Sep 092014
 

While the first-ever rook book is a frequent request of new visitors to Archives, this year we thought we’d try sharing fun facts from other early versions of the cadet handbook. A personal favorite of mine is from the year 1934 when a section on slang first appeared.

Pages of cadet slang first appeared alongside songs and cheers in the rook book in 1934

Pages of cadet slang first appeared alongside songs and cheers in the rook book in 1934 (click to enlarge)

When we pointed out these pages during library orientations last month, definitions like Civilization as “South of White River” or the use of “Cheeseknife” for a saber quickly got some amused attention. As did the fact that the college bookstore was apparently the “Pirates’ Den” in the 1930s and the presence of the US Military slang of “Top Kick” for First Sergeant.

Another turn of phrase from 1934 also caught my eye as I was putting this rook book away later. In 1934, “Joe Cadet” apparently referred to the skeleton in the biological department. Not that long ago, I’d refiled a snapshot of a skeleton in a collection of photographs taken by a student in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Whether this was the very same “Joe Cadet” remains uncertain but the slang does bring up possibilities.

Skeleton photo from the Charles William Otto Photographs

Skeleton photo from the Charles William Otto Photographs (click to enlarge)

 

This is just one example of the information that can be found in past rook books. Come read the rest in our reading room today!

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Sep 042014
 

The Archives Reading Room is bursting at the seams this afternoon with young minds excited to learn about Norwich history!

Students, faculty, and staff researching

Students, faculty, and staff engage with history in the University Archives Reading Room

Gail and Kelly are orienting Professor Lord’s intrepid history students to archival research–the source of all history! We also have members of the campus community here researching the history of Drill Team, several campus buildings, and Norwich’s involvement in Vietnam.

We recently featured some great historical photos of the Drill Team on this blog. If you can’t visit us on the 5th floor of the library, you can always explore this and many other topics on our Digital Collections website!

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Sep 022014
 

It’s the second week of classes here at Norwich, and we thought we’d share some great snapshots of classroom life from the University Archives. For more like these, check out our exhibit on the first floor of the Kreitzberg Library entitled “Back to School with the University Archives,” featuring classroom scenes going all the way back to the 1930s.

Male and female student read a printout from an old monitorless computer.

Cadets read a computer printout during class, 1977. My, how classroom technology has changed! Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

Students work at desks set up in a gymnasium.

Cadets take midterm exams, 1963. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

Two young female students working in a science lab class

Vermont College students in a science lab, 1983. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

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Aug 262014
 

The Norwich campus has come to life with students once again–and believe it or not, the leaves are already starting to turn up here in Vermont! Get in the mood for a new school year with these images of new student arrival from years past. Some things change (like plaid pants) and some things stay the same!

Young man in plaid pants stands in front of a door marked Schulmaier Hall.

A snappily dressed orientation leader welcomes new students to Vermont College, 1980. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

A young man gets a buzz haircut

Activity in the barber shop during rook arrival, 1985. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

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Aug 122014
 

With less than a week to go until the Rooks join us on campus, we’re preparing a variety of exhibits and orientation activities to welcome the students. One of the topics we are highlighting is the front-line war experience of Norwich graduates.

Cover of a pamphlet titled "North Africa"

We came across this fascinating document in the papers of Allen Wilder, a member of the Class of 1931 who served in the North African theater during World War II. It’s a guide distributed by the US Army that gives an overview–not necessarily in the most progressive or sensitive tone–of the cultural differences and traditions that they thought troops should be aware of while serving in the “Arab” or “Moslem” territories of North Africa.

Pamphlet on "Important Dos and Don'ts" for US servicemen in North Africa during World War Two

“Do’s and Don’ts” for US servicemen in North Africa during World War Two. Click to enlarge.

This image is just one page from a pamphlet that also includes information about weather, disease, geography, cuisine, and even local gender politics. Come read the rest in our reading room today!

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Aug 052014
 

Have you ever wondered what projects people use the University Archives for? One of the projects that keeps us busy every summer is preparing historical photographs for use in the fall ceremony for new Norwich Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.

