Campus Changes Seen Through Maps

A class visit for Digital Studies 360 (Digital Maps, Space and Place) brought a reminder that while some aspects of the campus have lasted generations, others have been more, well, let’s say mobile. In DS360 students are learning about mapping. They spent time looking at a variety of campus maps and asking questions about campus changes.

Even though there have been 2 Chambers buildings and 2 Martin Science buildings, the physical location of English classes or chemistry labs has remained within the same general area.  Not so for athletics, particularly gymnasiums.  Those have wandered all over campus.

Campus map from 1928-29

Campus map from 1928-29

This map from 1928-29 shows some of the transitions.  The dark building (#7) is noted as the Physical Training building.  Built in 1890, it provided the first indoor gymnasium for the campus. Known as Morrison Hall, it also served as the YMCA building.

Students putting on an exhibition in front of Morrison Hall.

Students putting on an exhibition in front of Morrison Hall.

Students working out on outdoor gym equipment.

Students working out on outdoor gym equipment.

Along with the building, the college constructed an outdoor gymnasium that grew more elaborate over time. Starting with parallel bars and adding layers of ladders and platforms.  By 1917, the college was in need of a new gym facility. The Alumni Gymnasium, the grey building on the map (#32), moved athletic gathering from the front of campus to behind the Chambers building.  The name Alumni Gymnasium was appropriate since alumni funded the building, raising the money by classes. The class of 1886 won the honor of raising the most money, $1725.00, followed by the class of 1875  at $1260.00.

Alumni Gymnasium

Alumni Gymnasium

The three story building was 95 feet by 90 feet, with the locker room the basement, gym space on the main floor and offices on the 3rd.  The 1929 basketball team with Dean Rusk ’31 and future history professor Frontis Johnston ’30 played in this building, although to small crowds as the space was not designed to hold many spectators

1929 team on steps of Alumni Gym

1929 team on steps of Alumni Gym

The next gym, Johnston, was built in 1949. It was built just a little to the east of the Alumni Gymnasium, facing the already existing Richardson field — and with more seating for basketball fans. The current gym is Baker Sports Complex built in 1989. Once again, it is a little further to the east and offers even more seating for Wildcat fans.

Basketball area in Alumni Gymnasium

Basketball area in Alumni Gymnasium

Johnston Gym allowed for more students and townspeople to support the Wildcats.

Johnston Gym allowed for more students and townspeople to support the Wildcats.

The map also shows tennis courts in 2 locations. The oldest location were the courts next to Concord Road,  while the newly build courts moved east as well bumping up to the golf course (which later moved further to the east as well).  The tennis courts are moving again — a bit more to the east behind the Baker Sports complex.  Looks like the archives will need to add some new maps for future students.

25th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo

In the early morning hours of September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo wreaked havoc around Davidson, after causing significant damage in the Caribbean and coastal South Carolina. The college community was lucky, for the most part – although the storm felled over 230 trees and damaged the roofs of four dormitories, as well as the porch of the President’s House, there were no injuries and buildings were able to be repaired. As Davidson student Jim Leach commented in the October 11, 1989 issue of The Davidsonian, “I was really happy that I have a home to go to for fall break… I feel sorry for the people in Charleston.”

Students with the Davidson College historical marker on campus, illustrating the amount of debris on September 22, 1989.

Students with the Davidson College historical marker on front campus, illustrating the amount of debris on September 22, 1989.

Downed tree

A damaged tree near Dormitory Row.

While fortunate that no lives were lost, Mecklenburg County declared a state of emergency and some homes in Davidson and the surrounding towns were without power for over a week. The cost of replacing the downed trees on campus was estimated at $400,000, and the cost alone was not the most severe blow – the October 1989 issue of Campus Chronicle quoted director of facilities planning Grover Meetze as saying, “You cannot express in tangible terms what was lost. Dollars and cents just won’t do it. Everyone had special trees around campus, and the sight of them all lying on the ground at once was powerful.”

A student relaxes, feet up against the roots of an upturned tree.

A student relaxes, feet up against the roots of an upturned tree.

Students gather near the college well.

Students gather near the college well.

student

Freshman Jay Spiegel helps clear downed trees near the main entrance to the college.

The damage from Hurricane Hugo was such that classes on the 22nd were canceled, a rare event at Davidson – as The Davidsonian commented, “Students will forever remember the unexpected holiday from classes.” Students, staff, and faculty worked together to help clear debris from campus, and the food service staff worked overtime to make sure students were fed. Then College President John Wells Kuykendall called the volunteer clean-up effort “the epitome of the Davidson spirit.”

President Kuykendall assisted with the campus clean-up all day on Friday, September 22nd, 1989.

President Kuykendall assisted with the campus clean-up all day on Friday, September 22nd, 1989.

