“Distinguished for Their Talents,” Theatrical Portraits by Scranton Master Penman P. W. Costello, 1905-1930

On display in the Weinberg Memorial Library’s Heritage Room is a collection of pen and ink portraits of late 19th and early 20th century theatrical personalities drawn between 1905 and 1930 by Scranton’s Master Penman Patrick W. Costello. Costello was nationally recognized for his work and operated what we might now consider a graphic arts studio where he created advertising art as well as engrossed congratulatory or testimonial resolutions, diplomas, and other types of work that required a combination of calligraphic lettering and artistic design. As a hobby, Costello drew pen and ink portraits and, because he had a love for the theater, specialized in drawing portraits of stage personalities. These were often drawn from photographs, engravings or illustrations found in theater magazines and books, but he also drew some portraits from life. In addition to his career as a penman, Costello owned restaurants in Scranton where he would display his portraits. In some cases, traveling actors would visit the restaurant and autograph their portraits. The exhibit will include a variety of men and women of the stage, some of whom played Scranton. Some actors, such as John Barrymore, are still famous today. Many of these actors performed Shakespeare and, therefore, a portion of the portraits on display depict Shakespearean characters.

The Heritage Room will host an exhibit reception and program on Tuesday, March 27 at 6 PM. Thomas W. Costello, P. W. Costello’s great-grandson, will speak on Costello’s career. University of Scranton English professor Michael Friedman will give a talk titled “Shakespeare on the Stage in 1900: From Actor’s Theater to Author’s Theater.” Sponsored by the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library, the reception is free and open to the public. The exhibit will run from February 5 through April 23 during normal Library hours. Images of the portraits can also be viewed through our digital collections website. For more information, please email archives@scranton.edu or call 570-941-6341.

 

Western Penman Journal Collection Now Online

The University is pleased to announce that our substantial collection of Western Penman and American Penman journals has been digitized and is now publicly available online as a part of the Library’s digital collections. The Western Penman can be accessed here and The American Penman here.

Contained within the Library’s extensive Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection, the journal is one among many penmanship periodicals published during what is known as the “Golden Age” of penmanship, extending several decades before and after the year 1900. Austin Norman Palmer began The Western Penman in 1884. A contemporary and competitor of Charles Paxton Zaner (who would begin publishing his own journal, The Business Educator, eleven years later), Palmer created a simplified method of manuscript writing designed for speed and relying on muscle memory and whole-arm movement. Palmer’s technique contrasted with the more ornate Spencerian script that was the standard of the time. The insistence on speed, evidenced even in Palmer’s habit of closing letters with “Rapidly yours,” aligned perfectly with the growing American obsession with the automobile and his ideas were soon taught in schools across the country. In 1900, Palmer began publishing separate student and professional editions of The Western Penman. In 1906, the publication was renamed The American Penman and ran until 1938, resulting in a total of fifty-five volumes of issues.

The Library’s collection encompasses the entire span of the Penman’s life cycle, although some volumes and issues are missing. While a substantial amount of the Library’s penmanship journals, consisting mostly of the Penman’s Art Journal and the Zaner-Bloser publications, were digitized in 2010 by the Internet Archive as a part of the Lyrasis Mass Digitization Collaborative, the Western Penman and American Penman journals remained available almost exclusively in their print editions. In 2017, twenty-two bound volumes were digitized by Backstage Library Works. Our digital collection now contains 519 issues, with a total of 17,119 page images. The master TIFF image files, which are stored in our digital preservation repository, add up to 652 GB.

We extend our warmest thanks to all of those involved in the process of making these journals digitally available! They are sure to offer great value, both historically and artistically, to our Library’s users.

Below are examples representing various elements of the journal: examples of penmanship completed by students at a business school in Michigan, a page of exercises written by penman R. H. Robbins, and an excerpt from a detailed lesson by Palmer concerning his Muscular Movement technique. Palmer wrote that he considered his readers to be an “immense writing class” led by his teachings.

