2010 Round-Up

20 12 2010

It has been a very busy year for the University Archives & Historical Collections.  We would like to thank all the individuals and departments who have supported us throughout the year.  We accomplished quite a bit and we could not have done it without your support.

We made great strides toward increasing our online presence this year.  Our new website was launched in May.  The website has an expanded section on Records Management and links to our other online sources.  This year we also launched a Flickr page, making more photographs available to the public.  We continued to add content to On the Banks of the Red Cedar with new exhibits on Forest Akers and the Colleges of Osteopathic and Human Medicine.

The University Archives had several public presentations this year; most notably, we sponsored the film Spartacus for the East Lansing Film Festival.  Cheers for the film were recorded at MSU and 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the film.  We are pleased to report that Spartacus tied for the audience favorite award at ELFF.  We also held our annual American Archives Month trivia contest in October.  The UAHC hosted an open house for members of the Mid-Michigan Alumni group that coincided with the first ever National Preservation Week.  Staff from the UAHC gave several presentations to local organizations.

We would like to thank the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for allowing us to participate in several of their events.  The UAHC was present for both Ag Expo and the Great Dairy Adventure for the third year in a row.  The staff working the booth at Ag Expo would also like to thank whoever put our booth right across the aisle from the Dairy Store with their free, yummy ice cream.

Great strides have been made toward improving the records management program on campus.  In addition to the increased information on the website, we also have a new brochure and Director Cynthia Ghering has been giving presentations to campus groups on general records management procedures, email management, and scanning and attachments.  This year also saw the start of the three-year “Spartan Archive” project in which the archives is working  to develop an electronic records archive for the university’s born-digital records and publications.

Though it seems to us that we accomplished much, we know that there is always more to do.  In 2011 be on the lookout for more records management related classes, more materials available digitally, the “I Found it in the Archives!” campaign, and our kickoff to the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

Happy New Year!

The Staff at the University Archives & Historical Collections

Class Rivalry Posters on Flickr

25 03 2010

Posters from the class rivalry between the freshmen and sophomores are now on our Flickr Page.  The class rivalry was a contest between the freshmen and sophomore classes intended to show which class was superior.  These contests started out as brawls.  In November 1898, the freshmen, coming out of a class meeting, were met by the sophomores who dunked them in the Class of 1883 Fountain.  The freshmen closed ranks, forming a “flying V” with the largest man at point and plowed through the sophomore ranks.  Parents complained, but MAC President Snyder, who witnessed the action, told the parents not to worry that it was not really all that serious.  However, a newspaper report said that three students were trampled and one was knocked unconscious.  As class sizes grew these battles became quite violent and participants were subject to some serious injuries.

We Want Blood Class Rivlary Poster

Class Rivalry Poster from 1912

In 1902 students were directed to not hold the annual rush.  The classes did not want to be denied the ability to participate in a campus tradition, so they went off campus to settle the matter in a “brutal and fierce” battle.  The upperclassmen intervened and convinced each side to select a few men to settle the battle with a wrestling match.  However, as a result of the breach of discipline, 17 students were suspended.  The students went on strike for several days until the administration agreed to have the State Board of Agriculture review the suspensions.

At that point Chester Brewer, director of Physical Culture stepped in.  Brewer revised the contest to be more carefully regulated.  Victory was earned through points accumulated by winning various contests.  Among the contests held were tug of war in the Red Cedar River, football game, flag rush and wrestling.

Where the old informality persisted was in the posting of insulting invitations to class rush.  When sophomores put up their insulting posters egging on the freshmen, either freshmen or juniors might intervene.  Sophomores would also chase freshmen who tried to put up their own posters.

Doomsday Class Rivalry Poster

Class Rivalry Poster from 1913

The tensions between the classes would often carry over into the next year.  When the Junior class held their annual J-Hop (Junior Hop) anonymous sophomores would attempt to disrupt the festivities. In 1904 a pig was introduced to the dance floor, and in 1909 the street car rails were greased on the hill leading up to campus.  They also shorted out the electrical wires in 1906 and only backup gasoline lamps prevented the event from being cancelled.  Someone constructed an apparatus and placed it under the Armory that could produce enough hydrogen sulfide gas to kill everyone in the building if it were activated.  The device was found before the dance and suspensions did occur because of that event.

In the fall 1908, the sophomores (Class of 1911) invited the freshmen to the first annual Barbecue to heal the wounds of conflict.  On the lawn in front of Wells Hall the sophomore president offered an over-sized carving knife to the freshman president and all shared in ox sandwiches and apple cider.  This was the beginning of the Barbecue tradition.  (This class did not have their J-Hop disrupted by the sophomore class, so perhaps the Barbecue was a good idea.)

We hope you enjoy these class rivalry posters.  They are among the staff favorites in the archives.  If you have suggestions of other materials you would like to see us put online, please let us know.

Photos on Flickr

10 03 2010

The University Archives & Historical Collections is pleased to announce that we now have an account on Flickr and people are welcome to view some of our images there.  Our volunteer, Megan Badgley, a graduate of the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science, selected the images and entered the descriptive information.  Megan chose about 60 different images from a wide variety of subjects and time periods.  All of these photographs relate in some way to the history of Michigan State University.  We hope to add images from our historical collections in the future.

We would like to encourage your comments, identifications, and corrections to our images on Flickr.  Please don’t be shy about identifying people you recognize or correcting us if we are wrong.  Also, let us know what other types of images you would like to see us put on Flickr.

Our photostream is called “Michigan State University Archives” and images can be viewed at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/msuarchives/