Friday, July 18, 2014

1956 Time Capsule from Hibbs Hall Cornerstone Opened!

Yesterday afternoon, University Archivist Jackie Esposito attended the opening of the 1956 time capsule found in a Hibbs Hall cornerstone on June 17th. Inside were items ranging from sorority hats to magazines, handbooks (remember those from one of the first Archive Adventure posts?), campus guides, and newspapers. Jackie was on hand to help identify the items and their organizations, such as an item from the WRA (Women's Recreation Association). In the next few months, workers will replace with 1956 time capsule with a 2014 version, complete with iPhone, THON T-shirts, a signed football from Coach Franklin, and items from daily life at Penn State.

You can see Jackie's interview here on WJAC-10, or read about the event on Onward State.

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Take the College of the State to the People of the State"

The Power of Agricultural Cooperative Extension: 100 Years of Penn State Service,” an exhibition, will be on display June 17 through Sept. 15, in The Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library, Penn State University Park. A special lecture, “The Impact of Cooperative Extension at Penn State,” is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 3 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library.

In 1914, Congressman M. Hoke Smith (D-Georgia) and Asbury Lever (D-South Carolina) sponsored legislation to enhance the nation’s land-grant university system created under the Morrill Act in 1862. Signed into law on May 8, the Smith-Lever Act established the cooperative extension system. The system partnered federal, state and county governments with land-grant institutions, such as Penn State, to translate and share scientific information with farmers, and in communities across the country and the commonwealth.

The Agricultural Train (1908)

Historically, Penn State had been providing lectures and publications at farmers’ institutes, at Farmers’ Week and through agricultural trains as far back as 1870. In 1892, it launched the nation’s first correspondence courses in agriculture and two years prior to the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, Penn State funded the first county agents in Blair, Butler, Mercer, Montgomery and Washington counties.

Ag Extension Tech was often at the forefront, providing farmers with the very latest in developments straight from University resources.

By 1921, 62 of the 67 Pennsylvania counties had full-time agents whose efforts were centralized through the College of Agriculture. The agents provided technical information, results from the experiment station, supervised experimental plantings, judged at local fairs, organized 4-H youth groups and provided various types of practical instruction through workshops, courses and institutes across the commonwealth.

The exhibit features archival materials documenting the revolution in practical advances spawned by the Smith-Lever Act and Penn State Extension, including demonstration methods, 4-H, early inventions and technology, home economics, trips and camps such as Club Week and Young Farmers Week, forestry improvements, nutrition and environmental progress. Access to actual archival documents from Cooperative Extension agents is available.

The bulk of the archival collection contains county agent narrative and statistical annual reports of activities back to 1912, extension service publications, correspondence, photographs, land use surveys, youth programming, and financial records related to agricultural and home economics management. The reports are arranged alphabetically by county and within each county the reports are delineated chronologically.

Additional information about the Smith-Lever Act and the 100th anniversary of Penn State Extension is available.

For additional information about this exhibit, collections related to Penn State Extension and the University Archives or if you anticipate needing accessibility accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Jackie Esposito at 814-863-3791 or

Friday, June 13, 2014

Penn State Presidents: Leaders, Innovators and Visionaries

President Atherton in his study

“Penn State Presidents: Leaders, Innovators and Visionaries,” an exhibit, is on display from June 2 through Sept. 15 in Robb Hall, Hintz Alumni Center, University Park.

From the earliest days of Evan Pugh’s tenure as president of the fledgling Agricultural College of Pennsylvania through the pioneering days of the newly appointed President Eric Barron, Penn State’s presidents have been challenged to envision a future featuring academic excellence, superior research, outstanding service to the community and superb opportunities for the institution’s student body.

The presidents highlighted in this exhibit provided vision during difficult times, and innovation across decades, and they led the institution toward new heights of achievements. (Read more about visionary presidents of Penn State.)

The exhibit, curated by the Penn State University Archives, features photographs, document reproductions and biographical statements for all 18 presidents and the three designated as acting presidents:

Evan Pugh, 1859–1864
William Henry Allen, 1864–1866
John Fraser, 1866–1868
Thomas Henry Burrowes, 1868–1871
James Calder, 1871–1880
Joseph Shortlidge, 1880–1881
James McKee, 1881–1882 Acting
George Atherton, 1882–1906
James Beaver, 1906–1908 Acting
Edwin Erle Sparks, 1908–1920
John Martin Thomas, 1921–1925
Ralph Dorn Hetzel, 1927–1947
James Milholland, 1847–1950 Acting
Milton Eisenhower, 1950–1956
Eric Walker, 1956–1970
John Oswald, 1970–1983
Bryce Jordan, 1983–1990
Joab Thomas, 1990–1995
Graham Spanier, 1995–2011
Rodney Erickson, 2011–2014
Eric Barron, 2014

For more information or if you anticipate needing accessibility accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Jackie R. Esposito, University Archivist, at or 814-863-3791.

Can't make it to campus? See our Flickr gallery of the exhibit here!