 

University of Scranton Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Scholarly Projects Collection

This year at commencement, the University of Scranton awarded diplomas to the first three graduates of our new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which opened in Fall 2015.

The DNP program requires students to complete an evidence-based scholarly project. As described in the current DNP Student Handbook, “A Scholarly Project is the hallmark of the practice doctorate demonstrating an outcome of the student’s educational experience. The scholarly project embraces the synthesis of both coursework and practice application… Projects are related to advanced practice generally in each student’s nursing specialty, and the project must demonstrate significant potential to positively change health care delivery or improve outcomes for vulnerable groups, families, communities, or populations, rather than an individual patient.” Deliverables for the Scholarly Project include the final scholarly paper and a scholarly presentation, involving a professional poster and an oral presentation.

In partnership with the Department of Nursing and DNP Program coordinator Mary Jane Hanson, the Weinberg Memorial Library now hosts the University of Scranton Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Scholarly Projects Collection. We will store and maintain our DNP graduates’ scholarship in our digital preservation repository, and by publishing their papers and posters in our digital collections, we’ll help make the results of their work freely available to a global audience.

Congratulations to our 2017 DNP graduates – we are proud to include your scholarship in our Library collections!

 

Scranton Family Papers Collection

“It was unanimously voted to call it Scranton” – Excerpt from an August 28, 1850 letter written by George W. Scranton, discussing the naming of “our place”

Following our recent Scranton Family Papers Scanathon, held in partnership with the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Scranton Public Library, the State Library of Pennsylvania, and our own University of Scranton Department of History and Royals Historical Society, the Weinberg Memorial Library is proud to announce that over 570 letters and documents (dated 1840-1875) digitized from the Lackawanna Historical Society’s Scranton Family Papers Collection are now publicly available online in the Library’s digital collections at www.scranton.edu/library/scrantonfamily.

The majority of the digital collection is made up of 423 letters (dated 1850-1854) digitized from 2 volumes of George W. Scranton’s outgoing office correspondence. The letters document Scranton’s management of his many business concerns, including Scrantons, Platt and Co., the Ligett’s Gap Railroad, the Cayuga & Susquehanna Railroad, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, and the Lackawanna Iron & Coal Company. The correspondence also provides insight into the development (and naming!) of the city of Scranton, including the construction of the city’s first hotel, the Wyoming House. Thanks to transcriptions prepared by LHS volunteers Dennis, Sharleen, and Scott Martin, the digitized letters are full-text searchable.

The remainder of the digital collection holds loose correspondence, ledger books, and other documents (dated 1840-1874) belonging to Joseph H. Scranton, Selden T. Scranton, George W. Scranton, and William W. Scranton. Transcriptions for most of these handwritten documents have been completed by Weinberg Memorial Library staff; additional transcriptions will be added into the collection as they are completed.

We thank all of our partners and volunteers for their time, effort, and moral support in this project, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration in the future!

Library Research Prize Winners!

Brian P. Conniff, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Kathleen Reilly, Research Prize winner, Susan Poulson, Professor of History

Kathleen Reilly is the winner of the 2017 Library Research Prize for undergraduate students. To complete her Honors Thesis, Girls at the “U”: A History of Coeducation at the University of Scranton, she spent “countless hours” gathering information from primary documents located in the Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections and University Archives and on the Library’s Digital Collections website.

The Weinberg Memorial Library inaugurated the prize in 2011 to recognize excellence in research projects that show evidence of significant knowledge of the methods of research and the information gathering process, and use of library resources, tools, and services.

Carol Coté, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, Marjorie Toron and Christina Gavalas, Research Prize winners, and Debra Pellagrino, Dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies

Honorable Mention awards in the undergraduate category included Mariah Ruther, a senior Nursing major; Kerry Ann Randall, a junior Occupational Therapy major; and Michael Ramsthaler, a sophomore Exercise Science major.

