The Archivist’s Nook: If This Table Had Ears!

The Table, up close and personal, photo  by Angela Geosits, 8-13-2015.
The Table, up close and personal, photo by Angela Geosits, 8-13-2015.

This week’s post is guest authored by Angela Geosits, archives assistant and doctoral student in English.

Any visitor to McMahon Hall is likely familiar with the massive marble table which dominates the central foyer. Set between the two great staircases out of the flow of foot traffic, this stately table blends in with the neutral colors of the space and feels as if it has always been there. But contrary to all expectations, this 2 ½ ton marble table is surprisingly well traveled, and even enjoyed a misspent youth loitering in the lobby of Loew’s Capitol Theatre, the last surviving Broadway vaudeville house. Some traces of this thespian origin can be seen in the detailed carvings of Comedy and Tragedy on the table’s supports.

But how on earth did our table get from a vaudeville theatre in New York City to an academic building at Catholic University in Washington, DC? The story begins in the winter of 1967, when the roof of the Army surplus theater the Drama Department had been using as their performance space collapsed under a heavy load of snow. Enthusiastic fundraising efforts began in order to fill the desperate need for a new stage. CUA Drama alumnus Ed McMahon (no relation to Monsignor James McMahon for whom the building is named) knew the Loews and organized a special benefit for the CUA Drama Department on the last night of performances at the Capitol Theatre.

Our Table on display in McMahon, with the Venerable Statue of Pope Leo XIII, see 7-16-2015 blog post ‘On McMahon’s Oldest Resident’ by Maria Mazzenga, in the background. Photo, Angela Geosits, 8-13-2015
Our Table on display in McMahon, with the Venerable Statue of Pope Leo XIII, see 7-16-2015 blog post ‘On McMahon’s Oldest Resident’ by Maria Mazzenga, in the background. Photo, Angela Geosits, 8-13-2015

On September 16, 1968, the Capitol Theatre held an evening of special live performances celebrating the legacy of the theater, and the proceeds of the benefit were donated to the building efforts for the new Center for the Communication Arts at CUA. You might know the end result of the building project better as Hartke Theater. The evening of entertainment featured famous performers including Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Johnny Carson, and Florence Henderson, among others, and was followed by a champagne dinner and dance at the nearby Americana Hotel. The wildly successful party went long into the night and even rated an article in the New York Times.

McMahon Hall, home of both the Table and the Leo Statue, Photo, Angela Geosits, 8-13-2015.
McMahon Hall, home of both the Table and the Leo Statue, Photo, Angela Geosits, 8-13-2015.

Our table had graced the halls of Capital Theatre from 1919 until it closed in 1968. On the night of the benefit, Fr. Gilbert Hartke spotted the table and thought it would make a lovely addition to the lobby of the new Drama building. Our substantial marble traveler was presented as a gift from the Loews Theater Organization to Fr. Hartke in 1968. The intrepid table never made it into the lobby of the new building; a 2 ½ ton table doesn’t fit just anywhere! For two decades, the table provided a stable surface in the basement of Curley for sorting the mail of the building’s residents. But in 1989, the table returned to public appearances when it was moved to its current home in McMahon Hall during renovations. It now rests under the benevolent but watchful eye of long-term resident, the statue of Pope Leo XIII.

Sources:

Crowther, Bosley. “Old-Time Star-Filled Benefit to Close Capitol Theater Tonight.” New York Times, Sept. 16, 1968, p. 57.

Pietro, Mary Jo Santo. Father Hartke: His Life and Legacy to the American Theater. Washington, DC: CUA Press, 2002.

Gatton, John and Dubeck, Joanne. “Gala Benefit Boosts Drive for Theatre.” The Tower, Sept. 27 1968, p. 8.

“NYC Alumni Organize Benefit for the Center of Communication Arts.” Alumnus, Spring 1968, pp. 14-15.

 

News & Events: August 31, 2015

11426225_10153950268329325_8718235673287526964_oWelcome back, students!

