Audubon’s Long-eared Owl

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With the a new semester on the horizon, a new page of John James Audubon’s classic Birds of America is now on display in Linderman Library. Replacing plate 356, “Marsh Hawk,” is plate 383, “Long-eared Owl.” This plate features a male long-eared owl perched on a dead branch. The first plates of Birds of America were published in 1827, with Lehigh acquiring its volumes in 1884. Each plate was printed individually and colored by hand. The volumes were originally sold by subscription and fewer than 200 copies were ever produced.

Audubon describes the long-eared owl in his Ornithological Biography, “In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere to the eastward, I have found it perched on the top of a low bush or fir….it seems to squint at you in a most grotesque manner, although it is not difficult to approach very near it.”

If you would like to view the long-eared owl, or one of the many other birds drawn by Audubon, The University of Pittsburgh has digitized the book and made it available in its entirety.

Like it’s physical counterpart, Lehigh’s Audubon display is easy to approach, so stop by Linderman Library and take a look!

long-eared owl

Audubon, J. J., Lizars, W. H. 1., & Havell, R. (1827). The birds of America: From original drawings. London: Pub. by the author.

Audubon, J. J. (1831). Ornithological biography: Or, An account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America ; accompanied by descriptions of the objects represented in the work entitled The birds of America, and interspersed with delineations of American scenery and manners. Philadelphia: J. Dobson [etc.].

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The Eiffel Tower, 1900

In honor of last week’s Bastille Day, the French National Day celebrating the 1789 storming of the Bastille Prison during the French Revolution, Special Collections would like to highlight another French institution, the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel and built for the 1889 Paris World’s Fair Exhibition, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The Champs de Mars, where the tower is located, was also the location of the first Bastille Day celebration in 1790 as well as many other events during the French Revolution. At the time of its construction, the Eiffel Tower represented a massive technological and architectural triumph, constructed entirely of wrought iron and measuring 324 meters (1,063 ft). At its completion, the Eiffel Tower was the world’s tallest building.

 

In 1900, Gustave Eiffel published La Tour de Trois Cents Mètres [The Tower of Three Hundred Meters], which documents the engineering and design involved in building the Eiffel Tower. Included in this book are a series of photographs documenting the construction process of the tower from foundations to completion. These photographs, taken from Special Collections’ copy of Eiffel’s book, are presented in the gallery below. A digitized version of the complete book is available online through the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

http://www.toureiffel.paris/en.html

Lehigh Library Record

Eiffel, Gustave. La Tour De Trois Cents Mètres. Paris: Société des imprimeries Lemercier, 1900.

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Plans for the Panama Canal, 1892-1894

The archival manuscript “Memoria y Planos de un anteproyecto para la terminacion del Canal de Panama” has been digitized and made available in Lehigh’s Digital Library. More detailed information regarding this manuscript, as well as many of Lehigh’s other archival collections, is available in Special Collections’ archive guides.

The title of this work roughly translates to “Memory and plans of a preliminary draft for the completion of the Panama Canal.” Given the subjects covered and the rich illustrations, this work could be of particular interest to those in the Lehigh community studying civil engineering.

Front Cover

Front Cover

Physical Description

The manuscript is bound within stiff card paper covers of burgundy colored paper with gilt title and decorative borders. The pages are edged in red.  It is illustrated with three folded plans including two blue prints: Proyecto de construccion en túnel Plano,  Perfil longitudinal por el eje, and one lithograph by C. Ferreiro illustrating a tunnel.

Proyecto de construccion en túnel [Blueprint]

Proyecto de construccion en túnel [Blueprint]

Sección longitudinal del túnel; Sección trasversal del túnel [Lithograph]

Sección longitudinal del túnel; Sección trasversal del túnel [Lithograph]

Historical Background

The Panama Canal began construction in 1882 and was completed in 1914. This resulted in the creation of a highly prized trade route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the splitting of the American continents. As the earliest date recorded in the manuscript is 1892, it was written while construction on the canal was ongoing. The manuscript was considered a significant contribution to the engineering community as it was awarded a gold medal by the Academia de Inventores of Paris in 1894.

The author of this work, Gabriel Moreno Campo, appears to have been based in Spain and been involved in the iron and railroad business. Campo had also published plans for the creation of a transoceanic canal located in Colombia, the construction of which was awarded to an international company in 1876 but ultimately failed.

