code of the time. The only major and visible exterior renovation Bomberger has had was in 2006, with the north entrance being changed to a handicap accessible entrance/exit and offices for Career and Professional Development and the Education Department. Under the Bomberger Memorial Hall tab, there is information about the construction of Bomberger Hall, a few prominent rooms of the building, particularly its main chapel, the various renovations that have been done in its interior and exterior, and the organs of Ursinus College.

The Berman Museum have been known by three different names. It was initially built as the Alumni Memorial Library (AML) in 1921 to honor the Ursinus students killed during World War II. In 1973, the building transitioned for a short time into being the College Union. By the gift of Philip and Muriel Berman, the Berman Museum was established 1989 and lives on this campus to this day. It is still the original building built in 1921, but has had extensive renovations additions over the last 95 years. Under the AML, College Union, and Berman Museum of Art tab, there is information about fundraising to build the AML, the AML itself, the College Union, and The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art.

Each section holds specific details about each building’s evolution in the last 123 years of Ursinus history and include pictures from various decades, newspaper articles from The Ursinus Weekly/The Grizzly, and articles from The Ursinus Bulletin. All this information and originals can be found in Ursinusiana. The hope is that the project will be continued by future students and will include a history of all buildings on campus.

 

We would like to take a moment to extend our gratitude to all the people who have helped us through this project. Thank you to the U-Imagine Center, Dr. Susanna Throop, Dr. Kara McShane, Mrs. Carolyn Weigel, Mr. Andrew Prock and everyone else who has given us advice on our journey through this project. We greatly appreciate all your support. 

All pictures and articles are from Ursinusiana, the Ursinus College Archive, and the Ursinus Digital Commons. They are free to private and educational use.

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Ursinus Remembers

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Beginning with the Bears Make History course, taught by Dr. Susanna Throop and Dr. Kara McShane in the Fall of 2016, this project has grown and hopefully will continue to grow in the future. While each of the projects have their own specific goals and questions in mind, the common factor between them is that they wish to shed light on Ursinus's connection with a greater event or events. 

Because the Ursinus campus is small and relatively secluded, it can sometimes feel that we live in our own little bubble. That quite simply is not the case. Being able to examine these events and the effects they have on Ursinus allows for an interesting microhistory on how the outside world can have a greater impact on our little community in Collegeville.

Not only do we hope future students will continue to build on this project but we encourage it. Ursinus has a rich and long history, which is just waiting to be tackled from innumerable perspectives. Being able to bring that history and the stories attached to it to life and share it with the world only helps to enhance Ursinus and the school's legacy.

With that, please continue on and explore the projects here. Hopefully you will come away having learned something about our school and maybe even a question of your own you wish to pursue.

 

-Ursinus Students

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The Diversity of Social Life at Ursinus College

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What is social life, who it has involved, and how have these social interactions changed over time at Ursinus College? This project specifically explores the reasons for the shift to coeducation, how and why women carved out their own spaces on campus, and finally the ways in which both men and women did and did not coexist in their social lives between 1880 and 1907. Materials from the Ursinusiana Collection and the Ursinus Archives, especially yearbooks, newspapers, and photographs, reveal the early years of social life at Ursinus for women. In particular, this project shows that women joining a newly coeducational school not only had to prove their academic worth, but also navigated the difficulties of social life by joining established spaces or creating their own through clubs, organizations, sports, housing, and other interactions. Hopefully, this project is not an end in itself, but rather, the beginning of further dialogue about our students’ diverse backgrounds and the ways that these backgrounds manifest in social experiences at Ursinus College.

I would like to thank all the people who have helped me through this summer fellows project. Thank you to Dr. Susanna Throop and Dr. Kara McShane for being wonderful advisors and all the work they have done to make this project the best it could be. Thank you to Mrs. Carolyn Weigel and Mr. Andrew Prock for their amazing help in the archives and digitizing everything. And thank you to everyone else who have guided this project or assisted me in any way shape or form on this project. I appreciate all that you've done!