University Libraries Resume Normal Hours Starting today, Monday, August 31, the University Libraries will resume normal hours. Mullen Library will be open as follows:

Mon-Thu: 8:00 am – 11:30 pm*
Fri: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

*Beginning September 14, select spaces in Mullen Library will remain open overnight for CUA students only.

For branch library hours, and to see a complete list of holidays and other exceptions, please visit http://libraries.cua.edu/about/hours.cfm.

New Students – Welcome new students! When you first visit Mullen Library, don’t forget to bring your Cardinal Card. You will use it to gain entry to the building and also to check out materials. When you use your Cardinal Card for checkout the first time, library staff will link your card to your library account.

Upcoming Events – The University Libraries will be hosting two events in September:

The Archivist’s Nook: Dinks, Paddles, and Sophs! Oh My!

Freshmen dink and Sigma Pi Delta Fraternity jacket and paddle (Courtesy of Paul Rybcvzyk, BA 1972, MA 1977)
Freshmen dink and Sigma Pi Delta Fraternity jacket and paddle (Courtesy of Paul Rybcvzyk, BA 1972, MA 1977)

As the summer days wane and a fresh academic year begins, new and old faces alike are appearing across campus. Other than the confused look on some faces trying to locate O’Boyle Hall, both new and returning students alike will soon be an indistinguishable part of the campus community. However, in the past, telling the newcomers apart from the old timers was much easier, thanks to a small cap.

As the institutional memory of the University, the Archives prides itself on recording the life and times of the campus community. Though, frankly, it is often easier to secure official records than snapshots of the daily lives of students. However, with that said, many alumni have generously donated documents and artifacts from their student days. These collections include everything from nursing student capes to Greek life paddles. Yet, there is one object that many of these alumni donations share; one object that students across the decades often have in their possession. This shared artifact is the freshman dink.

A longstanding CUA tradition spanning much of the twentieth century, a cap called a dink or beanie was given to freshmen. As a form of induction into the campus community, upperclassmen required new students to don a special cap and badge marking them out as a newbie. Sometimes an official induction ceremony known as “The Capping” was also performed. These beanies were not the only requirement. Policed by the sophomore class, the freshmen were assigned a series of mandates to obey.

Freshmen during Registration, 1950s – Notice the small caps and name badges.
Freshmen during Registration, 1950s – Notice the small caps and name badges.

Much like a fraternal hazing – sans the paddle above – many of these rules look rather silly when written down and involved some social hierarchy. But they did attempt to encourage a sense of community and foster familiarity with the campus and its history. (As a historian, I can appreciate the latter.) According to the 1954 “Facts for Freshmen,” the rules were:

  1. Freshmen will wear dinks (a dink is a small red and black cap) and badges at all times!
  2. Freshmen will speak and tip their dinks to everyone they see on campus.
  3. Freshmen will always be in possession of change and matches.
  4. Freshmen will never step on a blade of grass.
  5. Freshmen will salaam before entering and after leaving the front entrance to McMahon Hall.
  6. Freshmen will sign in at Shahan at the request of the Sophomores and will give their seats and places in line to Sophomores.
  7. On the day of September 27, the Freshmen boys will wear unmatched shoes and socks and pants rolled up to their knees; on this day, the girls will not wear make-up, will wear pigtails and will carry open umbrellas.
  8. 1925 Cardinal Yearbook Depiction of a Sophomore. I personally blame that newfangled Jazz music.
    1925 Cardinal Yearbook Depiction of a Sophomore. I personally blame that newfangled Jazz music.

    Freshmen will know the names and positions of members of the Administration and will be able to recite a brief history of C.U. at the request of the Sophomores.

  9. Freshmen girls and boys will always look neat. Boys will wear a shirt and tie at all times; girls will wear ribbons of cardinal and black, the school colors.
  10. Freshmen will sing the Alma Mater and say the cheers at the request of any Sophomore.

The rules listed above must be observed at all times, except on Sunday, within the dorm, or at social functions.