Lehigh Connection

The Bucyrus Company, which manufactured steam shovels and dredges, was headed by Lehigh alumni. The cement used in the Panama Canal building came from the Lehigh Valley and the steel gates for the five sets of locks used to construct the canal were manufactured by the company of Lehigh alumni McClintic and Marshall (LU CE 1888) in Pennsylvania.

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History of Petroleum in the United States, 1876

 

Following last week’s post about the city of Pithole and the mid-nineteenth century oil boom in Pennsylvania, William J Buck’s 1876 publication Early Accounts of Petroleum in the United States has been digitized and made available to read or download in Lehigh’s Digital Library. In this book, the author establishes a timeline describing the discovery  and documentation of petroleum in what is now the United States.

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Buck identifies the earliest mention of petroleum in the United states as being in a July 18th, 1627 letter sent by a French missionary, which describes, “a good kind of oil which the Indians call a touronton…. the meaning thereof is ‘there is plenty there,’ or ‘how much there is !'” (p. 1) He traces the first mention of oil in the state of Pennsylvania to another French missionary and historian, who in 1721 describes “a fountain, the water of which is like oil and has the taste of iron” as well as “another fountain exactly like it, and that the savages made use of it to appease all manner of pains.” (p. 2) Buck identifies the name associated with this early oil fountain, located near Cuba, NY, as Ganos, which he links to the word for “liquid grease, or oil” in the Iroquois language (p. 2). Expanding on the notion of oil as a pain reliever, he cites several different authors describing petroleum or “Seneca Oil” being used by Native American tribes as cures for various ailments including smallpox “rheumatism, and for sprains and sores.” (p. 2) Another writer that he quotes claims that, “‘At Pittsburg they keep this oil in bottles, and attach much confidence to it as containing some mysterious efficacy.'” (p. 7) Buck dates the first geographical illustration of petroleum in Pennsylvania to an English map created in 1755.

When the book was published in 1876, Buck described Pennsylvania as “now by far the greatest producer of this commodity in American if not in the world.” (p. 3) While Buck makes mention of Colonel E. L. Drake, known for drilling the first commercial oil well at Titusville, PA in 1859, he does so primarily to demonstrate that oil had been previously discovered in the course of drilling for salt water. This book’s publication in Titusville demonstrates the impact that the Drake Well had in the early petroleum industry. As petroleum was primarily used for lighting oil lamps around this time, Buck dedicates a section to the operations supporting the petroleum extraction and lighting industry. As petroleum is still used as a major source of energy and has a tremendous impact on the global economy, it is fascinating to reflect on its humble beginnings and its progression into a major industry. It is also interesting to note a connection between the early history of petroleum and the city of Bethlehem, as one of the early accounts of oil mentioned by Buck was written by a bishop of the Moravian Church, who arrived in the United States in 1802 lived in Bethlehem until the time of his death in 1814.

Lehigh University’s Special Collections specializes in the history of technology, an actively growing collection with frequent additions. New and interesting material will continue to be featured on this blog, so check back for updates. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact Special Collections by email at inspc@lehigh.edu or by phone at 610-758-4506.

Buck, William J. 1825-1901. Early Accounts of Petroleum in the United States. Titusville, Pa.: Printed by Bloss & Cogswell, 1876.

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Pithole, Pennsylvania: Oil Boom Ghost Town

Following its recent use in a reference request, the title The History of Pithole by Charles C. Leonard, has been digitized and published online. It is now available to read or download through the Lehigh Digital Library.

View of Holmden Street in Pithole, PA circa 1866

View of Holmden Street in Pithole, PA circa 1866

Historical Background

In the mid-19th century, Pennsylvania was undergoing a massive push for oil. As oil rich areas were discovered, towns and cities would spring up in support. One such city was Pithole, Pennsylvania, which was founded in 1865 as part of the regional oil boom. At its peak between 1865 and 1866, Pithole was home to over 20,000 residents, many of whom were housed in the city’s 54 hotels. The city also boasted Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, a daily newspaper, and a 1,100 seat theater.

Following major bank collapses caused by oil speculation and a series of highly destructive fires, Pithole shrank drastically.  By December of 1866, the population had dropped over 90% to around 2,000. By the time Pithole was unincorporated as a city in 1877, the population had dropped further still to 237.

