Omeka - Digital History at Ursinus

Browse Exhibits (23 total)

The Curtain Club's Closing Curtain

The Curtain Club was Ursinus' student theater organization that definitively originated in 1930, but it disappeared in 1968. During the same year, the club changed its name to "ProTheatre." By analyzing past articles from the Ursinus Weekly, Ruby yearbooks, diversity ratios among students, performances, and campus trends from the 1950s until 1968, we demonstrate that the name signifies Ursinus' focus on the transition into a more inclusive and democratic environment. Reorganizing the "Curtain Club" into "ProTheatre" signifies Ursinus' shift into being "pro-change."

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Bears Make Smoke - The Evolution of Cigarette Advertisements (1940's & 1980's)

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Hello and welcome to Bears Make Smoke, a project researching Ursinus smokings ads in the Grizzly and Lantern. This project focuses exclusively on the 1940's and 1980's, investigating the contrasts between these two decades. Our goal is to understand the extent to which smoking ads changed in Ursinus texts over these years, and the social trends/advancements that came with it.

In other words, how and why have the advertisements in Ursinus' texts changed throughout time, specifically in the 40’s and 80’s?

Why the 1940's and 1980's?

A question everyone must be wondering, as they seem like quite random time periods at first glance. There are many reasons for this, but possibly the most important was to avoid a tidal wave of information drowning everyone. Focusing on two specific times allows for more information to be found and analyzed, without having to worry about finding sources for every decade or so. But why the 40's and 80's specifically? That's simple - we wanted to show a drastic difference in history, and the 40's and the 80's had this drastic difference.

1940's - A plethora of smoking advertisements year after year after year

1980's - The appearance of Cancer Society advertisements (anti-smoking ads)

Although there were many trends during the other decades, there was the most startling difference between these two specifically. A lot can happen in fourty years, and continuing forward, our goal of this project is to show you exactly what happened during these years. Afterwards, we will then take a look at all our unique advertisements from the 40's and 80's and put it in perspective with both Ursinus College and America. Intersted? Let's take a look.

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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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Vietnam War Propaganda at Ursinus College, 1955-1973


This exhibit features collection of Ursinus Weekly and Lantern articles displaying how the Ursinus Community interacted with Vietnam War propaganda between 1955-1973. In doing so, we hope to answer the following question: How did Ursinus react to and interact with Vietnam propaganda between 1955 and 1975?


In the years of 1955-1960, the Military tried to build a sense of militaristic pride in the general public by using monetary rewards and tales of glory to make joining the armed forces seem like a noble, logical step for college grads. Nevertheless, there was still a growing contention regarding the war not only domestically but abroad.


While military culture was thriving at the very beginning of the 1960s as a result of the Cold War, it wasn't until around 1963 that the conflict between North and South Vietnam began to permeate our national consciousness. As we crept closer to war with Vietnam, there was no small amount of protest from students and student societies. This backlash was met by a corrective backlash from some educational institutions and other pro-intervention student groups.


In the years from 1966-1970, the government disseminated many prograganda statements regarding the war--that America was winning and that it was the duty of Americans to enlist. Ursinus, in accordance with the general public, reacted against such statements strongly. To Ursinus, the U.S. was not winning in Vietnam. To voice their strong opinions against the war, Ursinus hosted many anti-Vietnam speakers and participated in a nationwide Vietnam War moratorium that occurred amid a backdrop of nationwide protests over Vietnam.


In the years 1971 to 1973, the Ursinus community was focused on getting the soldiers home and what to do once the war officially ended. While there seems to be a consensus throughout the community that the war should end, there was a great deal of contention over what to do once the war was over. The Ursinus Weekly articles feature the community interacting with Vietnam War propaganda to try and navigate how to view the United States, how far to take protests, how to handle returning soldiers and draft dodgers, and who should take responsibility for the war. There appeared to be a great deal of unanswered questions regarding the war.