On Sept. 30, the Sophs will conduct a tribunal and affix due judgement and penalties to all violators of the regulations. BEWARE!

While you may no longer have to sing on demand to become a part of the CUA community, you can still connect to its past. Whether you are new to the campus or an experienced, card-playing veteran, you can peruse the Yearbooks, the events and debates of the past via the Tower, or explore the faded terrain of the campus.

No matter what, just be glad you don’t have to wear mismatched shoes or pigtails on September 27…unless you really want to, I guess.

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: On the Road to Research with Don Quixote and Sancho

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza 3 .Madrid. Detail of Monumento a Miguel de Cervantes by Kullo-Valera (1876 - 1932) by Vitold Muratov
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza 3 .Madrid. Detail of Monumento a Miguel de Cervantes by Kullo-Valera (1876 – 1932) Picture by Vitold Muratov

2015 is the four hundredth anniversary of the novel Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel Cervantes. This article by Arturo Conde (NBC News) Cervantes Don Quixote Has become a Handbook for Life likens Don Quixote to a superhero – “a man who created a new identity, made his own armored costume, and fought to change the world into a better place.”

Readers treat the novel like an “open book with blank pages” because depending on where they are in life, they can see themselves reflected in many ways.

Blank pages is an apt metaphor for the beginning of an academic year; a new life on a college campus for First Year students and new challenges for all undergraduates; a deeper dive into research and teaching for graduate students; and new students, conversations and opportunities for faculty.

Blank pages mean something entirely different to the librarians collaborating with researchers. Librarians abhor blank pages – whether they be print or digital. We want those pages filled with the essential research you need. For your research quest – your essential research needs –  reach out to your liaison librarian, not so much squires, as subject experts, all! Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: On the Road to Research with Don Quixote and Sancho”

News & Events: August 24, 2015

New student meeting orientation volunteersOrientation Hours – Mullen Library will be open the following hours this week as students are returning to campus:

Monday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

New Students – Welcome new students! When you first visit Mullen Library, don’t forget to bring your Cardinal Card. You will use it to gain entry to the building and also to check out materials. When you use your Cardinal Card for checkout the first time, library staff will link your card to your library account. If you’d like to get a head start, you may have you account linked at the Student Resource Fair between 1 and 3 pm in Caldwell Hall on Saturday, August 29.

Library Locations – The University Libraries at CUA have several locations around campus. The main library is the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library. Mullen Library is located across the University Lawn from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and houses the Oliveira Lima Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, and the Semitics/ICOR Library. There are also four branch libraries:  Nursing/Biology in Gowan Hall, Music in Ward Hall, Architecture & Planning in the Crough Center, and Physics in Hannan Hall. The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives is located in Aquinas Hall. To see all library locations on a map, please visit http://libraries.cua.edu/about/collecs.cfm.

Upcoming Events – The University Libraries will be hosting two events next month:

The Archivist’s Nook: Get Off the Road to Digital Perdition

nun, slide projector and twenty-first century classroom with computers
Your grandmother’s Catholic school classroom has changed: Left, sister teaches with a slide projector in a Baltimore Catholic school, 1955. Right, a teacher in a fully-loaded Catholic school classroom in Covington, Kentucky, 2010.

… and come to this Conference!

Come all ye lovers of free things digital!  Teachers and archivists, archivists and teachers, we call you all.  The Catholic Archives in the Digital Age Conference takes place October 8-9, 2015 on the campus of The Catholic University of America.  And it’s FREE.

Perdition:  I don’t know how to digitize my collection materials. I don’t know how to get free online stuff for my classroom.

