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A p u b l i c at i o n o f t h e B e n t l e y H i s t o r i c a l L i b r a r y at t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f M i c h i g a n

spring 2017


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D i r ec to r ’s not es

FEATURES D IRECTOR’S NOTES 1 – Renewing Our Vows A BRID G EM ENTS 2 – Sound Bites from the Stacks REF ERENCES 18 – Hidden Collections 19 – Accessing History CATHO LEP ISTEM I A D 20 – A Photographic Stonehenge 22 – A Tremendous Load of Humanity

An Unwritten Law

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When it was built in 1930, Mosher-Jordan was the pinnacle of a modern dormitory —but only for white women. The stories of African American women who fought to gain equal housing shine a lens on an enduring struggle to end discrimination on campus and to make U-M accessible to all.

B ENTL EY UN BOU N D 24 – In Living Color

On the Cover Vivian Wilson ( front), Helen Rhetta (left) and E’Dora Morton (right) were part of a sustained effort to end discrimination on U-M’s campus in the 1930s. At the time, African Americans made up just 0.6 percent of enrollment, and most of those students were men. The cover treatment by Patricia Claydon works to capture both strength and struggle inside a system that would have African American women remain entirely unseen.

Searching for Tappan

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In 1863, U-M Regents abruptly and unceremoniously fired U-M President Henry Philip Tappan, who left campus shortly thereafter, never to return. Nearly 180 years later, one U-M employee went in search of Tappan’s trail after he left Ann Arbor, determined to pay tribute to the great man’s legacy.

Five Moments That Changed Michigan 14 Maybe the best way to break down 200 years is by dividing it into a series of smaller moments. In honor of U-M’s Bicentennial, we look at some of the defining and shaping events, encounters, and occurrences that altered the course of U-M history forever.

Renewing Our Vows at Our 200th Anniversary

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hen married couples celebrate a milestone anniversary, they sometimes decide to renew their wedding vows in public. These ceremonies are moving because the couples reach into their shared past to project their future. If we were to do the same thing at the University’s 200th anniversary, we might reflect on some of the following “vows” from deep in our past: 1. We teach school. From the day in 1841 when seven students arrived at the University in Ann Arbor, until last fall when that number was 44,718, the overriding purpose for the existence of this University has been teaching students. At a time when there are so many more points of contact with the University—athletics, health care, purchasing and construction, etc.—it is important to reiterate that core purpose. 2. We seek the truth.

If you’d held these tickets in 1905, you would have witnessed a near calamity at Ferry Field, bigger even than the rivalry between Michigan and Wisconsin. Find out what went down— literally—on page 22.

When President Henry Tappan declared in his 1852 inaugural address that Michigan had to become a “real” university, he made the search for the truth through research central to the mission of the University, where it has been ever since. Whereas, he argued,

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“colleges” simply pass on received wisdom, universities, through their research and teaching, push the boundaries of the known and the true. 3. We offend our own stakeholders from time to time. It was the genial and longest-serving president in the history of the University, James B. Angell, who shocked the state in 1871 when he declared that attendance at protestant chapel services at the University, heretofore required of all students, would now be voluntary. Shortly thereafter, controversies over faculty teaching evolution and “radical” political economy confirmed the view of some that the University had become a menace to accepted values. In some ways it was—and always has been— because there is an essential tension between the rates of discovery of new truths and values inside the University and outside of it. 4. We strive to be the best community we can be, but we have not always succeeded. In authorizing the admission of women in 1870, the Board of Regents declared that any person “who possesses the requisite literary and moral qualifications” could attend the University. This important phrase prevented individual discrimination in admissions based on race and religion at a time when many prestigious universities were doing just that.

And yet…the dormitories were not fully racially integrated until after World War II, women could not walk in the front door of the Michigan Union unaccompanied by a man until 1956, and racial and religious discrimination by fraternities and sororities would continue long after the University’s first tepid anti-discrimination ordinance in 1959. When people sometimes ask why the conversation about diversity is so important these days, it is simply because we have not always gotten it right in the past and we believe that, if we talk about it, we can do better in the present. We will remain the “leaders and best” for the next 200 years by “renewing our vows” to place the search for the truth in the center of all we do, to teach the methods and findings of that truth to our students, to follow that search wherever it leads even if, at times, it leads to unpopular places, and to be the most diverse, welcoming, and inclusive community we can be. n Terrence J. McDonald Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Professor of History and Director

Artist Jasper Cropsey’s iconic painting of the University of Michigan campus in 1855.


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Abridgements @BuckeyeHistory:

“I’m working on

Happy 200 years to our friends at Michigan and the @umichBentley! @OhioState will be celebrating our 150th in 2020.

a new edition of a particular selfpublished novel, Appointed, that was written by two African American men in Detroit in 1894. The book is online, just like everything is, but I wanted to see if there were any inscriptions, any information on who bought the book and for how much, if there was any underlining.” — Bryan Sinche, from the University of Hartford, on his research at the Bentley, which was shared as part of the Bentley’s Facebook series, Stories from the Reading Room.

The number of U-M graduates who have been governors of states or territories, according to a Michigan desk calendar from 1899. The calendar—inscribed as a gift “with compliments of the season and of the University editor”—is a mix of factoids and art. This year, 2017, the days of the week match exactly with 1899.

A $1,000

reward 1864–present Years spanning the updated roster database for all U-M sports—men’s and women’s—that now includes more than 22,600 individual letter-winners, non-letter-winners and members of firstyear teams. The database was compiled by Bentley archivist Greg Kinney and is derived from official U-M Athletic Department rosters, lists of letter-winners, media guides, game programs, team photos, school yearbooks, student directories, newspaper stories, and other sources. (Pictured here: members of the 1985 women’s softball team.)

Bentley Blitz!

Irony in the Archives

6 Collections!

9 Students! 10 Boxes!

This photo featuring University of Michigan students precariously climbing on the campus’s “Cube” sculpture is in the U-M Safety Department collection.

Aye, Guv One of the most accessed collections from the past six months is the papers of Michigan Governor George Romney, which includes this photo of him fishing in the Upper Peninsula in 1964.

was offered through a “wanted poster” penned by the U-M class of 1871 to anyone who could perform a more despicable act than Mr. H.N. Loud, who had ripped the class cap off of the head of a female sophomore.

“Protest Brutality in the South” Reason for a 1963 demonstration, according to a flyer that lists civil rights leader John Lewis, then chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), as a campus speaker.

Earlier this year, the Bentley Blitz paired experienced archivists with archives graduate students for a morning-long “processing blitz” that gave students hands-on experience with supervision. The students worked in teams of two or three—depending on the collection size— and ended the day with a short lecture.

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The appropriations made by the State Treasurer for “building fence around University grounds,” according to the University of Michigan’s ledger in 1889.


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An Unwritten Law In 1930, as the University of Michigan was preparing to unveil its new dormitory for women, Mosher-Jordan, an ugly fact emerged: Every one of the 450 women who would be housed there would be white. African American students, parents, and alumni carried out a long battle to integrate the dorms, engaging in years of activism. Their political struggles, as well as their personal and academic successes, are documented in recently uncovered stories and letters at the Bentley—all as part of the Library’s ongoing project to collect the names of and information about African American students who attended the University from its founding up to the Black Action Movement in 1970.