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Champions of Snell Field; The Legacy of Eleanor Snell


     Eleanor Frost Snell was born in 1900 in Nebraska. Given societal constraints at the time, Eleanor was prevented from participating in intercollegiate sports. These restrictions, however, were insufficient to stop her. At the University of Nebraska, Eleanor pursued physical education and became involved with the Women’s Athletic Association [1]. After teaching at various schools, she later enrolled at Columbia University, where she joined the field hockey club [2]. While on the field hockey club, Eleanor was selected to compete at the United States Field Hockey Association Tournament [3]. She was successful in the classroom and on the turf. That said, it was not until Eleanor taught and coached at Ursinus College that she really solidified her legacy. In Eleanor’s 40 years of coaching, she never had a losing season. Her overall record consisted of 674 wins, 194 loses, and 42 ties. Additionally, 25 of her students were named to the U.S. Field Hockey Team [4]. In fact, during Eleanor’s time coaching field hockey, there were more Ursinus All-American field hockey players than any other college or university [5]. Even though Eleanor’s players were successful in their time spent playing field hockey, Eleanor emphasized the importance of sportsmanship, growth and development. Perhaps it could be argued that Eleanor’s greatest accomplishment at Ursinus was the impact she left on her players and the rest of the Ursinus community. At a time when women’s athletics was looked down upon, Eleanor guided her players and challenged them to do their best. She created a space at Ursinus for women to love, accept, and encourage each other. Eleanor was an athlete, teacher, coach, and woman—and in playing all those roles she became more than any one of them alone. Eleanor’s values and beliefs helped empower women and encourage women to pursue athletics. Her coaching style set the foundation for what fellow coaches to come should model and exhibit. Eleanor’s legacy makes her the true champion of Snell Field; however, she paved the way for many more champions to come. 

     Given the research our team has conducted about Eleanor’s accomplishments, leadership, coaching style, values and beliefs, from our perspective, we can conclude and argue that Eleanor Frost Snell’s monumental success on and off the field adds onto her legacy, strengthening the impact she left on Ursinus, making her a model for what fellow coaches and staff to come should follow.

     We would like to thank Drs. Throop and McShane, Ms. Carolyn Weigel, Mr. Andy Prock, and Ms. Christine Lanicelli for making this project possible. We appreciate your guidance, helpfulness, and encouragement.

  1. Cash, Robin G., "Miss Snell's Way: A Life-Affirming Organic Model Created in Sport." Eleanor Frost Snell Programs, Correspondence and Other Documents. 2. (2002): 31.
  2. Ibid., 26.
  3. Ibid., 32.
  4. Shillingford, Jenepher Price, "Eleanor Frost Snell: A Lifelong Impact." Eleanor Frost Snell Programs, Correspondence and Other Documents. 8. (2000).
  5. Ibid.


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Divergent Diversities: Conflicting Meanings of "Race" in Higher Education


How do participants in academic colliquia, including professors, artists, and diversity professionals, express race and diversity in higher education after the college campus movements of the 1960s and 1970s?

This project answers that question by examining race-related speaker series, conferences, lectures, and other intellectual events at American colleges and universities. More specifically, it analyzes primary sources from the Ursinusiana Collection and The Chronicle of Higher Education to study whether or how participants in such scholastic events define race. Our reading of race is informed by the scholarship of academics such as Dorothy Roberts and Charles Mills, along with readings like The Black Campus Movement. Charles Mills defines racism as "a political system, a particular power structure of formal or informal rule, socioeconomic privilege, and norms for the differential distribution of material wealth and oppurtuniities" (The Racial Contract, 4). Dorothy Roberts shows the direct correlation between her definition of race and and Mills definition of racism when she states,"Like citizenship, race is a political system that governs people by sorting them into social groupings based on invented biolgical demarcations" (Fatal Invention, 4).

