Willard Ross Yates has an illustrious academic history in the field of political science. Before becoming a professor at Lehigh University, he earned his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Oregon and Ph.D. at Yale University. He was a Fulbright Scholar from 1951 to 1952 and served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. After obtaining his Ph.D in 1956, he taught at Kenyon College and the University of Vermont before coming to Lehigh.
At Lehigh, he was a professor of political science which would earn him the Hillman Award, the highest honor for a member of the faculty and staff. By the end of his career in 1986 he had held the titles of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Government Emeritus. He not only excelled in the field of political science but was an expert on the history of Lehigh and Bethlehem. He is most well known for his works “History of the Lehigh Valley Region”, “Bethlehem of Pennsylvania, the Golden Years”, and “Lehigh University: A History of Education in Engineering, Business, and the Human Condition” of which Lehigh Library Special Collections has the original manuscript and notes for. His works are considered the leading resource for Bethlehem and Lehigh history. He displayed the true signs of a Renaissance man with all the activities he participated in, from the Bach Choir, to completing 130 marathons, and winning prizes for gardening and poetry.
More detail on his life can be found on his obituary linked here:
#ColorOurCollections is a week-long coloring fest on social media organized by libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world. Using materials from their collections, these institutions are sharing free coloring content with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and inviting their followers to color and get creative with their collections.
#ColorOurCollections was launched by The New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016.
As you may already know, Lehigh University’s student newspaper, The Brown and White, is one of the most long-running student publications in the country. This is truly an accomplishment, as most student publications ultimately evaporate away as quickly as they come.
Other than The Brown and White, Lehigh has been no exception to this phenomenon. Among the valiant, innovative, and short lived are publications such as The Lehigh Burr (1881-1934), The Lehigh Bachelor (1940-43), The Lehigh Goblet (1946-48), and Paisley(1966-70). All of these publications have been digitized and are now available in their entirety for viewing or download through the Internet Archive.
The first installment of Paisley establishes its mission. First, to provide a medium for student expression. Second, to promote a collective class conscience, making students cognizant of “their present and future potential in an impersonal world”. And third, to entertain. (Volume 1. Pg. 4)
Paisley is filled with student editorials, poems, and short stories, amassing an intellectual bank of creativity, comedy, and literary art. Upon its debut, it seemed Paisley could offer only positives to our campus community, so how could a publication with so much going for it crumble to its demise in only 4 short years? The answer, Paisley was no anomaly in student publication. Many have come and gone with the same good intentions, and this example shows just how hard it really is to ignite an idea and even more so to keep that flame burning.
As we’ve learned from The Brown and White, survival requires consistency, more specifically consistent contributors and readers. Engineering themed journals, student magazines, artistic pamphlets you name it, Lehigh has seen them all. Though in the end, no one is left to fill the void created by those students graduating. Simple as that. Then years, perhaps decades later, the same thing will happen again.
However, the point here is not that student publications serve no purpose if they don’t last, but that it takes a certain group of students to bring these ideas to life in the first place. Regardless of how long a publications last, they all become a part of our shared history. What they create contributes to the readers of the time but also to future beholders.
Student publications also provide insight into the character of the student body at the time of their publication. If the editors of Paisley believed they were writing to invigorate an “impersonal world,” what does that make us now? You guessed it, no different. In fact, we are probably more detached than ever. Sending a snapchat or posting a tweet will undoubtedly be the mode of expression among today’s students; certainly not a deeply thought provoking piece of poetry. Indeed times have changed, however, human nature has not. We continue to ask the same questions as those before us. What is the purpose? Why are we here? What is love? Happiness? And considering college is supposed to be the place where students decide their future and who they want to become, I figure Lehigh is probably swimming with inquiries such as these.
Whether the pen is put to paper this year or not, student publications to come will continue to be a manifestation of beliefs, values as a student body, and a contribution to purposeful existence. The catch is that they won’t write themselves. For there to be things to read, there must be those who write. All it takes is one student with an idea and the diligence to make it happen.