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By Brian A. Williams

Ann Arbor resident

Marjorie Franklin was thrilled when she learned she had been accepted into the U-M Hospital School for Nurses in 1924. First-year nurses had to furnish their own uniforms, but all else was provided, including housing in the nurses’ dormitory, board, and laundry. But when Franklin and her mother, Beulah Jones, went to meet with the Director of Nursing, they were informed that there was “no housing provided for colored students.” Instead, she was encouraged to live at home. Franklin and her mother persisted. In a meeting with acting Hospital Director Robert Greve, Jones was advised that “serious objections might be raised” by other students if Franklin were allowed to live in a dormitory. She was told that if there were “perhaps five or six colored girls,” then the University “would be glad to establish a separate nurses’ home for them,” but that doing so for a single student could not be justified. An offer was eventually made to reimburse Franklin’s off-campus housing expenses while extending her all other privileges, “dining room included, just as any other nurse would have.” Franklin and her mother remained resolute and brought the matter to the attention of President Marion Burton, who was reluctant to take a position. Jones noted Burton “couldn’t see any possible way to put a colored woman in the dormitory,” though he wouldn’t go so far as to say it was impossible.

(opposite page, clockwise from top left) Marjorie Franklin, Jean Blackwell, E’Dora Morton, Helen Rhetta


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In October 1924, soon after her meeting with Burton, Jones wrote an impassioned letter to Frederic Williams, the president of the Detroit branch of the NAACP, presenting the facts of the case and describing the discrimination she experienced as “an unwritten law stronger than any law on the books.” Jones was emphatic that the only thing she would accept for her daughter was “absolute equality under the law.” Bay City attorney Oscar Baker, a 1902 graduate of Michigan’s Law School, signed on as legal counsel for Franklin. Baker wrote to the directors of nursing and the University Hospital saying that, as a proud alumnus, “loyalty to my own group (colored)” far “transcends my loyalty to the University.” He asserted that the discrimination practiced by the University not only violated the law by failing to provide “full and equal accommodations,” but it should cause “any fair-minded alumnus” to “bow his head in shame.” (this page top to bottom) The house at 1102 East Ann, photographed in 1936; a headline from the Chicago Defender, June 29, 1929. (opposite page, left to right) A headline from the Chicago Defender, September 21, 1929; Mosher-Jordan dormitory in 1930.

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he issue went before the Board of Regents in 1925 at its May meeting. The Regents, however, were reluctant to intervene and settled on a carefully worded resolution stating that the “Franklin case presents a routine departmental matter” that did not require regental intervention. A couple of months later, in a letter from hospital Director Harley Haynes to acting President Alfred H. Lloyd, Haynes conveyed the University lawyer’s opinion that the case was unwinnable and it “would be advisable to arrange for living quarters for Miss Franklin without taking the matter to court.” Against such an indefensible position, Haynes wrote to Baker informing him that as soon as the new residence hall for nurses was completed—Couzens Hall—Franklin would be housed there. African American newspapers hailed the victory. Franklin’s case was settled. Nonetheless, the University’s larger responsibility for housing African American women remained unresolved.

“Not Enough has Been Done”

Franklin’s journey is a noteworthy chapter in the history of equal-housing efforts at U-M. A similar struggle would begin for other African American women on campus just a few years later, while the push for full housing equality would continue through the decades that followed. In 1927, the University of Michigan was badly in need of dorms for all women. The Martha Cook Dormitory and Helen Newberry Residence had opened in 1915, providing housing for about 200 women. In 1921, the Betsy Barbour Residence added 80 more spaces. Alumnae House and Adelia Cheever House offered rooms for a few dozen more. But the remainder of the women—some 1,500—lived in sorority houses or in the dozens of rooming houses that surrounded campus, including 76 League houses for women approved and inspected by the Dean of Women. Also in the late 1920s, the president of the Michigan State Association of Colored Women, Christine S. Smith, was pushing hard for improved housing for Michigan’s African American women students dispersed across several private homes. Photo

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President C.C. Little wrote to Smith in 1928: “I think we both agree that not enough has been done in the past,” adding that the University was “eager to have the situation improved for these girls.” Little asked Dean of Women Alice Lloyd to take the lead. A private house at 144 Hill Street operated by Mrs. Esther M. Dickson, an African American widow, provided a quick and ready solution. Dickson wanted to switch from boarding male students to boarding females. Her house was quickly inspected and listed as an approved “League house for colored women” for the 1928-1929 academic year. The house at 144 Hill Street proved unpopular. It was located far west of campus and near an active railroad track. The house also came under fire from members of the local African American community, including the Federated Association of Colored Women, which accused the University of segregation. Alice Lloyd’s annual report for 1928-1929 devoted much attention to the house for “colored women”; in response to the segregation charge, Lloyd resorted to legalistic hairsplitting, stating that her office “did not say at any time that the house was for colored girls only, but that colored girls would be welcomed.” Some African Americans saw the effort to create a separate house as a dodge by the University in order to avoid having to directly address the issue of admitting African American women into the dormitories, particularly with MosherJordan about to open. In April 1929, the Regents received a communication from Alice Lloyd and Ellen Stevenson, an instructor in geology and housing adviser, acknowledging the shortcomings of the Hill Street location. They recommended a house “at the edge of the colored section” on the southeast corner of Glen and East Ann. (Ann Arbor’s “colored section” was in the Old Fourth Ward, an area north of campus roughly bounded by Glen Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Huron Street, and the Huron River.) Photo

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The house at 1102 East Ann Street had been owned by the University since 1909. Alice Lloyd wrote, “if we can anticipate the problem of colored girls in the new dormitory before such dormitory is erected,” then a “very acute situation will be forestalled.” With the blessing of President Little, Secretary Shirley W. Smith, and Regents Junius Beal and James Murfin, the plan was approved. The sum of $3,500 was provided to add and equip a kitchen and dining room to serve meals and to furnish the study and living room. An additional $17,500 was appropriated to secure a new residence for the hospital maids who were occupying the house. Alice Lloyd added the belief that the house “will satisfy the colored girls and the Federated Association of Colored Women.”

While the house mitigated some African Americans’ social isolation, it was unable to erase the lingering bitterness of exclusion from the much nicer dormitories. The two-story frame house on East Ann was not a particularly attractive property. In 1913, when the University wanted to install a railroad spur to deliver coal to the central power plant, it acquired several parcels of land, including the adjacent three-story house at 1108 East Ann. In order to accommodate the railroad track, the house at 1108 was moved west, and physically conjoined with the house at 1102, creating a single large boarding house capable of housing up to 20 people. With a railway cutting through the backyard, it was not an especially desirable location, but some tried to put the best possible spin on it, including Alice Lloyd. She boasted in her annual report for 1931-1932 that “colored women were for the first time housed in a dignified and satisfactory way in the League house at 1102 East Ann Street.” The house became a social hub for African American students. Numerous notices in The Michigan Daily announced


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meetings, “get-acquainted” receptions, and other events held at the house. Still, while the house mitigated some African Americans’ social isolation, it was unable to erase the lingering bitterness of exclusion from the much nicer dormitories. Finally, in 1930, Mosher-Jordan was on the verge of opening and alleviating the unmet housing needs of women students. Housing the approximately 15 African American women on campus, however, remained an unresolved issue.