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Myths and Legends of Ursinus College

President Digging The Tree

‘Myths and Legends of Ursinus’ is a project aimed at answering questions about how urban legends can characterize a specific location. Focusing on how the mythology came about, which stories still remain, and what they mean for the current Ursinus campus, we have explored the radioactivity labs of Pfahler, the vanishing Vietnam Peace Tree, and the many ghost stories that are still a part of campus life. Articles from The Grizzly and The Weekly, college catalogues, the college bulletin, physical site visits, and in-person interviews have helped us to create this exhibit, which introduces different ways of perceiving locations, includes analysis of the three subtopics from each team member, and provides a synthesis of ideas to answer the final question of why such legends are still relevant today. Our research exposes the layers of mystery and adventure that can be found in everyday places and preserves such creative narratives in a digital memory that can be added to by future generations of students as the content of modern mythology changes with the passing years. We hope that through our investigation into the school’s personality via stories and legends, readers are able to examine their relationship with the school and gain further insight into the complexity of Ursinus's history. 

We'd like to offer our sincerest thanks to Carolyn Weigel, Andrew Prock, James Shuttlesworth, Christine Iannicelli, and Dr. Throop and Dr. McShane for their many hours of assistance, patience, and enthusiasm. We couldn't have done it without you!

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Bears With Booze: A History of the Creation, Enforcement, and Reformation of Alcohol Policies at Ursinus College

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Welcome!

Bears With Booze: A History of the Creation, Enforcement, and Reformation of Alcohol Policies at Ursinus College 
is a student-created and organized digital exhibit archiving the history of Ursinus College's tumultuous relationship with alcohol laws, customs, and culture.

From its creation, Ursinus College has maintained a controversial reputation in Montgomery County as an icon of liberal reformation in an demographical ocean of deep political and religious conservatism. Ursinus grew out of a period of intense theological discussion, debate, and change. The progressive and reformative ethics, opinions, and operations of the original benefactors and creators of the Ursinus identity - reconstructionist members of the Mercersburg Seminary - have endured history, and have reflected directly into the aura of determination, nobility, and extraordinary democracy in which Ursinus resides today.

Our website is organized into four separate categories:

  1. The Historical Narrative: A navigatable library of various media, all together illustrating and narrating the events of most tumultious and formative era of Ursinus history.

  2. The Modern Perspective: A navigatable library of various media, all together illustrating the state, style, and method of today's substance administration on the Ursinus campus.

  3. Photo galleries: High-resolution navigatable galleries of historically significant photographs and documents.

  4. Interactive features: Engaging, interactive exhibits for if you want to take a deeper delve into the complexities of Ursinus College's alcohol policy!

 

Credits

Dan Berger, Kasey Chatburn, Sam Mamber, & Alessandra Psomaras

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The Fall of Greeks: Disappearing Fraternities from Ursinus College

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Context and Argument 

Ursinus College campus used to be brimming with fraternities, especially in the 1980s. Fraternities have been started as early as 1925 to the last addition of a charter beginning in 2005. There are only a few fraternities still alive today at Ursinus. Our goal is to find out why fraternties at Ursinus College seem to be gradually disappearing from campus. Through primary source research on specific fraternties via Ruby yearbooks and Grizzly articles, we seek an internal answer to our question. Through secondary source resaerch, primarly sifting through academic databases, we seek to find am external or nation-wide answer to our question. Times are always changing.

Focus Group and Justification 

Additionally, we would like to make a distinction and justification for the type of fraternity we wil be focusing on throughout our project. We will be primarily be focusing on what we deem to be "traditional fraternities." Traditional fraternities are member based organizations that include a rushing process, pledging process, and a membership exclusive to men. We exclude academic fraternities and gender inclusive fraternities, because they do not face scrutiny or a declined prescence on campus. On the contrary, academic and gender inclusive fraternities are on the rise. We also acknowlege that local soroities face the same scrutiny and issues that traditional fraternities are currently going through. We scope of our project would be too large if we included them, therefore, we respectful acknowlege their issues and struggles here. 