Dr. Henry Coppée is considered one of the most substantial figures in Lehigh University’s development into a world-class institution. Selected by Asa Packer, Coppée served as the first president of Lehigh University from 1866-1875. Coppée Hall at Lehigh University was named after Henry Coppée, and now houses the Department of Journalism and Communications. During his time as a professor at Lehigh, Dr. Coppée taught subjects such as English literature and history. Although an engineer himself, as President of Lehigh, Coppée believed that all students should have a well-rounded, liberal-arts education. Lecture notes taken in 1884 by an engineering student in Dr. Coppée’s class , Henry Bowman Douglass, reveal subject material surrounding the Roman Empire’s influence on the development of Europe. Much of Lehigh University’s current history curriculum focuses on the Roman Empire, offering courses such as “Ancient Roman Religion” and “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”
Research and design projects on colonizing Mars have been a source of wonder for mankind since they began in the 1990s. But, there used to be a different reason that man would look up to the sky in awe. That reason was the belief that sentient intelligent extra-terrestrials lived on the Martian surface.
Percival Lawrence Lowell, a famous American businessman, mathematician, and astronomer fully believed that intelligent life was creating canals on Mars to sustain life on the dying planet. He wrote multiple books on his observations and conclusions on Mars. Shown here is one of his many maps detailing the canal structures included in his book Mars and its Canals, which was featured in Lehigh’s Cartographic Perspectives Exhibit.His views, though debated by industry professionals, took the interest of many people. Lowell and his claims were not well respected by those in the astronomical community of his time. However, he made his mark on history through his theory on Planet X. Lowell’s search for the mysterious planet that supposedly shifted the orbits of Uranus and Neptune, which was erroneously calculated, came up fruitless. However, he started a fourteen year search for the mysterious ninth planet which concluded in the discovery of the dwarf planet, Pluto, located where Lowell had theorized. Despite being a poor astronomer, making exaggerated conclusions about life on Mars, falsely identifying surface features on Venus, and failing to find the massive ninth planet that he theorized, he made a lasting mark on our knowledge of the Solar System and many of his books are available in the Lehigh University Libraries.
At a school that’s former mascot was coined “The Lehigh Engineer,” it can appear as though arts take a back seat to the strong tradition of engineering at Lehigh University. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Lehigh has strong ties to the arts, particularly in theater and music. I had the privilege of delving into these ties through cataloging one of Special Collections’ newest collections devoted entirely to the theater arts. This collection was provided by Jeffrey Milet, an associate professor in the Lehigh University Theatre Department. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Milet was taught and mentored by George C. Izenour, who shared with him an interest in theatrical design, stage lighting, and technical theater and acoustics. Izenour, in addition to teaching theater at Yale and having a four year contract as an adjunct professor at Lehigh, holds several patents and has published books in the realm of theater. Our collection contains a wide breadth of materials and artifacts and, besides the sheer amount of legal and financial documents that go into obtaining a patent, includes copies of Izenour’s books, his original writings and sketches, and literature about and images of theaters abroad.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this collection is placing those works written by Izenour alongside his other original works: drawings and blueprints, photographs, sketches, and etchings of theaters, auditoriums, and large group spaces from around the globe as depicted in the works of painters, magazines, and newspapers. We are able to see how Izenour pulled together many different influences from a variety of sources, analyzed them in his writings, and essentially made theater designs and acoustics as we know them today. Italian columns, classical British ceilings, and stylistic components from Asian and French theaters are just a few of the foreign influences drawn together to define an ideal theater.
Prints of a Japanese theater (left) and the London Royal Circus Theater (right), elements which inspired Izenour’s designs.
Without such influences, Izenour would never have been able to earn his patents in the realm of stage lighting. Nor would these inventions be implemented in so many spaces today. A copy of Theater Lighting Archives included in the collection lists numerous applications of Izenour’s inventions from famous television studios, museums and hotels to secondary schools and universities in the United States and abroad. Lehigh University is itself home to theaters designed by George Izenour. Baker Hall in Zollener Arts Center, upon its opening in 1997, was complimented in several platforms for its fined tuned acoustics. In an article published in The Brown and White publicizing the opening of the center, Cameron Pelton, a former professor of voice at Lehigh, describes the acoustics as “amazing,” considering it a “grateful hall, because when you perform, the music comes back to you.”