Christina Gavalas and Marjorie Toron are the winners of the 2017 Library Research Prize for graduate students. They completed a group project for OT 501: Leadership in Occupational Therapy. Their research gathering included items on microfilm, items in the basement, and items in databases far removed from occupational therapy. In their application essay, they said how invaluable library staff members were to them.

An Honorable Mention in the graduate category was given to a group of Physical Therapy students–Katelyn Moyer, Daniel Dolphin, Robert Roncek, and Steven Roughton.

Prize winners were honored at a reception on Thursday, May 11, 2017 in the Heritage Room of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

Information about the Library Research Prize can be found on the website: http://www.scranton.edu/libraryresearchprize

 

Through the Eyes of P. W. Costello: Early Scranton Theatre

P. W. Costello and Family Art CollectionNote: This article is the first in a series highlighting the P. W. Costello and Family Art Collection, an online repository for digitized images of original and published artwork by master penman P. W. Costello (1866-1935) and his descendants. This digital Collection was recently donated to the Weinberg Memorial Library by Thomas W. Costello, great-grandson of the artist, and is available to the public online at www.scranton.edu/library/costello.

Scranton, Pennsylvania was at one time a thriving center for live performance – particularly theatre – and was a frequent stop for plays, musicals and vaudeville acts on their way to New York City.  A number of beautiful and often lavish theatres were built throughout the city and housed historic performances by many popular and up-and-coming talents of the day.  Some of these people and events were captured artistically in drawings by P. W. Costello (1866-1935), a talented and highly skilled master penman from the Minooka section of Scranton (shown at left in 1906). Digitized images of these theatre-related drawings are a highlight of the P. W. Costello and Family Art Collection, recently acquired by Weinberg Memorial Library through the generosity of Thomas W. Costello, great-grandson of the artist.

In the late 1890s, P. W. Costello was gaining a reputation for the high-quality engrossings, portraits, and ornamental penmanship he produced from his downtown studio. At the same time, he was a local restauranteur, serving as joint proprietor (with James Fleming) of the Arbor Café on Wyoming Avenue.  Costello used the Café walls as a gallery, displaying his sketches of local and national figures that lined the walls of this restaurant. A number of these drawings depicted actors and actresses who had performed close to the restaurant at such theatres and venues as the Lyceum, the Poli, the Majestic, and the Academy of Music.  Performers captured by Costello who made Scranton appearances included Maude Adams (well-known for her lead role in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, pictured in Costello’s drawing at right), Junius Brutus Booth (father of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth), Maclyn Arbuckle (who, although originally a stage actor, went on to start his own silent film company), Alice Brady (actress and daughter of New York producer William A. Brady) and Robert Edeson (veteran stage and silent film actor who appeared in at least four Scranton stage productions).  Most of these drawings are black and white pen and ink, although there are a few where Costello employed gray or colored shading.

Costello usually based his drawings on photographs, engravings, cabinet cards, or other promotional materials, and these were often paired with an autographed card or letter, which he purchased from a dealer or obtained from another source.  A few autographs are originals, likely acquired by the artist firsthand.  Each drawing manages to expertly convey the unique personality of the particular performer or the character they are portraying.  Costello later went on to create a similar display in the 1920s as co-owner of another Scranton restaurant which featured his work, this time on Adams Avenue, the Oak Café.

In addition to drawing portraits of actors and actresses, Costello also lettered and illustrated theatre advertisements.  One delightful example (shown at left) in the Costello Collection advertises a week-long 1904 production of Cupid and Company, a musical with a book by Scranton newspaperman Tracy Sweet and music by prolific Broadway composer A. Baldwin Sloane.  In addition to Costello’s skillful lettering, the intricate design features Cupid, a jester, a marotte, and other comic elements from the musical, as well as ribbons and acanthus leaves.