Today, Pithole is owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and is home to the Pithole Visitors Center, which is managed by the Drake Well Museum. Pithole is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The History of Pithole

Pithole title page

Title page of The History of Pithole

While the city of Pithole, PA is now mostly an historical footnote, Leonard describes it in the preface as, “No town or city in the world has ever had so remarkable a history as that of Pithole. Its rapid growth, the amount of capital expended, and the fortunes realized here,—its numerous and monster wells, have had no equal since the world began.” This can largely be interpreted as hyperbole but it demonstrates the novelty and momentousness of oil extraction during the mid-nineteenth century.

The body of the book is split into two sections, the first being a history of Pithole and the second a collection of less serious anecdotes concerning the city and its residents. The history section provides an overview of the various petroleum companies active in the area and describes the different oil wells and their unique locales. This section goes into great detail concerning how the wells were constructed, how much oil they produced, and why they were of significance.

Leonard continues the hyperbolic language from the preface by describing Pithole as “Like Rome, sits on seven hills and from its throne of beauty rules the world. This quotation and comparison is not correct, but mistakes will happen in war time.” (P. 35) This section provides listings and descriptions of many of the utilities and businesses operating in the city. Indicative of Pithole’s ultimate demise, Leonard dedicates an entire section to fires. By his account, 17 fires occurred in and around Pithole between August 1865 and December 1866 resulting in damages to oil and property totaling nearly $2 million.

The second section of the book is largely farcical and satirical. It opens with a story titled “Discover of Pithole, in 1865, By Mr. ‘Pit’,” which once again comically exaggerates the cities origins and importance.  Other stories include “Remains of Mastodon found on  Holmden Street, 1866,” “A Prize Fight,” “War and Bloodshed,” “Ghost No. 1,” and “Ghost No. 2.” The first ghost story alludes to men drinking at night by describing “a fearful and marrow-freezing sound similar to the smashing of bottles and tumblers….Wild shrieks of demonical laughter, accompanied by a hiccoughing sound suggestive of taking poison….” (P. 74) The other stories are similarly tongue-in-cheek.

The final eight pages of the book are advertisements for supposedly oil rich real estate, a bank, the post office, a drug store, a stable, a hotel, the Pithole Daily Record newspaper, and finally a printer. The newspaper boasts a daily circulation of 1,500 copies.

Lehigh University’s Special Collections specializes in the history of technology, an actively growing collection with frequent additions. New and interesting material will continue to be featured on this blog, so check back for updates. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact Special Collections by email at inspc@lehigh.edu or by phone at 610-758-4506.

 

Leonard, Charles C. The History of Pithole. Pithole City, Pa.: Morton, Longwell & Co., Printers, 1867.

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Sonnet SLAM! with Shakespeare’s Folios

 

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Literature aficionados around the world gathered on April 21 st to honor William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death. Events were hosted across the world, especially in the English speaking countries. At the Globe Theater, they had a 2.5 mile interactive course of short films called “The Complete Walk.”
Prince Charles attended a televised performance about the Shakespeare’s life at the Royal Shakespeare Theater.

While Lehigh is across the ocean from Shakespeare’s home turf of England, we still have enough reasons to celebrate his life and works. Here at Lehigh University, we honored William Shakespeare by hosting a Sonnet SLAM! in Linderman Library Bayer Galleria. Attendees could choose to listen to the sonnets, or read one aloud. The event was an open-mike, open to everyone to recite one of their favorite sonnets, or one they wrote themselves.

Special Collections displayed all four of the Shakespeare’s Folios owned by Lehigh. They were showcased only during the event. Since Shakespeare’s death (also thought to be around the time of his birth, as well) coincides with National Poetry Month, Lehigh was able to honor both occasions at the Sonnet SLAM!

The Sonnet SLAM! was sponsored by the Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries and the LehighUniversity Creative Writing Program.

To learn more about the Lehigh’s Shakespeare Folios, read “The Shakespeare Folios and Forgeries of William Shakespeare’s Handwriting” or contact Special Collections.