Ursinus College is our main focus, and we contextualize its intellectual life within broader national conversations about race on campus gleaned from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Ursinus events have centered a range of topics, such as creating a more diverse and inclusive curriculum to how racism operates in Norristown and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Ursinus has also celebrated Black History Month to emphasize how African Americans have influenced history and changed Ursinus. The majority of primary sources included within this project are from after the campus movements of the 1960s and 1970s to present day 2021.

In most of the cases explored here, artists and scholars advocate for higher education curricula to be more inclusive of African Americans, Native Americans, women, and other non-white or non-male groups. These artists and scholars use race similar to how Roberts and Mills define it. In other cases, speakers leave race undefined or hazily explained. This absence of meaning and clarity is also applicable to individuals who speak out against concepts such as "diversity". 

Our group decided to focus on expressions of race in higer education because we wanted to learn how the definition of race, taught to us in AMST-200, compares to the definition of race given by scholars, artists, and students across the country. Throughout our research we have come across many well-educated scholars and professors leaving the terms race and diversity undefined and thus take their meanings for granted. 

This project would not have been possible without the help of Dr. Patricia Lott, Mr. Andrew Prock, and Ms. Carolyn Weigel. We thank them for their continous support.

Bears Through the Digital Age: Ursinus Students and the Birth of the Internet

“...For a young man like me, the invention of the Internet was the invention of space travel”

  - Ta-Nehisi Coates

As this sentence suggests, the creation of the Internet, which led to the digital age, had as much an impact on human innovation as space travel. The digital age began in the 1990s with the introduction of new advanced technologies to public consumption. This era is extremely significant in Ursinus' history because of the immense change. The Digital Age forced college students and faculty to craft a new set of skills pertaining to computers and software. In so doing, students adapted to a new education that relied on digital screens rather than pen and paper exclusively. The era also created a different type of college graduate, one with the power of the internet beneath their fingertips.

This research project seeks to answer the following question: How did the implementation of digital technologies affect Ursinus students both positively and negatively? To investigate this question, our team visited the Ursinus archives and digital commons for critical primary sources. We also consulted with secondary sources like Cathy N. Davidson's New Education to help gain insight into the convergence of academia and technology.

We discovered that the Digital Age, including the birth of the internet, cultivated new educational and social experiences that affected Ursinus students both positively and negatively. On the one hand, the age enabled different clubs, academic studies, and valuable skills to flourish among the student body. It also gave Ursinus students new opportunities in academia, increased their digital interconnection with communities on and off-campus, and geared graduates with highly demanded digital technology skills. On the other hand, problems stemming from the internet's harsh reality caused students to face self-esteem issues, invasion of privacy and bullying from anonymous classmates.

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“For Home and Country”: Ursinus at War

The second World War reared its ugly head in Europe in 1939 when Poland fell victim of Germany's blitzkrieg and the Soviet war machine simultaneously. While shocked, the American public largely maintained their isolationist viewpoint for some 2 years following this unexpected invasion. This, of course, changed dramatically when the United States was the target of a surprise attack by the Imperial forces of Japan in December of 1941. Almost overnight, the United States went from being 68% in favor of sending aid, to being 91% in favor of direct military involvement.

Imagine the dramatic shift to go from a standard college student to having to legitimately consider direct personal involvement in a distant war with threats looming on two fronts. This change is exactly what we as a group have set out to examine through our research of Ursinus documents. Specifically, we are observing general attitudes about the war, how rationing effected campus life, how residence life shifted, a summation of who from the community served, and how the news of the war was reported through the school's newspapers.

Through this project, we are looking to answer how specifically the Ursinus community during World War II changed. We believe that the shifts are most noticeably see through the five categories of research presented in the tabs on the right. 

"Promise/Anthem" on display on the upper floor of the Wismer dining hall on campus at Ursinus College.

Navigate this cite by using the tabs on the right side of the page.


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Connection Between the Bethlehem Baptist Church and the Carceral System in Montgomery County

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Over the course of this semester, we have collected sources and an oral history with the mayor of Collegeville to analyze the connection between Bethlehem Baptist Church and how it interacts with the carceral system and specifically SCI Phoenix

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