While Milet and Izenour’s work does relate more to the technical and engineering aspects of the theater, perhaps this is for the best. Their work creates a seamless, comfortable, ideal theater experience, focusing on the viewers and allowing them to immerse themselves in the true art that is seeing a live performance. They are the ones truly devoted to the audience.
If you would like to view more of this collection, please contact Special Collections.
Dr. Claude G. Beardslee was a professor emeritus of moral and religious philosophy at Lehigh University while also serving as the university’s chaplain from 1931 until he retired in 1947. As a professor of moral philosophy, he was interested in the decision making process that people went through, especially in relation to our democratic system. Lehigh’s Special Collections currently holds three sets of boxes that could have been used for his classes. Upon opening the box, two books sit on top, both written by Beardslee himself. The first book is Analysis of Moral Problems. In this document, he aims to preach the betterment of society and democracy through the strengthening and teaching of the public in morals and self-governance. The second book is Student Philosophy, which aims to help develop a personal philosophy for students who read it. It is surmised, as there are multiple sets of boxes, that Dr. Beardslee would give these to his graduate students in his Proseminar classes (M.R.Phil. 100 & 101).
The most interesting object in these boxes is a large wooden tablet with small planks that have a multitude of moral definitions and suggestions printed on them. The tablet and planks fit together to create an “Executive Sense Slide Rule.” The Executive Sense Slide Rule is a device for analyzing problems and questions in light of different ethics systems and different situations. Dr. Beardslee, in Section A of the slide rule’s instructions, says “The purpose [of the slide rule] is to aid self-education in a spirit which employs the forms of certainty in the personal skills of wisdom.” Earlier in this section, he expressed his belief that the “best conduct and best happiness” come from those whose internal morals are cemented as their character. He does not mean that the morals must be static; he says that there are at least three different moral systems, only one being truly static.
The slide rule is used by going through and thinking about how the situation being analyzed fits within the “five forms of character”: thinking, communicating, knowing, judging, and acting. Each movable plank represents one of these characters and has sections for different ways and perspectives from which to look at a problem. Once decided upon one, the rule will give a list of philosophical definitions, wisdom, or knowledge that may be applicable to the situation. This is done for all five forms of character and then the user will have a well formed view of the problem at hand and, ideally, know the implications of the decision they make.
The attempt to systematize a philosophical system such as ethical decision making is a noble effort. The way in which Dr. Beardslee went about creating this system was undoubtedly inspired by the engineering influence at Lehigh University. With the pursuit of engineering and scientific advancement at the university, all should be mindful that any progress is best made under an ethical code. This is to ensure that we do not harm or hinder our neighbors, country, or environment. Dr. Beardslee seems to be creating a unified philosophy for those who are making decisions that will affect everyone. This pursuit aligns with the creation of engineering ethics in the major engineering associations in the early 1900s.
Roughly 500 bright eyed and bushy tailed “sub-froshes” (prospective freshman) got more than they signed up for on a fateful morning in May, 1937. Apparently, they didn’t see “Communist flag viewing party” in the fine print of their schedules. Also, University admission tour guides must have forgotten to mention the day’s special event.
Students swarmed the courtyard, which, on any other day would’ve meant there was free food, but today it was to gape in disbelief as a Soviet Union flag waved atop the University flagpole.
Believed to be an elaborate prank put on by sympathizers of the communist movement, or perhaps just a couple of goons looking for a good laugh, the flag caused quite the frenzy.
The pranksters had managed to jam the flag’s pulley system so it could not be simply lowered to the ground. Incidentally, the fire department’s longest latter was “too short.” Thus, all hope fell into the hands and spikey feet of a daring steeplejack.