The Right to Live in Dorms

By the spring of 1930, charges of racism swirled around the new Mosher-Jordan dormitory, even though its doors weren’t officially open. Helen Rhetta of Baltimore and Vivian Wilson of Washington, D.C., had applied for residence in Mosher Jordan in December 1929, but by the end of the school year had not heard any response, despite the fact that white classmates were being accepted into the new space. The Baltimore-Afro American ran a story on September 19, 1931, about Rhetta’s fight to live in the new dorm. The article reported that when she returned to Ann Arbor in the fall of 1930, “she was met at the station by Miss Lloyd and taken to a newly painted 20-room dormitory for colored students only”—the house on East Ann Street. Activism by Rhetta and others succeeded in opening Mosher-Jordan to all women. In 1931, six African American women applied for rooms. Two of them were accepted. Alice Lloyd reported that one of the two “withdrew for financial reasons,” but that the “other one remained and made a very good adjustment.” That “other one” was E’Dora Morton of Detroit, who would move back into the house on East Ann the following year. Others would continue to fight for the right to live in dormitories. Elsie Roxborough, the daughter of Charles Roxborough, Michigan’s first African American state senator, was one of the next African American women to live in Mosher-Jordan in 1934. Three years prior, in conjunction with Rhetta’s protests, her father had pushed for an investigation into discrimination at Michigan by introducing a Senate resolution. A classmate of Roxborough, Jean Blackwell, sought to live in Martha Cook but was rejected, prompting an investigation into discrimination that was also reported in The Baltimore AfroAmerican on September 1, 1934. Of Alice Lloyd, Blackwell later

(this page) Elise Roxborough. (opposite page) Vivian Wilson’s application to U-M.

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recalled, “I remember the bigotry of Dean Alice Lloyd. She pretended to be concerned about Negro students and wrote kind letters to parents, but she stood firm in holding the line [against integration of the dorms].”

Much Work Remains

The house on East Ann Street would stand until the summer of 1946, when it was razed to make way for the new Food Service Building to serve the expanding dormitories. The Michigan Alumnus noted in October 1945 that a “League house for women students, owned by the University, is on this half block at the present time, and negotiations are now under way to secure another house to replace this in the present set-up.” That “set-up” for African American students moved to 1136 East Catherine, where it continued until 1954, when it too was razed to make room for new University buildings. Following the decision in 1950 to house all first-year women in residence halls, discrimination in roommate assignments came to the forefront. In 1955, the Student Government Council’s Human Relations Board took on the prevailing use of “race, religion, or ethnic background” as selection criteria. In spite of the challenge, the allocation of roommates based on race would not end until the late 1950s. The abolition of the position of Dean of Women in 1962 was a key turning point in the liberalization of housing policies as League houses disappeared along with the in loco parentis doctrine. Activism of the Black Action Movement in 1970 forced serious discussion of the living problems faced by African American students. The need for community space was recognized through the establishment of the William Monroe Trotter House in 1972. Recent discussions about the name and location of the Trotter House serve as a reminder that the situation has improved, but much work remains to be done. n Sources for this story include: The Michigan Daily; The Chicago Defender; The Baltimore Afro-American; Michigan Alumnus; the papers of University Presidents Marion L. Burton, Clarence Cook Little, and Alexander Ruthven; Board of Regents records; Elizabeth Leslie papers; University Housing records; Alumni files; President’s Report to the Board of Regents; W. E. B. Du Bois papers (available online through the University of Massachusetts Amherst), and the following monographs and articles: Ruth Bordin, Women at Michigan: the “Dangerous Experiment,” 1870 to the Present (1999), Kathleen A. Hauke, “The Passing of Elsie Roxborough,” Michigan Quarterly Review (Spring 1984), Jewel Plummer Cobb, “A Life in Science: Research and Service” SAGE (Fall 1989).

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Hidden Figures These four women all lived in the house on East Ann Street and fought for their right to live in U-M dormitories. They didn’t let housing obstacles stop them from achievements— at U-M and beyond. Vivian Deborah Wilson arrived at the University of Michigan as a 17-year-old in September 1927 from her hometown of Washington, D.C. Latin was Wilson’s favorite subject. On her college application to Michigan (at right) she stated that her vocational goal was teaching, adding that she felt she was “naturally adapted to it.” At U-M, her strong performance in Latin earned her one of four prestigious Phillips Scholarships. She graduated in June 1932 with a major in Latin and a teaching certificate. In 1933, she completed a master’s degree and moved back to suburban Washington, D.C., to embark on a teaching career. She married Harold Milner Johnson, a fellow U-M graduate who received a medical degree from Howard University. The two enjoyed more than 50 years together until Dr. Johnson died in 1984. She spent a rich life teaching Latin and Spanish in her hometown of Washington, D.C., at Terrell Junior High School and McKinley Technical High School. Johnson passed away on August 27, 2016, at the age of 105. Her obituary noted her “uncanny ability to reach people in a deep and positive way” and her “advocacy for social justice and civil rights.”

Jean Frances Blackwell graduated as valedictorian from Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High School in 1931 and came to U-M that fall. At U-M, she was an honor student but was denied admission into Martha Cook. After her mother launched an investigation through the NAACP into the perceived discrimination, Blackwell transferred to Barnard College and graduated in 1935. She subsequently earned a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University, embarking on a distinguished career in the library field. In 1950, she married fellow library employee John Hutson, shortly after she had taken charge of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg collection. Under her lengthy tenure, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture became a premier repository for material on people of African descent. Jean Blackwell Hutson died on February 4, 1998. The Schomburg’s Hutson General Research and Reference Division is named in her honor.

E’Dora Susie Morton—or Dora, as she was known to her friends—came to the University of Michigan from Detroit in September 1930 and was the first African American to live in Mosher-Jordan. A member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Morton was inducted into the national sociology honorary society Alpha Kappa Delta. During her summers she worked at the Detroit Urban League’s Green Pastures Camp. She graduated in 1934 but returned to take graduate courses. She earned a certificate in social work in 1935, and in 1936 she received a $100 award as an Earhart Foundation Scholar given from the Earhart Foundation for Community Leadership. Tragically, on August 9, 1936, she was hospitalized with an intestinal obstruction. She underwent surgery but died on August 11, 1936. She is buried in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery. The Delta Sigma Theta sorority established the E’Dora S. Morton Memorial Award in her honor.

Helen Lowe Rhetta came to the University of Michigan in 1929 from Baltimore, Maryland. In December 1929, Rhetta applied to live in Mosher-Jordan but was not accepted into the dormitory when it opened. Rhetta’s father, a Baltimore physician, came to Ann Arbor to discuss the situation with President Alexander Ruthven and Alice Lloyd. In September 1931, the University announced that African American women would be allowed to live in Mosher-Jordan. However, Rhetta remained at the house at 1102 East Ann Street. A member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Rhetta graduated in 1934 but remained in Ann Arbor to attend medical school, earning her M.D. degree from Michigan in 1937. She returned to Ann Arbor 30 years later to complete a master’s in public health in medical care organization in 1967. Rhetta spent her career in the field of medicine. She died on April 5, 1997.


