Friday, August 9, 2013

Visiting Scholar Talk, August 13

Please join us in the Mann Assembly Room on Tuesday, August 13th at 4:00 pm to hear Carly Woods talk about her research project project, Women Debating Society: Gender, Citizenship, and Social Change in Debating Societies, 1840-1960. Woods is a professor of Communication Studies and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and will be consulting the records of the Penn State Debate Team among other sources. 

Prof. Woods is the second of two researchers this summer supported by the The Helen F. Faust Women Writers Research Travel Award.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Eugene Wettstone (July 15, 1913- July 30, 2013)

We recently received news that saddened all of our hearts here in Special Collections. On Tuesday, Gene Wettstone passed away at the age of 100. However, today we'd like to celebrate his life--from his career at Penn State to his relationship to the archives--by highlighting just a few of his many accomplishments.

Known as “Mr. Gymnastics”, Eugene “Gene” Wettstone wasn’t content to be one of the most outstanding and successful collegiate coaches in any sport. Besides his career in coaching, he was also a gardener and a beekeeper, and spent his leisure (or slightly less busy) time making his own cider and restoring antiques he collected.  In addition to all of this, he organized an annual campus circus, where gymnasts and coeds dressed as clowns and did acrobatics, tumbling and high-trapeze acts, and in State College he helped develop athletic programs for local high schools.

Gene was born in 1913 in West New York, N.J. and first took up gymnastics at the age of 10. He excelled as a gymnast at Emerson High School, in Union City, N.J., then took his talents to the University of Iowa, where he had an uncle who coached the gymnastics team. He continued to excel, capturing the Big Ten all-around award twice. He was nearly unbeatable on the side horse and the horizontal bar.

In 1938, Gene was hired as the gymnastics coach at Penn State. His last year was 1976, and he went out with his 9th National Title. During that span, his gymnasts were responsible for dozens of individual titles. Three of his gymnasts have won the highest honor given to the top male gymnast in the country, the Nissen-Emery Award. Thirteen of his gymnasts competed in the Olympics. Gene also participated in 5 Olympic Games: twice as coach, twice as a judge, and once as a manager.
Beginning in 1954, Gene was responsible for organizing international meets at Rec Hall. Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Bulgaria, Finland, Scandinavia, the USSR, and the University of Cologne, have all competed on campus, in a show of good sportsmanship and unity between nations.

We are grateful for the time we had with Gene and his contributions towards making an outstanding collection in our archive, which includes photographs, correspondence and records, video, and memorabilia. 

Paul Karwacki and Alex Bainbridge
Penn State University Archives
Special Collections

Travel Awards Winners to Speak on August 7

Come hear Faust Travel Award Winner, Emily Van Dette, and Huck Travel Award Winner, Kristine Thompson, talk about their research projects in the Mann Assembly Room on Wednesday, August 7th, at 1:00 P.M.

Emily Van Dette will be talking about her research project, "Six Scribbling Women and the Politics of Literary Reputation." Prof. Van Dette received her Ph.D from Penn State and presently is on the faculty at the State University of New York at Fredonia.  She will be using the Fred Lewis Pattee papers as well as other related collections from the Special Collections Library.

Prof. Kristine Thompson of Louisiana State University is researching photographic representations of death and mourning, from the 19th century to the present day. She is using the Jay Ruby Collection and other related materials from our collections.

Light refreshments (lemonade and cookies) will be served -- please come!