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!

Monday, June 9, 2014

New Finding Aids Published

Our archival processors had a busy spring. Here are the latest new and updated finding aids for some of our collections:
HCLA 1648 Mary Gyla McDowell 100th Volunteer Infantry Regiment papers - This collection consists of diaries, scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, pamphlets, pencil sketches and photographs, memoirs and Veterans' society records of the 100th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. It also includes many manuscript drafts and transcripts of war time correspondence written by Mary McDowell.

HCLA 1783 Henry Shoemaker papers - Henry W. Shoemaker, born in 1880, was an author, banker, newspaper columnist, newspaper publisher, diplomat, archivist, civil servant, and collector of Pennsylvania folklore. The collection consists of correspondence, ephemera, publications, photographs, and scrapbooks documenting Shoemaker's professional and family life and personal interests.

RBM 2385 Sir Edward Maufe architectural papers - Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe (1883-1974) was first principal architect for the United Kingdom from 1943 to 1969, noted for churches, cathedrals, and various war memorials. This collection consists of architectural drawings, blueprints, and pencil sketches as well as business records from English architect Sir Edward Maufe.

RBM 9526 Michael Dummett papers - Michael Dummett was a philosopher and advocate for racial justice who worked extensively on issues related to immigration. This collection includes materials related to his academic interests in philosophy and voting procedures and to his personal passions for electoral reform and racial equality.

RBM 9555 Wanda Gag papers - Artist/illustrator, translator and author Wanda Gág (1893-1946) created picture books that integrated a dynamic visual style and vitality with the stories. This collection consists of materials related to the book Tales from Grimm for which Gág translated, interpreted, and illustrated stories from Grimm.

PSUA 84 Bernard Asbell papers - Bernard Asbell was an associate professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University teaching nonfiction writing from 1984 until his retirement in 1992. He was the author of twelve books, most notably The Pill: A Biography of the Drug That Changed the World (1995) and Paterno: By the Book (1991). This collection of papers from Bernard Asbell documents his work as an author and includes manuscripts, notes, information files and audiotapes.

PSUA 141 A.E. Bye papers - Arthur Edwin Bye, Jr. received a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from the Pennsylvania State University in 1942. One of his earliest projects was designing a woodland landscape for the Reisley house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Pleasantville, NY. Mr. Bye published several books, most notably Art into Landscape, Landscape into Art, filled with photographs, many of his own works, framing landscaped views both natural and man made that he thought successful. This collection of the papers of Arthur Edwin Bye, Jr. includes architectural drawings, articles, correspondence, plans, prints, brochures, invoices, contracts, reports, and photographs. [Still being processed by intern, updated finding aid simply reflects incorporation of recent accretions]

PSUA 149 Clarence Ray Carpenter papers - C. Ray Carpenter was research professor of psychology and anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, 1940-1970, and University of Georgia, 1970-1974. He studied primate behavior, produced primate films and videotapes, and researched communication processes.

PSUA 470 Ivan Illich audiotapes - Ivan Illich spent fall semesters in residence as a visiting faculty for Penn State's Science, Technology and Society Program from 1986 to 1996. He published a series of books treating a range of topics from gender to water to literacy during his Penn State years. This collection of the visiting faculty and social historian Ivan Illich consists of 24 audiotapes of his lectures from the 1970s, primarily about the institutionalization of education.

PSUA 478 Baseball records - The first organized Penn State baseball team played in 1875; the team was established in 1893, and a permanent coach hired in 1903. This collection includes media guides, statistics, newspaper clippings, photographs, and artifacts.

PSUA 1111 Pennsylvania State University at Erie records - Pennsylvania State University at Erie began in 1948 as The Behrend Center of Penn State, offering the first year of college courses. In 1959, it became The Behrend Campus of Penn State, and in 1973, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, granting four-year and graduate degrees. This collection includes personnel files, continuing education course materials, records of Provost and Dean John M. Lilley's administration, the School of Science, and faculty organizations.

PSUA 1281 Ben Franklin Technology Center of Central and Northern Pennsylvania records - The first PSU-affiliated Ben Franklin Technology Center, established in 1982 as the Advanced Technology Center of Central and Northern Pennsylvania, is an investment program providing financial resources for projects to develop new products, processes, and jobs with the mission of drawing investment capital to Pennsylvania. It later was renamed the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Central and Northern Pennsylvania. The Ben Franklin Technology Center records document its administrative activities, including project summaries for technology transfers; correspondence, primarily as agreements between partners; and financial proceedings from the 1990s.

PSUA 1292 Intellectual Property Office records - The Intellectual Property Office is a unit of the Research and Technology Transfer Organization in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. It is responsible for managing, protecting, and licensing the intellectual property of faculty, graduate students, and staff at all Penn State University locations. The records of the Intellectual Property Office consist primarily of patent files, invention disclosures, agreements, and correspondence.

PSUA 1392 Office of Student Activities records - This collection primarily documents the allocation of student activity fees to various student organizations and events at The Pennsylvania State University. Materials include annual financial reports from student organizations, files for active and defunct student organizations, and correspondence and publications about student government, housing issues, and events, with a few photographs and t-shirts. An Office of Student Activities was active before World War II. It had as one of its primary functions the oversight of funds for student organizations and events. In 1997, it became a subordinate body of the Office of Union and Student Activities (USA).

PSUA 1410 Theta Chi, Omega Chapter records - Theta Chi, Omega chapter, was founded at Penn State College as a men's social fraternity in 1919. The collection contains a history of the Omega chapter of Theta Chi fraternity; a petition to become a chapter; newsletters (1991-2009); photographs of the Penn State campus, groups and individuals, and the fraternity; a 1919 signature book, rattle, and a picture and memento book; a drawing of the fraternity house (1990); and papers of two fraternity members.

PSUA 6421 Penn State Altoona records - Penn State Altoona traces it's history back to 1929 when Penn State College (now Penn State University) began offering technical evening classes in Altoona. This collection contains administrative records for Penn State Altoona. These materials include personnel files, legal file, records from the Chancellor's office, and other records related to the administration of Penn State Altoona.

PSUA 8488 Women's Ice Hockey records - The Penn State women's hockey team was founded as a club program in 1996 and soon became a varsity team. The team began competing at the NCAA Division I level in 2012. This collection consists of clippings, articles, press releases, and moving image recordings related to the women's ice hockey team.

PSUA 9551 Charles F. Beatty, Jr. papers - This collection consists of papers, certificates, photos, and artifacts during Charles Beatty's time as a student and football player at Penn State.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Construction Alert!

Visitors to the Special Collections Library will noticed lots of fences and construction around the Library with crosswalks and building access points changing over the summer. The Library is posting regular construction and renovation updates on the main Library blog. Please check it out before your visit.

Our hours of access remain the same, but road closures may delay offsite retrievals Please check with us in advance of your visit so we can make sure we have the collections you need available.