The cover of the Oct. 1927 issue of "The Green Goat."

Photo courtesy of: The Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections


A page from one of Jessanne Timon Allen's compilation of four scrapbooks.

Photo courtesy of: The Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections


Students and organizations are encouraged to contribute posters to continue growing the archive's collection.

Photo courtesy of: The Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections

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That's in the University archives?

University celebrates Founders Day, takes a look at the past

Ever wonder what is tucked away behind Alden Library's fifth floor glass doors?

The Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections is open to all members of the community and hosts scholars from across the country who are interested in its unique holdings. The Mahn Center possesses significant research collections such as the Cornelius Ryan World War II Papers and the George V. Voinovich Papers as well as student diaries and scrapbooks, original photographs and memorabilia that chronicle the history of southeast Ohio and the state's first university.

In celebration of Ohio University's founding in 1804, University Archivist and Records Manager Bill Kimok shared some of his favorite pieces from the University Archives.

The Green Goat
Before the days of Backdrop Magazine, The Green Goat, the campus' first independent student publication, launched Jan. 1913, was known for its "satire, humor and some raciness," said Kimok.

Founded by Virgil Falloon and Carl Foss and sold for 15 cents, the magazine written by members of the university’s fraternities and sororities sought to amuse and gently ruffle a few feathers.

After disappearing for more than nine years, The Green Goat reemerged in 1922 with a new staff, a better business plan, and a wider readership. Advertisements featured Athens businesses and national companies. A recurring cigarette advertisement on the magazine's back cover created so much controversy due to its subject matter that the staff was eventually asked to remove it. Although obliging when it came to this particular advertisement, the staff continued to court raised eyebrows, covering issues such as sexuality and its necessity.

"Students of today are surprised that students were actually talking about some of these things back in the 1920s and 1930s," said Kimok.

The Green Goat
published an average of eight issues per year, with annual issues such as the "Frosh Number," or freshman edition, the "Football Number," the "Junior Prom Number" and the "Christmas Number."

The magazine that both embraced student life and mocked it shut down in 1933 as the Great Depression made it tough for students to shoulder the printing costs of an independent publication.

The Green Goat
’s final run was from 1951 to 1961 as a scandalous, rarely censored, off-campus student publication, printing parodies such as "Pla Boy," and featuring co-eds in a section titled "Bobkitten."

Joanne Prisley, an OHIO alumna who graduated in 1953, said The Green Goat is something she "remember[s] fondly" from her days on campus. She said the staff who "took pride in what they were doing" patterned their work on national magazines, often featuring cartoons that poked fun at political and social issues.

Knisely-Varner Letter Collection
Orson Knisely and Bernice Varner's letters to each other document their romantic relationship and what is was like to be a university student in the 1930s.

"(They are) not only an account of their relationship, but are a good representation of student life at Ohio University during that time," said Kimok. They document "social traditions and customs of the time, especially as they applied to dating."

Knisely earned a bachelor's degree in dramatics from OHIO. Varner only attended a short time before graduating from Bowling Green State University with a degree in education.

In the letters, the pair discusses matters such as their families, their desire to visit one another, their studies and their activities on and off campus.

The collection, donated to the University by the couple's daughter Barbara Bernice Knisely Gaeddert, begins in 1932 and continues until shortly after their marriage in 1935. It includes poems, event programs, newspaper clippings and photos, along with their handwritten correspondence.

Jessanne Timon Allen Scrapbook
Jessanne Timon Allen's compilation of four scrapbooks document her time as a student at Ohio University from 1966 to 1971, when the lives of women students began to change significantly.

Each book records a single academic year, organized chronologically, and includes documents of each year's events from fall through spring. Her written accounts, ticket stubs, event programs, souvenirs, newspaper clippings, and even color photographs of the May 1968 flood fill the scrapbooks.

Kimok touts Allen’s scrapbooks as some of his favorites, among the many alumni albums the archives holds, as they truly capture the scope of student life at the University.

He said one of the best things about the archives' scrapbooks are that present day viewers may not know why a scrapbook keeper included what he/she did, nevertheless the books still provide unique historical insights.

Poster Collection
The more than 1,500 posters housed in the archives illustrate the political, social and cultural shifts that took place at Ohio University over ninety years.

The earliest poster in the collection is from Theodore Roosevelt's visit to Ohio University in 1912. Roosevelt, presidential candidate on the Bull Moose Party ticket, stopped in Athens while on the campaign trail.

The collection features professionally printed posters advertising speakers during China Week in 1973, low-budget handbills imploring students to join the Civil Rights Movement, and construction paper-and-marker signs for residence hall events.

"They excellently represent their times and they are a wonderful mix of color and texture, and professionally slick versus homemade," said Kimok.

Kimok said the posters are very popular in his annual Homecoming display, which typically boasts 18 tables of Bobcat memorabilia, because "they seem to bring people back to their college days by triggering memories."

A large number of posters, especially from the 1980s, were donated from the University Program Council. Kimok said he urges current student organizations to donate their posters and handbills to the University Archives, so that the collection can keep growing.

Student Handbooks
"The most important thing about being a college woman is being a lady," begins the 1963-64 "You the Coed" student handbook.

The handbooks collected from 1922 to 2002 instruct University students on the proper campus procedures and manners, and include a range of titles, including "You the Coed," for females, explaining social expectations and proper dress, and "You the College Man," explaining proper behavior for men in college.

Among the most notable rules for women, Kimok said was curfew, also called "hours." Women were required to be in their residence halls by 10:30 p.m. Some women with good GPAs were given permission slips, or "lates," allowing them to stay out until midnight on various Sunday nights each semester. Men were not subject to “hours.”

Kimok said, "Women students of today are surprised that women were subject to such different and strict rules as late as the late 1960s."

Prisley said the atmosphere on campus was different. Because women were only allowed out until a certain hour, the bars closed early and campus fell quiet quickly. Back then, she said, the women only went out if they had dates, and "dating did not mean hooking up, as it does today," she said, noting that they would have been expelled for engaging in 21st century dating practices.

Kimok’s five favorites provide a glimpse into a large and varied collection encompassing hundreds of objects. The staff of the Mahn Center encourage you to visit and discover your own favorites. The Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections is located on the fifth floor of Alden Library Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please click here.