Sunday, March 15, 2015

On this day in history...

Voorhees was occupied for the first time! March 15, 1915 was the first time students spent the night in the dormitory. 

Construction started in mid 1914 and was intended to be finished by the fall semester, but was delayed until late February 1915. It was built to accommodate 65 girls and included included a reception hall, apartments for the dean of women, community bathrooms, a kitchenette, a laundry, and the Frog Pond. Rooms in the dormitory ranged from $120-130 per semester (about $3,000 in today's money).  

Main parlor & music room, around 1915
Credit: George T Henry Archives
The $50,000 to build it was donated by Elizabeth Voorhees, who specifically wanted a dormitory for women. Three years later, she donated again to expand the building to accommodate more students.

Small west parlor, around 1915
Credit: George T Henry Archives

Small west parlor, 2000
Credit: George T Henry

Mary Low Bowers '43, studying in room 339, around 1942
Credit: Kathryn Marie Flew '43

To see even more photos and read articles, handbooks and many other things related to Voorhees, stop by the archives!

Beware the Ides of March?

That is, if you're Julius Caesar. March 15 has been associated with disdain ever since the Roman dictator was assassinated in 44 BCE by his fellow statesmen. Superstitious people may be wary of the day, convinced awful things will happen to them because it wasn't a great day for Caesar. However, many interesting historical things happened on March 15, so read below to learn about a few of them!

Batter up! 

In 1869, the Cincinnati Reds became the world's first professional baseball team. The "Big Red Machine" has since one five world series titles.

Rolling in Style

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (made between 1907-1925)
Photo Credit: Malcolm Asquith
Rolls-Royce Limited, the English car manufacturing company was founded on March 15, 1906 by Charles Rolls and Sir Frederick Royce. Their first car, the six cylinder Silver Ghost was considered to be "the best car in the world". 

"We shall overcome"

Pres Johnson meets Martin Luther King, Jr
 meet at the signing of the Voting Rights Act August 6, 1965

In 1965, shortly after the Selma to Montgomery marches, President Lyndon B Johnson addressed Congress to expand voting rights legislation. This eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was introduced two days later. 

Information Highway

Photo credit

On this day in 1985, became the first registered .com domain in the world. Since then, hundreds of millions of domains are in use, but the Symbolics Computer Corporation had their feet in the pool first!

There are many more cool events that happened on the Ides of March, so don't be afraid of this day any longer!

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Libraries are becoming museums," says curator Michael Basinki. "Everything is going digital, but we remain tied to the physical objects."

If you ever find yourself at the University of Buffalo, make sure to check out the 2,500 year old Greek and Roman coins.

Top to bottom: a gold aureus of the Roman emperor Otho; a tetradrachm of Athens, showing the busyt of the goddess Athena; a tetradrachm of Alexander the Great, showing Alexander dressed as the god Herakles; a silver tetradrachm of Sicily showing the nymph Arethusa; a gold aureus of the emperor Nero; and a gold otcodrachm of Arsinoe II.
Photo credit: Douglas Levere

The coins were donated to the UB library in 1935 by Thomas Lockwood as part of a larger collection of rare books. However, it wasn't until a professor that focused his research on currency and antiquities checked out the library's rare coin collection that the treasures were really discovered.

The professor, Philip Kiernan, is now developing a graduate course to examine the items' history. It is the first time the coins will be studied specifically.

To view more photographs and for more information about this awesome collection, check out this article from the UB libraries. Want to see even more cool historical artifacts? Stop by the George T Henry archives in the Stewart Memorial Library basement - we may not have Roman coins (or do we?) but we've got some interesting artifacts detailing Coe's history.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Happy Birthday, Edward Albee and Dave Eggers!

"A usefully lived life is probably going to be, ultimately, more satisfying." - Edward Albee
Edward Albee turns 87 today, and he is probably best known for his play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (PS3501.L25 W5), which is a crazy portrayal of married life in the 1960's. A film version was released in 1966 and using the profits from the play and movie, he created the Edward F Albee Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to providing work space for writers and visual artists. 

George and Martha (Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor) in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

“It is no way to live, to wait to love." - Dave Eggers
Dave Eggers is 45 today! He's perhaps best known for his memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (CT275.E37 A3 2000) but did you know he co-wrote the screenplay for the 2009 film version of Where the Wild Things Are? He's since published many more works and has become a literary advocate, creating McSweeny's publishing house, which is a platform for young writers. He also has created a nonprofit organization 826 Valencia, a volunteer-based writing lab devoted to expanding children's writing skills. 

Max and Carol (Max Records & James Gandolfini/Vincent Crowley) in the film Where the Wild Things Are
Photo Credit: rhcpfan24

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Mr Watson - come here!"

Those were the first words transmitted through technology on this day, March 10, 1876. They were spoken by Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant, Thomas A Watson, in the next room.

Bell worked on creating a device that could transmit speech electrically. He and another inventor, Elisha Gray, worked independently on similar devices. Gray created a harmonic telegraph, the transmitter and receiver of which consisted of a set of metallic reeds tuned to different frequencies. An electromagnetic coil was located near each of the reeds.

telephone: Bell’s sketch of a telephone. Photograph. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Online. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. <>.

The device failed, however, Bell took some of Gray's suggestions and created a kind of "liquid" transmitter design, which was the design that permitted the first transmission of speech, "Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see you." And, thanks to the Library of Congress, we can actually view Bell's lab notebook! 

The first public demonstrations of the telephone followed shortly afterward. 139 years later, the telephone as we know it is almost unrecognizable compared to the one Bell started working with, but the simple fact we can communicate electronically remains the same.