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"Where They At?" Ursinus Recruitment and Retention of Students of Color

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“Simply adding bodies doesn’t actually address the systems of power and complex institutional issues.” - Dr. Patricia Lott

  • This exhibit focuses on Ursinus College efforts to recruit and retain students of color. The primary sources are taken from the Ursinusiana archives at Myrin Library on campus. These sources range from newspaper articles reporting on administrative discussions or decisions, the formulation of clubs or events targeted towards students of color, and sources directly documenting administrative communication regarding diversity on campus.

  • Readers should note that we have decided to use the terms “students of color” and “people of color” because it captures all the groups contained in the sources. We are mostly referring to students that identify with the African Diaspora along with people from the carribean and Latin America. However, many sources referring to these groups will use the phrase “minority”. We chose “people of color” / “students of color” instead of the term “minority” because our project does not include minorities of other kinds (women, LGBTQ, differently abled people, etc.), and we have good reason to believe each source using the term “minority” is referring to people of color and racial minorities, not other marginalized groups.

Our exhibit is organized into four parts:

1. Racial (rā-shəl) Realities (rē-ˈa-lə-tē): is the collection of articles in the Ursinus College newspaper The Grizzly describing how campus was before administration took note of the racial disparity and listing concerns and suggestions from students of color.

2. Recruitment (ri-ˈkrüt-mənt)the action of finding new people to join an organization or support a cause - this collection displays administrative efforts to recruit students of color, including primary sources which document administrative discussion, then establishment of the Bridge Program and Minority Affairs Committee as well as marketing efforts.

3. Retention (ri-ˈten(t)-shən): the ability to keep or continue having something - this collection displays continued efforts to create an environment at Ursinus College which is attractive to students of color, including investment in African-American studies, the establishment of a Minority Student Union, and efforts to hire increasing numbers of faculty and staff of color.

4. Reactions (rē-ˈak-shən)an action performed or a feeling experienced in response to a situation or event - this collection documents post-1995 events and articles displaying continued efforts or ways that the College has adjusted in response to these diversity efforts.

In African America Africana Studies class we've reviewed, Black Campus Movement by Ibram Kendi. Which relates back to our main purpose behind the creation of this exhibit to educate the viewer on Ursinus College efforts in the Recruitment and Retention of students of color. Kendi states, “Generally, they demanded better credentialed black faculty, whereas also demanding faculty power and a clear system based on merit…for their hiring, firing, and tenure.” (I. Kendi, pg. 113) In our source, "Can a Black Man find Happiness?", Nate Dupree an Ursinus College student voiced some of the ways he would change the campus life academically and socially. Nate tells the interviewer, “I would add a Fine Arts Program and a black studies program. Of course you would need some black administrators and black professors.” This is one of the many ways that our sources relates back to the coursework. Our exhibit doesn't only relate back to the text we've read but to some of the Curriculum Enrichment events the students of AAAS-200 had to attend. The Race and University Roundtable talk, relates with our exhibit because the exhibit offers background on the climate of Ursinus Campus during the height of huge racial disparity on campus. At the talk Mayor Aidsand Wright-Riggins, the first African-American to be Mayor of Collegeville, he gave the audience his first hand experience with racial disparity at California State University, Fullerton. He described his time there as simply being a number to the institution and not feeling supported. Mayor Wright-Riggins is echoing sentiments of people throughout the country who attend Predominantly White Institutions and are feeling unsupported, just like the countless accounts of students at Ursinus College who shared those concerns.

This exhibit would like to Thank: Dr. Patricia Lott (Professor of African American and Africana Studies), Carolyn Weigel (Ursinus College Archivist), Mr. Andy Prock (Scholary Communications and Metadata Librarian), and Ms. Christine Iannicelli (Instructional Technology Librarian) for their help and service.

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Major Growth, Minor Pains: The Development of the AAAS Program at Ursinus College

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The African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) program is a recent addition to Ursinus College, as new as 2004. The program offers a minor to students interested in exploring the African Diaspora in the U.S. and beyond. In this exhibit, we will explore the growth of one of the college's most interdisciplinary programs. This will include a full history of the AAAS program beginning with student intrigue and courses prior to 2004, past and current courses and professors of the program, and the impact of the program on the culture and student life at Ursinus including SPINT housing, and program oriented events and trips.

