Apr 172014
 

Last week we got a delivery of some new records to add to our Athletics collection. We thought this would be a fun opportunity to show you briefly what goes on behind the scenes when we process new material–and how we turn a stack of papers into a research-ready collection!

Here’s what the records looked like when they were dropped off:

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We will identify them loosely by date and type of record–categories like newspaper clippings and scorebooks–and place them in acid-free folders. As is typical of collections like this, we will not catalog each individual piece of paper; we are more concerned with organizing the records as a group and making sure that they are stored neatly and safely. Eventually they will look like this box from the same collection:

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Our online collection guide will also be updated to reflect these new additions. We hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek behind the scenes at what your friendly neighborhood archivists do!

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Apr 142014
 

Ever since the days of Alden Partridge, the tradition of the “Pedestrian Excursion” has been strong at Norwich. Partridge regularly staged long marches for his cadets in order to promote physical fitness and what we would now call experiential education–teaching botany, geology, geography, and other topics along the way. In an analogous tradition, it was standard in the early 20th century for the junior class to spend the summer marching to and setting up camp at Fort Ethan Allen.

Norwich cadets march to Fort Ticonderoga to commemorate Alden Partridge’s tradition of “Pedestrian Excursions,” 1985

In October 1985, Norwich staged a reenacted march to Fort Ticonderoga, complete with some historical uniforms and equipment, to commemorate this tradition favored by our founder. The group marched 79 miles in 77 hours over 4 days, fired a salute at Fort Ticonderoga in honor of Alden Partridge, and happily boarded a bus back to Northfield.

Norwich cadets fire a salute honoring Norwich founder Alden Partridge at Fort Ticonderoga, 1985. Click on the image to view in our new digital collection.

You can find several photographs of the event in our newly launched digital collection. We hope you will take a moment to explore it and get to know the Norwich history resources that are now at your fingertips. Below are some of our favorite images from the Ticonderoga march, including one of a familiar face who is still a great friend and expert in all things Norwich history!

Professor Gary Lord prepares for the Pedestrian Excursion reenactment to Fort Ticonderoga, 1985. Click on the image to view in our new digital collection.

Were you there? Did you participate in this march? Do you have fond memories of other historical reenactments at Norwich? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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Apr 102014
 

The Class of 2015 is currently preparing for that rite of passage known as the Junior Ring Ball. We thought we would share a brief history of the Norwich class ring tradition.

Junior Ring Dance for the Class of 1938

Junior Ring Dance for the Class of 1938

In 1923, the senior class of cadets at Norwich University determined that a class ring be commissioned for wear by all graduating cadets and alumni.  Previous classes had designed and ordered their own rings, but it was in 1923 that the design was standardized and the tradition codified as a permanent part of the NU experience. Below is an excerpt from their class mission statement identifying the goal of this new tradition:

This ring will then mean as much to the man wearing it as his diploma and once the custom is started and lived up to every year, the alumni will appreciate more and more what a ring of this nature stands for. It is hoped that the following classes will follow the steps the Class of 1923 has taken, and make the Norwich ring a true Norwich tradition.

It was not until 1937 that the presentation of the class ring, previously given to seniors around the time of Commencement, was combined with the long-standing Junior Week tradition. According to a report in the May 1937 Guidon, the notion of  a Junior Ring Dance was borrowed from existing traditions at West Point and Annapolis. Prior to this change, the Junior Week formal was commonly referred to as “Prom.”

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1924 Junior Week program. This was before the class ring ceremony became a part of Junior Week.

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1924 Junior Week program

Want to learn more about the Junior Ring Weekend and the Norwich Ring?  Take the library elevator to the 5th floor and visit the University Archives Monday through Friday 1:00 PM -6:00 PM. Don’t forget to share your memories of Junior Week and the Norwich class ring in the comments below!

Brian Dunne contributed research to this post.

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Apr 092014
 

The independent Vermont news site VTDigger.org has shared our press release about the recent digital collection launch. We are so pleased that our Vermont community is as excited as we are about this new service we are offering. It is our hope that expanding our collections beyond the walls of the library will be a great way for NU to connect more broadly with Vermont history.

In that spirit–and in the spirit of the coming spring–here are some great images from the digital collection of 1968 baseball games between Norwich and a couple of the state’s rival teams–UVM and St. Michael’s.

NU vs. UVM baseball game, May 1968. The UVM dugout is visible in the background. Click on the image to view in our digital collection.

Spectators at an NU vs. UVM baseball game, May 1968. Click on the image to view in our digital collection.

NU vs. St. Michael’s College baseball game, May 1968. Click on the image to view in our digital collection.

 

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Apr 072014
 

Today and tomorrow are the championship games of the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I basketball tournaments. In honor of the occasion, we thought we’d share these great action shots from women’s basketball games of the 1970s.

After Norwich acquired Vermont College in 1972, the women’s athletic teams continued to play under the name Vermont College, which is why you’ll see “VC” on their uniforms. We’re willing to bet that today’s players are glad not to be wearing knee socks!

You can browse these and many more images of Norwich athletics throughout University history on our new Digital Collections website.

Vermont College women’s basketball game, 1975

Vermont College women’s basketball game, 1976

Vermont College women’s basketball game against Johnson State College, 1977

Do you recognize any familiar faces from the women’s basketball team? Would you like to share your championship story? Let us know in the comments below! If you like what you see here, consider subscribing to this blog using the box on the righthand side of the page.

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Apr 012014
 

One of our staff members here in Norwich University Archives counts these two photographs among her favorite in the collection. They depict University President Ernest Harmon greeting the Queen of Regimental Ball and her escort in 1963. Notice anything unorthodox about the president’s behavior? We are pleased to be able to bring you this and other quirky moments from Norwich history on our recently launched Digital Collections website.