One of the interesting and important elements to note about these works by Costello is how they manage to preserve a portion of Scranton’s cultural history that – with few exceptions – has been largely undocumented.  Many of the actors and actresses captured in his drawings (as well as the splendid buildings in which they performed), while well-known in their own time, have largely been forgotten today.  And yet, all these individuals contributed much to Scranton’s arts scene during the late 1800s and early 1900s, and Scranton in turn likely made a significant impact on their careers.  The fact that many of these performers – such as May Irwin (Canadian vaudeville singer and actress), Elsie Janis (American musical comedy soprano) and Ada Rehan (Irish Shakespearean actress) – returned repeatedly to play Scranton, seems to indicate what an important stop the city was on both the national and international touring circuit.

The Weinberg Memorial Library is fortunate to present these digitized images – as well as many other digital reproductions of Costello’s artwork – in our digital collections, and we are pleased to share with the public a rare glimpse of Scranton’s early theatrical history through the eyes of a remarkable artist who lived through it – P. W. Costello.

For more information about the history of theatre in Scranton, check out Nancy McDonald’s book If You Can Play Scranton: A Theatrical History, 1871-2010 – available here at the Weinberg Memorial Library and at several other Pennsylvania libraries.

David Hunisch, Digital Services Assistant
Kristen Yarmey, Digital Services Librarian

15th Annual President’s Business Council Gala Tonight in NYC

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Archival materials for the President’s Business Council honoree video

By collecting, preserving, and making available institutional records of permanent value, the University Archives serves the administration and community of the University of Scranton. This summer, staff from the University’s office of Events & Conference Services visited the Archives in search of materials for the 15th annual President’s Business Council award dinner. This gala, taking place tonight at The Pierre in New York City, recognizes individuals who have achieved excellence in their fields and who have demonstrated extraordinary compassion for others. The President’s Business Council seeks to provide meaningful networking opportunities for alumni and friends, as well as mentoring and career opportunities for current students. In addition, since the inaugural dinner, over $11 million has been generated for the Presidential Scholarship Endowment Fund, which supports full-tuition, merit-based scholarships for talented students who will become leaders of vision and integrity.

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Fr. Bernard McIlhenny, S.J. welcoming several women students and their parents outside of Gunster Memorial Student Center during freshman orientation in 1972. The students were among the first women to enroll in the University’s daytime undergraduate school.

One of this year’s honorees, Rev. Bernard R. McIlhenny, S.J., arrived in Scranton in 1958 to serve as the fourth headmaster of Scranton Preparatory School. Known to many as “Father Mac,” he was appointed dean of admissions at the University in 1966 and, over a 31 year tenure, is credited with admitting more than two-thirds of the University’s living alumni. He is currently dean of admissions emeritus and serves as minister of the Scranton Jesuit Community. University Archives staff gathered materials for a video that will be presented at tonight’s gala. A selection of these materials and other documents on Fr. McIlhenny can be viewed in our digital collections.

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Videographers reviewing materials from the University Archives for an honoree video for the President’s Business Council Dinner.

This year’s second recipient of the President’s Medal is Frank J. Dubas, Jr. ’75. This past May, Frank retired as Deloitte’s global managing partner for Sovereign Financial Institutions (SFI). Over a 42-year career, Frank held a number of client service leadership roles and built a distinguished track record of service to many multinational clients. During his tenure, many Scranton graduates were hired at Deloitte and benefited from Frank’s mentorship. A native of Jessup, Pa., Frank and his wife, Marigrace, reside in New Canaan, Ct., and have three children: Megan, Rob and Paul. Frank’s experiences as a University student were highlighted in an alumni article for the Fall 2015 issue of the Scranton Journal.

To read more news and events about the University Archives and Special Collections, visit www.digitalservices.scranton.edu.

5.06 ~ The University of Scranton’s Day of Giving

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Don’t judge a book by its cover.