Let’s face it, resources are scarce—time, money, and staff are in short supply.  Most archivists would love to put their unrestricted materials online for researchers and teachers to use.  And most teachers don’t like spending hours online searching for excellent classroom resources.  But the fact is, archivists don’t usually have the time, staff, or equipment to make their materials widely available.  Teachers, for their part, don’t always know where to look for digital documents they can use in their Catholic history, religious studies, and theology classes. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Get Off the Road to Digital Perdition”

Network Maintenance – Saturday, August 22

Network maintenance will be performed Saturday, Aug. 22, from 6 a.m. to noon, resulting in an outage campuswide for both wired and wireless connections. You will still be able to connect to Internet sites through your cellular service or to local servers that reside on campus. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.

During this period, it is also possible that some of the University’s websites may become periodically unavailable. Should the University Libraries website be down, these links will connect you to our online content.

SearchBox for articles, books and more: http://cua.summon.serialssolutions.com
WRLC Classic Catalog: http://catalog.wrlc.org/search/index.php
Database lists: http://guides.lib.cua.edu/databasecategory
Research guides: http://guides.lib.cua.edu/
My Library Account: http://www.aladin.wrlc.org/Z-WEB/PATPage?req=main

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Public Good

Vannevar Bush AwardAt universities around the country, Fall 2015 is mere weeks away. At The Catholic University of America (CUA) Resident Assistants are moving in this week. Teaching Assistants will have a syllabus writing workshop this week. Next week, new faculty, graduate students and, best of all, the Class of 2019 will move onto to campus! The CUA Liaison Librarians are gearing up to collaborate with learning communities – from First Year Experience students; to Graduate Students; to  Distance Learners; and new and experienced Faculty facing new teaching opportunities.

Remembering my first graduate class in Library and Information Science, one of our first seminars included reading Dr. Vannevar Bush’s classic essay As We May Think. In 1945 Dr. Bush comments “The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it.” Something did come of it, the Internet (originally envisioned as “memex” by Dr. Bush.) With the rise of the Internet, research universities have been instrumental collaborators in connecting and preserving knowledge. Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Public Good”

The Archivist’s Nook: Legion of Decency Keeping the Big Screen Clean

Cleopatra, 1963
Cleopatra (1963), scourge of the National Legion of Decency [source: wikimedia commons]

This week’s post is guest authored by Vitalina A. Nova, Archives assistant and LIS graduate.

Regardless of your opinion of Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) movie ratings, you’re likely familiar with them and know the MPAA reviews film content to determine suitability for specific audiences. What you’re less likely to know is that the indignation which led to the formation of the MPAA’s predecessor, the Hays Code, also led to the formation of the National Legion of Decency, a Catholic interest group with similar goals.

The Hays Code imposed restrictions on the film industry beginning in the early 1930s, aiming to align content on the big screen with moral standards codified as the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA) Don’ts and Be Carefuls.  The Hays code was replaced by the MPAA in 1968.  The full list of Don’ts and Be Carefuls is available from the School of Media Arts at the Santa Barbara City College.

In contrast, the National Legion of Decency maintained an interest in advising the American public on the morality of films long after the Hays Code went out of use.  Formed in 1933, the Legion was initially composed of religious and laity of Jewish and Christian faiths concerned that exposure to immoral material harmed viewers’ quality of character.  Censurable material included the discussion or depiction of childbirth, immodest dress, and a lack of ultimate judgment on characters’ questionable behavior (as defined by the Legion).  Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Legion of Decency Keeping the Big Screen Clean”

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: CUA Published!

In previous posts entitled “Newly Published” (here, here & here) we have sought to highlight current scholarship by CUA researchers. You would think there would be one good “feed” for this information, but alas it needs to be curated from many sources. As we work with tools from the scholarly publishing ecosystem we will highlight some newer publications and lead you to other feeds to examine publications for yourself.

This month we bring to your attention:

  • MYTH AS REVELATION By: Miller, Robert D. LAVAL THEOLOGIQUE ET PHILOSOPHIQUE  Volume: 70   Issue: 3   Pages: 539-561   Published: OCT 2014

 

Feeds updated weekly from Web of Science Arts & Humanities Index, Social Science Index and Science Citation Index; and from WorldCat can be found here.

Try this search at WorldCat and sort by your interests:

WorldCatCUA_AU