Students

Hilary Coman, Hilary Bridgers, and Blaine John (all Class of 1992), spending their day off from classes helping clean the campus.

Students walk on the trunk of a felled tree on campus.

Students walk on the trunk of a felled tree on campus.

 

For more information on Hurricane Hugo in Davidson and beyond, read the October 11, 1989 issue of The Davidsonianthe DavidsonNews.net story on the anniversary, or the Charlotte Observer‘s 25th anniversary coverage.

 

Horses in the RBR

From the Diderot Encyclopedie

From the Diderot Encyclopedie

For years I was afraid of these large…beautiful, but large…animals.  But since my husband got me interested in watching the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes races a couple of years ago, and I’ve now visited some of these thoroughbreds “up close and personal” in Lexington, KY, I’ve come to appreciate their grace, beauty, and amazing talent.  Since I’m looking forward to an October trip to “horse country”, I thought I’d see how horses are portrayed in some of our RBR volumes.  Some are images; some are stories and poems.
Take a look!

England, my England, and other stories / D. H. Lawrence.  New York: T. Seltzer, 1922. 1st edition.

Table of Contents

England my England
Table of Contents

Beasts and Saints; woodcuts by Robert Gibbings.  London: Constable, 1934.  (Stories of beasts and saints from the end of the fourth to the end of the twelfth century, translated from the original Latin.)

Book of Days

Book of Days

The Book of Days of Llewelyn Powys: thoughts from his philosophy / selected by John Wallis.  With 12 etchings by Elizabeth Corsellis.  London: Golden Cockerel Press, 1937. (Limited to 300 copies printed on Batchelor hand-made paper with a special watermark designed by the artist.)

Editor’s Choice / Alfred Dashiell.  New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1934. 1st edition. (This was the first time that William Faulkner’s story, Spotted Horses, appeared in book form.)

Emblematum Libellus / Andrea Alciata.  Lvgdvni: Jacobus Modernus, 1544. (With woodcut emblems.)

Emblematum Libellus Woodcut

Emblematum Libellus
Woodcut

Romance of Tristan and Iseult

Romance of Tristan and Iseult

Romance of Tristan and Iseult.  Drawn from the best French sources and re-told by J. Bedier.  Illustrated by Robert Engles.  Translated into English by H. Belloc.  London: George Allen, 1903.  (Limited edition of 300 copies.)

The Five Nations / Rudyard Kipling.  London: Methuen, 1903.  1st edition. (Contains the short story, White Horses.)

Five Nations "The White Horses"

Five Nations
“White Horses”

Gauchos of the Pampas and their horses / W. H. Hudson and R. B. Cunninghame Graham; Foreword by J. Frank Dobie. 

In the Clearing / Robert Frost.  New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1962.  (Includes the poem, The Draft Horse.)

A Summer of Scanning, Editing, Uploading, and Researching

This week’s post is written by Vera Shulman ’15, a student assistant at Davidson College’s E.H. Little Library. She wrote this entry on August 22, 2014.

This summer I worked as a library information desk assistant. My days were split between staffing the desk, shifting the Library of Congress stacks in the basement, and completing various tasks in the  Archives & Special Collections. My archives duties ranged from perusing local newspapers for filing (in which I was immersed in the excitement and ultimate disappointment of 2008’s college basketball championship) to transcribing oral interviews. I re-housed and filed massive decades-old maps (with help from student coworker Ellyson) and skimmed through Davidson’s 1914-1919 yearbooks and weekly newspapers for references to WWI.

Senior student profiles in the 1915 Quips and Cranks.

Senior student profiles in the 1915 Quips and Cranks.

The latter task interested me thoroughly due to the very polite and dry humor. By modern standards, though, a slim but noticeable portion of that writing was insensitive to concerns with race and gender. During that time, Davidson College became preoccupied with supporting the national war effort with Liberty Loans and stamps and by training students in the freshly formed Student Army Training Corps (which following the war, turned into our current ROTC).

Page from the 1918 Quips and Cranks.

Page from the 1918 Quips and Cranks.

My favorite tasks, though, were the ones that played to my strengths in visual media. I had a whole set of these responsibilities that all boil down to scanning, editing, and uploading an image for use on the archives website. I processed Davidson’s 2010, 2011, and 2012 yearbooks (called Quips and Cranks); dozens of recent school newspapers (named The Davidsonian), and old editions of July-born author’s works.

Covers of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 editions of Quips and Cranks.

Covers of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 editions of Quips and Cranks, available in the Davidson College Digital Repository.