President Harmon greeting the Queen of Regimental Ball and her escort, 1963. Click on the image to view in our new digital collection.

President Harmon greets the Queen of Regimental Ball and her escort, 1963. Click on the image to view in our new digital collection.

Share your favorite memories of President Harmon and Regimental Ball in the comments below! If you like what you see here, consider subscribing to this blog using the box on the righthand side of the page.

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Mar 302014
 

The new Digital Collection website that the Norwich University Archives just launched can be a valuable resource for learning about Norwich history, whether you’re here on campus with us or far away. The story below is just one of the many that you can trace through the historical publications and images that are now online.

1912 Norwich football team. Verner Belyea is pictured in the front row, second from the right. Click on the image to view in our new digital collection.

1912 Norwich football team. Verner Belyea is pictured in the front row, second from the right. Click on the image to view in our new digital collection.

Right here we want to say that ‘Jim’ Belyea is one of the most dangerous men that ever donned maroon and gold togs. He does his part without a word and does it mightly well.

Norwich Reveille, October 1912

Cover story in the Record previewing the fatal Holy Cross game. Click to read in our new digital collection.

In October of 1913, the Norwich community suffered a tragedy. Verner Stanley “Jim” Belyea, a junior, was badly injured in the first football game of the season against Holy Cross and died the next day. Numerous friends and colleagues made the trip to Greenfield, Massachusetts for his funeral the following week. Among them were University President Charles Spooner and football captain Ray Kimball. We have Kimball’s personal scrapbook in our collection, and it documents the sad event.

Article about Belyea’s death in the November 1913 Reveille. Click on the image to read in our new digital collection.

You can read about Belyea’s life and untimely death in the Record and Reveille on our new Digital Collection website, which features, among other things, searchable digital copies of Norwich publications from the early 20th century. Much was written about Belyea’s prowess in football and baseball as a freshman and sophomore. The cover story (see left) in the September 1913 issue of the Record, published just before the fateful Holy Cross game, declared that “Belyea, all in all, in the writer’s opinion, is probably the best football player that ever donned a Norwich uniform and will be a wonder this year.” The November 1913 issue of the Reveille (see right) featured a moving tribute and account of the cadets’ trip to Greenfield for the funeral.

Belyea’s death came on the heels of another football tragedy at Norwich, the death of Leonard Clarkson in 1907. Football was a dangerous sport in the early 20th century, a fact that was recognized by the formation of the precursor to the NCAA in 1905 in an attempt to codify safer rules. Read more about that in our previous post about the history of football.

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Mar 272014
 

In the coming weeks we will be highlighting items from our new Digital Collections website, which launched this week. Here’s a great image from the 1950s depicting cadets during marksmanship practice.

Marksmanship practice, circa 1950s. Click on the image to view in our new Digital Collections.

We hope you’ll visit the Digital Collections and browse images like this one from Norwich University history. We are very excited to offer this new resource to our community!

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Mar 262014
 

Dewey Hall fire, 1925. Click on the image to view in our new digital collections.

Norwich Archives is very excited to announce the launch of our Digital Collections website. This project was made possible by the generous support of Friends of the Kreitzberg Library. For the first time, researchers interested in Norwich University history will be able to search and browse a growing body of over 1,000 digitized items from our archival holdings. The website currently includes nearly 500 issues of the Record and Reveille from the 19th and early 20th centuries, plus historical photographs of campus life and letters from some of NU’s earliest students.

The creation of this site has long been a priority of the Norwich University Archives, and we are working hard every day to continue growing our digital collection. Future priorities for digitization will include yearbooks, annual reports, and Alden Partridge’s correspondence. We hope that this initiative will serve the University community by making it much easier for our friends near and far to browse, learn, and remember that they too are a part of Norwich history.

Below are some more examples of items we’ve digitized that are available on the Digital Collections site. Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring more Digital Collections content right here on the blog to show you what all the excitement is about!

Letter from Cadet Henry Talbot to his friend Benjamin, 1823. Click on the image to view in our digital collection.

Letter from Cadet Henry Talbot to his friend Benjamin, 1823. Click on the image to view in our new digital collection.

Cover page of the Record announcing the Norwich Centennial celebration, 1919

Cover page of the Record announcing the Norwich Centennial celebration, 1919. Click on the image to view in our new digital collection.

 

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Mar 182014
 

George H. Derby was known to his Norwich classmates as John Phoenix, and was a notorious doodler and punster. After attending from 1839-1842, he graduated from West Point, fought in the Mexican-American War, and had a successful career as an engineer. Later in life, he returned to his roots as a “doodler” and became a well-known humorist, publishing books in 1856 and 1859 under his old college pseudonym, John Phoenix.

Title page to a work by George Derby '43, part of the NU rare book collection

Title page to a work by George Derby ’43, part of the NU rare book collection

We have copies of his works in our rare book collection, which includes many works by notable Norwich authors. These humorous illustrations are taken from an 1865 edition of John Phoenix’s The Squibob Papers.

Cartoon of George Washington from George Derby's humor book The Squibob Papers

Cartoon of George Washington from George Derby’s humor book The Squibob Papers

Cartoon from George Derby's humor book The Squibob Papers

Cartoon from George Derby’s humor book The Squibob Papers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can chuckle at these and other works by Norwich’s own 19th century humorist in the Archives and Special Collections reading room, Monday-Friday from 1-6.

If you like what you see here, consider subscribing to this blog using the box on the righthand side of the page.

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