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U-M’s first president kicked against convention with his vision for higher education—eventually being ousted by the Regents and forced to leave Ann Arbor.

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Recently, with the benefit of time and perspective, U-M decided pay tribute to Tappan at his final resting place. The only problem? Tracking down his trail after he left campus was no small task. Here’s the story of how one U-M staffer doggedly searched for clues to honor a mistreated visionary.

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Tappan by Lara Zielin/Illustrations by Kate Uleman

enry Philip Tappan became the first president of the University of Michigan in 1852. By 1853, there were already signs that his vision for U-M—a true university in the European sense and the first of its kind in the United States, filled with libraries and learning and intellectual investigation—wasn’t going over so well. His first annual report, documenting trips to Prussia and the purchase of an expensive new telescope, was poorly received. “What the people of Michigan desire…is that [U-M] shall be competent to prepare men for the practical duties of life. The institution must seek to be useful rather than grand,” criticized Detroit Free Press owner and editor Wilbur Storey in December 1853. These early rumblings of discord and displeasure with Tappan would become a full-on earthquake by the end of Tappan’s presidential tenure. Twice the Regents would attempt to strip his powers, finally moving to replace him in 1863. Faculty would become divided in their allegiances to him. Students would pass a resolution demanding the Regents allow Tappan to remain at U-M, but to no avail. Tappan would lay the foundation for the University he imagined, but he wouldn’t be around to see it come to full fruition. Instead, he left campus in September 1864, bound for Europe, where he would live out the remainder of his days. The end, right? Well, not quite.

From Eyesore to Centerpiece Fast-forward nearly 180 years, and Tappan’s legacy is in disrepair. Or at least the symbol of it is. Tappan’s original telescope—the same one that landed him in fiscal hot water so early on—was housed in the Detroit Observatory, the first building at U-M dedicated to research. But by 1994, the Detroit Observatory was in shambles, largely forgotten atop a small hill near the U-M hospital. Enter Homer Neal, a professor of physics and then vice president for research at U-M, who was overseeing all principal research at the University. “If someone wasn’t given a directive to take care of the [observatory], it was going to crumble and be an eyesore instead of a centerpiece,” he says.

“Since it may have been the origin of setting the campus on track for being a research university, it was suggested that [my office] take on the responsibility, so we did.” Sandy Whitesell, who was the assistant to the vice president for research, authored a restoration proposal for the observatory, which was accepted by U-M President James Duderstadt. With a Ph.D. in history, she was appointed to help direct the renovation and serve as a project historian. Her early research on the history of the telescope and building unearthed Tappan’s fundamental role in its acquisition and his unwavering belief in academic discovery. “Eventually, we all started to ask, ‘What happened to Tappan?’” says Neal. “He was a person who was thinking ahead of his times. People forgot about him in Ann Arbor. And U-M didn’t care that much about what really happened to him in the end.” As Neal and Whitesell began to raise the necessary funds to restore the observatory, Whitesell discovered that after leaving U-M, Tappan hopped around Europe—from Germany to France—eventually settling in Switzerland. His final residence was in the small town of Vevey, where he purchased a home called Chalet Beauval in 1880. “Based on Sandy’s research, we decided to have some designation in Vevey of his connection to U-M,” says Neal. “She got in touch with members of Tappan’s family to make sure they were okay with it. She interacted with the historical committee on campus at the time. It was quite a bit of work she put in.” Whitesell’s donated materials at the Bentley reveal a dogged search for clues to Tappan, especially for his gravesite: “I hope to establish contact with local officials to obtain permission for the University of Michigan to place a plaque at Tappan’s grave site to recognize his important contributions to the history of higher education in America,” she wrote to the director of a Vevey history museum in 2001. “Can you assist me in locating the proper official to talk to regarding this request?” Whitesell even found a 1911 map that showed two cemeteries located near Chalet Beauval, where she suspected Tappan and his family might be laid to rest. The trail, however, soon went cold.

A Moving Plot Grave plots in Europe are often rented, not owned. “As I understand it, you can purchase a plot in a cemetery, but it’s not your plot forever,” Neal explains. “You get it for about 50 years. And then the cemetery of the country is allowed to exhume the body, and what they do with it, we don’t know. But that plot can be leased to someone else.”


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Attacks on Tappan It was clear that Tappan had long been removed from his original resting place—and finding out where his remains had been taken was nearly impossible. “Sandy was not able to get anyone to respond to that question for her,” Neal says. “She eventually revised that we could honor him without a gravesite.” Whitesell discovered that the site of Tappan’s home, Chalet Beauval, was now a restaurant called Vevey-Corseaux Plage and Restaurant. The home’s original foundations and wine cellars had been discovered during the restaurant’s recent renovations. In June 2001, Whitesell received an email saying that the village council agreed to have a plaque commemorating Tappan installed. “I’m sure you will enjoy coming to Switzerland to make your project come true,” the email said.

1852: Tappan becomes president of the University of Michigan.

The Reverend Dr. Henry Philip Tappan

of style and incongruity of matter.”

which books should be purchased for the University’s library in favor of his own choices. It doesn’t help matters that Tappan’s son, John, holds the office of librarian at the University.

1857: The Methodist Convention passes a resolution questioning

1863: On June 25, Regents pass a resolution that makes Erastus

“the moral conditions” of the University. A new and distrustful Board of Regents launches a full investigation, while stripping Tappan of discretionary spending powers.

Haven the president of U-M. Tappan replies to the resolution: “Of its constitutionality, I have some doubts; of its impropriety, I have no doubt.”

1859: The Regents reorganize to assume “most of the executive function of the president and the faculty,” leaving Tappan powerless. His allies rally—including members of the senior class, who pass a resolution deploring the attacks by the Regents. Faculty ultimately help resolve the issue.

1864: In September, Tappan leaves Ann Arbor bound for Europe,

1805-1881 This building was erected on the foundations of the Chalet Beauval, which from 1880 to 1881 housed the Reverend Dr. Henry Philip Tappan, an eminent American philosopher, scholar, educator and patriot. As the first Chancellor of the University of Michigan (1852-1863), Dr. Tappan transformed a nascent institution from the State of Michigan into one of America’s leading universities. Dr. Tappan was a man of great strength; he showed clear-sightedness, intelligence and tenacity. He also had a great love for animals, music and gardens. Dr. Tappan regarded Vevey as his home-spirit. From this city he writes: “Vevey is one of the most magnificent and attractive places in our world, a panorama whose beauty, grandeur and splendor cannot be described in words.” Henry Philip Tappan died there on November 15, 1881. He was buried in Corseaux, on the slopes that dominate Lake Geneva. This plaque was posed by the University of Michigan and the descendants of Dr. Tappan.

U-M Professor of Physics Homer Neal (left) and U-M President James Duderstadt hang the plaque honoring Tappan in Vevey, Switzerland, in 2005.

