Exploring STEMM in the Archives

When you think of “STEMM” — Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, & Medicine — what is the first thing that comes to mind? Okay, we admit we’re betting it probably wasn’t Special Collections & Archives.

Isn’t the Archives full of old history stuff, not science?

Au contraire, my friend. Special Collections & Archives is full of materials that fit the description of both “old history stuff” and STEMM materials.  Our collection focus areas include the history of aviation & aviation technology, the history of the Miami Valley (a hotbed of invention and innovation for over 100 years), and the history of medicine. And what is science but a collection of knowledge in a certain field, which can be formulated into laws and truths and then built upon?

Early medical equipment from our collection, mostly 19th century

Early medical equipment from our collection, mostly 19th century

We just happen to be the custodians of materials from some of those earlier efforts, including the notes and tools of their creators, as well as some of their study materials from the school days when they first learned how to “do” science.

Recently, Special Collections & Archives participated as part of the University Libraries’ sessions of Exploring STEMM, one of WSU’s Pre-College Programs. Teams of students participated in a friendly competition while learning about the University Libraries. The competition included answering questions based on a set of clues, documenting those answers with photographs, and ultimately creating a video with their results.

Archivist Gino Pasi shared some of our science and medicine materials with the teams, then they answered their clues and took their pictures.

Archivist Gino Pasi explaining the items on the table to a group of Exploring STEMM students, June 22, 2015

Archivist Gino Pasi explaining the items on the table to a group of Exploring STEMM students, June 22, 2015

Students trying on archivists' protective clothing

Students trying on archivists’ protective clothing

Students with Orville Wright's botany sketchbook and their team banner.

Students with Orville Wright’s botany sketchbook and their team banner.

Here are some close-ups of some of the materials shared with the students during our Exploring STEMM sessions:

Physician's pocket medical case

Physician’s pocket medical case

Surgeon's kit

Surgeon’s kit

Early 19th century medical books

Early 19th century medical books

Physician's pocket medical case, mortar and pestle

Physician’s pocket medical case, mortar and pestle

Orville Wright's botany sketch book, 1887-1888 (MS-1)

Orville Wright’s botany sketch book, 1887-1888 (MS-1)

Wallpaper with calculations scribbled on the back by one of the Wright Brothers-- because you never know when the urge to do science may strike! (MS-1)

Wallpaper with calculations scribbled on the back by one of the Wright Brothers– because you never know when the urge to do science may strike! (MS-1)

Charles F. Kettering's chemistry notebook (MS-363)

Charles F. Kettering’s chemistry notebook, 1910-1912 (MS-363)

In all, approximately 45 students participated in the Special Collections & Archives sessions of Exploring STEMM. It was a fun program, and we’re glad they could join us!

Posted in SC&A | Leave a comment

All Wright Brothers Newspapers Now Online

West Side News, September 7, 1889, page 1

West Side News, September 7, 1889, page 1 (view on CORE Scholar)

We are pleased to announce that the much-anticipated digitization of the Wright Brothers Newspapers has been completed! All existing issues are now available online in CORE Scholar, Wright State University’s Campus Online Repository.

The Wright Brothers operated a printing business from 1889 to 1899, before they started their bicycle business, and before they tackled the challenge of flight.

The Wright Brothers Newspapers digital archive, a partnership project between the Wright State University Libraries and the Dayton Metro Library, comprises the most complete run of Wright Brothers’ newspapers available to date. It includes 132 total issues from three titles: The Midget (1 issue, April 1886), West Side News (53 issues, March 1889 – May 1890), and Evening Item (78 issues, April 30-June 14, 1890).

The digital newspapers will also be available on Dayton Metro Library‘s digital repository, Dayton Remembers, later this year.

This project was made possible through a donation to the Communication Department at Wright State University from The Greenwood Family.

For more information about the Wright Brothers Newspapers Digital Archive project, please see our May 11th blog post and this article from the Wright State News Room.

Questions about the project may be directed to: Dawne Dewey, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, at dawne.dewey@wright.edu or 937-775-2011; or Jamie McQuinn, Special Collections Manager, Dayton Metro Library, at jmcquinn@daytonmetrolibrary.org  or 937-496-8650.

 

Posted in Collections, SC&A, Wright Brothers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Eat baked potatoes freely” & other Dietary Advice from 1917

We have many extraordinary, unique items here in Special Collections & Archives, some of which are widely and universally recognized as great treasures for researchers.

But we also have many interesting items that, while they may not document the great achievements of mankind, they give us a picture of “ordinary” life. They remind us that the people of the past were at their hearts, still just people like us, like our parents, like our friends, like other members of our communities…

…people who might concern themselves with proper diet and exercise—and write notes about it, to remind themselves.

That is what we have below.

These notes are from the 1917 diary of 26-year-old Katharine Kennedy (who became Katharine Kennedy Brown upon her marriage in 1921). In these memoranda, Katharine is apparently recording some recommendations for diet and health.

Katharine Kennedy's dietary notes, from 1917 diary, MS-146, Box 10, File 1

Katharine Kennedy’s dietary notes, from 1917 diary, MS-146, Box 10, File 1

Katharine Kennedy's dietary notes, from 1917 diary, MS-146, Box 10, File 1

Katharine Kennedy’s dietary notes, from 1917 diary, MS-146, Box 10, File 1

A transcription of these dietary recommendations is as follows:

Drink 2 or 3 qts. of water daily.

Discard milk.

Eat freely of fresh fruits and green vegetables.

Eat only natural foods – include fruits, nuts, cooked grains, legumes and vegetables, perhaps milk and eggs in moderation and also butter.

Most nuts, also peas and beans contain an excess of protein and should be eaten sparingly.

Nuts – malted nuts, ripe olives & olive oil are excellent substitute for butter & cream.

Use common salt sparingly.

Avoid white bread.

Eat baked potatoes freely & greens of all sorts.

Eat at regular hours – do not omit meal.

Avoid pickles – green olives & preserves.

Drink a glassful of water on rising in the morning. On retiring at night, an hour before each meal, & 2 or 3 hours after eating.

Most of these do not seem particularly outlandish. I think my personal favorite is the advice to eat baked potatoes freely, but I don’t suppose that was meant to include butter, cheese, and sour cream!

In addition to dietary recommendations, additional notes on exercise and bathing are included:

9 miles of walking a day at the rate of 3 miles an hr. is the necessary amount for adults.

Cleanse the mouth & teeth thoroughly before & after each meal, on rising & retiring.

Twice a wk. in winter, take a warm cleansing bath before retiring. Apply fine vaseline if skin is dry.

Take a short cold bath every morning on rising.

It is unclear where or how she came across these recommendations herself, though they do seem to have perhaps come from a book; note the numbers in the margins: 236 and 250, perhaps page numbers.

The front page of the diary gives additional notes of interest. In addition to name, address, phone, next of kin, and make of car (a Fiat! a Fiat in Dayton in 1917!), some of Katharine’s measurements are given as well: she weighed 128 pounds and was 5 feet, 8 inches, tall.

Katharine Kennedy's 1917 diary, MS-146, Box 10, File 1

Katharine Kennedy’s 1917 diary, MS-146, Box 10, File 1

This is just one of the many items we have here in the archives that give us a glimpse of what interested and concerned people in their ordinary, day-to-day lives. We have many special things here, and individual items are special for different reasons.

But a commonality shared by all of them, from these scribbled health notes to the first flight photograph, is that they all record pieces of the past and the lives of real people. And that is pretty awesome, if we do say so ourselves!

Posted in Local History | Tagged , | Leave a comment