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Dean’s Update: Transforming Collections

As we finally move into spring, how many among us are anxious to shed our winter jackets in favor of warmer weather? Spring is an exciting time of sunshine and new growth, but with that comes housekeeping – weeding, planting and spring-cleaning. For the Libraries, this spring marks a time to review our collections as we plan to make room for more up to date references and feature an resources that will stimulate discovery and reading enjoyment.

Maya: Then, Now, and the All That Is All

Maya: Then, Now, and the All That Is All

By Martha Cornog

In Hinduism, Maya is the deity perpetuating the illusion that any part of the universe is unique from the rest of it. A "Maya Sutra" in the 1967 issue declares, "The ancients…advised that we should hold Maya, choose one small aspect of the vastness that is Maya and study it, meditate on it until it becomes a part of us, then continue with a second aspect and so on…. [Thus you, the reader, can] enjoy what you like in Maya, after all Maya is for you, created for you, to do with as you like, whether for amusement or serious study."

Between the Fog and the Desert: What the Gargoyle Sees Isn’t Pretty

To mark the Libraries' current exhibition, Inventing the Page: Student Literary Magazines at Drexel, the Archives' blog is featuring a series of essays about past literary magazines by Drexel alumna and Archives volunteer, Martha Cornog. The exhibition runs until June 11, 2012, on the first floor of W.W. Hagerty Library.

Between the Fog and the Desert: What the Gargoyle Sees Isn’t Pretty

By Martha Cornog

By the 1960s, love and war had faded as dominant literary themes, and instead loomed the disaffection and confusion of a generation reeling from the Beat writers but not yet washed by the fragrant waves of '60s hedonism. Drexel’s third literary magazine, Gargoyle, ran from 1961 to 1966. Perhaps the title was inspired by Lawrence Durrell's The Black Book, for an unattributed quotation from that novel appears on the verso of Gargoyle's volume 5 title page, including the line:

The isolation of a gargoyle hung over a sleeping city.

With war and love, one can keep score. One win or one loses, and one is happy or sad. But Gargoyle peered into darknesses that had few winnings or losings or even any game at all.

Echo of Things to Come: Drexel's First Literary Magazine

To mark the Libraries' new exhibition, Inventing the Page: Student Literary Magazines at Drexel, the Archives' blog will feature a series of essays about past literary magazines by Drexel alumna and Archives volunteer, Martha Cornog. The new exhibition opens Wednesday, April 18, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. at Hagerty Library.

Echo of Things to Come: Drexel's First Literary Magazine

by Martha Cornog

"We propose to entertain and be entertained," wrote The Drexel Echo's fledgling editors, "to encourage and be encouraged, to be instructed, and, if possible, to instruct."

Drexel's first campus publication with literary content, Echo blossomed from the student body in 1907, a mere sixteen years after the institution was founded. By then, college literary magazines had become academic standbys. The Columbia Review claims to have been the first in the nation as of 1815, but then Columbia University itself was founded in 1754. The much older Harvard, first U.S. academic body as of 1636, dates its own Harvard Advocate magazine to 1866. So while ever so much younger, Drexel's Echo was certainly faster off the mark.

Actually, the monthly Echo resembles more an all-purpose campus magazine than a literary journal. While a handful of creative efforts—prose and poetry—open each issue, a "School Notes" section of news items follows with brief notes about class officers, faculty changes, news of the Library School, and the perennial sports updates. Reports on goings-on among student organizations and a jokes section close out the first issue. And on the back cover linger four paid advertisements: for a meat market, two photographers, and a sporting goods store.

Cover of the first issue of the Drexel Echo, 1907Cover of the first issue of the Drexel Echo, 1907

More hats, from Sigma Pi and ROTC

Each year the Archives prioritizes one or two areas of Drexel history to strengthen and develop our collections.  In 2012, those priorities are Athletics and Greek Life.  For that reason, we were especially delighted to receive a donation from alumnus Bernard Kurek that included the unusual Sigma Pi sleeping cap and ROTC drill team beret (both pictured below).  The Archives is working with other alumns to better preserve the history of fraternity and sorority life at Drexel, and objects like this are among the items that further that goal.  Do you have interesting items from your time at Drexe

1965 Matheson Hall time capsule opened

Today Drexel's Business Librarian, Emily Missner, and I were present at the opening of the recently discovered Matheson Hall time capsule, making sure that the contents of the capsule were appropriately preserved.  Fortunately, contents were in excellent condition, preserved inside a sealed lead box.


In case you're wondering what was inside the time capsule, here's an inventory:

  • Brochure: Answers to your questions about Drexel and the Drexel Plan of Cooperative Education
  • Drexel Institute of Technology Bulletin: Undergraduate Curricula 1965-66

Finding an unexpected treasure in the Archives

1872 telegram to George A Custer1872 telegram to George A Custer

iSchool student and archives intern Phoebe Kowalewski writes about the joy of discovering something special in the archives.

A safe but sometimes chilly way of recallin

Track and Field Records now available

Here's a guest post from Archives intern Carolyn Halper:

The Drexel University Track and Cross-Country records have been processed and are now ready for research use.

This collection holds Drexel's Track and Field photos, newspaper clippings, and administrative records dating from 1946 to 1994. The collection includes a number of event results and rosters, sports memos, and track meet programs, including those from the ECC and IC4A.

A Taste of Things to Come: Computing at Drexel, 1946-1984

To mark the opening of the Archives' newest exhibition, "Access for Everyone: Computing at Drexel, 1946 - 1984," Archives volunteer Martha Cornog explores one dimension of that history.

A Taste of Things to Come: Computing at Drexel, 1946-1984

By Martha Cornog

In 1983, Drexel made national headlines by requiring all students and faculty to have personal computers, the first major academic body to do so. Even the fashion-design majors in the Nesbitt College had to go tech, an increasingly accepted thing at the upper levels of that industry. “It’s really incredible how patternmakers have terminals right next to their sewing machines,” commented Bernard Sagik, Drexel’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, after visiting Christian Dior studios in New York.1

New collections: papers of and about George W. Childs

Today we received a wonderful package in the mail: a box of papers of and about George W. Childs, best friend of founder A. J. Drexel. The collection includes letters, calling cards, a book of autographs, newspapers, a few photographs, books and pamphlets. The calling cards and autograph book document Mr. Childs's social interaction with such 19th century luminaries as General William T. Sherman (card) and Alexander Graham Bell (autograph). A full finding aid for the collection will appear on our site shortly, but for now, here are a few photos.

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