Unfortunately, Whitesell was never able to make the trip. “Sandy developed cancer all during the time she was working on this project and doing her other duties,” says Neal. “Her condition continued to get worse, and even though she did most of the planning for this singular event…she was so ill that she couldn’t come to the actual ceremonies.” She was still there, though, in a manner of speaking. Neal brought a cell phone and patched Whitesell through. “She was in the hospital. But we hooked things up so she could hear all that was taking place during the ceremonies.” Neal was present along with U-M President James Duderstadt and his wife, Ann, as well as Steve Goldfarb, a U-M graduate student from the nearby CERN laboratories where Neal was working. Local delegates included the mayor of Vevey and the curator of the city’s museums. “A local

1861: Tappan is accused of disregarding faculty lists that suggest

concrete worker was present and put the plaque in,” says Neal. The inscription, written in French, reads:

Whitesell died of cancer in 2006. Though she never saw the Vevey plaque, she was able to see the Detroit Observatory restored and, in 1998, she became its newly appointed director and curator. That same year, she also published A Creation of His Own: Tappan’s Detroit Observatory (Bentley Historical Library, 1998). Today, the Observatory is the second-oldest building on campus (behind the President’s house) and is “the oldest unaltered observatory in America that has its original instruments intact, in their original mounts, and operational,” wrote Whitesell in A Creation of His Own. Neal, who still does research at CERN, says he visits the Vevey restaurant every few years with his wife. “We often have a meal, but the main reason to go is to see that the plaque is still there.” It remains to this day. “It’s a remarkable indication that it was Tappan’s home and that in the United States he did something that was quite impressive for the day.” n Sources used for this story include: “The Firing of Tappan” by Paul E. Lingenfelter, Higher Education in the United States, 1970; “A Creation of My Own” by Jim Tobin, heritage.umich.edu; A Creation of His Own by Patricia Whitesell (Bentley Historical Library, 1998).

1853: The Detroit Free Press criticizes Tappan’s “pompous vanity

never to return to the United States.

University Repentance Before his death, the University extended an olive branch to Tappan, inviting him to commencement ceremonies in 1875 as an honored guest, and indicating that they would “erase from history all criticism of his leadership.” Tappan declined for reasons of ill health, replying that “a compliment does not repair a wrong.” On the occasion of Tappan’s death, the University published a resolution that reads, in part: “[Tappan’s] genius, his eloquence, his force, and his persistence gave an impulse to the educational work of the university and of the State, which will be felt to the latest of times.”

Tappan’s grandson, Rudolph Brunnow, was there, and spoke to the assembled crowd about the significance of the occasion: “Today is a living proof that the spirit of his influence has returned to this land, aye, that it never left these shores, but has always remained enshrined in the hearts and minds of that band of faithful friends and disciples, to whose intellectual and spiritual advancement he devoted the best energies of his life.” Today, the sculpture can still be seen in Tappan Hall.

In June 1914, the University unveiled a sculptural relief of Tappan in Alumni Memorial Hall (now the University of Michigan Museum of Art) by artist Karl Bitter.

Tappan’s original telescope was housed in the Detroit Observatory, the first building at U-M dedicated to research.


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Moments That Shaped Michigan

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Judge Augustus Woodward arrived in Detroit on June 30, 1805, hoping to find an outpost of civilization in the pre-statehood Michigan wilderness. Woodward had left Virginian high society to become Michigan Territory’s first federal judge.

He traveled for months through rough country in Ohio, stopping initially in the settlement of Monroe. Woodward was miserable there, finding no other men of learning in the glorified frontier town. Rumors of a large city on the lake drew him east, only to find that Detroit was destroyed a week before his arrival by a massive fire. During the rebuilding of the city, Woodward met Father Gabriel Richard, a French Roman Catholic missionary who had been living in Detroit since 1798. The two quickly became friends, bonding over talks about history and Enlightenment philosophies. Even in their humble environment far from civilization, Richard and

Woodward believed deeply in classical education. Their conversations motivated Woodward to publish a book in 1816 titled A System of Universal Science, which detailed 13 “didaxim,” or subjects, that make up a complete education. The pair decided to bring these lofty ideas to life with a new type of school for a reborn Detroit. In a burst of classical-era zeal, he christened the new school “Catholepistemiad, or The University of Michigania.” Catholepistemiad, a word likely coined by Woodward, is a mish-mash of Latin and Greek that translates roughly to “School of Universal Knowledge.” The cornerstone for the new school was laid on September 24, 1817, in Detroit on the corner of Bates and Congress streets. Richard was to teach most of the “didaxim” and be vice president. Reverend John Montieth was appointed president. The Catholepistemiad in Detroit never achieved the lofty goals set by its

founders. After the University was established, most of the effort of the instructors was in making students worthy of admittance. Three primary schools and a “classical academy” were established to prepare Detroit’s youngest students for advanced studies. The school fell into disuse by 1827. It was revived and moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 when Michigan achieved statehood.

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Disturbing God’s Order

Alice Boise Wood studied Greek at the University of Michigan in 1866, four years before Madelon Stockwell became the first woman to officially enroll. Most universities forbade women from taking classes, and U-M was no exception. U-M’s first president, Henry Tappan, held the then popular view that women did not have the mental or physical fortitude for advanced studies. In a letter to a friend, Tappan said that to admit women would “disturb God’s order” and would “produce monstrosities.” Wood’s father, James Robinson Boise, was a professor of Greek at the University and one of the few members of the faculty who supported coeducation. He insisted that his daughter be allowed to take his class after she graduated high school. President Haven relented, but Wood was not officially admitted, nor was her name ever on any student registry.

A meeting in fire-razed Detroit. Two physicists on an Ann Arbor lawn. A lone woman in a Greek class in 1866. In honor of U-M’s Bicentennial, we look at some of the moments and movements that altered the course of Michigan history forever. By Robert Havey

Wood had excellent preparation for her studies. She had loved language at an early age and was especially passionate about Greek. Her first test in the subject came early that semester, with a recitation in front of her classmates. She grew more and more nervous as she waited to be called on. Wood had heard horror stories about pioneering women at other institutions. She wondered: “Would they howl and hiss?” In this case, her peers choosing icy silence over jeering. “My lips did their work, even if my brain reeled; and the exact method did not fail me.” Things wouldn’t always go this smoothly. One student, who had a “meek look, but had mischief in his eyes,” would scan Wood’s work closely, looking for a mistake. During one class he stood up and proclaimed that Wood had failed to include an iota subscript on a sentence she wrote on the blackboard. Wood was humiliated. She believed that this one mistake would doom not just her, but all women. “Dreadful Blunder! My heart was lacerated…I had Failed! Women would now never be admitted to the University!” But many professors noticed the high quality of Wood’s work, and some even admitted her to attend their classes. In her one semester at U-M, she had earned high marks in Greek and Literature. Wood left Ann Arbor with her father in 1868 and became the first woman to graduate from the University of Chicago.

Illustrations: Alvira/Hammond

When new president James Angell and a new group of Regents took over in 1870, they quickly passed a resolution stating that the university was open to anyone who “possesses the requisite literary and moral qualifications.” This simple phrase has been cited many times over the years by those advocating for a more diverse University of Michigan.

