Center for Archival Collections
August 1998: Volume 17, Number 2
The University Archives: A Link to the Past
Students watch a chemistry demonstration with careful attention during the early 1950s. The sciences have made great strides since the time Bowling Green first opened its doors. Today, students need access to an array of electronic laboratory equipment, as well as traditional test tubes in order to keep pace with changes in the field. University Archives Photograph Collection.
Just as everyone has a life story, so too, do institutions--especially those which have evolved through the changes more than eighty-five years can bring. Although among Ohio's younger institutions of higher learning, Bowling Green State University has a past which reflects the shifting demands which Ohioans have placed on their colleges throughout the twentieth century.
The task of Ann Bowers, the University Archivist, is to care for those records which resolve questions of authority, set precedents, and outline procedures, as well as those which document the history of the institution and its activities. Minutes of the Board of Trustees, files form the offices of the President, Vice Presidents and College Deans, athletic records, student publications and photographs are among the variety of records preserved here. Records at the departmental level, including correspondence and committee reports are also found on the fifth floor of Jerome Library.
Sometimes the documents do not tell the whole story. The development of a new program of study, for instance, may be outlined in departmental minutes, memos, and course outlines, but the discussions which shaped those formal results survive only in the memories of those who participated in them. In order to capture this part of the institutional memory, interviews with past senior members of the faculty and administration have been conducted. These oral histories are transcribed and preserved at the CAC along with the conventional paper records. The interviews, especially those of President Jerome (1963-1970) and President Olscamp (1982-1995), are wonderful resources in understanding the great changes occurring on college campuses during the Vietnam era, and during the financial constraints of the 1980s and 1990s.
William T. Jerome, President of BGSU from 1963-1970, guided the campus during the turbulent years of the Vietnam era. Thanks to his leadership, BGSU remained open during the days following the May 1970 Kent State shootings. Center for Archival Collections. University Archives Photograph Collection.
Founded in 1910 as a Normal School (teaching training school), BGSU became a College in 1929 when a College of Liberal Arts was formed, and a University in 1935 when a separate College of Business Administration was established. BGSU now has eight academic Colleges, including a branch campus, Firelands College, and a Graduate College. Phenomenal enrollment growth in the post-World War II era and throughout the baby boom years of the 1960s and 1970s reflected the trends nation-wide. Researchers have begun delving into the records of those years to trace the social changes in the country from a time when very few people attended college to the time when some college education is becoming a necessity. Administrative focus, too, has evolved as the university found its financial resources tightening, as it began to reach out to serve the community as a cultural and scientific resource, and as the public began to see it as an agent of social change. All this is reflected in the records of the University, made accessible through the Center for Archival Collections.
--Lee N. McLaird
Doyt Perry, head football coach at BGSU from 1955-1964, is the subject of a documentary video, "Doyt Perry: A Coach for Life," co-produced by the CAC and by WBGU-TV. University Archives Photograph Collection.
For the last year [1997-1998], the Center for Archival Collections, in cooperation with WBGU-TV and Bowling Green State University's Athletic Department and Development Office, has participated in a special project to document the life, times, and career of Doyt L. Perry. Perry served as head football coach of BGSU from 1955-1964, and during that time amassed a record of victories which still places him as one of the most successful collegiate coaches in history.
May 29, 1998 marked the premiere of "Doyt Perry: A Coach for Life" a documentary of Perry's impact on players, coaches, the University, and college football nationally. The video was aired locally on Public Broadcasting on June 2 and was distributed nationally. The video was intended to be used in fundraising for WBGU-TV and for the University's Athletic Program.
Shawn Brady of WBGU-TV served as writer, producer, and director of the hour-long video. The Center for Archival Collections provided much of the archival film footage and photographs used in the production. CAC staff conducted interviews with former coaches and players, family, friends, and university administrators throughout 1997 and coordinated the gathering of additional letters, photographs, films, and personal items which were of assistance to the project.
Advisory Committee for the project included: Chuck Perry, former player and friend; Dave Perry, son; Richard Newlove, President BGSU Foundation Board; Jack Gregory, retired BGSU Athletic Director; Mickey Cochrane, retired BGSU Soccer and Lacrosse Coach and Co-Director of the BGSU Athletic Archives; Don Cunningham, retired Sports Information Officer, Coach, and Co-Director of the BGSU Athletic Archives; Paul Yon, Director, Center for Archival Collections; Ann Bowers, University Archivist; Dr. Dennis East, Special Projects Coordinator for the CAC; and Pat Fitzgerald, General Manager, WBGU-TV.
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