Happy Birthday, Scranton: Kickoff to the 150th Anniversary Celebration

Scranton150Tomorrow morning at 9:15 am, the City of Scranton will kick off its year-long Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration. Scranton was incorporated as a city on April 23, 1866, so next spring (April 23, 2016) will be the city’s 150th birthday.

While the University of Scranton itself wasn’t around back at the very beginning (founded in 1888, we just celebrated our 125th anniversary in 2013-2014), we’re proud of the close ‘town and gown’ relationship we’ve had with the city of Scranton throughout our shared history.

Here at the Weinberg Memorial Library, we’re looking forward to joining in the fun throughout the anniversary year. Beginning in May, each month of the City celebration will highlight a decade (or two) in the city’s history, and here on our Library blog we’ll be highlighting how the University grew alongside the city during that time.

Our University Archives and Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections include many rare and unique resources related to the history of the City of Scranton, its residents, and its major institutions.  For example, the Library holds the records of the International Correspondence Schools of Scranton – and in the fall, we’ll be exhibiting materials from this collection in celebration of the 125th anniversary of ICS (now known as Penn Foster), which was founded in 1891.

We’ve been working on digitizing archival and special collections materials and making them publicly available for searching and browsing in our digital collections, but there’s always more to do. We’re currently tossing around new ideas for increasing public, digital access to local history materials with some of our friends on campus (the History and Communication Departments, Royals’ Historical Society, Hope Horn Gallery, and Community Relations) and in the community (the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Everhart Museum, Scranton Public Library/Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives, and Marywood University). More to come on this as our plans develop!

At the state level, we’re collaborating with other academic and public libraries on a broad initiative to establish a Pennsylvania service hub for the Digital Public Library of America, which will make Pennsylvania history and cultural heritage more accessible and discoverable to students, teachers, genealogists, historians, scholars, and others in our communities and around the world.

So happy birthday, Scranton! Let’s get this party started.

Newly Digitized: Penman Photographs from the Zaner-Bloser Collection

Penman PhotographsOne of the most highly prized jewels in our Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections is the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection, one of the most extensive collections of American ornamental penmanship from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Over time, we’ve been digitizing parts of the Zaner-Bloser Collection to make it more accessible to researchers and penmanship enthusiasts around the world.

We’re now happy to announce that more than 500 photographs of celebrated masters and instructors of penmanship from the Zaner-Bloser Collection are now publicly available online. The photographs (96 portraits of women and 453 of men) were gathered by Zaner-Bloser for publication in penmanship journals like the Business Educator. Few of the photographs are dated, but we estimate that most of them were taken between the early 1900s and early 1940s.

Some of the photographs are portraits of celebrated master penmen, including several members of Michael Sull‘s Penman’s Hall of Fame. Others are lesser known teachers and instructors, some of whom we weren’t able to identify (please contact us if you recognize them!).

None of these photographs would be online today were it not for Thomas W. Costello, who spent many hours carefully digitizing the portraits for us. Tom’s great-grandfather is Scranton’s own master penman P. W. Costello, who has three portraits in the collection. Tom described the photograph collection as a “wonderful, well-deserved tribute to the masters and many of the dedicated unsung heroes who worked under the radar teaching penmanship.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves. Thank you, Tom, for bringing the men and women behind the pen into the spotlight.

Remembering Apollo 11, Honoring Glynn S. Lunney H’71

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, so it seems like a good day to honor NASA flight director Glynn S. Lunney H’71. A native of Old Forge, Lunney graduated from Scranton Prep and studied at the University of Scranton before receiving his B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Detroit.

Check out the full citation for his 1971 honorary doctor of laws degree in our digital collections! If you’re on campus, you can also browse through some newspaper clippings about his appearance and address at undergraduate commencement that year.

Hey! You! Get into our (Dura)Cloud!

DuraCloud logo

The Weinberg Memorial Library’s got a brand new cloud – and unlike Mick Jagger’s, on ours, not even two terabytes are a crowd.