More than just books, the Weinberg Memorial Library is a central hub for collaboration, technology, art, research, and even coffee breaks. Scranton students have 24-hour access to this campus hotspot, as well as 24-hour online access to thousands of special collections and digital resources.

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Thanks to Friends like you, the Weinberg Memorial Library is able to grow the number of resources available on campus and online each year. Today, on The University of Scranton’s Day of Giving, consider making your 5.06 gift to the Library.

Buy a Book on 5.06!
Did you know it costs $75 to add one book to the campus collection? With a gift of $75 or more today, a nameplate will be added to a book in your honor.

MAKE MY 5.06 GIFT

12,876 University of Scranton Records Now Available in the Digital Public Library of America

Last week at DPLAFest in Washington, DC, executive director Dan Cohen announced that the Digital Public Library of America had grown in its third year to include more than 13 million records. We’re proud to announce that 12,876 of those records were contributed by the University of Scranton Weinberg Memorial Library.

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Launched in 2013, DPLA is a digital platform and network that brings together descriptive information for rare and unique digital materials from more than 1,900 libraries, archives, and museums across the country. It’s a portal to the treasures of American cultural heritage, from digitized photographs, films, documents, and objects to born digital ebooks, video, and images. All of these materials are freely available on the web for use by researchers, students, teachers, genealogists, and the general public.

We’ve been building digital collections at the University of Scranton since 2008, and nearly all of our materials are already publicly available on our website at www.scranton.edu/library/digitalcollections (some items are restricted due to copyright, privacy, or donor request). So why participate in DPLA?

DPLA doesn’t host digital materials – they’re all stored and made accessible by contributing institutions like us, so it’s still our job to keep digitizing, describing, preserving, and publishing digital items. What DPLA does is make these materials discoverable and usable in entirely new and exciting ways. Metadata records (descriptive information) that we send to DPLA are aggregated into a stream of open data that can be used by software developers and others to create new tools or visualizations. Two of our favorites are the DPLA Visual Search Prototype and Culture Collage, which offer more visual interfaces for browsing and sorting through search results.

 visualsearch       culturecollage

(We also get a kick out of Term vs. Term, which compares the number of DPLA search results for two phrases. You know, like Scranton vs. Wilkes-Barre. Just saying.)

termvstermPerhaps most importantly, DPLA allows for unified access, which is important both for 1) users who don’t necessarily know what institution will have the records they’re looking for and 2) collections that have been physically fragmented across different institutions.

An example of the former might be a genealogist looking for information about family members from Scranton. Using DPLA, they can find not only relevant materials in our collections (like our yearbooks and Aquinas issues, which are excellent sources for information about our alumni) but they’ll also stumble across photographs, manuscripts, and books from the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives, postcards from the Boston Public Library, stereographs and menus from the New York Public Library, and genealogical books from the Library of Congress.

An example of the latter is the Horace G. Healey Collection, an impressive set of 19th century penmanship and calligraphy. Half of the collection is available here on campus in our McHugh Special Collections (as part of our Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection), but the other half is at the New York Public Library. In DPLA, images of the artwork are reunited as they are digitized.

Our participation in DPLA has been in the works for almost two years. DPLA is unable to accept metadata records directly from individual libraries – there are just too many potential contributors! – so almost all of its data passes through nodes called Service Hubs. Most service hubs are established at a state or regional level, and Pennsylvania didn’t have one when DPLA first launched. Beginning in August 2014, a group of Pennsylvania cultural heritage institutions got together to discuss how best to collaborate on digital collections in the state. After a year of planning, coordination, and tons of work, the PA Digital Partnership was approved as a DPLA Service Hub in August 2015. On April 13, 2016, data from the PA Digital Partnership went live in DPLA, with 131, 651 records from 19 contributing Pennsylvania institutions.We’re incredibly proud to be part of DPLA and the PA Digital Partnership, and we’re thrilled to see our digital collections be more accessible and discoverable than ever. Congratulations to all our PA Digital colleagues, and happy searching to all!