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Science and the Certainty of War

The early 1900s were an exciting time for science. Better modes of communication and travel allowed science to be a truly collaborative enterprise, with prominent professors going on worldwide tours. Physics Chair Harrison M. Randall made sure that the University of Michigan would be a part of this brave new world. Randall’s idea was to invite the biggest names in physics to lecture

at U-M, allowing students and faculty to hear about the latest scientific discoveries from the people who made them. The Michigan Summer Symposium in Theoretical Physics was born. The science of physics grew more and more international, but world politics intervened to tear it apart. The rise of the Third Reich had driven many Jewish scientists from top jobs in Germany and elsewhere. The certainty of war loomed over discovery and overshadowed every lecture tour. A garden party was given in the Ann Arbor backyard of LSA Dean Edward Kraus in July 1939. In attendance were two veterans of the U-M symposium, Nobel Laureate physicists Enrico Fermi and Werner Heisenberg. During the party, the two split off from the crowd and talked together about a subject neither cared for, but was pressing:


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politics. Fermi asked Heisenberg why he stayed in Germany, where many of his peers were either being driven out of the country or forced to work at the behest of the Nazi military. Heisenberg demurred, saying, “We have to decide for ourselves and cannot tell in advance whether we are doing right or wrong. Probably a bit of both.” After they left the party in Ann Arbor, Fermi and Heisenberg found themselves on opposite sides of a world war. Fermi joined the Manhattan Project and Heisenberg worked on the German nuclear weapon project. After 1945, the field of nuclear physics became much more grim.

Physics at U-M benefited greatly from the reputation of the Summer Symposium. Randall was able to recruit faculty trained in European labs, like David M. Dennison. Dean Kraus recruited Kasimir Fajans, a German-Jewish refugee and renowned physical chemist. After the war, the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project was established to find peaceful uses for nuclear energy.

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Representatives from a half dozen University of Michigan black student groups met in January 1970 to come up with a strategy for combating discrimination on campus. Despite efforts starting in the early 1960s by U-M to integrate black students and eliminate racial bias, many students believed the University was dragging its feet. The coalition soon took the name Back Action Movement, or BAM. After several unsatisfactory talks with University President Robben Fleming and the Regents, BAM decided to switch tactics. The top priority for BAM was to increase black student enrollment at U-M to 10 percent of the total population by the 1973-74 academic year. BAM pointed out that the state of Michigan as a whole contained “a college-age population [that] is 18 percent black,” and to reach that level of representation at U-M at the current admission rate, it would take more than 120 years. Also discussed were changes to the Black Studies Program, the establishment of a Black Studies Center, and tuition waivers for financially disadvantaged students. On February 5, President Fleming invited a number of BAM members to discuss the issues over dinner hosted

at his home. The students did show up that evening, but not to be wined and dined. They handed Fleming a list of their demands and held a protest on the front lawn. During a Board of Regents meeting on February 19, BAM members stormed out after the Regents refused to address their demands directly. A group of about 20 students went to the undergraduate library and took hundreds of books from shelves, closing the library for a day. This tactic was repeated the next day, after another refusal by the Regents to take immediate action. Fleming deployed Ann Arbor police officers at libraries on campus. Fleming’s main dispute with BAM was that their demands were unreasonable given the budgetary restrictions the university faced. “[Members of the administration] simply do not wish to promise something [that] present information would indicate may not be possible.” In the end, after months of demonstrations, walk outs, and press releases, Fleming and the Regents relented. A statement was released on March 19 addressing the BAM demands point by point, laying out a plan for the University to increase black enrollment and to fund programs directed at black students.

While generally presumed to be a BAM victory, many administrators (including Fleming) saw the March 19 plan simply as a statement of what the University already had in the works. Some things changed after BAM, but it wasn’t the end of the movement in Ann Arbor. After missing several goals laid out in the March 19 agreement, students once again organized in 1975 and again in 1987 to form BAM II and III. In 1988, President James Duderstadt revealed the Michigan Mandate, a comprehensive program to increase minority representation among students, faculty, and staff.

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The Fight for Gay Rights When Jim Toy arrived at the University of Michigan in 1971 to start an Ann Arbor chapter of the Gay Liberation Front, he expected resistance. The Gay Rights movement was just starting to enter the public consciousness, and progress was slow. After a year of being largely ignored by University administration, Toy sent a request to University President Robben Fleming for space to hold a statewide gay rights conference. A letter came back denying the request, citing the need for a “police presence” on campus that the administration was unwilling to provide. Toy had allies on campus, however, and was able to borrow a key from the vice president of the student council for the Student Activities Building. The conference took place without incident. According to Toy, Fleming’s office did eventually get wind of the conference and sent someone to spy out the proceedings and report back. The spy told the administration “low numbers, low energy. If you ignore this group, they’ll go away.” Toy wasn’t going anywhere. With just a tiny funding allocation from the University, Toy and his friend Cynthia Gair co-founded the Human Sexuality Office (or HSO, now the Spectrum Center) in September 1971. Toy and Gair had two missions: to confront anti-gay bigotry (especially in local politics and policy) and to provide counseling for students in need. The HSO set up a 24-hour “gay hotline” for troubled students to call for emergency counseling. Years later, Toy said that helping young people at the brink was his proudest accomplishment: “Hearing years later from people who were clients of mine that have said, ‘If it hadn’t been for you, I’d have killed myself.’ It’s not pride, but gratitude. I’m grateful I had the opportunity.” In his long career, Toy has had to fight many battles on the shifting political landscape around gay rights. During the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and ’90s, he distributed crucial information about the disease to those most susceptible, while combatting radical plans proposed by anti-gay legislators (such as the internment of anyone HIV positive). Toy rallied support after a 2004 amendment was passed by the State of Michigan to ban same-sex marriage, redirecting outrage into fights for non-discrimination polices, health care for transgender youth, and adoption rights. n


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Hidden Collections Two archivists at the Bentley write about a new initiative to uncover women’s stories at the University of Michigan By Lilly Carrel and Devon Proudfoot

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rchives seek to collect and preserve the stories of all people, but many stories remain untold. To help change that, we are part of a team of archivists who are diving into Bentley records to uncover and highlight the role of women at the University during

its first 100 years—all as part of the Bicentennial and U-M’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative. Our role in this new Bentley project, launched in 2016, aims to increase access to material by or about women, by enhancing the tools that enable users to discover them, such as library catalog records and finding aids, which are online guides or indexes explaining what’s in each collection. In many cases, women’s records are underrepresented in collections documenting University history before 1917,

Photo n Lon Horwedel

including the papers of University of Michigan presidents. While the work of visionaries such as U-M’s fourth president, Harry B. Hutchins (19091920), is significant to U-M’s story, no less important is the work of his wife, Mary Louise Crocker.