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LEPOCO 50th Anniversary

Congratulations to the LEPOCO (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern), a now ingrained Lehigh Valley institution, for turning fifty this year. For the last fifty years, the Lehigh-Plepocoocono Committee of Concern has been the voice of peace and environmentalism in the Lehigh Valley. The committee began as a local group advocating for the end of the Vietnam war under the name of “The Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern to End War in Viet Nam”. The group, spearheaded by Peter Cohen, advocated for an end to the draft and the war. This was the focus of LEPOCO until the war officially ended in 1975.

They fought against the war for the first decade of their organization. Through marches, rallies, posters, and talks, the message of peace and understanding was spread through the Lehigh Valley. With events like the Harrisburg Seven and celebrities like Jane Fonda coming to speak in the area, the group was able to become known nationwide. While the war was still going on, LEPOCO set their sights on President Richard Nixon. They called for his impeachment beginning in 1972. The continuing political involvement of the group expedited the distrust and investigation into President Nixon’s hidden activities.

vietnamThe fact that they had accomplished the goal of ending the war did not stop the Committee, rather it opened up more opportunities to promote peace and wellness outside of Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, worked as activists to help those affected by the war in Vietnam and build relations with Japan through a sister-city project, which produced the Japanese Garden which now sits in Bethlehem. After the Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident, LEPOCO fought against the building and construction of nuclear energy facilities which coincided with their anti-nuclear weapon position. From the 1970s to the present, LEPOCO has also supported labor rights with assisting the farm workers movement and Cesar Chavez in the 1970s and continuing to work for civil rights throughout its history. LEPOCO has been one of the largest and most prominent activist groups in the Lehigh Valley and is continuing its work to bring peace to the world to this day.
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Today, the Lehigh University Special Collections houses Archives of LEPOCO which includes correspondence, posters, pamphlets, photographs, slides, business records, newsletters, and newspaper clippings all referencing the group’s activist activities. This collection is open to researchers learn more about LEPOCO and peace activities in Lehigh Valley.
For more information about the collection, please contact Special Collections.

 

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Into the New Century

Always fresh, always ready for new challenges for new centuries… a fundraising brochure cover from 1965, Lehigh’s centennial:

new-century-fund-brochure

into the second century

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Charter Day of Lehigh University

150 years ago, on the 9th day of February 1866, the charter of the Lehigh University was approved by Andrew Gregg Curtin, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
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Steve Kreider: The Game Changer

Lehigh University Photograph Collection

Steve Kreider with Outstanding Player Trophy in 1978.

The Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry Week is upon us again. We were flipping through past issues of the Brown and White, and decided to spotlight a year where Lehigh was victorious over the Leopards (surprise, surprise.) In the 1978 rivalry game, the 113th to be played, Lehigh triumphed, 35-17.
Lehigh trailed Lafayette until the third quarter of the game, but then had a 21-point burst.  Who is especially interesting is the game-changer we found.  His name is Steve Kreider.  He’s cited as a major player in the game.  Upon further research, we discovered that Steve Kreider may just be one of the most well-rounded people alive.
Kreider had a stellar college football career.  He was named an All-American Wide Receiver by the Associated Press in 1977.  That year, he helped the Lehigh Engineers snatch the Division II national championship.  He had 72 catches, 1,567 yards, and 19 touchdowns (we don’t know much about football, but we assume this is all very good). His academics weren’t shabby either- he was a Rhodes Scholar candidate.
Kreider would go onto further success in the National Football League.  After his senior year of college, he was drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals. He served as a wide-receiver for the team for seven years.  He even played in the Super Bowl game against the 49er’s.
He dedicated himself to his studies in his spare time away from football. Though he was an exceptional electrical engineering student at Lehigh, he went on to graduate school for business (a bold jump from engineering).  He studied at the University of Cincinnati and received his MBA and doctorate in finance from there.
Now, what is Steve Kreider up to?  He’s was Chief Investment Officer of Legg Mason Inc.’s Western Asset Management and was hired in 2014 to be Chief Investment Officer of Western & Southern Financial Group Inc.
So, essentially, Steve Kreider may be one of the most impressive people you’ll ever hear about.

Brown and White Vol. 90 no. 23: Kreider eyes his football future: pro career beyond the horizon?
Brown and White Vol. 91 no. 17: Ex-QB Kreider makes it big
“Ex-Bengal Kreider to Run Western & Southern’s $46 Billion” on Bloomberg

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Sages of the Pages