Thankfully, the steeplejack succeeded in his mission unharmed and once the flag was finally taken down, it was replaced by the glorious Lehigh University brown and white.
The Soviet flag fell into the custody of a Delta Tau Delta fraternity brother, who allegedly hung it up in his room. Yet today, the flag’s whereabouts are unknown.
In honor of today’s announcement that Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, let’s take a look back at his connection to Lehigh.
Bob Dylan first performed at Lehigh’s Stabler Arena in 1981. This performance came during what has been described as Dylan’s preaching, gospel, or “born-again” phase, which followed his conversion to Christianity in the late 1970s. The set list for this concert, as well as all of Dylan’s other concerts, is available on his website. Since 1981, Dylan has made six additional appearances at Stabler arena in 1995, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2010, and most recently in 2013. His initial visit to Lehigh in 1981 proved to be on the earlier end of his career, with his first album released in 1961.
Prior to his appearance at Stabler in 1981, Dylan’s influence on the student body was apparent in both the favorable and unfavorable references to him made in the Brown and White. In comparison to another folk music act that played at Lehigh in 1965, the student reviewer commented, “I can only describe Dylan’s voice as a premature senile croaking coming through a musty rain-barrel.” It seems that after 51 years, the Nobel Prize Committee has repudiated this reviewers opinion that “ranting and wailing, moaning and groaning about how the world is going to hell in a bucket isn’t my idea of good folk music.”
Throughout much of the latter part of the written word’s existence, books, especially of the science and fiction genres, have been banned for featuring content that went against the social or religious norms of society. One of the most famous conduits of these bans has been the Catholic Church, which published an index of banned books considered sinful to read, titled the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. This indexlasted from 1529 to 1966, when it was declared to not have paramount moral authority. Other sources of book bans throughout history have been governments, school systems, and religions. The targets of many early bans were scientific works such as those of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo in the 16th and 17th centuries. As history crept into the modern day and fiction became a more common genre of writing, banning books for sexual depictions, violence, and unpopular political views has become more common. In the modern age, with much emphasis being put on tolerance and acceptance, people may think that we are beyond the banning books, but we still see bans ranging from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, J.D. Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Authors can face bans on their books due to a book’s content and because they draw from facts in the real world.
In 2000, when Daniel Gerhard “Dan” Brown released his first Robert Langdon novel, Angels and Demons, he sparked a worldwide conversation on the content of literature and its relation to the real world. The book was a mystery which concluded in a camerlengo planting an antimatter bomb in the Vatican and faking a vision from God in order to save what he believed to be a dying Catholic Church. Brown’s consistent use of scientific facts and religious beliefs in his story added to the realism for which he became known. Many were infuriated for the insinuation that the Catholic Church’s hierarchy could be corrupt. This became a full-fledged debate with Brown’s 2003 publication ofThe Da Vinci Code. This novel is a mystery-thriller focusing on a murder connected to a secret society that was created to protect the Holy Grail. In the novel, Brown evokes the idea that the Holy Grail refers to Mary Magdalene and her descendants, who began with the children she bore with Jesus of Nazareth. Despite this idea being unoriginal, Brown brought it into the spotlight and offered the evidence for it in the novel. Some viewed this claim to be an affront on the Catholic Church and Christians everywhere. This led to the book being banned in countries such as Lebanon, Manila, India, Egypt, Pakistan, Samoa, Sri Lanka, and Jordan and being severely criticized by other countries including the Vatican. Brown’s books continue to use the themes of science and religion to analyze views on religion, the soul, morals, and hidden history. As movies based on his work come out worldwide, more and more governments and religions have been banning and criticizing the content of his writing.
We are now at an impasse in the debate where we can decide that Brown’s work is an example of artistic freedom and one man’s view on the world or denounce his work for going against traditional views and blurring the line between fiction and reality. This is a choice for our generation and for all future generations so that all views of a topic may be known and maybe, like in the case of early astronomers, the controversial views expressed may be proved true. This is why no book, written word, or even speech should be silenced or censored “for even the very wise cannot see all ends.”