To discover Mary’s story, we first consulted the Harry B. Hutchins papers finding aid. We were looking for any references to Mary, a wife, or general biographical information. We found a note mentioning the presence of Mary’s obituary, but when we uncovered it in the archive, the obituary turned out to be mostly an account of Mary’s male lineage, with cursory mention of the events and accomplishments in Mary’s own life. This characterizes one of the primary obstacles of the Hidden Collections project: During the 19th and 20th centuries, women did not create

records in equal volume to men, and, what records women did create were not considered of scholarly value. Often these records weren’t preserved or, when they were saved, they weren’t adequately described, inhibiting researchers’ awareness and access. In other words, women’s activities, records, and, by extension, women’s stories were not viewed as important. In Mary’s case, our continued examination of the finding aid revealed the presence of photographs and more pertinent biographical material in Harry’s biography. With this additional information, we updated the biographical note in the finding aid to include a paragraph about Mary’s life before she married Harry and how she contributed to the success of his U-M presidency; we marked the photographs for digitization and inclusion in the online Bentley Image Bank; and we added a subject heading, based on the Library of Congress’s name authority standard that included Mary’s maiden name and her birth and death dates. Making note of Mary in the finding aid, which previously focused solely on the achievements of her husband, enhances our understanding of Harry’s life and gives Mary a long-overdue presence in the historical record. This project is one effort, among so many, that seeks to fulfill the Bentley’s mission and embrace the future by enabling access to the stories of our past. n Devon Proudfoot (left) and Lilly Carrel uncovered details about Mary Louise Crocker’s life, giving her more than just a footnote in the archive as the wife of U-M President Harry Hutchins.

his past March, the Bentley Historical Library unveiled 12 decades of The Michigan Daily history through a new online database that contains searchable digital copies of the historic paper. The digital archive contains every extant issue of The Michigan Daily, from its founding in 1891 to 2015—including more than 23,000 issues and 200,000 pages. This exhaustive digitization effort was made possible by a generous gift from the Kemp Family Foundation, which was established by John B. Kemp (’60, J.D. ’63), founder and CEO of Lease Corporation of America in Troy, Michigan. He is also a co-founder and board chairman emeritus of the Troy, Michigan, law firm of Kemp Klein, which recently celebrated its 45th anniversary. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of a family with deep roots in the history of the University of Michigan, with four generations of family members having received their education at U-M (see sidebar). “The digitized Daily will help something we feel strongly about, which is history and the study of history,” says Kemp. “The Daily is a significant publication, so many important events are recorded in its pages.” Kemp studied history at U-M and graduated in 1960, then went on to receive a J.D. from Michigan Law in 1963. He was on campus when John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech on the steps of the Union in the early hours of October 14, 1960. “At the time, Michigan was often referred to as the Harvard of the West,” Kemp says. “Kennedy, a Harvard graduate, commented that he was pleased to be in Ann Arbor as a graduate of the Michigan of the East.” He adds that one of his first searches in the new Daily database will be on the Kennedy visit. Kemp says it’s this kind of access to history that is part of the reason he wanted to fund the Daily digitization. “You can save people months of research if it’s all online and searchable,” he says. “Rather than having to look through a hundred boxes, it’s all there for you.” Photo n Lon Horwedel

Accessing History For John Kemp, digitizing The Michigan Daily means creating an important resource for preserving Michigan history

By Lara Zielin

“When you look at some of the alumni who were Daily writers, there’s a lot of pride there.” He says he’s also concerned about the future of newspapers as he sees some local publications, including the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, cutting staff. “I really think that it’s important, if these newspapers are going to disappear, that their historical publications are preserved. News that is electronic and not published—in some cases it gets published for a short time and then disappears forever. There are also recordings on tape, and that’s in danger of damage in the long-term.” The Daily, he says, is a cornerstone for preserving Michigan history. “When you look at some of the alumni who were Daily writers, there’s a lot of pride there. Some of the most important things that have happened on campus are reflected in those pages.” n

Generations of Wolverines Four generations of Kemp family members have received their education at Michigan, beginning with Berton John Kemp (’30) and his brother Robert Kempski, D.D.S. (D.D.S ’48), whose parents had immigrated to Grand Rapids at the turn of the 20th century. Other alumni members of the family include: Richard A. Kemp, (M.D. ’60) Joyce Kemp Laben (’57) John B. Kemp (’60, J.D. ’63) John W. Kemp (’84) Thomas R. Kemp (’88) Brian C. Kemp (’92) William J. Kemp (’13) Eileen W. Kemp (’15) Family members currently attending Michigan are: Robert R. Kemp (’17) Mary Kate Kemp (’19) Whitney C. Kemp (’20)

Visit the new online Daily archive at: digital.bentley.umich.edu


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Cat ho l episte mi ad

A Photographic Stonehenge In 1967, the University of Michigan celebrated its 150th anniversary with a massive photo exhibit that depicted daily life at U-M—from move-in to graduation. We pulled out many of the original images for a closer look at how U-M celebrated its Sesquicentennial.

By Gregory Parker

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hil Davis (1921-2007) was a professor in the School of Art and Design whose goal was to create a “photographic Stonehenge” on U-M’s campus to celebrate the University’s 150th year in 1967. He envisioned a massive outdoor display built to withstand the full gamut of Michigan weather. 1 But he started out in miniature, constructing an exhibit model using balsa wood and cutouts from Polaroid prints.

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2 Davis, an accomplished commercial and artistic photographer and U-M faculty member for 38 years, used seven tons of donated steel to fabricate a customdesigned framework. 3 His team mounted 264 photos on plywood, coated them with plastic, and attached them to the customized steel.

Davis’s display was patterned after Edward Steichen’s iconic 1955 Museum of Modern Art photographic exhibit, The Family of Man, which depicted the life cycle— and universality—of everyday people from around the world. 4 Fully assembled, the exhibit was more than half the length of a football field, dominating the Ingalls Mall, a grassy median on the then-road connecting North University and Washington Streets, between the Michigan League and Hill Auditorium.

The installation spanned 10 months of the University’s Sesquicentennial year, anchoring a series of lectures, conferences, publications, and programs not unlike those planned for the 2017 Bicentennial. 5 Davis estimated that hundreds of thousands of people viewed the exhibit. The pictures represented the breadth of a fully formed research institution. There are pastoral views of the Diag, students working in laboratories, classrooms, anti-war protests, orchestral performances, and discus-throwing 6

athletes. There are professors in their offices, students at the Pretzel Bell, and even a staff cobbler at his bench.

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Two groups are conspicuously absent from the exhibit: women faculty and people of color (whether students, staff, or faculty). This was a largely accurate reflection the U-M of the late 1960s, when minority enrollment was minuscule and there were few female professors.

Selected photographs from the Sesquicentennial exhibit were included in The University, published in 1967 by the University of Michigan Press. Today, the Bentley Historical Library holds prints and negatives from the project, as well as those that Davis didn’t use—around 8,000 total images. n All photos featured here can be found in the University of Michigan Sesquicentennial Office collection, box 13.


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A Tremendous Load of Humanity

A History of Accidents 1902, Michigan vs. Wisconsin at Chicago A halftime bleacher collapse occurred in “5,000 circus seats” that had been sent from Madison, Wisconsin, by train. It is likely that the seats came from the Ringling Brothers Circus, which was established in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in 1884.