Because the yearbooks are recent, working with Quips and Cranks allowed me to reminisce about friends and events (and grimace in the case of ex-boyfriends) and better associate formerly unknown peers’ faces with their names. The editing required for the yearbook scanning is very similar to the photo editing I do for leisure, so I actively enjoyed cropping and re-angling those pages. I didn’t form a solid connection with The Davidsonian because I used a closed scanner which didn’t allow me to browse as I scanned.

Trail of a bookworm.

Trail of a bookworm.

The old editions of July-born author’s works are beautiful. The pages were thick and a few grazed on by literal book worms. Some of the covers were marbled in a way that seemed similar to a technique I’d used in primary school for my own book covers. Some illustrations were cartoon, in some the strokes were sparse, and others were both intricate and realistic.

My Final Week as a Student Assistant

This week’s post is written by Emma Kenney ’15, a student assistant at Davidson College’s E.H. Little Library. She wrote this entry on August 22, 2014.

While working at the E. H. Little library for the summer, I had the opportunity to be involved in a variety of projects and departments. I was able to interact with patrons while working at the circulation desk, get further acquainted with the Library of Congress cataloging system while participating in a large shifting project, and, most relevant to this blog, I was lucky enough to be able to spend part of my time in the Archives & Special Collections.

The projects I worked on varied from week to week, so I will refrain from describing every task I performed. Instead, I will summarize my archival activity during my last week at the library as a student employee.

Throughout most of the summer, I have spent my allotted time in Archives working to digitize course syllabi so that these documents could be made available online. Having finally succeeded in un-stapling, scanning, re-stapling, saving .jpegs to a new folder, combining images into a single .pdf, and moving all .pdf’s to a separate folder every last syllabus in my box, I was finally ready to put these syllabi where they belonged: in an online database, where they could one day be accessed by anyone on campus who needs them. While I had been pleased and excited to see my stack labeled ‘finished’ grow steadily, it was even more enjoyable to see that the time and effort I had spent digitizing these documents had made it possible to change the accessibility of these syllabi. This how I spent my shift on my last Monday, working to upload and enter the metadata for as many syllabi as I could.

The following day I was given a list of items by the Archives staff. With new student orientation beginning and the start of classes around the corner, I was asked to locate and pull certain volumes from the Rare Book Room so that they could be put on display for the perusal of our new students. This list included, among other items, ancient cuneiform tablets, volumes of Diderot’s Encyclopedie, and an incunabula entitled Life of St. Thomas a Becket. This list lasted me through the next few days, and each item I pulled was fascinating and beautiful in its own way.

Life of St. Thomas a Becket, printed in Paris in 1495, and one of only six known copies in the world.

Life of St. Thomas a Becket, printed in Paris in 1495 – one of only six known copies in the world!

 
The incunable was lovely, and somewhat disconcerting. Given the age of the text (its printing date is listed as 1495), I was concerned that handling the volume would cause it to crumble and become ruined, and was therefore very wary of touching it, let alone moving it from its location on the shelf. But upon further inspection, the craftsmanship proved to be remarkable. I could see where the leaves had been sewn into the spine, and the thickness of the vellum encouraged me to be comfortable perusing the text.  It is a beautiful volume, and one I was very glad to have been able to see and handle.

On the topic of beautiful volumes, Diderot’s Encyclopedie certainly outshines most texts I’ve interacted with. These first editions are lovely and quite sizable, dating to between 1751 and 1788. The encyclopedia volumes are paired with planche volumes, which are full of incredibly intricate printed illustrations. It is clear that the amount of effort that must have gone into engraving each plate was sizable, and the resulting prints are breathtaking.

Illustration of a porcupine from Diderot's Encyclopedie.

Illustration of a porcupine from Diderot’s Encyclopedie.

 
As an Anthropology major, I was intrigued the most by the cuneiform tablets. Dating as far back as about 2350 B.C. with provenances located in the ancient Mesopotamian area, these artifacts are intricately carved and fascinating. While I have no way of understanding the exact meanings of the characters, simply being able to handle and examine these artifacts was such an educational experience. Short summaries of the inscriptions are available for each tablet for those who are interested in knowing roughly what has been recorded on the tablets, but a simple English translation could not compete with the beauty and intricacy of the carvings. Photographs could not do these tablets (nor any of the rare books) any justice, and these carved stones provided a fascinating comparison to the forms of writing that I interact with on a regular basis.

One of the Babylonian cuneiforms in Davidson's Special Collections.

One of the Babylonian cuneiforms in Davidson’s Special Collections, pulled for use in Dr. Mark Sample’s DIG 350: History and Future of the Book class visit.

 
This final week in the Archives, between the culmination of my syllabus project and the explorations of the Rare Book Room, has been one ‘for the books.’ While all of the projects I have worked on have challenged and intrigued me in different ways, I would have to say that the projects of this final week have been the most exciting for me, providing a perfect end to a fantastic summer position.​