We work hard to help the Athletics staff locate just the right images from our collection of over one million photographs. We’ve also been adding them to our Digital Collections site so that the whole University community can enjoy looking back at our great stars. Here are some of the highlights:

Women's swimming team poses next to the pool with coaches.

Norwich University women’s swimming team, 1992. Pictured third from left in the front row is Marcy Allen, Class of 1994 and 2014 Hall of Fame inductee.

Three young male soccer players in uniform pose on an athletic field.

Jack Keefe, Norwich University Class of 1974 and 2014 Hall of Fame inductee (pictured left in jersey number 8) and two soccer teammates pose for team publicity photos, Fall 1971

Men's track team in sweat suits posing on an athletic field.

Norwich University track team, 1962. Pictured fifth from the left in the front row is Marshall Ferris, Class of 1964 and 2014 Hall of Fame inductee.

Portrait of wrestler in singlet with letter N.

Portrait of NU wrestler Mark Camire, Class of 1989 and 2014 Hall of Fame inductee.

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Jul 212014
 

In case you missed it, there’s a great video up of the NU drill team performing at the invitation-only International Military Tattoo in St. Gallen, Switzerland earlier this month. It happens that we just added some equally great historical photos of the drill team to our Digital Collections website. Check them out below:

Drill team in formation

Norwich University drill team, circa 1954. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

Drill team marching in formation

Norwich University drill team, circa 1960s. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

Drill team performing on a football field with their rifles mid-air.

Norwich University drill team, 1975. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

Drill team performing on a football field with their rifles in mid-air

Norwich University drill team, 1985. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

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Jul 152014
 

This letter from our collection of Alden Partridge’s correspondence is a great example of damage caused by the pests often referred to as “bookworms.” In this case, the little bugger has chowed down on the wax seal that held the letter closed as it traveled through the postal system of 1814. If you look closely, you can see that the damage is limited to the dark areas where the seal once sat.

Handwritten letter with two dark circles on the edges showing small holes

1814 letter to Alden Partridge showing bookworm damage on the wax seal. Click on the image to view in our Digital Collections.

There is actually no single species called a “bookworm.” A wide variety of insects can set up shop in library and archival collections. They include silverfish, cockroaches, and psocids, also known as booklice. Most of them don’t feed on paper, but rather on the adhesives, starches, and other non-paper materials that go into the making of a book–the damage to the wax seal on this letter is a great example.

The good news is that there’s lots that the Norwich University Archives can and does do to prevent this type of damage. We secure entry points for pests by keeping windows shut; keep storage spaces for important documents cool to discourage pest activity; and avoid attracting pests with food or liquids. Don’t worry, the Alden Partridge collection is safe with us!

Have you ever caught a “bookworm” red-handed? Let us know in the comments below!

Information about pest management in archives courtesy of the Northeast Document Conservation Center.

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Jul 082014
 

Did you do some spring cleaning this year and are wondering what to do to protect old family documents and photographs? The American Library Association has put together some great resources for military families who want to learn more about preserving their history, including this handy reference sheet to get you started.

Here are some great items from our collection that we are able to present to researchers because members of the Norwich community recognized the importance of preserving their own stories, big and small:

Four photographs depicting everyday life with United States troops in France during World War 1

Photographs taken by duVal Allen, Class of 1919, while stationed in France during World War I

Vmail

V-Mail written from John Finn, Class of 1946, to his family when he was stationed in France during World War II

Propaganda leaflets from the Korean War, one describing "What Truman's Arms Budget Could Buy"

Propaganda leaflets from the Korean War. Donated by Peter Cuthbert, Class of 1951

If you’re a Norwich graduate of any stripe, we want to help you tell your story. Please contact us if you are interested in donating your personal papers.

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Jul 012014
 

July 4th has been marked by celebration in this country since 1777, just one year after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Check out this flyer from 1857 advertising 4th of July festivities, presumably in Norwich, Vermont, that featured the NU cadets. Perhaps you should consider “toasts, sentiments, and short speeches” as a feature of your barbecue this year!

Flyer advertising 4th of July exercises in Norwich, Vermont, 1857

Click to enlarge

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