How a 1905 stadium collapse changed the way U-M fans would watch the game for good By Emily Swenson

1905, Michigan vs. Wisconsin at Michigan Many of the bills sent to the Athletic Department for ambulance transportation of collapse victims came from local funeral homes. While this may seem odd, hearses were frequently used as ambulances before World War I, as they were the only vehicles that could accommodate patients who needed to lie down. 1993, Michigan vs. Wisconsin at Wisconsin On October 30, 1993, fans flooded the field at Camp Randall after a Wisconsin victory, crushing students against a metal fence. More than 70 students were injured, seven of whom were considered critical. Thankfully, none of the injuries resulted in fatalities. collapsed bleachers

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n November 18, 1905, the University of Michigan Wolverines hosted the University of Wisconsin Badgers in one of the most highly anticipated football games of the season. Anywhere between 15,000 to 18,000 fans filled Ferry Field to attend the unofficial homecoming game, shattering previous attendance records. So high was the demand for seats that speculators were selling $3 general admission tickets for as high as $8.50, despite protests from Michigan Athletic Director Charles Baird. With a forecast that called for blue skies and mild weather, the two teams took the field at 1:55 p.m. The first half began with a fumbled punt by the Badgers and ended with a 6-0 lead for the Wolverines. Shortly after the second half began, Charles Baird and a patrolman noticed the overcrowding in the west stands and began pleading

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with fans to evacuate the bleachers. Most paid them no attention, refusing to give up their seats and instead focusing solely on the game. Minutes later, a “tearing, splintering sound” shook the stadium as the west bleachers began collapsing, close to 3,000 spectators falling with them. The first 10 rows were completely flattened by the “tremendous load of humanity,” and large timbers fell into the crowd, leaving one spectator unconscious. Masses of people were hurled forward, trapped between the fallen bleachers and a wire fence. Players from both teams rushed to the aid of the fallen, ripping open the fence that separated the spectators from the field. Astonishingly, the shock and destruction caused by the collapse were not enough to end the game. The evacuation of the injured caused a relatively short delay, and a

majority of the crowd simply relocated to another area of the field and watched as Michigan went on to win 12-0. Among the seriously injured that day were Frank W. Scott from Ypsilanti, Vern Huir from Milwaukee, and Joseph Ross, a Michigan undergraduate.

Astonishingly, the shock and destruction caused by the collapse were not enough to end the game. The bleacher collapse spawned years of paperwork for the University. Today, these records provide valuable insight into everything from court settlements to medical care. The Athletic Department papers contain medical bills that were

received from Ann Arbor citizens, and doctors who had taken the injured into their homes for emergency medical attention. Baird himself issued a check for $10 to an R. Thomas for “bedding, clothing etc. torn up for bandages to tie up injuries or people, also damage to carpet and house furnishings.” The Michigan Athletic Association preemptively awarded the injured parties sums of money in exchange for the release from all claims for personal injury. These claims ranged from $12 to $150 and were, for the most part, settled by 1906, with the exception of a case involving a Mr. Arthur Brown. The Brown case lasted until 1910 and resulted in a payment from the University to Brown of $500. Joe Ross, the University of Michigan student with a broken leg, was reimbursed for a $2 ambulance ride and a $15 surgery.

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he Michigan Technic, a semi-annual publication from the Engineering Society, published the “Official Report of Grandstand Collapse” in 1908. The report, which was commissioned by the Dean of the Engineering Department, suggests that a combination of overcrowding and the poor structural integrity of a portion of the bleachers caused the collapse. At the time, however, the accident was blamed chiefly on overcrowding and the wild cheering and stomping of fans. News outlets and University publications alike spoke of the “immense crowd and inadequate provision,” fueling an ongoing debate regarding large crowds and general admission games. A new stadium and an expansion of Ferry Field had been in the works for a few years, but this accident made the need for more seating and safer accommodations even more urgent.

The Michigan Alumnus called for a stadium like those in “the East,” one that was “more solidly built, and if possible of more substantial material.” The next year, the Michigan Wolverines began their season on a new and improved Ferry Field. Wooden bleachers were replaced with a new grandstand (built on a solid foundation of cement) that held up to 9,000 fans, bringing the total capacity of the stadium close to 30,000. The 1906 football season also saw the implementation of a new set of intercollegiate football regulations, brought forth by President Theodore Roosevelt in an attempt to reduce injuries and accidents on the field. The bleacher collapse of 1905 was seen by many as a “lesson at a wonderfully small expense.” n The Detroit Free Press captured this image of the bleacher collapse at Ferry Field.


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In Living Color

Collections, the magazine of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, is published twice each year. Terrence J. McDonald Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Professor of History and Director Nancy Bartlett Associate Director

What do maize and blue look like? The answer has historically depended on whom you ask —and when

Lara Zielin Editorial Director Robert Havey Communications Specialist Hammond Design Art Direction/Design Copyright ©2017 Regents of the University of Michigan Articles may be reprinted by obtaining permission from: Editor, Bentley Historical Library 1150 Beal Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113

By Robert Havey

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n 1867, a committee of students from the University of Michigan’s Literary Department was appointed to recommend colors emblematic of the school. Universities such as Harvard (crimson) and Yale (blue) had recently adopted official colors and, as the University Chronicle pointed out at the time, students wanted school colors so they “may be distinguished from other men, and particularly from students attending other institutions.” After a short deliberation, the committee unanimously chose “azure blue and maize.”

But not everyone had the same idea of what “azure blue and maize” meant. The committee gave no examples and no standards on the exact shade and hue. Variations appeared immediately, eventually resulting in multiple versions of the school banner on display in store windows throughout Ann Arbor. The most obvious contrast in colors was between the dark shades worn by university athletic clubs and the lighter

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Technology has always been hip.

Please direct email correspondence to: laram@umich.edu

colors used to adorn campus events. The sports teams preferred darker colors because, as the Michigan Alumnus put it in 1912, the paler versions of maize and blue were “inadequate and ineffective as decoration.” This division continued until 1912, when the Regents formed a new committee to reconcile the disparate colors in time for U-M’s 75th anniversary. The committee agreed with the athletic clubs that a darker blue—“lapis lazuli, Persian blue, cobalt blue, the clear blue color of the unclouded sky”—was more appropriate than the baby blue that had become the norm. Maize was simply defined as the color of corn, but the committee emphasized the pale lemon yellow “should be avoided.” In hopes of ending color drift, the committee chose maize and blue ribbons to be the exemplars for all official University of Michigan colors from then on. The ribbons now reside in the Bentley Historical Library’s archive. In 2015, the University launched a comprehensive branding campaign to ensure consistent use of logos and colors. The new standards are also archived at the Bentley—just in case they change again. n A 1907 U-M football game-day postcard (top) and a ticket to an 1897 football game (left) show how the colors of maize and blue have changed over time.

Regents of the University of Michigan Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor Shauna Ryder Diggs, Grosse Pointe Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor Mark S. Schlissel, ex officio The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office for Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-6471388, institutional.equity@umich.edu. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.

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Colors of the Win The game-day versions of maize and blue from more than a century ago don’t exactly look like the U-M colors we know and love today. Read more about these shifting shades on page 24.

Photos n BL018470; BL018482

Collections: Spring 2017  

In our Bicentennial issue, we uncover the stories of African American women denied access to housing in U-M dormitories.

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