Before the African American and Africana Studies program was official at Ursinus; there were many demands for more educational courses about Black and African History included within Ursinus' curriculum. The most pregestious advocate was Byron Jackson who was a Black, male student at Ursinus College and led Ursinus' BSA/BSU. Aside from Byron, there were also other students from Ursinus' past who voiced their opinion on the lack of courses about Black studies. This portion will include articles from the Ursinus Weekly, now known as The Grizzly, that illustrate the concern and yearn for courses on Black and African History. These discussions highlight the need for Black Studies at Ursinus before the arrival of the AAAS program.

The AAAS program is compromised of courses from numerous different departments. Since its start, the AAAS minor has been 20 credits with 4 credits of introductory classes. Through the 15 years that the program has existed, classes have changed department or name, been eliminated, and new ones have been added. The diverse courses offered reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program.

Viewers learn of how the Ursinus College African American and Africana Studies Program has impacted both culture and student life on campus. Since created, the program has provided students with the chance to learn of a diverse Africana history and culture by allowing students to enroll in program classes, complete research, and attend events and program trips. 

The AAAS program today consists of many professors who reside in different departments, which provides each of them unique knowledge to make the program as well as rounded and perceptive as it is today. Many of the professors contribute in their own way through various courses in their particular department that focus on the African experience. As shown in the Courses and Requirements page, some of these classes include a philosophy course, previously taught by Reverend Rice, about the African American Religious Experience, to an English course, taught by Dr. Lott, about the African American experience in colleges throughout the country. 

Cloake House History: The Cloake House is a residential alternative for students who are interested in AAAS or service roles in Sankofa Umoja NIA (S.U.N.) S.U.N. advocates for the needs of students at Ursinus while empowering, teaching, discussing and exploring the Black experience. The organization helps students strive for academic excellence, and promotes positive images of black people while also helping students become an integral part of the Ursinus College community. Cloake House began under Special Interest Housing (SPINT) which provides students with a unique opportunity to collaborate with faculty and their peers to create an affinity group. The affinity group should encourage students to come together for a common purpose while contributing to campus life. SPINT is an entirely student-run program, each house is assigned with an advisor who will support them in setting goals for the year to create and execute programs for the year. Students both interested in Africana and African American Studies and American History came together under SPINT housing. Now the Cloake House falls under affinity housing which allows students both interested in the AAAS program and S.U.N. to live in the house. Cloake House has had a rich history at Ursinus College. The events hosted at the house have ranged from socials such as hair mask-making to poster painting parties to discussions about the black experience at Ursinus College. While the house has faced criticisms for creating a space for those interested in AAAS and S.U.N., the house overall has proved to be a safe space for students at Ursinus College, specifically students of color. With the support and guidance of Dr. O the advisor for Cloake House, the residents of Cloake hope to accomplish more educational events in collaboration with the AAAS Department beginning semester 2020.

The AAAS program had little to no campus visibility prior to 2012-2013 academic school year when Dr. Nzadi Keita assumed the role of program coordinator. Early on, the program was budget-less and partnerships with Rev. Charles Rice and the Chaplain’s office, Mrs. Patton and Multicultural Services, and students from Sankofa Umoja Nia (S.U.N.) made these events possible. With the arrival of Dr. Edward Onaci, the program started hosting a Fall Social and Kwanza celebration in 2013. As the program began to grow, they were able to petition the Arts and Lecture Committee an eventually receive funding in 2015. The African American Africana Studies guest lecture series soon followed and was renamed the Rev. Charles Rice Speaker Series in 2017. It is crucial to note that the creation/hosting of programming is an additional responsibility that core members of the AAAS Program have taken on in addition to producing scholarship, teaching, advising and serving on committees. Faculty had to insist that these programs would count as part of their service to the college in order to meet the needs of students requesting such events, faculty, and staff who look like them.

We would like to thank Dr. Patricia Lott, Ms. Carolyn Weigel, and Mr. Andrew Prock for their continuous support and assistance.

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