Thanks to our new partnership with DuraCloud, the master files from our digital collections are now being preserved in a more robust repository, where we can monitor the health of our bitstreams, discover and repair any corruption or damage, and automatically back everything up offsite in Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier cloud storage.

This is a pretty important step up for us. Since our beginnings in 2008, our digital collections have expanded from 0 to 1.75 terabytes (that’s about 1,792 gigabytes!), with no signs of stopping anytime soon. At that scale, it was getting difficult for us to manage our own local and remote backups, and we were quickly running out of local storage space. The move to DuraCloud not only smooths out our workflow, it also gives us plenty of room to grow for the future.

As an added bonus, thanks to interoperability between DuraCloud and our Archive-It web archiving service, all of the web content that we capture for preservation from University-related sites will be automatically backed up in DuraCloud, too.

All of these changes are on the back end, so users won’t notice any difference – you can still search and browse our digital collections at www.scranton.edu/library/digitalcollections.

Celebrating Our Towns: Lackawanna County Centennial Books and Community Histories

Our friends over at the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives (LVDA) have just announced a new digital collection of local history materials:

Celebrating Our Towns—Lackawanna County Centennial Books and Community Histories is a collection of books honoring Lackawanna county towns, townships, boroughs, cities and areas.  These books were published by local authors and centennial groups to celebrate their towns.  This wonderful collection was made possible by a grant from the Willary Foundation.

One of our favorites is the Historical Booklet and Guide from Scranton’s Diamond Jubilee and Centennial celebration in 1941. Nearby towns represented in the collection include Archbald, Carbondale, Clarks Summit, Dunmore, Olyphant, and Throop, among several others.

Good Luck, Coach Strong!

Good luck to the Lady Royals in their game this afternoon against Juniata! If they win, it will be the team’s 11th win for the season — and the 800th win of Coach Mike Strong’s career, which would make him the first coach in NCAA Division III women’s basketball history to reach that milestone.

Strong became head coach for the Lady Royals in 1979. Here’s a photo of Coach Strong with his team from the 1980 Windhover yearbook:

Mike Strong with the 1980 Lady Royals

 

Gifts for Archivists: Zaner-Bloser Moleskine Notebooks

Many thanks to ArchiveGrid Blog for including our custom-printed Zaner-Bloser Moleskine Notebooks on their list of “24 Fun and Practical Gifts for Archivists”! We’re proud to share a blog post with these nifty Oinx microfiche necklaces and Green Market’s “The Archivist” scented candles.

As always, all proceeds from notebook sales benefit the preservation and digitization of our Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection.

This Week in University History: The Attack on Pearl Harbor and the Effect it had on the University of Scranton.

A series of events leading to the Jesuits taking on both the administration and ownership of the University of Scranton occurred 72 years ago this week.  At the time, the Christian Brothers were running the U, but with the almost daily drop in enrollment after December 7, 1941, at higher education institutions throughout the country due to young men joining the military, plus debt problems, the Brothers felt they needed to devote their time, talents and energies to La Salle College, which the order owned.  According to Homer, Holy Cross Fathers politely declined the offer of running the U; Bishop Hafey then turned to the Society of Jesus which within a few months, agreed to the challenge.  The Provincial, the Very Rev. James P. Sweeney, S.J. noted in his acceptance letter, “…St. Ignatius was never one to run away from a difficult proposition and we are supposed to imitate his example.”  “The Brothers had begun virtually from scratch with a mere eighteen students; forty-five years later they left a University with a growing body of loyal alumni, a strong reservoir of community support, and, not least of all, a singularly dedicated lay faculty already developing a solid reputation for teaching excellence.” Thank you Christian Brothers and Thank you to the Society of Jesus for all your good work in leading the University of Scranton.  Let us carry on in our studies to make U proud. 

Pioneer Jesuit Faculty
Pioneer Jesuit Faculty

Homer, Frank X.J.  “The End of an Era: 1940-1942.”  The Scranton Journal.  Spring 1988: 6-9.  Print.